Nevernever Land, Northland, New Zealand – Russel, Paihia, & Our Favorite Campsite in Aotearoa

Northland of Aotearoa is one of my absolute favorite places on the planet so far. We spent a few weeks after the Shipwrecked Festival fishing, surfing, free diving, and enjoying the warm summer weather.

Russel Wharf & Fresh Oysters

Paihia gifted us with an actual town which is quite the treat when living on the road in New Zealand. We parked ourselves in a small camp on the southern part of town at the Seaview Campervan Park.

We decided a fancy night out was just the thing we needed and headed to catch the ferry to Russel. We landed on eating at The Gable’s Restaurant just off the wharf and landed a window seat at sunset. Spending the evening eating good food, cheers-ing fresh oysters, and sipping delicious wine was the reset we needed after a long few weeks on the road.

Sunset was perfect, we frolicked our way down the wharf to catch the last ferry back to Paihia, walked back to the campsite, and planned an early start for sunrise fishing.

Sunrise Fishing in Paihia

Even though we very much enjoyed our evening to the fullest, we still managed to wake for sunrise to catch a few snapper.

Our short walk from the campsite to the fishing pier was beautiful. We passed by kayaks parked on the sand and the beach was already coming alive with fisherpeople and couples walking their dogs in the sand.

We loved Paihia so much we almost settled here permanently.

Matauri Bay & Rainbow Warrior Memorial

After a brief stop in Paihia we decided to head a little farther north to my favorite campsite in all of New Zealand. Mataurai Bay Holiday Park.

This unique little site has a bay on each side. A short 2 minute walk in either direction gets you to the ocean front. We spent the better part of 5 days freediving, spearfishing, eating freshhhhh caught fish, sunset fishing in the shallows, and hiking up to the Rainbow Warrior Memorial for sunset.

It was pure bliss.