Archive for the ‘waharau’ Category

Bowentown and an OOps!

July 6, 2015

How many of you noticed my error In the Matata post?  It was a test in observation and obviously many of you failed!   I neglected to post a picture of the damaged kite in the post on Matata  and subsequently on trying to rectify/edit the post I have not had any luck, for some reason I cannot add in any photos  so you will have to make do with a non picture blog post.
Since the last post we have been at Anzac Bay near Bowentown for a couple of days. We had another go at putting out the kite over on Waihi Beach but  we did not have any luck with the fishing.    However, we did go to the Bowentown Boat Club for dinner that evening, we saw a sign on the main road advertising $12 roast, so we all thought that we would give it a go, not holding out much hope for a half decent meal but as we had been on the beach all day until 25 mins before our 7pm booking, Sue and I definitely did not feel like cooking.   Well, were we in for a surprise, we had a choice of roast pork belly or roast lamb and it came beautifully presented with all the usual trimmings and a few more,  plus it was delicious with the pork meat very tender and not at all fatty but it did have lovely crisp crackling.  And the lamb was deliciously cooked as well.  We may not have been successful with our fishing but at least one thing for the day went well.

We have tried fishing in Anzac Bay but also without any luck, probably because of the seals that had stationed themselves at each end of the bay.  There were four at one end and five at the other, no fish for us in between. After three nights at Anzac Bay we headed off toward Thames, we had intended staying the night in Thames but the ground was very wet so after doing a bit of shopping, including replacement of the gas stove that was stolen, we headed on to Rays Rest, a parking area on the Kaiaua Shell bank.

Once settled there, we took a quick trip up the road to check out parking at the Kaiaua Boat Club (all parking areas roped off due to very wet ground) and then to our favourite park at Waharau but again, the park was closed as the ground was too wet and soft.  So back to the vans for the night to watch the Super 15 rugby final.

Sunday morning and the flounder net was set out nice and early, then we set about putting out the kite as we had a good strong off shore wind.  We soon had the kite out, left it for 45 mins then proceeded to haul it in.  Roy, Pat & Sue took turns pulling the line up the beach in whilst I wind in the reel. It was a very strong wind so it took a wee while to haul it in, but at least we caught something – two snapper and one kahawai – the latter cut up for bait and the snapper filleted for dinner.

The net was then brought in but unfortunately the flounder have apparently gone on holiday for a while so nothing caught there.  By this time (2pm Sunday afternoon), the wind was really buffeting us around and the weather prospects did not look good, so we made the call to up-sticks and head for Ardmore which is where we are now based for the next few days getting a long list of jobs done before continuing our travels northwards.

Hopefully by then we shall be able to post some pictures, until then…ciao!

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.


Good luck comes in threes

March 28, 2015

We thought we had used up our luck after the simple fix to our brake light  issues in Whakatane and we were certainly not expecting our luck to continue in Kopu.  The van was booked in to have a troublesome hydraulic jack remove and the suspected bent spike removed and a replacement one manufactured.  So early Monday morning the van was duly delivered to the hydraulic repair shop which also just happens to be next door to the RV repair shop where we were going to have a new seal installed around the slide out.  

Whilst the van was in the workshop we took the opportunity to go for a bit of a tiki tour along the coast north of Thames.  It is a very scenic drive, twisting and turning along the coastline, and I mean right on the coast.  We were so enthralled with the road and the scenery that we neglected to take any photos of us exploring the bays along the way.  We did take note of the number of Freedom camping areas set aside in most of the way along our route, all duly noted for a return journey at another time.  We only went as far as Tapu before deciding we had best return to see what was happening with the van and to make sure we were not going to be haemorrhaging money!!!  

On our return we were greeted with the sight of the van all ready for us, oh dear we thought, perhaps the job was soo big that they decided to discuss it with us before going any further but no, we were in luck.  Apparently the spike was not bent, all it required was a quick clean and grease before resinstalling and voila, it works perfectly! 

The new seal had been ordered but wasn’t due in until Tuesday morning so we were sent on our way with instructions to remove the old seal and clean off all the residue to expedite the job the following day.  That we did, although I do have to say that I thought that our work with the sticky black Simsons sealer was messy but this was just as bad if not worse with sticky gunk getting everywhere.  The next morning we were back at the workshop where they quickly were  onto installing the new seal. Whilst they were dealing with the slide out, we mentioned the fact that the  mechanism had been playing up and sometimes it was very difficult to retract the slide out.  Again, expecting to be told that something major was wrong, all that was required was a little greasing of the working mechanism, with instructions on when and how to do this regularly.  Phew! Another lucky escape.  It was then a short wait for the Electrical Warrant of Fitness to be done.

