Friday, July 25, 2008

17-21 July 2008 Whangaruru North

It was planned to break our journey north with an overnight stop, Thursday, at Whangarei. We chose the golf club at Whangarei. We couldn’t get an answer to the phone so hoped everything would be ok if we just turned up. We arrived around 1930hrs and spent a quiet night waking to a bit of a dull misty morning.

Whangarei Falls. After a quick word with an early arrival to play golf we headed for a quick look at the Whangarei Falls.

Waro Limestone Reserve.We decided not have breakfast at Whangarei and headed on to Hikurangi. Just to the north of Hikurangi is the Waro Limestone Reserve.Still a very dull morning but an interesting place to have breakfast.

Helena Bay This was one of the bays on the way to the DOC park at Whangaruru North. Once again the weather wasn't so great as can be seen from this distance view of Helena Bay from a cafe/art gallery on the way to the bay.The bay itself was deserted - looking north,and looking South.

Oakura and Whangaruru These two were next being almost side by side a km or two off the main road.
Oakuraand over the hill to Whangaruru.

Whangaruru North - Puriri Bay Our destination for the next two nights, 18th and 19th, found us at the Puriri Bay DOC camp, Whangaruru North which is directly opposite Whangaruru on the other side of the harbour.For the next two nights we had the park to ourselves except for the ducks, gulls, pukekos, rabbits and kiwi.

Bland Bay is on the way in and out of the DOC park at Whangaruru North. This first pic shows the narrowness between Bland Bay (RHS) and the beginning of Whangaruru North (LHSSo it was down to Bland Bay for breakfast before heading to Russell.

Russell. From Bland Bay we took the coast road to Russell. The day, same as the weekend so far, was not so great weather wise with heavy rain storms passing through and a strong wind blowing straight into Russell.

Okiato to Opua. The main route out of Russell is via the ferry that crosses from Okiato (Russell side) to Opua every 10 minutes. The tide was quite low so a little care with a 7m vehicle and some overhang was required getting on and off the ferry.Opua

Mt Parihaki. Heading home and planning to spend the last night at the DOC park at Uretiti Beach we paused for lunch at the top of Mt Parihaki that looks out over Whangarei.Once again the journey home must start......

4-6 July Wild Weekend Exploring Awhitu Peninsular

Whilst the weather forecast didn’t promise much for the weekend we decided to give it a go anyway. We left late Thursday so as to avoid the protest of trucks planned for Friday morning.The stop that night was at the Clarks Beach Golf Club. A POP with power and a fine $7 each meal of fish and chips. We can certainly recommend this POP. Due to a complaint by the Clarks Beach Motor Camp they’re limited to two vehicles although there’s power for six.It was great to have breakfast down by the beach and to take a stroll afterwards before the weather threatened.The plan was to head from Clarks Beach to Waiuku on our way up Awhitu checking out anything of interest on the way. Waiau Pa was just around the corner from Clarks beach.With the Glenbrook Steel Mill was on the way to Waiuku. Glenbrook Beach was a prior diversion.Awhitu Regional Park. After passing through Pollock that sported an interesting art gallery with any coffee that you wanted - you paid your money, got a paper cup and were given directions on what buttons to press we arrived at the ARC park.Our second night was at the Awhitu Regional Park and yes that's hail on the road.Some nice walks to be had.Especially to the old homestead.That had a truely massive Macrocarpa tree in the grounds.Although our stay was during a time of intense thunder storms and hail like Auckland hasn’t seen for a number of years. It was cold enough for the hail to remain melted well into the day.The next stop was Grahams Beach. Grahams beach faces the inner Manukau Harbour which was somewhat of a relief, getting away from the howling Westerly winds.Grahams Beach POP. Some folks mentioned that they had seen a POP at Grahams Beach. Whilst it’s not in the NZMCA book we decided to investigate. Sure enough here was a shiny POP sign with instructions where to park which we did being as there was no one around or contact details. This was our third and last night.On the way to Hamiltons Gap we passed through Awhitu Central.On our way homewe checked out Hamiltons Gap. A West Coast beach that stood the full force of the Westerly wind.It’s really great to see the great steps forward that Franklin County have taken with regards to self contained vehicles parking over in some places for a couple of nights. Thanks to the NZMCA for their efforts in this area. Time for home again, went via Te Toro reserve (no pic) were overnight camping is permitted. Until next time 18-21 July where we head for Whangaruru North.