North Island a Feast of Exhilarating Activities
Ahipara, on the west coast of Northland, New Zealand’s northernmost region, is a fantastic place to begin a tour of the North Island, the National Post’s Kat Tancock suggests.
“It’s late afternoon on a hot summer day and I’m grateful for the slightly overcast sky as I struggle up a golden sand dune near Ahipara, dragging a foam boogie board behind me. I stop to take in the view and am rewarded with broad vistas of the beach at low tide, hard-packed sand strewn with shattered shells and rocky outcrops, a few untended horses tied up and grazing at the grassy base of the hill, their untethered foals tentatively exploring the shore.
“As my pulse mellows, I place the board on the sand, then gingerly arrange myself belly down, head first, and lift my feet to let go. Slow at first, the board picks up speed quickly, and I just do my best to hang on as I race down the dune. By the time I hit bottom I’ve got sand on every inch of exposed skin, but I’m also smiling wide. Sandboarding, it turns out, is a total rush.
“[Ahipara is] a prime spot for active adventures such as surfing, land yachting, quad biking, horse trekking and kayaking and just 15 minutes from Kaitaia, launch point for numerous bus tours to Cape Reinga, New Zealand’s northernmost accessible point.
“But it’s Rotorua’s year-round mountain biking scene that’s been grabbing headlines and luring visitors of late – including me, an eager yet cautious relative newbie.
“After the initial shock of discovering that Kiwis wire their brakes backwards, I find my groove as we cycle the few kilometres from downtown to our first biking destination, the Redwoods Whakarewarewa Forest, a constantly in-development area that has 130km of dedicated bike trails.”
Original article by Kat Tancock, National Post, July 3, 2015.
Photo by Kat Tancock.