Archive for the ‘uretiti’ 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.


Plan B

July 1, 2017

After all the dramas of the past few weeks, it was with some delight that we headed back to the van where we have enjoyed relaxing and listening to the waves crash onto the beach at Uretiti.  The weather has been fine and pleasantly warm for this time of the year and with little or no wind which has made sitting out in the sun rather a rather pleasant activity.

Walking down to the beach
Parked up in the sun 

Looking south (top) and north along the beach.
We are now onto Plan B, or is that C or even D now with Roy.  We had a good meeting with the cardiologist who is happy with the way he is progressing on medication to keep everything ticking over nicely (pun intended).  Then we had a very long session with the Urologist/Oncologist and have come up with a plan.  

Roy is now NOT having major surgery, apparently after playing around with the heart they prefer patients to have a 6 month stand down period before major surgery.  So instead there is plan B.  Now he has had his first hormone injection yesterday, with another one due in 3 months.  This will reduce the size of the prostate as well as the cancer then at the end of the second three month period, the surgeon will probably do a TURP (rebore) of the prostate as this surgery is less invasive and does not require a full anaesthetic.  Then he will have radiation treatment on the remaining cancer.  All in all much less invasive and with better outcomes in terms of possible nerve damage  of full surgical removal.  

This has tied in nicely with our plans to head overseas, the planets are all aligning beautifully.  The second injection is due just a couple of days before our planned departure at the end of September and we can be away as planned with the next procedure not due until after our return in mid January.  Finally things are looking up.

Meanwhile, we are expecting a visitor later this week.  We are very excited about her arrival, so much so, there is a ticker tape parade due along Auckland waterfront just as she arrives!!!  Can’t say that we don’t pull out all the stops……..

Uretiti & Ruakaka

May 26, 2017

After finishing with appointments around Auckland we headed back to the van at Uretiti.  Uretiti is a Department of Conservation run camp on the beach in Bream Bay just south of Whangarei.  

It’s a lovely long beach that stretches 10kms from the Waipu River mouth in the south to the Ruakaka River mouth in the north.  

It’s a long sandy beach and is popular to fish from with lots of people trying their luck via various methods of fishing, either with surf casting, torpedos or kites. The wind was favourable for us to try our luck with our kite on a couple of occasions.
Somewhere out there is a little speck which is our kite.
We did have a little success and caught these three lovely snapper one afternoon.

Whilst at Uretiti we went into Maungaturoto one day for lunch with friends Jacky & Chris as we will be housesitting for them at Whakapirau in a couple of months time.  We also managed to catch up with Mark & Glennis who have just bought a property in Ruakaka and caught up on all their news.  After we had a week at Uretiti, we looked at the weather forecast which was not brilliant so we decided that we would head to Ruakaka just a few minutes down the road to the camp ground  for a week and enjoy being connected to the grid for a change.  

Here we are all set up nicely for the week.

The view from the bedroom window looking acrodd to Whangarei Heads.

The weather hasn’t been conducive for fishing so far but we did go for a look at the Marsden Point Oil Refinery information centre which is just 5minutes along the road.  It was a very interesting place to visit with a huge model of the plant and video information about the construction and refinery process.  We were told that the model of the plant took four people two years to build at a cost of around $1million and this was in the 1980’s! Goodness knows what it would cost today.There are information boards, audio visual material and models throughout the complex and is well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Our current plans are that we will stay at Ruakaka until Wednesday before heading back to Uretiti when hopefully the weather will have settled and the wind is off shore for some good fishing.


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.  


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.


Uretiti and a bother!

October 6, 2015

We have been at Uretiti just over a week now, and it’s just about time to move o and we will move tomorrow, initially to Whangarei where we ned to get a COF (Certificate of Fitness) for the van.   But back here at Uretiti we have tried our hand at fishing again and the weather was just perfect on Sunday for a day on the beach.

