Tuesday, January 30, 2007

26/29Jan07 Mangawhai Weekend

With friends Mike, Lynne and Harry (little poodle) we set up for the weekend at the Riverside Camp at Mangawhai, North of Auckland.
Harry is a much seasoned traveller and I'm sure enjoys the time away as much as we all do.
A quick trip to the camp store to get a newspaper and to explore the 'lay of the land' or should I say camp.As you can see we're very busy much of the time - yeah right!And Mike is there to make sure we get 'IT' all done on time.We were parked right next to the water, the Mangawhai estuary that provided safe and fun swimming for all......plus some flounder that night for breakfast.Talking about flounder it is now time to prepare the floundering gear as the night was nearly upon us and the tide will soon be favourable.During this visit we learnt that this camping ground, like so many others, had just been sold to a developer so who knows how much longer it can be enjoyed by the many who have permanent sites and those casuals like ourselves.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

9/10Dec06 South Head, Tapora & Port Albert

This weekend away was to be quite low key being just outside Auckland visiting those places in the title. First was a quick break for a cuppa and to share 'bread' with the locals.
A later stop was at the Macadameia Nut farm and cafe in a lovely setting part way up South Head.
From South Head and after spending the night at Shelly Beach we headed for Tapora and Port Albert. The road to Tapora for the last 12km was somewhat rough but it was worth the shaking to have a look.
At Tapora there is a home grown garden that is quite extensive featuring many strange and interesting plots.
The entrance to the garden was marked with a signpost indicating what lay in the other direction should you choose to go there.
Someone at Tapora obviously has a sense of humour with this 'Tree of Saved Soles'.
During our journeys past and those to come we have been snapping different, unusual and interesting letterboxes. Someone had certainly taken some time over this one at Tapora. A keen diver maybe?
Before heading home we planned a stop at Port Ablert. Public facilities and good parking made this stop one to record for the future.
Why is it called Port Albert? Reading the memorial stone and other information at the stop provided all the answers to the question including information about the pioneer families and some of the hardships they endured. Having some synergy with the Kaipara we found it interesting.
As always we had a great weekend exploring our immediate neighbourhood.

Monday, January 15, 2007

10Nov06 Awhitu - Big Bay

The Awhitu Peninsular is the southern head of the Manakau Heads, Manakau Harbour, Auckland. At the end of the peninsular there a three main bays, Big Bay Orua Bay and Wattle Bay. The two pics below show a google-eyes view of Awhitu.This was our first trip and we decided to try Big Bay first. The beach wasn't really anything to write home about and I forgot to get a pic anyway, maybe next time. A highlight of the trip was a visit to the Manakau Heads Lighthouse.From the Lighthouse there is a great view to be had of the entrance to the Manakau Harbour, Heads and Bar..The following are some interesting pics taken at Big Bay. A no rubbish sign.Rocks in the tree roots.A weekend away enjoyed time to head back to the big smoke.......!

Monday, January 8, 2007

07Jan2007 Coromandel

After staying the night at the Shelly Beach Camping Ground it was off to the town of Coromandel for breakfast and a good coffee followed by a wander around.An interesting view out to the road from the cafe. A restful spot to watch the world go by.After breakfast and coffee at a really nice cafe it was off to do a bit of window shopping followed by a short drive to the water to consider a spot of fishing.The coastline through this area is really very attractive with many sandy and rocky bays.
Well it's time to head home as these few days away have come to an end and we say farewell to Coromandel.The way home took us through Matatoke where you can buy some real nice cheeses. Couldn't help it, needed to take a pic of this letterbox.
See you on the next post - Awhitu.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

06Jan07 Whangamata, Onemana, Opuatere, Tairua, Pauanui, Shelly Beach

After a nights stay at Whangamata and breakfast down by the beach we continued on our way.The Whangamata Beach stretches in both directions for some considerable distance.Next stop was Onemana. Another really great Coromandel East Coast beach sporting a really good cafe.A little further North is Opuatere Beach. Fine sand and warm water at this time of year.Final destination for the day was the busy town of Tairua,with the view across the water to Pauanui.Destination for the night was over on the West Coast of Cormandel and the camping ground at Shelly Beach. Tomorrow we'll spend some time in the township of Coromandel itself.

