On the bright side

January 13, 2021

They say that good things come along if we wait around long enough and with the New Year it seems we have mostly nice people back in camp. People are friendly, cheery and generally looking out for each other which is so nice to see and be a part of. It’s the little things that tend to make us smile;

-the little kid who learns to ride a bike without training wheels and is so proud of their efforts, or

-the other child who finally gets their turn to bat and hits the ball for 6 with everyone cheering them on, or

-the extended family group playing games together, or

-the dad teaching his youngster how to dive for “treasure” in the shallows.

It all brings a smile to our faces.

Then there are the campers who surprise you with gifts.

Crayfish for dinner…split and cooked on the bbq with a chilli, lime and coriander butter

Scallops anyone?

Scallops ready to be cooked.

I’m not a fan of scallops, I know weird right? but I blame it on the fact that I ate my fair share of them as a kid when on holidays in the Bay of Islands they were in plentiful supply and Mum would fry them in butter for us for breakfast. I just find them too rich besides, some shellfish and Crustacea I react to and can end up in an itchy blotchy mess so I’m happy to leave them for Roy to enjoy. Just so you know, I don’t react to crayfish 😉.

Over the past three years we have watched with great interest a mum who walks into the park with her daughter, I wave to her but she always seems shy and self contained so we don’t interfere. Mum walks in wearing a large backpack that initially the wee one was carried in, but now mum seems to carry an array of books and games for her daughter. Before Christmas I finally approached mum to say hello and to say how much we enjoyed watching her with her daughter. It turns out she is Russian and is very quiet and reserved but she loves Shakespear and they love walking around the park, watching the birds on the beach and enjoying the bush walks. It seems she carries books on NZ birds, flora and fauna and is teaching her 3yo daughter all about the outdoors. We always wave and say hi, but just before Christmas Ksenia brought us a gift, she has been doing some sort of baking course and she brought us some of her Russian Honey cake and chocolate cake. OMG, they were the most amazingly light, not too sweet, delicious cakes I have eaten. On the 6th January, Ksenia arrived bearing a gift for us, a beautiful honey cake stunningly decorated. She explained the significance of the date for her, the Russian orthodox Christmas equivalent.

Russian honey cake

The filling and icing is very light and mousse-like with a cream cheese/sour cream tang to it whilst the cake itself is very light with it being surprisingly not sweet as you would expect with honey. Luckily we had friends visiting for dinner and the cake appeared in time for dessert. Wade & Lindsay and Eti & Rona also enjoyed the beautiful cake as did some of the rangers the following day.

We’ve had good other good friends come to visit. Pat & Sue whom we used to travel with quite a bit were visiting from Christchurch. It was absolutely fabulous to meet up with them again and it was like time dissolved and we just picked up where we left off. Of course the conversation went on for some time and I forgot to take any pictures as were were too busy catching up on 2 and half years since we last saw each other in person. Of course we have regularly kept in touch but it’s so nice to be face to face.

Antony has been to stay a few times, the last time he brought with him a new board game for us to play called Ticket to Ride. It’s a great game, doesn’t go on for too long and makes a nice change to cards.

The other good news is that the parcel I sent to Alex, Ian and Callum arrived safely…unlike the previous parcel which has mysteriously disappeared. The parcel contained amongst other things lots of knitting for Callum including a jumper that his Nana asked me to knit. I ended up reknitting that as well as other bits and pieces to replace all that was lost in the other parcel. Alex sent through this picture of Callum wearing the jumper, she told me it was the only time he stays still for any length of time.

Sleeping, dinosaur wearing Callum

Tis the season…?

January 1, 2021

It’s the festive season when all are supposed to be kind and nice to each other….well, the reality is more like a Tui Ad – Yeah right!

