Archive for the ‘Tokerau’ Category

Tokerau Beach

August 12, 2017

We spent a glorious two weeks with Marg & Gary at Tokerau, not doing much in particular but somehow managing to keep ourselves busy and occupied without getting in each other's way.

parked up on the spare section next door. Marg took this picture on one of the fine days!!!

The weather has not been particularly nice, but then again it is winter and it is what we expect. At least we have been fortunate with mild temperatures however that just means it has been very wet and windy.

There was the odd foray out to do a bit of fishing, and a bit of catching as well. As usual I neglected to take any pictures. Note to self, get yourself sorted and into the habit of picture taking again! I did get into some more knitting whilst we were at Tokerau and ended up using up all my bits to make a scarf which I gave to Marg. Just so that you are not disappointed, I kept up my picture-taking-slackness and forgot to take a picture of it!

Marg & Gary had three of their granddaughters visit one weekend and I ended up knitting a couple of bunnies for them, I can't remember the significance of why it had to be bunnies but it was a quick knit up of simple square and sew it up carefully to make a bunny.
Sewing up bunnies….and no, the rum is not mine, it's Roy's.

We left Tokerau Beach to head back down to Uretiti with a short overnight stop in Kerikeri. However, those plans quickly changed to a two night stopover in Kerikeri. One: because the weather was atrocious and we didn't feel like driving through torrential rain and gusty winds and Two: because we came away from Tokerau with a parting gift from Marg….a nasty cold with a hacking cough! Thanx Marg, just what we wanted – NOT!

We have both succumbed to the nasty bug and are doing everything we can to get rid of it as quickly as possible as tomorrow (Sunday) we are due at Whakapirau to take up our house sitting duties for a month, and we do not need to pass on our bugs to Chris before he heads off to join Jacky on their trip hiking the Norwegian fiords.

So another quick wrap up of life with the Vannini's. The blog will become much more interesting soon enough as we head off on another adventure so be sure to watch this space. Meanwhile we look forward to our sojourn at Whakapirau and visits from lots of friends and family.

It’s been a while

August 4, 2017

I know, I know, I've been slack, I have not been posting recently and I have no excuses either. A quick update and summary of what we've been up to and where since the last blog.

Roy had a checkup appointment with the cardiologist in Auckland a few weeks ago so we headed down from Uretiti and stayed with Steve & Les for the night. Roy got the all clear from the cardiologist, so much so that he has taken him off cholesterol tablets as he says "your arteries are clear, valves good and heart is strong so why are you on cholesterol tablets?". Apart from the Atrial Fibrillation which is now under control, all is well. We returned to the van at Uretiti, staying another few days before heading north.

Next stop was Kerikeri where we managed a quick catch up with Roy's second cousin Stuart. We had a lovely dinner out in Kerikeri at the Jerusalem Cafe with Stuart where we shared a lovely Meze platter of Israeli food, and delicious it was too and the company, as always, was very good.

From there we headed up to Tokerau Beach, a particular favourite spot of ours, and where we have been for the past week camped on friends Gary & Marg's spare section behind their house. Here we have not only enjoyed their company, but we have shared meals, the odd drink or two, been out fishing a couple of times – the catching has been a different matter though with only a couple of fish landed – and generally having a very relaxing time. We only have another week left before we take up our house sitting duties at Whakapirau for a month which will then lead nicely into our upcoming 'holiday'.

Speaking of which we have finally sorted our upcoming trip and we are all booked and ready to go. We leave NZ on 27th September for London via Singapore with just a few hours stopover. We then leave London on the 17th January, this time with a three day stopover in Singapore on the journey home to arrive back in NZ on the 20th January at just before midnight. Other plans are still being formulated whilst we are away but we will be in Belgium for the 4th October Passchendaele commemoration, at some stage we will be heading to Switzerland and the Italian border to the town of Mendrisio which is where Roy's family is from originally. We then plan to meander our way back across France into Spain and Portugal. Somewhere in between we are fitting in a trip away with Alexandra & Ian, and Ian's parents, and it looks like we will be heading to the Canary Island of Lanzarote for a week of R&R in a villa on the coast. We shall be back in London ready for a white Christmas when Antony will be joining us all for the festive season. There will be tripping around the UK as well, catching up with a few of my relations and filling in the gaps on a few places we missed last time. All in all we shall be away for 4 months – I know, it's a tough job but someone has to do it!

So there we have it, a quick catch up.

