Far North full of beaches, beauty
Eighteen of the Levin Cosmopolitan Club’s senior members adjunct took a nine-day jaunt to Cape Reinga in February.
They checking out the sights and whiling away the days on beautiful beaches.
They took the Northern Explorer train on February 24 from Levin to Auckland where they picked up two vans from to ACE Rentals.
They loaded luggage and people and headed to their hotel.
“What a place to drive in,” says adjunct leader Fred Carrick.
“One-way streets and repairs being done, it’s a nightmare!” Most of the group had dinner at the Sky Tower, five minutes down the road from the hotel.
Next day it was off to Whangarei, with stops at Orewa, Warkworth and Wellsford, with lunch at a café next to the beach.
They arrived in Whangarei, mid-afternoon, and had their evening meal at the Northland Club.
The following day the group headed north at 9.30am to the Whangarei Falls, a 26-metre-high waterfall surrounded by park and native bush at the Whangarei Scenic Reserve.
Then to Kawakawa, where some sought out the town’s main tourist attraction, the colourful public toilets that were transformed into a work of art in 1998 by an Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
The group then boarded a train on the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, travelling through the main street of Kawakawa, through farmland, stopping at a river bridge under repair, and back to Kawakawa.
The party carried on to Paihia, arriving about 3pm and arranging a meal at the Swordfish Club – “Once again, a very nice meal at a friendly club, overlooking the sea,” Fred says.
Next morning, some took a ferry to Russell while others went to Waitangi. After lunch at Waitangi, they followed the signs to the Stone Store, New Zealand’s oldest stone building.
“But we ended up on the other side of the river with only a path and a bridge, so we decided to press on as it was too hot.”
On to the motel at Kaitaia where they had a few drinks and a roast meal.
Next morning they were picked up by the Harrisons Cape Runner bus, bound for Cape Reinga.
“Our bus driver was from the area and took us to all the little beaches on the way, which was awesome,” Fred says.
“We had a picnic lunch at a beach, and some of us went swimming.”
At Cape Reinga the walk to the top was a bit steep for some, so others took photos from the top and saw the two tides meet.
At another beach-stop on the way back to Kaitaia, the driver provided small surf boards and took people who wanted to surf down to sand.
Next morning the group went south, and caught the Hokianga Ferry to Opononi for lunch and checked out Tane Mahuta, the world’s biggest kauri tree.
At Dargaville they stayed and ate at the Commercial Hotel.
The following day, they took in the Dargaville Museum and then the Kauri Museum, at Matakohe,where they had lunch.
They were back in Auckland that night, and had a free day there.
The last day was an early start to return the vans and catch the train trip back to Levin.