We where enjoying it so much in Kerikeri that we decided to spend another day and night starting with a ride into town to visit the New World for a few supplies. Starting on a downhill to the Stone Store and feeling fit we decided that we would ride up to the roundabout at State Highway 10 and then along the road to Waipapa. Sarah who was a little nervous on the main road decided to use the throttle function on her EBike and was zooming along at almost 30kph and since I had resolved to not use the power unless I had too, was really struggling to keep up. In the end power engaged. We rode over 20 kilometres, the first time we have exceeded this mark and a sign that we are getting fitter.
The NZMCA camp on the second night was a little quieter and we had a good talk with a couple of people, you really do meet some great people when you are travelling and you all have something in common. However after dinner we had put the kettle on for a cuppa and gone for a quick stroll but ended up talking to Jan and Fritz for 30 odd minutes only to discover when we got back to the van that the kettle was still whistling away. Thankfully it had not boiled dry but the van was still of steam
We have driven to the Cape a few times and have seen the turn off to Henderson Bay and have always wondered what it was like. So 6kms of gravel road later we arrived at the end of the road and to the beach. Regretfully there was nowhere to stay but we did go for a walk along the beach although we where almost driven back by the stench of rotting seaweed and dead jellyfish. I would imagine that it would be very popular with surfers and when there was no weed would be a great beach. There is a very small private park over property there but the no vacancy sign was up, they tell me you need to phone ahead.
We drove back towards Houhora and having heard good things about the POP Willowbrook we decided that we would spend the night there and then head off for a bike ride to explore the area. The signage is a little hard to see and we had driven past before we realised and had to do a U turn a little further up the road. Anyway the prices are really cheap at $8 for the night and Andre who had just taken over the property 8 weeks ago seemed like a very pleasant guy.
Jumping on the bikes we headed towards the campground at Houhora where we have stayed a number of times and it was disappointing to see the number of permanent campers that are now staying there it sort of spoils the place, but I understand that the people who own the camp have to make a living.
The great thing about the bikes is they allow you to go places you would not go with the camper and down one of the backroads in Pukenui we came across the Moa’s sculpted in driftwood very impressive and the house they are building looks like it will be even more so.
Whilst we where riding I saw this bus coming towards us that I recognised from our stay at Puriri Bay and started waving. Paul and Yana pulled over and we got talking it turns out that they where going to spend the night at Willowbrook as well so we carried on with the bike ride and resolved to catch up there.
Paul and Yana are travelling with their 3 children Indie, Bo and Pipi and are home schooling them in the bus. The kids are just so well behaved and a pleasure to be around they are a great family and we wish them great travels in their quest to tour NZ. No doubt we will catch up again sometime or somewhere.
Paula and Yana had been insistent that we visit the Kauri Gumdiggers place just down the road so on the way back we stopped there and spend over an hour wandering around the place. It was really interesting with masses of holes in the ground where they had excavated the Kauri gum over the last century. You would not want to wander off the path as if you went down one of the holes it might be rather difficult to get out again with some of them 3 metres deep. They have planted 100’s of Kauri to replace the forest that used to be there 150.000 years ago. at $12.50 per person it was money well spent. The wildlife was abundant but the geckos where in a glass display case, however great to get a good photo of them.
From there we have driven down to Ramp Road a freedom camping area on the Karikari peninsula the road in here is dreadful to say the least with us bottoming out a couple of times but we are here now and more about the place in the next post.