Things here are not what you would find in a city or town. So you don’t get caught out here is important information about some of the main differences you may experience while you are in our area.
The term real far north refers to Kaitaia north.
1. Google Maps is not accurate for Henderson Bay
On Google Maps they have a road from the Henderson Bay Road carpark that cuts back to Otaipango Road. There is no such road. They are private driveways that do not link up to each other.
2. There is only 1 petrol station in the real far north
If traveling in your own vehicle you MUST fill up in either Kaitaia or Awanui, as the next garage north is in Waitiki Landing, about 88kms north of Awanui and 22km south of Cape Reinga. There is a petrol pump at the Houhora wharf but may be out of 91.
If your vehicle uses 95 you can only get that in Kaitaia or Awanui and not in the real far north.
3. Take your time driving on unsealed roads
Unsealed roads have gravel, stones and sometimes large potholes so if you have not driven on them before, take your time and get a feel for how the vehicle handles. Never take a corner on these roads fast as the gravel can easily cause you to slide.
4. A GPS will not always be able to take you where you want to go
More and more people are traveling around with a GPS, but because the real far north is hidden from the main stream, there are also places that are not on the GPS system.
5. Cell phone reception is patchy or non-existent
As we are in a hidden area of New Zealand cell phone towers and reception is patchy, which is why you will often not get any reception and when you do get reception it can fade in and out. You could be talking to someone and the call gets disconnected. You can receive texts when you are passing through an area that has coverage.
5. You need to bring some cash with you
Some places in the real far north accept EFTPOS but there will be times when you will need cash. There is an ATM machine located in the Houhora Wharf Store in the heart of the real far north.
7. Stock up on camping supplies
If you are going to wander around our beautiful lands and camp where the spirit takes you, make sure that you get your supplies in either Kaitaia or at the Houhora Wharf Store in the heart of the real far north.
8. 90 Mile Beach is gazetted as a road, but not for rental cars
The 90 Mile Beach is officially a road and as such most of the road rules that apply on any road in New Zealand applies on the beach. There are of course extra rules, like when to drive on the beach and when not to because of the tides.
However, if you hire a rental car you are not allowed to drive on the beach.
9. Stock up on your medication
If you are on lifelong medication make sure that you have enough to last you for your time up here as well as an extra week in case the road gets cut off. There are no chemists in the real far north, so if you do bring a prescription with you, make sure you get it filled in Kaitaia.