Mokau – delving into offbeat New Zealand

When photographing a landscape, do you ever get that ‘what’s the point?’ feeling, knowing that a quick internet search will bring up thousands of identical images?

You may find you feel that way about much of New Zealand, when photographing spectacular scenery amidst a hundred others doing the same.

Some places however, will have you feeling like you’re the only human being to ever set foot there. They become your spot, even when you know otherwise, even when the evidence of human activity is all around you.

Mokau is one of those places.

This Waikato beach town with a population of 400 sits right by a highway. Cars fly by and dusty back roads are ignored in favour of getting to the final destination a little faster. Mokau’s not off the beaten track for being unknown, but for being overlooked.

This is what you really want in a beach: no crowds, dramatic cliffs, soft black sand and small town NZ life. The weather wasn’t really on our side, but the stormy skies seemed to complement the dramatic views.

Mokau has such a tiny section in Lonely Planet. It’s the kind of paragraph you would pass over, skipping eagerly on to the next big ticket adventure.

I know that when you have limited time in New Zealand it can be really tempting to just hit the highlights, but it’s important to slow down and smell the pohutukawa, enjoy the days of calm as much as the ones of adventure. And you really don’t need much time. A morning, an evening – take a slight detour on your way between Rotorua and the Tongariro Crossing.

You may find your best New Zealand photographs are from those times you explored nameless beaches, just to see what was there.

Pin it to your New Zealand Travel Board:

#NewZealand #beach #story

© 2023 by NOMAD ON THE ROAD. Proudly created with

The Travel Natural

  • White RSS Icon
  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Pinterest Icon
  • White Twitter Icon

Hey, I'm Emma

Fuelled by wanderlust, curiosity and a little restlessness, a natural at budget travel, so naturally, a travel blogger. An experienced chef, a proud kiwi, and a burgeoning photographer. And my old friends reading and writing? We go way back.

All content is copyright of The Travel Natural and cannot be used, reproduced or manipulated without my express consent.

Last in -

Thailand & Myanmar

Napier, Lake Waikeremoana, Wellington - NZ

Currently in -

Taranaki - New Zealand

Up next -