snells beach new zealand // smitten studiosnells beach // matakana // smitten studiocamper van // new zealand // smitten studiocathedral cove // hot water beach // smiten studiomanu bay // new zealand // smitten studioblack sand beach // manu bay, new zealand // smitten studioWe decided to stay up in the north island this trip so that we didn’t feel too rushed trying to fit everything into one visit (which also means we have a really good excuse to return for the south island). As it went, we still managed to stay in a different place every night and drove anywhere from 2 – 5 hours a day, which for me, made for a good on the road to out and about ratio.

A couple of my favorite days were spent at beaches like Manu Bay near Raglan (bottom two photos) and Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel Peninsula (4th photo block on the left). On both occasions we packed a picnic, took a pretty hike down to the beach and spent a full day playing in the waves,  and relaxing in the sand while the sun moved across the sky.

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

If you are interested in taking a similar trip or just want to know where all we went, I’ve laid out our route after the jump!

… and don’t miss Part 1 for all the info on the Kombi

Day 1 & 2: Auckland and Waiheke Island (before we got the campervan)
Day 3: Auckland to Stony Bay in the Coromandel Peninsula (best campsite here)
Day 4: Stony Bay to Hot Water Beach & Cathedral Cove
Day 5: Cathedral Cove to Rotorua
Day 6: Rotorua to Napier (We camped here and had an amazing dinner at the Crab Farm Winery)
Day 7: Napier to Taupo (hiked to Huka falls and the Spa Thermal Park)
Day 8: Taupo to near Cambridge (we couldn’t help but visit Hobbiton)
Day 9: Cambridge to Raglan (Loved the surf town of Raglan & Manu Bay)
Day 10: Raglan to Matakana (spent a night out of the van at Takatu Lodge for my birthday. Matakana was also a cute little town and we had a great meal at MMK)
Day 11: Matakana to Russell / Bay of Islands
Day 12: Russell to Keri Keri (stayed in a great spot here… details to come)
Day 13: Keri Keri to Auckland
Day 14: Auckland

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