Ford NZ gave me a call and asked if I’d like to join them on a fishing trip with their ambassadors Tony and Bea from Offshore Adventures. It would include an overnight stay in Mangawhai, a boat trip out to the famous Mokes (Mokohinau Islands) and undoubtedly enough fish to feed my family - oh and a drive in the new Ford Everest, let’s not forget that.
Offshore Adventures offers a HIGHLY sustainable fishing experience. They catch their own bait fish, don’t lay anchor and only take ‘what you can eat.’ They (Tony and Bea) have been in the industry for over 9-years and have travelled the world multiple times (and still take personally guided trips to some of the world’s best international sport fishing destinations) but have settled in the idyllic location of Mangawhai for a very good reason, the fish. Snapper, Yellowtail Kingfish, Yellowfin Tuna… I could almost taste the salt and vinegar.
As luck would have it (bad luck for us - good luck for Tony and Bea) Bea gave birth to a baby girl that night and so we awoke to news that the fishing trip was cancelled or (fingers crossed) just postponed.
So there we were, two automotive journalists, one Ford Communications and Government affairs manager and a new Ford Everest, What to do? By the time we’d finished our coffee, a plan was hatched to head north in search of the best Fish n Chip shop in NZ - we packed our bags and off we set.
The road out of Mangawhai hugs the coast and we gazed out of the SUV’s large windows at a sea that was mirror calm, sigh. Some twists and turns had us at Waipu and soon we were on the state highway 1 heading towards Whangarei with not a drop of water in sight.
The new Ford Everest comes equipped with a 2L Bi-Turbo diesel engine and a 10-speed box (157kW/500Nm). At a shade under 5m long and 1.84m tall, it’s a sizeable vehicle but it handled itself well as we covered a lot of the Northland tarmac. We stuck to the roads which were glorious to drive on but with the Everest’s advanced terrain management system and 225mm ground clearance, we could have gone pretty much wherever we liked.
Being a large 7-seater it had plenty of room to carry the burden of our postponed fishing trip and the seemingly endless supply of snacks and treats that the Ford representative continued to produce.
The winterless northland is spectacular to drive around and made moreso thanks to the blistering sunshine. The roads were relatively sparse of other traffic and adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist features were used wherever possible, this was a leisurely drive after all. We cruised through Kawakawa, Moerewa, Pakaraka, Oromahoe, before heading towards Waipapa and Kaeo (for those not of New Zealand, yes these are all real names).
Our final destination was Mangonui on a peninsula just north of Paewhenua Island and their famous fish and chip shop that stretches out over the water. The trip had taken several hours and nigh on 250km, so you can be sure that the fish and chips tasted outstanding (with lashings of Salt and Vinegar) washed down with an ice cold beverage. There is an old adage that ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’, we simply squeezed ours onto our fish.
The Ford Everest Northland trip more than filled the hole that the fishing trip had made. Plenty to see and a great chance to get to know what the big SUV had to offer. Sure we didn’t get to go out on a boat and catch it ourselves but rest assured we ‘took what we could eat’ and enjoyed the experience, oh and we still had the whole trip back to go too!