Archive for September, 2013

Back again

September 30, 2013

After completing his work in Dunedin in super quick efficient time, Roy managed to get flights back north on Thursday, even managing to have a few hours spare in Auckland where he caught up with Antony over lunch. I picked him up from Kerikeri on Thursday afternoon, then it was back to Kaitaia. We had some pretty terrible weather whilst Roy was in the south which meant that I could not get up to too much mischief on my own!

Friday we were joined by friends Pat and Sue who are joining us for a bit of a northland escape and explore. We all spent the weekend in Kaitaia getting a few minor jobs done as well as stocking up on fruit and veg at the Saturday Farmers market. Saturday afternoon we took a drive out to Matai Bay and Tokerau Beach to scope out suitable parking spots as well as checking to see how busy each place was likely to be, as we had all just realized that school holidays have just started. Although it is probably too early for many families to think about camping holidays just yet.

Sunday and we headed out to Ahipara and 90mile beach as we had been given the heads up on where there were good spots to gather tuatuas. I am sure that the locals must have thought we were a bit mad as they were all well prepared with wetsuits and flax bags.

20130930-161900.jpglocals showing us how it’s done.

We were not gathering too many in our chosen spot until the locals called out for us to take over from where they had been gathering their quota. Roy had an onion sack whilst the rest of us had buckets – not the ideal receptacles as they fill with water, are damn heavy when they do and also act as anchors. We were not prepared for the surf pounding in on us either, one minute up to our knees, the next minute it was waist deep. Sue got completely bowled over at one stage so she was dripping from head to toe. In the end we gave up trying to save ourselves from getting too wet and just got on with collecting shellfish.

20130930-162235.jpg the happy, albeit wet, gatherers.

Back to our vans in Kaitaia, and prepare ourselves for moving on tomorrow. We had already booked the van in for a COF (certificate of fitness) Monday morning, so we knew we had that to get. Also we have to empty all the waste tanks, fill up with fresh water, top up the gas tanks and get some washing done then we could head out to Matai Bay. Which is exactly what we did, and by 11.30am we were on the road to the Karikari peninsular and the DoC (Department of Conservation) camp at Matai Bay.


Here we are all parked up, washing on the lines, happy to stay put now for a couple of weeks. There is no one else here in the camp so we have it to ourselves. We have parked in a different location to last time, this time positioning ourselves to maximise the sun (for solar power and our own enjoyment) and sheltered from most winds. The DoC officer came along just as we had settled in and after a chat we now have the local knowledge for the good fishing spots. Watch this space!

Five towns in one day

September 24, 2013

Roy has some work to do down in Mosgiel with one of our aviation clients, and Monday he started his journey south. Unfortunately it was not going to be a one flight and get there scenario more of a marathon journey taking from 10am through until 9pm. But before we get onto his journey, we first had to decide where I was going to stay for the week whilst he is away. I was keen to head back out to Maitai Bay to enjoy; the beach, peace and quiet, and nature at its best, however the weather forecast for the week ahead is not looking promising with gales, thunderstorms and lots of rain forecast. The ground at Maitai would become very boggy and with easterly gales forecast, the winds would be heading straight into the bay affording no shelter or relief from the elements, so it was agreed that I would continue to stay in Kaitaia at the RSA on firm ground. As members of the Motorhome Association, we can stay at a number of clubs around the country, it not only is good for us, but also just the fact that someone is parked in the carpark acts as security for the clubs, deterring some of the hoons. Roy did check with the manager that it was OK for us to leave the van (and the wife) for the week in their carpark and we were assured that it was just fine.

The epic journey started with an hours drive from Kaitaia to Kerikeri where Roy boarded a plane bound for Auckland. Once he landed in Auckland, it was a short turn around and board another plane for Wellington. Again, a very quick turn around and onto another plane this time headed for Dunedin. Then a taxi ride from Dunedin airport to his final destination in Mosgiel. There was the inevitable flight cancellations, delays, seating changes, and reissuing of boarding passes to contend with as well. Fortunately his return journey will be a little more direct with a flight from Dunedin through to Auckland then Auckland to Kerikeri. And if you are wondering why he did not fly out of Kaitaia, well that would have necessitated even more flights, over a longer period, on days that did not suit.

So five New Zealand towns in one day, not quite the same as multiple countries in a day (see blog entries for December 10/11 2010) or even breakfast in Frankfurt, lunch in Paris and dinner in London, but still not bad days worth of traveling.

Unahi, Waipapakauri, Ahipara

September 22, 2013

Another day of sightseeing around Kaiatai, we headed out to the west coast to Ahipara which is the southern end of Ninety Mile Beach.

20130916-110631.jpglooking to the south and Shipwreck Bay.
After a bit of a drive on the beach, we headed back onto the road to the south end of the bay where we came across the end of a surf rescue competition involving IRB’s (inflatable rescue boats) with teams from around the northern part of NZ.

20130916-110733.jpg looking from the headland northwards over Shipwreck Bay and Ninety Mile Beach

On the foreshore at Ahipara is a carved monument. It is of Poroa, a rangitira chief of Te Rarawa and he was known as a great peacemaker.

20130916-110753.jpgThere is a plaque underneath that says: “This pouwhenua was erected by the people of Te Rarawa to mark our traditional relationship with Te Oneroa a Tohe as guardians of the spiritual and cultural values associated with the spirit pathways handed down by our ancestors for the benefit of us all.”

A visit to the beach at Waipapakauri, which is a few miles along Ninety Mile Beach. There were a number of families fishing or collecting shellfish as far as we could see along the length of the beach.

From here we drove the short distance to the eastern coast to Unahi. Unahi lies at the southern end of Rangaunu Harbour, at the base of the east side of the Aupouri Peninsula and the mouth of the Awanui River.

20130916-110817.jpg the view on arrival, the disused fish processing plant and a boat on dry land.
There were a couple people working on their boats at the wharf and a large commercial fisherman loading up with ice ready to head out for the next week.

20130916-110845.jpg part of the wharf at Unahi

20130916-110857.jpgboats tied at their moorings.

One of the boats, on the far left of the picture, seemed to have a large amount of growth along the side of the deck. On closer inspection…

20130916-110905.jpgcould these be herbs or weeds?

Rangaunu harbour contains about 15% of the mangrove habitat in New Zealand. It is a habitat of international significance for migratory wading birds. Across from the wharf were a large number of wading birds

Again on closer inspection, these were a large colony of spoonbills.

And on the end of the wharf was this fellow


A Century, not out!

September 17, 2013

Happy 100th Birthday to Roy’s Aunty Win. We hope you have a great celebration this weekend and wish you all the best.


Battle of Britain

September 16, 2013

After all the excitement of the America’s Cup drama this morning, a quiet Sunday drive seemed to be the order of the day. We set off from Kaiatai with our first stop at the Ancient Kauri Kingdom at Awanui where we viewed woodwork made from 45,000yo swamp kauri before continuing along the road with the idea of heading out to Waipapakauri Beach. However, the best laid plans were soon to go slightly awry. As we approached the settlement before the turnoff there seemed to be some sort of ceremony being held at the memorial site of the Waipapakauri Airport. Not ones to drive on by, we decided to stop and check out what was going on. We were soon to discover that it was the local memorial to Battle of Britain. September 15th is the day chosen to commemorate the Battle of Britain as on this day in 1940, the Luftwaffe embarked on their largest bombing attack yet, forcing the engagement of the entirety of the RAF in defence of London and the South East, which resulted in a decisive victory in favour of Britain that proved to mark a turning point in Britain’s favour.

We stayed and listened to the speeches, watched the Air Training Corps put through their paces, and returned service men & women honour their colleagues. We were reminded of all the ceremonies we attended in Oamaru where Alexandra was a member of the local ATC squadron.

20130916-104741.jpg Local ATC cadets forming the guard.

Originally established in 1933 as a small local aerodrome, Waipapakauri was commandeered as an air force base by the RNZAF at the outbreak of war in 1939. In 1941, when Japan entered the war, this was New Zealand’s most northern airport. A Reconnaissance squadron of the Royal New Zealand Air-force was stationed here. At the peak of activity there were eighteen aircraft, 26 officers, 250 airmen and 110 personnel from the Women’s Auxiliary. A further 200 soldiers from the Home Guard and an artillery anti-aircraft battery were also stationed nearby.

