Monday, December 31, 2007

30/31Dec07 Okato & Opunake

Heading south from New Plymouth heading to Opunake for the night we passed through ing south through Okato. Typically a main road 'don't blink' town which I know is quite unkind. Okato is worth a stop for the two interesting shops even though the cafe was totally full and we couldn't get a table.
From Okato we continued to Opunake. If you don't know or remember one of Opunake's claim to fame is that it is the birth place of Peter Snell. He certainly had some good country to train in.Opunake has a couple of popular beaches both facing the surf. One is Opunake beach with a surf club and good camp groundnext to the popular surf beach(no dogs camp ground and beach).And Middleton Beach where it would seem that anything goes. It the pic of Middleton Beach there is a headland. Opunake Beach is just around that.Opunake is one of those interesting towns that is decorated with many murals. These are painted on virtually any spare wall on buildings and shops. Below are a couple samples.The local pub was a POP, large area of falt firm grass, where they charge $5 for the night per motorhome irrespective of how many people. The only real facility is water. The $5 charge is waived if you have a $10 meal in the pub which for us that night was roast pork and veg enjoying the company of great friends and very congenial hosts.For reference about 100m up the road was a tidy public toilet and an easy to use dump station. Good on you Opunake.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

29/30Dec07 Waitara & New Plymouth

On the way from Onaero Bay to New Plymouth we passed rather quickly through Waitara. A small town with a very much used river as one of its main attractions.From the main road on route to New Plymouth the Maui gas platform is visible on the horizon.
One of the main attractions for us in New Plymouth was a visit to the gardens at the Pukekura Park during the day.With Its fernery.
And the Light Festival that night that had a Celtic band that was playing.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

28Dec07 Onaero Bay

Leaving Tongaporutu we headed a little further down the coast to Onaero Bay where the NZMCA leases a camp site from the New Plymouth Council.We arrived a little after lunch and quickly settled in finding a nice spot at the road end of the camp next to the river.Once we were established we went off for a walk to explore the Onaero Camp grounds. Interestingly it is split into two by the river with both parts of the capm connected by a short vehicle bridge.Where the river meets the sea and its estuary there's a great area for swimming and fishing and at the right time of the year, whitebaiting. There were a lot of campers and day trippers enjoying the days good weather.Fishing or swimming from the beach provides the west coast experience as it faces directly out into the Tasman Sea. In this pic you can make out the Maui Oil Platform on the horizon.This final view of Onaero Bay Motor Camp, looking back eastward into the camp a number of motorhomes can be seen parked along the final part of the estuary as the river exits to the sea. The river is between where the motorhomes are parked and the driftwood festooned beach in the foreground.The stay at Onaero Bay was a plesant one witrh excellent facilities and very congenial hosts. Whilst for us it was only for one night to catch up on a few things it was a stop worth making.

Friday, December 28, 2007

27 Dec07 Tongaporutu

The trip from Auckland on our first day ended up at Tongaporutu arriving the afternoon of the 26th. A small settlement on the Tongaporutu River just off the main road that runs through to New Plymouth.Next to the small settlement, some of which are permanent homes, is a domain where a number of motorhomes were already parked and whilst we were there over the nights of the 26th and 27th a number of motorhomes, caravans and tents came and went. It would seem that apart from a place to stay a while it is known as a free park stopover during a journey.The road through the domain lead up a hill into a long coastal DOC farm that permits camping and overnighting.The DOC farm provides access to the Three Sisters, of which there's now only two, and the Whitecliffs at the end of the farm (in the distance). Excellent easy bike riding with great views.The bike ride or walk takes you parallel to the clifftop along the road that runs the length of the DOC farm.Heading inland there’s some interesting country to climb. The DOC farm is like a big long plateau that the rises up to some high country which I must admit required a bit of bike pushing to climb.

