Summer travels through New Zealand with a Rooftop Tent

Last summer we planned to go on a remote expedition camping trip throughout the pristine North Island of New Zealand.
We knew 4x4 access only was on the agenda, so we kitted out the Landcruiser 100 Series, grabbed a couple of friends and plotted out our journey. The plan was to head up to the West Coast and cross over to the East Coast for New Years to meet up with some friends, then end at secluded little-known spots on rarely travelled beaches. Needing enough supplies and water for a maximin of 5 days took some preparation. A critical element was our 45L portable fridge/freezer to keep all the meat and drinks cold. We took an additional 100 litres of water backed up with a Coleman cooker and of course the Mudstuck explorer rooftop tent.

Setting up Mudstuck roof top tentMudstuck roof top tent opening frontMudstuck roof tent setupMudstuck expedition roof top tentFirst stop, Sand Island! An amazing, beautiful & remote Island which is only accessible during low tide by 4WD. It fringes on the outskirts of Auckland. Having not been here for three years, we couldn’t have been more excited to see this place again. We expecting some company being peak season, but as things would have it we were the only campers with only a few distant trucks fishing off the edges of the beaches in the distance.Mudstuck roof top tent with LC100 seriesWindy tent setupSome serious winds were pumping through this area. Felt sorry for poor mate and all the struggles he had with his tent. He ended up camping way in the woods for shelter.Coleman cooking setupPreparing dinnerSand IslandOn arrival the weather was windy! But we knew a little spot tucked away amongst some remaining tea trees, providing the needed shelter. Spending the day walking around the island, swimming and cooking up some salmon and lamb on a small cooking fire. This Island has endless 4x4ing opportunities! We went through all the dunes, mounds and southern perimeter. Unfortunately, without a recovery truck, we couldn't explore as densely as we have in the past. Watch out for the North East part of this island, the clay/mud will get even the most capable trucks. We had a 2hour recovery there some years back.Sand Island swim Mudstuck truckSand Island LC100Mudstuck trip through Sand IslandAfter Sand Island, Hokianga was the next spot on our list. Heading past the famous Kauri Forest we found a little 4WD river spot with a tree swing. Being a 28deg day this was a much-needed cool down. Kauri Forest New Zealand4WD river spotTree jump west coast north island new zealandBath in riverHokianga is a beautiful place and well worth 2-3 days to explore. Endless coastal walking opportunities, beach fishing spots, snorkelling and local pubs. We were here only for an afternoon and stumbled upon a Fleetwood Mac tribute band performing that night. We didn't snap our accommodation that night but ended up staying high in the farmlands on a roadside clearing. Sometimes you take what you can get. HokiangaHokianga fishing by rocksHokianga Harbour look outHokianga New Zealand guy passed outThis poor fellow had a little bit much to drink outside the pub

Off to the East coast from Hokianga, this has to be one of the most beautiful sights to wake up to! Calm ocean with undisturbed white sand beaches... this is why we head to the North. Here we did some exercise and snorkelling. One early morning we were lucky enough to catch an octopus. So we cooked this up with garlic for a midday meal at a different beach. Delicious!  One of the nicest things about rooftop tent life is you can just move along at will.Roof top tent beach viewRoof top tent beach viewMudstuck camping far north New ZealandMudstuck camping by beach in roof top tentMudstuck roof top tentMudstuck roof top tent and LED light barRunning on beachThese two never stopped running!Mudstuck Far North New Zealand roof top tentTravel lifeCooking octopus Fresh octopus. First - you boil it, next - cook it in garlic and butter. Mmmm.Cooking octopus Mudstuck new yearsHere we spent New Years with friends. We had planned on staying at various camping spots but ended up finding such a great campsite in a remote spot we kept coming back and staying there.Kylamurti doing YogaKylamurti doing her yoga every day.Sausages and meat on the fire Sunset far north New ZealandNew Years was a blast. Good friends and the weather held out for us. So after sad goodbyes, we were off to the West Coast again. Such a wild and adventurous place with tons of 4WDing opportunities for all levels and experience. We made camp along the beachfront and as the tide was low, quickly ran out for a snorkel. Scoring three crayfish from the rocks until the tide came in was fun, except they all went back as they were undersized.

Ahipara RocksAhipara Rocks
Ahipara NZAhipara NZButterfly and flower closeupDiving Ahipara NZAhipara NZAhipara NZAhipara NZAhipara NZAhipara NZMudstuck Coleman cookingAhipara NZAhipara NZWhen the tide comes rolling in you realise just how remote and secluded you are. Making some hot drinks at night with the Mudstuck LED light bars were a help.  Ahipara NZThe next morning we were woken by a distant neighbour running to our campsite to help save his sand stuck ute! The tide was rising and he probably had another 20minutes until all was lost!

Thanks to the Mudstuck soft shackles & recovery rope we managed to pull him out safely.  

Guy stuck on beach4WD beach recovery

4WD beach recoveryHere you can see the wave come in. At this point, he was minutes from losing the truck. Stoked to have the gear to be able to help out a mudstuck.4WD beach recovery

Sand Dunes 90 mileNorth Island Sand DunesThe Dunes here are unreal! So much fun to run up and down. Following this, we headed down 90mile beach past the bluff and to the famous walk up to Cape Reinga. 90 Mile beach90 Mile beachThe Bluff New ZealandThe Bluff New Zealand

Drying out a roof top tentDrying out a roof top tentDon't forget, after packing down a wet tent when it has been raining, dry it out as soon as the sun comes out!Rock fishing tripTo finish this adventure off we headed out for some rock fishing. We didn't get many snaps of this part, unfortunately. Not nearly all trips are photographed! But we did catch a good haul. And out of all the remote and unknown North Island Spots, this is one of our favourites! Although quite dangerous without a backup recovery truck. Never have we been happier to be in a 4.2L 1HDT-FTE 4WD with diff lockers while the tide was rushing in.


Wanting to continue our journey, as things would have it, a decent summer storm rolled in. 3 days of rain followed by 30+ knots of wind and it was time to head home. We couldn't have had more fun on this trip.

Go Anywhere - Stay Anywhere - 4WD Everywhere