Kerikeri is Pretty Pretty

The best way to explain the allure of Kerikeri in the Northland of New Zealand is to show you.


The view as you drive through the Northland changes from water and natural landscapes to cultivated agriculture and forest. Punctuated by thick forest. There are small villages dotted throughout.


We left Omapere and stopped at the market for a flat white. Before we knew it we were in Kerikeri. UK Sarah drove straight to the historic mission house and storehouse. The Kemp House and Stone Store are some of the oldest buildings in New Zealand. Beautifully maintained and curated, they are fascinating. They look out on this cove and it was hard to remember that the earliest missionaries would have felt their isolation from home much more keenly than we do today. They might not have found this place as idyllic as I do.


We stopped at The Pear Tree for lunch. It is right next door to the Storehouse and offers the most relaxing outdoor space for dining. The food was good and we enjoyed talking to the young man who waited on us and then brought out our lunch.


These two signs epitomize the Kiwi  outlook for me.  A wry sense of humor, a spirit of adventure and more.


It is hard not to think the missionaries had it really great. Who would not want to live in this house on this cove today?


As museums go, the Storehouse has some really terrific exhibits that explain the early history of European settlement. The gift store on the ground floor is really cool too. I admit sometimes I spend more time in the gift shop than I do the museum. This time the exhibits fascinated even more.



Big Trees in New Zealand’s Northland


It was pouring rain by the time we drove to the Kauri tree grove just south of Omapere in the Northland of New Zealand. It did not dampen our enthusiasm for these gorgeous big trees one bit. UK Sarah and I made this the main destination of Day One of our Northland road trip.

We left St Heliers in Auckland in the morning and arrived in Matakohe in time to see the Kauri Museum and eat lunch at a nearby cafe. The museum was a great way to understand the special attributes of this giant tree and its history. Unfortunately, it has a similar fate as California’s redwoods and there is only a remnant left.

We continued on Highway 12 getting lost only once. We stopped at the first grove and slipped into our raincoats. Sarah had an umbrella but I decided to rely on my slicker so I would have my hands free to take photos. Please pause to use the equipment provided to spray off your shoes so you do not introduce disease among the roots of these important legacy trees.

We stopped one more time at a second grove of trees. Then sopping wet and starting to get cold, we scooted to our hotel at the end of the highway in Omapere. We were staying at the Copthorne resort and it was terrific. The hotel room was very large and comfy with great views of the bay. The bar and restaurant was very good and we slept soundly. I could have stayed longer but there was more of the Northlands to see.

View from our hotel balcony.