Farewell Matai Bay and Northland hello Shakespear

November 30, 2015

It’s time to leave the warm sunny north to start our journey south to Shakespear Regional Park which will be our home for the summer.  But first our last few days at Matai were spent reasonably quietly, mainly catching up with friends and fitting in the odd spell of fishing, although Puheke Beach (along from Rangiputa) is on my no-go list for the rest of the summer after again getting attacked by some sort of biting insect.  On doing a bit of research I discovered that this nasty little bug is colloquially known as the Mount Mauler, and inflicts its nasty bites, surreptitiously, until many hours later when they start to erupt and itch, not nice.

It was at least three days of incredibly intense itching soothed only by cool damp flannels, and yes, I tried just about every over the counter treatment as well as plenty of alternative treatments, although I can recommend a cold used tea bag daubed carefully onto the affected areas to garner a few moments of relief!!!  

Back to the fishing, we did try our luck off Tokerau Beach whilst also catching up with Pat & Steve who were parked at the Ramp Road freedom camping area.  Our fishing success was moderate but some snapper and gurnard has made it to the freezer for later. 

Back at Matai Bay, good friends Brian & Marj came to join us for our last week there, and along with Craig & Glennis and Jo, we had many an enjoyable afternoon happy hour righting the problems of the world and having a good laugh.  Someone in our travelling party  had a birthday in a few days time, but before we left Matai Bay Steve & Pat delivered some fish as a present, and Brian & Marj made me a lovely wee birthday cake complete with candle.  

We left Matai last Monday and made it to Kerikeri for a night before then continuing on to Uretiti for a couple of nights.  My birthday was on Wednesday and my bestest mate Jacky & Chris invited us to their place at Whakapirau for dinner and to stay the night which we duly did.  Earlier in the year both Roy & Chris had had noughty birthdays without much fanfare, so combined with my birthday it seemed like a good excuse to break it the decent wine.  We have been carting around a bottle of 2000 Church Road Tom for some time so it seemed appropriate to share it at this time, and we can report that as well as a lovely meal, with great company, the wine was pretty good too.

We arrived at Shakespear last Friday and ts good to be back and to see everyone here.  We shall be here for the summer so if you are in the area give us a call.  

Fixing, fritters and fishing 

October 21, 2015

It’s so nice to be back at Matai Bay, relaxing in the warmth and sunshine and generally keeping ourselves busy with one thing or another. 

 First on the list was a trip into Kaitaia to pick up the replacement fishing kite, line and accoutrements and also to check on mail that was being forwarded to us at Kaitaia as well as catch up with extended whanau.   The parcels were duly retrieved from the courier depot then it was back to the van and the beginning of getting our lines sorted.

 This is what the damaged kite line looks like when it’s removed from the reel.

Next  it was the task of joining the last of the old line onto the new line and wind the line onto the reel.  The traces (these are the short lengths of line with the hooks at one end and clips to attach to the dropper rig at the other end)  were put onto the trace rack and a few new ones were tied.  Now it was time to try it all out and a trip to Tokerau Beach was in order, as if the fish weren’t biting, we knew that there are plenty of tuatua (shellfish) to gather in the shallows.  

No fish were harmed in that expedition but the kite and line all worked perfectly and there were  plenty of tuatua gathered.  The shellfish were left in a bucket of sea water overnight so that they purge themselves of any sand, as there is nothing worse than eating gritty fritters.  Sue and I made two batches of fritter mixture using two different methods and recipes – one an Al Brown recipe and the other Lauraine Jacobs recipe with Lauraines  version getting the thumbs up from us all.

  Sue wondering who ate all the fritters?

Another day and we headed off to another beach close by to try our luck fishing (we can’t tell you where as you would all want to go there) this time with much more success, with good sized snapper being caught and brought home, and a barracuda returned to the sea to swim again.  Of course you will have to take my word for it as we were so busy living in  the moment we forgot to take any pictures. 

However, another day and we returned from a mornings fishing and with 6 snapper, this time I remembered to take a photo of the fish.

 
Shame I neglected to take a photo of our delicious dinners the past few nights though, they were pretty damn good even if I say so myself!

