Category Archives: Auckland Parks

Waterfront Mansion

Without wanting to annoy our old neighbours, we spent a couple of nights down by the Marina in front of my son Andrew’s house while we sorted out some Winter clothing for the South Island. It was nice to catch up with some of our old friends around the marina and such a nice place to stay.

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Beside the Marina

There were still two nights to go before we were catching up with our Devonport friends before our South Island trip so we thought we’d treat ourselves to Takapuna Motor Camp and check it out since we’d voted for it to stay.

The Tide is in and what a view.

At $47 a night for two on a waterfront site, it seemed to be to be on the pricey side but once you see the site on a good day, it is just magnificent and on our second morning, I received a text from good friend Alan asking if he could “come for a coffee at our Waterfront Mansion”.

Close to the water parking.

The Camping ground is great. It is only small so I could imagine it would be easily and often booked out on school holidays and Christmas Holidays.

You can rent these.

Standard Sites are  $42 and they also have chalets and caravans you can stay in. Loos and showers are free and are fantastic. The shower I had was one of the best ever with real pressure.

Click on these images for a Slideshow.

We went for a walk one night into the Takapuna main street, Hurstmere Rd, for an ice cream, an easy 15 minute walk.

Rangitoto Island

I grew up about a block away and went to primary school about three blocks away so I’ve been keen to see what its like but living locally, I’ve never had a need to stay here but I can say its absolutely a primo spot. It is handy to everything and being right on the water with a view of Rangitoto like this, it doesn’t get much better.

Great Beach

There is also a really nice Café right next door and the coastal walk goes all the way around to Milford from right in front of the Campground.

Rafe’s track from the marina to Takapuna.

Busy with the Boats

Tim and Annette, my younger Aussie based brother and his wife had been over for the weekend but they were busy doing their own thing so we thought we’d escape from the house and head off to an Auckland City Park. We were headed for Shakespear Park at the end of the Whangaparoa Peninsula, North of Auckland city.

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Rafe in the trees

We had the last park left available as they had restricted the CSC parking to 10 Motorhomes due to the amount of water from the recent heavy rain. It was busier than I’ve ever seen it and most had opted to park on the gravel parks where they could. One of the more obvious vehicles there was Roy and Bernice Vannini who were camp hosts.

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The city doesn’t seem far away

While the weather was good, I went for my customary walks around to see what was happening. There was action everywhere as there were more tan 300 odd sea scouts in boats at the main camp at the other end of the beach. They were having a great time in their boats with plenty of people around in rescue craft keeping an eye on them. Others were just enjoying the beach and the park.

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Its a lovely spot and its the first time I’ve seen it this busy.

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Looking great

Bernice and Roy came over to catch up which was fantastic as I’ve been following their blog over the last year or so. They’re fulltimers and have been for years in their 10m American Bus. Tons of room and they’ve done a lovely job of making it work for them. They’ve recently done a 3 month Motorhome trip around Europe so Fiona and I were keen to hear how they went and mistakes not to make 🙂 We’re heading over there in June and really looking forward to it.  It sounds like they had a great trip and they gave us heaps of ideas and tips, books to read and so on. Very helpful !

Shakespear is a funny place where the Internet is concerned as the first time we came here was without aerials and we got a very slow connection, useable but just ! The second time was later last year and we couldn’t get anything.. with aerials but without the patch for the aerials so I suspect they weren’t working. This time, it was pretty good for a known problem area,  but we’ve got the aerials working well now  but it was slow but usable and it seemed reliable. A tricky wee spot!

With Tim and Annette coming in for tea for their last night in NZ and after having a cup of tea in the morning with Roy and Bernice, we headed back to town.

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Checking it all out

Its always nice coming to Shakespear and its so close too.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 5.96 Mbps
Upload: 1.93 Mbps
Ping: 53 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.613140,174.824475

The image from Rafes Tracker.

Rafes Track .. the red dots showing where I went faster than 90k!

The Wedding at the Fort

What a fun weekend. Our old friends Mark and Tina’s eldest daughter Alisha was getting married to Tom and they had chosen The Officers Mess at Fort Takapuna as the wedding venue.  A fantastic spot and where Fiona’s family had spent some years in the officers housing by Narrow Neck beach.

The roof of the old fort with the Officers Mess behind and the carpark.

Just as it says, The officers Mess has been converted into a Wedding Venue and Café and was the old Officers Mess for the Army and later used by the Navy as well.  Its a lovely old building which looks out over the harbour towards Rangitoto Island.

