Wednesday, 21 December 2005

Port Waikato

One of the great things about living in New Zealand is having easy access to a variety of astonishing landscapes. I took a day off today and we decided to go on a bit of a road trip. On the spur of the moment I decided to go to Port Waikato, where the Waikato River (NZ's largest) meets the sea.

It's less than 1.5 hour's drive from Auckland city. Along the way you see plenty of amazing, yet typically NZ, green, rugged farmland mixed with bush. There's a point on the motorway as you come over the Bombay Hills where the plains and hills of the Waikato region open up before you which is quite breathtaking. I was tempted to keep on going for a few hours, to cross the plains and ascend the far side of those hills to the central volcanic plateau, and see again the magnificent Lake Taupo and the great volcanoes, but that will have to wait. We turned west and followed the river out to the coast.

We missed the turnoff to the town of Port Waikato and drove on for a while mesmerized by the limestone country. The location used for "Weathertop" in The Fellowship Of The Ring is around here.


Along the way we encountered a flock of sheep being driven along the road. The farmer whistled his dog to move the sheep away from our car so we could drive on. It was brilliant.


We eventually got back to Port Waikato. The beach is much like the west coast beaches closer to Auckland --- ironsand, sea spray, chaotic surf and a distinctly wild feel. Behind, there's a huge expanse of picturesque sand dunes. We entered them from the other side away from the beach and headed towards the beach, but we eventually had to turn back not knowing how far from the beach we were. In that forbidding place, and carrying two kids much of the time, I wasn't in the mood to push our luck.


On the way home we diverted to Somerville Shopping Court in Howick, a complex of a few dozen Asian shops and restaurants. We've been working our way through the restaurants gradually over the last year. This time we went to a Taiwanese cafe which served cheap, tasty and slightly odd food ... unfortunately I didn't catch the name! All in all, a wonderful day. We are very blessed.


  1. New Zealand looks and sounds like a magical place!
    I'll keep that in mind the next time I'm planning a trip.
    Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. very nice pictures... what a great place

  3. Thanks for the pictures around Port Waikato. The Taiwanese restaurant sounds interesting and think we will head that way after Auckland next month.

  4. hoilday here as a kid for 14yrs great place
    the sand hills were so big then.
    horse riding - getting mussels off the rocks down the end.

  5. A beautiful, rugged west coast NZ beach. Stunning scenery on the way out - pigs, goats, rolling country side, lots of stunning evidence of volcanic activity - craters, rocks and pumice. The views are awe inspiring and creates a yearning inside to get at one with this beautiful place! This is "ruggednish" at its most evident and it is awesome!
    A totally picturisque environment that you can immerse yourself in by touch, taste and expereince - if you have a love of nature and an eye for gods gifts you will love this place!

  6. I came across your photo of sheep on the road on the net and I wanted to know if you would mind me using it on a web site it is not for any comercial gain but I have added a tag line to show how pictures like this can be used.
    Regards John Parkin

  7. pukerewa is the best area and farm around port waikato

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