Sunday, December 31, 2006

30Dec06 Waipiro, Ruatoria, Tiki Tiki & Rangitukia

Travelling North after Tokomaru Bay passing through Waipiro Bay we came across the Waipiri Trading Company Est 1886. All through this area derelict buildings evidence a once thriving business past. Travelling on we made a small detour to the town of Ruatoria and enjoyed a coffee at a cafe that displayed all sorts of local arts. A far cry from the Ruatoria of old one might say.Not much further was the township of Tiki Tiki and the Tiki Tiki Church.
This church really has to be seen to be appreciated. It sits high on a knoll overlooking Tiki Tiki looking towards the East. When you first walk up the path towards the Church you are immediately impressed by the grounds and the exterior of the Church. On entering the Church being impressed soon changes to being somewhat awed by this beautifully restored building. It's not only a matter of restoration it's a matter of history, people and the detail that exists. A trip around East Cape is most certainly not complete without a visit to the Tiki Tiki Church, you will not be disappointed.
The Tiki Tiki Church sits on a U bend where you may continue North or take a side road out to the beach at Rangitukia. We decided to go out to the beach being reminded on the way that the East Cape is very much horse country.
Rangitukia, is the beach out from Tiki Tiki, at the entrance to the Waiapu River (to the South). Looking South towards the Waiapu River headland on the horizon you can see this massive waka sitting on a massive trailer deteriorating in the weather.
With the help of a local iwi member we managed to get permission to cross the paddocks and have a look at this impressive waka. Apparently it was built for the Millenium celebrations and has been left to literally rot here. One of the pictures shows the intricately carved ornate prow lying smashed and uncared for on the ground. It is truely impressive and very large as can be seen by Rae standing on the aircraft wheeled trailer.
The part lying on the ground in the right of the pic is the very large prow that would normally be sitting high and proud on the bow of the waka. Some of it's detail can be seen in a pic two down.
Some of the real size of this waka can be seen in this pic. It is really very very large - what a absolute tragic waste.

It's hard to understand that such a magnificent vessel that took so many man hours and giant trees to build and of such cultural value would be left to such a fate.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

29/30Dec06 Tokomaru Bay

Tokomaru Bay deserves a little bit of space all to itself on our blog. Just North of Tologa Bay past Anarua Bay it would seem to be somewhat in Tologa Bay's shadow being less populated and also less well known.

Tokomaru Bay
Has it's own wharf, not quite as big at that of Tolaga Bay, but certainly just as interesting. There's parking at the end on the shore and the remanants of a once very thriving pastoral industry that needed the sea access that the bay and the long wharf provided. The dates on most of the buildings show that most of this dates back to the time of the 1st Wolrd War 1914 - 18. Obviously sea transport was probably the only real option as roads to the remote East Cape would have been largely non-existent or at best very hard to travel.

One of the locals who appeared suffering somewhat from sunstroke directed to the top local accomodation

We did try but it was booked out so we decided to again take the mobile apartment with the billion dollar view! The free view from the bedroom window is unsurpassed.

From Tokomaru Bay it's off tomorrow through Wapiro Bay, Ruatoria, Tiki Tiki, Rangitukia and some point further North East.

29Dec06 Whangara, Tolaga, Anarua & Tokomaru

Breakfast on the 29th was in a layby with great views overlooking Whangara Bay where the movie Whale Rider was made.

Unfortunately we were not able to go down to the bay as it was closed to all except residents and relations. Obviously the popularity created by it's fame had most probably become too much.

In the pic above on the building with a red roof, below the Norfolk pine tree you can just make out a replica of a whale on the ridge of the roof. Whilst having breakfast we met up with three interesting maori guys, or should I say they met up with us. They all work and live overseas and had come home for Christmas. One lives with his family in Germany, the others in China and Japan. Quite something from such a small community. After breakfast it's off to Tolaga Bay. Tolaga Bay. Apart from it's location and popularity going by the very full camp ground is know for it's very long wharf which unfortunately is starting to show real bad signs of decay - no vehicle allowed. There's an honesty at the beginning of the wharf to encourage users to donate towards the wharfs restoration. It would be a shame to loose such an icon. The march of the cafe culture has hit virtually every nook and cranny on the East Coast seen below at Tolaga Bay and... .....our next stop Anarua Bay - for coffee at Pete's Place. Pete's Place arrives every year from Wellington based on a very large two level motorhome. It's a restuarant on wheels with all the facilities. That night he told us he had some 14 booked in for dinner and had at times catered for more than 20.
After a coffee at Anarua Bay it's off to Tokomaru Bay where we plan to spend the night.

Tokomaru Bay. We found there's a lot more here than Tolaga Bay, including a big wharf but more on Tokomaru Bay next post.....

Friday, December 29, 2006

28Dec06 Mahia to Turihaua Beach via Gisborne

Looking over an interesting rock formation on the northern side of Mahia Peninsular you could see East Cape in the distance. We're on our way.
After leaving Mahia Peninsular and rejoining the main highway it's a steady climb up to the Wharerata Lookout. A spell here for a brew to enjoy the view with Gisborne in the distance. It proved to be a popular stopping place as a number of cars pulled over for a spell. Funny but all the motorhomes we saw all seemed to be going the opposite way to us - what do they know?
We stopped only briefly at Gisborne for a few supplies and then off to our first overnight North of Gisborne at Turihaua Beach.

