Tag Archives: Great walks

By the beach at Ahipara

After leaving Awanui, we were going to head to Ahipara. Fiona mentioned that she’d never been to Kaitaia so we were off to see Kaitaia which was on the way. We were going to stop for a coffee but couldn’t find any easy parking. After a visit to the Dump Station, we had a quick look around and decided to head on to Ahipara which is just short of 14k’s away.

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The road entrance to State highway 1 to Cape Reinga ๐Ÿ™‚
Looking back to Ahipara and the road around to the headland.

As we entered Ahipara there were two Cafe’s which were really busy… so we checked in at the Ahipara Holiday Park being the only place to stay.

Just in front of where we were parked.. huge parking area.

Although slightly on the expensive side, the parking spots were bigger and flatter than I’ve seen anywhere so that more than made up for it.ย  The Loos and Showers were really good too and there was also free Wi-Fi if we’d wanted it. It was only 10 minutes’ walk away to the beach. You generally get what you pay for these days ๐Ÿ™‚

Check out the room!

After setting up Rafe and opening vents, and plugging in, I took the camera for a walk down to the beach…. The bottom end of the 90 mile beach! I looked around for anything that looked anything like what I could remember from years ago with the beach buggy, but it all looks very different from what I remember… it was a long time ago though.

Looking north towards Cape Reinga!
People enjoying the water.

I went back to the camp and Fiona, and I took Rafe to the Cafe we saw coming in and had a really nice lunch and then went for a drive down to the bottom end of the beach along the foreshore road.

A local friendly Goat

It’s amazing looking up the beach, you can see the bend of the land going right up to the cape. There were a few people having a swim and enjoying what is probably the end of Summer. A great spot.

After an hour or so we motored back to the Holiday Park and blobbed for a bit.

Later in the day.

The wind had died down a bit later on and the sun was shining so it was nice with the stereo on and with all this space, no neighbours ๐Ÿ™‚

Rafe’s tracker map to the Ahipara Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Bus Trip up Ninety Mile Beach โ€“ Cape Reinga

This was just such a treat and Fiona and I had been looking forward to it.. the highlight of the trip if you like. We met the bus I was later told; was a 400 HP beast that was once a Petrol tanker but was custom made for its current purpose of ferrying people like us up to the Cape on the sand.

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The driver picked us up outside the Awanui NZMCA park along with a neighbour in the park with his two grandsons and we were off.

Jason the driver and guide was a scream and very good with the flow of interesting information that went all day.

After turning off the main road north at Waipapakauri, we headed a few k’s towards the beach before we got to the sand. The weather for the trip was perfect and once Jason had changed into 4-wheel drive, we were off up the beach… all 56k’s of it apparently ๐Ÿ™‚ As Jason said on the commentary โ€œ It’s the only state highway that gets a wash twice a day โ€œ:-)

Getting out for a stretch

About half an hour or so of cruising up the beach, we stopped and got out for stretch and a look around. It’s an amazing beach with nothing really in either direction apart from the sandhills behind.

Looking South. the hole in the rock.

There was a rock of the beach with a hole in like the one off Cape Brett.

Jason running the Bus up the Te Paki stream for the sandboarding.

A bit further on, we were heading up the Te Paki stream beside the massive sand hills where we stopped to let to let those younger and more adventurous than us to boogie board down the sand hills. Jason gave them all a few safety lessons and they were off.

Jason doing the safety briefing.
Jason doing the safety briefing before they head up the dune.
Sandboarding !

They all seemed pretty happy with the occasion and about 45 minutes or so later, we set off again up the stream to rejoin the highway up to the Cape.

After Lunch

Next we were heading up to Tapotupotu Beach for lunch which Jason had stashed away. The road wasn’t for the faint hearted in a big vehicle and although there were a few Motorhomes there, it definitely wasn’t for me.

Looking towards Maris van Diemen

About an 1 hour later with a great lunch by the beach, we all headed back to the bus and Jason then took us all up to the Cape Reinga carpark to walk down to the lighthouse.

The oceans meeting

It’s about a 45-minute walk down to the lighthouse and back and quite steep in places but on a really nice track. As you go down on the left you can see Cape Maria van Diemen where the lighthouse used to be, Cape Reinga in front and the beach that we had lunch at off to the right with North Cape way off in the distance.

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The last time I was here, I think I was 13 years old or thereabouts. We were on a family trip with a 4-wheel drive with a beach buggy on an A frame. It was a trip for a photo shoot with a friend of my Dads who was a specialist Motor Racing photographer for a magazine article. The beach buggy got stuck on top of a sandhill… think all wheels off the ground so I got to learn how to drive it while we got it unstuck ๐Ÿ™‚

Back to the trip… it was fantastic to see it all again and all the improvements that have been made for easier access.