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Fiona’s dad Norm was CO of Fort Cautley which was then the HQ for the Army’s 3rd Battalion. There were officers and senior NCO houses from the current buildings all the way down to Narrow Neck Beach.

Narrow Neck beach. This grass is where all the officers housing was.

Fort Takapuna has a huge history. It was originally built to fend off the Russians in the 1860’s and later updated for the two world wars in case the Japanese or Germans got down here. It is now looked after by DOC and more information on it can be seen here.
Its well worth a look around and the carpark is huge, perfect for Motorhomes and Caravans.

The Old Fort

When Friday came around, Fiona and I decided we would make a weekend of it and stay in Devonport on Friday night. We earlier met our old friends Dani and Grant at the Esplanade Hotel for a few cold ones and afterwards tea at the wharf.

The next day was wedding day and I packed up Rafe and headed off to the venue where we had permission to stay overnight in the carpark as guests.

In the carpark

I spent the day having a really good look around the fort while Fiona was getting her hair done.  There was a soccer game on at the playing field there which was fun to watch. I have no idea who was playing but it was fun to watch and I really enjoyed shooting a few piccies of it. I haven’t photographed any soccer since my days on the Herald and the Auckland Star so it was fun. Soccer is one of the hardest games to photograph as so I was pleased that I got a couple or reasonable piccies from it being as rusty as I am.

One of the better soccer piccies 🙂

The forecast rain held off so the ceremony was held outside looking out on the harbor. It was a bit of a catchup with old friends for us as Gary, Chris, Mark and Tina are all old Boatie mates along with Geoff and Bev who were also there.  We were all put on Table 4! Our friends Gary and Chris were joint MC’s and they did a great job. It was nice to catch up with the extended families and old friends too, many of them had come over from Aussie for the occasion.

The Wedding Service with a view

The wedding went well, the food was great and it was a fun night. We finished the night in Rafe with “Table 4” friends for a nightcap and cups of tea.

Rafe’s Track map

The way home from Fort Takapuna

Beautiful Awhitu

After a good solid weekend of babysitting, we thought we’d escape for our last night before Fiona had to return to work.

The Brook Homestead Wharf
The Peninsula Campground at Awhitu

I wasn’t really in the mood for huge driving for one night so we figured that up the Awhitu peninsula might be quite nice. I called Auckland City and it seems that even in the height of the Summer silly season, you can still use your camping pass at Awhitu and other parks like it. 

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Peninsula Campground. Plenty of room.
Peninsula Campground. Plenty of room.

After booking in on the phone, we were off heading for Awhitu. We arrived around 1pm and settled Rafe down in the Peninsula Campground.

When you book with the Council, the choices are Self contained or not.  When you get to Awhitu, it is Brook Campground or the Peninsula campground. I was a bit confused as to where we were supposed to park as there is no mention of SCC and no signposts 🙂
It wasn’t until we had the downloaded map off the council website that we saw two Motorhome emblems on both the Peninsula and the Brook campgrounds with tags saying SCC camping that we were happy with where we had parked. 

The  Brook Campground which is behind the Brook Homestead and the Peninsula camp is beside the Homestead and closer to the water. Both have nice toilets and great rubbish collection points and both are an easy walk to the beach. 

The Cottage
The Cottage

After settling down and having a look around both Brook Homestead and the Cottage, which they used before the Homestead was built, we sat down for lunch and just blobbed in the sun.  A perfect spot for watching the planes coming in to Auckland Airport and they were far enough away not to be a nuisance with sound. A lovely spot.

In the morning, we went for a walk down to the beach and had a look around. The Ranger popped in and checked the park so it was then I knew for sure we were ok where we parked although we were on our own. There was no one else there which surprised me.

The Beach with the tide out. Pip gathers out on the mudflats
The Beach with the tide out. Pipi gathers out on the mudflats

The park is huge and there are lots of great walks which we’ll check out next time we’re here but it’s a great spot and not too far away from the big smoke.

AwhituWe only had a night to check this place out before having to head back but we have visited here before but not stayed. See the earlier post.  It is a magic spot with a nice beach and plenty of places to explore. We’ll be back for sure.

