And now the rest

On the home straight now.  Left Spirits Bay and headed to Rarawa.  Another great DOC camp with access to a long beach hardly used except at weekends.

We parked near the entrance to the camp behind a planting of flax bushes which gave us good shelter from the easterly winds and we had our backs to the westerlies.  The flax flowers were at their best and provided a source of food for all sorts of birds and insects.

26 Rarawa19 flax flowers

Looking out the window one day we spotted a turkey in the long grass.  As we moved in for a better look it became apparent that there were more than one.  She had some 10 chicks which were only a few days old.  Turkeys are prevalent up north here and they are seen as a pest by many as they tend to foul water troughs and create general mayhem.

23turkey 24 turkey 25turkey 

There is a walkway from the camp, alongside the stream, to the beach.  This end of the beach is dominated by the stream and the sand bar which is extensive.  The whole of the sand bar, and dunes behind, above high water are roped off as there are a number types of seabird nesting and raising chicks.  Particularly noticeable are Oyster Catchers and Dotterels.


The track was surrounded by all sorts of grasses both native and introduced.  One that stood out was these cat tails, a sight not noticed for many years but remembered from childhood.

28 Cat tails

One day we decided to go to The Bluff on Ninety Mile Beach.  We had heard of a camp at there and thought we should have a look whilst in the area.  We travelled back to Te Kao and then followed the road to the coast.  We passed Lake Wahakari and decided to stop for a look.  It was a lovely lake with a number of outrigger canoes moored at the shoreline.  These were obviously being used for training for races.

29 lake 

We travelled on to The Bluff and were met with this unusual site.  A loader apparently deep in the water.


Not sure how to get out to this curious sight we made our way a little further in and came to the camp.  It was quite a sight with very uneven ground and minimal facilities but I am sure if you were keen on fishing it would be a great spot


We managed to find the road down to the beach to where the loaders were working.   From the beach we could see Cape Maria van Dieman

33 Cape Brett

On closer inspection it appeared that the loaders were scooping up the bottom and it looked like they were after some sort of shellfish.


But no; it turns out they are collecting Green Lipped Mussel spat.  Each load consists of a large amount of seaweed most of which has thousands of tiny mussels growing on it.

35spat 36spat

The load is then deposited in a trailer and hand picked to get rid of the larger chunks of seaweed and those with no spat.

37spat 39spat

There would have been at least four loaders and as many trailers and high sided trucks.  The spat and seaweed is then packed in long stockinet bags for distribution to mussel farms throughout New Zealand. 

The rocks at the Bluff are used by fishermen, but the locals told us they would have none of it as they were a very dangerous proposition.


Another day we made our way out to Henderson Bay and headed back  toward Rarawa along a dead end side road.  At the end of the road we came to spot where we could look down on the rock formations seeing if we could see any good fishing spots. 


The beach? around this area is known as Pink Beach because of the pink shell beach sand made up of shell fragments of an extremely common spiral sea snail

42rocks 43pink

We found a spot with an outlook over the cliffs and settled to a bacon and egg pie picnic.


Some of the guts that were cut into the cliffs by the sea were very attractive and provided lots of opportunities to explore.



This time of year the flax is in full bloom and it has to be one of the more beautiful native flowers.  These flowers attracted large numbers of bees and it is surprising that some enterprising bee keeper has not set out to provide a flax honey, perhaps with some medicinal value in the same vein as Manuka honey.


When we were last in Kaitaia we thought it time we had a small shovel, a handy tool for all sorts of odd jobs.  Little did we know that the first use of said implement would be in support of the ‘Friends of Rarawa Beach’.  We were asked by a lady if we would care to join them in planting native plants in some of the dune areas.  They are trying to re-establish this particular plant to the area where it was once prolific.  So we spent a morning assisting in the planting of some 500 plants.  

47wort 48wort

49 wort 

The beach at Rarawa is white sand about a kilometre long looking toward the South in the distance are the hills on the far side of the stream that is at the camp area.


At the north end of the breach is a rocky area leading around to Great Exhibition Bay.  The water around the rocks is Crystal clear

 54water 55water

This is the south end of Great Exhibition Bay which runs all he way to the entrance of Parengarenga Harbour

56exhibition 59Exhibition

It must be Sunday again!!  It is just as well we have brunch to remind us of the day of the week!!!


Looking west from where we are parked one can see these eucalyptus on the horizon.  They stand out as all of the leaves are at the very top of the trees so they look like tall umbrellas protecting the understory.

gum trees 

One night we had a spectacular sunset which provided a great backdrop to these trees


Some how these two got into the foreground, not quite as tall!!


At the same time, to the east, the moon was rising between the pine trees on the beach side of the camp.

63moon  65moon

And then we left.  Off to Kaitaia for a couple of nights to dump our rubbish, refuel, pick up groceries and other bits and pieces.

Oh and just before we leave Rarawa we must not forget the three legged beefy.   As can be seen in the photo  he/she has a large part of the lower right hind leg missing.  This does not in any way appear to hinder movement and as can be seen the condition of the beast is very good.  It is interesting that the shortened leg is not withered but in fact larger than the good leg.  In movement the shortened leg is used to touch the ground and the animal is able to cover all of paddock in which it is housed. 



2 Responses to “And now the rest”

  1. Alex Vannini Says:

    So will it be Turkey for xmas lunch then?!
    Lovely photo of you and Sue ma, looking very tanned!! x

  2. Rarawa | The Vannini's Manoeuvres Says:

    […] The heavy rain and high tides associated with the tail end of the cyclone earlier in the year has had a drastic effect on the beach at both ends.  At the camp end a large part of the sand dunes, particularly near the river entrance  similarly at the North end, there has been a considerable  amount of sand removed from the base of the dunes.  Unfortunately this damage has effectively destroyed our planting efforts last year. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: