Friday, January 24, 2014

Mountain Biking and Kayaking at Te Miro

Well all things being equal the blood and bruises were worth it!

View map here

I went for a couple of blats, one up through the PD track and back through Kaimelean.


Nice little warm up. Then off again and along the road to the Joiner, up the Jumps Track and then headed out along towards Miro. I came across a sign to Goblin and headed along there and then realised that this was a serious grade 4 track, but taking it slowly I had a great time up til the point where I found myself sideways, in the air and heading for the ground. I grabbed a tree one the way down to arrest my motion and managed to break the tree, so tree, bike and me headed south! It ended up with me on the bottom, then the tree and finally the bike! I knew that there was pain somewhere on my legs but knew it was nothing serious but there would be much pain tomorrow! So after stopping laughing, I managed to extricate myself from the tangle. It really involved me rolling out from under the bike and further down the slope, managing to get to my feet and staggering back, pick up the bike and dragging it back to the track. A quick look showed a bit of blood and what was going to be a great bruise later.

So headed off and came around to come out just off the lookout and back onto the Jumps Track. I headed back up to the junction, knowing that most tracks were single track or one-way. When I got there I checked the map but realised that there were more tracks than appeared on the map. So I headed upwards to try to catch Miro and head off back around the dam. Suddenly I came across a rider heading towards me….I leapt off the track and he stopped and replied to my “I’m heading up a down track aren’t I ?” He laughed and said it was a common occurrence. So he explained how to get back on the right track and I followed his dust for 2 sec as he disappeared off down the track. I managed to find my way back down via a track the went straaaaight down and I had to walk most of the way down. Still it was a great ride once I got down, I learnt a lot about my limits and my pain thresholds.

After a bit of a rest it was time to get my boots on for the working bee and headed out to meet the gang and pitch in to help with some track maintenance. It turns out we were creating a new piece of track heading into the Snakes. So we hacked out a new piece of track, cleaning out the undergrowth and shaping the track to make a much more gently sloping track to make it far more family friendly.  After the major work was done I joined the second group reforming some berms on the Snake Tracks.

A great evenings work and we arrived back at the car park around 9pm.

In the morning I was certainly feeling the bruises and cuts, so decided instead of going for a bike, I would have a gently paddle around the lake.

It was a lovely gentle paddle around a lovely area. The only issue was the hike back up the hill with the kayak. All good though!

Met some lovely people including an ex competitive cyclist who has given up road cycling and has taken up mountain biking while he finishes his apprenticeship and decides whether to take it up again as a senior.

A great morning and then I headed back to Walton where I will take a break for a couple of days, clean the bus inside and out, do some repairs and sort out a few minor issues before heading back to Auckland ready for my trip to Wellington next Thursday.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Big Smoke and other things…..

I know! Bad me, I’ve been slack as and this post is quite a catch-up on my travels.

I had to be back in Auckland on Monday 20th for my ear specialist check up. For those of you who are not aware I had a fairly major operation in June 2013 to remove a cholesteatoma removed. I have been back every 3-4 months for a check up to make sure its healing ok and to get ready for stage 2 which is opening up again to check there is no trace of the disease left and to reconstruct the missing ear bone that he took out with the first operation. Anyway all is looking great, the surgeon is really pleased with the results so far. Back in 4 months.

On the way through I paused at Gulf Harbour again for two nights to see my son and his family and try some fishing in the Hauraki Gulf. The water was brilliantly calm and it was a lovely paddle, no fish, and most people coming back had the same complaint.

The afternoon rush was amazing to watch with the tide out and minimal space on the pontoons and the boat ramp they were queued up and out of the bay….

So after the doctor there was another meeting to sort out other business which didn't go so well, but is now under control. By the end of that I decided to go visit my friends Dave and Yana in Ararimu. Spent a lovely two days there with them and their two young boys Jimi and Tyler. Such a lovely young family. We played with the helicopters that all three boys had got for Christmas!

Thanks to my son and his family I managed to catch their lurgies that they were all suffering from, not enough to stop me but enough to know that I’m fighting it like heck. Loads of vitamin C! and then I got out of Dodge and I hope that I haven’t passed it on to Dave, Yana and the boys!

I have been trying to get some more advertising things going but not happening so far so I decided to try out the NZMCA park over property at Ardmore Airport.

A lovely spot, watching the planes take off and land and watching a couple of learner helicopter pilots. Great spot.

