Due to the multitude of local activities, free overnight parking at the Info Site and incredible surroundings, we decided to stay put and explore Whangarei for a few days. Thanks to the new and very strict Freedom Camping Law that was passed in 2011, it was more difficult that we had anticipated to find free places to sleep in our campervan overnight, so the iSite with 24 hour bathrooms/showers was a life saver. Unsurprisingly however, it seems that local officers are having a hard time enforcing the new law as it is impossible to tell whether someone is pulled over for a nap (legal) or sleeping overnight (illegal). We also heard that several of the campervan companies were preparing to bring suit, so I’m not sure how long the new law will last.
While in Whangarei we had beautiful weather and took advantage of it by trying to fit several hikes into the same day. In the morning we made the hour-long climb up to a lookout.
The walk up was spectacular in itself as the climb was all through native bush.
We were rewarded at the top. . .
with amazing views of the surrounding inlets and mountains.
Afterwards we lucked out with the perfect lunch spot at the next trail head where we ate lunch and regained our strength.
Our afternoon hike was less strenuous and took us on a large loop along the coast.
As always New Zealand didn’t disappoint with colors that almost look fake. And some of the landscape looked like it could have been used in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Even though it was only in the 60’s the sun was shining and we were still able to walk along the small white sand beaches hidden in coves along the way.
Before we arrived Erik had assured me that he has going to go swimming in the ocean, but the wind got the better of him and he opted to stay dry instead, just as I had suspected he might.