This is the first town on our trip around the north island. After traveling for so long it’s hard to remember small towns like this a few weeks later, let alone years later. There is a beautiful waterfall here and lots of bush walk trails throughout the area. Waterfalls seem to be in every city and town here in New Zealand. While driving around we realized Whangarei is a much larger town than we first thought. There are residential areas, familuar New Zealand big named stores and of course a Kentucky Fried Chicken. Some of the town looks like a throwback of the 1980s and everything closes by 5pm. I’m getting use to things closing and it doesn’t bother me. Living in a city where things are open 24 hours, it’s kind of cool to see people forced to go home and relax because everything is closed. Whangarei is also known as a port where Captain Cook stopped during his travels around the world.
One of the many things to see here is the Whangarei Falls. The best part is the easy short walk to get to the waterfall itself. The waterfall is eighty six feet high with mossy green walls in the middle of town. Without knowing it was there you would just think you were in suburbia. There was a elementary school day trip at the base of the falls collecting brine and water bugs out of the pool and comparing them to a chart of living organisms they were given by the teacher. What an awesome day trip for the kids. It was fun watching them collect brine and water bugs from the shore. It also reminded me that there are all kinds of living little creatures in the water no matter how clear it may look.
Ocean Beach is located southeast of Whangarei and this is where we spent the day. After a very small walk from the car we arrived on a beautiful spacious beach backed up by rolling green farm hills and large forest trees in small sections. The only difference between this beach and the beautiful bay beaches is the waves. Most of the people in the water were in wetsuits and surfing. A few brave souls got in to swim but didn’t stay in long. After sitting on the beach for awhile we looked up and saw two paragliders in the sky landing on the beach. I still don’t know where they came from. We didn’t see or hear a plane and they came from over the ocean area.
Whale Bay is now my new favorite beach on the island. A short hike down the hill we were in a private cove with blue water and large rocks. People were laying out and relaxing on the shore even though the sand was still wet from high tide. Lucky for us it was low tide or the beach area would disappear. I’ve never seen such a pretty place. I think what makes it really special is there aren’t any buildings, houses or people in sight. Just nature shwoing off it’s beauty without being bothered by humans.
Whangarei turned out to be another beautiful start to our north island visit. I’m started to like the low population of people on these islands. Nature has taken over on the largest scale I’ve seen in my travels so far. Next stop is the Bay of Islands.