The Hauraki Gulf on the north-eastern side of New Zealand's north island is an outstanding maritime area. The broad waterway is open to the Pacific Ocean and has a long, indented and diverse coastline with many beaches, harbours, cliffs, as well as large and small islands. Shorebirds, seabirds, penguins, fish, shellfish, whales and dolphins love and enrich the area.
Pakiri Beach is a 24-kilometre stretch of white sand and is in a pristine, rural setting.
A superb way to absorb the area is on a Pakiri Beach Horse Ride with the Haddon family. They are descended from Te Kiri of Ngati Wai, an ancient Maori chief, and his daughter Rahui. They were seafarers and discovered Pakiri after following the call of the whales across the ocean.
Their home is on land handed down through many generations and there they have gained a lifetime of experience with horses and farming.
They love to share the history and legends of such a special place as you ride the trails of their ancestors.
The family farm, Taurere, is 810 hectares of East Coast hill country. It is a true working farm with beef and breeding cattle, Perendale sheep and plenty of horses, 25 of which comprise the Taurere Park Arabian horse stud.
The Haddon family feels privileged to be caretakers of the unpopulated and private Pakiri Beach and on one of their rides you experience isolation and freedom. Rides can be a one-hour outing to a full day or longer.
Imagine riding through dunes or groves of ancient pohutukawa trees ablaze with red flowers in summer. Tracks take you through native bush and Nikau palms. Longer rides go through pine forests and past lush green farmland.
There are four accommodation choices. You can sleep in rustic cabins in the dunes, on a river bank or on the edge of a tidal estuary. You may prefer to enjoy your getaway with friends or family in the Ngapeka house.
Four tiny Forestry Cabins by the river are backpacker accommodation. Each is brightly painted and sits on a private stretch of tidal stream with easy access to the private beach.
Cosy Beach Cabins have views of the ocean and pohutakawa trees. They were once huts for forestry workers and have been converted into comfortable accommodation with double bed, small kitchen and dining area. Each has its own bathroom and a small deck.
The large Family Cabin on the river has two bedrooms one with double bed and one with two sets of bunks and a single bed. It has a fully equipped kitchen and its deck overlooks the river.
Ngapeka Beach House, named for the daughter of Tenetahi and Rahui, is a modern home in untouched and private sand dunes, flanked by native bush. It has four double bedrooms, one with ensuite, three bathrooms and an open plan living area with a wood burner. It has a modern kitchen, gas barbecue and every room gives wonderful views. Gourmet breakfast provisions can be arranged and you can enjoy eating at the Stables, the property's licensed caf.
Pakiri Beach horse rides start at around $45 per person for one hour. Accommodation starts at $25 a double a night in a river cabin.
Air New Zealand has flights to Auckland.
One-way fares from;
- Sydney, $320
- Melbourne and Brisbane, $326
- Adelaide, $427
- Perth, $543
Price includes taxes and surcharges subject to variation. Fares are one-way. Conditions apply. Sale and validity dates apply.
Prices quoted correct at June 14, 2007.
1½ hours north of Auckland.
For further information
Pakiri Beach Horse Rides
Pakiri Beach RD2
Ph: +64 0 9 422 6275
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476