We woke up in a campground near Kaitaia, we decided to stay there after coming back from Cape Reigna, we tried to light a fire to warm ourselves but we didn’t succeed. After having a cold breakfast and a quick chat with our Argentinian neighbors we hit the road towards Taupo Bay. I knew about this bay thanks to Atila Madrona, from dontfollowthisbike.com I was hoping to have a surfing there alone as he had.
After pulling over once or twice different bays along the coast to admire the stunning views of white sand and calm water we arrived to Taupo Bay, a kind of piece of paradise with a splendid bay and green hills behind it. The sun was shining and the waves were about 30cm high, but I decided to give a try, with the swimsuit and try to catch a micro-wave. It was cold, but standing on the sand with half body outside of the water was enough to stay warm with the winter sun. Corinne was hesitating to have a bath, but when I got out shaking she decided to wait for the next day. We had a small snack based on bread and nutella and hit the road again to Paihia.
While driving we noticed a big crowd around a rugby field, and we decided to pull over and have a look to whatever was happening there. We saw heaps of kids covered in mud and people shouting around the main field. After asking a proud mum she told us that was the final match of the scholar championship. The atmosphere was great and in the bar hot coffee and meals were available so we decided to have lunch there and then get back in the car.
We arrived in Paihia in the afternoon, it wasn’t as I expected, it looked like a touristic place with a lot of small hotels and hostels along the main promenade, Paihia is the main departure to go to the different islands of the Bay of Islands so it also make sense to see a lot of people in that town, I’m sure in summer has to be very busy. We walked along the seawalk and did some slack line with fellow backpackers from France and Chile. Corinne was the first time she was doing it, but she was extremely good! Roos decided just to chill and I just did my best… Then before the sun disappeared we decided it was time to look for the next free campground. We spotted one in a place called Sandy bay and we drove there.
When we arrived I couldn’t believe it, there were 2 guys surfing in the water! I literally left the keys in the ignition and went for a surf. It was small but a solo surfing session while the sun is setting down is one of my favorite things in this life. After the surfing we saw the campground was 2 km south and drove there, we arrived after the sunset, I went straight to try and light a fire, I got some dry hay from Taupo bay and was decided to light a fire that night. After twenty minutes we managed and Corinne found a lot of dry wood in the bush surrounding the campground so we had some beers and beans while watching the sky and talking around the warm fire. That night we slept smelling ash and beer, but a big big smile was shining on our faces.
We woke up freezing, all the campground was icy and the beach in front of us too. The sun was rising from the east so we head to the beach to see it and take pictures. After the sunrise we drove looking for a hot hot coffee and somewhere where to have our PB&J. We had breakfast in the next town’s café and asked what to do around the area on a sunny day like that. We were pointed to visit the Mermaid Pools and we went there, we had nothing better to do and our main objective was enjoy the great weather and see something beautiful.
The mermaid pools were amazing and we really wanted to have a swim there… if it was summer, 7ºC air temperature wasn’t ideal. After that we went back to the car and I begged to come back to Sandy bay to check the surf.
We got back there and I had more or less the same conditions as the day before but with two or three guys more, one of them spoke quite good Spanish and his family had a house in the area. He recommended me some spots in the south island for when I get there. While I was surfing Corinne decided to go for the swim she skip the day before, it wasn’t that cold!
After the surfing we decided to drive to Whangarei but while driving we spotted a takeaways shop in Ngunguru; I had the best Fish’n’chips ever, the girls got burgers which were amazing too, if you pass through that place, please do yourself a favour and stop!
We hit the road again, it was pretty late and we had still two hours to get to Auckland, we just stop in the incredible Whangarei Falls for a short visit and arrived Auckland around 7pm.
It was an incredible weekend but I reckon the bay of islands have a lot more potential that what I experienced… Specially when summer, we will go back!