With my recovery taking longer than expected I was reluctant to travel too much further from home and rather than travel north after leaving Wenderholm we actually turned south. First making a brief stop at the dump station in Hatfields Beach, a very handy spot on the outskirts of Auckland but sadly with no fresh water available. I find it really strange that so many small towns provide water at their facilities but Auckland has not only a shortage of dump facilities but almost none of the public ones have water! (rant over)
Just south of Wenderholm at the end of the Whangaparoa peninsula is the Shakespear Regional Park which has two camping areas with a proper campground as well as an area for self contained vehicles. We hadn’t really decided at which we would stay but since the self contained area is the first you come too, we stopped outside their first.
We had barely pulled up at the carpark when we were waved over by Bernice and Roy Vannini who have been playing camp hosts here for the last 5 years, usually down at the main camp but with a couple of large school groups arriving over the next few weeks it was time to manage from a distance, so to speak.
The self contained area has parking for a total of 20 vans according to the council website but at this stage of the day it was only the Vannini’s and us so we found a nice place looking straight out to the water and settled in.
With the motorhome parked up it was time to get out and explore some of the great walking trails in the park. It’s always a good sign when the trail starts off with a never ending set of steps, my least favourite thing. (ha ha) Anyway once we started to climb higher there where a couple of excellent places to stop and admire the view. At least that’s what I told Sarah as I struggled to get my breath back. I find it staggering how much fitness I have lost after surgery.
On the really helpful printed guide to the park it shows that the walk we were talking takes you to Pink Beach. Thinking this would be a great opportunity to have a swim and cool down mid walk I had packed our togs in the backpack. So when we caught sight of the beach from the top of the cliff by the old pumping station (above) we both thought how nice it looked.
What the guide doesn’t tell you though is that the access stairs are a bit further along the trail and when you do get down to the bottom they lead to a rocky shelf with access to the beach only available along the foreshore closer to low tide. Talk about feeling cheated! Why wouldn’t you build the stairs down to the beach?
It was at this point that Sarah asked me if I wanted to continue on towards the lookout or return to the motorhome. I don’t know if it was stupidity or something else but I agreed to carry on. Obviously if you are down at the water and you are going to the lookout this must involve something of an uphill climb!
As you can see from the photos there was barely a cloud in the sky with the temperature pushing 30 degrees the shade from this tree was a welcome relief and a chance to catch my breath again.
Reaching the top of the hill and the boundry that separates the Regional Park from the Army training ground we came across these signs. With sounds of live firing actually taking place it didn’t take much to convince us not to proceed past the fence!
I must say the view when we did reach the lookout was worth all the effort to get there with a commanding vista. The great thing for me was that it was all downhill from here with a gentle walk back to the motorhome.
After all that exersize a well deserved swim was in order and although the water had quite a bit of weed floating in it, it was just so refreshing after the long walk in the heat of the day. What is they say about mad dogs and English men (my place of birth).
As I mentioned at the start of this blog we had been warmly greeted by Bernice and Roy and that evening we shared a happy hour and exchanged a few surgical tales with Bernice also having recently had a hip and knee op. Rather more involved than my biopsy. You can read all about their adventures on their blog which they have been writing for the last 8 years. A great read.
We haven’t finished with this place in fact we plan on coming back real soon, so there will be more of the story to write then. In the meantime a perfect end to a perfect day.
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.
To view the Ratings we have done for places we have stayed click here