At the pub on the way home.

We were all back in the bus heading down the road for an ice cream stop and to the famous Waipapakauri where Fiona and I had a G & T to celebrate the end of a great day. We were only a few K’s north of the Awanui NZMCA park.

Back at Awanui.. great day !

A fantastic day and I’m really pleased we took the option of a guided bus trip. It wasn’t expensive given what was involved and a lot of fun and entertainment. Thanks, Jason, for the great commentary and a brilliant day out.

Rafe’s tracker map to the Awanui NZMCA park – Armada GPS

Pukenui on the edge of the harbour!

While were cruising north, we stopped in to the Pukenui Holiday Park to find they had some room and at a reasonable rate. The wind was blowing, and the rain was threatening so power was a must. A nice park spread out over two levels with little plateaus of space for both Caravans and Motorhomes. There are also some cabins too.

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Neat Paint job

They also had some very tame small ponies and sheep helping with the grass and entertaining small children. Jo the owner has been here for 20 years or so and with Tania, they were both very helpful.

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A really interesting park with handy access to the harbour and lots of places for walking.

Down by the water

5 minutes walks down the road is a nice cafe, 4 square and Bottle store and a bit further on is the jetty overlooking the Houhora harbour. Very popular fishing spot and they tell me that a Kingi can be caught in minutes ๐Ÿ™‚

Great Cafe, 4 Square and Liquor shop a few minutes walk
Great big parks

A nice park but while we were there, I got on to a company in Kaitaia that did 4-wheel drive bus trips up to Cape Reinga with a guide and went up the beach. Thats us we thought but we had to get back to Awanui (The NZMCA park) where they could pick us up on route.ย  .. Fantastic!

Rafe’s tracker map to the Pukenui Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Mangonui, the Home of great Fish and Chips

Years ago, we had friends up here who lived in Hihi. We used to come up here and stay over the New Year period with them and other friends.ย  We stayed in a pup tent under a Ti Tree:-)ย  ย It was always heaps of fun and Mangonui was the local big town if you like.

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The Famous Mangonui Fish Shop

So, Mangonui was on the must do list for this trip. We stopped at a parking area just as you enter the town with Toilets, a dump station and is also a freedom camping area between the trees. A nice spot.

The parking by the water.. Toilets, and Dump station along with freedom camping.
The Old Oak Boutique Hotel

We then walked about 15 minutes around to Mangonui Fish shop passing all the lovely historic buildings, the Pub, a big shopping building, the over the water 4 square store, and lastly the fish shop.

Walking along the waterfront
The 4 Square shop

It’s a great spot and the fish is so fresh having the boats come in right next door. Some of the Lemon fish is actually caught from the shop.

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After an hour or so of indulging in this delicious food, we walked back via and ice cream shop opposite to Rafe and started heading north again.

The Treaty Grounds

After watching the Shakers with the Olives, we set off for the walk along the waterfront to the treaty grounds.ย  We’ve been here in the Bay of Islands so many times but haven’t really spent any quality time here at the Treaty grounds, so were well overdue for a visit.

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The Shakers getting the Olives off the trees.

At the entrance, we made our first priority a coffee and something to eat so headed towards the Cafe. We were really early for the guided tour so had plenty of time to kill.

Fiona on the new boardwalk up to the Treaty House

We decided to go on ahead anyway and walk up to the Treaty house and have a decent look, something I have never done and it’s really interesting. There is part of it at the back which is partly stripped to show how it was built as a kitset in Australia to be put together here. Really interesting.

Who knew there was a back courtyard!

I didn’t realise either that there was quite a big courtyard at the back of it which you never see.

Fiona decided to walk back down to the entrance to catch the guide for the walk back up. I walked over to the Meeting house just in time to catch the previous cultural show. They’re a fun bunch! Lots of humour but with a serious educational theme as well.

The very talented group doing the cultural shows.

There were about 30 people in the group and one person was volunteered to be the chief. He had to receive the challenge and then be accepted into the meeting house on behalf of all of us. He was Dutch and although his English was OK, he did really well as they had primed him to do a 5-minute speech which in the end was lucky if it was 30 seconds but all in jest but I’m sure he had some anxious moments thinking about it ๐Ÿ™‚

Our “chief” being welcomed onto the Whare

A great show and well worth doing and great performers.

