Archive for June, 2015

Around Tauranga

June 30, 2015

We spent a couple of nights in Tauranga at Sulphur Point which is at the boat launching ramp, however, we have since discovered that there is a much better parking place at the end of Sulphur Point at the Marina  where the outlook is much nicer and its further away from the railway that seems to constantly be on the move all evening.  The Bay of Plenty councils have made it very easy for us to know where to park with each designated area well signposted with clear instructions.  

  Tauranga City blue information sign
After a couple of nights in Tauranga  we had done all our jobs, restocked the pantry, and caught up with people and appointments so it was time for us to move on as we had spent our allocated 2 night stay in this park.  Our next point of call was not too far away at Omokoroa.  

A similar  information sign from the Western Bay of Plenty Council (green) , this one is for the Huharua Regional Park near Omokoroa. 
The parking area at Huharua Reserve, Omokoroa.  

We spent one afternoon doing a bit of a recce of a number of the parking areas available around the region, a must as some places are limited in the available area and also incredibly tight for us to be able to turn around.  The parking in Huharua area is on the left where our car is parked. 

 And here we are parked up.  

This was a particularly nice place to stay as just along the side of our vehicles were a line of mandarin and orange trees which we were free to take as many as we wished.  On the other side of the park (on the right hand side in the first picture) were a grove of very large avocado trees and some lovely grapefruit trees.  Score!  We only took what we could eat over the next few days, but every day there was a steady stream of people coming to collect fruit and walk their dogs.  We tried putting out the net as well in the hope of getting some flounder but apart from a pile of weed, nothing was caught.

Time to move on after our 3 night stay with the next stop to be Tuapiro Reserve at Katikati. Yes, I know, we travel huge distances when we move – NOT!  I think this move was a whole 28km!

  Here we are parked at Tuapiro


  The view from the door.  Oh and what’s that on the beach in the distance??

This is what it was, a couple to Clydedales towing a sled along the beach, not a sight you see everyday.  And don’t you just love the seat for the passengers? – a hay bale!   And yes, we have tried putting out the net here as well but without any luck, a move to the other side of the peninsular will be tried later today.

Over the past week I (Bernice), came down with a nasty cold which subsequently has developed into bronchitis, not particularly nice but all that means really is that apart form the usual symptoms I have no energy, and of course I am not up to eating much.  So the other day when I felt like some soup and a toasted sandwich, we got out our trusty old fashioned toasted sandwich maker which is usually used over an open fire, however after John made us toasted sandwiches one day using his toastie iron over the gas element, we thought this was a great idea.  We set up our portable gas stove outside in front of the van and it was no too long before we had delicious toasted sandwiches.  However, in a bit of a brain fade, we forgot to put the stove away once we had finished, and wouldn’t  you know it? Some #^*>{# stole it over night!

  This is the case sitting on the pole in front of the van where the stove was set up, so I have put the case back in situ with a note attached for the culprit.

 hopefully they will return and see this!!

Two weeks at Matata

June 29, 2015

Anyone would think that with all this so called free time on our hands that we would be flat out writing blog posts, but no, we just don’t seem to have had the time.  We have been keeping ourselves well and truly occupied I can assure you.   In between fishing and sightseeing, the odd bit of work has been done and much socialising has been achieved.  But first let’s recap the highlights of our stay at the Matata DoC camp.  Well, one of the first things we must acknowledge are the lovely hot showers that are provided at the camp, all operated by coin, just pop in a 50c piece and a hot 4 minute shower follows.  Now I know that 4 minutes does not sound like a very long time for those of you who languish under the never ending supply of hot water with no concerns of where that water will go to once you have finished, but I challenge you all to time just how long it takes for you to shower.  For those of us used to conserving water, power and waste water, 4 minutes is plenty of time to have a good shower. And for a real bit of luxury all we needed to do was add another coin to the box and enjoy an 8 minute shower!!  Sheer bliss.  

Whilst other parts of the country have been plagued with either severe flooding, snow, freezing temperatures or a combination of all the above, we too have had the odd bit of rain, as well as some mightily chilly nights. Of course it’s all relative to how cold it is, but we have become true wimps about the cold since hitting the warmer Northern climes.  Any time the temperature gauge gets into single digits has us rushing for the thermals, scarves and wooly hats! 