For our offshore readers, Tui is a brand of NZ beer which ran an advertising campaign for many years that made some sort of statement which was always followed by Yeah Right! An example is below,

Tui billboard

We always knew that this year would be very different to any other year, we will call it the post Covid effect. The result of that effect is some people seem to believe that they are very entitled, with no self responsibility and have a very aggressive attitude in some cases. No matter what, there is no excuse for some of the language and behaviours we have experienced over the past few days. We have put up welcome signs at the pest proof gate and notices about being kind to each other, it just seems to have escaped an awful lot of people.

The Ranger written sign at the entrance to the park

This season is really testing our mettle and I am having to constantly remind myself to breathe in, breathe in…….and out. We’ve had experiences this year that we have never encountered before, and quite frankly I never want to experience them again. Some people are just plain nasty (and yes, police reports have been filed by both us and Rangers) and they should just stay at home. We do remind ourselves, and we are constantly reminded by the majority of lovely campers that we encounter, that these not so nice people are fortunately in the minority, however they do colour your view of people in general. Rant over.

On to much nicer things.

My garden is flourishing although I am handpicking off the greedy little caterpillars that are making a meal of my lettuces. The pukekos are thrilled at the juicy little green caterpillars I throw to them every morning. The caterpillars seem to magically appear each day after munching away on the lettuces over night, and they even took a fancy to my tomatoes at one stage too.

I have a new addition to my garden, a lovely solar bee light that was given to us by Helen (Park Ranger), Rob and their daughters along with a lovely card made by the girls. The girls drew lovely pictures on my garden sign to brighten it up a bit as well.

Busy bee

We have already picked lettuces and of course herbs, and the tomatoes are doing well, we just hope they will ripen before we leave otherwise the Rangers will have to eat them all.

Unusually, we actually saw the New Year in this year, we went down to the beach with over half of the campers to watch the fireworks display off the Skytower.

Sky tower fireworks

However, we were all back to our respective abodes and tucked up in bed before 12.30am, it was a very quiet and subdued affair. I think that we are all ready for a new year and a fresh start, if only the rest of the world would come up to scratch!

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year, stay safe out there and remember to be kind to each other.

It’s clearly Christmas!

December 23, 2020

I may have intimated that the tales of woe were not finished with as we had one more mishap to rectify. Whilst making our escape out of Auckland to Uretiti for the second lockdown, through the many and endless stream of roadworks, a stone was thrown up from a passing truck and hit the passenger side front windscreen leaving a large chip.

Apart from giving us a fright with a loud crack, the chip was of a decent size but as it was on the passenger side and not in central view, we thought it could go into the “sort-it-out-later” list. Whilst we were at Uretiti a gentleman whom we met there said he had a chip repair kit and he offered to repair the windscreen for us as filling the hole would make it more stable…..or so he said.

It all looked ok and we continued our journey north with what remained visible of the chip seemingly quite happy. That was until one day at Rarawa. We had been there a week or more by this stage, when I noticed what I thought was a small crack spreading across the windscreen from the stone chip. On closer investigation (and to make sure it wasn’t a cobweb) it was definitely a small crack emanating out from the chip. After another day or two the crack had spread out across about a third of the screen in both directions. Bugger. Time to do something about it.

It’s rather difficult to photograph a windscreen without reflections. The crack creeping across the screen.

We rang our go-to windscreen man Franz Steiger and within an hour or so, he rang back to say a replacement screen was a) ordered from the USA and b) he’d sorted it out with our insurance company. What a star. In the meantime he said the windscreen would be perfectly fine and he would let us know when it arrived in the country.

Last week we got the call to say that he would have the replacement screen in his workshop early in the week and he would be out to fit it in a couple of days after that.

That day duly arrived and Franz along with his son Mark, came out to the park to fit it.

The new windscreen waiting to go in

But first the old one needs to come out

It was proving to be very stubborn

Finally out, the clean up of the surround begins

The new windscreen being lifted into place

Let’s hope it fits!

A little bit of adjustment and it’s in place

All done, now we just have to clean the rest of the windows to match the bright shiny new one!

A job that was done with efficiency and care, all within a couple of days before Christmas. We highly recommend Franz for exceptionally good service and a thoroughly good job well done.

