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 #17857  by Vamooshe
 Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:26 pm

Splendid! Look forward to the next chapter..... :)

 #17870  by Mark
 Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:49 pm
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. :)
 #17873  by jimandsue
 Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:44 pm
Greg's not the only one reading it. Keep it coming Mark, it's helping me realize summer will come one day.Hmm- still waiting for spring. :twisted:
 #17882  by Roamnz
 Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:00 pm
I am thoroughly enjoying your trip narration Mark, you should consider offering your services as a tour guide to all the overseas visitors who will be motorhoming here next year around rugby world cup time, Grant
 #17884  by Brian
 Thu Sep 09, 2010 9:10 pm
Hi Mark
Have been following your trip on the NZMCA route planner map and you have certainly covered some ground. Have been enjoying the various places that you have stayed and has given us plenty of ideas for a future trip up that way.
Enjoying the stories and hope that there is more to come

Brian and Anne
 #17890  by Nut17
 Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:03 am
Mark, We are enjoying every bit of your trip and we are not even breaking into a sweat! With your ability with the written word and excellent eye with a camera, I think you should be publishing your travels.

Who knows, you and Kathy may age in extreme wealth :) :)

Cheers Chris & Marg
 #17903  by Mark
 Fri Sep 10, 2010 2:45 pm

OK, Thanks all - so, we continue....

Next morning we spent an hour stocking up and then headed inland to Puketi Forest, a DOC camp, where we did some walks though native (Kauri) forest and a short bike ride (the bikes were thrilled as they had not been used since 90 mile beach). After lunch we did a long (23km) ride along a ridge road and back, riding through mature Kauri. That was great and what I had expected to be able to do at Waipoua forest. We found a really good blackberry patch on the side of the road (just before the turn-off into the camp road) and gorged ourselves.

That night it rained quite steadily - good news for the cockies and gardeners, although they need another few weeks of it to make a real difference. Next morning we headed in to Kerikeri where we picked up another 2 weeks worth of mail, wandered around the shops and I called in to see Renee at Northland Forest Managers, for old time's sake. She suggested we do a bike in Waitangi forest and printed off a map for us. We walked up to Rainbow Falls. There was a big arch of a cave behind the falls and it looked like it would make a good photo from behind the waterfall.
I eventually found a route in to it (by first fording the river below the falls to the other side) and got a couple of shots looking out through the curtain of water. When I got back Kath decided it looked doable by a Gran as well and she did it, too. Had some heavy showers during the day.

Stayed in a park-like POP on the outskirts of town and next day did a 23 km bike ride around Waitangi forest. Many of the roads were picture postcard stuff, coated in a thick layer of pine needles.
It was a pretty testing ride - one of the roads was called "Skyline Rd" :o

We also, at some point around here had a look through the 100% steam-driven Collins Bros. sawmill - impressing my wife with my encyclopedic knowledge of the industry (haven't (yet) forgotten it all)

Yesterday we did a circum-navigation of the Kerikeri inlet, from the Stone store out to Opito bay (millions and millions of dollars worth of boats in the marina).
It started out as a mill-pond but as we crossed the inlet to start to come back the wind got up. We returned in an increasingly boisterous breeze (and a decreasingly happy Kathy!)

We have planned to do an overnight tramp out to the Cape Brett lighthouse so I fired up the computer and booked the Cape Brett hut for Monday night (this is Saturday). We plan to leave from Rawhiti first thing Monday morning as we expect it to be a long day's tramping. The booking confirmation tells us to contact the Kerikeri DOC office to get the combination for the hut lock - only trouble is, the DOC Kerikeri office is not manned in the weekends - and there is no Vodafone coverage at the start of the track :? . We need that lock combination before we leave civilisation. Last chance will be Russell.

And so on to Kawakawa where Kathy finally got to see the Hundertwasser toilets (I had declined to go through Kawakawa on our last trip 8 years ago) and was so excited that she came into the "Mens" to inspect it while there were 3 men in there (can't take her anywhere!).
The Opua ferry must have been waiting for us because we drove straight on and the ferry departed within about 10 seconds. And so, on to Russell - Sunday.

We parked up for the night over the hill from Russell at the side of Long beach road which faces out into the Bay of Islands. This morning I was sitting on a sand dune, looking out to sea, having my muesli and fruit juice when I was approached and asked if I had listened to the radio this morning - because there was a tsunami alert - first waves due in about 45 mins "On no account should people go to the beach" etc. So I allowed National Radio to wake Kathy with the news. She was out of bed a bit smarter than normal and we had the rest of our breakfast listening to all the reasons why we shouldn't be there!! While it would have been interesting to stay and watch what happens when a tsunami arrives, I am anxious about getting in to the hut at Cape Brett (leaving tomorrow) and so we head back over the hill to Russell and to their DOC center - which we discover (to my consternation) was closed down last year.

It has taken me most of the morning to get someone at DOC to call me back (eventually struck success by calling the DOC HOT LINE where you report stranded whales!!) and let me in on the secret code that will give us access to the hut. They were a bit perplexed at my question about why they couldn't just tell people the code in the booking confirmation email they send out (confirming that you have made, and paid for, your booking - in case you have missed my point). It's been a frustrating waste of time - when I could have been enjoying the collective anticipation in the town of the arrival of a tsunami: that didn't happen.

Now about to pack for the tramp and head off to Rawhiti, the start of the track.
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