All that remains are the remnants of an underground operations bunker and the Waipapakauri Hotel which, during hostilities, had been used as a hospital and officers’ mess. Alongside the Hotel is where the memorial is positioned.

We paid our respects before carrying on with our travels.

20130916-104805.jpg Roy in the queue to place a poppy.


September 13, 2013

During our week at Tokerau we watched others putting out either torpedoes or kites to fish off the beach. This enables the lines to be taken out up to 2km off the beach, just a little further than surf casting. “He who must…” has been eyeing up all the different rigs to see which one he would like to put on his Christmas wish list in the hope that some generous soul may read it. We did watch some people bring in a few good sized fish, and one kind fisherman gave us some lovely fresh snapper for our dinner that evening.


There are many different ways in which people retrieve the lines, all done with a winch, some winch in by hand – as in manually wind a handle, others have a quad bike with winch attached to a battery and others use their vehicles and have the winch attached to the front bumper.
Watch out soon for the Motorhome towing a Rav4 with bikes on the bike rack, towing a boat, towing a quad bike…oh and why not throw a kayak in the mix as well!!

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and how true is is. I was making a rub for a pork belly dish for dinner and needed to grind some spices, but oh dear, i do not have my mortar & pestle with me. What am i to do?, thinking cap put on and I came up with this make-do alternative.
20130913-145907.jpg A dariole mold as the mortar and the handle of an icecream scoop as the pestle. I can report that it worked a treat and the slow roasted pork belly was melt in the mouth delicious.

It does not seem like a week has flown by, but it has, and with the weather reports sounding as though we were due to get some of the horrid weather that had disrupted life in the south we made the decision to head over to Kaitaia for a few days. We can park up on the hard at the RSA, get a few jobs done and do some touristy things in this neck of the woods before we head back to the Karikari Peninsular. So here we are in Kaitaia, the promised horrid weather did not eventuate, meanwhile we are catching up with a few people and even the odd chore before we move on again ….sometime!


September 8, 2013

After a couple of weeks at Maitai Bay it was time to move.  First a quick stop at the Top 10 at Whatuwhiwhi to dump and then off to Ramp Road, just a short 18kms down the road.  Here we set up 10 metres from the beach (Tokerau Beach in Doubtless Bay).

So as a different blog, here is a collection of sights seen at Maitai and around the Karikari Peninsular.

It is almost as if the local sheep are aware of Halal and are practicing before they go to slaughter.

1kneeling 2kneeling

and the Pohutukawa all struggle to cling to the smallest advantage to hang onto the shore.   Some set a large number of props into the sand to ensure that they do not fall into the sea.

3clinging  5clinging

This one even managed to grow in the crack in a rock.


The sun rising out from Maitai Bay


Over the hill from Maitai Bay is Karikari Beach, a short walk from the car park takes you down onto the beach.  Photos below; looking East and then West on Karikari Bay

11karikari 12karikari

The long white sand in Karikari Bay


A meeting of the one legged seagull society


And a couple of foreigners meet their end!!


Oops! the demise of the washing machine. Obviously she was overworked and underpaid.


A long shot from the opposite side of Maitai Bay


A mathematical snail playing in the sand creating an infinity symbol


A Swallow and Black Back gull sitting in the sun.

 21swallow 22sittingitout

And common sights around the camp site are Yellow Hammers and Fantails


Views from a track that leads up to the top of the hills between the camp and the headland of the peninsular.  The beach and our motorhome partially hidden in the left.

103beach 106back

The entrance to Maitai Bay from the track

 111entrance 112entrance

Looking east along Karikari Bay to the white sand bar in front of Punaheke.

113karikari 114karikari

The flowers of the Manuka are well and truly out and the bees are making the most of it to produce Manuka Honey

115teatree 116bee 117bee 118bee

And finally here we are at Ramp Road on the shore of Tokerau Bay.