Archive for the ‘Kaiaua’ Category

The Kaiaua Coast 

May 21, 2015

The clouds were rolling in and darkening the skies as we arrived at Waharau late in the afternoon. Much discussion was entered into about where we were going to park, anyone would have thought that a) we had never been here before and/or b) there were lots of people here. Neither of which are true. We settled into the corner – we haven’t actually parked in this particular location before – and just as we had finished putting out the awning, the rain started. It did not let up until late Friday night and wow, did it ever rain, it was consistent and torrential all day on Friday but it did start to diminish Friday night with Saturday dawning a gloriously fine day.

  Parked up 
We have been to Waharau many times before and have extolled its virtues to many, however, unless we are here with friends, it is very rarely that we find ourselves with any company. Not that we mind, in fact we love it and long may it last.  

Of course I made the most of having both power and hot water with the washing machine getting a good work out. As well, we have been making chutneys and relishes again, it is handy to have a prep bench to work on, I can cook up the pickles on our portable gas cooker so that the cooking aromas are not filling the van.  

We had a few days by ourselves before Bill & Estelle arrived for a couple of nights. Roy & Bill set the net in the hope of some nice flounder, no flounder but they did come back with 16 good sized Kahawai. They were shared between us, we smoked all ours and I made it into smoked fish pies, smoked fish pate, a lovely salad of smoked kahawai, fennel and pear. The remainder was frozen. Now we hope to get some flounder as some of us are heartily sick of smoked fish!

 16 fish to be filleted

Bill & Estelle had only just left (as in 20mins had elapsed) when Jim & Judy arrived.   

 Roy & Jim did go fishing and set the net but no flounder was harmed in this process, instead they came back with 8 Kahawai. This time we gave most of the kahawai to Jim as we had more than enough, instead we turned our portion into bait! 

  8 kahawai

We had a couple of days of torrential rain and although we were snug warm and dry, some parts of the country did not fare so well and were flooded. However, I do have to admit my red bands did not afford me dry feet in all the mud!! 

 Wet and muddy feet

Red Bands are a Kiwi Icon, they are a brand of gumboot aka Wellington boots for those of you in the northern hemisphere. Traditionally gumboots have always come up to just below the knee. However in 1958 staff at Marathon Rubber Footwear – the forerunner to Skellerup – decided to create a shorter boot and on 21st October the first pair of Red Band gumboots rolled off the production line and became an instant hit around the country.

We were well entertained by the bird life at Waharau, there was the Tui that came every day to dance around the trees getting the last of the berries and entertaining us with its birdsong.  It definitely wasn’t shy and quite happily sat in the tree just a few feet away from us.  

   Tui filling up on berries

Then there was the Fantatil (Piwakawaka) who decided that we had a very friendly fantail in one of the wing mirrors. It came visiting daily and spent hours dancing, prancing and pecking away at its reflection in the mirror, wondering why it’s amorous advances were not reciprocated.  The mirror required a good clean by the time we were ready to leave.

 Fantail and ‘friend’

Soon enough our time at Waharau was up and it was time to move on. We had planned to go just down the road to the Kaiaua Boat Club, however, the ground there was so wet and boggy that most of the available parking area had been roped off, so plan B was instigated and we meandered further down the road to Ray’s Rest, a very popular spot for motorhomes to park. 

 And indeed it is lovely when the weather is fine, but you sure get battered and sand blasted if the wind is blowing, as it indeed was on our first night there. We were already to pack up and move on when later in the afternoon, the wind had abated, the sun came out and it was indeed glorious.  A double rainbow 
   And then the sun shone
Where else can you safely park this close to the sea?

The wind was favourable enough to allow Roy & Jim to put out their kites and set out a long line which resulted in a much more successful haul with 4 good sized snapper and 4 kahawai on the first evenings catch. The following day only one more snapper was added to the tally and all of our share of the snapper was cooked and eaten fresh. And oh my goodness, it was delicious, there is nothing like freshly caught and cooked fish. 

There is a two day parking limit at Rays Rest so Wednesday morning we packed up, said our farewells and headed off in opposite directions. We were not sure where we were heading to but quickly decided to go to Anzac Bay, Bowentown which is not too far from Tauranga. We have not been here before and so we were pleasantly surprised to find a lovely grassy parking area reserved for motorhomes, with a three night limit. 