A glorious day

Time to send out the kite, this was our newly reskinned kite that we had only just got back from the kite maker after our previous mishap of shredding it to pieces, the pictures of that are here.  Whilst waiting for the kite to take our line out, I noticed something rolling around in the surf…

On closer inspection, it was a baby seal having a nice snooze in the shallows.  We just hoped that it was not scaring away all the fish.

We set the line out about 1.5km and settled back to await the snapper that was bound to be taking all the bait on the line.  Roy even went for a bit of a paddle

However, things don’t always go to plan and today was not going to be any different.  All of a sudden the line became very taut and the reel was pulled forward, oh dear, what was going on here, have we caught something really big….yes indeed, we certainly had caught something big – a speeding boat!!! Although it did not seem to slow the boat down, all of a sudden, the line went slack and the kite disappeared from view.  It seems the boat caught the line twisted it a zillion time before the line broke, releasing the kite, the dropper rig, the baited traces (and any fish that just happened to be on there).  Bother, or words that effect.

We hauled in what remained of the line with the last 500m of it coming back very twisted, stretched and abraded. 

The ruined line looking very pale and the worse for wear. Now we just have to set about sorting out replacing it all. Heavy sigh, what a nuisance!


Back in the real world

September 29, 2015

Back to the van on Saturday after Jacky & Chris arrived home on Friday.  Just as pleased as they were to be back to their home, we were just as pleased to return to ours.  And not only that, the weather has decided to come right with the blue skies and warm sunshine arriving although I do have to admit that the evenings and mornings are still a little chilly.  It seems that not only did we put the clocks forward, we somehow flicked the switch for nice weather.  This was the view at Whakapirau when we left, warm and sunny and showing off its glorious best.

imageLooking across to Pahi

We returned to the van which had been in storage at Uretiti, and we moved into a camping place by the beach access where we will remain for the rest of this week whilst we get everything back into order as well as put away that suitcase full of purchases I made from IKEA in Melbourne.  Oh, have I not mentioned my three forays into IKEA?  Perhaps I will come clean about those purchases at a later date!

imageParked at Uretiti

Now we wait for the wind to swing to a favourable quarter so we can get a bit of fishing in, let’s just hope that the weather continues to be as glorious as it has been the past few days.


A couple of weeks at Uretiti

August 5, 2015

Two weeks at Uretiti have passed very quickly indeed. Goodness knows where the days have gone or what we have done but the days sure do seem to fly by.  Some days were spent flying kites sending out the bait and line for a good wash but with no fish being caught at all. We were told by everyone that wandered past that no one was catching any fish, so the gear has been packed away ready for warmer weather when apparently the fish will come out to play.

We have made the odd foray into Whangarei to attend to shopping and other such essential matters  including a visit to the Saturday Farmers market where we get our fill of fresh fruit and veg but in the main we spent most of our time relaxing and attending to the never ending list of chores that we seem to make for ourselves.

imageParked up at Uretiti, Pat & Sues van in the foreground, us behind them with Brian and Marj in the back.

Uretiti Beach is in Bream Bay, with Marsden Point and Ruakaka to the north and Waipu to the South.  The beach is approximately 5kms in length and very popular especially over the summer months when the numerous camp grounds dotted along the coast line are full to capacity.  This camp is a DoC (Department of Conservation) run campground, with limited facilities i.e. fresh water, composting toilets and rubbish bins, and with no organised or allocated camp sites among the sand dunes.  Newly planted ‘islands’ are making the place look very tidy as well as affording separation and shelter for campers.  The camp is popular with motorhomers over the winter months as a good place to stop for a couple of weeks before moving on to the next port of call.

image A rainbow above our van.

Walks along the beach make for many new discoveries, especially if the sea has been a bit rough or an extra high tide brings ashore treasures.  Although we have not found Pat’s kite which fell into the sea on our first few days here, thats what sometimes happens when you forget to attach the floatation balls, the kite falls into the sea and either disappears never to be seen again, or like ours comes back shredded.  But we did find this chap standing guard over the edge of the beach..

imageSentinel on the beach.

