Northland and Bay of Islands Road Trip Day 5: 90 Mile Beach, Mangonui, Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri Stone Store

Day 5:  90 Mile Beach, Wild Horses, Taipa,  Mangonui, Rainbow Falls, Kerikeri Stone Store

Day 5 we departed Pukenui to head back to Kerikeri planning for lots of stops along the way.  90 Mile Beach was our first destination.  We’d been told horses roam wild in the recently cleared pine forests on the way to 90 Mile Beach so kept a look out for them and saw several groups right along the edge of the gravel road.  There were even foals and the horses didn’t seem afraid so we were able to easily slow down and take photos of them.

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The dusty dirt road leading to 90 Mile Beach.

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At 90 Mile Beach we were able to drive our cars right onto the beach.

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I was so amazed by the low fluffy clouds sitting just inland from the wide sands of 90 Mile Beach and following the coast as far as the eye can see to the North and South.  I’d never before seen clouds over the land like this which were completely different to the clouds in the sky.  I was so blown away by it and could see why it was named Aotearoa – The Land of the Long White Cloud.

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We stopped briefly at Taipa, the place where my Mother-in-law grew up.  We drove to the Peria cemetery (actually we went to the wrong cemetary first and this is where we took the first photo of the cute church below) and were able to find the graves of my husband’s grandparents and great-grandparents as well as the site of the old farmhouse where my Mother-in-law grew up.

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Mangonui was our next stop.  Apparently the Mangonui Fish Shop is famous for it’s Fish and Chips so we planned to go there but the parking lot was completely full and we found a park next to a different Fish and Chip shop by the small town centre so went there instead.  Plus being gluten free I wanted to find a place which offers gluten free food and found a nice cafe next to the smaller fish and chip shop which had nice gf quiche and salads.
The historic buildings were beautiful, it’s a lovely wee place to stop and take a break.

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After Mangonui, we drove down a winding road to another stunning bay, Taupo Bay. Again, the setting was beautiful and the surf was excellent for boogie boarding.
With the dark green hillsides surrounding this bay and the temperature of the day it felt like we were on a tropical island.

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Just on the edge of Kerikeri are the Rainbow Falls.  There is an easy parking lot with toilets and a very short walk to the lookout over the falls.  A further 5 minute walk takes you down to the bottom of the falls where you can swim in the big pool at the bottom of the waterfall.  Kris and our son climbed over the rocks all the way around the edge of the pool and right around in behind the waterfall.  They found a good place to jump in and took turns leaping into the water.  I loved swimming in the pool, close enough to feel the spray from the waterfall on my face.  After a day of travelling and an afternoon swimming in the ocean it was wonderful to swim in a freshwater pool.

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Our final stop of the day was at the Kerikeri Old Stone Store and Mission site.  The location of these buildings is picture perfect, next to the river and in a lovely park.  It was nearly 6pm when we arrived and everything was closed so we wandered around the buildings and explored the gardens.

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We wandered around the old Stone Store and Kemp House and discovered the oldest exotic fruit tree in New Zealand, a Pear tree planted by Samuel Marsden in 1819, which is located in the middle of the carpark of the Pear Tree Restaurant.

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Next to the restaurant buildings at the back of the carpark we spotted an old shed sporting a sign stating ‘Blacksmith’ which looked like it could have been a very early building (although now seems to be used as a shed).
We later discovered it was indeed the original Blacksmith’s Shop which also was home to some of the earliest settlers (excuse my daughter, she is wearing her swimsuit not a top with no pants)!

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