Archive for the ‘Houhora’ Category

Rarawa

October 4, 2018

It was time to leave the lovely park over property at Tokerau Beach, Brett & Bronwyn run a great POP there and we are always made to feel very welcome. I headed off first into Kaitaia to attend to laundry and shopping and Roy was going to follow on behind to fill up with LPG whilst Keith & Deb went on ahead to Rarawa. Now you know what’s coming don’t you? It was never going to be that simple.

I had just about finished getting the laundry washed when Roy rang to say he was still at the POP, the damn RV/bus/motorhome/van, whatever label you want to give it, would not start! It seemed the starter motor had decided to crap out. A local auto electrician was contacted and he said he could come and have a look in an hour or so. I decided that meant I could throw the laundry into the dryer, and go and have a coffee whilst I waited to see if I needed to pick up any parts in town. The phone call came just as I had finished folding the washing, it was fixed and Roy was on his way. Apparently it was a rusty/loose terminal so a quick fix and he was on his way. That gave me plenty of time to get the shopping done before he arrived. We met at the dump station, then went and filled with LPG and water before heading off up to Rarawa.

It’s been 2 years since we were last up this way and the growth of avocado farms expanding throughout the north is incredible to see.

We came around one corner to see this sight ahead of us.

Very effective cutouts of children, poignant reminders that there is a school here and to be mindful of your speed.

By the time we got to the DoC camp at Rarawa it was 4.30pm (the start of daylight saving sort of mucked us up a bit), we arrived to find Deb & Keith all set up and our position sorted. They even had dinner ready for us, how nice is that? We were soon all set up and making ourselves at home.

The following evening, the guys decided to have a bit of a quick fish off the beach before dinner, they were back in just over an hour with these beauties.

Not content, the following morning whilst some of us were still sleeping, they were out again to see what they could catch. They were back before 8 am, this time with a couple of huge fish.

The biggest fish was just over 14lbs or 6.5kg. That’s enough for a day or two, by the time we left them to set for a while on salt ice, before being filleted and packaged, most of the day had gone. We split the heads of the large fish ready to cure then smoke them, plenty of very good fish there to make a few smoked fish pies and a bit of pâté as well.

We had originally planned to go and have a kite fish off 90mile beach in the early afternoon but we all admitted that we probably had enough fish for the moment, besides, the freezers were full so we would relax for the afternoon.

Relaxing in the sun after all that hard work with a coffee and some muffins fresh from the oven.

Our next challenge is to somehow get rid of this guy who wakes us at stupid hour every morning with his crowing.

Once we deal with him, we shall have to come up with a plan to deal with his friend on the other side of the river. The joys of being in a rural camp!

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Around and about with an adventure.

September 17, 2018

We somehow manage to fill each day keeping ourselves very busy, but ask me what are we busy with, and I would be hard pressed to tell you exactly what we get up to! We are still at Gary & Margs place at Tokerau Beach, fishing, eating, talking and keeping ourselves out of mischief, well sort of.

Sue & Dave from Oamaru called in to see us during the week on their holiday to check out the north. We haven’t seen them since we left Oamaru so it was lovely to catch up with all the comings and goings in the town. And again I was too busy talking to remember to take any photos.

Another day we did go for a bit of a tiki tour up to Houhora to get some nice avocados, and at $2 a bag, they are a steal. It was a glorious day.

fishermen retrieving their boats and catches on the outgoing tide.

We decided to treat ourselves to a fish & chip lunch, sitting in the sun, watching the world go by…

Gus (dog) also enjoyed his day at the beach. What’s not to like about it?

We started to head home, but oh no, what’s this? The car is boiling over…

parked on the side of the road waiting for things to cool down.

It was then a very slow trip back to Kaitaia with hazard lights flashing, if we kept below 50km/hr the temperature gauge stayed fairly static and we could make it back safely.

At the garage….Gary showing Roy where the problem lies. I am sure that the garage mechanics will sort it out fellas!

We had to get a ride back out to Tokerau Beach with family who very kindly came to our rescue. And yes, we did get a good supply of avocados after all that. They will go very nicely with fish!

fish, now that is another story, we have been out fishing a couple of times with our kite but without great success. However what’s not to like about being on the beach in this sort of weather.

That’s Roy and Gary gathering a few tuatuas.