Once there at the top the views are great except on this day somewhat misty on this particular day due to the ever present strong Westerly wind.The Pohutukawa tree was most certainly a feature of this coastal area. In the main quite small and continuely harassed by the wind.Next stop Onaero Bay

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

26Dec07 Christmas 2007 - The Journey Begins

Finally the Christmas ’07 break had arrived and the first stop for a break was at the town of Pirongia. Look to the last post 5th & 6th January 2008 for more on Pirongia.Mt Pirongia, not really a mountain but a short high range that separates Raglan from Kawhia, gives the town its name. As mentioned earlier we plan to stay on the mountain on the way home.Onward south turning right at Otorohanga our next quick stop for a (another) cuppa tea is Te Kuiti, the last largish town we will see for some time on the journey to the West Coast of Taranaki. Parked by the railway tracks that pass through the centre of town……we were close to a couple of really interesting sculptures. A wall that had a large weta on both sides……and a bat chasing a couple of moths. All very much larger than true life. Yes New Zealand does have two species of native bats - they only weigh a few grams, some moths like the Puriri Moths would almost be bigger, well heavier anyway.From Te Kuiti heading for the New Plymouth area we were looking for a place for the night, maybe even two nights. This one sounded good in the book - pinic spot by the river - but yuk really didn’t measure up.So we continued on to finally end up at Tongaporutu. In the New plymouth area you can stay 'anywhere' for two nights. See next post.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

18Aug07 Orere Point

South of Auckland on the shores of the Hauraki Gulf, via Clevedon or Maraetai is Orere Point and an excellent camping ground. It's a short journey from Auckland and easy travelling for even a single overnight trip or even a day trip.There’s plenty of camping space available plus some hard stand for motorhomes close to all the amenitiesThe amenities included a very large clean kitchen. Unfortunately for us on this trip the weather wasn't so great with a mixed bag of sunshine and rain pushed along by, at times, a strong wind.Orere Point whilst there is a point is really a shingle beach that is well known as a launching place for those wanting to get their limit of mussels (shell fish) and to do a spot of fishing.During bad weather Orere Point, as you can see by the nature of the beach, can be a little bleak and doesn’t lend itself to shore based fishing without trekking some distance either way.On the way to and from Orere Point from the North is Kawakawa Bay, the last larger holiday settlement.During the holiday periods, for these inner Hauraki Gulf locations, it would pay to book or at least check to see if there’s space available to stop over as being so close to Auckland they are very popular.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

21Jul07 Wattle Bay on the Manakau

Wattle Bay is almost the last bay where you can stay at the top of the Awhitu Peninsular before hitting the actual entrance to the Manakau Harbour. To get there turn left just before finally arriving at Orua Bay where there's a substantial camping ground.We’ve been to Wattle Bay a couple of times now as it’s only a short trip from Auckland and quite suitable for a single over night stay. Each time we manage to explore a little further still seeking that elusive fishing spot that will produce.An inner Manakau Harbour beach that whilst exhibiting some West Coast qualities remains relatively calm unless the weather drives from the North and East.It’s one of those places where you never know what’s going to happen next. Check this out, miles from anywhere.From here a visit to the Manakau Heads and the Lighthouse is a must. See a previous blog - Awhitu Big Bay.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

23Jun07 Tinopai on the Kaipara

On the way North to Tinopai the road goes through Wellsford. Unfortunately for us this chosen weekend was just at the end of one of the worst storms to hit for some time.I'm sorry but this blog is rather short due to the bad weather so regard it as just a taste of what's available. Tinopai is another of the small towns on the shores of the Kaipara Harbour. Somewhat further out into the harbour proper than Pahi and certainly well worth the trip.Tere's a long wharf at the end of the town that juts into the harbour that provides, at times, good fishing for those who wish to try their luck. The tidal current moves rather quickly at times through the relatively narrow gap known as the Funnel past Tinopai on its way to the sea. Pahi recently visited is further up the harbour from Tinopai to the East from Batley.The overnight parking, a camping area managed by the community, was a little way back from the wharf and with the present bad weather was in use by others not just us in our motorhomes.
As mentioned earlier the weather wasn't very good so our stay at Tinopai was somewhat short and not to many pics were taken, maybe next time.