To the Bay and Back: A Rushed But Expected Journey
All great road trips begin with a plan. A plan to get a van!
Our preparation for the New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year took us on a mini road trip in itself from Auckland to the Bay of Islands to Auckland – quite the drive for just one day. Luckily enough, we’re in New Zealand, so this meant it was essentially 532km of beautiful white sand beaches, towering waterfalls, fresh blueberry ice creams and endless (if relentless) car games in between.
Now, if you aren’t up to speed on the BackpackerGuide.NZ team‘s said plan with van, then take a look at our New Zealand’s Biggest Gap Year. In a nutshell, the writing team behind this glorious website you’re currently reading are soon to be hitting the road for a whole year to bring you EVEN MORE insights into having the best gap year in New Zealand. However, we are not going to get anywhere fast without a campervan…
Cue our Auckland to Bay of Islands day trip. After spying a decent-priced campervan on TradeMe, we bribed our friend Ally with coffee to graciously drive us 266km up the road to view the van. (Remember guys, always take a good look at a vehicle before purchasing it with these tips and coffee always works as a great bribe for city-dwellers in New Zealand).
Coffee purchased, the three of us, (Robin, Laura and Ally, nice to meet you) headed north! It was a test of time to fit in a van viewing as well as some sightseeing before getting back to Auckland before dark. (You don’t want to know what happens to Robin after dark). So the morning consisted of making miles, eating homemade cookies and playing some car games. No, we’re not talking about seeing how many possums we can run over.
A Beach, a Waterfall and a tough decision
After a mere three hours, we made it to Paihia, the Bay of Islands! Sounds magical doesn’t it? The Bay of Islands: where dreams comes true and dolphins dance in the water… Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to hop on a boat and explore the 144 islands occupying this region’s waters, but we did have time for a picnic and general messing about on the beach. (Don’t worry, we will be back on our road trip to give you more things to do. Until then, make sure you read our Bay of Islands – Guide for Backpackers).
Kaeo, 40 minutes north of Paihia was our van viewing destination. After inspecting and test driving the van, we concluded that it was far too small for our needs. Luckily enough, we found the perfect van shortly after this trip, so check that out in our next blog post!
Onwards and downwards! The trip back to Auckland started to feel a bit too long, so we made a stop at Whangarei Falls. This 26 metre waterfall can very admired from every angle as you make your way down a 3-minute forest walk to the pool below. It wasn’t just the waterfall that caught our eye though, a bridge crossing the river from the waterfall gave cool views of wild-looking forest heading off into the distance, as well as the waterfall itself.
That’s it for today, backpacking buddies. Next time, we’ll talk more about the logistics of buying a campervan for a road trip in New Zealand. Until then, have a play with the 360 image below to see exactly what we mean about the beautiful Whangarei Falls.
Now join us as we cross the bridge to the fabulous Whangarei falls Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
You can follow more images of our Bay of Islands day trip on our Instagram. Plus, if you want to check out the Bay yourself, have a browse through our Bay of Islands – Guide for Backpackers. Now, take a look at exactly how to purchase a campervan in New Zealand in our next blog post.