Between Tutukaka and Paihia (Pye-hee-ah) are some beautiful beaches.
We would tell you where they are, but then you would go and visit them, and then they would become overcrowded.
Just kidding. It’s hard to imagine any of New Zealand beaches getting crowded in the same way as US beaches do… but we’re here in the winter and no one’s really swimming in the cold ocean right now, so I may be mistaken in my assumption.
In any case, the beaches we really loved between Paihia and Tutukaka were called Matapouri and Wooly’s Bay. They’re incredibly beautiful in the winter… I can only imagine what they look like with a bright sun shining down on them.
Paihia seems like a fun town. Paihia (and some of the towns around, like Russell) are where many Aucklanders go to spend part of December (during Christmas holiday – which is the summertime here).
We stayed on the backpacker street in town, and got a nice room at the Saltwater Lodge for NZD $65/night. It was about the most affordable place we found (even with the off-season winter rates). I’m glad they gave us a room as far away from the street as we could be, because the Saltwater Lodge also has a bar.
I said that Paihia seemed like a fun place, right?
The music at the Saltwater Lodge’s bar was cranked up. Carrie fell asleep after droning it out with earplugs… I was awake to hear them play “Closing Time” at 1:30 AM.
Not a huge deal.
After the music shut off, I had a great night of sleep and we went for a nice walk along the beach at Paihia the next morning.