When Sarah and I where at Pururi Bay talking with John and Gaylene about their favourite spots they insisted that we must visit Ramp Road on the Karikari Peninsula in the far north. When we stayed at Willowbrook and caught up with Paul and Vana they had been there and also said that we should make a stop.
As our campervan is low to the ground one of the things that worried me about visiting the camp is that the road in is just terrible according to the reviews on both the NZMCA and Campermate app’s and John and Gaylene had also added to my worries. However Paul and Vana convinced me that the van would be just fine as recent work had been done to the road to fill some of the holes and level it in a couple of places.
We made it, as evidenced by this post, but I won’t say it was easy and the van did bottom out twice with the towbar absolutely covered in stones and dirt from the road on arrival but the trip was worthwhile. I think if you had a shorter van (ours is 8.7 metres) then you would be fine at the moment.
Upon arrival at the camp it’s choose your own spot within quite a large area, there are however not a vast amount of level spots and obviously only a limited number of beachfront spots. The gods smiled on us though and we found a decent flat area right next to the beach and close to some other campers. It was not long before we got chatting to some of our neighbours two of whom had been here for the whole month of November fishing and enjoying the place.
Even though we are self contained it’s nice to be able to use the facilities if they are there and at Ramp Road there is a toilet and shower about 600 metres further down the beach in the reserve area (no camping allowed). These are very clean and well maintained and an obvious bonus to the smaller “self contained” vehicles that use the camp. It’s great having the bikes it just makes it so easy to pop over to the toilet.
Wednesday morning before it got to hot we decided that we would ride down the beach (as it was also low tide) and explore the other end. It’s quite deceptive and I would never have picked it for being almost 10kms to the end of the beach.
There has been a strong onshore breeze blowing for the last few days and lots of these jellyfish have been blowing up on the beach, meaning that cooling down in the sea after the bike ride was not really an option.
Once we reached the end of the beach and the village we decided to go exploring and rode up the hill towards the shops. Looking down from the hill we could see the area where they are creating the new NZMCA camp, looks like it will be a nice spot. We also noticed at the Fire Station that they have water and a dump station for a $2 donation a good cheap way to help support the local community.
We rode up and down the steep hill to get to the camp ground at Whatuwhiwhi and have a look. But as it is set back from the road and up a driveway it was hard to see what it was like. I think our beachfront site was a better place to stay even if it was a bit rough getting in.
One of the things I don’t like about my bike is that if you stop riding for 5 mins the trip meter zeros out so after a short toilet break at the end of the beach it had reset, so the photo above shows the second half of the ride. Just under 25kms total a new distance record.
Riding back along the beach Sarah turned on the power and used the throttle function zooming down the beach at 30kph so I turned up my power and pedaling like mad followed her. It was great fun. Back at the camper with the sun blazing down we plugged in both bikes to charge as we had drained them quite a bit with the extra resistance on the beach.
Feeling hot and bothered it was a short walk to the Coca Cola lake for a swim. This lake is full of tannin from the surrounding peat swamp but has been tested and is of drinkable quality according to everyone we spoke to. Being such a dark colour it was much warmer than the sea and with sand underfoot as we walked in it was much more pleasant than I would have thought initially. Because it’s fresh water and with the high tannin content it also left our hair feeling soft and fresh.
After two really nice days here it’s time to start heading home today but I could not leave these photos out of the post. Last nights sunset and then this morning sunrise from the bedroom window. What a spectacular place, we will be back to Ramp Road.