We shall be leaving Uretiti this weekend, although the van will be staying here in storage, when we head to Whakapirau to Jacky & Chris’ to take up our hosuesitting duties.



Te Arai and Uretiti

August 1, 2015

Time to leave Shakespear, we do love this place and of course the people too but it won’t be long before December rolls around and we will be back to take up our role as summer camp hosts. We first headed to Hatfields Beach, probably best known in New Zealand as Rob Muldoon’s summer holiday retreat. Muldoon was Prime Minister from 1974 – 1982 and known as one of our most polarising PMs. To supporters he was the voice of ‘the ordinary bloke’; to critics he was a dictatorial bully. But we were here for a different reason, there is a new dump station here so we decided to check it out before heading north.imagethe new dump station at Hatfields Beach

From there is was another 75kms, with some of these kms over very twisty and dusty metal road, to Te Arai Point which is another Auckland Council managed park, with this one a very recently acquired managed park.  Here we are allowed to stay for just three nights in the Self Contained Area – for non motorhome people this means that your vehicle must have toilet and waste water contained to a certified level.

It is a lovely beach and we had only just parked up when we were on the beach with the kite out and hooks in the water.  We tried a couple more times over the next few days but all fish are safe and well somewhere out there in the ocean, not a one on our lines but never mind, it’s a lovely way to spend the day.

imageHere we are parked in the parking are along with Pat & Sue, the other motorhome is parked outside the gated area.

imageView of the vans and the beach from the point

We took took a sightseeing trip around the area including a visit to see friends eho live at Mangawhai Heads and will definitely come back here for another stay and hopefully better fishing too.

From Te Arai it was a short drive through to Uretiti DoC camp just south of Whangarei where we are for two weeks.  Ok, so one of those weeks has already passed and we have just one week left here until the van goes into hibernation mode as we head to Whakapirau to hosuesit for Jacky & Chris until the end of September.  The kites have been out a few times at Uretiti, but unfortunately nothing has been caught, apparently no one is catching anything much at the moment which is some consolation.

Improvments have been made, a new trace rack for holding all the hooks has been made and a new trolley has been purchased for carting all the gear to the beach….photos of those to follow in another blog post.

imageFishing off Uretiti beach, look carefully and you can see the kite and skyhook in the sky, with the flag and bottle in the surf.

imageRoy and Pat baiting the hooks whilst Sue holds the dropper line.


Whakapirau to Uretiti

June 24, 2014


No, we have not fallen off the face of the earth but we have been holed up at Jacky and Chris’ place at Whakapirau.  We left the van at Uretiti after making our escape out of the driveway, but then Bernice returned to stay at the van for a couple of nights as the netball ANZ Championship minor semi finals were on. Sunday and Monday nights Bernice spent back at the van whilst Roy stayed on at Whakapirau with Jacky (Chris had returned to Auckland for a few days).  By the time Tuesday morning arrived, the weather had deteriorated with heavy rain and very strong winds blowing.  Bernice was umming and aaahing whether she should ride out the bad weather in the van or beat a hasty retreat to the calmer climes of Whakapirau.  Decision made (aided by the promise of French Onion soup for lunch and Boeuf Bourguignon for dinner!),  a quick trip over the Brynderwyns, through the flood waters around Maungataroto to the relative calm of Whakapirau.  Here we stayed for the rest of the week.  

Jacky and Chris relocated their hen Mabel (the brown one) from their home in Auckland to the country.  Mabel has made a few new friends and three strays have joined her on the property where they happily roam around.  They all became rather excited one day when Roy did a bit of weeding, disturbing the ground and uncovering lots of juicy worms and insects.  


Mabel and her entourage                Heading down to assist Roy

Not only are there numerous birds and other wildlife around the property but there are hundreds of skinks, usually found sunning themselves on warm rocks in the afternoon sun.


