Tag Archives: Auckland Parks

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.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

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. 

Don’t forget to click on the Images for Hi res or a Slideshow

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


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.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

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!!


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

Hiding from the World

We were going to take our grandson Ayden for a school holiday trip to Rotorua but unfortunately, he came down with a germ and after another night with his Mum and Dad on the ranch in Ardmore, he was still too crook to travel.

Fiona and I thought we’d try a new campground out at Martins Bay at the end of the Mahurangi Peninsula overlooking Moturekareka Island and also a bit of Kawau.  A lovely part of the world and we were pretty much the only people there on our second night.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

Rafe looking lonely
Rafe looking lonely

The Motorcamp is one of the Auckland City commercial campgrounds like Whangateau and Orewa. They were having an off peak special of $15 a person so given the rain and the showers were rolling through, we thought we’d give a shot.

Powered sites along the beachfront
Powered sites along the beachfront

Its a huge campground with lots of permanent caravans with decks and addons but there are also plenty of powered sites, I think in the region of 130 odd I saw somewhere.

A good facilities block with token and 50c showers and a well setup kitchen and TV room. Being in a popular fishing area, there is a boat and fish washing area and a separate storage area for boats and tractors.
Above the main part of the campground on a hill, there is a raised area with views over the whole bay where you stay if you pay a wee bit more.

From the Scandretts track with Martins bay and Whangaparoa in the distance
From the Scandretts track with Martins bay and Whangaparoa in the distance

On our first full day, we set off along the beach past heaps of baches for a walk up to Scandretts Park. Its an easy walk up a well worn track up to the top of the hill and you can walk down to Scandretts Bay, or several tracks take you out to a pah at the end of the point. The views are amazing.

Scandretts Bay looking towards Takatu Peninsula
Scandretts Bay looking towards Takatu Peninsula

We had rolling showers with lots of fine periods while we were there and they had just had lots of rain so quite a bit of the park was roped off to recover.

Moturoa Island and Whangaparoa in the distance
Moturoa Island and Whangaparoa in the distance

A nice park which I  reckon would be packed in summer and very handy to Kawau Island and the other islands.

A Beautiful Day

With a great forecast for the weekend after weeks of wind and rain, friends Rob and Helen were keen to get away. “Were we doing anything this weekend?” Was the question. We’re joining you guys at Sullivan’s Bay which is where they were keen to go. 

Click on the images to see them in Hi Res or a slideshow.

As far as the eye can see. Looking down to Sullivans Bay
As far as the eye can see. Looking down to Sullivans Bay

A lovely day but it was cold so after topping Rafe up with water, we were off.

Helen walking past Rafe
Helen walking past Rafe

We arrived at Sullivan’s Bay about midday and Helen arrived back from Snells beach not long after.

The last time we were here the weather was awful. Because it has been wet, the self contained area was closed and we were parked just outside on the grass.

SullivansAlthough we were only 50 feet or so outside the SCC area, the Internet reception was almost non existent but from inside the SCC area, we got a better signal without aerials!  Interesting!

The plan was to go to the opening of the new Sandspit Marina in Helens car. Click here to see that story.

We arrived back to Sullivans about 5:30 and with a snacky tea of meatballs in Rob and Helens Tracker and after a  few glasses of nice wine, we were ready to hit the hay. A very pleasant day.

Rafe and the Tracker
Rafe and the Tracker..

The next morning Rob and Helen left early. I went down to watch a couple go for a swim. It was 4C and at dawn was -2C! They weren’t in long and I think even the seagulls were shocked. 

It was -2 C that morning. Even the Seagulls look worried!
It was -2 C that morning. Even the Seagulls look worried!

A nice spot in paradise.  Yes, I know, I’ve raved about this place before but it is really nice!

The Farmers Markets

One of the nice things about travelling in a Motorhome is visiting all the out of town village like shopping areas and the Farmers Markets.

Fun in the Sun
Fun in the Sun

While we were staying in Ardmore recently, we visited the Clevedon Farmers Market which is just out of the village but well signposted.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

We found out very quickly how popular this is when we first looked for a park. Its amazing, people everywhere.

marketThere is everything from Veges, Cheeses, Spices and Jams all with some live music and a hay bale to sit on. Its a great atmosphere.
The weather wasn’t really behaving itself when we went with showers but it didn’t seem to worry anyone with lots of shelter there.

Sunday mornings from 9am – 1pm.. well worth a visit. If you want to park there with your motorhome, get there early 🙂