A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand

Is this summer?

A cold and wet arrival in New Zealand

rain 16 °C
View Just a big holiday on ClareAndTom's travel map.

It felt like a Sunday afternoon in the UK about 20 years ago: the shops were shut; barely anyone was about; and it was cold and grey. Our first impressions of Auckland weren’t great.

It didn’t help that we’d also chosen to stay in one of the cheaper, and therefore more insalubrious, parts of town, with adult stores lining the infamous Karangahape Road.


We had a few days in Auckland before collecting our hire car. We explored the city, enjoying being in an English speaking country again, but were finding Kiwi prices a shock after five months in Asia. Our days of dinner with a beer for £1 were over!

The Wintergarden in Auckland Domain

We sought refuge in the warm greenhouses

We spent the afternoon in Auckland Museum learning about Maori culture and volcanoes – two things that characterise the North Island

What a glorious day to visit Rangitoto Island

We walked to the summit of Rangitoto Island, past old lava flows

We were lucky to be in New Zealand when the Pohutakawa trees were in bloom, often called New Zealand’s Christmas tree. Rangitoto Island was covered in them

Looking back towards Auckland

Arriving back at Auckland’s CBD

We picked up our mighty hire car, a manual Daihatsu Sirion, henceforth known as Manuel Sirloin. We crammed our bags into the boot and headed north, stopping first at Whangarei (pronounced ‘Fungarei’, for those in the know).

The rain held off whilst we went for a walk in the AH Reed Memorial Kauri Park, home to some giant Kauri trees and some waterfalls.


The raised boardwalk passed some Kauri trees

The first waterfall we came to. This wasn’t mentioned in any guidebook we found, but would have been a tourist attraction in its own right in the UK – an indication that New Zealand is home to some stunning scenery

The even more impressive Whangarei Falls


Sadly the rain didn’t hold off the following day when we drove up to Whangarei Heads, apparently home to some of New Zealand’s best beaches. What we could make out through the rain looked pretty but the wind whipping the rain against us stopped us for staying very long.

Ocean Beach

More Pohutakawa trees lining the coast


After a roast lunch we continued north along the Tutukawa coast, where the rain got even heavier.

Matapouri Bay

Whale Beach is supposed to be the country’s finest. Sadly it wasn’t ideal beach weather when we visited but we could imagine it would look beautiful in the sunshine

Posted by ClareAndTom 17:03 Archived in New Zealand Comments (2)

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