A 17-year-old driver was lucky to walk away with just a bump to the head after his car plunged 5m over a bank, rolled and almost ended up in Whangarei Harbour.

The car landed upright on the rocks at Parua Bay on the Whangarei Harbour. Its roof was caved in but the sole occupant freed himself and met police as they arrived about 8am yesterday.

It appeared the vehicle had rounded the left-hand corner at the Parua Bay Tavern and about 50m along hit the kerb, rolled down the bank and landed just metres from the incoming tide.

Whangarei police Constable Brendan Walker said the driver was lucky not to be seriously injured.


A tow truck hauled the car up the bank before it was covered by the tide.

Speed combined with a wet road surface were thought to have contributed to the crash, Walker said.

Just 15 minutes earlier, only 5km further along the road, another driver had crashed into a barrier at a popular spot known as Fishermans Pt at Waikaraka.

The driver was not with the vehicle, which had a damaged front bumper, when police arrived, because a member of the public had taken the driver to hospital. The car was towed and police were to speak with the driver later.

Charges were still being considered for the crashes.