Sunday, 24 September 2017

More of Oaia Island

Oaia Island in the far distance  as seen from Muriwai.

Bethells Beach

Bethells Beach is located on the west cost of Auckland City - Regional Park site  and Wikipedia Reference.

It is a long flat black sand beach with a large cave at the south end and the outflow from the Waitakere River at the north. The river would, I imagine, only be difficult to cross if in flood as it was only knee deep over the sand the day I was there.

The beach has been a very popular filing location for numerous feature films and music videos including for heavy weights such as Taylor Swift and Shania Twain. (see the Wiki ref).

Seems to be very popular with people with dogs and horse riders.

Looking south along the beach at low tide 

Cave interior 

Looking north from the cave entrance 

The classic photo of Mt Taranaki

It isn't always easy to get the lake, sun and mountain to co-operate but here is the classic Mt Taranaki photograph taken from Lake Mangamahoe.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Dawson Falls - Mt Taranaki National Park.

Dawson Falls is on the southern side of Mt Taranaki about one hours drive from New Plymouth. Once in the park the drive is very scenic and a pretty decent climb up to around 900m. It is a bit out of the way but clearly on the camper van list of things to do. There are good views of Mt Taranaki as well as the falls themselves.  (Dept of Conservation info)

The falls themselves can be accessed by pathways that while not long have a lot of steps and can be a bit muddy. Having said that the walks are beautiful with that sense of plenty of clean air and all with the sound of the falls in the background.

The falls have probably been photographed a million times because of their easy access but none the less .....

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The way we were - Morven Primary School - South Canterbury

Morven is a tiny place in South Canterbury (Google Maps) with the main south railway running through the middle. So small it doesn't even have a listing in the Wikipedia.

Looking at the street layout on either side or the rail line it probably once had a bigger population but in 2015 even the rural school with just 16 pupils closed down. (Stuff newspaper)

My mothers family is from this area, below is a school photo from 1911, mums father is in the front row on the trike. Notice the number of children who came to school by horse - how cool would that be today.

Morven School - 1911

Monday, 11 September 2017

Tawharanui Regional Park

The Tawharanui Regional Park (Info) is 82km north of the Auckland CBD (on the east coast) and although I have fond memories of the place from when I used to camp there back in the mid 1990s I haven't been back since as it is twice as far away as my favourite (but much smaller) park - (Wenderholm)  

The road to the park is sealed except for the last 4km which is currently being completely reconstructed - if it is wet expect to get your vehicle very dirty.

It's a large park - several km from end to end with many really spectacular beaches, sections of gnarly coast and a very picturesque lagoon near the entrance. 

On the day we were there (a Friday in September) there were only about eight other park visitors including some very poor souls on a modelling bikini shoot in the freezing cold. 

View from the ridge about half way along the park - looking west 

Lagoon near the entrance to the park 

Many sandy beaches 

...and some stony beaches 

Typical view below from one of the many walks 

The birthday girl on her day out - before the shoes got really muddy on one of those walks.

(Photos Canon G16) 

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Kiwi life

When you've lived on a small farm for 25 years and then find yourself on just 650sqm there are times when you feel glad you'd taken good care of those powered implements of destruction that were necessary for chopping up fallen pine trees and dead shelter belts.
The down side being on a farm you can throw all the branches in a heap and toss in a match - carbon neutral- in the city is a trip with the trailer (also saved from the farm) to the green waste place and the handing over of ridiculous amounts of cash.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Kaipara Harbour

The Kaipara Harbour  (Wikipedia) is a huge inland harbour of some 940 sq/km north of Auckland.

The southern peninsular is relatively accessible from Auckland, its northern tip (through a private forest road) being about 100km and 1.5 hours from Auckland. The northern part and the Pouto Peninsular in the north is a 3.5 hour 244Km drive. 

The southern peninsular is a pleasant drive on sealed road (except at the very northern end) with low traffic volumes through farming country.

Lagoon at northern tip - I was there at low tide just a vast expanse of shallow water and mangroves

A better section of the gravel road through the Woodhill Forest (open to the public) which is the only access to a huge lagoon (above). You don't need a four wheel drive but it would help - there are 5-10 km of this. 

Looking south from Shelly Beach

Looking north from Shelly beach, an incredibly popular boat launching area at the weekend and home to one of the best cafes around. You won't get any of that fancy food city food but you'll get  outstanding value, good coffee and a pretty decent view - below.

Toward step top is one of Auckland's newer Regional Parks Te Rau Puriri. Unfortunately the entrance is some way from the bay (as above) so you would need to pack in any picnic supplies - I was not able to work out if there were any facilities at the beach but generally speaking I've found all the regional parks to be equipped with toilets. This like most of the other parks is a working farm and (below) it is currently lambing time (we are famous for our high quality wool). 

Monday, 4 September 2017