Road tripping the Central North West.

by Steve Dunstan

I was lucky enough to try out the new Audi SQ7 with the Audi tent. I had an idea to head through the Central North Island and travel west to the Taranaki coast to the Surf Highway (State Highway 45) where we would set up camp.

Departing Auckland with the drink holders loaded up with Allpress’s finest caffeine hit, I locked in Adaptive Cruise Control and lane assist to set me on my way. The SQ7’s level of comfort (including the Bose sound system) surpasses anything in my living room and it made for a very chilled start of the journey.

Once off the main highway… things got exciting. The winding B roads through the Waikato combined with the 900Nm of torque and 4-wheel steering, made for an engaging and effortless way to cover ground. After wriggling my way down to Wanganui, it was time to head north up Surf Highway.

 First stop was Opunake situated in the south of the Taranaki coast. I managed to find a peninsula just north of Opunake Beach where you could freedom camp. It blows me away that you can find such amazing locations where you can simply set up shop and enjoy views that would eclipse any $10M plus batch!

I was super keen to get the tent up for the first time and excited to see how it integrated into the SQ7.

The simplicity of it was refreshingly satisfying and brought back many memories of past sweaty efforts usually ending in arguments and injuries. Three minutes on the pump erecting the outer structural frames and from there you can simply reverse the SQ7 in and connect. This gives you an in-car double bed option, or a flat, elevated storage area with great lighting and a sound system of excellence. I was tempted to use the air-conditioning to cool the tent in the morning as the SQ7 has a separate battery to run the system.

From Opunake I headed north and spent time exploring the endless surf breaks around the coast.   

The surf in this area is some of New Zealands finest with unlimited opportunities and bolder, based point breaks on tap. It reminds me of the barren far north and the ‘long way’ to New Plymouth, mixed with rugged West Coast beauty makes for a truly unique part of our country.

Making my way past New Plymouth through to the very small town of Mokau - one of the last places on the coast before you head inland back up the North Island, I managed to secure a spot in the local campground that backed on to the beach. Just in time for sunset and a bit of photography down by the water.

The journey home was effortless. I found myself back at the bottom of the southern motorway making my way back up to the city in cruise mode.

We live in the most amazing country and this combination of equipment lets you live, explore and enjoy it to new levels.

For more information or to buy visit Giltrap Audi here


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