The wind has only occasionally played our game to blow from the correct quarter at the right strength so that we can again have a go at kite fishing.  It really had been a team effort with Pat & Sue helping us get our rig sorted and working efficiently.  Not that it has been all plain sailing mind you, this is what happens to a kite when you forget to put on the buoyancy balls which assist in keeping the kite afloat should it land in the water, especially when the seas are running with a heavy swell!

Our kite rig is a little different to those we have usually seen, in that ours is what is called a dropper rig set up, so it has taken us a few goes with it to establish what to do and when to do it and who does what job.  After initial misgivings, I have come to realise that it is actually a very good system and before long we had success.

These two beauties were caught one lovely sunny afternoon, in fact just as we were hailing them in, John and his daughter Jenny just happened to call by so we have witnesses to attest to the fact that fish were caught and they were of a reasonable size as well.

Another day and I tagged along with Pat & Sue for a trip out the Lake Tarawera which is accessed through a forestry road at the back of Kawerau.  Roy had a bit of work to do so he stayed behind to get what he needed done as he was off to Taupo the following morning to see a client.  The three of us went into Kawerau to first get a permit  which is required to access the forestry road.  There is also a waterfall within a short walk off another road but by the time we had finished at Lake Tarawera it was far too late (and cold) to take the walk.  However we did have a good look a round the DoC camp at the Lake and whilst looking into the river that feeds the Lake we could see scores of trout.  Pat just so happened to have his fly rod with him (and he has a licence) so he spent a wee while trying to tempt a trout onto the end of his line.  Unfortunately he didn’t have any luck but we did see a nice one landed by a local who told us that he thought the fishing was very tough and he was sure the only reason he caught one was by sheer accident! 

I tried to take some photos of all the trout in the stream but not with great success, this was the best I could do.

Then on our last day at Matata the winds were finally settled into a good pattern and strength so it was a day spent on the beach with the kite out and hooks in the water, one was caught on the first run out and then another two later on. 

 Sorry the picture quality is not the best but by the time we were back at the van it was dark as well as freezing cold and taking pictures with the iPad by torchlight is not the best quality.  I have to admit that I did not stay on the beach for the last set, as I had come down with a horrid head cold, so I was tucked up in a warm van when the others arrived back with the big fish.  Not that it got me out of filleting them all though, which is not an easy job when you are filleting  it by head torch with the temperature well down at around 4 degrees with a strong cold wind blowing lowering that temperature to somewhere where extremities were completely  numbed.  But it was soon all cleaned up, portioned out between us and fish definitely on the menu for the next night.

All in all a lovely stay at Matata where we could relax, enjoy the fine weather on the beach and snug as a bug I n the vans when the weather was inclement.  


House sitting in Whakatane

June 13, 2015

John and Jude left early Saturday morning for Tauranga airport for their flight to Auckland then onto  the Gold Coast, however, there was a major fatal crash on the road near Te Puke which closed the road for a few hours, and with no alternative route available to Tauranga they had to reschedule their trip for Sunday morning.  Which they duly did, and were safely on their way on Sunday morning, only a day later than expected.  However,  it seems that they took the reasonable weather with them as for the next week we had nothing but rain, rain, more rain and some wind. The following short video was taken from the front door.


After the weather cleared a little,  we did venture out for a a bit of a look around.  One day we went through to Ohope and had a look at potential parking places before continuing on to Opotiki which meant that we just had to have afternoon tea at the Two Fish Cafe which I still say has some of the best coffee around,  and the muffins are pretty damn good as well.

 Afternoon tea

Oh, and at the cafe, instead of giving you a table number for your order, you get a plastic toy animal like the shark and the kangaroo in the above picture.  Just a little fun thing they do which sets them apart from the masses.

Whilst we were parked up at Johns, our van decided it was a little lonely and it needed a mate and just look what happened!

  Almost a matching pair

Pat & Sue are back in the North Island after their sojourn South.  It’s lovely to see them again, and have their company – even though they keep beating us at cards, or should I say that we let them win!!  Once the weather cleared a bit and the wind blew in the right direction, we all went to the beach to try our hand at kite fishing as Pat had a new kite which he had not tried out before now.  Although the wind was fickle and we did not manage to get any hooks out but we did get manage to get the kite up.