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The show had just finished when Fiona turned up with her group, so I went into the show again with her ๐Ÿ™‚

We wandered back down through the grounds checking out a wonderful new Museum largely dedicated to the Maori Battalion and the contribution they made over the years. Both Fiona and I come from a strong Army background, so we found it really interesting. During the war, the Germans found the Maori Battalion to be fearsome warriors and extremely effective soldiers. It’s great to see them getting some recognition for their efforts.

People inside the whare after the show.

We checked out the other museum too which was more about the Treaty grounds and the early settlers. Really interesting and very well displayed with some great audio-visual displays as well.

Looking back on our walk back to the park.

It was back to Rafe at Jan’s Motorhome Park after that and a G&T to finish off the day.

Rafe’s tracker map to the Bay of Islands Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Lunch at the Duke of Marlborough from Paihia

From our spot in Kaikohe, we rang ahead and booked a spot for a couple of nights at the Bay of Island campervan park which is nestled in between Olive trees on the main road into Paihia. Its a perfect spot for walking to Paihia and to the Treaty grounds, both only 15 minutes away and it is very reasonably priced too.

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Paihia Wharf

The first day we were there we walked about 15 minutes into Paihia to catch a ferry over to Russell. The ferries were flat out so there were three ferries shuttling people across but there was plenty of room and it’s only a 15-minute trip across.

Leaving Paihia

We had booked into the Duke of Marlborough for lunch but were a bit early so walked around the waterfront, ate ice creams and drank coffee and eventually went to the Duke for a G&T. The โ€œDukeโ€ as it’s known apparently is NZ’s oldest licensed pub. There are several others that claim this title but as Russell was NZ’s first capital and one of its first settlements, they’re probably right ๐Ÿ™‚

Fiona ready for lunch ๐Ÿ™‚
My Snapper and Chips
The Group across the road enjoying their lunch

Fiona and I came to a wedding here several years ago and they’re slick operators where the food and Beveridge’s are concerned. There was a table setup for a group of about 10 across the road at the top of the beach having their meal out on the edge of the water… lovely!

The Duke of Marlborough behind the trees.
The Russell Ferry that was sunk after a collision with a boat a few days later. The boat in the background is a Classic called Wild Duck. It used to be a Flying boat tender in Mechanics Bay.

As the time crept on, we crossed to the road to the jetty and caught the ferry back to Paihia.

The ferry we caught back was being skippered by a lovely guy who also collected the tickets was the ferry that was sunk a few days later, by an alleged helmless 600hp go fast boat that hit the port side. He was badly injured and airlifted to Auckland in a critical condition. A terrible situation and from my past boating background, being hit on the port side means the ferry had right of way. Witnesses say there was no one at the helm. I hope after the investigation that the transgressor has the book thrown at them.

Leaving Russell

After getting back to the camp, I had a great chat to Jan who owns the camp and previously ran another bigger camp at Haruru Falls. It turns out that Jan is the big sister of an old Auckland Star colleague of mine who was a subeditor and used to lay out my photos on the fashion pages… Small world ๐Ÿ™‚ She was ex media too but in Televison!

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow of the Park

The camp is a little pearler with very tidy loos and showers and some apartments, some of which go up the hill. The camp sites are separated by Olive trees which is nice and the next morning, we were entertained by the โ€œShakersโ€ shaking out the Olives from the trees. The Oil is bottled along with the Olives and donated to charity.

The crew get stuck in.
The Shakers in action

A great park in a lovely spot and so handy!

Rafe’s tracker map to the Bay of Islands Holiday Park – Armada GPS

The Great bike ride on the Te Awa trail

It was Saturday morning, and it was time for a bike ride!

At our Dethleffs Rally at the Happy Hour the evening before, we had sorted out somewhere to go so it was all on! The bikes were organised and led by Tony and Neal, 14 of us headed down through Cambridge towards the river and the start of the Trail.

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Our park at the Raceway

Some were heading all the way to Hamilton Gardens, some going to Tamahere to a Coffee Shop and others to the Velodrome.

The Bike group as we left

The Te Awa trail is all pretty new still but what an amazing setup. Because I went as far as Tamahere (40k round trip), I didn’t get to see all the flashest boardwalks over the river .. next time!

Amazing engineering

We left Cambridge at 10am and it took about 2.5 hours to do the round trip including a good stop for lunch ๐Ÿ™‚ Very easy though on an electric bike.

I’d stupidly left my bike keys behind so couldn’t get my bike off the rack on the back of Rafe. The Kryptonite lock and cable is a force to be reckoned with, so it wasn’t even worth thinking about the grinder.

