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Kiwi sign on side of the road

Taking the tourist drive to Kerikeri

We try to avoid the direct routes where we can. They are generally inland, highly populated and while we may save a few minutes in drive time we’d rather take the long way home. Looking at the map we decided to take the scenic route down the tourist drive to Kerikeri. Here’s what we found on the way…

Taupo Bay

Taupo Bay was a happy accident for us. We took a wrong turn thinking we were taking the long way to Kerikeri and mistook the Tauranga Bay turn off for the Taupo Bay turn off. Easy mistake to make right? We figured it out half way down the no exit street to the bay and then figured why not just keep on going.

It’s a tiny little town wrapped around a cute little bay with white sands and more of the clear blue waters we’ve come to love and expect from Northland.

Highlights for us were this awesome Jandal gate…

And this cute little playground right next to the beach…

It’s the perfect spot for a lunch break and if you are looking for a longer stay then hit this guy up for the perfect spot to stay in for just $90 a night!

Tauranga Bay

Officially the first stop on the Tourist drive this clearwater beach and lagoon offer a sheltered swimming spot for the kids.

Worth taking the alternate route to Kerikeri just for this little beauty.

Matauri Bay

The resting place of the Rainbow Warrior – thanks Kim over on the Getting Lost page for the suggestion.

It was also home to the first shop in miles so we stopped for a quick ice-cream at the top of the hill.

The bay in October was eerily quiet. The beach was hard to access compared to the previous bay and we couldn’t find a way to the monument for the Rainbow Warrior.

There are two camps on each end of the bay – a Maori Whanau camp on one end and a paid camp on the other – neither providing access through them.

Great place to pass through but for me Tauranga Bay or Taupo Bay have the better picnic and swimming spots.

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