I got the Jeep serviced last week and it turns out my old tyres were worn down. It also turned out that the cost of replacing them with 20 inch wheels and really big tyres is absolutely astronomical. So instead of doing that, I decided to go with the interim of just big chunky mud tyres. And that meant, I needed to get some bloody mud on them.

Mud tyres on a Jeep

I had to drive to Auckland to pick up a cot for the bubba anyway, and so I thought to myself, ‘if you’re going to drive 6 hours, why not drive 10 and get a mission out of it?’.

After some Googling, the Hunua Ranges looked like the best bet. A big, massive forest parallel to where we were headed anyway, with hopefully at least some windy gravel roads and maybe even some spots to actually get into 4WD. I grabbed my trusty friend Fraser and a 2000’s era metal playlist, and off we set.

We picked up the cot without issue, and headed off to Clevedon for a pie and a look at the map again. So far, so good! But unfortunately, it wasn’t to last.

It turns out that all the good forestry roads through the ranges are completely closed off for vehicles. They’re trying to prevent kauri dieback on the trees and the roads are only open to cyclists and hikers, of which we were neither today. I absolutely should have looked into this more!

Drone photo of the clouds over the Hunua Ranges

After a few swear words and a 30 minute trip up a different gravel road that ended in the exact same thing (!!), we decided to cut our losses and at least get a waterfall out of it, so we pulled out of the ranges and nipped down to Hunua Falls. It’s a teeny tiny 2 minute walk from the car park and was in full swing.

Hunua Falls, a waterfall in New Zealand

In the end, we got the cot for the baby, we saw a beautiful new waterfall, and I learned a valuable lesson about remembering to Google something at least once before driving for hours.

The mud will have to wait.