John very kindly lent me Kirsty’s bike as she wasn’t riding. The bike is fantastic but has an older electric system with a Turbo function which is a bit scary if you’re not used to it ๐Ÿ™‚

The short version: I was about halfway along the trail when I came around a corner, but the turbo kept running quite a bit…ย  ย ending with a full lock up of the brakes sideways into these massive retaining poles onto my shoulder.

Looking down to the river

Chris was just behind me and immediately stopped and said something like โ€œthat might hurtโ€ ๐Ÿ™‚ย  ย Initially it didn’t really.ย  ย Back on the horse and we were off again ๐Ÿ™‚

A stop half way

We were about halfway so by the time we got to the cafe; with my recently acquired sore ribs, I was looking forward to a rest.

On the way back

Although 14 started with us, several split off into different groups to go on to Hamilton Gardens or to the Velodrome.

Our crew on the way back

After about 20 minutes or so, we headed back to the Raceway…ย  a lot of fun and a nice ride with good company. Thanks again to John and Kirsty for the use of their bike. A great day and a fantastic place to ride.

Steve biking back
Looking down to the river

You can stay at The Cambridge Raceway if you’re a member of the NZMCA for just $10 a night so an easy base for the trail and you can go as far as you like in either direction.

See here for more information.ย  ย And for the Cambridge Raceway parking.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cambridge Raceway – Armada GPS

A break away from the chaos at Kaiaua

The new NZMCA park has been open for a few months now but what a spot.

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The Park

After several weeks of dreadful weather and with Rafe just sitting on the pad, it was time to bust out while the weather was good.

The pub in the background

We set off about lunchtime and headed down the Motorway and headed out towards Miranda with hardly any traffic on the roads at all. Arriving an hour or so later with the sun streaming down, we parked up at the Kaiaua Park. It’s a beauty! With the Bayview Hotel right next door with a track through to the pub and the famous Kaiaua fisheries next to them, there is definitely no excuse for being hungry or thirsty ๐Ÿ™‚

The Bayview Hotel next door

After a visit to the pub and finding them busy, we decided on Fish and Chips, and they were huge! I kept a piece of fish for the next day ๐Ÿ™‚

Kaiaua Fish and Chips!

After lunch at the Hotel, which was fantastic, we headed off to Rays Rest for an hour or two.ย 

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We have not been there since it was redeveloped by a storm a few years ago but it still looks pretty good to me.

Seafood Galore!

We decided not to stay though and headed back to Kaiaua and settled for a G&T at the Hotel.

The Marina

A fantastic park with room for Africa and having the Pub and Fish and Chip shop handy is a Real bonus!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Kaiaua NZMCA Park – Armada GPS

Rays Rest

A favourite free parking spot for many.. on the coast north of Miranda.

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Lovely spot

This was probably one of our first parking spots when we first bought our Motorhome 8 or so years ago. Its handy to Auckland, its free and its easy.

Easy parking

If you want shops, museums and pubs, you don’t go to Rays Rest. This where peace and quiet happens with the odd sound of a vehicle whizzing past at 80 odd K.

Flying Kites .. perfect spot
Rafe on the edge

It’s a lovely spot to sit on a deck chair on the edge of the sand outside your Motorhome and watch the clouds go by.

People enjoying the sun

Its been a while since we were here and it was redeveloped by a big storm since our last visit but it still looks much the same. Just as good as it was.

Looking across to Thames

Well recommended if you live in Auckland, are finding diesel expensive and can’t decide where to go for a night or two.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ray’s Rest- Armada GPS

Gisborne, here we come.

On New Year’s Day we said goodbye to Steve and Rosemary. They were heading down towards Carterton.

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We were well overdue for a trip to Gisborne as it has been 7 years since our last visit!

We headed off via the coast up past Wairoa which seemed to go on forever. The forecast bad weather had arrived and was settling in.

We found a neat little Fish shop just by the turnoff to Mahia Peninsula which had the best Fish and Chips I’ve tasted for a long time then we headed off again up towards Gisborne.

The park

The new NZMCA park in Gisborne is a beauty right over the road from the beach. With the weather the way it was it was no real surprise to see a couple of cruise ships anchored off the coast.

Fiona checking out the cruise ships

The next day we spent the morning catching up with the Laundry, bedding and all. It was nice to have a everything clean again. After that we headed off to find a nice Cafe for some lunch and got some more groceries while we were right next to a 4 Square.

Waikanae Beach
Fiona on the beach

The new park is a cracker with the beach right over the road.
Well done to the local crew for the Garden Art, it looks great.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Gisborne – Armada GPS