The following is the view out of the back window

This is what happens to your car if you park it under a Pohutakawa tree overnight!!

Merry Christmas everyone!

First week at Shakespear

December 11, 2020

We were warmly welcomed back to Shakespear by the friendly Rangers, although the same could not be said for one very grumpy camper whom we had the unfortunate experience to meet shortly after we arrived. Sheesh, some people. However, that was soon forgotten as friendly campers were to make their presence felt with regulars greeting us warmly.

Parked up with the NZ Christmas trees just coming in to flower

My lovely garden was returned to its position behind the van and the garden has been lovingly cared for by rangers and volunteers alike with lettuces, tomatoes, parsley, basil and coriander growing.

Garden

It was a busy first week with Doctors and Specialist appointments for us both. It just so happened that the day I had my appointment with the Orthopaedic surgeon was the day that the northern motorway was slowed to less than a crawl due to major road repair issues and my return journey, which should have taken 10minutes, took me 90 minutes.

Stuck in traffic

With our appointments out of the way, I headed off to Antony’s for a few days as he was having some knee surgery, a meniscectomy and arthroscopy after his ACL and MCL repair done a couple of years ago. And yes, I’m afraid knee issues seem to be a familial problem. His surgery went well and he was soon back in his room ready to be discharged later in the afternoon.

Antony, just an hour after surgery.

I spent a couple of days doing my best nurse impressions as well as the usual mum chores…think cooking, washing, cleaning, shopping!

Whilst at Antony’s I took the opportunity to make use of his oven to make my Christmas cakes (very late I know) but I got them done.

Christmas cakes in the making. This recipe is Mums recipe, the one she made for all our family wedding cakes as well as for every Christmas. I believe that the recipe was one that her mother made so it’s been well and truly tried and tested for over one hundred years.

I also made my usual Cathedral/Stained glass window cakes as well so we are well set for the festive season.

Ready to go in the oven

I returned home to continue my nurse duties as Roy was having surgery for a cataract with a new lens inserted.

Doing his best pirate impression…..or should that be pie-rate?!

The eye cover came off that evening. He is now seeing, clearly albeit one eyed, and as it has been so successful with the improvement almost instantaneous, he has booked to have the other eye done in early February.

In between running around the city for appointments we’ve been busy in camp with lots of people as well as keeping ourselves busy sorting out a few things on the van. The weather has been kind to us as well and we look forward to a nice summer.

We were fortunate to have a very interesting visitor one evening, an older gentleman who it turns was a nurseryman for the Auckland Council in out grew and planted the wonderful pohutakawa trees here in the park. He was a fabulous source of information and very knowledgeable.

If you would like to know more about Shakespear Park, watch the following short video featuring ranger Bruce as well as cameos from some of our other rangers plus of course some of the many volunteers.

Uretiti

December 5, 2020

As a bit of respite from all our tales of woe it’s time to return to the other side of life although I hasten to add, the tales of woe do continue!!

We arrived at Uretiti after our eventful trip with the tyre blowout and settled in for two weeks of quiet R&R.

We parked up in our new favourite spot, and settled in to a routine of doing very little. The days seemed to fly by however we did manage to catch up with lots friends who live in the region whilst were were there – Jacky, Gary & Marg, Mark & Glenys.

I had a birthday, and share the birthdate with Mark. This year we went to their place in Ruakaka for a lovely evening where we shared lots of lovely drinks and nibbles, putting the world to rights over a few hours before we had to return to camp before the gates lock at 9pm.

Of course we did get a bit of fishing in at Uretiti and with that a few fish meals.

Keralan Fish curry is always well received and when we heard that Glen & Carol were arriving, its was what we shared for dinner that evening.

Kerala fish curry

Time to try a new way of serving fish, this time a Veracruz style baked fish which we also shared with Carol & Glen as well as Garry. It was a hit and will definitely be on our favourites list. It was served with crusty warm bread to mop up all the delicious juices.

