Tag Archives: Great walks

Blowing Dogs Off Chains

After a great New Year’s Eve, we knew the wind was going to blow but I was keen to go for a walk up to the lighthouse and get some piccies.

Click on the images for Hi Res

imageAs we walked down the beach towards Castlepoint Reserve, you could feel the wind building. By the time we started walking up the track to the lighthouse and being exposed to the wind, you really had to hang on and lean into the wind.

Fiona battling with the wind
Fiona battling with the wind

About half way up we were hanging onto the handrail to make sure you didn’t get blown over.. Madness! We weren’t far from the lighthouse now so it was worth persevering. imageThe Lighthouse was built in 1913 so the lighthouse keeper must have had some interesting climbs up the rock to do his thing. These days it is all automated. After a good look around, we headed back down against the wind to find that it had been a steady 40 knots with 60 knot gusts. imageYou could feel the sand stinging your legs from the beach as we walked along. Probably a bit silly really but I’m pleased we did it.

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

Gravel at the Park

The NZMCA parks are amazing value. Where else can you stay for $3 each overnight and have that nice warm fuzzy safe feeling of not waking up with a mattress van or worse a few inches from your pride and joy.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

The Entrance
The Entrance

We checked out the Rainbow Falls park recently and after some pretty heavy rain too. After seeing some comments about how slushy it was, its nice to see enough gravel has gone down to provide parking for 6 or so big Motorhomes or Caravans. I gather this is slowly going to spread as the grass grows. Great idea.

RainbowThe local crew have done a fantastic job of the gardens around the Lighthouse too.

Great Gardens too

There were only two caravans there when we arrived and with a fine day forecast for the next day, we made plans to walk down the river right next door with the amazing Rainbow Falls, down to the historic Stone Store. The idea was to have lunch down there and walk back.

Interesting too that the Falls were used to generate one of NZ’s power as one of the first power stations.

RainbowWe hopped over the fence and got about fifty yards to find the track had been closed off due to “upgrading” so took the car out for a look around instead. I wandered around the top and got some piccies of the falls which was about as far as you could go.

We have been here before in the middle of Summer and it truly is a magic spot. Fiona did the walk last time and I met her down there.

Outside the Stone Store at Kerikeri
Outside the Stone Store at Kerikeri last time we were here.

Its a lovely spot now and will be popular in Summer and once the Gravel program is finished, it’ll be a great all year round spot to stay.

Well done to those involved.

The Netspeed Speed test from this site.
(Pre Aerial upgrade)

Test Date: 9/10/2016 5:39 PM
Download: 25.12 Mbps
Upload: 18.74 Mbps
Ping: 35 ms

Grand Central Park

In terms of being in the middle of things, this NZMCA park takes the cake for being handy to everything. Great restaurants, several pubs, lots of history and things to do. It is in Coromandel and is just behind the BP station as you come into the town on the left. Blink and you’ll miss the entrance.

Click on the images for hi res or a slideshow

The NZMCA park looking fabulous
The NZMCA park looking fabulous

Its is also very conveniently right behind the Coromandel Smoking Company where you can buy everything from smoked fish and other seafood to great cheese from local cheesemakers.

Keeping out the wind and having fun
Keeping out the wind and having fun

I have been here in the middle of winter when it had been punished by endless rain and many were camped in a small area of gravel by the entrance.  I gather the local managers of the park have a solution to the water problem in winter and there are plans to make it more all weather.  Our two nights there were great and there were about a dozen  other motorhomes and caravans who came and went while we were there.

Our first day there, we had lunch at the local pub with friends Rob, Helen and Chloe. Fiona and I shared a seafood basket for $16 which was amazing with bits of everything along with a nice glass of wine.  We decided it was so nice we had to go back later to watch the rugby.. the one with the controversial try! … A great night and an interesting game.

The next day, we checked out Driving Creek Railway which is just up the hill from the town.

coromandelThere is so much to see and do in Coromandel. It is so well setup for Motorhomes too and the park perfectly located to make everything easily within walking distance.

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.

Mangaokewa Gorge

A years ago or so,  we found this spot and stayed here with our friends Rob, Helen and Chloe. With high cliffs all around with a river running through the middle, it’s an amazing spot. When we were there with Rob, Helen and Chloe in our way south. it was a bit warmer and there were people swimming in the river, a lovely spot.

The River
The River

There is a swing bridge which takes you leads you along the valley for some great walks up into into the bush into the valley.
Mangaokewa GorgePlenty of level parking, picnic tables, Barbeques, swings and slides and some loos too. The best part of all this is that you can stay for free overnight as long as you have that Blue Sticker of Self Containment.

The Viaduct
The Viaduct

As you enter the park, you pass under the main trunk railway on a massive viaduct.

I just popped in for a look and to do a Internet speed test and get some photos but while I was there a train went through. You can hear it but being a couple of hills away, only just. To get there, head south out of Te Kuiti towards Bennydale and it’s a few K’s on the left. A nice spot to stay if you’re heading through that way.

The Netspeed Internet Speedtest
Test Date: 14/08/2016 2:30 PM
Download: 7.31 Mbps
Upload: 0.73 Mbps
Ping: 57 ms
Server: Christchurch