Kids, I Just Want a Purple Caravan…

Weekend destination:  Mangawhai Heads and Te Arai Point…Why?  Well, we only need three elements for the motivation for a trip north really; a beach to walk on, some surf to admire and photograph, and a pub sitting on an estuary where you can appreciate the view while sipping on a glass of NZ Sav. and devour some fresh snapper soft tacos. Not too much to ask really!  And Mangawhai ticks all the boxes. A small but growing town that reminds me of the quintessential kiwi bach; an area of town where the original foundations lie, while new additions and housing developments have been tacked on as the population grows…because people have figured out what the community has to offer; a small town coastal lifestyle with the necessities, opportunities, cafes, and art, while only being a couple of hours from a major city.  The drive heading there is equally as pleasant, turn off the main road people!  A gently undulating countryside of small blocks, farms, wineries, and forestry.  And there are plenty of water opportunities!  While the interior waterside boasts an estuary to picnic on and mooring for boats, the outer coast is pummelled by wild waves reaching towards the natural white sandy dunes.  A popular jaunt for surfers, so much so that we couldn’t get a park up close to the main beach, and had to walk for miles, so we decided to head to a more isolated spot out of the township, Te Arai Point.  One of my favourite NZ beaches is Mount Maunganui, which coincidently was recognised as New Zealand’s top beach this week.  However, when I first made my way over the dunes of Te Arai, I was conflicted…what an amazing beach, open flat white sand for miles, natural dunes, and pumping waves.  For those who remember the Mount before it became over-populated and  over-built, this is the place for you!  But what I loved the most about the weekend was striking up a conversation with a lovely couple who had travelled north too, driving just over an hour so they could park their purple caravan beach front for a cruisy weekend away from it all.  A beautifully transformed piece of art, full of retro colours and decorations in the interior, while reflecting the alternative vibes of the occupants.  What I love about travelling around to different beaches is talking to people about their life and attraction to the coast, the kiwi philosophy of driving for miles to capture a little bit of sunshine, walking barefoot on the sand, and just playing in the water no matter what age they are!  So now I want a purple caravan, kids…don’t forget that retro car to go with it, and some new opportunities to find the beach.  Ahhh…

 

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