Back to Matai Bay

October 13, 2015

We left Uretiti last Wednesday as we needed to get a CoF (certificate of fitness) in Whangarei, we got there by 10am and joined the queue with us being 5th in line.  Four and a half hours later! we left VTNZ with our CoF but with a couple of jobs on a to do list before our next CoF is due.  We ended up staying two nights in Whangarei, staying at the Hatea Bridge parking area, or Tippy Bridge as it is known locally, catching up on jobs such as hearing aid checks for Roy, pedicure for me and some shopping.  We also managed to catch up with fellow motorhomer Frederick and his partner Ursula as he was  on a break from his camp manager job at Port Jackson on Cormandel.  We hadnt seen him since his brief stint at Shakespear so it was fantastic to catch up.

Next stop was Kerikeri for a couple of nights and a quick catch up with Roy’s cousin Stuart before heading northto glorious Matai Bay.  We did make a quick sojourn into Kaitaia to book the van in for some maintenance which will be done in the next couple of weeks, then it was out to the Bay to settle in for a couple of weeks.

   


Next on the agenda will be some fishing, hopefully some catching too.
  

Bringing home the bacon

August 29, 2014

We have never been kite fishing before, we have watched others putting out kites but were unaware of the intricacies of this type of fishing. Kites are an effective way of getting a long line out from the shore to deeper waters, there is of course the torpedo/electric Kontiki option but that starts adding up the $$$’s – something we cannot justify as yet. Perhaps after winning Lotto this weekend??!! The following is a diagram of how kite fishing works, copied from Paul’s kite Fishing web site.

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Jim has a selection of kites with all the associated gear required, so our first trial was off Matai Bay with a good offshore breeze making it for a good day to have ago. Off down the beach we trotted with all our gear in tow, and with only a couple of trips to return to the vehicles to pick up forgotten bits, we settled down to sorting ourselves out. After many trials with various setups, different kites, secondary kites (called sky hooks!), we got the line out in what we thought was the right spot, in the middle of the bay, and then we waited. After about an hour we hauled the line in bagging ourselves a reasonable sized snapper, guess what’s for dinner?

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The following day Jim & Roy headed off over to Karikari beach to try their luck out there, the wind had swung around so this side of the peninsular was where to be. They set up the kites

IMG_0023.JPG Jim & Roy setting up the kites

IMG_0025-1.JPG kite and ‘skyhook’ in flight

Not trusting their fishing/catching skills, I had taken some steak out of the freezer for dinner, however, to prove me wrong, they came home triumphant with 4 very good sized snapper. Plenty enough for us for dinner for a few nights.

Since then we have been out a couple more times, chasing the wind on some occasions. We went to Karikari Beach as we thought the wind was offshore there, only to arrive to a wind change, so off down to Rangiputa where again it was the wrong wind direction. Next it was over to Tokerau Beach where not only had the wind changed direction again but the damn wind had dropped off completely so no kite flying that day. Never mind, we still had plenty of fish left from the previous days fishing.

Jim went out fishing one afternoon with some locals who were keen to pass on their skills at kite fishing, although they ended up not using a kite but a Kontiki, the principle is the same. Not only did he gain a little more knowledge of the ins & outs of rigs, He came home with a good catch of lovely sized snapper to fill the freezer.

Meanwhile, we have been bringing home the bacon, literally, as we have had a go at making our own bacon, the first attempt was completed this week and has been a huge success.

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Update and upgrade

August 10, 2014

We are heading northwards, but first a bit of a catchup on things missed from the last entry.
Whilst in Kerikeri, we caught up with Mieke & Graham Apps. Many years ago Graham worked for Roy at Kinleith, and Mieke is a renown fabric artist, weaver, quilter and general very clever lady – you can see some of her work and hand dyed fabrics here. We spent a lovely afternoon catching up with all their news and renewing old friendships, we will definitely catch up again next time we are in Kerikeri.

We stayed at Tokerau Beach for nearly 2 weeks, enjoying the views, the weather and the company. Jim & Judy came and went, Brian & Marj came to stay for a while and we enjoyed their company for many a happy hour. Brian & Marj were the ones who introduced us to the idea of Sunday Brunches – to remind them that it is the end of the week and tomorrow is Monday, with this lifestyle we tend to lose track of days so a Sunday Brunch is a good reminder of the day of the week. So it was lovely to be invited to their bus last week for Sunday brunch – and what an amazing repast awaited us. Pancakes, crispy bacon, grilled banana, caramelised orange slices, blueberries, maple syrup and homemade deliciously thick yoghurt.

IMG_1589.JPG a feast to set us up for the day.

