Whangaruru North Head
Peninsula Of 360 Degree Beauty
NZ Gps: 35° 22' 23.142" S 174° 21' 51.5304" E
This is "Bay of Islands-type" beauty without any crowds. This park is pretty unassuming. It sits at the end of an obscure peninsula just past the deterringly named Bland Bay. Careful though Frenzied reader...here come the adjectives and !!!!s.
Unlike at Mimiwhangata, where the entire landscape is a viewpoint, Whangaruru shrouds its glory in thick bush. A one-hour track leaves the campground to tour the southern half of this park - a ridge, a secluded beach, a trig, then back to camp. WOW is an understatement. I was not prepared for the glory at the trig! The trig is just 90 seconds off the loop track, but of course the sign doesn't tell you that. Of course it doesn't tell you that the view is adjective-popping and superlative-riffic. Get this...from the trig you'll see 320° of azure seascape and 40° of emerald isthmus (this is the only time in NZ when I wanted a 360° photo!) I wish the trig was mounted with a swiveling chair. Don't go when it's cloudy out, because I've just raised your expectations too high.
Meanwhile, back at the campground...ask the hosts about nighttime Kiwi spotting, Bland Bay viewpoints, and the dolphin-friendly beaches. When you're down at blacksand Pacific Cove, look for some all-white Cats Eye shells - they're super rare.
Bland Bay. Hardly bland. A gorgeous isthmus between harbour and ocean. Secluded coves beckon at either end of the curving beach. Small islands dot the bay. This feels like old-time New Zealand. Zero tourists. Really scenic. No Dairy or supplies whatsoever.