This morning we took a local’s advice (front desk receptionist at Woodlyn Park), and embarked on an adventure to find a few natural attractions in the area. She warned us to make sure we had a full tank of gas (we didn’t), and we set off!
Mangapõhue Natural Bridge
Following one long road the entire time, our first stop was at Mangapõhue natural bridge. Just a five minute walk down through the bush, you stumble upon a huge rock formation, with water flowing underneath it creating a cave as well as a huge rock arch above you. In contrast to what we originally thought, we ended up viewing this natural bridge from underneath, instead of overtop. We explored the countryside for a little, then returned back to the road to continue to our next stop.
Suspended bridge walking to the natural bridge
Natural bridge from north side
Natural bridge from south side
A few miles later we pulled off the road at Marokopa Falls, allegedly the biggest waterfall in New Zealand. After another five minute speed walk through the bush, we found ourselves near the base of this huge and absolutely beautiful waterfall. It was a little too wet/muddy to try and risk hiking down to the bottom of the falls, but we still had a breathtaking view from where we were. Definitely a fantastic find!
Our final destination took a few more miles of driving along the long and winding Te Anga road, but we made it there successfully (aka with plenty of gas)! Referred to something like Coffee Coast by the hotel receptionist (could not find this name anywhere), we arrived in the tiny town of Maropkopa, where we followed a short trail down to the black sand beach. As you can imagine, we lost phone service around the natural bridge area, and although I forgot to take a picture, at the trail entrance there was a sign posted that read, “in case of emergency, dial 911 from the nearest house or public facility.” So that gives an idea of how isolated we were. There was a huge inlet that clearly would completely flood during high tide, but was only about half full at the time we were there. We took a few pictures and moments to take in the incredibly peaceful scenery, then got back in the car for the trek back. I also took a small flat black rock along, to represent the black beach and surviving the trek out to the coast!
Black sand beach
Panoramic view of Marokopa Coast
After arriving back to the tiny town of Waitomo, we grabbed lunch, filled up on gas, and headed towards Auckland to drop our car off by 5pm. We checked into our hostel, took a short walk around the city, joined a friend for dinner, and got to bed early in preparation for our early morning flight. Overall, New Zealand provided so many incredible experiences, and I have come to the conclusion that one week is not NEARLY enough to explore just part of only the North Island. With that being said, I guess I will have to come back someday. Until that day, Kia Ora, New Zealand!
Scenic New Zealand countryside