Friday, January 5, 2007

4/5Jan07 Bowentown, Waihi & Whiritoa

After the East Cape Excursion and a qucik trip home to catch up with a few essentials we headed back to the Coromandel Coast. We stayed the night, 4th, in the carpark of the Waihi Beach RSA as did many other motorhomes. Whilst down at the beach I couldn't resist snapping a pic of our motorhome reflected in the hubcap of the spare wheen of a vintage Plymouth.The morning of the 5th saw us head down to the southern end of Waihi Beach to Bowentown. The park on the harbour side proved to be a great place for breakfast.After breakfast we headed back to Waihi and caught up with one of the locals of the Waihi Mosaic Gardens.Below is a sample of what can be found in the Mosaic Gardens. They are well worth a visit even just to see the pig (above)rounding up the chickens, feeding the eels in the creek and oh yes the huge range of mosaics.
From Waihi heading North to stay the night at Whangamata we detoured to see a really nice beach, Whiritoa. After a relaxing lunch and a few ZZZ's it was onwards to Whangamata where we planned to park for the night at the Whangamata RSA.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

01Jan07 Waihau Bay, Raukokore, Mareheko Bay, Hawai Bay.

New Years Day 2007. Time to begin the journey North. After the leaving Oruaiti POP the next bay North, which you really don't come close to, is Waihau Bay. A memory of Waihau Bay will be this motorhome that would seem to have come to it's final resting place.
The Chuch at Raukokore Bay, virtually next after Waihau Bay, stands on a large lawn within walking distance to the beach. The area of East Cape is now behind us and the changes in land structure and beaches are starting to become evident.
Following the road along the coast we came across a macadameia nut plantation that had as part of a real nice cafe plus lots of nut products. Interestingly and perhaps not suprisingly it was called 'The Nut House'.
From 'The Nut House' carpark the view towards the North of Mareheko Bay bought back many happy skin diving memories with its rugged rocky coastline.
A little further along the coast was Hawai Bay. Not as picturesque as many we have seen but still of significance with it's camping ground on the point. From here those with boats can easily enjoy the best of fishing that the East Cape has to offer. The change in beach and foreshore structure is really very evident which for the most part was to continue as we continued North.
This ends the East Cape Excursion blog with this holiday being picked up starting 04Jan07 until 07Jan07 at Waihi Beach. See you there.................

Monday, January 1, 2007

31Dec06 Te Araroa, Hicks Bay Lottin Pt & Oruaiti Beach

From Tiki Tiki the journey heading North crosses the main range that forms the East Cape and arrives on the northern side at Te Araroa. Here at Te Araroa is reputedly the oldest Pohutakawa tree in New Zealand.
Somewhere in Te Araroa there was someone with talent as evidenced by a number of beach sculptures made from collected driftwood.
A beach where life has a somewhat tenuous grip on life.
Next stop that day was overlooking Hick Bay and the Hicks Bay Motel. There were better pics taken but for us it's some 36 years since we were here and it was somewhat nostalgic to include the motel.
Between Hicks Bay and Lottin Point we found one of the more scenic and idyllic parking spots on our East Cape trip. This is what motorhoming is all about. Parked for lunch by a river on a shingle bank on a great summers day watching the world go by.
After lunch on the way to Oruaiti Beach we came across the turnoff to Lottin Point. The road was ok a far as the motel but after that, the last Km, it became a little like out of the movie RV, somewhat more difficult for a large 7m vehicle low trees and all. It was worth the effort to revisit, some 45 years later, such a great diving spot.
That afternoon whilst driving alongside Oruaiti beach we saw a POP sign and a paddock with a couple of other motorhomes in it. This looked good to us so we stopped and enquired as it wasn't in the book. $5 per night with good water available and home grown vegetable to buy. So it was Oruaiti Beach for New Years Eve.
New Years Day, tomorrow, will find us passing through Waihau Bay, Raukokore, Mareheko Bay, Hawai Bay.