When we first visited New Zealand six years ago, we spent a long, happy day at Pakiri Beach with friends from London and their Kiwi family, culminating in a barbeque dinner at the nearby campsite. It was a highlight of our short visit to NZ and we had fantasized about that sunny day ever since. So last spring when we were planning our first leg in New Zealand and deciding where to stay over Christmas, we knew we wanted to return to this pretty part of the country.
Pakiri Beach and the surrounding area was just as dreamy as we remembered it to be. The long, winding drive to the beach takes you through lush forests and dramatic rolling hills, and leads you out to a stunning 14-kilometre-long stretch of white sandy beach. If you walk just 10 minutes from the car park, beyond the crowds, you can enjoy an empty beach to yourself. And it gets prettier as you venture further down the beach, with perfectly smooth white sand, giant dunes and large, dramatic trees lining the back of the beach.
The surf can also be good and we found gentle, consistent waves on a few of the days we visited. That meant Michael and Easton spent the majority of their time out in the water together (including Christmas Day!), sometimes surfing the same waves in perfect sync. I’m pretty sure there is nothing cuter. I was the woman, sitting in the little green tent, whooping and cheering every time they caught a wave! Quin and Ivy dipped in and out of the water on their boogie boards, Marlow built sand castles and found beach treasures, and I sat in the tent working up the courage to get out in the surf. I only caught a couple of small waves, but one is all it takes to catch the surfing ‘bug’ and I’ve definitely got it.