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For those who have been reading Boomer Life Today for some time, you will know that we have a very cute terrier named Bailey.  He is very lucky because we take him everywhere, even planning our in-country trips based on dog-friendly places.

Beach at Mangawhai Heads courtesy of Aaron Simonsen

One of our favourite beaches on the North Island is at Mangawhai Heads and in October we booked a weekend at Puppy Paws, a lovely, new home-away-from-home just a short drive from the beach. They allow dogs to stay inside as long as you bring your dog`s bed.   Fortunately, we have a very light, portable beanbag for Bailey, so we packed it, some food, our bedding and a few clothes and headed north.  In a little over an hour, we were enjoying the best coffee and pastries north of Auckland at La Nonna Italian Bakery, a cafe run by an Italian couple in Kaiwaka. The turn off State Highway 1 for Mangawhai is just a few hundred metres beyond on your right.

Once in Mangawhai, we were met by Milly, who manages Puppy Paws.  She oriented us to our new home, surrendered the key and the one bedroom unit was ours for the next 2 nights.  It was tastefully decorated and included an en suite bathroom and perfectly formed kitchen/dining area, complete with mini fridge, sink, kettle (jug), microwave and dishes/cutlery.

Mangawhai estuary

Day 1 we took Bailey to the beach and since the tide was going to stay out for several hours, we decided to take the coastal walk.  The walk followed the white sandy beach for about 1 1/2 hours until signs pointed to a well-groomed trail  ascending through stunning native bush.  Although quite steep in parts, the climb was worth the effort because once atop the cliff, the views were spectacular!  The trail continued along the cliff edge, through pastures dotted with curious cows and fluffy sheep before descending to sea level again.  Back on the beach, a pod of 6 or 7 dolphins entertained us by playing in the surf just metres from shore and moments later a rainbow appeared, right on cue! It had been an unforgettable day and we happily returned to PuppyPaws for a bbq and a good night`s sleep.

The Falls

Next morning, we decided to discover the countryside and some of its small towns and villages.  Most New Zealand towns are charming with vibrant main streets, original architecture and plenty of family owned small businesses. You can almost always be assured of finding a corner store still selling hand-scooped ice cream. This area of Northland is no exception and Waipu, Lang`s Beach and Maungatoroto did not disappoint.  Neither did Waipu Gorge and its beautiful waterfall. On our way back we made one more stop – Bennetts chocolaterie.  They have just moved into a beautiful new complex, which includes a chocolate emporium, European-style cafe and ice cream parlour.  Their chocolate is divine!

Bennetts Chocolaterie

We had a great weekend and if you are interested in finding pet-friendly accommodation in New Zealand, click or touch here.  Enjoy!

Until next time,

Your Boomer Life Partners

Disclosure: Mention of places, products or services in this Boomer Life Today blog post have not been solicited or paid for by companies in New Zealand or abroad.