I was quite chuffed to meet up with Bernice and Roy. Bernice had posted a comment on the blog regarding the fact that she was reader number 4 of my blog and that they had  spent 4 months doing the trip that I had done in 4 weeks! Slow down she said!

So it was great to meet and have a coffee and chat about what we were all up to and get to put faces to names. A lovely couple, I hope to meet up with them again on my journey.

So from there I headed down to Huntly to catch up with my ex boss and catch up on the gossip! I stayed the night at the Huntly Golf Club. Very nice quiet spot all to myself until 4.30am when all the heavy trucks started moving to and from Te Kauwhata Transport at Rangariri!

Still it was a nice early start to the day and I decided that as there was a working bee at the Te Miro Mountain Bike Track tonight I would head over there, have a bit of a blat and then lend a hand on the track maintenance.

IMG_2492Just after I arrived the guys with the mowers arrived and they headed off and half an hour later they were done!

It’s quite a busy little park here, there were two firemen from Hamilton off on a blat before work this evening and then a family of 4arrived for a blat as well.

So I’m off now for a bit of a ride. Will post some pics tonight.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Wind and I do NOT get on well.

Over the past few days I have been wondering why I have been a bit out of sorts and now I know. There has been a constant wind that has set me off. Now I know, I can cope with it and move on.
Anyway I am currently sitting in Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparoa Peninsular amongst a large number of motorhomes tonight. I have had dinner with my son and his lovely family across in Army Bay and walked back to “The Fredrock Cafe” afterwards. Lovely walk. Just hope that the cold/flu that the family all has was not contagious!
So in getting here I have been remiss in keeping the blog up to date but since the last walking post….and boy did my legs tell me all about it the following day! I headed off southwards towards Ruakaka, deciding that I would stay there the night in either the Harbour Board carpark or a Park Over Property. I tried to find the car park and as there were two options available I decided to have a quick stop in one of them and check out the view.
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Car park at Marsden Point 
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View from the car park
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Stock pile of wood chips and the loader creating it
So from there I wandered around to look at some interesting spots and came across where I had an interesting chat to the proprietor about a kite for the kayak. They offer some interesting fun there in the way of a cable wake board set up that looks awesome. If the wind hadn't been blowing a gale I would have had a go.
From there i wandered around to the Park Over Property up at One Tree Point where I was me by a lovely gentleman who has for years had a native tree nursery where he and his brother have gone and collected seeds from around Northland and propagated natives from those seeds and sold to various commercial entities and the general public. They are both slowing down a bit now but still have a great set up.
Park Over Property in One Tree Point
POP - One Tree Point

After an interesting evening where I managed to catch sight of a black rabbit that apparently is one of half a dozen rabbits that terrorise the nursery, and had a lovely walk along the beach
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Walk on the beach - Mt Manaia in the background.
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Walk on the beach - One Tree Point - looking out towards the Whangarei Heads
I decided that I would make steak and kidney pie for dinner and nearly burned it! but it was still yummy!
Steak and Kidney Pie - darkish

I headed off back towards Auckland where I am now. I was very grateful that I was not heading in the other direction as the was huge amounts of traffic heading north and large queues at Warkworth and south of there.
So a lovely evening, still windy but hopefully that will settle down overnight!
I will probably stay here and try for a spot of fishing tomorrow and see if the fisheries officers will be back. There were four of them here this evening checking boats, kayaks and rock fishermen for quota and size. Good to see them out and about.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Walking around the bush in Whangarei

I am currently back in Whangarei, resting my weary legs after today's walk.

Walk for today
click link above to see the map

Started in Kensington, walked to AH Reid Memorial Park, up the river to the Whangarei Falls, back to Mair Park, up Parihaka and then back to Kensington.
Note to maps carefully!

Swing Bridge over river

Lovely walk alongside river

Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls

Whangarei Falls

Top of the falls

The top of the Whangarei Falls

Pukenui Falls in A.H. Reid Park

Walkway alongside the river

Stream that I followed most of the trip

War memorial on top of Parihaka

Panorama from Parihaka around the city of Whangarei

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Kerikeri for a break


This morning after a leisurely breakfast I headed south along SH 10 from the Mangonui Fire Station where I had spent the night.


I had no idea where I wanted to go except I was slowly heading back towards Whangarei and then to Auckland where I have to be for Monday January 20th.

