We had intended to camp just past Te Kaha, but before we arrived there we spotted some campervans and a bus down on Maraehako beach, and a small sign advertising a private camping ground. When we realised how beautiful the place was, we decided to spend $15.00 each and stay. It turned out to be money well spent – this is one of the best coastal kayaking destinations we have been to.
Continue reading Maraehako
According to the Campermate App, Lottin Point is an unauthorised campsite, and risks an instant fine. We have camped there a couple of times in the past, so we thought we would drive out and have a look to see if there are any “No Camping” signs. There aren’t.
Continue reading Lottin Point
When we first woke this morning, the sky was quite clear with an pink-orange glow. I was still drinking my bed tea when out to sea the sun popped over the horizon and shone straight in our bedroom window. It was obvious to both of us that it was going to be a kayaking day.
Continue reading Kopuawhara Stream and Mangaone Caves
Although we visited Lake Tutira at the end of 2014, we decided to spend another night there and enjoy a paddle. We noticed signs on the way in warning about low water quality, but it wasn’t until we parked in a prime spot on the lake edge that we realised just how bad toxic algae can get in warm, still water.
Continue reading Toxic Lake Tutira
Much of the boundary between Auckland and Northland is marked by the Topuni River, which flows into the Kaipara Harbour. A bridge carrying by State Highway 1 crosses it about half way between Te Hana and Kaiwaka. For ages I have looked at this river as we’ve headed north, and thought it would be fun to explore by kayak.
Continue reading Port Albert and Topuni River
Our cunning plan for Auckland Anniversary weekend was to leave early on Friday afternoon and try and beat the traffic out of town. Fortunately I took a quick look at the online news before we left, and discovered that due to a car on fire near Papakura there were thousands of other keen holiday-goers already parked on the motorway.
Continue reading Arapuni Landing
As Felicity has an event in Whakatane to attend on Monday, we decided to drive down on Friday and spend the weekend in the area. We were keen on a paddle in our kayaks, but the weather on Friday was looking a bit wild so we headed for Lake Okareka, just to the west of Lake Tarawera, in the hope that it would be relatively sheltered.
Continue reading Powhiri in Whakatane
Despite our advice to nephew Ben that Northland would be hellish between Christmas and New Year, we had a couple of visitors from West Island with us who were keen to spend the week in a tropical climate, so we went anyway. Felicity and I were in the motorhome, while Robyn and Gary drove my X-trail with our double kayak on the roof.
Continue reading Far North for New Year
This Labour Day holiday we were well-organised – I hadn’t unloaded the kayak gear from last weekend – so we escaped the city late morning on Friday, heading south. By the time we reached Otorahonga we were ready for lunch, so we stopped at the Haurua rest area. This is the start of the King Country, and there is a memorial stone marking the spot where the first Māori king met with the Ngāti Maniapoto chiefs in 1857 to get their support. Europeans could not enter this area for the next quarter of a century. Fortunately for us the locals tolerate pakeha tourists these days.
Continue reading Whakaipo Bay
Felicity has a function to attend in Whangarei on Monday, so we decided to spend the weekend up north in the motorhome. As usual we didn’t have much of a plan when we left home, but as we neared Wellsford she rang our friends Lannes and Linda in the Bay of Islands, and received an invitation to park in their driveway overnight.
Continue reading Toretore Island
After abandoning our plans to go away in the camper last week due to the horrible weather, we committed ourselves this weekend no matter what. I loaded the kayaks on Thursday so by late morning Friday we were ready to hit the road south, way before any motorway traffic to slow us down.
The only slight problem was that yet again we were short on cheese. A first-world problem to be sure, but needing to be rectified nonetheless. Continue reading Lake Rerewhakaatiu
I had parked the motorhome on some very soft grass at Rainbow Falls, so I turned on the 4WD for a hundred metres or so as we were leaving this morning. I expect most of the time I do it will only be to park right on the edges of rivers and beaches and lakes where you wouldn’t quite trust a two wheel drive vehicle.
Continue reading Keri Keri River
When I woke up this morning I could hear light rain falling on the motorhome roof, but Felicity leapt into action and soon after 7.30 I was outside in my raincoat getting the kayaks ready to launch. Fortunately the clouds cleared and by the time we hit the water the sun was beginning to peek through.
Continue reading Whananaki Inlet
The Department Of Conservation is currently re-building the Okura Walkway, and intend to use 30 metres of a product called Geoweb to hold a mixture of bark and gravel in place. A local group I belong to called Friends of Okura Bush is concerned that kauri and kahikatea roots will penetrate this plastic mesh, and will then be damaged by heavy foot traffic on this popular track.
We have previously seen a small section of Geoweb on the Keri Keri walkway, but when I was told that there has been quite a bit used on the Taheke Waterfall Track just north of Whangarei I decided to check it out.
Continue reading Taheke Waterfall Track
When we saw there was fine weather forecast for the long weekend, we decided to head north in the campervan. Realising that others would have the same idea, we hit the road about 3.30pm, and as a consequence got a pretty clear run to Whangarei.
Continue reading Kerikeri for Queen’s Birthday
Our plan for Anzac weekend really only extended as far as visiting Felicity’s cousin for dinner and spending the night outside his house near Parua Bay, just north of Whangarei. We were only a couple of kilometres away when there was a terrible vibration and smashing noise from the rear of the campervan, so I pulled over to the side of the road just opposite the yacht club. All the rubber tread on one tyre had de-laminated and was lying on the road about 20 metres behind us, so it was obvious we were going to be a bit later than expected.
Continue reading Whananaki
The Motutapu camp at Administration Bay is an ex-WW2 military facility that is now used mostly by school groups for outdoor education. When it is not full of school kids, members of the public can book the old barracks for group events. One of Felicity’s colleagues has a great love of the island, and decided to hold a weekend party to celebrate her 50th birthday.
Continue reading Motutapu Outdoor Education Camp
A friend of ours rented a holiday house located right on the shore of Lake Rotoiti over Easter, and invited a dozen of us to celebrate her forthcoming 75th birthday. We loaded our kayaks on the roof of the campervan and left early on Good Friday morning to beat the traffic. As we had hoped, the motorway was clear, so exactly an hour after leaving home we were stopped on the bank of the Waikato at Mercer eating breakfast.
Continue reading Easter at Rotoiti
Even though we knew there was rain forecast this weekend we decided to spend a couple of nights at Awhitu Regional Park and go for a kayak.
Continue reading Awhitu and Manukau Heads
Out trip across Cook Strait was quite a bit rougher than the previous trip, but the combination of a sea-sick prevention pill and finding a strategic position in the centre of the boat meant that I didn’t suffer unduly. Because of the wind, the captain was forced to take a longer course and we were an hour and a half late docking in Wellington, but this gave me the opportunity to watch two complete movies, which distracted me from the sight of the horizon moving up and down alarmingly.
Continue reading Lake Maraetai