Monday, October 7, 2013

First major weekend away.... part 1

Well an awesome weekend away was had by all!
Started on Wednesday afternoon with heading to Home Base in Walton and getting organised to head away for the following few days. An exciting time knowing that we were going to put into practice what we had been learning.
Fascinating to watch Brenda sort out things and check off lists, and I am thinking...."what do I need to do, um nothing! Its all in the bus already!" was an interesting feeling and a bit scary.
So Thursday morning the phone rings and its the guy from Viking Kayaks, wanting to know when I was going to pick up my kayak as it was taking up space and they were about to gear up for the summer run. After discussing it with Roger, we shot into Matamata and picked it all up, kayak, paddle, seat, wheels, life jacket, hat, fishing rod holder, ties for fishing rods and the cover for the back. Heaps of cool stuff. Viking Kayaks did me well on the deal! Was very impressed.
So by the time we got back to Walton, Brenda was ready, we had a coffee and then set off towards Tauranga.
Was a good drive over the Kaimai Ranges with me following Roger and Brenda in Dragons' Rest. The roadworks at the base of the hill didn't allow for a good run up but we both did well, I was surprised at the grunt that Fredrock has on the hills!
We arrived at McLaren Falls just before lunch and after trying to pay our $5.00 for the night but failing to find anyone, we headed off to Bottom Flat where we parked side by side.

Map of McLaren Falls Park
We then had a lovely lunch in The Fredrock Cafe and headed off for a walk up to the waterfall. A trip of about 4.5km return so a nice stretch out. Some great views.
McLaren Falls
McLaren Falls
There were some great things on the way including an amazing species of tree with interesting red young cones on it. The mature cones were very fragile and when I picke one and threw it to Brenda to look at, it destroyed itself into a thousand little flakes.....Need to research to see what they are. Also must get a good book on NZ plants and trees.


These next lot were quite cure with clumps of cones.



Later in the evening we wandered back to look for glow worms. Found one or three but they were few and far between. My photos didn't show them at all but saw some great ducks with their chicks in the twilight.
A lovely family of ducks

Twilight reflections
The following morning was clear and crisp and was interesting to see the two buses in the morning sunshine.
Fredrock Cafe and Dragons' Rest
The car beside The Fredrock Cafe was two young guys here from Europe working in Tourism, they were on a six month journey around NZ, hopefully not all of it in the car!

A black swan in the early morning light
From here we headed up to the TECT All Terrain Park... on to Weekend away Part 2