Wednesday 8th January 2014
We left Anne & Mike’s on New Year’s Day and drove north-west to the opposite side of the North Island and pitched the tent for real in a small campsite near Waiuku. We had a very pleasant spot with a shower & loo all to ourselves. The only downside was the wasps’ nest we had been warned about but forgot was there, and one of the wasps dive-bombed Steve and stung him on the nose several times before he could knock him off. Fortunately the soreness and swelling didn’t last long, and we moved our chairs around to the other side of the tent and had no further trouble. They obviously didn’t like us invading their territory!
From the campsite we drove to the tip of the Manukau peninsula where we could look out onto the entrance to Manukau harbour and the bar that wrecked the Orpheus.
Camping for real – a very pleasant spot. Looking out over the Manakau harbour entrance and bar.
The breaking water shows the sand bar which constantly shifts. A replica of the lighthouse that once stood here.
Then we packed up and drove north of Auckland to Muriwai beach on the west coast. We didn’t have any trouble finding these places because we had invested in a Tom Tom, and Paul, the Kiwi who gave us our instructions (we decided if we were in New Zealand we should have our instructions from a Kiwi rather than the very English lady it was already programmed with) gave us excellent directions. The Tom Tom was a bargain – advertised before Christmas at $99 (£50), but all sold out by the time we decided to get one. The iPad is great for showing where you are and which direction you’re going, but isn’t very helpful at giving instructions! When we looked for one again on New Year’s Day, the price was back to $159. So we haggled – it’s common practice here, even in big stores where everything is clearly priced – and they let us have it for $109 – bargain!
The Muriwai Beach campsite was very different from Waiuku, much bigger and very busy. It was just behind the sand dunes that separated it from the beach, and at night we went to sleep to the sound of the roaring waves breaking on the beach. Eric from Sirena of Oare drove down from Whangarei to join us as he wanted to try out his new tent. The next day we drove up to see the gannet colony.
Another pleasant spot – the tent to the left is Eric’s. The gannet colony.
Landing is quite precarious in the wind and sometimes they had to have a second go at landing.
Muriwai beach from the gannet colony.
We had a very pleasant few days trying out the new camping equipment which all worked out fine (though we had no rain so cannot vouch for the tent’s waterproofing!) Then it was back to the boat to see to the arrangements for hauling.