We were running low on water and with little rain due, we decided to head off into Kaitaia on Wednesday. But wouldn’t you know it? In packing up I dropped my iPad, it hit the corner of the metal table leg and cracked the screen. Oh no, what am I to do? Luckily the break is mainly in one corner so I can still use it for reading, although a crack has started to appear across the main part of the screen. Thursday I drove from Kaitaia back to Kerikeri to see about getting a replacement screen. The first sales assistant at the Noel Leeming store told me yes, they could get the screen replaced but it would have to be sent away and would cost approximately $290 plus postage, plus, plus, plus…..so I decided to treat myself to a new iPad but this time a mini iPad, much better for reading as it is much lighter and easier to hold. I chose the iPad, and a cover and was talking to another sales assistant who then informed me of someone local he knew who does the screen replacement for around $130! A quick phone call and yes, she could replace the screen but not until next week. I went ahead with my purchase anyway and will get the old one fixed so either Roy or Antony can inherit it. In the meantime, I am transferring all my books and other data from one machine to the other and enjoying the novelty of a new toy.

We are parked at the RSA in Kaitaia, a large flat parking area close to town and all the amenities we could possibly need. We are making full use of the local library with its free wifi, and I can highly recommend the coffee at the library cafe! We have ordered a new water filter and having it delivered c/- the local Post Office as well as other mail. We are even getting a few other small tasks and jobs done. Things like buying a small handle to attach to the end of the bed base to make lifting it easier to access the storage area underneath, something we have been meaning to do for the past three years! Roy has a bit of work on at the moment so he can quietly get on with it. We have managed to catch up with Beryl, my late sister-in-law Ann’s 93 year old mother, and Ann’s brother Frank and will try and see another brother Donald later. We shall stay here in Kaitaia until Tuesday or Wednesday when we will head out to Matai Bay for a couple of weeks where we have a sneaking suspicion that we may meet up with a few more friends!

And a Happy Birthday to our daughter Alex for yesterday, we look forward to seeing you in October x

Ramp Road, Tokerau beach and a little R&M

August 1, 2014

It was time to leave Kerikeri on Monday, plans were set and we were ready to move on. However, things never quite go to plan or as simply as we would like as we seemed to fluff around for ages. First it was off to the dump station to empty the waste tanks and fill up with water, but the water pressure was soooooo sloooow, it took forever. I left Roy to tend to those matters whilst I nipped into town to; 1. Retrieve a notebook I left at the library 2. Get some cash to pay for the parking 3. Get our copy of the weekly Listener magazine 4. Post off a parcel.

That completed, I then met up with Roy who said we were to go to the local franchise of Carter’s Tyres to get the airbag suspension checked and the tyre pressures checked. A 10 minute job turned into an hour. All went well until the man got to the final tyre, and he could not access the pressure valve as it was hidden by the wheel cover. Try as he might, that damn cover would not come off, after much frustration and use of many tools he finally managed to get it off without a scratch. Finally we could head off. But not quite, first off to the petrol station for some fuel, hook on the car and this time we are off!

We arrived at Ramp Road and parked ourselves along the beach front and set ourselves up in the sun.

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We put out the awning as well as the front and side wind shade which made a huge difference, particularly to the temperature inside the van as the door was now sheltered from the wind. It was whilst we were setting ourselves up that Roy came up with a brilliant idea to stop the slight flapping of the front edge of the wind break. When we got all the pieces from the manufacturer, they gave us the half zip that was left over from making. Roy asked me to get out the sewing machine and sew on ties along the edge. That done, he attached the zip to the one on the front and used the ties to attach it to a centre pole.

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20140729-165856-61136863.jpg a hole drilled into the awning roll to lock the pole into position and we are set.

More tasks on the job list to be ticked off was the cleaning and resealing of joints on the outside of the van. We have a new product to use which seems to be much better than silicone, however, it does tend to be very messy no matter how hard we tried to keep clean. We have black gooey gunk and white gooey gunk ( technical name for Simsons sealant) but first the clean up of the joints, remove old silicone, mask off the area to be done, and get it on as quickly as possible. It turns out we make a pretty damn good team and managed to make a very good job of our first efforts.

20140801-144603-53163889.jpg black sealant around the wheel arch.

We have a long way to go to complete the whole van, but we can do a little at a time and it will soon get finsihed. During this process I accidentally discovered a way of cleaning and whitening the little locker catches, I removed one to have a go at cleaning it up, as part of the cleaning process (which included the use of a toothbrush -shhhh, don’t tell Roy, I’ll put it back when I’ve finished 😉 ) I made up a solution of a nappy soaking product, left the catch soaking in it for a few hours, lo and behold, it’s nicely clean and white!