  Parked at Anzac Bay

And why are we heading back in the Bay of Plenty? Because we are eventually ending up at John & Jude’s in Whakatane as they have asked us to housesit for them for a week whilst they are off celebrating  John’s admission into the realm of the advanced years, old farts, gold card carrying pensioner club! 

Some photos

April 16, 2015

Just had a look though the camera card and found a few photos that deserve a view.

One of the entertainments at Shakespear in the Summer was this water slide which all of the children, and some of the adults, thoroughly enjoyed.



These next two are from the Rally we attended at Duders Beach.  We were all parked very much on the beach front in a paddock.


Adjacent to the parking area is the Duder homestead a very attractive house right on the beach.


And this was the sunrise on the Saturday morning


These next two show the effect of the cyclone on sea conditions at the Whakatane bar.  Definitely not a day to be trying to get out to go fishing.



A cicada that visited us at Waharua Regional Park.  It was approximately 7 cm long.


And finally a photo that I thought I had lost.   This is the stingray that we caught in the net at Kaiaua.  The knife is 26cm long.  I had to cut the tail off to get the ray out of the net.


Waharau, Matata and whakatane

February 26, 2015

Waharau is one of our favourite Auckland Regional Parks and again it did not disappoint.  It’s a lovely spot not too far from Kaiaua where Bill & Roy set out the net one afternoon to hopefully catch some flounder.  After dragging the net back in in the wee hours, the haul was  3 flounder, one yellowtail and one rather large stingray, enough for a meal for us all.  It was our first try at preparing stingray/skate wings, I had tried them before in Singapore but it was a new experience to cook them.  Even though it was a nice enough meal, I don’t think I would bother repeating the exercise as there are plenty of much nicer fish in the sea to eat.  The mussels collected from just off Waharau though are truly delicious, with mussels for entree two nights in a row.

After just three nights at Waharau we decided to press on otherwise we would run out of time to get to Hawkes Bay. Our first stop was to be at Kopu where we had arranged for a hydraulic firm to look at the troublesome stabiliser jack.  It turns out that it has a slight bend in the spike which will necessitate a new one to be built but after a quick discussion we decided not to hold up Bill & Estelle  and we would try and get it fixed further along the line, so with that in mind we pressed on and headed straight to Matata where we found Jim & Judy parked up at the DoC camp there.  Bill & Estelle arrived the following day to join us.   We had three nights at Matata, managing in the days there to catch up with Keith & Deb, who live just along the road and spent a lovely afternoon with them catching up on all their news. I also rang my brother John who lives just out of Whakatane to say we would be passing through on our way East and arranged a time to catch up on Monday.

But of course, our tentative plans were to go awry again.  Bill & Estelle had decided not to go on to Hawkes Bay anymore, so plan B was formulated.  Then Plan C (or was that D) started to come together, John rang to ask if we would be interested in house/farm/dog/garden/chook/ sitting for 10 days as he and Jude are heading to Melbourne for a break later in the week.  It did not take too much discussion to figure out that that was a reasonable plan so off to Whakatane we headed.  We bade farewell to Jim & Judy and Bill & Estelle at Matata and headed into Whakatane which is where we are now and will be for the next week or two.  

Of course, I forgot to take any photos of us at either Waharau or Matata, I am obviously becoming very slack in this aspect of blogging life.    

Being parked up here at John’s gives us a chance to get a few more chores done – although they do seem to be never ending!  One pressing matter was to attend to the kitchen tap (faucet to you foreigners!) which had developed a leak and had become a bit wobbly.  So I went off to the motorhome shop to purchase a replacement, but who do I find parked at the RV centre but Jim & Judy.  Apparently the car park area is a parking area for NZMCA members.  After a quick catch up, I purchased a new tap and then headed off into town to get a bit of shopping done, only to meet up with Bill & Estelle in the supermarket carpark!  They had stayed in Ohope the previous night and were just stocking the larder before heading off back north. Another quick catch up before onto my next job.  Whilst we are parked up for a while we are taking the opportunity to remove the front drivers and passenger seats  and have them recovered as they are starting to show a bit of wear & tear.  Off to see an upholsterer to get a quote.  Then comes the hard part of choosing material, and how we want them recovered.  But more of that later.

