Roadtrip Northern New Zealand

The road was somewhat quiet considering it being a long weekend. The Autumn sun on our skin, good tunes, and the bad food that comes with road trips. Two photographers and one model crammed into the car along a huge tropical palm leaf cut from the side of the road on our way, and thousands of dollars worth of photography and bags full of swimsuit gear. We were ready for a weekend long photographing trip.

It was bliss and completely long overdue.

  Myself photographing our model Jahna Barraclough

Myself photographing our model Jahna Barraclough

Max Lemeshenko (@Lemesh) and I often collaborate together, him specialising in nude photography and I in swimwear and beauty. With the opportunity of a long weekend here in New Zealand we decided to check out of Auckland and make a road trip up north to Whangarei and it's gorgeous white sand beaches and blue waters. The main attraction was the well known Mermaid Pools at Matapouri Beach. Locals saying it was a secret spot until social media came and blew it up on the internet.

  Mermaid Pools, Matapouri Beach

Mermaid Pools, Matapouri Beach

Luckily our local makeup artist (@miss_mcnabb) who happened to be there also this long weekend gave us a heads up on the trail to the Mermaid Pools.. not just an easy walk to this instagram-able location, there is a nice challenge waiting for everyone before you get to enjoy the spoils of these waters.

The first step was to walk down the end of the beach, depending on the tide which for us was high at the time, you'll walk through thigh high clear water around the rocks to reach the start of the.. vertical climb. 

As our eyes gaze upwards to access this, we wait for a woman to come down as we realise how much we underestimated it. She tells us in between breathes that this isn't even the worst of it. I giggle and grab onto the fine rope as I lodge my feet into the makeshift natural steps as the dirt crumbles beneath my feet, whilst holding a tote bag full of clothes, my two cameras in a bag off my shoulder as well as a 70-200mm lense and jandals hanging off my wrists.. but luckily my adrenaline had kicked in for an adventurous climb. 

After the rope, you hang onto whatever is on the side of the path which generally are tree roots or branches. The trail eventually evens out rewarding you with a gentle track through tropical greenery as the sound of the crashing sea comes nearer. 

Once the tropics open up, a stunning view towards the deep blue ocean feathered with toi toi's makes you get your devices out (as well as an excuse to catch your breath) before you slowly traverse down towards the vicious, nasty black rocks. There is absolutely no trail once you land on the rocks and with all our gear it ends up being a pretty terrifying balancing act as you manoeuvre around the rock face to get to a spot that is somewhat away from the crowds.

But we made it.  

  Max scouting for locations at the Mermaid Pools

Max scouting for locations at the Mermaid Pools

After the challenge of the morning we stuck to the flat beaches for shooting as Matapouri Beach and Whale Bay around the corner were treasured spots to take in.


Keep an eye out on our Instagram feed for more behind the scene shots and final images to come. Big thanks to Emmaford Swim and Edni Swimwear for the clothing and Aleisha McNabb for makeup. 

@lemesh, @maeganm, @emmafordswim, @edniswimwear, @miss_mcnabb