Written by Kevin Kapusi Starow

If you haven't yet had a chance to venture to the land of the long white cloud (New Zealand), you are missing out, it has so much more to offer than Lord Of The Rings and Hobbits.

We arrived in Auckland early morning, cleared customs without any issues, got the car and hightailed it out of there as soon as possible heading into the city. On the way stopping at, I think it was Okahu Bay, to get breakfast, and chat with some locals, who all seemed rather nice.

After filling our bellies it was time to head off into the city, which would have been a short drive, though the peak hour traffic extended our journey somewhat. Peak hour and traffic jams are, I assume as frustrating anywhere you are, one you are stuck in the middle of them, without an avenue of escape. So excuse me for not elaborating on that experience any further, otherwise, we might lose the rest of you from reading this article.

Pushing through the city we head over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, which affords a spectacular view of the harbour and surrounds. Fluttering atop was the New Zealand Flag alongside the proposed replacement flag, which to be honest with you, I don’t mind. It looks nice, seems to be respectful, and most of all doesn’t look silly, which I think is important. Driving on we head onto the Hibiscus Coast Highway, what an awesome name for a road, I love it! What an amazing drive it turned out to be, so much so we drove over it one more time, just to make sure it was as spectacular as we first thought, and it was.

Driving on we pass Red Beach, Orewa, and Hat fields beach, which we had to stop and marvel at, how superb. To me, it was like one of those old pirate movies, and I was fully expecting to see a pirate ship sail around the coast.

On we drove past Waiwera, and to Puhoi, and let me tell you if you are driving up this way, take the time to stop here and share in a dozen or so oysters. Boy, you will not be sorry, beautiful, fresh, and local oyster served up to you for reasonable prices, well in fact very cheap.

Moving on we arrive in Warkworth, our destination, a town located 64 kilometres North from Auckland city itself, on the Kowhai Coast, named after the indigenous Kowhai tree so famous there is a festival each year in its honour, lasting for about a week, and famous throughout the country.

Warkworth is a fantastic town with a rich history, originally known as Browns Mill, founded in 1853 by Mr John Brown who named the area after Warkworth in Northumberland. Boasting the prominent Mahurangi river, which runs through the town and into the Mahurangi Harbour, and into the Hauraki Gulf. If you haven't yet been here these may all just seem like names, but being there and experiencing it is purely spectacular.

There is plenty of fresh local produce to sample, such as the wonderful Honey farm, for want of a better name, just outside of the town, well worth the stop if you are a honey aficionado or just like it.

If you are in Auckland and looking for a day out we can highly recommend a day trip up to Warkworth, via the Hibiscus Coast highway, it is simply stunning and well worth the investment of time. Just take a leisurely drive, stopping along the way, and experience the true nature of the country.

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