Whangarei – Simple yet Beautiful in the Northlands

This was probably my first time to Whangarei despite being to New Zealand twice including the current trip. And the last trip here was roughly 10 years ago. Boy … just talking about it already makes me miss New Zealand now that I am back home haha 😀 !

[Rolling hills and blue sky at Whangarei]

[Rolling hills and blue sky at Whangarei]

It has many characteristics that Auckland isn’t. There isn’t alot of traffic here, neither is there alot of people … probably more sheeps and cows than humans. It isn’t very developed, largely rural landscape without the tall landscrapers and commercial buildings. That’s exactly what makes Whangarei uniquely different … beautiful in its simplicity.

In this City by the Sea, laid-back and relaxing, there are quite a few nice places to go too! Close by the city centre of Whangarei to the north, there is the Whangarei Falls, a 26-metres waterfall located at the town basin marina. It is possible to trek from Whangarei Falls along Hatea River to Ah Reed Memorial Park to enjoy the local native bushes by the river too though we didn’t do that. Trekking didn’t get the buy-in from our children though haha … so we did the fast way, drive right there and enjoy the beautiful views  😎

[Whangarei Waterfalls]

[Whangarei Falls]

About less than an hour drive east from Whangarei city towards the peninsular tip of Whangarei Heads Road, we also discovered another scenic point at the Bream Head Scenic Reserve at the Ocean Beach. Blue sky turning towards sunset accompanied by strong wind, crashing waves with a few surfers trying to ride the waves …  what we probably brought short is a picnic mat, a few glasses and a good bottle of wine to complement the view  😉

[Bream Head Scenic Reserve]

[Bream Head Scenic Reserve]

[Setting Sun by Ocean Beach - Bream Head Reserve]

[Setting Sun by Ocean Beach – Bream Head Reserve]

Along the same road to Bream Head, probably 15-20 minutes earlier in the drive, there is also Mt Manaia, where if one is willing to trek his / her way up, one could be rewarded with a breath-taking view of Whangarei! We gave this the skip though as the drive seems to miraculously cast a sleeping spell to our children whenever they hop on-board and dragging sleepy children and adults up a sloping trek didn’t feel like the right thing to do at that time. Nevertheless, Mt Manaia with its uniquely special rock formations looks marvelous whenever we can get a full unblocked view of it whilst driving by.

[Mount Manaia with its five special rock formation on-top]

[Mount Manaia with its five special rock formation on-top]

There is a big major difference between here and home back in Singapore. In Singapore, having access to food was given. There is food within every kilometers’ access, maybe less, and available till maybe 9-10pm or even later. Here in Whangarei, maybe New Zealand, most food places close early at about 6pm, and it could be easily a 30 minutes drive or more to get to one. Or it could just be us not being so good in hunting down eateries here haha!

Nevertheless, thanks to our B&B hosts whom we had our accommodation with, they shared with us some good eateries and where to find it. And here we are at Parua Bay Tavern! The view from the tavern I guessed could have been fantastic, but it was mostly cloudy and overcast for that day … so … I have to rely on a little bit of imagination first  🙂

[Parua Bay Tavern]

[Parua Bay Tavern] DSC_0014M

[View from Parua Tavern]

[View from Parua Bay Tavern (above) & Us enjoying a foodie moment (below)]

Oh … did I neglect to mention that it was also during our stay here that we caught some of our best and most memorable sunset shots? And it was just a few minutes walk from our accommodation too! What proximity from our Bed & Breakfast. Simply Lovely 😀

[Sunsets taken from different evenings at a beach few minutes away from Top Storey B&B]

DSC_0297M

[Sunsets taken from different evenings at a beach few minutes away from Top Storey B&B]

And we had our lovely hosts, Jane & Ian here with us in the photo below in their 3-storey building that also had a nice vegetable garden behind. They always took care of our breakfast every morning no matter how early to ensure that we started the day well-energized. Very tasty bacons and omelettes whetting our appetite right in the morning 😆   DSC_0364M

[Together with our hosts Ian & Jane Kippenberger at Top Storey B & B]

[Together with our hosts Ian & Jane Kippenberger at Top Storey B & B]

Still remembered the first night when my little girl saw their little cat Beatle (hopefully I spelled it right 🙂 )… and screamed in fright haha! By the end of our stay, my girl loved looking for Beatle and even played with her. Incredible! Jane and Ian showed our children to  the ‘wildlife’ they had in their backyard …. little eels and let our children feed them haha! This Bed & Breakfast is definitely Top Class, not just Top Storey! Check them out at http://www.whangareibandb.co.nz/ 

[Our children playing with Beetle]

[Our children playing with Beatle]

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