Hear about travel to the Northland in New Zealand as the Amateur Traveler talks to Heather Markel from HeatherBegins.com about the country where she spent the pandemic.
Heather says, “I landed here, zipped around the South Island thinking it would be like a three-week trip before heading off to Australia. And then the pandemic was declared, and then I ended up being locked down here. So I’m two weeks shy of my one-and-a-half-year anniversary in New Zealand.”
“Coming here and seeing these landscapes that reminded me a little bit of the Moana film, it’s so ungodly, beautiful, it’s insane. I’ve traveled a lot in the world, experiencing lots of different indigenous cultures, learning about the Maori people, and learning about that culture here is really fascinating. And then just that the people here are so kind and helpful in ways that I have just, I’ve been so deeply touched by how out of the way people have gone for me, but that’s just how they are. It’s not just me, it’s just an amazing people.”
Heather recommends an itinerary in the Northland, the north of the North Island of New Zealand. This is where you will find ancient Maori culture and the first European settlements in New Zealand. The area has a mild climate, tons of waterfalls, and interesting geology.
On a 10-day itinerary, Heather recommends heading from Aukland to Kerikeri. Spend a couple of days seeing waterfalls (like Rainbow Falls and Secret Falls) and the early colonial buildings like the Kemp House and the Stone Store. Try the wines at the Marsden Estate or enjoy the birds at Parrot Place.
Then head out to the west coast on a day trip to see Tane Mahuta “God of the Forest”, the biggest living kauri tree, the Koutu Boulders, and the Wairere Boulders. The Koutu boulders at concretions, round boulders as tall as a person. The Wairere Boulders are fluted rocks carved by acid rain. Look for a trail of fairy houses near them.
Head north to Cape Reinga and the end northern tip of New Zealand. Along the way stop at 9 Mile Beach or climb to the top of St Paul’s Rock… if you have a friend to help you up the steep climb.
As you come back south, explore the eastern coast of the Northland by walking the Mahinepua Peninsula Track.
As you come south pass Kerikeri again, stop in Paihia to explore the Waitangi Treaty Grounds where the nation of New Zealand began. Learn about the Maori culture from the local craftspeople. Then take a boat out on the Bay of Islands. Sea whales and dolphins and the famous “Hole in the Rock”. Explore the beautiful small town of Russell.
Heather recommends a stop in Kawakawa to see the public toilets, yes, that’s what I said. The Hundertwasser Public Toilets are a work of art.
Enjoy the beaches at Matapouri Bay and then continue down to Whangarei to enjoy more hiking, a wonderful art center, sculpture park, and the Whangarei Quarry Gardens. Climb to the top of Mount Parihaka for views of the city. Make a side trip to Matauri Bay to see the final resting place of the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior.
Along the way, enjoy some of the local food, leave your jandals on a jandal fence or just enjoy the warm hospitality of the New Zealand People. You too may want to get “stuck” in New Zealand.
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This episode is sponsored by GoAskALocal.com. Their local experts are veteran guides and travel professionals with decades of experience helping travelers discover their regions. Consulting with them is like spending an hour with a guidebook that can talk; no matter what question you have or type of trip you’re planning, they’ve got the answers.
right click here to download (mp3)
Kerikeri Part One
Kerikeri Part Two
Mission House (Kemp House)
Plough & Feather
Honey House Cafe
Rainbow Falls (Waianiwaniwa)
Rainbow Falls Tea House
Charlie’s Rock Waterfall
The Parrot Place
Aroha Island Accomodations
Wharepuke Subtropical Accommodation
Opononi Beach Takeaways (Fish and Chips)
St. Paul’s Rock
Mahinepua Peninsula Track
The Kauri Museum
Cape Reinga Lighthouse
Cape Reinga Tour – Sandboarding in New Zealand’s Bay of Islands
Russell, New Zealand
Bay of Islands Tours
Kawakawa, New Zealand
Hundertwasser Public Toilets
James & Isey
Claphams Clock Museum Whangarei
Parihaka Scenic Reserves
Quarry Arts Centre
Whangarei Quarry Gardens
Marsden Cross Track
Good on the ears
Chris’s voice is soft but crisp. He tells the story and the facts you need to know. His preparation is excellent. Yes, I am a fan. Thanks for some great content and interviews from a friendly podcaster on travel who aspires to this level.
Good travel show but can be a little hard to pay attention to some weeks. Overall, can’t complain and still listening every week!
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