Monday, June 23, 2008

20-22 June 2008 Paeroa, Te aroha, Tirau, McLarens Falls and more

Hauraki - Waikato Weekend

The plan for the weekend was to visit the Hauraki/Waikato towns of Paeroa, Te Aroha, Morrinsville, Mata Mata and Tirau then over the Kamais to Tauranga then Kati Kati and back home to Auckland. The reason to visit these towns was to explore the antique and second hand shops looking for whatever might take our fancy.The first night, 19th, we stayed at the Paeroa RV centre that is well priced at $12 total including power.Paeroa most probably took most of the day, 20th, as it is known as the antique town of New Zealand or so they would have us believe. Yes there a many shops and it was fun looking.Nestled in the shadow of Mt Te Aroha is the township of Te Aroha.Te Aroha is a bit out of the way as it is not on any real main route.For the night of the 20th we ended up at Tirau and parked over in the car park of the hotel.We weren’t the only ones, there were a couple of large truck and trailers and some others.Tirau is an eye blink on the main road south with a couple of real interesting and well stocked antique shops.Plus some interesting art. I wonder if there would be any life left in these two Fiat Bambina halves.On the 21st after leaving Tirau the next stop was Mata Mata, the home to Hobbiton.With discovery tours to where some of the Lord of The Rings trilogy was filmed.We planned on being in Tauranga for that night, 21st, but first stopped off to view McLaren FallsAnd the river that flows below the fallsand the park of that name.The dam associated with the falls around which the park is formed is quite substantial and provide much in the way of recreational activities including walks, fishing and water sports.We parked up that night at the NZMCA pop, Gargan Rd, on the way into Tauranga. Fortunately the ground was reasonably firm as it sure did rain that night, all night.The 22nd and it was time to head home so after a lazy start we passed through Kati Kati bypassing Tauranga.Having passed it so many time before we decided to stop for coffee and lunch at Waikino between Wahi and Paeroa where the old train station has been converted into a small museum and period cafĂ©. Oh well home we go, it was a great weekend even if the weather was marginal to bad. Any weekend away is great.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Queens Birthday Weekend 2008
This is the last real long weekend for some time and we had decided to find our way up to Opononi for a few days. After overnighting Thursday night at Maungaturoto we passed through Dargaville.A town of early style houses and the gateway to travelling further north following the west coast.We lunched beside the Wairoa River sometimes called the upside down river as it is always very brown.Heading north to our destination took us through the picturesque Waipoua Kauri Forest.A must is a stop on the way through the Waipoua Kauri Forest.This stop is a must to visit that magnificent kauri lord of the forest, Tane Mahuta.The walk to Tane Mahuta is only some 5 minutes from the road through forest that has remained almost unchanged for thousands of years.Nothing quite prepares you for Tane Mahuta. An awesome sight, such an acient tree, 2000 years old and still growing.Read the sign.Continuing north, leaving the Waipoua Kauri Forest we eventually got our first view of the Hokianga Harbour where it meets the Tasman Sea,and looking up harbour where it reaches past Omapere, Opononi, Rawene and more.The motorcamp we stayed at in Opononi was just across the main road from the harbourand the beach where you can see the wharf in the distance.A short walk from where we were parked up was the Opononi wharf, and from the wharf you can see the local business.The local pub provided excellent coffee.After a few nights it was time to leave our park up spot at Opononi and work our way part way back home.First step on the journey home was to head to Rawene where the Rawene - Kohu Kohu ferry leaves from.Parked at the front of the ferry it was a short journey across the HokiangaPondering the ferry detailsArriving on the northern side in the rain found even the local wildlife taking some shelter.Leaving the ferry we headed for thge township of Kohu Kohu from which the ferry landing gets its name.A small town like many in New Zealand that recognises those it lost in both WW1 and WW2.From Kohu Kohu we planned to lunch at Paihia passing through Okaihau and Waimate North on the way. Of interest at Okaihau was the Fire Station museum.Where fire engines of all vintages are displayed and memorabilia from all ages and around the world are showcased.Next stop was Waimate Northand the historic church.It was an opportunity to visit the resting place of relations who were early settlers in the area.Lunch at Paihiaand after a brief stop at Kawa Kawa where the train line runs down the main streetand is the location of the famed Huddertwasser toiletThrough Whangarei our last night was at the DOC park of Uretiti BeachAn ocean beachthat stretches from Waipu in the south and north past Ruakaka to Marsden Point.Last stop on the way home was the Eutopia cafe at KaiwakaIt's well worth the stop if you have time, no make the time it's a place of interest not to be missed.What a great weekend that extended into five days.