Tag Archives: Great beachs

Pakiri Beach

The last time I went to Pakiri, I was in my teens and it was at the time that we had carless days and huge petrol costs. Two of us went up to Pakiri in a ’62 pillarless Chev Impala and camped with the car and a small tent. Remember those days 🙂

Apart from the horrendous cost in getting there and back with a two stage auto and V8, I still remember it as being a fun weekend away.

Click on an Image to enlarge it.This was to be different and after all those years, the thing that struck me the most was how different it was from my memories from long ago. The office now includes a store for basic provisions and was closer to the beach than I remembered but it is still a magic spot to go to for a break.

Next to the river

When I arrived, I’d just come down a wet and windy Leigh road down the hill and Rafe was absolutely covered in mud.

Manager Rachel couldn’t have been nicer in showing me where to park and although I was given an option of having a view of the river behind some pines, I chose to park a little further away in preference of getting a good TV signal and some winter sun.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Being a participant in the NZMCA’s Camp saver program, Rachel said it was working well for them. With power and access to their great facilities, it makes it really worth doing even if it is the middle of winter. Its a really nice place to be and away from all the hustle and bustle and only an hour or so from Auckland 🙂

Outdoor eating

I’d only been there a few minutes when two people from Wellington rocked in with their rented Maui Campervan. They had taken advantage of the Maui discount after lockdown and were out around the North Island. That’s them in the piccy below.

Late in the day

I went for a wander down to the beach to see what was where.. There was a film crew down there doing a fashion shoot for some ads, a great spot for that.

Close to the beach

The park is right on the river and estuary and an easy walk to the beach. The park is probably three quarters occupied by annual semi permanent caravans and cabins but there is plenty of easy parking for motorhomes and casual overnight stays.

I thought he was waving at me but I’m sure I was too far away.

A lovely spot, nice facilities and a helpful crew, well worth the trip and it brought back some great memories.  I’ll be going back again but this time on the sealed road from Wellsford:-)

Rafe’s tracker map out of Pakiri

Keeping watch on that Island

One of the nicer spots available not far from Opotiki is the Island View Motor Camp right on the beachfront between Ohope and Opotiki. The Island in front is of course White Island and it was steaming away when we were there.

Click on an Image to enlarge them

Nice little hedged parks looking out at the water.

After leaving Whakatane, we thought we’d try this Holiday Park which is also part of the Camp Saver program. Right on the waterfront too.

Great outlook

It was cold and in the middle of winter and I better it pumps during summer.  Its a lovely spot with several tracks through the dunes to the sand. Some enterprising person has even made a throne of sorts so you can sit and enjoy the view.

They currently have several hundred Kiwi fruit pickers there and with Covid still on, we were advised to stay away from the bathroom facilities. I usually prefer ours anyway. All the facilities are normally available and they also have a pool, Kayaks and other water toys available for those interested.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Great spot and later we were joined by David and Michelle in their new Dethleffs Trend.

Rafe’s track to Island View Holiday Park

Great to see David and Michelle again and when we left there, they were staying on a few more days to have a good look around.

Right On The Water

Here’s another one from 2018… enjoy

They’ve had a lot of rain up here so the Sandspit Holiday Park crew suggested that we stick to one back from the water just to make sure we don’t sink!

Click on an Image for Hi res

Nice parking

My old boating friend Alan and I were in need of some time out of the house so we decided a few days before to check out the Sandspit Holiday Park and do a trip to Kawau on the ferry. Sounded like a plan thought I so off we went early on the Friday afternoon. It is only 42k’s from Auckland and with little traffic, we were there at 3.30pm.

Its a lovely little park with a lot of permanent Baches and Caravans but what a neat spot.

With an NZMCA discount, it was $23 each a night. With their very new Showers and Kitchens, its a delight to stay at. There are a whole bunch of older interesting buildings there too and Horace the Morris is a feature as well.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We stayed two nights with a ferry trip to Kawau in between. Lucky with the weather, after getting back from Kawau, we walked along to the newly setup restaurant on the top floor of the Sandspit Yacht Club and caught up with Motorhome friends Rob and Helen who live not far away from there.

The ferry a few minutes walk away.

The last time we were here, unbeknown to me, they had some issues with the drainage system for the bathrooms which used to be a real problem apparently in the height of summer.

