Tuesday, January 29, 2008

26,27 & 28Jan08 Whangarei Heads

Auckland Anniversary weekend for 2008 saw us head north to stay at the Blue Heron Motor Camp just short of Parua Bay on the way to the Whangarei Heads.From where we were parked the opportunity to fish was only 50m away and yes we did catch snapper. How good is that.We took the opportunity to cover some of the area as some of the following pics will show.A view looking into Parua Bay.Urqharts Bay, one of the last bays on the Whangarei Harbour side.From Urqharts Bay looking across to the Marsden Point Refinery.A short journey over the hill brings you to Ocean Beach, Whangarei Heads, very popular with all especially surfers.A little deviation to the north before heading home took us to Pataua. This was a place we wanted to check out for future reference. The estuary proved to be a popular spot for both swimming and the launching of boats.Even if the camp was a little tricky getting in and out of for motorhomes like ours.Oh well that's it for another weekend.

Monday, January 7, 2008

06 Jan 2008 Pirongia & Wharepapa Sth

Mt Pirongia & Wharepapa South
Our last night away was to be on Mt Pirongia. The journey to Mt Pirongia took us through Wharepapa South, a country side littered with limestone formations that make the area very popular for rock climbers.Driving up onto Mt Pirongia one gets very close to the natural bush for which there's a feeling of privilege in being allowed to be there.

There are many easy walks on Mt Pirongia ranging from a few minutes to a number of hours. Unfortunately we didn't have time to enjoy these although we did venture a little way in the dark of the evening enjoying gloworms and ruru.
We parked up in the public carpark for the night enjoying the solitude of the mountain.
Well that's it for our 2007 Christmas / 2008 New Year journey, the next can't come soon enough.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

05Jan08 Lake Whakamaru & Waipapa Dam

Lake Whakamaru

A stopover at Lake Whakamaru for the night of the 4th was well worth while as it had been a long drive from Whangamomona especially after a detour to the Mt Dampier Falls.
Whilst most of the flatter places were taken we did manage to get right close to the water. A comfortable park up for a good night before heading off again in the morning to pass the Waipapa Dam, the largest earth dam in the Southern Hemisphere, on the way.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

04Jan08 Mt Dampier Falls

Mt Dampier Falls

The Mt Dampier Falls are about 6km off the main road. From the parking spot the falls are a good 30 mins walk through paddocks, bush and well worn tracks.The falls themselves at this time of the year were not carrying much water but would surely be quite spectacular after heavy rain being the highest falls in the North Island.It's easy to see downstream of the falls the energy of the water by the carving out of the steep sided valley.The journey to and from the falls was quite hot and dusty and a welcome stop was taken...
...close to the remains of an old traction engine that had served it's time dragging logs out of the bush.It was a nice spot to stop surrounded by interesting bush...... and farmland.From here it was a long haul to Lake Whakamaru.

04Jan08 Kaieto (Cafe)


The road from Whangamomona to our next stop at Whakamaru was to take us past interesting country over another high saddle.
At the top of the saddle was a cafe called Kaieto from which the view all around was quite something.Our small camera really could not do it justice and convey the grandness of it all.There was actually a small place to park up...... but not much else.
Continuing on after a break at the Cafe our next planned stop was Mt Dampier Falls.

04Jan08 Whangamomona


No journey through the Forgotton World Highway would be complete with a stop over at the Republic of Whangamomona.The centre of activity long ago when the road was being purshed through any of the original buildings still exist. Some still bear the original occupants names and seem to envelope one with the history of the location.There's a small camp ground up a side road past the hotel...... that provided the basic necessities for a short stay with a short bike ride to the Hotel for a good basic country meal.

Friday, January 4, 2008

03Jan08 Whangamomona Saddle

Whamomona Saddle

Travelling the Forgotten World Highway would not be complete with out a detour to the tunnel that takes you to the Bridge To Nowhere.A reasonably tight tunnel that doesn't leave a lot of margin for error.From the tunnel and back on the road it is an interesting and scenic climb to the top of the saddle.
After a break, a bit of a look around it was time to head to Whangamomona where we would spend the night.

03Jan08 Te Popo Gardens

Te Popo Gardens

Before heading off up the Forgotton World Highway to our next destination at Whangamomona known as Whanga to the locals we detoured to see the Te Popo Gardens.The gardens meander through park like grounds of trees and flowers.A number of time you cross a beautiful small stream.After some lunch in some grounds nearby it was time to head back to the main road, the Forgotton World Highway.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

1, 2 & 3Jan08 Stratford

After spending New Years Eve up on Mt Taranaki in the carpark of the Mountain Lodge we decided that we would spend the next two nights in Stratford.We found a small motor camp right in the heart of Stratford that alongside a park through which ran a small river. The river was mentioned as fishable (trout) and evidence of this could be seen by the pieces of fishing line caught up in the trees overhanging the river.The park offered a wide variety of areas from dense supplejack.......to open spaces.From many parts of the park Mt Taranaki could be seen.Stratford itself is well known for its Glockenspiel, see the tower in the far ground.Many people gathered at the published times to watch the action and hear the play.On the 3rd it was time to leave Stratford and the ever present Mt Taranaki and start the journey north along the Forgotton Highway.