Mystery Road Trip: Destination #3 Revealed

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road trip map, northland
Can you locate our destinations on this map?

Welcome to the third and final installment of my Mystery Roadtrip Revelations. So far I have divulged the details of the first and second destinations on this day-long roadtrip around the beautiful Far North region of New Zealand. Way back in April, I captured my longest-standing best friend in the country, Melissa for a day to show her a few of my favourite hidden gems of the beautiful area I’ve made my expat home.

I planned out and kept secret a whole day of roadtripping around the Far North and it made for a fabulous day, just like old times.

Destination Number 3 

Now, as previously mentioned in the tweeted clues, I had never been to the last stop that I had planned and I didn’t exactly know what it was or what to expect. On countless trips ‘down the line’ (from Kaitaia south towards Kerikeri or Whangarei) I’d always say to my boyfriend Thom, that I wanted to stop and see the Horeke Boulders. Thom grew up in the north, and he was never fussed to go.
After a few trips, I was soon able to recite his response to my apparently laughable requests. With a cheeky grin, he’d say “I can show you boulders – look there’s one, and some more over there in that paddock. We don’t even need to get out of the car.” Har har har. Very funny.

That was fine, I told him that I’d explore with Mel when she was here. Thus, my last destination was obviously the Horeke Boulders – a mere 14km one way trip off State Highway 1. Mel saw the signs for this one, and guessed as I braked to make the turn.

It wasn’t a bad little drive out towards the Horeke Harbour, besides me making one wrong turn which was quickly fixed we found ourselves at a wee information shed. As I already mentioned, I really had no clue what we were going to find here, but I think I was expecting something similar to the Moeraki Boulders, in Dunedin..
Turns out, the boulders are located on a 30 minute walk, that you pay $10/adult to do. There are additional walks and lookout points, which can take you up to 2.5 hours if you do them all. There is a heap of local history and geoloy to take in and it seems like a great thing to do…. another day. It was now 5pm, and starting to get dark earlier and earlier these days- this was probably NOT the best day/time to embark on such an adventure.

At least now I know what’s here and what to expect and can plan appropriately for a future visit!

All was not lost

horeke harbour, mystery road trip
The deck of the pub connects to the dock to accomodate those who come by boat.

Despite the Boulders not being what I expected, I figured this was a good opportunity to show Mel one of my VERY favourite pubs that I’ve been to.  Confession: I’d only been once before, last year on our Hokianga Habour Pub Crawl via a chartered boat from Kohukohu. But that one trip was enough to steal my heart. The rustic arcitecture, the close proximity to water, the friendly people… it was everything I loved in a pub and more!

While ordering a beer, I chatted away to the lady at the bar, describing and raving about my previous visit. I needn’t say much, as she quickly remembered our crowd of Pirates. She chuckled as recalled the one guy whose challenge was to remain blindfolded from the time the challenge was issued outside the pub – until we were back on the boat. That challenge was accepted and completed, but I felt bad that poor Phil missed out on the stunning interior of this classic old pub on the water.

horeke pub, mystery road trip

I absolutely love the craftsmanship that goes into creating this wooden masterpieces. The Maori culture is definitely alive and thriving in the Far North, and I find it quite cool to just get amongst it. There’s always such interesting stories to be told for every part of the carving, and I think that’s one thing about travelling that really inspires me, as every time is a new opportunity hear someone elses story that they carry with them – whether it be a carving in the bar, a tattoo or the story behind choosing a piece of art.

Another favourite feature of mine, found in many small rural pubs, is the fireplace. That central glowing availability of heat creates such a great atmosphere – in the winter. Since it was April and we were still just entering into spring, there wasn’t such a need for the fireplace while we were there.

We didn’t stay too long as we still had quite a drive home to Ahipara ahead of us, but it was nice to call in to such a lovely little pub full of character. I think it’s fair to say, since the Far North is not commonly on the tourist route of NZ, that this little pub nestled away on the Hokianga Harbour is certainly ‘off the beaten track’.

As the sun illuminated a pastel of colours over the water and we sat drinking our beers, I think we both agreed that the Horeke Pub was the prefect ending to our day of Mystery Roadtripping!

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