When we left Vancouver it was 3°C and raining (typical). When we arrived in Auckland 14 hours later, the sun was rising on a beautiful New Year’s Eve to reach a high of 25°C. Welcome home to summer!
Being born and bred beside the ocean, the beach is one of our favourite places to be. And we reckon there’s no better place to spend a New Zealand summer than at that beach – so that was where we headed. For this post we’ve picked some of our prettiest beach photos from the past few weeks. If these don’t make you want to head to New Zealand in the summer, we don’t know what will!
For us, spending New Year’s Eve in a city is quite possibly the worst thing we can think of – for the past few years we’ve spent it in Thailand, Northland, and the South Island. After racing home from the airport, unpacking our bags and repacking with our summer gear, we were picked up by our friends Pia and Mike and headed south to the Coromandel Peninsula.
We spent a few days over the New Year period at Whangapoua Beach with our other friends Sam and Chris. It was so lovely to catch up with such good mates that we haven’t seen in ten months!
Whangapoua Beach, Coromandel Peninsula
Whangapoua is a true gem in New Zealand beach standards (which are already pretty high to start with!). The Coromandel Peninsula has a glut of gorgeous white sand beaches but much of the land behind them has been subdivided beyond belief and town centres have popped up.
Whangapoua, by contrast, has one store and a small number of big flashy houses – most of the houses there are good old Kiwi baches (holiday homes). We enjoyed a few beautiful days there sunbathing, surfing, swimming, and getting fried by the harsh New Zealand sun (sorry, skin!) before heading to Petra’s family bach in the Bay of Islands.
Bay of Islands, Northland
The Bay of Islands, on the east coast of Northland, is (guess what…) a picturesque bay dotted with many small islands. We’ve been lucky to spend heaps of time there over the years as Petra’s family owns a bach there, and we get to go boating, fishing, beaching, and dolphin-watching on a regular occasion.
We’ve previously written about the Bay of Islands as an essential stop on a road trip of Northland. Although it can be difficult (and expensive) to get out on the water on day trips or with boat rentals, we’ve noticed that there are now water taxis running to the islands from Paihia so anyone can experience the magic of the Bay!
Te Arai Point, North Auckland
While Petra was back in Auckland for a Hen’s party, Shaun headed away with the boys on a camping trip (Shaun wrote about their stop in at Leigh Sawmill Cafe & Brewery recently). They visited one of our favourite places, Te Arai Point, which is at the end of a gravel road on the east coast about an hour north of Auckland. It’s a stunning beach with no houses in sight, a great surf break, and you can camp there if you’re self-contained (i.e. contain all your waste). But shhh… keep this one a secret, we don’t want everyone knowing about it!
So there you are – three amazing beach spots to start off our New Zealand sojourn. We’re trying to make the most of summer so will be visiting more beaches soon!