Archive for the ‘east cape’ Category

Napier to Mahia to Gisborne

May 1, 2016

We left Napier on Tuesday morning ready to tackle the hills to make our destination for the next few days, Mahia Peninsular.  We headed off following Brian & Marj at a respectable distance to let traffic past, up and over the hills, some of them long slow climbs, which is no problem for our grunty engine.  Brian found a good pull over for both of our rigs in time for morning tea, a good time to stretch the legs and check out the wild chickens that seem to frequent a number rest areas in New Zealand!  

Then it was time to continue on our way, and it wasn’t too long before we arrived in Wairoa in time for a lunch break alongside the river.  Wairoa has had a bit of a checkered history,  but these days it is looking prosperous and a tidy wee town.

Wairoa from the bridge looking back onto the town.

Next stop was at Mahia Peninsular, we were to park at a reserve on the northern side of the Peninsular.  We arrived mid afternoon and quickly set ourselves up in the reserve next to the bollarded area set aside for tenters……or so we thought! More on that shortly.

Roy and I headed out for a drive around the coast as far as we could go  before the roads ran out, to check out the landscape. There are large rock shelves all around the coastline on the northern side of the peninsular, they are quite spectacular at low tide, showing off their formation for all to see.

No,these are not man made formations, all are done by Mother Nature. 

Back to the van, time for dinner and then settle down for the evening.  I should add here that there were four other vans parked up plus one small tourist vehicle.  However, our peace was to be interrupted by a French tourist knocking on our door.  She had just been approached by a Council employee stating that we should ALL be parked in the small  area behind the bollards, and if we did not move then we would be up for a $200 fine! Hmmm, we asked ourselves why did the council employee approach the only vehicle that was obviously a rental and ask them to relay the news?  And where were the signs indicating that we could only park in the small bollarded area? Harumph, mutter,  mumble…….so in the dark, we all packed up and crammed into the “designated” parking are, an exercise in juggling vehicles around tents and cars, squeeze in we did.  Well, bother that, tomorrow we will all leave. And leave we all did, up over more long windy uphill roads to Gisborne.

We have been to Gisborne before which you can read about here

Our intention was to travel up around East Cape, however, these plans were also about to change as the Gisborne Camping Pass and parking sites are only available over the summer months, and with very little choice in other parking options we again decided to change our plans by staying in Gisborne for a couple of night and instead then head  through the Waioeka Gorge to Opotiki. However,  these plans were also to change slightly as Marj was not well and needed to visit the hospital a couple of times.  She is much improved now and we intend to continue on our journey tomorrow.  

The bonus extra days here in Gisborne meant we could check out the Gisborne Market on Saturday morning, which we did, again filling the  fridge and pantry with some goodies!  The weather has been lovely with clear blue skies most days, and warm temperatures as well.  

Map of East Cape

Easter in the East …

April 1, 2013

Waipiro Bay was the next intended point of call, Friday morning rolled around and we decided that we may just go for a drive in the RAV and check out what we were to find there.  It turns out not a lot!  The drive took us through Te Puia Springs, another small settlement that does have a small base hospital, school, shop and pub.  However, the pub looks closed, apparently the hot spring pools are closed and have been for some years so perhaps a name change is coming for the town.  Waipiro Bay is further along off the main road, a small settlement which included a large marae and a small school, but no shops or commercial activity of any kind but plenty of derelict buildings alluding to much better times.

waipiro 2waipiro 3waipiro 1Waiprio Bay

Back to the van, pack up and head down the road to the dump station, empty the tanks, fill with fresh water and……..head back to our spot on the beach front at Tokomaru Bay!  Well, why move when we don’t have to?  It is such a lovely place, we have good phone and internet reception, the beach is lovely, the fish are biting for some, so why not stay another day or three?  We have watched other people come and go as there are a number of parking places along the beach front, however, we have remained “Nigel-no-mates” in our particular wee spot, that was until this weekend.  We now have two other mates and further along the beach, the other spots have at least two or more campervans parked.  


Time to attempt a bit of fishing, one of our neighbours has a motorised torpedo which he can send out with a long line through the surf to catch fish, whilst the male member of this touring party casts his line off the beach.   

fishing 1Casting off the beach.

Helping Ivan  & Aaron bring in their long line,  with two snapper and a small shark caught!

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Aaron jumping for joy                    Untangling lines

There is plenty of activity around the place to keep us amused, horse trekkers wander past daily…

horse 2

And Saturday was the local rugby match against Tolaga Bay. rugby 1rugby 2

The Uawa (Tolaga Bay) team in blue versus the Tawhiti (Tokomaru Bay) team in Red and Black

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No sign of the usual rugby accompaniment, mud; instead a very hard dry ground with plenty of dust.

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Bring on the heavy brigade!  Officials confer before the game starts.

In wandering around one sees some unusual sights.  These small circular mounds were spotted beside the track from the beach into the town.  Late afternoon heat brought out the occupants who turned out to be a very industrious ant colony.

ant 1 ant 2 

These were two of about six entrances within a half metre radius.  All actively being used, some smaller that these and some much more carefully disguised in or under weed growth.

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Dawn from outside the van door

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The moon, on a couple of different nights, reflected in the ocean.

On our travels around this part of the country, we have noticed a few small shelters along the sides of the roads in out of the way places.  They are in fact bus shelters for the rural school kids, which are obviously donated or sponsored by Totalspan.  Good on them for providing a facility for rural children  who have early starts and late finishes often in bad weather.


We have been surprised at the number of schools there are in small communities around the region, for example here in Tokomaru Bay there are three schools, one of which is Te Kura Kaupapa Maori language school, all three cater for Years 1-8.  Secondary schooling is in the larger population areas and centralised for shorter travelling distances.  Some tell us that the proliferation of junior schools is to ensure that youngsters do not have to travel far to school, thus ensuring that they will actually attend.

Spotted nearby was this old School Bus, now a home for itinerants such as us!

yellow 2Old School Bus, now a motorhome


Slightly unusual flora, a giant Yucca which had just completed flowering and was in the midst of dying off and a large Datura plant beside the road to our camping spot. 

We will eventually head off from here, but no promises of when as we will make up our minds on the day, as the mood takes us.