Roy and Gary have been out with Gary’s torpedo a couple of times, but the torpedo did have some issues. First it kept going left, which really means it would go around in circles, so off to the repair man it went to be fixed. Once it was returned Gary repaired and replaced all the sealant. That done it was out for a fish, but what’s this? Oh no, the torpedo is slowly getting lower and lower in the water the further out it goes before disappearing altogether and becoming a submarine….hmmm, apparently that new sealant doesn’t like salt water, ooops! They managed to drag the torpedo back to shore where it is now undergoing another repair but this time with the correct sealant.

Meanwhile we wait for the winds to come back so we can get out with the kites again. At least the temperatures are lovely and mild with the shorts and t shirts getting an airing and the sunscreen making an appearance. Summer is on its way.

Ninety Mile Beach

October 25, 2016

Ninety Mile beach is in fact 55 miles (88km) but it sure does seems like it’s a 90 mile stretch of beach when you get onto it.  From Houhora, the beach is only 10km away on the west coast and as we have not yet kite fished off a west coast beach we thought this was an opportune time especially as the wind was in the right direction.  The beach becomes somewhat of a race track at weekends and holidays, and with yesterday being Labour Day and the first long weekend for some months, it seems as though quite a few other people had decided that they would race up and down the beach in their cars.  The beach is an official part of the highway network therefore the usual road rules apply, however, sometimes common sense does not!

The warning signs are everywhere

In 1932 the beach was used as the runway for some of the earliest airmail services between Australia and New Zealand. 

Long stretch of beach

 Tour buses as well as cars and motorbikes travel up and down the beach, although a few have succumbed to the elements 

Time for us to put out the kite to see what we can catch and in particular, the difference between fishing the east coast versus the west coast.      

That’s Roy in the distance, keeping an eye on the reel whilst I moved the car back up the beach, well away from one of those rogue waves that take many people by surprise.

The surf and wash on this beach is vigorous which means we have to try and get our line out as quickly as possible through the surf so as not to tangle up the line.  That done, we settled in to wait, not too long though as we have been  told not to leave the line out for too long as sharks are known to chew through lines.  After 30 minutes we pulled the line in to find two good sized snapper and a trevally.


An excellent result.  

Rarawa – Kaitaia – Houhora

October 21, 2016

The weather gods decided to play in our favour so we could finally get out to do some fishing.  Roy and I had good success over the first couple of days with one or two snapper caught each day which meant we could enjoy fish for dinner nearly every night.  It’s just a short drive from the camp to the other end of the beach where there is vehicle access onto the beach

An overview of the camp area wedged between the curves of the river. 

Last Friday Roy and I decided that we would go down to the beach and have another fish, the weather was overcast with the odd shower coming through but we thought it was worth going to the beach and having a try, besides, it’s better being on the beach than finding jobs to do in the van.  So off we went and we soon had our kite out flying, not too far out though as we know that there is a reef about 900m off shore and we don’t want to get our lines caught on the reef.  We text Pat & Sue to let them know that the wind was going in the right direction for kite fishing so they came down as well and set their kite out further along the beach.  

Once the kite is safely locked off its just a waiting game, when we play the guessing game of trying to determine how long we should keep the line in the water – usually we figure about an hour is good.But what do we do for an hour?  sometimes one of us will  wander off for a walk along the beach and a beachcomb, other times is just a matter of sitting and waiting.  This time however, we came prepared. As we can drive the car onto the beach and sit in the car to wait we had brought with us with our wifi router and iPads with headphones so we could both watch/listen to our individual choices of programmes and dodge the showers.

Waiting….
For this lovely lot to be hauled ashore

6 snapper ranging from 36 -40cm plus a 55cm Trevally

 
Not to be outdone, Pat & Sue caught 3 snapper and a small trevally.  With all this fish to deal with We thought  that it would be a shame to waste the fish frames and heads as there is plenty of edible fish left behind. We sometimes smoke the heads and wings and have lots of smoked fish but this time we thought we could give them away.  I had read about a web site that puts you in contact with people who are happy to pick up heads and frames for their use so we decided to give it a go.  I rang a lady on the list and yes she would love to come and pick up the heads and frames. Within an hour she was at the camp delightedly taking away all the heads and frames.  The website is Free Fish Heads a fantastic initiative as it means there is no waste.   The lady rang me later that evening to say thank you, that she really appreciated having such lovely fresh fish heads and her family really enjoyed them. 