The replacement of the tap was expected to be a simple swap over, but oh no, not in our case. First the old tap turned out to be a bit stubborn and did not want to come out, then the new tap turned out to be a smaller fitting that the old one, this was only discovered after hooking up all the pipework!  John then suggested that they try and repair the old tap…..

“This goes in here.  No? here I think!”

A compromising position???

After some time, and yes John, you did manage to wind me up and trick me into thinking you were replacing my shiny stainless tap head with an old plastic shower head! the old tap was fixed and back in place and the new tap returned to the shop.   Only should I tell you fellas that the mixer is now opposite of what it should be?  Turn the tap to the cold position and hot comes out and vice versa!!!!

Little fire bugs

May 12, 2014

Where oh where does the time go? It doesn’t seem that long since we last posted but time seems to have crept away on us. We had been back to the Kaiaua boat club for a few days then returned to our favourite spot at Waharau where Pat & Sue finally joined us after spending 3 weeks at the workshop at Kopu. A few days later and Jim & Judy also joined us, so there we were, three happy campers all in a row, but again I forgot to take any photos of the three of us parked up so nicely in the sun so you will have to take my word for it …………….that is was sunny.

Now onto the title of this blog, it does have a double meaning, as not only did we light a fire which brought out the fire bugs in some members of the group which I will discuss later, but we also had visits from some bugs of the creepy crawlie type. They were discovered on the floor in the ladies toilet block and it was not long before this lady asked the gentleman to kindly remove the said bugs otherwise she would not be visiting the facilities! Warning for those who, like moi, do not like creepy crawlies, there is a photo of the creepy thing.

20140512-142149.jpgThey were about 1.5inches in length, apparently that is about 3.5cms, and they appeared on the one evening never to return again….or not that I saw. We think they are Kanuka Longhorn beetles, a relative of the huhu beetle. Whichever one, they are still creepy!

Last Friday was Pat’s birthday which of course was an excuse to have a bit of a get together and cake

20140512-135616.jpgthe birthday boy and cake, complete with candle. I hope that Brian & Marj recognize the candle as it is the one that they gave me on my birthday cake last November. It has since been used on Roy’s cake and now Pat’s. It’s a well used and travelled candle that one!

Oh, we did go fishing a couple of times, the flounder net did not catch any flounder but we did manage to get a decent sized Kahawai which was subsequently smoked and made into a pâté which went down very well at afternoon drinks time. Another day and it was mussels collected just off the rocks on the beach in front of the park,

20140512-140002.jpgmussels being enjoyed.

Another day and Jim went further along the road to cast out his rod, Roy & I wandered along a little while later to see if Jim was having much luck, only to arrive on the scene when a large school of fish was moving along the coast. Apparently this phenomena is called a “boil up” as the sea looked like it was boiling with activity, it wasn’t long before Jim had hauled in another Kahawai


Saturday dawned a bright and sunny day, so some bright spark – me, suggested we wander along to where there are BBQ fireplaces to light a fire and have toasted sandwiches for lunch utilizing our ancient antique vintage sandwich maker accompanied by a cuppa made by boiling water in the equally vintage Thermette!

20140512-142728.jpg Sue and Pat showing off their rubbish burning skills! Note the Thermette in the right front of the picture.

The Thermette was invented in 1929 in New Zealand by John Ashley Hart. It was standard issue to the New Zealand army serving in the North Africa during WW2 when it was known as the ‘Benghasi Boiler’. In 1939 the New Zealand Army asked Hart to waive his patent so they could make their own Thermettes; he agreed and the device was issued as standard equipment to every small army unit. The Thermette is considered a New Zealand cultural icon. Our version is made of copper and with just a few twigs we can have boiling water in just a few minutes.

20140512-142738.jpgBernice taking over stoking duties on the Thermette whilst Sue keeps a watchful eye on a pot of mussels

20140512-142749.jpg Jim making the tea

20140512-142803.jpgSue, Roy and Jim showing off their toasting marshmallow skills. Please note the beautifully whittled toasting sticks that Roy delighted in making!

