March 7, 2016

Traveling through Northland, NZ

All of those photos are shot on a Sony a7rII and ZEISS Loxia 35mm, 50mm & Batis 25mm

New Zealand is a country for travellers and backpackers. I've never seen more backpackers in any other country. You would simply miss way too many great things if you stayed in the same place all the time. On our last New Zealand trip we spent three weeks travelling around the North Island. We slept in the back of the car, ate fish and chips in quaint little towns near the ocean and hiked through amazing landscapes. In those three weeks, we were lucky to have the use of a Mercedes Benz GLE350. An SUV that turned out to be a truly amazing travel-companion. It took us safely along a route of over 4,000 km. The first week of our trip was spent in Northland, everywhere between Auckland and the northern most tip of New Zealand, and even just travelling and driving through those amazing and unique landscapes is worth telling a few stories about.


Country Roads

The distance between Auckland and Cape Reinga is 400km. It takes at least 6 hours to drive though, because there is rarely a straight road where it’s possible to get up to the maximum speed of 100km/hr. There’s a high chance of being slowed down by a tractor or a herd of livestock crossing the road. This isn’t a bad thing of course, because having to drive slowly means having time to take in the scenery and enjoy the open space and coastal views.



Take a ferry and explore the towns

Chris calls all the tiny towns north of Auckland “Wild West towns” because of their run-down, patched together charm, and the fact that they’re usually only one street long, with an average of 10 houses, one corner store, a fish and chips store, and a petrol station if you’re lucky. Artist galleries are common too, I guess because many artists choose to remove themselves from the hustle and bustle of city life and seek inspiration in those charismatic little communities. We took a car ferry between two such towns, joining each side of State Highway 1 over Hokianga harbour.



Open Spaces

Of all the North Island, Northland is the place to go if you want to escape civilisation. The night sky is exploding with stars, because the nearest light source is often 20km away. The day sky is a misty, pale blue colour that a practised eye will tell you means we’re near to the ocean. It’s always windy and the air tastes of salt. Most places are only accessible by a rough gravel road, filled with pot holes. This was no problem for the GLE, we set it onto offroad mode and went on our merry way.



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