Veracruz style baked fish

Then there is the firm favourite of tomato, avocado orange salad with fish that shared with Garry one fine evening.

Tomato, orange and avocado salad with snapper

Our two weeks stay at Uretiti quickly wizzed by and before long we were on our way again, this time heading to Shakespear, ready for our summer Camp Hosting stint which should be interesting this year what with Covid hovering around in the background.

And that’s exactly where we want Covid to stay, in the background or even better, gone, as we would really like to be able to get back on a plane to England so we can spend some time with this wee man…

Callum ‘mowing’ the lawn in the rain!!

And so it continues

November 30, 2020

Fishing. It’s supposed to be a relaxing pastime and most of the time it goes without a hitch but occasionally it comes with all sorts of hassles. Roy went off for an evening fish with Glen and Garry. It was all going so well, until Glen started to reel in his line, what’s this? He’s bringing in Roys line as well?

Apparently the lines became tangled, with Roys line having to be cut and hand pulled in….complete with large fish, I might add. By this time it was late at night so the lines were brought in as best they could and it would be sorted the following day.

I offered to untangle this little lot of braid…

Meanwhile, Roy with the aid of Garry sorted out the backbone. The backbone is the length of heavier line that the hooks are attached to. It’s about 30m in length.

Garry and Roy showing much patience

Patience, now that’s a very interesting concept, I am pretty patient especially with untangling lines/wool/rope/cords but this fishing braid got the better of me after an hour, the decision was made to throw it away.

Meanwhile the fellas kept on with their task, they soon had it all sorted.

Getting to the end of the line

We ended up spooling off what was left on the fishing reel, about 450m, which meant we lost around 600m. The following day we headed off into Whangarei to get a replacement fishing line. However we accidentally ended up picking the wrong one! It was too thick to fit the the length of line we require onto the reel. Damn. The next day Garry and Roy returned the line to the shop and also took the rod and reel in to get the new (correct) line spooled onto the reel when, uh oh, the leveller on the reel stopped working. Another damn. The leveller is the device that runs back and forth across the reel ensuring that the line is spread evenly across the spool.

They returned back to the van and between them they decided to have a go at fixing it themselves. You may be wondering why go to all the trouble? Well, for a start it is an electric reel, which means it’s a little bit more expensive than a normal reel, actually a lot more. The shop also gave them a heads up to get a quote on repairs as sometimes it actually works out cheaper to replace rather than repair particularly as it would have to be sent away and it could take some time.

Garry and the apprentice

After a few hours, much cleaning and greasing of all parts, the reel was put back together again, with the finding that it was a small screw-like part was all that needed to be replaced. AND the part can be replaced without taking the reel to pieces!!! Oh well, the reel is now very clean and it has been throughly checked. That very fine northland sand gets into every little nook and cranny it seems. The part was to be delivered to us at Uretiti and new line can then be put on.

Our time at Uretiti was coming quickly to an end but the part had not arrived. What are we to do? Fortunately for us, Keith had returned and he very kindly offered to take care of it all for us as we would be meeting up again in a week or so. The part arrived, the reel is fixed and it now has lots of new line on it ready for the next fishing expedition.

Is this the end of our woes? You will have to wait and see!!!

The third oops…

November 21, 2020

We were happily trundling along State Highway 1, just a few kms short of our next destination, Uretiti DOC camp, when …..BANG! or was it KABOOM? a large cloud of smoke accompanying the explosive noise from the front passenger side of the van, what on earth?

We quickly realised it was a blow out! Roy expertly brought the van to a steady halt whilst pulling off the road as best he could keeping the wheels as straight as possible. Wow, what a fright, with pulse rates racing and blood pressure rising, we went into “let’s get this sorted” mode. Hazard lights were immediately put on. The blowout occurred right on a bridge approach with the side barriers making it impossible to pull off the road completely making it very dangerous for traffic in both directions. as well as for us. At least it was a reasonably straight section of road so that oncoming traffic could see the obstacle (us) ahead.