With ticked off the list,  we headed off to Waharau Regional Park, one of our favourite places which is just north of Kaiaua ready to settle in for the rest  the day to watch the cricket – NZ Blackcaps vs the South African Proteas for a place in the World Cup final.  Well, what a game of cricket keeping us all on the edge of our seats right down to the very end.  We are avid cricket fans, and we have very fond memories of the 1992 World Cup where we attended most of the games played at Eden Park.  We put the win down to good play rather than our luck continuing!

just a couple of nights at Waharau before it was time to head off again, but not before getting all the washing done and household chores attended to  whilst Roy went off fishing for the day.  He did manage to catch a few snapper but they were all of the “return to sea and grow a little” variety. Next stop is at Ardmore Airport where we are for a few days whilst we help our son Antony put together his new house.  This means an awful lot of time spent in shops  and on TradeMe looking for everything required for a house from whitewear to furniture to cutlery and kitchenware.  It’s exhausting but we are getting there.

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!!!!

Sod’s Law

February 20, 2015

It was all going so well, or so we thought. First the good news, Roy got a clearance from the specialist and does not need another check for 2 years. Phew. After that good news, things seemed to start to unravel slightly. Sunday night we stayed at the Papakura Club as we were meeting up with some of the old crew for dinner and as well, Bill & Estelle were joining us in their van for a planned jaunt together to the Hawkes Bay. Monday morning and we had a few minor chores to attend to in and around so off in the car we headed down the road. We had not travelled more than a kilometre when we noticed a man collapsed on the side of the road, it looked like he was having some kind of fit. We quickly came to a halt, leapt out of the car to see what we could do. First we turned him into the recovery position then reassured him to keep him relatively calm whilst I talked to the emergency services. He totally non responsive, the ambulance crew arrived promptly and quickly got him sorted. It seems he was in a diabetic coma as after they gave him a couple of doses of glucose he slowly started to come round although still very disoriented and incoherent. I can tell you from a spectators view, it is not a pleasant experience so can only imagine how terrible it must have been for him. We left him in the experts care to resume our tasks.

We were back on track with our errands but of course from there nothing went smoothly, what should have taken just a few minutes ended up taking us from one side of Auckland to the other as well as taking up most of the day. Never mind, eventually we returned back to the van, hooked up the car ready to head off. Oops, no, that’s not going to happen anytime soon as one of the hydraulic stabiliser jacks refused to retract. After much debate, some heavy levering, the car jack was utilised and eventually we were on our way. By this time it was after 4pm when got underway, just a quick trip to the petrol station was required. We had made a reconnoiter trip to the petrol station earlier in the day to make sure the access was easy for us, as well as filling up the RAV. Between visits the price had leapt 4c/litre, not much you may think but when you are putting 150+litres into the van it does add up after time!

Finally we were on the motorway, along with all the other afternoon traffic but we were soon at the bottom of the Bombay Hills ready to exit to head across Kaiaua way, but oh no, directly in front of us were two Police cars coming to a halt near the exit and quickly directing traffic away from the exit. Apparently a major accident had occurred and they were closing the road. So what to do? We exited at Pokeno and stopped to reassess our position. We decided bugger this and headed back to Auckland to Ardmore Airport where there is a NZMCA parking area. We knew Bill & Estelle were there for the night so we surprised them with our arrival.

Tuesday after breakfast we started our routine of packing up ready to head off, when……… know what’s coming next don’t you? Hmm, when putting down the awning one of the arms came off the side of the van!!! To keep the story brief, after many men making suggestions and having a go at repairs (which included lifting carpet in the bedroom area and cutting an access hole in the floor to see where the screws on the outside of the van would appear on the inside), we took the van to a repair shop down the road where the nice man did the repairs needed. Back to Ardmore to pick up the car, hook it up and ready to go….well nearly. It seems the pin for the shackle that attaches the safety chain to the van had magically disappeared. Shit. Heavy sigh, plan B it will have to be, the plan was for me to race off in the RAV to get a replacement shackle, but first we had to unhook the car. Just as we about to do this another fellow motorhomer came to the rescue, he just so happened to have a spare brand new shackle compete with pin. Yay, we were on our way at last, well nearly, just a brief stop at the dump station to empty the necessary tanks and to top up with fresh water.

Oh, and in amongst all this, one of the new chairs we had only taken delivery the previous week had developed a fault, which required many telephone calls and much patience before the company decided yes, they would replace it. But a new chair would not be available until later in the week. Oh well, we would only be an hour or so away and we could return the chair and swap it for a new one.

We arrived at Waharau late on Tuesday afternoon where we quickly set ourselves up in the lovely camp ground with Bill & Estelle parked up alongside us, here we will stay for a couple of days and hopefully get a few flounder as well.

Tomorrow is another sunny day.

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 2, 2014

Thank you to all of you who have commented on our blog or emailed us to encourage us to continue blogging, we knew we had a reasonable number of people reading the blog from our stats but it is nice to put names to faceless numbers. So onwards, and upwards.

