If you travel north from Kaukapakapa on SH16 heading towards Wellsford, you pass some huge and unusual structures on the coastal hills that form part of Allan Gibbs’ collection of super-size sculptures. As it is on private property, you can’t just turn up when you want, but this weekend was a fundraiser for the Auckland Art Gallery so we purchased a couple of tickets. Continue reading Gibbs Farm Kaipara Harbour
On both Thursday and Friday I noticed that the sea down at Long Bay Beach was absolutely flat, so I thought conditions might be right for a kayak trip to Kawau Island in the weekend. We looked for the closest place to camp, and discovered that self contained vehicles can stay overnight at Scandrett Regional Park, so we drove up late Friday afternoon.
Continue reading Scandrett Regional Park and Brick Bay
On the southern side of Kawhia Harbour there are some interesting rock formations that we have been wanting to kayak to, and this weekend we thought the conditions might finally be right. Felicity needed to visit the local doctor to discuss student placements, so she arranged to meet him late on Friday afternoon. Continue reading Kawhia Harbour and Lake Ngaroto
It was Auckland Anniversary Weekend, and the weather looked good, so on Friday morning we headed down to Coromandel with our kayaks on the racks. We had hoped to stay on the edge of Whangapoua Harbour, but we weren’t the only ones to have this idea and all the freedom camping spots were taken. In the late afternoon, and desperate to get in the water for a swim, we called in at the Kuaotunu Motor Camp and found they had a site vacant.
Continue reading New Chum Beach and Kirita Bay
As the weather didn’t look too flash with regards to kayaking, we decided to explore the North Head of the Kaipara instead. After lunch on Friday we drove north to Dargaville then turned south again after crossing the Wairoa River. Continue reading Pouto Point and Ripiro Beach
I’ve never visited Ahipara, so we took the car ferry from Rawene across to Kohukohu and drove north along the Mangamuka river instead of returning to Kaikohe. The south end of Ninety Mile Beach is quite pretty, but somewhat spoiled by constant traffic driving at speed up and down the beach. Continue reading Houhora at New Year
Although we have visited Opononi several times in the past, neither of us has ever crossed the harbour to check out the huge sand dunes at Rangi Point. One of the most popular tourist activities in the area is to climb to the top with a boogie board and slide back down at great speed into the sea. Continue reading Opononi Sand Dunes
On Boxing Day our daughter and her boyfriend flew up from Wellington to join us for a week exploring the Far North. As the weather looked pretty good we decided to take them on an overnight tramp along part of the Te Araroa Trail from near Mangamuka Bridge into the Omahuta Forest. Continue reading Omahuta Forest
Part of Felicity’s job is to recruit and encourage doctors to help train medical students by giving them real world experience. We’ve spent the last week touring around Coromandel in the motorhome visiting many of the region’s general practitioners. Continue reading A visit to the doctors in Coromandel
This weekend we’ve been out on the West Coast again. Early on Saturday afternoon, we launched the kayaks at Cornwallis Wharf and paddled north along the cost towards Laingholm.
Continue reading Whatipu to Pararaha
Tomorrow (Dec 5th), the Auckland Council’s Environment and Community Committee will make a decision on proposals to combat the spread of kauri dieback, including possibly closing the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. Mindful that it may be our last chance to visit this beautiful area, we went for a hike around the Montana Heritage Trail near Bethells Beach last weekend and yesterday explored a couple of tracks near Whatipu. Continue reading Kura Track and Omanawanui Track
In between Pataua and Ngunguru is a river called the Horahora, on the NZ topographical map anyway. On Google Maps it is confusingly named Waitangi, despite the fact that there is much better known river with the same name in the Bay of Islands a bit further north. Continue reading Horahora River
As Felicity had to attend a powhiri in Whangarei this weekend, we loaded the kayaks onto the motorhome and headed north on Friday morning. As we planned to stay the night at her cousin’s house up on Mt Tiger, we stopped at nearby Parua Bay for an afternoon paddle. Continue reading Parua Bay and Taurikura Bay
Despite the fact that heavy rain was forecast for Saturday night we decided to spend the weekend kayaking, and the Rotorua area seemed the obvious choice. We left home on Friday morning, and made it as far as Karapiro by lunchtime. Continue reading Dunham Reserve and Blue Lake
For the first time since our return from Europe we’ve spent a weekend in the motorhome down in the Waikato. Felicity had an appointment at midday Saturday in Hamilton, but we hit the road early on Friday morning, and as usual she worked with her Surface Pro on her lap all the way down the motorway.
Continue reading Karapiro and Matamata
There is so much to see in Firenze, as the Italians call the capital city of Tuscany, that we are spending a couple more nights here before leaving Europe. Getting here from Siena wasn’t as straightforward as we had hoped, because our train unexpectedly terminated at a place called Empoli, and we had to take another 20 minute train ride to get into the city. Continue reading Return to Florence
Siena is very similar to the other Tuscan hill towns we have visited recently, just ten times the size. There are many thousands of tourists jamming the narrow streets, which also allow cars, trucks and even buses, not to mention maniac Italians on motor-scooters. It is not a relaxing place. Continue reading Siena
On the last day of our walk through Tuscany we have covered about 15 kilometers, because we made a detour along the way to visit the hill town of Monteccheillo. About half a km outside of Pienza we had the option of an alternative road because the GPS waymarked route can get muddy – not much chance of that today! Continue reading Pienza to Montepulciano
The town we have walked to today used to be named Corsignano, but in 1405 a bloke named Enea Silvio Bartolomeo Piccolomini was born. 53 years later he was elected Pope Pius II, and decided to embark on a programme of urban renewal in his hometown, which from then on was called Pienza – the town of Pius. Continue reading San Quirico – Pienza
Today’s walk passed through the thermal spa town of Bagno Vignoni, one of the most interesting places in the Orcia Valley. As we walked down towards the river after breakfast we had some fantastic views of Rocca d’Orcia behind us up on top of the hill. Continue reading Rocca d’Orcia to San Quirico