We safely exited the van to see what damage had been done.

All the air escaped

Roy was quickly on his phone looking for a local tyre repair business when a traffic officer pulled in behind us. He had his red & blue lights flashing which gave a good alert to all the following traffic of the hazard ahead i.e. our van and car taking up most of a lane. What a relief to see him. We were just discussing what had happened with the policeman and formulating a plan for the next course of action when 2 road repair traffic trucks turned up, apparently they were just passing so stopped to see if they could assist. How fortuitous.

This is where is occurred.

Where it happened, Circled in yellow, and our destination is Uretiti which is where the SH1 marker is at the bottom right of the map.

By now, Roy had made contact with the local Bridgestone Tyre repair shop at the intersection of SH1 and the road to Marsden Point, they were on their way.

Meanwhile one traffic truck set up behind us with his large sign illuminated directing traffic to slow down and the other truck went on 500m further ahead of us warning traffic of the hazard ahead. The policeman set his vehicle up with his lights flashing on the other side of the bridge so traffic had good warning to slow down and we would all be safe. With traffic under control, we unhooked the car from behind the van and I was sent on ahead in the car to a large pull off area on the other side of the bridge to wait….if only the blowout had occurred 30m further on we could have been able to safely pull off the road.

When there’s an ooops! Traffic Police and Road Repair sign truck with a queue of traffic behind.

Ruakaka Bridgestone Tyres were with us within 10-15minutes, Roy used the hydraulic levelling jacks to lift up the van whilst the very capable young man removed the wrecked tyre and replaced it with the spare. We were back in driveable condition in under 30mins.

As soon as the tyre was on, Roy brought the van across the bridge to the safety of the gravel pit where we gratefully thanked all those helpful chaps. We couldn’t believe how fortunate we were to have them come along so quickly.

Safely across the bridge

Once everyone was thanked, we cautiously drove the short distance to Bridgestone Tyres, where they checked all the pressures and tightened up the wheel nuts. After a bit of discussion we decided that we wanted two new front tyres so that we would have a matching pair, the best and safest option.

The damaged tyre

The new tyres arrived the following morning and they were put on the van and all checked again.

We wonder if this blowout wasn’t as a result of all the roadworks that we have been through, it seems to be a continual stream of road works, road cones, and very very rough roads in the north, as it was the inside wall of the tyre that blew. Who knows? We’ve had a blowout previously but that has been on the rear wheels which are dual tyres so it’s still ok to drive on them and not quite as scary.

A huge thank you for the great service from all involved and the exceptionally friendly service from Bridgestone Tyres, Ruakaka. We thank our lucky stars that we had assistance so promptly.

Now to relax at Uretiti for a couple of weeks but is this the end of repairs and woes? Hmm, stay tuned for the next exciting instalment!!!

Kerikeri and another fix

November 18, 2020

You know that they say bad luck comes in threes? Well, the next event on the breakdown/repair list was the oven. Yes, my new, as in just a few months old, oven had spat the dummy, after going perfectly well for a while, it decided to stop igniting and stay lit. The grill and the top elements worked perfectly, and even though we had been sitting still for a couple of weeks, it just stopped working. After a bit of a fiddle and holding the ignitor switch on etc it would go and work perfectly for a day or two, then stop again. Then it stopped completely. Grrrrr.

We rang and booked it in at Northland RV in Kerikeri for it to be looked at, under warranty of course, but we had a few days to wait until it could be attended to so we took the opportunity to have a look around and to catch up with friends and family. Glen & Carol came for a visit one day as they were staying at Matauri Bay, after a catch up at our van we arranged to meet up later for lunch in town.

Another day Roy went to see his cousin Stuart whilst I attended to some domestic chores. We did the usual sightseeing around the town which included a trip to see the Stone Store.

Historic Kerikeri Stone Store, viewed from across the river

We were parked at the NZMCA park in Kerikeri which was quite a busy place with a constant stream of people coming and going.

