Head on over to our friends at Corona NZ to check out the full adventure Northward: http://www.corona.co.nz/2017/04/corona-journey-no-45-long-road-north/
If you ever get the chance to take the Heritage Highway from Napier to National Park, do it. It’s a genuine road less travelled and one that blew our expectations of the North Island well out of the water. Four hours later, after a drive we thought only existed in the far south, we were packing our daypacks and pointing our sights upward into the mighty Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
The rocky points of the East Cape had been replaced with jagged staircase tracks, and the mountain offered up an amazing day-long hike with the crew. It doesn’t seem to matter where you are in our oddly shaped country, whether it’s the far north or the deep south, you can wake up early on the coast and be in a whole different world by lunch.
Stopping at the final hut and watching the sun tuck away beyond the ridge line; we joked about where the remaining week of the trip would lead us.
After a brief glance at the swell outlook, the jokes became more of a reality with the far north coast looking to fire over the next few days, and when we say north, we mean all the way up. A 10-hour drive had never looked so appealing, with flat ocean to the east and bad wind to the west. There was only one way to go, and that was up.
Like I said, it doesn’t matter where you are in the country; your scene can change completely in a matter of hours. From one day to the next we had traded the snowy caps of a central mountain range for the white dome lighthouse that marks as far north as you can possibly go.
With a day to kill before the swell kicked, we spent it exploring the most northern point of the country, before a brief jump slightly south where long left walls were promising to meet us.
Once again the call of the road and the promise of waves was too much for those friends of ours that had dropped off early during the trip.
Meeting them again around the rocks in the north, we spent the remainder of the trip where we started it, on the coast covered by nothing but blue skies.