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NEW ZEALAND, North Island, Tutukaka Coastline, 9-11 Feb 2013

Northlands including Whangarei, Tutukaka Coast & the fabulous Russell

New Zealand, Northlands 9-11 feb 2013 whangarei, whangarei marina and town basin, hatea bridge, and Huarahi o te Whai Hātea Loop Walkway, tutukaka coast, covering amongst others 133 selective slideshow images, the Warehouse DIY chain store, buying that fatal plastic step (oh the benefits of hindsight 😉), russell, hatea river, pouihi carvings, clapham clocks, boardwalks, top 10 sites, raeburn house, town basin, kauri factory, our lovely kauri bowl with paua shell inlaid 35,000 years old, many other European nations at  the campsite, whangarei falls, otuihau, sandy bay, ngungunu, tutukaka marina, whangaumu bay, whale bay, church bay, beach baches, designer houses, wooley bay, posh yachts, poor knights islands, tarakihi fish (yummy), air roots on trees, pohutukawa trees, matapouri rocks, oakura campsite at whangaruru south, flowers, BBQ's, the strand, museums, pompallier mission, weak, kowharewa bay. We were previously in this area in 2007 and then again in 2017 see the links in the trailer below to visit.

one of my fave strolls in new Zealand, Russell, created by KeefH Web Designs for this travel blog
9 feb 13
10 feb 13
11 feb 13

Saturday February 9th 2013

Summary, Whangarei 79 degrees Fahrenheit 26 degrees Centigrade

Woke at 9 a.m.

Lots of Dutch and Germans at the campsite. Had breakfast outside and Anne collected in most of the washing. Another sunny and hot day in New Zealand, yippee.

Drove the van to the Warehouse DIY chain store in town and bought a few extras for the campervan / motorhome such as pegs to keep curtains together, 2 hand towels and a plastic step for the van as 2 foot drop down to the ground out on the van was a little tricky for oldies like us at ages 59 & 58 respectively. This proved to be not such a great idea if you read on under Russell later.

Then did a bit of shopping for bread, milk etc. in the Countdown supermarket. We then walked along the boardwalk by the boats moored at the old quayside, and saw the old heritage buildings with cafes, restaurants, and shops. The whole area was very nicely landscaped, surrounded by trees and bushes, and with fab views, we adore the marina and town basin area. Whangarei has a very large harbour and although it is termed a city to us it feels so much more like a small town. A comparison would be a UK city like Nottingham Population 794,000 whereas Whangarei’s population is 54,300, Erewash which includes Long Eaton is 115, 490… I rest my case my lord!

We missed the craft market up on the hatea river bridge (sometimes known in Maori as the Huarahi o te Whai Hātea Loop Walkway, which had finished at 1.30 p.m. but went into some craft shops instead which had some very expensive items, so we didn’t buy anything.

We then drove to the Kauri clock factory outside town on a small industrial estate, interestingly run by Germans. There were lots of massive kauri tree stumps in the yard looking very weathered. We took some pictures. They turn these into beautiful wood clocks, highly polished. We bought a kauri round bowl inlaid with NZ paua shell which cost £60, well worth it, it looks lovely and is highly unusual.

Then we drove out along the harbour edge which was the residential area and a bit swampy. There was also a port with oil refineries.

We then returned in the van back to the campsite. Anne did some ironing and Keef cooked lamb steaks on the camp barbeque. Annie also reorganised storage of some of our clothes in the van and put her undies in the microwave, hot, eh?  😉 to save space. Keef did some photos on the laptop. Got dark around 8.45 p.m. Showered and then went to bed.

The England cricket team had played the Black Caps in Whangarei a couple of days before we arrive, shame would love to have seen it, Collingwood and McCullen era. Note we did see them do battle in Christchurch on South Island back in 2007-8.  

Note the inscription on the back of our kauri bowl “Far North New Zealand, swamp kauri , 35,000 years old, with paua shell , radar”

Sunday February 10th 2013

Chinese New Year, the Year of the Snake, big love to Mr. & Mrs. Douglas in Singapore celebrating.

