I had a few days off from work again. Unwanted days off that is. So I decided to make the most of it and take off for a few days in search of something new. Being in a beachy mood, like I always am, I decided to head up north to the Karikari Peninsula. Being me, I had no specific plan in mind other than to get in the car, drive and see where I ended up. I left Paihia around 2pm on Tuesday and stopped in Kerikeri for a chiropractor appt. My first stop was going to be Matauri Bay. Someone had once told me not to take the first turn off to Matauri Bay, but the second instead. Bad advice as it ended up being a much longer drive. Eventually I came up over a hill and had my first glimpse of the Cavalli Islands.
Stunning. I could see why Steve loved it there so much. I immediately pulled over for a photo op. Continued on my way til I arrived at Matauri Bay.
It was love at first sight. Lovely white sand, beautiful blue water, perfect waves and a lone surfer with the islands as a backdrop. I hung out for awhile, read my book on the beach but eventually had to leave to find somewhere to stay for the night.
I had it in my mind that I would stay at a little beach I had passed along the way. There was a sun shower as I drove and I arrived to find a giant rainbow that ended just out in the water off the beach.
Maybe not a pot of gold, but a sign that this was my home for the night. The rain didn't last long and after taking a few pictures I sprawled out on the beach with my book. And yes, pretty much all I did this trip was take pictures and read!
The next morning I headed further north, first taking a side trip to Whangaroa Harbour. Another of Steve's favorite places. And aside from that, I've become addicted to caffeine (workplace hazard) and needed my daily fix. I was impressed once again. It was a cloudy day, but when I arrived, it was windless and the water was flat and calm. Another photo op.
Got myself a mocha and took a walk along the harbour. As soon as the caffeine kicked in I was in the car and heading north again. As I got further along, the sun was struggling to appear so I decided to stop for awhile around Cooper's Beach/Cable Bay (two places I had first seen on my first trip up to Cape Reinga and had told myself I would get back to and spend more time there). I backed my car in at a rest stop popped the hatch and laid on my bed reading and watching the ocean.
Eventually I continued along yet again, finally reaching the Karikari Peninsula. I headed straight for Matai Bay which, according to random people AND Lonely Planet, was supposed to be the most beautiful of all the beaches on the Peninsula. It was definitely gorgeous.
And not another soul around. I love when that happens! It had a big main beach then by walking around the rocks through the water, there was a little tiny beach, cozy, sheltered and secluded.
Matai Bay is actually 2 bays. I didn't think the one further north was quite as nice.
After completing my obligatory reading / photographing I drove around a bit and checked out the other beaches. Eventually it got late and it was time for food and finding a place to stay. I grabbed food at the only place there really was to get food, and headed over to Rangiputa to eat it, because it was the west facing beach and I love sunsets.
Turns out it was a good place to go because I discovered a good place to stay for the night. Bonus – other people had discovered the same place. I just always feel safer when other people are camping in the same place as me and I'm not totally completely alone in some random place that I don't know at all. Northland can be sketchy. The sky that night was amazing. SO many stars. I've been told that Northland is one of the best places in the world to view the sky. After Hawaii, I'm sure. :p So I had a great sleep and because I strategically parked backed up to a giant hill that would block the rising sun til late, I actually managed to sleep past 7. I headed off from my spot in search of coffee, Which I learned couldn't be obtained until after 11am. So I went for a shower and killed a little time at Matai Bay before heading to Carrington Winery's Cafe for a mocha and a stunning view.
Stunning view. It made that mocha last me longer than any drink ever has before. Ultimately I pried myself up from my chair and headed to Karikari Beach. I had passed by the day before and saw there was a walking track there. Turned out the walking track was really just a path down to the beach. The most stunning beach of all, that is. White sand. Clear water. Reminded me so much of Hawaii.
I ended up spending hours there. In that whole time I saw maybe 5 other people. None of whom stayed very long. I worked on my tan (in other words got burnt) read my book (I was on to my second book of the trip at this point), took too many photos, swam, went for a walk and collected too many shells because they were all big and pretty. Once I was feeling crispy and hungry, it was time to reluctantly leave.
I decided to start the drive back home so I wouldn't have as far to go the next day and could hopefully get in a real shower and a nap before work. I headed back down to Cable Bay. Went for a nice walk through a beautiful nature reserve, read my book on the beach and spent the night there.
The next morning I had a little bit of time for a morning walk on the beach and some reading, then I headed back home wishing I didn't have to go. But first I made a stop for coffee.