Skinks in the sun

There are also a number of bromeliads growing happily and at this time of the year (winter) provide a welcome bit of colour.


By the time the weekend came round it was time for us to head back to the van at Uretiti as Monday morning the van was due in at Whangarei as we had booked it into a car painters to get a professional cut and polish.  It was to take them all day Monday and half of Tuesday to complete the work and as the netball semifinal between Waikato Magic and Queensland Firebirds was to be played on Monday evening, we arranged to stay on site for the night.  Whilst the van was being beautified, we took the opportunity to get lots of shopping done, we managed to pick up lots of bits and pieces we had been meaning to pick up for some time, little things such as; cables to sort out reception for the second TV in the bedroom, new fly screen material, get spare keys cut, WoF for the RAV and new brakes fitted, new covers for the car seats and a piece of matting for the van.   As well,  we managed to catch up with friends Dave & Di (ex Oamaru).  Although David was currently away in the UK, we had a good catch up with Di and caught up with all their news.

One day whilst passing the bridge  over the Hatea River – the entrance to Whangarei Harbour – the bridge was being raised to let ships through.  The Bridge is officially called Te Matau a Pohe – translated as ‘The fishhook of Pohe’ the Maori chief who welcomed the first English settlers to Whangarei.  Pohe  was very skilled in manufacturing fish hooks using traditional materials and styles. His hooks were so practical, many of the settlers used his hooks in preference to the standard English hooks made of steel. He was also instrumental in building bridges between the two cultures during the first years of English settlement amongst Maori. Pohe used his ranking to protect many of the first settlers from being killed.

It is certainly a stunning looking bridge with the raised portion shaped like a traditional fishing hook.

6 11

Bridge being raised                          Crossing the bridge

We picked up the shiny, polished van on Tuesday afternoon and headed back out to Uretiti. 

7Pat & Sue parked on the left, the Vannini’s shiny van on the right.

Now for the nature segment and unusual sights, odds and ends.

These fungi are seldom seen growing from the ground, it is much more usual to find them on dead or dying wood on trees or on the ground.  Well in this case they are growing from fallen wood as a little scraping around found that they were growing for some rotting wood a few millimetres below the ground.


These shells were washed up the other day and I have not been able to identify them.  They are a little unusual in that they are growing as a cluster attached to each other, but not from a common point.  Any help in identification would be appreciated.


Throughout New Zealand there are many unusual monuments in out of the way places.  This one is about 50 metres behind the front sand dunes on Bream Bay just north of Uretiti.  A close look revealed its unusual purpose.


Bernice woke one morning complaining of the noise from a rooster or roosters.  There are no houses or properties with signs of sheds or chicken runs anywhere in sight from the camp.  On a walk around several days later found these three enjoying a sunny morning in the sand dunes.  They join the large number wild hens and roosters seen on the side of the road throughout New Zealand.  Obviously these were the culprits that disturbed someone’s sleep.


We left Uretiti on Monday and headed just up the road to Ruakaka.   This Wednesday (tomorrow) the van is due back in at Whangarei for a replacement awning to be made and fitted.  This time, we are getting the experts to do the work unlike that of last years effort  here


View from the door at Ruakaka      Looking across from sandspit

Out on the sandspit there were large numbers of birds often guarding territory or simply displaying consternation at my presence.

These three were looking as if they were arguing over the architectural merits of the ground they were standing and stamping on.  Why three, not sure perhaps adults with a chick from last season.


And this pair were also remonstrating about foreign invaders.


Finally a couple of shots of dawn looking out to the Whangarei Heads


Over the weekend, we tried our hand at making Pastrami.  We were very pleased with the result although we will tweak the proportions of the spices in the mix we made to cover the outside of the beef.  Needless to say it did not last very long!


Finally, the RAV ticked over a milestone recently – 300,000kms and still going strong!