The new Drainage system

This has all been upgraded and put up the hill out of the way and hasn’t been an issue since.  Nice friendly hosts who were happy to help with anything. ..

A shot from the ferry. You can see Rafe in the middle.

A great spot and handy to the Kawau ferry and the new Marina at Sandspit.

The Netspeed Speedtest for here.
Download: 7.34 Mbps
Upload: 2.10 Mbps
Ping: 23 ms
I think the tower was playing up a bit as we had some difficulty with the connection over the two nights.

Rafes Tracker Map

 

Happy at Hahei

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

We’d survived the weather as fortunately the storm veered away from Coromandel and left us with plenty of rain but no wind.

Debris after the storm

I woke up early on Good Friday and took Rafe around to the dump station and got prepared for the next few days at our prebooked beachfront site. Fiona was driving down to Ardmore to be picked up by Helen and Rob and they were due to arrive around the middle of the day. Rob was following in their new Autotrail Tracker with daughter Chloe.

Click on the Images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

Our wee spot in paradise

When I arrived up at the beachfront site, there was another little Swift rental alongside. I jumped out to move a BBQ table out of the way and Eric from the Swift gave me a hand. Eric and his wife Mary Ann were from Victoria in Canada and were traveling around NZ.

About 11am, I received a call from Fiona to say that they had arrived and that the camp wouldn’t allow them to come in until 11:30. Seriously?  This does nothing to create a holiday atmosphere!

Our little setup with the tables. The Tracker and Rafe

Half an hour went by and Rob brought the Tracker in to park. As Rafes door is on the right and the Trackers door is on the left, I suggested I move to Rob’s park so the doors faced each other. This turned out to work really well as Gary, Dianne, Neil, Christine and even Eric and Mary Ann all came around to join us for drinks and nibbles for several nights. A lot of fun.

Happy Hour. LtoR: Dianne, Gary, Fiona, Christine, Neil, Helen, Chloe and Rob
Happy at Hahei

Back to friday. As the day went on, the park got more people in but by Sunday morning, it was really only about 1/3rd full.

Its a great park, a stunning location where our parks on the beachfront had tracks directly down to the sand. We were effectively parked on the back of the sand dunes.

Beachfront parking
The outlook 🙂

Toilets were handy, Gary and Diannes Beachfront cottage was right next to us, it couldn’t be better.

Beachfront cottages behind us.

My only comment would be that I found there was definitely room for improvement in the welcoming process at the office.  To be fair this may have been stress caused by the cancellations they would have had.

The stunning beach

All the same, I have to rate it as one of the better Motorcamps around in a great place and we had a lot of fun.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site.
Download: 16.77 Mbps
Upload: 19.06 Mbps
Ping: 69 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.841268,175.809322

Rafe’s Tracker Map

To Hahei

Storm at Coromandel

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

The build up was huge and as a result, we left Coromandel early and headed to Whitianga and then onto Hahei, as we figured it was very likely that we could get blocked in at Coromandel with closed roads. The road to Thames was already closed due to slips and wasn’t due to open until after Easter. After stopping at Whitianga for groceries, I cruised onto Hahei Holiday Park.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

I parked two rows back from the beach for the first two nights until the storm went through but on the second day, I decided to park behind the office amongst some trees for wind protection drawing on old boating experience.

My hideaway with the trees

Friends Gary and Dianne were in a beachfront cottage and Fiona had gone back to Auckland on the ferry for a couple of days work but was due back soon. ..so I was flying solo for a couple of days.

The Beachfront Cottages

Unfortunately the  camp was absolutely deserted as most Motorhomers had disappeared and run for cover due to the forecast which initially had Cormomandel getting hammered by the remnants of ex tropical  cyclone Cook.

The primo beach spots all empty

Gary and Diannes friends Neil and Christine arrived up from Otaki way on THE day and later, when the bell struck 4pm and the promised winds were only about 20 knots at peak and the rain was easing, we decided it was a fizzer and it was time for a light refreshment.

Just after 5 it stopped raining and it was time to go and check out the beach .  What a great sunset with all the clouds.

I felt for the campground people as the place was deserted and from Hahei’s perspective, there really wasn’t a storm at all. Yes there was plenty of rain but the cost to all those on the peninsula at a peak time, it really was a beat up. I suppose from the forecasters perspective, it had to be that way rather than have people unprepared and it could have been a lot worse. It seems a real pity that it affects so many people’s livelyhoods.

