Something a little bit different… a guest blog post from my sister who recently visited us! We took her to Whangaroa – her favourite destination of NZ and a the highlight of her trip. Plus we love it too and its not hard to understand why. Her guest post is below.
To find out more about the Northland Region of New Zealand do check out our travel guide of this beautiful region. 🙂
Guest Writer: Sally Appleby
The beautiful Whangaroa Harbour is an inlet on the northern coast of the Northland. It is 40 minutes drive north of the Bay of Islands and 30 minutes drive south of Doubtless Bay, making it an ideal stopover for travellers searching for something different that speaks of authentic Northland – unspoiled and unique. The harbour was formed when rising sea levels drowned a river valley about 6,000 years ago. According to Māori traditions, the waka Māhuhu-ki-te-rangi explored the Whangaroa harbour during early Māori settlement of New Zealand. The area was settled by descendants of Te Māmaru and Mataatua waka crews.
Like the Māori’s once did I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to explore this tranquil region and enjoy a relaxing New Year getaway from the city.
We stayed at the Sunseeker Lodge, in there one bedroom apartment, separate to the communal backpacking facilities. On arrival first impressions were good due to the views over the harbour and the communal hot tub facilities also overlooking the harbour. The apartment contained beautiful furniture and art work, it is great for the location but don’t expect the Ritz expect amazing views and fantastic friendly hosts!
The best way to explore Whangaroa Harbour is by boat, this is a must! We were lucky enough to go out in my sister’s, partner’s family boat around the harbour, and it was the highlight of my trip to NZ. The beautiful turquoise sea set amongst the green tropical cliffs, hills and islands around the bay were an amazing site to see. We spotted the ‘Dukes Nose’ made out of rock cliff and discovered a rare waterfall due to the previous days downpour! We were took to a little hidden gem and moored our boat outside the Kingfish Lodge (the location is so remote, the Spice Girls holidayed here during the height of their careers – or so we were told!) Kingfish Lodge features 5 newly renovated, stylish waterfront guest rooms and 7 studio apartment style rooms, terraced on a beautiful plot of coastal headland, a perfect retreat for anybody who has the cash!
We had refreshing beers and a orange juice at the friendly and welcoming bar area, it was only polite after parking our boat there! Then headed up to the top of the hill for our picnic and to see the panoramic views of the harbour. We had a bird’s eye view of the harbours entrance to the sea. We soon realised this was the iconic place with stunning scenery to take a special photo of us all for our future photo books!
On our last day we climbed St Paul’s Rock it is the highest point we could get to, to see the 360 degree views of the area we had visited was just mind blowing. The walk to the peak took about 20 minutes but it was a very steep walk and we had to practically rock climb up the last part of the rock using the chains provided so this walk is not for the faint hearted! But when you get to the top as you reap the rewards of self-achievement and take in the idyllic views you soon realise the climb to the top was worth it. Truly a moment to reflect and enjoy the well-kept lands which were first created 6000 years ago.
I would highly recommend a visit to Whangaroa Harbour, this untouched gem gives the guaranteed wow factor!
Top Tip: If you need to find somewhere to stay when you visit then we highly recommend booking your accommodation in advance, it’s important not to under estimate how busy NZ gets between September and March each year. We suggest checking out BookaBach (private homes often not found on AirBnB) or this link to find out instant availability of the motels/hotels/guest houses in the area.