All in all a very successful outing, although we all had to change clothes on our return as the smell of smoke lingered long on our clothes.

We have now moved on, we are currently at Admore refilling the pantry and fridge as well as getting a few jobs done before we head off again to the winter less north. Watch out Jacky & Chris, we will be along to see your new property on the Kaipara very soon!


May 2, 2014

We first met Chris & Amanda back in November 2011 when we were in Oamaru, then we kept running into them at various points along the road including in New Plymouth in November 2012. So when they contacted us to say that they were heading north for a break we took the opportunity to arrange to meet up. As they have an Ultima 5th wheeler, they also knew Pat & Sue, having met up with them when they had an Ultima before they saw the light and crossed over to join those of us with a Mirada!!!! Pat & Sue were still in Kopu with the van having work done on it, however they managed to pry themselves away and came up to join us and the girls for dinner. A good evening was had by all before Pat & Sue headed off back to Kopu leaving us to enjoy the quiet of Waharau.

Chris & Amanda had been having a few problems with their water pump which had just been fixed the day before. They had run low on water but as we had been collecting a bit of rainwater, we offered them a bit of a top up of their tank with lovely clean rainwater.

20140502-084253.jpg Chris pouring with Amanda holding the funnel. It was suggested that it looked as though they could have been filling the tank with moonshine gin or vodka!!!! Now there’s an idea!

We played tour guides showing Chris and Amanda the highlights of the area as we all sharing meals and playing lots of cards. They were due to head off Saturday morning so we convinced them to come with us into Thames where, along with Pat & Sue, we wandered through the Market in town adding to the local economy, as well as having a lovely coffee and bite to eat at Cafe Melbourne. The girls headed off to their next stop, Pat & Sue returned to their van at the workshop and we returned to our van.

Another day and Bill & Estelle came to visit, we had promised them that as the tides were right, we would put out the flounder net if they could wait around for late afternoon to help bring in the spoils. Of course the best laid plans were swept out to sea as when we hauled in the net it was devoid of any fish. Typical. We blamed the lack of fish on putting the net in a new location where it was untested, that will teach us, back to where we know the fish are biting.


April 8, 2014

The flounder have been running straight into our net over the past few days or so it seems; 13 one day, 17 the next and 22 yesterday, plenty to fill all our freezers as well as lots of fish for dinner each night. We have been filleting the flounder so that they fit into the freezer better which is a bit of a fiddly job, but with a little practice and a very good sharp filleting knife, I have the process down to a fine art. Now the freezer is fairly full, we are hoping that today’s haul may bring a few snapper as the net has been set out further along the bay at a place where a local told us is where we are likely to catch a few snapper. Fingers crossed that it proves correct.

20140408-113618.jpgJim, Bernice and Pat filleting the fish

Over the weekend there was a fishing competition on at the Kaiaua Boat club, which provided us with lots of entertainment. We had front row seats to watch the launching and retrieving of boats and the varying methods employed. The car park was full of boats and trailers throughout the weekend

There was a Motorhome launching a boat, they were obviously well versed with launching and retrieving with their Motorhome, whereas there were others who with their front wheel drive cars who had a lot of trouble gaining traction.


One person got their car and their trailer bogged down and had to unhitched their car so that a ute could hook up and retrieve the boat. It also took some time for the car to inch it’s way up the ramp, with much wheel spinning, smoke flying, car fish-tailing and screeching of tyres, the car eventually made it to the top of the ramp. I bet they needed new set of front tyres though.


Another fisherman left it a little late to retrieve their boat from the tide with the boat and trailer sinking into the mud, the winch rope breaking under the strain of trying to pull the stern of the boat out of the mud. This resulted in the boat slipping back down the trailer into the mud, sinking deeper, with the mud almost sucking the boat into its grasp. It took the owner over an hour to free the boat and finally get it onto the trailer. I did not take any pictures of this particular effort as it seemed that he was having enough of an embarrassing situation without me taking pictures adding to his embarrassment.

More entertainment was provided by a young boy who with his Dad had made a raft out of sticks, complete with small sail. The young man had many hours of pleasure chasing his boat along the shoreline, at was until a strong gust of wind toppled his boat upside down and out of his reach. Jim took pity on him, and armed with a fishing rod with a small sinker on the end of the line, he managed to hook up the boat and bring it to shore to it grateful young owner and to great applause from all who were watching from the other bank.


