Travel notes: Auckland to Whangarei

People are often surprised when we travel, by just how much distance we tend to cover in a trip. We are not inclined to sit in one spot and relax, I find I can do that at home. We love to explore and have adventures.

We drove through a very pretty countryside to historical Waipu Cove, (which actually has a white sand beach). Onerahi Marina, with water so turquoise, was very pretty as well, a lovely spot for coffee. We finally reached our destination Whangarei. (WH in Maori is pronounced F – so this place can cause a bit of confusion. Fangarhay is what most locals seem to pronounce it.)

Whangarei Waterfall

With some daylight still left, we headed out to the Waterfall located right in town, a local swimming hole for some. It is easily accessed and seen from the top, but so lovely and worth the walk down to the bottom. It’s also a fairly easy walk for an old cripple like me. It is also lovely and cool in the shade. Beautiful walking tracks and picnic tables make for a very pretty picnic spot.

I bought a new wide-angle lens for this trip. So, we set up the tripods and spent a lovely afternoon playing with long exposures and exploring the waterfall area. I was still quite new to bracketing back then but I decided to spend a fair bit of time practicing. We had also brought our ND filters and decided to use them too to create those lovely silky waterfall photos. One of my favorite things to photograph while traveling is waterfalls.

It was quite challenging with deep shadows at the base of the waterfalls and bright clear skies. Not the most ideal shooting variables, but sadly sometimes while traveling you need to work with what conditions you have. I found that high-contrast black and white could often mask these lighting issues.

Hidden treasure and local spots


  • Always carry a tripod and ND filters with you (wherever possible) you never know what you’ll find when exploring.
  • Carry a good ranged zoom (perhaps 18-300mm) or a variety of lenses if at all possible. Not always something that can be done but a good solid telephoto zoom is a great place to start when traveling.
  • Always carry a hat, sunscreen and water. A few snack bars or nuts are a great idea. You never know when your next stop for supplies is going to be.
  • Visit the tourist areas, but also speak to the locals and get an idea for a few hidden treasures.