Man oooooh man- North Island, New Zealand- I love you. When Natalie and I arrived, it took us so long to realize what day/time/year it was (thanks a lot international date line). We started out our trip in New Zealand with a long delay, sitting on the plane while they walked through and sprayed everyone’s carry on bags with this weird aerosol spray. I’m assuming this is why everything outdoors in New Zealand is so perfect- because they are legitimately crazy when you’re entering their country. Don’t even think about bringing in a piece of dirt on the bottom of your shoe- they will GET you.
Anway, after landing, waiting, and finally getting off the plane and grabbing the rest of our bags- we headed over the car rental place to pick up our keys. Mind you- we’ve been on a plane for about 8 hours (I think, I don’t even remember anymore)- it’s about 11pm at night (our body clocks are 23 hours behind), and I get to try driving on the other side of the road for the first time ever. Well- WONDERFUL! Good news is, we didn’t crash, skid off the road, or hit any possums/pedestrians- it was great! We checked into our room and immediately passed out, ready to see all we could of this amazing island over the next few days.
Auckland was one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to! Our hotel was located next to Britomart- a cool littel outdoor food/shopping center that has a ton to see and do! We somehow managed to plan our stay there during the 175th anniversary of it’s founding (I think that’s what they were celebrating)- so we were able to spend our Saturday eating lots of amazing vendor food and visiting the cute markets and celebrating with the local Auckand-ers. We spent one whole afternoon at the White Rabbit, a coffeeshop just a few buildings over from our hotel- I’ll blog a bit about that another day!
One morning while in Auckland, we decided to get up extra early and make the 2 and a half hour drive to Cathedral Cove- an amazing spot in the Coromandel peninsula on the North Island. It was worth every second spent in that tiny little car- winding up the ever changing landscape- from lush evergreen forests, to wide open farmland, to what looked like a tropical rainforest. When we finally arrived, we realized we had a 45 minute hike down to the cove ahead of us. Luckily, it was a bit overcast so we weren’t too sweaty. But- unlucky for us, it wasn’t an overcast, like, kinda cloudy overcast- it was a “it’s about to downpour” kind of overcast. We made it down to Cathedral Cove with about 15 minutes to spare before the sky opened up.
We spent a little bit of time just sitting in the giant cove while the rain came down around us and the dozen or so other tourists hiding from the storm. After about 30 minutes went by, we realized the storm wasn’t going to let up, so we hid our camera gear under our clothes and towels and walked the 45 minutes back up the path to our car.
Soaked (and likely smelly), Natalie and I grabbed a late lunch and made our way west to meet up with Kate Robinson- who’s awesome anniversary photos (and her cousin’s cute couple’s session) were blogged recently! A huge dinner with her family, lots of laughing and socializing time later- Natalie and I headed back to the city of Auckland after a really long day of site seeing, shooting, and driving!
Big shout out to Natalie for the 3 photos above! Love that shot on the left- you can really see how huge + amazing the cave is!
One of our last favorite stops before heading to the South Island was Piha Beach- a random beach we’d never heard of until it was recommended to us by fellow photog, Brooke (who’s portraits we took in Hawaii!). She had a lifeguard exchange program through her beach and Piha’s- and she said we HAD to go! After doing a little googling and seeing that it was just about an hour drive away from the city- Natalie and I headed out there around 2pm for a nice little afternoon and evening on the beach. When we arrived we were blown away by how cool this beach was- black sand, giant rock formations, and the prettiest sunset view. We grabbed some food at a little food shack in town and then headed back down to the beach to photograph one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen!
I will say straight out- if you think these images of this amazing place are awesome…just wait until you see the South Island. Ho-ly mo-ly.