So I meandered around peeking into places that I hadn’t been before like Hihi, which is a pleasant little village, where I stopped for a quick break and then moved on through to Taupo Bay.

On the way who should I see coming towards me but “Bula Tau” so we flashed our lights waved and laughed as they headed out and I headed in!

It was a lovely trip in quite slow as there was a 50km speed restriction due to resealing for most of the 12km. The vista at the end of the road was wonderful.


I parked up facing the beach and decided to go for a paddle and fish.


Had a lovely paddle but again no luck with the fishing, lost a couple of softbaits to what I found out later were leatherjackets! I had forgotten how nasty they were. You need a tiny hook to get them!

Anyway on my return I was met by a young couple who were intently eyeing the back of ‘The Fredrock Cafe’. I just mentioned as I came up to the bus dragging the kayak that the overhand allowed for a walk around bed. Oh came the reply is this yours, we are keen to have a look.

So it was a guided tour for a young mum and dad and the kids. They were fascinated as they were keen to have a go at motor-homing.

After quite a chat another couple wandered up, saying that they had seen me turning around at the reserve at Hihi earlier that morning and again were interesting in buying a motorhome, so another tour of the bus took place.

I am becoming the consummate sales rep for motor-homing!

So then I washed down the kayak (after being told as I unreeled the hose from the front of the bus that I was now showing off!) and then gave a demo of the kayak loader for the original couple. He actually grabbed a handle and helped and it was so easy with two.

So after thanks and an offer to stay on the lawn of their batch at Tauranga Bay if I was interested, I headed back out to SH 10.


At this point I was starting to feel hungry and realised that it was 2.30pm and so I realised that I was not that far from Kerikeri, so I rang my Aunty Margaret and Uncle Geoff (my father’s youngest brother) and asked if I could come visit, so dialled the address into the GPS and headed off.

On arrival we sat and chatted and they invited me to stay for a couple of days so I manoeuvred the bus around the back of the house. Unfortunately the maple tree was closer than I thought, so now have a bit of a scratch along the side of the bus! Oh well, a cut and polish should remove it.

So I will be here, doing washing, cleaning the dust out and generally catching up on bits and pieces here for a couple of days.

What is great is that my Uncle Geoff hasn’t changed one bit. Still as nutty as a fruit cake, full of silly useless information and fun stuff.

I will see how long I last here!

Thanks to Jenny and Robin from Romany Rambler for the suggestion of using Livewriter. I am trying it for this post and will see how it goes.

It is good to see that at least one other person that is not family is reading my blog!

Catch you all (all three of you) tomorrow!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Maitai Bay and starting south

Jan 10th and 11th
Maitai Bay and the DOC camp there.
I had been warned that the “Camp Full” signs had been up a week ago at Maitai Bay at the end of the Karikari Peninsular which protects the western and northern sides of Doubtless Bay. It was a good trip out there and I arrived very early after leaving Unahi Reserve just after 7am.
The DOC staff were up and about and when I asked for a room at the inn, he laughed and told me that there would probably be space after 10am when people had packed up and left. He took me into the “boss” who was a delightful young woman who told me just to go down and park in the car park for the time being and she would come and find me later to move me if I wanted to move, or I could stay in the car park if it was OK.
I headed down the road to find the car park and found a wonderful grassy car parking area after expecting to find a paved parking lot!

So I backed into a lovely spot, wandered down to look at the beach….. amazing sight!

I raced back to the bus, unloaded the kayak and off to the beach, leaving the fishing gear behind as I thought if she wanted to move me it would be easier and quicker without. Just a quick kayak around the bay for some exercise and a look.
I loaded the wheels onto the back of the kayak and headed out into the beautiful Maitai Bay. Again some crystal clear water, flat calm and just beautiful.
I pottered around for about an hour and then headed back to base. After arriving there, I was making a coffee when I heard voices outside the bus. There was a group of people looking and talking about the kayak and the loader so I went out and gave them a demonstration. One of them was an American and he wondered how much to ship to the states…..
After a bit of a coffee and rest I loaded up the fishing gear and headed back out, this time heading to the other end of the bay, heading in a southerly direction this time for about half an hour.

 Again the coastline out of the bay is extremely rugged and unforgiving. I put down the anchor and started fishing. Again little in the way of fish around, but I won’t complain, I was having fun. At one point I believe that I had a nibble but probably just had done like Maui and hooked the bottom. Unfortunately he must have had a better rig than mine and while he fished up Te Ika a Maui, I got a busted rod!  What should be two bits, I now have three!

