Delights of Doubtful Bay and Spectacular Scenery Northland NZ – with best photos

Marilyn & Alf relaxing, Matai Bay, Doubtless Bay, NZ

Marilyn & Alf relaxing, Matai Bay, Doubtless Bay, NZ

The Pacific Ocean viewed from Cape Reinga Lighthouse, northerly tip of NZ

The Pacific Ocean viewed from Cape Reinga Lighthouse, northerly tip of NZ

Distances from Cape Reinga Lighthouse, northern tip of NZ

Distances from Cape Reinga Lighthouse, northern tip of NZ

Whirlpools mark where dark blue of Pacific meets light green of Tasman Sea Cape Reinga NZ

Whirlpools mark where dark blue of Pacific meets light green of Tasman Sea Cape Reinga NZ

Cape Reigna NZ Meeting Point of Oceans and one of Maori people's most holy sites

Cape Reigna NZ Meeting Point of Oceans and one of Maori people’s most holy sites

Cape Reinga Lighthouse most northerly tip of NZ

Cape Reinga Lighthouse most northerly tip of NZ

Seabird having lunch, ignoring us on Matui Bay, NZ

Seabird having lunch, ignoring us on Matui Bay, NZ

Matui Bay, ours for two hours then we met a couple from Essex, UK who took some photos of us

Matui Bay, ours for two hours then we met a couple from Essex, UK who took some photos of us

Stunning hill-top view of Mangonui, Doubtless Bay, NZ

Stunning hill-top view of Mangonui, Doubtless Bay, NZ

After ‘Six splendid days relaxing at the Bay of Islands‘, we took the delightful coastal route north for an hour and a half to Doubtless Bay, another area of outstanding natural beauty, with its huge rocks and small uninhabited islands dotting the Pacific Ocean. With three nights based in the pretty  seaside town of Mangonui, we explored NZ’s Far North, called Northland; it’s forested, subtropical and framed by both the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea. The area is historically and spiritually important for the Maori people who believe that their spirits travel up Ninety Mile Beach and descend into the underworld (reinga) by sliding down a root into the sea, then travel underwater to the Three Kings Islands, where they surface at Ohaua, the highest point of the islands, and bid their final farewell before returning to the land of their ancestors, Hawaiiki-A-Nui – this is mythical. It’s amazing to look out from the historical lighthouse at Cape Reinga and see the spectacle of  the light green Tasman Sea meeting the dark of the Pacific Ocean, creating whirlpools which can be seen in the photo.

For busy readers here are the links to our best photos:

The first day, we explored Mangonui and marveled at the views of the harbour and the waterfront from an adjacent hill. Next day, we visited the Karikari Peninsular, walking both of the white sandy beaches at Matui Bay. The walking on the hardened sand and the sea breeze was so relaxing and followed by a picnic with stunning views of Cape Karikari. In the afternoon, we returned to  Mangonui and walked Coopers Beach in both directions. That day, we had about five hours of beach walking. We had planned to swim off Coopers beach but the sea was too cold and so we chickened out! The third day, we took a tour to Cape Reinga, the Northern most tip of New Zealand, followed by a  visit to the sand dunes at Ninety Mile  Beach. Here we were offered the opportunity of sandboarding down the dunes; needless to say. we declined the offer. We returned back via Ninety Mile Beach, in our four-wheel drive vehicle. We were not insured to take our hire car on the beach and it can be dangerous due to quicksand. There have been many incidents of vehicles sinking into the sand and the local farmer using his tractor to tow them out, suitably recompensed for his services.

Mangonui is lovely, small and compact but the eating options were quite limited and people tend to eat rather early in these small resorts; however, we had an excellent vegetarian Indian meal. So we were pleased to break our journey south to Auckland with a night in Whangarei, Northland’s regional capital and especially liked the Town Basin, with its trendy cafes and lively restaurants around the marina – this was totally  different to our experiences in the quieter parts of NZ. Next day, we returned to Auckland, our final stop in NZ – this will be featured in the next blog, so stay with us!

3 responses

  1. Marilyn and Alf what an amazing trip…… I am really enjoying seeing your photos and reading your blog. I have friends doing NZ from Essex. It would be so funny if they are the people that took your photo. Enjoy rest of your wonderful trip. Jacqui Xx

    • Hi Jacqui, thanks for your comment. I cant remember where in Essex this couple was from, but yes it would be a coincidence if these are your friends! I hope you are both well. Lots of love from us both xx

  2. Pingback: Farewell to NZ – thank you for the many treasured memories « Discovering the Orient & Pacific

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