The secret coast aptly describes Northland’s quiet corners where the traffic whizzes by on its way to Pahia and Waitangi. New Zealand and Australia are awash with beaches, rocky pools, quiet shallow inlets, coral reefs, white sand sweeps with azure water and city beaches where you simply pop across the road from your accommodation. Yet there are still surprises to be found. Tutukaka offers quiet gems where the beach becomes your special place.
Tutukaka is a detour, a place where water sports is a given visitor activity. Surf, kayak, dive sub-tropical waters in a protected marine environment or explore marine life in rock pools. Artists gravitate to Tutukaka coast for its landscapes, its place in the story of Aotearoa NZ and the sense of community offer visitors the temptation to stop, linger and enjoy artistic working studios.
Taranaki is a treasure trove of New Zealand history reaching back over 1000 years with heritage Pa sites to explore, blockhouses from the NZ Land Wars and remnant bush reserves capturing a sense of the landscape before wholesale forest clearances. There are fascinating museums filled with stuffed animals, quirky shops in largely abandoned towns, beautifully sculptured bridges, functional industrial water towers complete with a homage to the farmer’s clothing Swanndri. Taranaki is worth a detour.
The quiet province that is a detour. The place is a rounded bump on the east coast of the North Island, it is very easy to simply continue straight down the middle of the island with its exciting hot mineral pools, the Huka Falls and Taupo and forget New Plymouth, Taranaki existed. Once you have visited you will wonder what took so long to ‘find’ the place. Taranaki has magical gardens, funky festivals full of light and sound, glorious museums and delicious food destinations. And it is guaranteed you will return to the bump in the road that is Taranaki.
The ten gardens are both privately owned and public spaces for visitors to enjoy. Perhaps the private garden you have put at the top of your bucket list is not open. This means a return visit in order during the Taranaki Garden Festival. Seasonal changes will inspire you to repeat visits.
Adrenaline thrills squeezing through hidden gorges to secret hot waterfall pools or floating down the Waikato to Ōtumuheke Stream hot mineral water is Taupo fun. Opepe Reserve is challenging with its graves and history of military encounters and wholesale timber logging. Tongariro offers a trout encounter where shimmering fish are up close and personal. Ohakune has vegetables as an enormous sculpture and Tokaanu offers a glimpse of history at its jetty and a chance to wander through a geothermal area next to family friendly hot pools.
Explore historic logging trails where kauri was extensively milled and gold mining relics. You have opportunities to swim beneath a waterfall or to walk among the giants of the forest, massive kauris which have escaped nineteenth century timber milling. Explore a historic cemetery in Thames and street art in Coromandel. Stop by a local favourite ice cream shop situated next to the Mercury Bay Museum. The ten walks take you from the eastern to western sides of the Coromandel Peninsula. There are numerous additional walks, check the travel pack information section to check out any trails or track appeal. Cycle trails, gold mining trails and heritage walks, the Coromandel is not always about beaches and golden sand.
Karangahake Gorge & Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park An area quietly slumbering in the valleys of the Coromandel. It is all too easy to keep on driving through the gorge on your way to the Coromandel hot spots of Hot Water Beach, Whitianga and Coromandel township. The tumbling river below and the regenerating bush should tempt you to stop and explore. The rich history and charm of the cycling trails and short walks is stunning. A place where goldminers found the most lucrative strikes in New Zealand’s history is fascinating. Karangahake Gorge, part of the Kami Mamaku Conservation Park is definitely worth a detour. A day trip for Auckland, explore the Kaimi Mountain Range, its history and the secrets behind the regenerating bush.
For locals with the summer to explore the Auckland region there are numerous opportunities to find a dune lake, a mature native forest, a Victorian landscaped park. For visitors the Auckland region offers a chance to explore wild Auckland, natural places hidden in plain sight. Whether your stay is a few days or several weeks let’s get you out and about into the upper North Island’s natural environment.
Volunteers the backbone of conservation, the passionate individual who gives time freely. This article is unashamedly promoting the work of the Aongatete Forest Trust. About Us … We are a volunteer group that manages 500 hectares of native forest in the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park, between Tauranga and Katikati. The Project is a joint venture between Forest and Bird and the Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust. Our Trust was established in 2006 by Tauranga Forest and Bird and the Katikati Rotary Club and is supported by local volunteers, Forest and Bird members, landowners and Ngai Tamawhariua who have the kaitiaki (guardianship) role over this forest.
Free admission, picnics places for kids to run, jump, run and cartwheel. Places with shaded areas, contemplative spaces where the quiet engerises the soul. For locals your favourite garden has plenty of room to relax in open natural spaces. For visitors Auckland’s gardens are a chance to feel at home, perhaps engage with a local and most of all enjoy the sheer pleasure of Auckland’s beauty on full display. Best time to visit, year round a garden offers magic and seasonal treats from leaf fall to spring growth and renewal.