Another we task completed was how to make the access to the washing machine easier. Those who have followed our blog will remember that we installed the machine into a cupboard, but due to size constraints it was a bit of a tight squeeze to get it in and out – read about it here. On talking with friends Brian & Marj, Marj came up with the suggestion of using some of those thin plastic cutting boards placed on the base to slide the machine out. With a bit more thought and experimenting, we have solved our problem, I chopped up a few of the cutting boards as it just so happened that I have a set of them that I don’t use as I don’t like them – they are not good for my knives. So, cut a couple up, glue to the base board, stick the fluffy side of a Velcro dot onto the feet of the washing machine, and hey presto, the machine now slides in and out easily. Sometimes, it is the simple solution that is the best, thanx Marj for sewing the seed.

20140801-150250-54170980.jpg colourful slides!

And just to make some of you a little envious, this is the view from the door in the mornings.

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Necessity

September 13, 2013

During our week at Tokerau we watched others putting out either torpedoes or kites to fish off the beach. This enables the lines to be taken out up to 2km off the beach, just a little further than surf casting. “He who must…” has been eyeing up all the different rigs to see which one he would like to put on his Christmas wish list in the hope that some generous soul may read it. We did watch some people bring in a few good sized fish, and one kind fisherman gave us some lovely fresh snapper for our dinner that evening.

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There are many different ways in which people retrieve the lines, all done with a winch, some winch in by hand – as in manually wind a handle, others have a quad bike with winch attached to a battery and others use their vehicles and have the winch attached to the front bumper.
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Watch out soon for the Motorhome towing a Rav4 with bikes on the bike rack, towing a boat, towing a quad bike…oh and why not throw a kayak in the mix as well!!

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and how true is is. I was making a rub for a pork belly dish for dinner and needed to grind some spices, but oh dear, i do not have my mortar & pestle with me. What am i to do?, thinking cap put on and I came up with this make-do alternative.
20130913-145907.jpg A dariole mold as the mortar and the handle of an icecream scoop as the pestle. I can report that it worked a treat and the slow roasted pork belly was melt in the mouth delicious.

It does not seem like a week has flown by, but it has, and with the weather reports sounding as though we were due to get some of the horrid weather that had disrupted life in the south we made the decision to head over to Kaitaia for a few days. We can park up on the hard at the RSA, get a few jobs done and do some touristy things in this neck of the woods before we head back to the Karikari Peninsular. So here we are in Kaitaia, the promised horrid weather did not eventuate, meanwhile we are catching up with a few people and even the odd chore before we move on again ….sometime!

Miscellany

September 8, 2013

After a couple of weeks at Maitai Bay it was time to move.  First a quick stop at the Top 10 at Whatuwhiwhi to dump and then off to Ramp Road, just a short 18kms down the road.  Here we set up 10 metres from the beach (Tokerau Beach in Doubtless Bay).

So as a different blog, here is a collection of sights seen at Maitai and around the Karikari Peninsular.

It is almost as if the local sheep are aware of Halal and are practicing before they go to slaughter.

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and the Pohutukawa all struggle to cling to the smallest advantage to hang onto the shore.   Some set a large number of props into the sand to ensure that they do not fall into the sea.

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This one even managed to grow in the crack in a rock.

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The sun rising out from Maitai Bay

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Over the hill from Maitai Bay is Karikari Beach, a short walk from the car park takes you down onto the beach.  Photos below; looking East and then West on Karikari Bay

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The long white sand in Karikari Bay

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A meeting of the one legged seagull society

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And a couple of foreigners meet their end!!

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Oops! the demise of the washing machine. Obviously she was overworked and underpaid.

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A long shot from the opposite side of Maitai Bay

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A mathematical snail playing in the sand creating an infinity symbol

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A Swallow and Black Back gull sitting in the sun.

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And common sights around the camp site are Yellow Hammers and Fantails

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Views from a track that leads up to the top of the hills between the camp and the headland of the peninsular.  The beach and our motorhome partially hidden in the left.

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The entrance to Maitai Bay from the track

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Looking east along Karikari Bay to the white sand bar in front of Punaheke.

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The flowers of the Manuka are well and truly out and the bees are making the most of it to produce Manuka Honey

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And finally here we are at Ramp Road on the shore of Tokerau Bay.

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