Tag Archives: Great beachs

Fun in the sun at Pauanui

With the Covid scare stopping our Anniversary weekend trip dead in its tracks, we headed off to Pauanui for the weekend to catch up with family and friends with our bikes on the back.

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Fantastic Beach

Its a great place for bikes as its all pretty flat and as most of the locals there use bikes to get around, they seem pretty tolerant and used to seeing them on the road.

We checked in at our favourite place for parking there, the Pauanui Sports Club. The Pauanui Club have been offering parking for NZMCA’rs for a few years now and doing a great job of it.

Looking good

The first day we were there, there was a knock at the door in the morning and it was our grandson Ayden who had biked around to say hello. We were later joined by his Dad, Alex and brother Liam.

Alex teeing off

The mini golf course next door was the place to be which was also busy with the long weekend. Granny Fiona went along too. 8 yr old Liam found a water trap within a few strokes of his club. As it was quite hot, he was in no hurry to get out either 🙂

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We had been invited out to tea with one of Fiona’s old school friends Janette and her husband Evan. Always nice to see them so we were off on our bikes to their place for a great night.

Busy busy

The next day we spent meeting the neighbours. Paul and Ruth on one side from Auckland and Peter and Wendy from Tauranga on the other. Small world stuff too. It turns out I’d met one of Peter and Wendy’s good friends involved with the Motorhome industry who we met again later in the weekend. I also used to work with Paul’s brother in Auckland 30 plus years or so ago in the newspaper industry..

We took the boys to the village to get some lunch.

We finished off here by having fish and chips with the grandkids around at their place. A nice weekend.

I’ve been a great supporter of the Pauanui Club. They’ve been great supporters of the NZMCA and its members and provide a great facility.  It is run with little human intervention meaning, no booking, no sites are marked out.

Due to its popularity now, I think time has come for the sites to be marked out and a limit placed on the numbers like the NZMCA sites.

Over the weekend, we ended up having 14 vans in there with only half having some reasonable fire gaps between them.

An extra one out by the Airfield

The general thought here was that it would be a good idea that the club put some “below lawn mower height” pegs in to define some sites and make sure that everyone is kept safe. Cheap and easy and it can continue to be run as it is.

Busy busy busy

Its a fantastic place to stay with great people and long may it continue.

Nice to get away for the long weekend and catch up with everyone at a great spot.

Rafe’s Tracker map – Armada GPS

Poutu Marine Hall Campground

This is a trip I’ve been looking forward to for several years but have been put off by the roughly 25k’s of unsealed road and I needn’t have worried as its better than most metal roads around NZ and it is being sealed as we speak.

Pouto Marine Hall Campground as its called is beautifully run by husband and wife volunteers John and Janine, who live opposite and is run for the community that own the campground.

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The campground

Its is a fantastic site set up on a hill looking out across the Kaipara eastwards towards Tapora and has easy access to two great beaches.

The hall (villa) was the original Custom House built in the early 1800’s and used to clear the vessels cargo as it came into the wharf that was just down off the beach. The wharf is being rebuilt along with the sealing of the road.

Rafe by the Historic Hall

The Hall houses the Kitchen, Shower and Toilet facilities that are provided for the Campground.

Tent town

The campground is also a participant in the NZMCA Campsaver scheme as well.

The front of the old Custom House

We were lucky to get a park right up next to the Hall plugged in.. lucky as the campground was chocker mostly with families in tents and with only 8 powered sites, it didn’t take much to fill !

The view from the Campground across the Kaipara

On our second night here, we were sitting in Rafe having a glass of something when walking alongside Rafe was an old friend I hadn’t seen for years. I jumped outside and called his name, he was as shocked as I was that we were both is such a small place and that we both knew someone 🙂

The Lounge inside

It turns out that they lived in a Bach they have had there for over 20 years and built themselves (with hand tools!) and were right opposite the camp ground. Our sons used to be at school together and were great mates.

Janine and John couldn’t have been more helpful and with John running a quad bike trip out to the historic lighthouse 7 k’s away, this was one of the reasons we were here.

A neat campground with super nice people in a great spot.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Poutu – Armada GPS

Quad bikes to Poutu Lighthouse

Over the years there was a service run locally in Poutu by a chap called Jock who by all accounts was a real character and one of those really nice people who couldn’t do enough for you. Jocks operation used to run visitors along the 7 km beach to see the historic Lighthouse.

The lighthouse up the top

Sadly Jock passed away and the service stopped so the Poutu Marine Campground managers, John and Janine carried it on and it is not to be missed.

John popped over to Rafe the day before and had worked out the tides so we could get there and back with no issues along the beach the next day… wow we were fizzing..

Odd looking Dunes on the way

I was to drive one quad bike with Fiona on the back and John would lead on the other. I was given a brief driving lesson on the front lawn and we were off to the boat ramp down the road and off down the beach.

Parts of a shipwreck appearing.

The sun was shining but there was a good 20 knot westerly which we were driving into but it added to the fun. We stopped along the way to see a wreck which had just appeared out of sand dune.

