Thanks Greg (someone's reading it!
Next day (Saturday) we drove a further (maybe) 10 km to Coopers Beach. We parked in a rest area by the beach and (after putting a forum flier under the wiper of another MH parked there) again did a walk up over a headland and back to Cable Bay. While up on the headland track we spied a couple of likely places to park-up for the night. When we returned, Angela (the owner of the MH) approached and asked about the forum. We had a drink at "her place" in the evening and we decided to just stay in the rest area together. At about 9.30pm a car-load of yoof (mixed) arrived and after they had sent a few well directed texts some more arrived with cars playing hiphop at extreme levels. Within about 45 mins there were 20 of them, all drinking but not appearing very threatening (If they had been playing Fleetwood Mac, I probably wouldn't have been concerned!). After about an hour of this and after another group had arrived and there had been a bit of a stand-off between the two groups we decided, what with the risks involved (with yoof and drink), that we would see if Angela wanted to move. (Had it not been for the complication of communicating with her being difficult, being parked on opposite sides of the car-park, we would have pulled the plug earlier). I braved the elements (yoof) and asked what she thought. She did want to move so she followed us to one of the parks that we had spied earlier in the day (up near the shopping centre) and enjoyed an untroubled remainder of the night.
Sunday, had a walk up to a Pa site as we left, drove through Manganui (resisting the temptation to order an early lunch at the Manganui Fish Shop) and headed out to Taupo Bay where we spent the day swimming, boogie boarding (GREAT waves) and reading. Left late afternoon for Totara North - on the Whangaroa harbour - strategically placed for an adventure the next day.
We were up early this morning and packed up the kayaks (lunches made last night), all the safety gear etc, and headed for the Whangaroa heads about 6kms away. It was a pretty calm morning and we made good progess getting out there in about an hour. Out through the heads and into a mild swell - had Kathy starting to make wee noises. I was keen to find some caves that we'd read about and so we headed west back along the coast towards Taupo bay. Just after Kathy said she was heading back I saw this wonderful 100 ft long tunnel cave (Jellicoe Cave) and radioed her that I was going to have a look at it. As I got closer I saw that the swell was not causing too much turbulence at the entrance and I couldn't see any white water caused by rocks down the tunnel channel so decided to "have a go". Kayaked through and out the other side - woohoo! - meeting a large swell coming the other way half way through - and getting squirted by jets of water from fissures in the side as swells tried to break in. Turned around out the other side and came back through - only to find that Kathy had come back to make sure I was OK (or "save" me if I wasn't!). Of course when I told her how benign it was she was "dead keen" (not!) to have a go - but did it anyway - and we have the photos to prove it!
Back inside the harbour to Lane Cove where we had lunch. And then back to Totara North. 23 kms in all.
We were running out of some fairly essential items (like bread, milk and WATER) so drove in to Kaeo to restock before heading around the other side of the harbour to Whangaroa where we did a walk up onto a ridiculously steep rock called St Pauls rock which has stunning views of the whole harbour (and chains fixed to the rocks to help you climb up!).
Staying here the night in the carpark by the boat ramp (no boy racers - please). Nice sunset.
Not getting jaded yet - but ARE getting brown.
From Whangaroa we drove around the coast on "Million Dollar View Rd" into Tauranga Bay and out again as it was not a beach day (windy, overcast and showers threatening) and on to Mahinepua where we planned to do a walk (You can stay here at a camp site administered by local Maori). Sign at the start of the DOC track said "Track Closed" - no reason. We thought it didn't look VERY closed so decided to go and see how closed it was and why. We passed several more signs saying it was closed - the final one gave the reason "Maintenance".
Great coastal views as we headed out to the end of the peninsular. Eventually we came to where they had been putting in profile lines for new boardwalks and steps (interesting to see how they do that - now we know) and we traversed those areas very carefully so as not to disturb their lines. Good walk - maybe 1.5 hours from memory.
Carried on to Matauri Bay after lunch and had a wee walk on the beach. Bit sad to see the big developments taking place on what was Maori land just 3 years ago. They lost it when a water bottling venture they invested in (using the land as security) went belly up. One of the many nails in Birdgecorp's coffin, I believe.
Still not beach weather so we stayed the night at a POP at Kapiro and the owner gave us 3 fresh corn cobs.