The view from our front window

The day came for the van to be delivered to the RV centre, Mark said it would be 2 to 3 hours so we took the opportunity to go for a tiki tour. For our overseas readers, a tiki tour is New Zealand term and defined as;

1. a sight-seeing journey with no particular destination in mind.

2. taking the scenic route to a destination.

3. to wander aimlessly.

Our first destination was to Aroha Island, an Island eco sanctuary which is home to free range kiwis, of the bird variety, plus lots of other bird life and we understood that the sanctuary had a nice camping area. Oh are we pleased we went to check it out in the car as access into the island for us would have been marginal with a narrow access road and causeway lined with lots of trees and bush.

Location map of Aroha Ialand

However, we were warmly greeted by the managers and went for a walk around the island, it really is a lovely place with excellent facilities and would be a great place to stay.

At the end of the island looking out across the inlet

We can recommend a stay here, but check for yourself first to see if you can get your rig in safely.

After a long chat with the managers, we left there and drove out to Opito Bay.

Opito Bay

It is obviously a popular place to moor a boat and suspect it could be very busy over the summer months with lots of holiday homes and a nice beach.

We were just heading back into Kerikeri when Mark from Northland RV called to say we were good to go with the oven all fixed. Apparently the ignitor and thermocouple needed adjustment which he had done, we tested it and it all worked, hooray. We can highly recommend Mark at Northland RV for his excellent work and friendly nature. We went back to the Kerikeri NZMCA park for the night as we were planning to leave the following morning heading to Uretiti for a couple of weeks.

However, was this going to be the end of our woes? or were we going to have a third mishap? Stay tuned for the next instalment!

Fridge woes

November 16, 2020

It was blowing a gale, with horrendous horizontal rain….halfway through the day I could hear that the fridge was click click clicking away as though it was trying to ignite without success however all lights showing on the face of the fridge said that it was still going ok. In a brief respite from the weather we checked the back of the fridge (accessed from the outside) and it seemed that the flame was going ok but the starter thingy whatsit (that is it’s correct techie name) just kept on going and wasn’t detecting that the flame was actually present.

The outside vent and access to the rear of the fridge

Our fridge is a three way fridge, gas, 240v power or 12v, however we have had the 12v capability removed as it uses far too much power and would kill our batteries, therefore the fridge will only go on gas or 240v power. And as we very rarely, if ever, plug into power, it runs mainly on LPG gas. We presumed that the clicking noise something to do with the fact that the wind was directly blowing into the vent and rain was coming in horizontally on that side of the bus, possibly extinguishing the flame.

Fast forward to the following day which dawned bright, clear, sunny and no wind, however we discovered that the locker under the fridge vent was water logged so the rain was really coming in that direction with great force. Roy tried all the usual things to try and fix the fridge, he cleaned everything, blasted it with compressed air etc etc, until he determined that the control box starter thingy (another techie name) was faulty. He was sure he actually had a spare one but couldn’t remember where he had put it…..so, all the lockers got emptied, boxes opened and searched, he went through everything and couldn’t find it so he presumed he had carefully filed it at Antony’s for safe keeping.

Meanwhile we switched the fridge over to power and thought we would run it off the inverter and batteries during the day. We were already at 100% full by the time we thought of that option and with the inverter on, the control said we were consistently putting in 1 or 2 amps all day which made us think perhaps it wasn’t working properly on power.

Fast forward again to the afternoon, Roy went off for a nana nap, I decided to dry out and clean out the locker that had got wet which contains lots of containers with all those handy things like nuts, bolts, screws, fuses, wires, electrical connectors, and lots and lots of essential tools and bits, all neatly stacked in labelled containers. In tidying everything up before putting it all back neatly…..I opened one of the “miscellaneous” boxes and guess what I found? Yep, the little green box thingy all carefully wrapped up in bubble wrap!!! Once Roy woke up, he replaced the starter in the fridge workings and off it went perfectly on gas. Phew!