I returned to Auckland last week after my trip to Oamaru. Roy and the van were parked up at Ambury as it is very handy to the city as well as the airport. We moved across to Ardmore on Friday, we had to pack up and move as the van was due for its 6monthly COF (certificate of fitness), we thought it was an opportune time to continue on, fuel up, fill up with water and empty the waste tanks and with all that available at our favourite dump station at Bruce Pullman Park which is very close to Ardmore. With that all achieved, Friday afternoon we headed over to Torbay to have dinner with, and spend the night with, Steve and Les, to have a bit of a debrief of the last weeks happenings and time to chill out and relax. As well, Steve and Leslie got a new kitten on Friday, her name is Lola and it was hilarious watching Lola and their 5 month old kitten Lucy size each other up. There was much hissing, stand offs, back arching and general eyeing each other from a respectable distance. The kittens provided welcome entertainment for the evening.

Then it was back to Ardmore for a night before we headed off down to Waharau where we knew Pat & Sue were parked. This time however, we were to park in a different part of the park, not at Blackberry Flat camp area this time but at the Tainui camp which is near the main park entrance.

20140402-163238.jpg matching pair parked up in the sun.

This camp area is rather special, and I am not sure whether we should tell you about it as if too many people may find out about it we would not be able to have it to ourselves, but if you promise not to tell, shhhhh ………………..It has flush toilets, hot running water, powered sites, showers, dish washing sinks and food prep area! John will be delighted to know that we even took our washing machine out of the van to hook up to the running water and the waste!!! And yes, Pat & Sue are also now proud owners of the same type of washing machine.

20140402-163824.jpg Another matching pair

Once settled in, my first job was to bottle the beetroot that Steve had kindly given us fresh from his garden, then it was time to make and bottle up a Passata or Italian style tomato pasta sauce with the beautiful beefsteak tomatoes we purchased from a market garden in Mangere. The recipe used was one Steve gave me, and it has proved to be a real winner. We now have plenty of preserves to keep us going over the winter months, although I did go out yesterday foraging along fence lines looking for blackberries. But it has been far too dry up here for blackberries, they were dry, wizened up excuses for blackberries so we gave up on that idea. Hopefully we may be able to find some nice ones somewhere along our travels over the next week or two.

Next week we will head over to Whangamata as it will be our son Antony’s 30th birthday and we will be helping him and a few friends celebrate over the weekend. Although it is hard for us to believe that he will be 30, where did those years fly by?;

Waharau to Whangamata

February 11, 2014


Our week at Waharau seems to have flown by, it is such a lovely, peaceful, sheltered,  relaxing place to spend  time and enjoy the surrounds.   It is a great place to observe and listen to the sounds of nature, the predominant sound at the moment is the chirrup of the Cicada which, to me, always epitomises the sound of summer.

Cicadas live underground as nymphs for most of their lives, emerging when the summer warmth seeps into the ground.  They then shed their skins on a nearby plant and emerge as adults. The abandoned exoskeleton, remains, still clinging to the bark of trees.  Everywhere you look there are cicada cases, a great game as kids was to collect as many body shells as possible and attach to your clothing!  or collect large piles of them to see who could get the most.

 0103Cicada shells covering trees.

There have also been a number of Kingfishers (Kotare)  close by, we seem to be seeing more and more of these colourful birds.


From the door of the van is this view of a lovely small stream that meanders through the park, the sound of water bubbling over rocks and trees is another voice in natures chorus.

  04View from the door

On Tuesday friends Barry & Sandra contacted us to see if we would be interested in meeting up for lunch in Thames.   Of course we said yes so we hopped into our car and drove the 45 minutes down to Thames whilst they hopped into their plane and flew the 45minutes  from their base in Taupo. 

06Landing at Thames airport, and no, the cows in the picture were not really anywhere near the runway.

After a lovely long lunch and catch up, it was time for them to return to Taupo and us to our van.

05All aboard.

Wednesday and it was time for us to move on, this time we were heading to Whangamata to catch up with Bernice’s brother Steve and his wife Leslie, as Thursday was a national holiday (Waitangi Day) and they were making it a long weekend by having Friday off work.  

07Here we are parked up on the front lawn of the Bach at Whangamata. 

The weather wasn’t the best the first couple of days but by the weekend it had cleared and was beautifully fine and hot.  We had a great few days with them before they had to return to Auckland on Sunday.

However, for us, Sunday was another day of catching up with friends. This time we headed off to Tauranga to meet up with our travelling mates Pat & Sue.  And with it being a Sunday, of course we had to meet up for brunch to continue the tradition we started on our travels throughout Northland before Christmas.  It was great to catch up with them again, and they have some exciting new plans of which we will reveal in a later blog as we plan to meet up again in a week or two.

We are staying on in Whangamata for a few more days as it gives us an opportunity to get a few things done as well as giving everything a good clean out.  Actually, read that as Bernice is let loose with the cleaning gear, rubbish bin and labelling machine whilst Roy gets some serious programming work done!