Endless Summer is a beautiful hostel situated in Ahipara, the Far North, right next to the ninety-mile beach. The owners, Anna and Blain, are a super friendly couple who have run the lodge for 14 years.
The first thing you notice about ‘Endless Summer’ is the beauty of the building. Built in 1870 from just one Kaori tree, the lodge is old for New Zealand standards. The building fell into disrepair for many years, until it was bought by a builder who completely renovated the place. It then passed onto Anna and Blaine who have lovingly created a fantastic high-end backpackers – somewhere to spend a few days at the end of your long trip around New Zealand, or to simply retreat and enjoy some peace and quiet away from your busy NZ life.
I spent 5 weeks working for accommodation at the hostel – and I wish I could’ve spent longer. For two and a half hours every morning I cleaned the three downstairs bathrooms, the kitchen, the lounge and the dormitory – in exchange for free accommodation and FREE surf hire. Afternoons were spent chilling in the hammocks outside, swimming in the clear blue waters at the ninety-mile beach over the road, or surfing along the coastline.
Anna and Blaine have created something truly special here. The hostel feels like a home-from-home – it’s comfortable, the facilities are excellent and the staff even better! There’s no TV so this encourages the guests to socialise around the large table in the courtyard at the back, there are numerous puzzles and games for those days when it does rain, and you can enjoy the spectacular ocean views from a hammock or deck chair in the large front garden – a mere 20 second walk to the sea. There’s also an abundance of activities to participate in (if you haven’t come to simply relax!):
- Cape Reinga (the most northern tip of New Zealand) is a mere hour and a half drive – some guests do self-drive, however there’s an excellent tour that costs only $55 pp. This means you get to drive on the beach, and it also includes lunch – I didn’t hear a bad thing about this tour! My parents even did it when they stayed at the lodge.
- Sand boarding – take your free board from the hostel and walk around the coastline to the sand dunes there, or drive up towards Cape Reinga and try out the huge dunes there. It’s such good fun to glide down a huge sandy hill on the board – albeit hot and sandy! You’ll likely only do this once or twice, because the climb up is a bit of a challenge… especially in the heat.
- Short walks around the rugged and rocky coastline (only at low tide) where you can find pristine beaches and sand dunes. Or walk along the beach towards shipwreck bay (the ‘shipwreck’ is simply a rusty pole in the ground), or up the hill to the viewpoint behind the hostel – with magnificent views of Ahipara and the beautiful northland coastline.
- Surfing – the hostel offers guest specials for surfboard and wetsuit hire. $50 for 5 days, or $20 for one – complete bargain! There’s an abundance of places to go and surf, from beginner to expert. Try further afield (strap the boards to the roof of your car) or just across the road at the beach opposite is also fantastic for beginners.
- Tuatua and mussel ‘foraging’ along the ninety mile beach. At low tide you can pluck mussels from the rocks, or if you’re feeling even more ‘adventurous’ try your hand at digging for tuatuas – you stick your heal in the sand and wiggle it around to form a hole, then if you’re lucky you can come across loads of these shelled delicacies. SPOILER – you can get VERY wet.
- Star gazing – the sky here is so clear and so bright, you can see the milky way on most nights. It’s awe-inspiring to just lie on the beach and look up at the night sky.
- There’s also horseriding, quad biking, body boarding and many more activities to keep yourself preoccupied…
Endless Summer is a truly magical place. Relax with a book, explore the coastline, try out surfing or simply make some brilliant friends and share a beer or two under the stars. I urge you to stay at this place – you honestly won’t regret a second.