Mobile apartment with million dollar views. Turihaua is one of the many great beaches that we were to stop at and at some stay over night.

That night plans were made for the 29th to move on, as we have been doing, in the morning, find an interesting place for breakfast and end up at Tokomaru Bay for the night. See you there........

Thursday, December 28, 2006

27Dec06 Napier to Mahia

Napier to Mahia Peninsular 27 December 2006

Coffee at Napier deciding when to get going, what to see and where to end up for the night. Before we go maybe a bit of a look around Napier - New Zealand's art deco city.
With it's well known marine parade with all sorts of activities, cafes, information and things to see and do. Not enough space in the blog to do any justice to this great asset of Napier.

The journey from Napier on the way to the Mahia Peninsular took us past Lake Tutira. Managed by DOC Lake Tutira is right on the side of the main road. A real easy stopping point quite manageable with a large vehicle.

With the right DOC permit staying over night is permitted. The lake is used for fishing, water sports and camping. Access is easy and great amenities are provided. From the map above you can see that there are some good walks to be had. Unfortunately we didn't really have time to take advantage of these, maybe next time we'll stay overnight or longer.

Leaving Lake Tutira and passing the Mohaka Viaduct we ended up at Wairoa.
Here we purchased out Gisborne Council 10 nights free camping permits for $10. With the permit you get given some bags for rubbish and recyclables and a list of places where you can drop them off. We were looking forward to free camping at some of the beaches up through to East Cape. Gisborne is one of the few forward thinking councils that support free camping and they do it very well with collection and waste dump sites.There's our destination. Mahia Peninsular in the distance. We've never been there before but had heard so much about it. This was to be the first time we stayed at a motor camp this trip. This would give us the opportunity to do a few house keeping chores. Whilst the camp was quite disappointing as in not very well kept and so many crammed in the location was quite great.
Only a short walk from the camp was a large expansive beach that at this end was the favoured launching place for fishing and diving trips.

The number, types and even some of the colours of the tractors would themselves made a great photo project. Most of them had extended 'legs' as the beach is quite flat especially at the lower tides. Whilst taking a walk along the beach after dinner the weather started to deteriorate.That night it was evident that a bit of bad weather was on its way. We did get a little bit of rain but it certainly didn't dampen our spirits and we were looking forward to continuing our journey the following day back to the main road and off to Gisborne and points East - but that's another story.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

26/27Dec06 Haumoana, Te Mata, Hastings and Clive

Our first destination stop after leaving Taupo was on the road out to Cape Kidnappers (out from Hastings). This road passes Haumoana Beach. We were looking for a place to stay overnight and driving past this beach we saw a number of motorhomes spaced out next to the beach. Spaced out at intervals we saw signs that said that it was permitted to stay for 2 nights. That was good enough for us. We only stayed one night and met up with a number of others as there had been a very big motorhome rally not far down the road.

Te Mata Peak, Havelock North, just South of Hastings. What a great view all round. We were by far the larget vehicle in the car park at the top, see the pic below. I put a lot of faith in the handbrake and reverse gear.

The road up and of course down was certainly an interesting drive with most of it being one way and very few passing bays. The thought of having to reverse, in a manual vehicle with limited rear visibility, any distance wasn't one that I really wanted to consider at the time.

The view was indeed quite spectacular and is definitely well worth the journery up, and of course down no matter how you do it.
From TeMata it was time to start the journey to the North. A brief nostalgic stop in Hastings where in my early teens we used to compete in archery at the Hastings Highland Games each Easter. Remember my first real earthquake sleeping in an old iron bed on castors - it moved by itself about 2 metres across the wooden floor in a rather hesitant motion.
North of Hastings probably half way to Napier is the township of Clive. Out with the bar-b-q for breakfast by the river. The bridge in the background is the main route between Hastings and Napier. Loads of parking at this very pleasant location. Time to head for Napier.......

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

25/26Dec06 The Journey Begins at Taupo

The first night, Christmas Day/Boxing Day was spent on the water front at Taupo. No overnight parking is permitted however I have never been there when there hasn't been a number of motorhomes staying over night. On this occassion there must have been eight or more staying overnight.

After waking up to a million, most probably a billion, dollar view of Lake Taupo it's time to be off for a modest adventure. Each morning, those that we planned travelling, we would take off and stop for breakfast on the way.

Not far out of Taupo we stopped for breakfast at the historic Opepe Reserve. All the other pics are video - must find time to edit and attach. Breakfast at this very exclusive open air restaurant was superb.

The Napier/Taupo highway was ideal for driver No.2 to get in some practice before heading into the hills not long after the Waipunga Falls - below.

The Waipunga Falls. Quite nostalgic, many years tramping and hunting throughout this area that includes the Whirinaki, Toe Toe hut and more. Follow the forestry roads and you'll end up at Murupara, Te Whaiti and Minganui. Real New Zealand forest at the very southern end of the Ureweras. Anyway this is our last stop before meeting the East coast at Haumoana......