So I pulled up the anchor and headed back around the bay to the bus. It was quite a distance around the entire bay back, so I had quite a workout on the way.

On arrival I decided to wash down the kayak and as my gloves and rash shirt were starting to smell, I did some washing as well. I then decided to have a wander through the campsite.
Oh boy! was I glad that I parked in the car park. They were packed in like sardines in there, tents that had obviously been there for weeks side by side with little between them. So I decided to find a better, more level spot in the car parking area. There were a number of motorhomes scattered throughout the car park so I wandered around to see where I might like to go. I came across a very interesting sight with a man pumping up a large paddleboard! He was very excited about it and was keen to try it out. It was amazingly solid for a pumped up plastic board. It was 10ft6 and felt like a normal polystyrene/fiberglass one. Eventually I managed to get away and resumed my wander. I finally found “Bula Tau” and a couple in a quiet corner and approached them to see if they wouldn’t mind if I joined them in their quiet little corner. “Only if you bring the beer” came the reply. So I finished packing up and moved across and spent a lovely afternoon there. They had said that we would catch up after they had had their afternoon walk on the beach.
They finished their walk at around 6 and I took over a plate of cheese and crackers and my glass of wine and we spent a lovely couple of hours chatting. They are a lovely couple from Napier, who have spent most of their lives tenting around New Zealand with their children and their friends. Now they are in a small camper and still seeing New Zealand.
After another lovely dinner I headed back to the beach for a wander before heading to bed for the night.
The morning was just perfect and I slowly packed up and headed out at about 9.30 heading towards Mangonui to the dump station and then to Coopers Beach and the POP there.
On the way through Taipa I saw the sign for the local farmers market. So I hung a left and parked down by the beach and wandered back to the market.

At the market was a gentleman working with pounamu and we had a bit of a chat about where he got his supply from. Then a woman arrived at the stall wearing a wonderful tohanga. He looked at it and asked to touch it and then started to tell her where the stone had come from. I then raced back to the bus to get my pendant to find out where the stone came from.

He was very impressed with the pounamu, mainly regarding the dark shading of the colour and told me where it came from, he couldn't remember the name of the bay, but showed me on a map where it was, just south of Big Bay in Fiordland. He and his wife were quite impressed when I told them of the provenance of the tohanga.
He was a fascinating man, travels to the West Coast every three years to gather pounamu for his work and agreed to have his picture taken.

My GPS had me do one of the worst things in Mangonui, up one side and down the other to get to the dump station. Quite hairy as Mangonui is on the end of a very step little peninsular so the roads are quite steep! But I managed it and had to wait for 30 seconds while another motorhome pulled out of the dump station. I pulled in and started to get organised and the driver of the motorhome and his partner came over and asked if I was heading off to the rally. I told them that I had no idea that the rally was this weekend, but no I wasn’t. We chatted for a while and they were full timers as well and they were heading across the bay to a vineyard for a weeks work. They worked most of the winter in various places so that they could spend the summer travelling. They were both Australian but I didn’t hold that against them.  I then sorted out my waste and had to dive into the tool box for a pair of vice grips as there was not handle on the tap. As I got back into the bus I called the POP to see if there was a space. I then realised that there was as vehicle behind me so I dived into the chair while I was leaving a message on the phone. As I pulled out I realised that it was “Bula Tau” and the lovely couple from last night. I stopped and took the vice grips back to save him having to get his tool box out, but he had got some pliers out by the time I got there. We all had a bit of a laugh about meeting in strange places and I headed off through Mangonui and back to Coopers Beach.
Just up the road from the POP there was a fishing store so I pulled in and replaced my rod and got another one. A new overhand reel one, so we shall see how that goes.
When I got back to the POP the gentleman was sorry but he was full with residents tonight as he rents out the bottom house over the summer and there were three carloads coming this evening. So he directed me up to the Mangonui Fire Station, where there is a lovely grassed area behind the fire station, with some lovely rural views. The beaches are on the other side and I will wander down there later after completing the blogging! I have set my task to complete the blogs and get things up to date before anything else happens. Being out of communications has meant I have gotten lazy and not updated each day like I should. I must get into the habit of writing the blog in Word every night even if I’m not in coverage.  
Parked up for the night at Mangonui Fire Station

Mangonui Fire Station