AwhituThere is good 4g internet here which surprised me, being where it is although it’s not fast but good enough for Netflix.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 5.84 Mbps
Upload: 1.55 Mbps
Ping: 54 ms

Rafes Tracker map to get here

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Cricket on the mudflats

Fiona had left Bland Bay and was heading back to town to do other things .. and work so she suggested that I spend another night out on the way back. We stopped in Waipu and had lunch and then Fiona went on to Auckland.

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The cricket pitch with the campground behind
The cricket pitch with the campground behind

I rang the good folk at one of my favorite spots when the weathers good, Whangateau by Matakana. A great campground run by Auckland City.

In the Grandstand
In the Grandstand

Today was a bit different as when I arrived, the tide was out and there was a friendly game of cricket with two families involved. One was from Whangaparoa and the other from the UK visiting. They were having a ball. I had to get some piccies.

It is a fascinating place to watch as the tide comes in really quickly covering hundreds of metres of exposed mud in just under an hour… Amazing to watch.

The water is coming in
The water is coming in

A nice campground if you’re looking for somewhere not to far from Auckland. See my earlier Whangateau post here.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 12.89 Mbps
Upload: 16.67 Mbps
Ping: 74 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.315094,174.765907

Rafes Track to Whangateau Holiday park

Rafes Tracker Map
Rafes Tracker Map

Schischka Park – Wenderholm

The last time we stayed at Wenderholm, we stayed in the public carpark by the beach. Although we had a great night and its a great spot,  compared to other Auckland CSC parks where Motorhomers were safely fenced off, this was somewhat of a disappointment.

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SchiskaAfter discussing this with our veteran Auckland parks motorhoming friends, Rob and Helen, they told us that the Schischka park was THE place to go so here we were and it was fabulous.

SchiskaThere is a big electric gate with a digital keypad and after a 500 metre driveway it opens up to a massive grassed parking area by the water with brand new flush toilets in the middle. There are also some baches where you can stay if you don’t have your own accommodation.

We could only spend one night here but it is stunning. We went for a walk down a waterfront track to the beach and checked out the old Historic Couldrey House. There are new toilets there too. There are walks all over the hill there too so plenty to do and see.

The camp from the Estaury
The camp from the Estaury

A great place to stay and so handy to the big smoke of Auckland too.
One of Rafe’s tracking maps below.map

Bliss in Paradise

With no jobs in the book and with the sun shining, it was time to hit the road.  I had just paid for a years Auckland City Parks pass so I thought I’d try Tauwharanui at the end of the Takatu peninsula, north of Kawau Island. 

Check these in Hi Res by clicking on them!!

Stunning!
Stunning!

We stayed here more than a year or so go with friends, Gary, Chris and Rob, Helen and Chloe. We only had the one night here so exploring the area wasn’t really on the agenda that particular trip but it’s just a magic place.

At Dusk .. Little Barrier
At Dusk .. Little Barrier

When I first arrived, I think there was only 1 other person here and I bumped into him on the beach. He’d parked down in the tents only area but I assumed he knew 😀

TauwharanuiThe next day, I set out with the camera to have a nosy around. The beach is beautiful with Little Barrier just off it and Great Barrier further out. Compared to Auckland, you could almost reach out and touch them.

The water is stunning with a clean deep blue merging into Turquoise, just like the tropics with beautiful white sand. As you walk further, the beach merges with two more, all part of Anchor Bay.. Just beautiful. I spent a couple of hours just sitting on a rock under a tree just admiring the colours.. sensational.

Beach from Heaven
Beach from Heaven

After getting some nice piccies, I wandered back to the track to find that I’d forgotten which of the many tracks took me back to Rafe. I ended up walking about 3ks just to find my way back 😎 I can hear Fiona saying something like good exercise !

The long road back after the "wrong turn"
The long road back after the “wrong turn”

At nearly 600 hectares of Regional park, it’s a huge place and there are plenty of interesting walks to go on. There are  information boards to guide the way with brochures available. No Dogs as its a pest proof and kiwi zone.

Just behind the sand dunes
Just behind the sand dunes

A fabulous place and not too far from the big smoke at Auckland. 

TauwharanuiI  can see myself spending lots of time here. 😎

And a screen grab from Rafe’s new tracker system to show its location.

And how we got here, from Rafe's Tracker system
And how we got here, from Rafe’s Tracker system

The Netspeed speed test here..given how isolated it is, this a great result.

Test Date: 3/11/2016 11:49 AM
Download: 15.38 Mbps
Upload: 2.76 Mbps
Ping: 46 ms