Back to the big smoke

February 22, 2014

We left Whangamata and headed up over the cloud covered hills to Kopu where we had a brief stop to fill up at the excellent Nova LPG fueling station then onto an Rv repair shop to pick up some locker catches that we had ordered the previous week. That done it was then onto Kaiaua, but first we pulled into Rays Rest to have some lunch and a cuppa as it was already after 2pm and the tummies were growling loudly in complaint. We had not been there long when we spied Fred. We had met Fred previously at Ardmore, he is a fellow full timer and blogger. After a quick catch up, we decided to stay put for the night as we were heading off in the morning anyway. Ray’s Rest lived up to our expectations of being very windy, we did not need rocking of to sleep.

Off the next morning to Auckland, more specifically back to Ardmore where we will be parked up for the next few days. On the way back to Auckland, just north of Kawakawa bay we came across a new, soon to open, regional park.

20140222-154918.jpganother park for us to explore.

Friday, and we headed off over the bridge to Torbay to see Steve and Les as we were all taking a trip up to Mahurangi to check out the venue where their daughter Frances is getting married next weekend. A stunning location (oops forgot camera!) but we will take lots of pictures next weekend. After sorting out a few bits and pieces it was a trip down to the beach and check out the camp site as this is another of the fabulous ARC Parks. Then it was back to Torbay for a bite of lunch before Leslie and I went out shopping for the afternoon, gathering together all the last minute bits and pieces for the wedding, and a few other essential items. That done we headed back to their place where Roy and Steve were busy laying the new flooring in their bathroom. We stayed on for a delicious dinner before heading back to Ardmore.

The weather here is incredibly hot, humid and sticky making it nigh on impossible to sleep at night. It’s almost like being back in Singapore for warmth and humidity. It does not make it pleasant for doing anything, however today we are getting a few jobs done, including installing the washing machine properly into the cupboard, complete with rollout access.

Jacky & Chris have very kindly let us make use of their house in Mt Eden whilst they are away for a few days as tomorrow (Sunday) Alex arrives from London. Are we excited? Just a little!!

The Seabird Coast

January 7, 2014

Parking at ‘Ray’s Rest’ north of Miranda, south of Kaiaua on the Firth of Thames, is always pleasant especially being so close to the sea, at full tide that is.  At low tide the mud flats stretch as far as the eye can see which provide great feeding for birds which is why it this area is called the Seabird Coast.  

3Parked by the sea!

Sunday afternoon and Bill & Estelle and Ron & Jan came to join us for a fish & chip lunch from the renown Kaiaua Fish shop.  Although the weather was not terribly pleasant, it was certainly warm with a very fine misty drizzle which just made it a very humid day.  But it did not deter us from a walk along the beach.  After lunch and a long natter, Roy & I joined Ron & Jan for a quick trip down to Ngatea to a blueberry farm.  We all bought a plentiful supply of the berries, most of mine are destined for the freezer for use later in the year,  as well as indulging in a fresh blueberry icecream.  Delicious.  

Whilst at Ray’s Rest we have been “Vannini-fishing” again.  That is to say, Roy goes off on one of his wanders and comes back with some fish kindly donated by fisherman!  This time we were given two lovely flounder and a snapper.  After our fish & chip lunch we were so full that we did not really need anything else to eat.  The snapper was filleted and put into the freezer for later, and the flounder are destined for our plates tomorrow evening. 

1Fish for dinner

Monday morning and it was time to pack up and move on, we had planned to head to Waharau Regional Park, just 13kms away.  However, we had a brief stop in Kaiaua (5kms away) and ended up staying at the Kaiaua Boat Club for a couple of nights.  The explanation for the stop in Kaiaua will be explained in a later blog entry!


Parked at the Boat Club (tide out)


Tide in and the view from across the inlet and boat ramp

A stunning spot for a couple of nights, tomorrow (Wednesday) we will head off again but in which direction we are not sure of as yet, it depends on the wind!

PS.  The flounder were deliciously sweet and tender.Yum!

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