Weekend asked Nicky Sinden, host of TV show ADOS Addicted to Fishing to name her favourite weekend destinations with boat and trailer that offered something for everyone in the family.
The location needed a boat ramp for easy access to that awesome fishing spot, along with a rich mix of great attractions nearby that, combined, made for a great weekend away.
The magnificent Houhora Harbour is a comfortable five hours' drive north from Auckland in my Ford Everest, but with the 750 Game King Extreme Boat in tow, I allow slightly more for breaks especially as the towing speed is 90kmh. A great place to launch the boat is the wide ramp at the Houhora Fishing Club. The friendly people at the club will let you know if the game fish have been biting.
Before I launch, I stock up at the Houhora Wharf Store - it has everything you need for a day out fishing.
To check out the episode we filmed in Houhora, look for ADOS Addicted to Fishing on YouTube.
If you're after yummy pies on the way to Houhora, I always drop by the Bakerman Café in Awanui - the pepper steak pie is my fave. There's a lovely garden area where you can feed the ducks by the river.
Gumdiggers Park, Awanui
Want to know how gumboots got their name? This is a gem. Gumdiggers Park is worth a little side trip off the main highway and is a great spot for a picnic. Take a tour of this 100-year-old Kauri Gum digging site and you'll see 100,000 year old exposed wood from buried forests. There's also a nature trail, Gecko house and a shop selling amber and Kauri crafts.
Exhibit A Gallery, Mangonui
If you're grabbing a mid-trip coffee or a bite at Mangonui, you'll probably spot the lovely old courthouse building which houses The Exhibit A art gallery on Beach Rd. A collective of nine professional artists exhibit an ever changing and wide ranging exhibition of local art. The prices are reasonable, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that a portion of whatever you spend goes into maintaining this lovely historical building.
Ahipara Horse Treks
As you know I love the water best, but on land it's pretty hard to beat horse riding on a beautiful ocean beach. I think 90 mile beach must be among the world's best. Ahipara Horse Treks can take you on a stunning 1-2 hour trek on one of their much loved and well looked after ponies. They cater to all levels, from families to beginners and those seeking a bit more of a challenge.
In the drive up from Auckland, I listen to Queens of the Stone Age, Smooth Sailing and Arctic Monkeys, while after a long day on the water, Sola Rosa is awesome for the wind-down. It's all right there using Spotify through Ford's SYNC3.