NZ journey: A luxurious motorhome vacation in Northland

A Wilderness Motorhome is an effective way to discover New Zealand, with freedom and adaptability. Photograph / Northland NZ

A motorhome vacation lets you go wherever and everytime you need, writes Helen van Berkel

Spring’s hotter temperatures, coupled with a college break, lure my daughter and I out on the roads to take pleasure in vacation scorching spots earlier than the vacationers of summer time pile in.

It looks like each second automobile is a campervan as we head north in our four-berth Wilderness Motorhome. With nowhere specifically to be at any specific time, I am excited to discover the historic highlights of a storied area steeped in legend and heritage.

We wind our manner by way of Warkworth and the endless roadworks of the Dome Valley to Wellsford, the place the Albertland Museum is a wealthy repository of tales and pictures about non-conformist Church of Englanders and their in the end fruitless plans for a serious settlement on the Kaipara Harbour. These tiny neighborhood museums are priceless gems, often curated by passionate volunteers – typically telling their very own household histories – quietly imparting a deeper appreciation of how and why our multi-cultural nation is what it’s.

Te Hana’s Māori Cultural Centre deepens that appreciation. The mannequin village reminds us that earlier than the Bohemians and Albertlanders was a thriving and wealthy tradition with out which none of what we now have now would exist.

In Kaiwaka, we pull up outdoors the St Paul’s Anglican Church, an architectural deal with on a knoll overlooking the village with a pleasant huge park for the camper. We replenish on Dutch cheeses and salted liquorice throughout the freeway earlier than pushing by way of into darkening skies in the direction of Whangārei.

The Hundertwasser Art Centre and Wairau Maori Art Centre opened in Whangārei in February 2022. Photo / Northland NZ
The Hundertwasser Artwork Centre and Wairau Maori Artwork Centre opened in Whangārei in February 2022. Photograph / Northland NZ

There was a lot discuss in recent times about Whangārei taking Auckland’s port. What we didn’t count on was for Whangārei to have already taken Auckland’s waterfront. Parking the Wilderness on a aspect avenue – to be trustworthy, massive autos should not nicely catered for – we set off on foot for the Hundertwasser Artwork Centre. This fabulous architectural pile of design genius is every thing you count on whereas being every thing you do not. It is vibrant, it is entrancing, it is magic. We stroll round its curved and vibrant partitions, we take a look at its reveals inside. We nearly journey over our toes to see it from totally different angles.

Mesmerised, we head within the fallacious path outdoors and discover ourselves on the Hatea Loop – a stroll of the Whangārei City Basin that has palms down received the waterfront struggle with Auckland. The stroll crosses the Hatea River and follows its banks, passing picturesque boatsheds, skateparks, canine parks, crosses iconic bridges – each step gives a brand new and beautiful view. Sculptures beside the stroll inform their very own story and detailed rationalization boards fill within the gaps.

Whangārei's Hundertwasser Art Centre is colourful, entrancing, and magical. Photo / Northland NZ
Whangārei’s Hundertwasser Artwork Centre is vibrant, entrancing, and magical. Photograph / Northland NZ

We camp for the evening, comfortable and safe in our self-containedness. Having our personal cooking amenities means we’re capable of put together a wholesome dinner with out having to resort to takeout. We pull window blinds throughout to shut ourselves off to the surface world and with the push of a button, our snug beds luxuriously unfold from the ceiling.

When the rain comes the subsequent day, it is horizontal. The violent wind smacks us as we park on the Paihia roadside, rocking barely within the gale. Throughout the street is the stone pile of St Paul’s Anglican Church. The blue-stone traditional construction of steeple and buttressed partitions sharpens and fades with the driving torrents. I take shelter beneath the tossing boughs on the gate after which run hopscotch vogue to the black and white tiled porch and the near-silence beneath the stained glass home windows inside. The primary church was constructed on a mission station right here in 1823; the stone model you see immediately is the fifth church on this website.

Because the usually mild blue tide continues to roll in as yellow-brown rollers discoloured by churning sands, I regretfully abandon plans to move to Russell and as an alternative head inland to Kerikeri, grateful the camper offers me the pliability to vary my plan on a whim.

Haruru Falls roars in golden ecstasy however regardless of my disappointment at having to overlook out on the finer particulars of the east coast, Kerikeri makes all of it worthwhile. Google maps and street indicators are in battle right here so this is the deal: the street indicators lead you to a carpark throughout the river from the Stone Retailer – accessed by a footbridge – however Google will convey you on to the historic precinct. Parking is ample on each side, even for the Wilderness. We find yourself parking on first on one aspect after which driving round to the opposite as we discover the shop, the church on the hill and stroll as much as the pā on the promontory.

Kerikeri Mission Station is part of the historic waterfront precinct. Photo / Northland NZ
Kerikeri Mission Station is a part of the historic waterfront precinct. Photograph / Northland NZ

Nothing is cosier than the sound of rain on the roof and parked on the Wagon Wheel in Kerikeri, that pitter-patter is barely centimetres away. The next morning we’re Cape sure, following the street because it winds by way of hamlets with extra syllables than inhabitants, having fun with the surprising discoveries alongside the way in which.

In Kaeo we cease off for our morning espresso at Donna’s Cafe, and be taught the assorted tales behind the yacht deserted in the midst of city. Take your selection, the pleasant barista tells us, as she offers the differing tales of how the mysterious hull ended up so removed from the coast.

Instantly, we’re in Mangonui for the world-famous fish and chip store that’s our lunch vacation spot. We munch our fresh-as-fresh meal whereas watching a tiny fishing vessel churn by way of the sandy-green waters with the most recent catch.

We really feel the religious significance of the Cape as we close to Spirits Bay. The roiling ocean is a violent expanse of clashing seas the place the currents of the Tasman and the Pacific meet, hitherto saved aside by the expanse of the North Island.

The wind shreds the rain clouds into gray ribbons and a weak, pale yellow mild bathes this particular floor as we stand alone on the high.

Behind us, the well-known lighthouse is a beacon of sunshine to transport.

And behind the bodily pinnacle of this land we name dwelling are the cultures that carved new communities, the histories of those who got here first, the failures of all of us to grasp one another but in addition the dedication for all of us to do higher – for this land that, for all of us, is our turangawaewae.

With these ideas, we brew ourselves one other cup of espresso, and level the Wilderness south in the direction of dwelling.

A Wilderness Motorhome is a great way to explore Northland, with the freedom to be flexible. Photo / Helen van Berkel
A Wilderness Motorhome is an effective way to discover Northland, with the liberty to be versatile. Photograph / Helen van Berkel


Wilderness Motorhomes has pick-up and drop-off places in Auckland and Christchurch. For charges and extra data, see


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