It’s not all fishing and relaxing when we are on the beach though, one day Roy and I were just settling down to wait patiently for the line to do it’s thing when we see a young lady come walking toward us with purpose in her stride.  When she finallygot to us, she was so out of breath and in between sobs, she struggled to talk.  We sat her down and tried to calm her somewhat before she could tell us of her tale of woe.   It seemed that her car had skidded off the road back at the entrance to the camp. She had already walked into the camp area to try and find help but as there was no one around she had then trekked down to the beach to find us.  Poor thing was beside herself. I took her back to her car to see if we could tow it out, but it was too difficult and I did not want to create even more damage to her car by attempting to move it so after much discussion we called a local towing company.  They were with us pretty quickly after only waiting 20minutes, in that time I discovered she was visiting from Argentina and was hoping the car was not too badly damaged as she only had a week left in New Zealand.  Once she was sorted I left her in the capable hands of the tow truck driver and returned to the beach to help Roy pull in our line.

Ooops!
This is not the first accident we have seen on this particular corner, as on previous visits to Rarawa we have seen a couple of vehicles on their side either in this ditch or the one on the opposite side of the road.  

We had to leave Rarawa on Sunday as we had the van booked in at Kaitaia Tractors on Monday to have its annual service, and to have the brake linings replaced and for it to have it’s CoF done Tuesday morning.  So what are we to do all day whilst the van is in the workshop? We go out to Tokerau Beach to catch up with Gary & Marg.  To cut a long story short, we ended up staying the night with them.  During the afternoon we headed off to the beach and collected a bucket of Tuatuas which we will shell and eat later as fritters.   That evening, we all thought it would be a great idea to watch a movie…Gary  & Roy – both of whom spent their working careers in IT – spent a good wee while trying to sort out TV, connections, PC and cables with lots of muttering and mumbling going on…it looked like this

We picked up the van on Tuesday afternoon, initially we had hoped to return to Rarawa but the camp had been closed that day for the next 3 weeks as DoC are treating the campsite for Argentinian Ants.  So plan B was instigated.  Instead we headed back up to Houhora where Pat & Sue were already parked and here we will stay for a week. 


 Pat & Sue wanted to go and do some fishing in their wee boat, and with Houhora having a safe harbour they can easily launch it and go off fishing in and around the harbour.  But it’s only 15 minutes from here to Rarawa so yesterday Roy & I went up to have another fish off the beach.  We sent the kite up, attached the long line and proceeded to wait.  

Roy baiting up the hooks.

On hauling the line back in we only had one fish on the line, a reasonable sized Kahawai  which we decided to use as bait and immediately sent the line straight back out again.  The next retrieve was much more successful with these two beauties landed to take home.

44cm and 62cm
Needless to say we have had fish on the menu most days and as well, the freezer is full of vacuum sealed packs of fish fillets, enough to keep us going for sometime.

Heading North

September 10, 2014

We enjoyed a week in and around Houhora – relaxing, fishing, hooked up to power, with plenty of Internet access, and lots of great company. In particular thanx to Di, Gail and Marie for your company over the week at Houhora, it was great to meet such lovely women who also are living full time on the road. It just so happened that the three of them arrived at the camp independently over the week, although we had met Gail before a couple of years ago when we were in Lowburn, and Di we had met recently in Kerikeri, and Marie we had met in Kaitaia, we all got together each afternoon for drinks and a bit of a chatting. There were other campers who came and went over the week with a get together held each afternoon to swap fishing tales and the like. However, like all good things they must come to an end and we all headed off in separate directions, we headed back into Kaitaia for a couple of days

Here we can attend to lots of wee chores and get some shopping done to refill the pantry and fridge ready for the run north to Cape Reinga and the DoC camps at Tapotupotu, Spirits Bay and Rarawa.

It just so happens that it is my late sister-in-law Ann’s mother Beryl is celebrating her 94th birthday today, so we called in for a quick chat and the usual celebratory wishes. She does very well for a 94 year old, however, she tells us this birthday she is not renewing her drivers licence and is giving away her car!

We shall be leaving Kaitaia tomorrow morning (Thursday) and once we pass Houhora, there is no cell phone reception, no internet, no radio reception either so things shall be a little quiet for a couple of weeks as this will be our last post for a while. In the meantime, here are a couple of random photos.

The first is the final lot of poppies that were sent off to the Army museum

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This is how the locals fix their car aerials, we have seen the usual coat hanger but never a fence standard!

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And finally a sign seen locally – it was just missing an ‘R’ –

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Enjoy the peace and quiet!

Before and after

September 9, 2014

IMG_0056-0.JPG Before

IMG_0060-0.JPG After

Says it all really!