Drive from Auckland Airport to Kerikeri
Many New Zealanders take their summer vacation (or holiday as we say in New Zealand) over the Christmas and New Year period and start back at work in the second week of January. This is the peak holiday time in New Zealand so travelling later in January will avoid this peak holiday rush.
School doesn’t go back until the end of January or early February so a lot of families will still be away on holiday throughout the month of January. The weather remains warm throughout February and into March.
Our family (my husband Kris and I with four of our children aged 7, 10, 13 and 14) decided we’d take a Road Trip around Northland and the Bay of Islands, a region only Kris has been to before (many years ago), together with Kris’s sister and her family in the second week of January.
Day 1: We began our road trip to Northland and the Bay of Islands in Auckland.
We flew into Auckland airport around 3pm and Kris’s sister and her family were there to meet us (with a vehicle for us) so we loaded up the car and set off by 3.30pm.
The drive to Kerikeri from Auckland airport takes around 3 hours.
There are several small towns you can stop at along the way but as with the rest of Northland I was surprised at how sparsely populated the area is so the majority of time is spent driving through farmland (once you leave Auckland city that is).
We stopped in Waipu for dinner. The restaurant my sister-in-law wanted to take us to was absolutely packed (on a Monday night!) so we ended up getting Fish and Chips for everyone except me. I popped across the road and ordered a yummy Indian Biryani since I am gluten free.
We pulled in for another brief stop in Kawakawa to have a look at the famous Hundertwasser public toilets. It is hard to see but there is actually a tree growing up through the roof (notice the tree trunk in the photo below?) so you can see the top of the tree over the roof which is planted in grasses.
There were some neat mosaic murals and art works along the street including this neat New Zealand native birds couch in Kawakawa.
In Kerikeri we stayed with my Brother-in-law’s family. All the kids slept in tents while the adults slept in the house. It was so hot and humid at night, I think the kids may have slept better outside since it was a bit cooler than inside!
Kerikeri has a very sub-tropical feel to it, both in temperature, humidity and the variety of plants growing such as banana palms! Everything was so lush and green. This was my first time north of Auckland so it was a real eye-opener to see how tropical it is.
Our trip took place during the second week of January so was mid-summer and temperatures were around 29 degrees celcius each day, dropping to around 19 degrees overnight.