Continuing on my Northland road-trip, when I headed for Tutukaka it took me longer than the books says. The reported half an hour north-east of Whangarei maybe so, but I was stopping to see waterfalls and great sea views!
Tutukaka is the gateway to the Poor Knights Islands marine reserve. The Islands, 25km off shore, have been rated by the famous Jacques Cousteau as one of the top-ten dive sites in the world – the water is known for its clarity and an abundance of sea life. Sea currents and visibility up to 30 metres underwater allow the diver, (or kayakers and snorkelers) to see a highly populated, rich and diverse tapestry of marine life. The world’s largest sea cave can be found here, a record claim lodged with the Guinness Book of Records. It is an amazing 7,900,000 cubic feet with over a hectare of sea surface area inside the cave itself. (More of these islands and photos in my next blog)
Right on the edge of the Tutukaka Marina is Oceans Resort Hotel and is where I stayed overnight. I was told that “with a myriad of water-based activities on your doorstep, fabulous beaches and a lush subtropical climate you will feel as though you have escaped to paradise” and I agree. It’s a peaceful setting and I loved wandering around the water front both in the evening and then again in the morning.
Interestingly, I find Oceans is owned by the local iwi (Maori tribe) Ngati Wai who have recently won two well-deserved prestigious awards. (2011 Customer Choice Awards; 2011 Best Emerging Business)
There is a relaxed kiwi-feel to the resort and it is a popular wedding and conference destination – it also has apartment’s long-term rental too. It seems the local pub that was on the site burned down in 2000 and five years later Oceans opened. As well as having a comfortable night and good service, I also had a great breakfast which was included in the room rate.
Here are some notes I made while there:
- “Compendium says – they have alarm clocks but say they ‘strongly support the use of island time here in Tutukaka.’ (always good advice when vacationing)
- Lots of local artists work on view and for sale – wonderful that they give space for locals free and with no commission on sales (Well done!)
- BBQ beside pool for guests use
- Interesting New Zealand facts in compendium incl. NZ women getting the vote in 1893; Sir Ed and Mt Everest; a kiwi invented the bungee; and that NZ has 6,000 kilometres of coastline with nowhere being more than 120ks from the coast. (translation for my USA readers – 3728 miles of coast and no one lives more than 74 miles from it)
And, to find out about the birds and other creatures in the area see these fabulous New Zealand books: Collins Travellers Guide, Birds of New Zealand
COLLINS FIELD GUIDE TO NEW ZEALAND WILDLIFE by Terence Lindsey and Rod Morris.