  Pat & Sue surf casting 

  Kite finally flying.

Another day and another attempt, this time getting the hooks out butte can report that no fish were harmed in this excercise although a lot of weed was caught.  But the weather was lovely, we had a nice picnic on the beach and we all agreed that we could not think of a better way to spend an afternoon.

John & Jude returned the following Sunday, we did not hear them return, we were all comfortably sitting in the lounge watching Tele when all of a sudden the door burst open with John charging through yelling YAAAAAHAAA!  We all got one helluva fright – lets just say that some laundry was required to be done after that surprise! But we have stored that fright away in the memory banks for future reference so just watch out Mr Coatham, have your heart pills at hand!

We stayed on for a couple more days before we headed off the  huge distance – to Matata just 17km away! Although we did detour a few kms through Edgecumbe to use the dump station there.  Now we are comfortably parked at the DoC camp at Matata where we await the favourable winds to allow us to go fishing off the beach.


June 1, 2015

After our allowed two nights at Anzac Bay we headed to Tauranga for a couple of nights mainly to restock the larder, fill up with fuel and get a couple of chores done before heading down the coast to Matata and the lovely DoC camp there.  Whilst at Matata  we had a couple of goes of trying to get the kite up for some fishing off the beach, however, either the wind was too strong, in the wrong direction or not strong enough.  Talk about frustrating!   We tried!

From Matata it is just a short jaunt down the highway to John’s place, here we are for the next week or two whilst John & Jude are away.  Again, it is a good opportunity to get lots of chores done whilst we have access to everything we could possibly need.  

The weather forecast was for and calm conditions so John suggested we head off early (relatively speaking) on Thursday morning for a mornings fishing.  We were up in time to get the boat ready and on our way by 8am, and boy was it chilly with a good frost on the ground.  We were rugged up in our best warm gear; hats, gloves, scarves, possum/merino jackets, with a lot of it having not seen the light of day for a good couple of years. Oh and not forgetting Roy and his Waikato socks. These socks are renown amongst some of our friends as the indicator that it is becoming definitely chilly.   It’s a bit like that ad we used to get on TV many years ago for something that I cannot  now remember (I think it may have been an antiseptic or sticking plasters?) but the ad was of a small blond headed boy playing rugby with the catch line of “oh no, Snow cops it again”, when that ad appeared on our screens we knew that it was winter time.  Well, when Roy wears his Waikato socks, we know it’s winter! 

 Roy geared up with his Waikato socks on.

And not to be outdone, John was wearing his lucky bright orange fishing hat and Jude had kindly lent me her lucky bright yellow fluoro hat….hmmmm, not too sure about the look – or the luck in my case!


 I think we have become accustomed to the warmer climes especially during the winter months, I mean, these days if we have a temperature getting down into single figures we think we are frozen!  It was not so long ago that we used to get excited when the winter temperature got out of single figures! How quickly we adapt.  Anyway, back to the fishing.

We headed off over the Whakatane bar for a favourite fishing spot just down the coast.

  A lovely day for fishing

It wasn’t long before a few fish were being landed, however, many of them were sent back to go tell their granddad to jump on our lines.  But it wasn’t too long before we had enough for dinner so it was time to head back to land.  

We ended up with a reasonable mornings catch… 

 One Kahawai, two trevally, three snapper and seven gurnard.

Next came the filleting lessons. 

  Roy and John at the filleting table with the cat and dog waiting expectantly for some tasty morsels

Chum, the dog, just loves the snapper skins.  It’s no wonder he has such a lovely glossy coat and is full of energy.  Filleting lessons complete, it was time to clean up the boat before storing it away, tidy up around the filleting table before we could enjoy some of our catch.  The Kahawai was smoked and make into pâtè to have with drinks the next day, but tonight we were to have the trevally as sashimi  


For dinner we had snapper and gurnard fillets with enough gurnard left for dinner the next day.  Fresh fish is just the best and we throughly enjoyed every morsel. Now we just have to wait for the next expedition!