Out in the sunshine

The next day, everyone that was there all seemed to be enjoying the sunshine on the beach. It really is one of the best beaches around.

Rafes tracker image to Hahei

To Hahei

Beautiful Awhitu

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

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

awhitu

Left right, left right, attention !

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

What a great weekend! The weather was great and we had things to do.

After Fiona had finished work, we headed out to one of our favorite spots, the NZMCA park at Ardmore, a hop skip and a jump from Alex, Sarah and the Grandkids.

As always, remember to click on the images to see Hi Res.

Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe
Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe

Our friends, Rob & Helen and their daughter Chloe were heading off for a week or so to Napier and Gisborne so it was great we could pop in to Ardmore to see them off. When we arrived at about 7:30pm, they were off on a walk so they were a bit surprised to see us there when they returned as we hadn’t confirmed that we would be there.

Alex, Sarah and the boys came over after their tea and we all caught up in Rafe. Lots of fun.

The Ardmore NZMCA park is in an airfield precinct so a little noise comes with the territory, usually small planes and sometimes Helicopters.

Ardmore Park with Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe next door. The Cadet hall behind.
Ardmore Park with Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe next door. The Cadet hall behind.

That morning, things were different. At 8am, we heard the repetitive bark of a Sergeant Major type next door in the cadet parade ground teaching St John Juniors how to march. It was quite interesting to watch too as some didn’t know the left from the right so there were some interesting moves happening.
They were all togged up in their black uniforms and looked good, some even wearing their medals. There was one trainer who forgot his black clobber and was doing it all in his Red shorts.

St Johns Juniors marching
St Johns Juniors marching

As Fiona said, good on him for volunteering his time on a Saturday morning but it did sort of spoil the overall look.

About 9:30, we said goodbye to Rob, Helen and Chloe and they headed off to Taupo for their trip to Hawkes Bay and beyond. We left as well and went around to Alex, Sarahs and the Grandkids for the morning and around lunchtime, headed towards one of our other favorite places, Rays Rest at Miranda.  We were  catching up our friends Gary and Chris who were helping other friends Mark and Tina with their first trip out in their new, second hand Motorhome.
Rays Rest is a great spot and the weather was behaving as well.

Rays Rest
Rays Rest

After arriving early in the afternoon, we caught up for cups of tea and later a couple of drinks and then  headed off in Gary’s van down to get the fish and chips for tea from the famous Kaiaua fish and chips shop.  Gary wasn’t drinking so that worked well.  It was nice to see how much progress Mark had made on his motorhome as when he got it, it leaked and had quite a lot of dampness in its linings. .. now all gone.  More on this in another post soon.

We had a great night together and called it quits and hit the hay.

At Rays Rest
At Rays Rest

The next morning was nice in diffused sunshine with little wind. We sat on the foreshore watching people fish and just soaked up the atmosphere.

At Rays Rest, Gary, Fiona, Tina, Chris and Mark
At Rays Rest, Gary, Fiona, Tina, Chris and Mark

Gary, Chris, Tina and Mark were going to carry on to Thames and Coromandel so after lunch, we left them and headed home. A nice weekend.

 

A night out at Rakino on the Whaler

The forecast was fantastic, no sign of any rain or wind so we were heading off from Milford to go to Rakino Island about 9k’s away. For those overseas readers, it is one of the furthest Islands out from Auckland behind Rangitoto and Motutapu Islands.

Click on any Image for Hi Res (Cell phone images)

Rorqual at the Marina berth shortly before we set off.

Rorqual was all ready to go and we were off. A quick call to the Bridge operators by son Andrew to open the bridge and we were on our way.


Andrew driving Rorqual out of Milford Marina.
Turn the volume up to hear that 400hp Turbo charged Detroit!

We had just got out a bit beyond Castor Bay when friend Greg Fenwick rang Andrew from his house up on the cliff watching us go by. He could hear distinctive roar from the Detroit as we went past from several k’s away 🙂 he sent us the video below! Thanks Greg

After that, we stopped off Rangitoto when we saw a whole heap of fish on the depth sounder complete with measurements and a smile on their faces 🙂 Given the lack of success there in catching anything, I’m sure they were poking their tongues out at us 🙂 I did get one really good bite but he got away!

We stopped again to try later off Rakino but same luck so we went on into Woody Bay into 3metres of water and had lunch and a glass of wine. Absolutely perfect day.