Apparently every day is different when the wind is blowing where the beach completely changes and sand dunes appear and disappear. Its amazing.. This has the effect where all the historic wrecks along this coast do the same and when they’re uncovered, they’ll disappear just as quickly !

We moved on to see some really unusual sand dunes that had popped up and a ti tree grove that had been completely covered by sand. A bit further we veered off through the dunes to see a freedom camping spot with about 4 carloads of people enjoying a private little spot in the dunes. After a friendly wave, we carried on.

John about to head up to the Lighthouse

Up came some BIG sand dunes and it was time for another driving lesson to get familiar with the loose sand. These were massive and its huge amounts of fun.. Fiona stayed on the back so I think I passed the test 🙂

On a bit further and it was time to climb up the 80 odd metres to the famous Lighthouse. John was saying that DOC have just replaced the door broken by vandals and given it some paint but it needs much more. The lighthouse was built in the 1840’s as by then there had been nearly 100 shipwrecks with boats trying to cross the bar and sinking in the channel.

Fiona nd John with Lighthouse behind

At the top there is more evidence of attempts to plant some trees covered by sand. The sand up around the back of the lighthouse is all quite new.

The Quad with sand covered trees.

After a trip further around to another vantage point for a piccy, we set off back to the Poutu Camp.

A person we saw clamber up the sand dune to take a pic.

The whole trip took about 3 hours and was just fantastic.

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A day or so later in the afternoon, John popped over and offered to show us up the inner harbour which has a completely different look to it. That was great too and its amazing how much of the beach and cliffs have eroded up there. There was a pipe of a bore right at the water line where a village once stood but had to be abandoned.

Fiona nd John on the inside of the Harbour looking back to Poutu

Another great trip and well worth doing.

As far as we could go.. close to Kelly’s Bay

The Piano Man

While staying recently at a Motorhome parking spot in Muriwai we met John who has a massive shed on his 150 acre farm up on the hills. We were parked on his farm.

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John with a 1870 organ made in Chicago

While we were getting set up, he invited me in for a look in his shed. John emigrated from the UK with his wife Jane, many years ago with degrees in both engineering and agriculture. In his words then, “They wanted people like me”! and looking at the stuff in his shed, he’s a really clever guy.

John showing me a Pianola that he had revived.

John and Jane started an Orchard in Kumeu and grew the business to three orchards over several years. He was once of the first, if not the first to export Figs and Feijoas amongst other things too.

John playing an 1896 Clark organ made in Chicago.

Now in “retirement mode” he just sticks to his specialty of fixing Organs and Piano’s! I thought to myself, that’s a long way from being an orchardist but he is an engineer too!

Another Piano key masterpiece.

Amongst many organs in his shed is an old rotary hoe with tubeless tyres with a new petrol motor on which he has rebuilt for a friend.

Looking around the organs, John showed me the latest late 1800’s one he was working on which was a real mess when it arrived but he is slowly restoring it.

Johns bits draw with very fancy organ valve handles 🙂

He’s also a keen woodturner making serving platters and bowls from native timbers and he’s made some really interesting decorations/sculptures out of old Piano keys!

A really interesting and clever guy and you can stay on his farm for just $10.

Parking at Dusk
Muriwai much later in the day.

Muriwai Sunset

It was the first long weekend after lockdowns and already the traffic was awful but we wanted a night out of the house… where to go without driving endlessly through traffic.

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Muriwai much later in the day.

Muriwai looked great and we picked a spot I’ve been looking forward to going to for months. John and Jane’s Charges Apply (CAP) parking spot high up in the hills overlooking Muriwai Beach.

We made the mistake of letting the GPS lead the way which was down an unsealed back road up to the road despite the GPS having “no unsealed roads please” loaded. We should have headed straight to Muriwai Beach and then headed up the hill.. still a little bit of unsealed road but only a 1k or so.

Our spot with Muriwai Beach behind

John met us at the electric gates and directed us up to a parking spot where we could get power too for an extra few dollars. Absolutely magic spot looking straight out towards Australia and north over the magnificent Muriwai Beach.

John’s cows with the best view in town.

We were both pretty knackered so just lazed around with some good Jazz on the stereo and I went for a wander around the paddocks to get some piccies.

Parking at Dusk

A lovely spot so close to town and fantastic hosts.

The Gannet Colony

On the way out the next morning, we stopped off for a quick look at the farmhouse Gannet Colony up on the rock on the southern end of the beach.

Rafe’s Tracker map ..The long route we took to John and Janes. – Armada GPS

What a fantastic place to stay

There are few places in the world that you can stay at in a Motorhome that would beat Long Bay Holiday park.

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The Beach

In the off season, this is a camp saver park too. Leanne is the very friendly camp manager and also runs the well stocked shop. Everything is very easy and laid back.

Just lovely

I was lucky to have 2 out of my three nights here with just brilliant sunshine and made the most of it by walking around to the next beach called Tucks Bay.  Its an easy 10 minute walk around a coastal track which is well worth doing. There is also a gigantic Kauri tree and Kauri glade which is worth a look too.

