Growing up in rural West Auckland we had the wild west coast beaches of Bethels and Muriwai to explore and this passion for the great outdoors started me exploring the north island and later on the South Island of New Zealand.
From an early age we fished just about every river in the North Island, every weekend setting from Auckland for Lake Taupo and the famous Tongariro and Waitahanui rivers, these two are favorites and also the Mohaka river in Hawks Bay is another favorite.
For me it was the solitude of the only person on a stretch of river and no one else in sight for kms around, camping out in the bush with no phone, no power and no tv, this was great, we eventually grew out of trout fishing and from here we started exploring the coastline around Auckland, which some time ago was alot less populated than it is now we would head out to the west coast and explore from the Manukau heads north along the stunning coast this would soon become the now well known Hillary trail named from the great man Edmund Hillary.
To our great surprise we had the opportunity to talk to Edmund Hillary on numerous occasions around 40 yrs ago when he was staying in there family bach out at Whytes beach on the wild west coast, we remember these conversations well, telling us stories from the climbing days, even though we were only around 8 yrs old, and we remember the stunning views from the bach out accross the ocean.
Once we exhausted the Auckland area we started to expand out first exploring the stunning Coromandel peninsula and the many secret beaches and nooks and crannys that are abound in this beautiful area, we explored mostly from a kayak far away from the popular areas like Whitianga and Paunui we like the kayak as this gave us more freedom to move around and is a more exciting way to explore the coastline.
From Coromandel we headed north, first around the northern Hauraki gulf and kayaking around the many islands that dot the area, then we progressed through to the Whangarei coastline, the coast here is stunning particualy around the Whangarei heads area, the trip around the coastline from Urquhart bay to Ocean beach is just spectacular and also Taiharuru and Pataua are favorites for kayaking as this area has two tidal inlets that are great to explore around.
From Whangarei we headed north again from Ngunguru and explored through all the bays, beaches and inlets up to the Bay of Islands this area is steeped in New Zealand history from the great explorers to the Maori wars of early New Zealand, we started to explore the Bay of islands again from the kayak and headed up here quite a few times during our travels the sheer amount of area to explore here is endless with all the small and not so small islands that make this area what it is.
Once again we head north over the years and explore Doutless bay from the famous Mangonui harbor and around the great Karikari peninsula, through Rangiputa along Ranganui bay through Houhora harbor and up the great Exhibition bay to Paregarenga harbor this area is like being stranded on a desert island with pure white silica sand, huge sand dunes and great fishing from secluded beaches this area is still remote even by todays standards.
The mighty west coast did not go un noticed either, most of the northern west coast off the north island is barron sand dunes almost from the very top down to Auckland but there is still alot of territory to explore here, from the huge Te Paki sand dunes in Northland the Hokianga harbor and down to the North Head and South Head of the massive Kaipara harbor, most of the beaches you can drive on like the Nintey mile beach, and these beaches are remote and secluded for most of the year.
As you move south down the west coast the coastline changes to a more ruggerd rocky and wind sweep landscape from Taranaki and around the Mount Egmont peninsula the coast is stunning and angry, with the southwest winds bring in the huge west coast swells that batter this part of the coast sculpturing beautiful shapes into the landscape, as you move further south and along the South Taranaki Bight the landscape gives way to remote sandy beaches again which carry on almost to the Wellington harbor.
Following the coast from Wellington and heading north again the landscape for the most is sandy and secluded beaches almost all the way up to Hastings, the majority of this part of the coast is not accessible by road there is no main hwy along here only the odd access road to small communities that dot the landscape, from Hawks Bay and around the East Cape peninsula to Whakatane the landscape returns to a stunning rocky coastline, there is so much to explore around this area more so with a boat as there is no access to alot of the East Cape area.
From Whakatane and up to the Tauranga harbor are beautiful sandy beaches, the Tauranga harbor is a kayak paradise there is Matakana island to explore both the seaward side of the island and the inner harbor side, and there are estuaries and tidal inlets to explore all through the harbor, north of Tauranga are the well known beaches of Wahi a gold mining town, Whangamata, Pauanui and Whitianga.