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North of Auckland for two weeks in February 2019

Any advice on small towns? We two retired teachers travel differently these days: Rather than road trips we prefer to find a friendly community or two where we can meet locals and pretend to be residents, eat out, shop, cook, walk, explore Nature and culture, sketch, and read.

We fly into Auckland and will rest up there before heading north. Hopefully you can offer ideas. Thanks, sheila


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We visited friends on the North Island. We started in Auckland, rented a car and drove to the Coromandel and spent a couple nights at friends summer home. We visited other friends in Whangarei. From there we spent a few days in Paihia. We visited Russell, Waitangi, Bay of Islands, Ninety Mile Beach, Cape Reinga, Kerikeri, Kauri Forest. It sounds like this might fit your wishes. * friendly communities (every place we visited!)* meet locals, eat out, shop, cook, walk, explore nature, culture, sketch and read. Small towns all along the way as day trips. We visited in the month of February. It was lovely. A trip of a lifetime!

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The Bay of Islands is a magical destination often missed by tourists visiting New Zealand. It is a very historic area with some spectacular scenery. Russell is a nice place to stay although a bit touristy. If you are interested in fishing, particularly deep sea fishing, it is ideal. Famous American author, Zane Grey stayed here on numerous occasions just to go marlin fishing. If you have time take the Cream boat trip.
Waitangi and Kerikeri are also must-sees. I wouldn't spend time in Whangarei. Enjoy your trip!