All settled in Woody Bay

Andrew saw some mates in at the beach in a fizz boat so he swam in to say hello.

Looking into the beach

Half an hour later after he’d just returned, my other son Alex came into the bay with a friend of his Sam on their identical Jet Skis. They had come around from Half Moon Bay which is by Pakuranga, probably about 10k’s or so.

The Jetskis
Alex refueling his Jetski

They were out for a fish but hadn’t had much luck, just like us… until we sat in 2-3 metres of water in the bay. We were just sitting there, having a drink and the rod just kept bringing them in. Andrew was filleting them and put them on a plate with soy sauce and wasabi. Fantastic. About 3 reasonable sized fish popped onto the plate during the afternoon 🙂 Yum!

L to R, Alex, Sam and Andrew. Sashimi in the middle

Later in the day, the time came for the boys to go with their Jetskis and try for a fish round the Rangitoto Channel.

The Boys setting off
On their way out
Tea is on

Andrew put the BBQ on and we settled down to listen to some good music. The Stereo is a monster with 3 amplifiers with a Subwoofer powered by a Solar backed 450 odd AH bank of House batteries so no danger of running out of anything!

Looking back to Auckland. North Shore in the distance

While we listening to the music, the bait runner ran again and this time, in came breakfast! Yippee!

End of a great day

After a nice bread crumbed pan fried Snapper and a cup of coffee, we tidied up the boat and got ready to head back to Milford Marina. A nice weekend and nice to see Alex and Sam come in too.

More information here on Rorqual.

Jo’s Healthcare Motorhome

While I was having a look around the Piha Motorcamp, I walked past Jo outside her Civilian Bus giving another camper a Massage. Kids from other caravans were there taking photos with their cellphones. It was all very casual with lots of laughter !

Click on an Image for Hi Res

One of my neighbours Jo doing massages !

Having a chat later with Jo, its quite a normal part of her day along with making up her Rongoa Maori Healthcare medicines.

Jo with some of her Medicines

Two years ago Jo took delivery of her 6m, 1992 Nissan Civilian and adapted it so she could make her Natural Herbal medicines. She has been living in it and commutes into town two days a week to teach others about Maori Healthcare.

Jo with the Civilian
The living area

The day I took the photos, she was showing me the biggest Mushroom I’ve ever seen.

The Mushroom

She also has a great collection of walking sticks which she has gathered up with hre long walks looking for the native plant ingredients for her Medicines.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

A really nice lady and she is really enjoying her lifestyle with the bus.

Lounging at the Lion – Piha

One of the trips I’ve been wanting to do for ages but I haven’t been able to get Fiona interested in is a trip to Piha. One of Aucklands better west coast beaches, it is dominated by Lion Rock in the middle and is one of the few North Island beaches to have two surf clubs.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Lion Rock looking fantastic

Over the years the road has improved massively but it is still very windy(curvy) in places and there is no direct route. There are several ways of getting there but the best one I think is via Henderson Valley. Check the map below.

Its a slow 30k odd from the centre of Auckland but well worth it when you get here and its a nice drive.

Lion Rock

The Holiday park is a leased site off the council as part of the Domain but privately run and is on black sand. Its a big park with plenty of room and is only 5 minutes walk to the beach via a bridge over the lagoon.

All that space

At the time of this post, it was $22 per adult with power with new showers and loos close by. There is a cafe right over the road and a General Store next door for anything you may have forgotten.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The beach is spectacular. I popped down here at dusk  to find a dozen or so amateur photographers wandering around in a group waiting to get the sunset.

The Amateur photographers doing their dusk pix.

Its funny as I remember when I was working at The Auckland Star, we used to get called on to judge various photographic awards for these Camera Clubs. The people were always very friendly and it was interesting to see what they were up to.  Generally it was a PR thing from the Star’s point of view and we tried to help with ideas where we could. I remember judging at the North Shore Society awards a couple of times but can’t remember any of the others.

Finished for the day

I met one of the members and gave him a few ideas while we were wandering around Lion Rock on the black sand. It was great to see them out there having some fun.

Sunset

After that, I wandered back to Rafe through the black sand and had a drink with my neighbours. A great night.

One of my neighbours Jo doing massages !

Lovely spot, close to Auckland and reasonably priced with a great Beach.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Piha