The replacement ignitor

But just to check, that evening we switched the inverter on, set the fridge over to 240v power and guess what? It uses around 27amps….amazing, so the system works really well during sunny days that means our power system is well setup and works extremely well.

We figure that for over the summer months, we shall run the fridge on power during the day and gas overnight, and see how it goes especially whilst we are at Shakespear, hopefully it will reduce our gas consumption considerably.

The fridge workings exposed, with new drainage hose attached and new ignitor in place

PS to the tale of the fridge, we thought initially that the wet locker was from the rain, but no, on inspection the drain hose at the back of the fridge to the outside (that white crinkly concertina pipe stuff) had completely broken down and shattered into tiny pieces with the water now dripping down into the locker below.

Some years ago we had replaced large section of the hose but the last remaining 6inches of pipe at the fridge end had deteriorated so we needed another hose to connect directly with the fridge outlet. The replacement piece we had on there just wasn’t doing it as it was very stiff and I couldn’t bend it enough to directly connect it to the back of the fridge. You must realise that I am trying to do this from the outside (the back of the fridge) through a narrow gap which can only be reached if I stand on a step, angle myself into all sorts of twisted positions to feel my way past all the other pipes and wires…..so, thinking cap on. What can we use for a better drain pipe of the correct dimensions…..light bulb moment, the clear flexible hose from one of the solar showers fitted perfectly and was pliable enough to squeeze directly onto the outlet pipe at the back of the fridge. Voila, it works perfectly.

The woes of RV fridges!!!

Kaitaia to Karikari Peninsular

November 10, 2020

Kaitaia was our first destination after leaving Rarawa, it’s only about a 50minute drive past all the newly planted market gardens and avocado orchards. Every year the plantings seem to expand further and further over the rolling hills.

Row upon row of what we think was either squash, pumpkins or zucchini’s

Rows of avocado trees as far as you can see

Kaitaia was always going to be a one night stopover for a fuel up, dump the waste, get the laundry done, a bit of retail therapy and the grocery shopping done. We did manage to catch up with some extended family members which was lovely. As we arrived at the RSA car park, there was just one other bus parked in the car park, it was none other than Jim. He was heading out to Ramp Road on the Karikari Peninsular the following day and we were heading for the NZMCA park at Tokerau Beach.

After all the chores were done, it was a smooth run out to the beach the following day where for the next week or so we enjoyed our time in the relative peace and quiet. We went for a drive to check out Matai Bay as we have not stayed here for a couple of years, the gravel road is in urgent need of a grading so we decided to stay put at Tokerau Beach .

Matai Bay

It’s interesting being parked up at the NZMCA park, watching others come and go but also how people choose a spot to park. We parked ourselves on a boundary fence away from everyone else, and although it was very quiet with a maximum of 5 or 6 others in at a time, it seems as though we are some sort of magnet for others to gravitate toward.

View from the door, before we were surrounded!

The park is a large park with plenty of places to park well away from other people. One day three vehicles came in within an hour of each other, all three of them choosing to park on either side of us. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there was nowhere else to park then I could understand them gravitating toward us. But when the ones that parked either side of us have dogs as well…..I don’t know, what is it with people assuming that I love their yap dogs as much as they do? The dogs are supposed to be on a lead at all times, and technically they were, it’s just that the leads were not attached to anything at the other end so the dogs ran around dragging their leads behind them! Rant over.

The weather has been mainly fine although we did have a terrific wind and rain storm one day, the results of which will be in the next blog post.

And we’ve refrained from fishing, we have more than enough to keep us going for quite some time however we were happy to accept this offering from a lovely young couple.

Crayfish entree

We met up with a couple of other friends whilst here and it was great to see Pat & Steve and catch up with them, we also went and had drinks one afternoon at Brett & Bronwyn’s POP just down the road and we also took a ride around to Ramp Road to see Jim.

Soon it was time for us to continue our slow trek back to reality and leave this glorious part of New Zealand behind.