Whangarei and Northland

Unfortunately I got some more bad news when I got to my accommodation next to Whangarei Falls. Due to heavy winds diving had been cancelled for the next day. So it was again time to come up with some alternative plans.

While it’s certainly easier to get around with a car, it’s still possible (if not convenient) to visit many of the attractions near Whangarei by foot. After spending that first day in the city I hiked up Mount Parihaka for some nice views, too bad it had already gotten quite dark when I got there.

On Saturday I was supposed to be out diving but obviously that didn’t work out. So I ventured out bit further from the city.┬áThe Quarry Gardens, a subtropical garden planted by volunteers, was a surprisingly nice area. There was great variety of plants (particularly various cacti) and even a pair of small waterfalls. The small gardens in the city itself were nowhere as nice!

With plenty of time in my hands I also decided to visit the nearby Abbey Caves. It’s bit of a hike to get there on foot and unfortunately it also started raining heavily while I was on my way. By the time I got there I was soaking wet. And to make matters worse the caves were slowly filling up with water and the rocks were getting quite slippery. Still, after walking all the way there I decided to take a peek inside the caves. The first one looked somewhat unsafe in those conditions, but luckily I was able to enter the other two and take some shots. It would have been nice to explore the caves properly, but I didn’t feel like pushing my luck with the heavy rain.

On the way back I followed the walking track along Hatea River. There are some nice walks along the way and several massive Kauri trees, too. After a long day out I finally got back to Whangarei Falls and my accommodation. All in all a pretty nice day despite being cold and wet by the end of it.

Luckily weather improved for Sunday so I was able to head out for some diving around Poor Knights Islands (see next post for details). I was also able to spend the Monday there (in some great weather for a change) before heading further north to Kerikeri to dive the Rainbow Warrior on Tuesday.

Due to my altered schedule I really didn’t have time for any sightseeing in Kerikeri. So I did the planned dives and headed back to Auckland for my return flight. The flight was a really early one, so after just a few hours of sleep I was on my way back to Melbourne. Despite weather playing havoc with my plans it was a really nice trip and I’m keen to visit New Zealand again. Two weeks was barely enough time to cover one half of North Island, so there’s still plenty left to do!

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