North Island adventures

Auckland or close to Auckland

Goat Island marine discovery centre

Rangitoto Island – climbing a volcano

 

Rangitoto Island, Auckland, New Zealand

Twin Coast trail – Opua to Kawakawa

Waitangi mountain bike trails

Exploring Tawharanui Regional Park

Waiorongomai Valley Walk

Wairere Falls walk

Coromandel – Waterworks and the Driving Creek Railway

Hauraki Rail trail

Karangahake Gorge walks

Central North Island

So much to do in Rotorua

Tarawera waterfall walking trail

Tarawera trail

Kerosene Creek at Rainbow Mountain Reserve

Mountain biking in Taupo

Walk or ride the Great Lake trail

Waikato River trail and glow-worm kayaking

Timber trail cycling with kids

Napier to Tolaga Bay road trip

Exploring the Hawkes Bay

Motu cycle trail

Bridge to Nowhere mountain bike ride

Tongariro Crossing walk with kids

Old Coach ride and walk

Mountain biking Old Coach Rd, New Zealand

Waiorongomai Valley Walk

I spent a lot of time as a child looking at the Kaimai ranges as we drove to Tarawera to camp and kayak and I always knew those mountains held lots of adventures.

 

With an extra day off on our weekend in Rotorua and after an early morning mountain bike ride we decided to explore a small part of the Kaimais on the way back to Auckland, and what an adventure it was.

The Waiorongomai Valley Walk (near Te Aroha) explores tramlines from gold mining days and follows New Zealand’s oldest known railway (1882-83) with the original rail still in place. There are lots of different options for walks to explore the area including walking up the inclines ( where the ore trolleys used to be lowered down ) which is a great way to experience the amazing engineering feats of the early settlers. 

 

  

Near the head of the valley we turned for home and descended down a steep hill that had a warning about the descent being steep but unfortunately it didn’t say that there was a ‘stream’ crossing at the bottom that wasn’t passable after heavy rain and it had just rained heavily the night before. And then the real adventure began as we decided it was too dangerous to risk the second river crossing and had to head back up the steep hill before walking out on an unofficial side track that was pretty rough. Luckily we had our torches as we ended up walking out the last part in the dark. Quite a lot of adrenalin spent.

 

Such a great spot to explore – just watch out for those stream crossings.

And yes the Department of Conservation website did mention stream crossing but there are lots of walks in the area and its hard to hold all of that information in an already crowded brain. In hindsight it was quite an important piece of information to remember, and I would like the Department of Conservation to add it to the sign that warns about the steep descent.

You will want to know this before you fly

Passport ✔️

Adventure gear ✔️

Phone ✔️

Power bank ✔️ 

So many things to remember when you are flying including remembering to put your power bank ( the thing you charge your phone with when you are off the grid ) in your carry-on luggage.

A power bank will be taken from your checked-in luggage and a recent change to aviation security means they don’t need you to be present to open your luggage so you don’t know before you fly that its been taken out and you wont get it back.

This happened to me when I flew to Nelson to do the Abel Tasman walk. If we had been going directly to the walk I would have had no way of charging my phone, so no way to take photos and as we all know if you dont take photos it didn’t happen. Thankfully I had the chance to buy another one but it was still a costly mistake.

How to save $200

Of course we all know that the license plates on our car have to be visible at all times and if you have your bikes on the back of the car the license plate might not be so easy to see, but did you know in New Zealand its a $200 fine for obscuring your license plate…eekkkk.

We have driven round for years with bikes on the car without even thinking about the license plate. Thankfully a mountain bike park did a windscreen flyer drop highlighting the issue and we jumped online immediately and bought the supplementary plates.

I have since heard that police are cracking down on obscured plates and handing out the $200 fine. I know I would rather keep the cash in my pocket so jump online and order supplementary plates in NZ

To read more about supplementary plates requirements in NZ.

.

Westport – so much more than just seals

You know when you go on a road trip there are some places you are excited about and some places that you just figure you will stop at seeing as you are passing through? Well Westport was the latter, we were passing through on our way down to Franz Joseph from Kaiteriteri and figured it was as good a place as any to stop to see some seals if nothing else. But we soon discovered that the area around Westport has lots to explore – once again we discovered lots of the off the beaten track adventures in the NZ Frenzy Off the Beaten track guide ( available to buy on line, not sponsored in any way just love the guide )

 

Anyhow back to Westport….Just getting there from Kaiteriteri is a breath-taking drive through the Buller Gorge. After setting up camp our first afternoon there we drove out to see the seal at Cape Foulwind which was indeed foul but very scenic with great views of the seals and lots of information boards about the wildlife in the area.

The next day we were up bright and early as it turns out there is lots more to do in Westport than just look at seals so we headed North to Mokihinu where there is a 100 year old ship wreck on the beach.  West Coast beaches are pretty rugged, add to that a ship wreck and you have a great photo shoot.

From here we drove to Chasm Creek walkway which we couldn’t go far on as it was closed. Turns out it was probably lucky we couldn’t go too far on that track as we still had lots to explore. So on to the Charming Creek walkway, near Ngakawau, which was on an old tramline up a gorge. We walked for about 1 hour through tunnels and across a swing bridge before we reached a clearing where there had been a sawmill and found a spot close to the river to have lunch. There was lots of train relics, stunning native bush and even a waterfall along the way so lots to keep everyone entertained on this walk.

From here we drove up the Denniston Plateau, a very steep climb in the car up 600m to a spot where coal miners lived over 100 years ago. Some people never even came down from the Plateau and when they did it was in the coal wagons. On a clear day you would get great views from the Plateau – although am just not sure its ever a clear day on the West Coast of the South Island. There are a lot of relics and information on what life would have been like on the Plateau. We would have liked to have spent longer but the temperature was dropping which made us realise what a hard life the coal miners would have had up there.

Westport – so much more than seals!!!

 

Links to more information:

Cape Foulwind

Charming Creek Walkway

Denniston Plateau

 

Sharing family fun & adventures from the kitchen to the great outdoors