New Zealand

Mountains and just a stone’s throw away beautiful beaches and the waters of the Pacific. One of the strongest arguments for me to choose New Zealand as next destination. As I am a student my budget is quite limited. Of course there are always ways to get around with a minimum of money and it should never be an argument to miss out some worthy experiences or travelling. Nevertheless there are non preventable costs e.g flights. To reduce the accuring costs I worked the first 5 month as DM in KeriKeri at Dive North.(Working at a farm, fruit picking or in bigger cities in bars or hunting Opossums are options too ;)) I found it quite easy to get information about the hot spots in New Zealand so I am sure there are other websites/blogs helping with this. I will try to give here the information about some more or less hidden places in the North but not less beautiful and fun. As I spent 5 month in Kerikeri and could not get enough from the Northisland. Kerikeri is a small and beautiful town near Pahia.  

-Paihia-

How to get there

From Auckland by bus

Nakedbus  (cheap and independent) but there are a few other companies as well (http://www.intercity.co.nz/) Kiwiexperience http://www.kiwiexperience.com/ (hop on hop off busses – probably the cheapest way to get around by bus and fastest way to get in contact with other backpackers (but not with the culture and locals) but dependent on the stops/days.

By car

Hitchhiking cheap and comfortable way to get aroung and meet locals- I met the most interesting guys during hitchhiking and you will experience funny stories

What to do

Oceansports: Kayak, diving, boat tours, dolphin watching, helicopter tours Most of the backpackers plan to go south as soon as possible and for them Paihia is the most northern Point they reach. So here my advice for all of you: The northisland is worth spending time!! To name Paihia a hidden place is utopistic but Paihia has good restaurants and offers a lot of wateractivities so to spend one or two days here can not hurt After passing Paihia (a place to go if you want to meet backpackers and if you like the classical young people hostellife) in about 30 minutes you will enter Kerikeri.

-Kerikeri-

How to get there

by bus

Nakedbus (cheap and independent) but there are a few other companies as well (http://www.intercity.co.nz/)

by car

Hitchhiking cheap and comfortable way to get aroung and meet locals- I met the most interesting guys during hitchhiking and you will experience funny stories

What to do

Hiking: Kerikeri River Track beautiful and for certain one or two photos worth. Diving: Dive North  I really liked to work there. High safety standards and professional guidance.

During my 5 month I visited quite a lot of the upper northisland and I can just repeat-it is sooo worth spending time there. Even the drive to the beaches and beautiful bays are stunning.( Taupo bay, Whangaroa bay) But this is only a option if you have a car as there are no busses, no trains and most of the time no cars. On the way to the top of New Zealand and beside the stunning views and beaches a visit of the Te Paki Sand dunes is rewarding.These giant nature build sand box is good to have all sorts of fun. Beside jumbing and rolling off the sandy hills feeling the speed with a body board is a must do. You can go there either on the way up to Cape Reinga or when you return. To get there turn to the signposted Gravelroad named Te Paki Stream Road after Te Paki village. Keep an eye open for small signs just before and in Te Paki.

Small houses rent sand body boards or you hire your sand surfing gear from the big yellow truck located on the right of the car park for $15.00 a boogie board for an hour.

just around the corner of Kerikeri Rainbow falls

-Te Paki sanddunes-

How to get there

by bus:

Nakedbus-but as a whole day activity to cape Reinga A lot of other tour operators are doing the cape Reinga tour including stops at the 90 miles beach and the dunesurfing at the Te Paki sand dunes as well.

By car:

With your own car is the best option but hich hiking might be an option in the high season (summer)

What to do

Sandboarding: hire the sandboarding gear from one of the houses with the signs or from the yellow truck in front of the carpark

Cape Reinga is the most northern point in New Zealand and with the red and white lighthouse and the water interweaving at the collisions point of the waves is quite a dramatic picture.  

-Cape Reinga-

How to get there

by bus:

Nakedbus but as a whole day activity. A lot of other tour operators are doing the cape Reinga tour including stops at the 90 miles beach and the dunesurfing at the Te Paki sand dunes.

by car:

With your own car or by hitchhiking in the high season ( I went there with some dive guests – thanks Magdalena and Lukasz- and we did it by car in the off season. There was one other car at cape reinga)

Cape Rainga Cape Rainga Northern Point of NZ Northern Point of NZ Chessboard Waves Like a chessboard Beach 90 miles beach Seak of Silence the sea of silence Duck cloud the cloud looks like a duck

Two more destinations which are real hidden places and which offer a lot for cave and glowworm lovers are the Kawiticaves and the Abbey caves in Whangarei. The Kawiticaves are 20 minutes from Paihia and a cheaper, less crowded option comparing with the waitomo caves. Of course the size is smaller but not less spectacular. A 30-40min tour is obligatory and costs for an adult $20.  

-Kawiti Caves-

How to get there:

by car:

Kawiti Caves-49 Waiomio Road-Waiomio 1 kilometre off State Highway 1 in Waiomio

My favorite are the Whangarei Abbey caves. There are 3 single caves partly filled with water in a beautiful landscape. It is without guide so without torch and good shoes you are kind of lost. It is really fun to climb and find the way on your own –sometimes the water inside the caves is so high you have to swim and don’t be scared of the Wetas or cave spider- they just want to play-. No seriously the abbey caves are a must do.

-Abbey Caves-

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbey_Caves

How to get there

by bus

Again the nakedbus drives to Whangarei from there you can hike about 1 hour to the caves. The small track to the caves is located on Abbey Caves Road. Start from Bank street to Mill Road go north and turn into Whareora Road. The next turn right is the Abbey Caves Road if you see the Little Earth Lodge-BBH you are just at the beginning of the track. On the left side is a sign and a carpark.

by car:

The small track to the caves is located on Abbey Caves Road. Start from Bank street to Mill Road drive north and turn into Whareora Road. The next turn right is the Abbey Caves Road if you see the Little Earth Lodge-BBH you are just at the beginning of the track. On the left side is a sign and a carpark.

Important: Take a good torch and good shoes with you and be aware of getting wet. Beside the Abbey caves there are quite a few other nice things to do in  

-Whangarei-

What to do:

beside the Abbey Caves there are some nice walks to the whagarei falls and just beside the caves is the Parahaki MTB Park.

The diving in New Zealand

New Zealand has an amazing underwater world its biodiversity is so rich and the sites and possibilities are so different. In the North there are several Dive operators. I recommend Dive North but the most important thing is to go diving and see the beautiful NZ underwaterworld. The Bay of Islands with its 144 small islands offers a lot of fantastic dive spots. And with its two ship wrecks the HMNZS Canterburry and the Greenpeace ship: Rainbow Warrior the diving is very different to holiday, tropical reef diving. If you expect colorful and small fish you will be surprised. I enjoyed my diving time in New Zealand because of the big fish schools, the lonely big predators and the underwater landscape. Comparing to other dive spots I have been New Zealand has the most tunnels, caves and small swim throughs.

Coulorful marine life Hey-how are you?? don’t move just don’t move sweet grandparents couple scorpion fish glittering blue beauty in pink waiting for… Hey there beauty in purple