Tucks Bay
Coming back from Tucks Bay

But its just a neat spot. You can also hire boats or kayaks and go for a paddle around. There are 65 powered sites and three onsite caravans as well.

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I went for a walk and met some of the neighbours. It is within walking distance rom Coromandel town (about 3 k’s) but probably a better bike ride.

A must do if you in the area. I’ll be back soon 🙂

On the beach at Tapu

On the way up the coast to Coromandel is a little village called Tapu. It is roughly 20k’s up the coast from Thames and has two motor camps and a free parking area on the beach.

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The Parking area

I pulled in to the free parking area on the way up the coast and joined with three other overnighters nicely backed into the trees looking out at the amazing beach.

Nice beach

Several of the other Motorhomers had Kayaks and were out fishing off the beach from their Kayaks when I popped in.

A great spot and the price can’t be beaten .. Free!

Just Cruising

Sandhills at Opononi

The Maui convoy arrived in Dargaville at about 4pm at the Dargaville Countdown supermarket. There were provisions to be bought and then we were headed together to Opononi.

We all convened in a street opposite the supermarket and then set off towards Opononi. They were going to stop in and check out Kai Iwi lakes and then head on up through the Waipoua Forest.

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From the top of the Hill looking out to the entrance to Hokianga Harbour

Its a twisty windy 80 odd k’s but quite a neat drive and after stopping up at the top of the hill of Omapere to get some piccies. I rocked on to the Opononi Beach Holiday Park.

Looking down to Omapere

The park is made up of terraced parking areas with some cabins as well all looking over the lovely sandhills at the entrance of the Hokianga harbour. Great views.

Out to the heads

I checked in casually mentioning that there were 5 Maui campervans about half an hour behind me !

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As they’ve had so much rain, we were to park on the road along the top terrace instead of in the park “otherwise we’d be there there for weeks”! So I was pleased about that.

Looking up at the road.

This campground had some awful reviews on the app but to get here and dealing with the owners who were fantastic, you would think you were at another Motorcamp.. so don’t believe the reviews.

Some cabins too

The troops turned up in the Maui vans just as it was getting dark and we were all parked one behind the other on the road with extension cords out for the power.

The crew arrives. Check out the view
The convoy arrives!

Rafe was host to a bit of Happy Hour before we all walked about 100 metres around the corner to the Opononi hotel for tea and a cold one as you do.

Great Harbour

A lovely spot and I imagine it would be great in Summer.

Breakfast time between the vans

In the morning we all got under way and headed to Rawene just a few k’s along the road so they could get the ferry further north.

Rafe’s tracker map to Opononi

That West Coast feeling at Bayleys

What a great spot. The Bachs are slowly turning into great houses, the colours are just magic.

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Good Colours

The Bayley’s Beach Holiday Park is the perfect spot there to stop the night with Sharkies Fish & Chip shop (and bar) just up the road. It is also taking part in the Camp Saver program.

A little mud but pretty good really given the huge amount of rain.

Unfortunately with all the rain, it was a bit wet but there was no danger of getting stuck.

The loos with the best view

An easy 15 minute walk out of a back gate takes you down to the amazing beach which goes for miles in each direction. After parking Rafe, I went for a walk down to the beach and then onto Sharkies for tea.

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I was following some friends of mine who had all hired a Maui Motorhome for the 3 day special and were doing a frantic 800 k odd trip around Northland. I was going to catch up with them the next day in Dargaville and then follow them through Opononi and onto Russell.  They were heading further North and catching up later.. a fun trip but lots of driving.

The Campground
Good for the kids

It was actually quite windy down at the beach but the campground was well sheltered.

In the morning I headed back into Dargaville to wait for the Maui Convoy 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to Bayleys Beach

Paradise on the Beach

That’s Hahei! one of my favorite spots to stay but it has been a while since I’ve been here..

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The Beach

Arriving at Hahei and checking in with Cathy at the front desk was easy and she directed me to a great spot right behind the dunes by the beach. Cathy’s husband Grant is General Manager and it was really nice to chat to them both. With the Covid 19 lockdown, the NZMCA Camp Saver program has given them a welcome boost to their numbers.. You can only imagine the effect the lack of tourists would make to the bottom line for a big park like this so great that its working for them.

Grant and Cathy

The last time I was here was with friends from Taupo and Snells Beach but that was way back in 2017 according to Cathy’s records.. how time flies!

The weather was due to deteriorate but I had the day to check the place out and there is plenty of it.

Great Outlook

Just down the road is Cathedral Cove which you can walk to. Fiona and I did this a few years ago and its well worth doing.

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Since I was last here, there is a Spa pool available now right on the crest of the dunes next to the beach which looks out over the bay to the Islands beyond. What a nice idea and I bet its popular in the peak season. There is also a BBQ hut with shelter looking out over the bay too..

The spa

Its a huge park with some really nice Tourist flats at one end overlooking the beach. And just acres of parking spots.

The Tourist Flats

With more than 200 powered sites, there is lots of space with room between parks and easy access to them as well.

Just a lovely atmosphere, a fantastic beach and its just over a couple of hours from Auckland.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Hahei