Summary. Whangarei to Oakura Road Holiday Park & Motel site, Whangaruru South, located at address 4, Te Kapua Street Ōakura 0184. Whangaruru is a rural community and harbour on the east coast of Northland, New Zealand. Mokau, Helena Bay, Whakapara, Hikurangi and Whangarei are to the south and the Bay of Islands is to the northwest.

Woke at 8 a.m. and had boiled egg and toast for breakfast. Drove out to Whangarei falls, Keef took some photos but as we had already visited them with Craig, Doug back in 2007 we only stood on the top platform rather than doing the circular walk around down to the bottom platform views.

We then took a circular route to the coast north of Whangarei to Ngunguru and Tutukaka harbour. The harbour had a huge marina, and it was Sunday many kiwis were boating and sailing. What’s the line, one in 2 kiwis’ own a yacht. There were art and craft shops and cafés.

We stopped at Matapouri beach, but it was very busy and difficult to park the motorhome, so we went onto Wooley’s Bay, a lovely long curved beach. We had lunch there then cooled off in the sea. People were body surfing on boards. Another hot day with blue skies and sea, ah bliss! There was so much lovely scenery along this coastline.

We chatted to a Scot who had emigrated in 1965 to Auckland. We left the beach at 5 p.m. and intended to take the road to Russell but must have missed the turning and went 16 kilometers out of our way on State Highway 1. It was difficult to find a turning point on the highway but we eventually managed to and found a campsite at Oakura near Whangaruru South, on Oakura Road and not to be confused with the Oakura Bay near New Plymouth some 300+ miles away.

Oakura was a tiny place with lovely views of the sheltered bay. The campsite cost $39 and was quite basic. Keef cooked pasta carbonara with chicken. We read for a bit and went to bed at 11.25p.m.

Note and we saw lots of these, Pohutukawa trees have red flowers at Christmas and massive aerial roots. We saw lots at Tutukaka especially around the landscaped harbour area as well as naturally all along that coastline.

Monday February 11th 2013

Summary Oakura site Whangaruru South to the wonderful Russell, one of our fave places in NZ.

Anne woke at 7.30 a.m. Keef at 8.45 a.m.

After a light breakfast we drove along the loop road to Russell through lots of bush with NZ tree ferns and many cattle and sheep farms. It was very twisty roads and hilly scenery but nice.

We arrived at the Russell Top 10 site at 1 p.m. to book in. $23 per night, not bad with our Top 10 card discount. It is a lovely site overlooking the Bay of Islands and Paihia. The site is on 4 levels, and we were on the top level. We returned to the same spot in 2017.

We wanted to do the Tall ships sailing excursion for 2 hours in the afternoon but on that Monday they only did a full day and we had arrived too late, becoming a bit of a theme that after craft market in Whangarei ha-ha.

Anyhow after filling the motorhome with water, we walked into town and saw many wooden houses with verandas, some built up hillsides with decking on stilts. We also saw a weka, an NZ flightless bird, which scuttled away into a garden. We walked around the town and the jetty and then visited the museum along the front and saw a video about the town’s history.

The town had been notorious in the Victorian era for lawlessness, drunk sailors, whalers, and prostitutes. It is however now very touristy but sadly not many historical buildings are left.

We had fish and chips, yummy, the fish was tarakihi, a white fish, $10 each or £5, very tasty. We then walked back to the campsite and wrote some postcards to Craig, Doug, Margaret of 90 mile beach which we hadn’t reached as yet.

We fed the ducks bread and a weka who came quite close by. He was a brown and black bird, size of a hen with long curved beak and 3 toes.

Now the really bad news, Annie fell off that plastic step we bought at the Warehouse store to make getting out of the van easier, she was probably not concentrating, who knows , not nice, very painful and eventually developed into a huge bruise, way worse than the ones from the bouncy boat in Langkawi Malaysia.

There were lovely views at twilight and beyond of the lights across the bay in Paihia. We talked to a couple on the next pitch from Cambridge who were also touring NZ. They had also just been to Georgetown, Penang, small world.

We heard the noise from the nocturnal kiwi birds at dusk and in the night. They were in the bushes across from our pitch and up the hillside, we tried looking but didn’t find any, they are quite illusive flightless birds, but the New Zealand emblem and populations namesake. We have only seen them in captivity at the Otorohanga Kiwi House.

Audio Diary
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