Leaving Oputere in the morning we headed for Whangamata for a quick stop and a few supplies at the local New World, Sarah’s brother used to have a place just behind the store, so I took these photo’s to send him as a reminder.
I have driven through Waihi so many times and seen the old pump house but have never stopped and looked, so we found parking just down the road and wandered up to the mine site
The boys were very impressed with the front end loader wanting to take it for a test drive. You cannot see it in the photo, but all the corners of the loader are deeply scratched showing you how narrow the mine tunnels are. Walking up to the main mine area, it was amazing to see the landslip that closed the open pit with 135,000 cubic metres of soil and rocks slipping down. The signage says that they are working hard on stabilising the area.
Over 400 locals lost their lives in WW1, and they have created a remembrance walk around the top of the open pit with a poppy for each life lost, very sad to think about the impact it would have had on the local community and seeing all the Poppies really brings it home.
Heading to Bowentown just down the road from Waihi Beach we came across this fantastic freedom camping area just off the highway called Island View, we walked along the path to the beach and encountered these steps over the fence that did not exist, a bit of a laugh. The camping area has space for about 15 vehicles, although not one my size and also has a dump station and fresh water. There where even several other freedom camping areas along the road and I would imagine that they are absolutely packed in summer.
We arrived at the Bowentown Motorcamp to spend the night with power as we needed to recharge the batteries on the bikes ready for the ride ahead the next day. Otherwise, we would have stayed at one of the many freedom camping areas. At $25 per person per night (shoulder rate) I thought it was expensive, but it was a great spot, and we did get a place right next to the beach. The camp was very well set up with all the features you could want and some charming accommodation in the shape of the VW’s with a double bed and breakfast bar. They also had several cabins and motel type units that had a large group of Korean tourists staying the night.
Biking in the area is easy. It is all flat except the hill behind the camp and the ride to the top is the steepest that I have attempted on the Ebike. Richard took this great shot from the top. The ride downhill was excellent, although rather scary. In the photo, you can see the beach that stretches all the way to Waihi Beach 9kms away, an excellent walk for next time.
From Bowentown it was onto the Hauraki Rail Trail parking across the road from the Waikino Tavern we crossed the bridge shown as the feature photo and onto the trail. Heading towards Paeroa, the route was slightly downhill, and riding was smooth on a well-formed track. I have driven past the bridge and tunnel many times on the way to Tauranga and wondered what it would be like to go through the tunnel. Turns out it’s about 1.1kms long, and with the overhead lights there is a sort of gloomy visibility inside the tunnel, and it’s very deceptive with the light at the end looking much closer than it is.
The path back through the tunnel is a slight uphill and Richard, and I raced the 2 Ebikes while Thor tried to keep up on his mountain bike and hence the picture of an exhausted boy at the end of the tunnel.
Heading the other way we rode up to the old power station and museum that was closed on the day (rather sad) had a wander around the old stamping battery, and then it was back into the van for the trip home. The rail-trail was a great ride, and when my level of fitness is higher, I will return and make a much longer journey.
4 nights away with 2 of my boys was a wonderful time, and I hope that I can do it again but with all 3 of them when they can all get the time off work at the same time.
If you would like to see all the places we have visited click here
If you would like to see the ratings of the places we have stayed click here