Destinations Magazine

In Praise of the Tiniest Seaside Towns

By Leonoras


One of the things we've learned after a week plus of caravanning is not to plan our overnight stops too far in advance. When we do, we often end pushing on and driving into the night (which is not so fun) or parking ourselves somewhere that once we arrive doesn't actually seem all that enticing.


A few days ago, we arrived in the small town of Rawene around 4p. We were planning to drive on to Oponone a little futher down the coast, but the skipper of our car ferry recommended a small camp site up in the hills just off the dock. Feeling rather done for the day and ready for an early pasta supper in the van we decided to call it a day.


And funnily enough Rawene ended up being one of our favorite little stops so far. 

NZ's third European settlement, it's a quaint and tiny town, dominated by an array of churches, gorgeous old store signs and heritage buildings. Once a busy and bustling place, the Rawene harbour now feels quiet and even a little bit eery. While in the 1800s the town's churches were once all filled with people every Sunday, now they switch off having weekly services -- not surprising seeing as on our hour long walk we seemed to wander past at least 10 of them. 

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Rawene feels like a seaside East Coast American town maybe 50 or even 100 years ago. There's just something about these tranquil little backwater towns that we've fallen in love with, and more and more we're finding ourselves jetting through the more touristy spots in search of another blissfully barren coastline or tiny village to settle the Nugget for the evening. 


We might just keep trundling around forever... in fact, we've booked our camper for another two weeks! Which means a total of two months winding our way through the countryside. Wowee -- no cabin fever yet, but you should probably stay tuned on that one. 

PS -- I'm updating our travel map with all our NZ overnight stops if you want to see just where we are on this rambling road trip of ours. 

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