Three times now we have stayed at the freedom camping area, Ramp Road, on the Karikari Peninsula and each time we have heard other campers talk of the spot on the other side of the peninsula at Rangiputa as also being a great place to stay. So when it was suggested that we make a move there, it wasn’t hard to say yes.
First a visit to the local dump station located outside the fire station at Whatuwhiwhi where for a $2 donation you can take advantage of the facilities and top up with water taken from a local bore. It’s not much to pay, and it feels good to be able to support the local volunteer firefighters.
From there we decided to pop down to the recently opened NZMCA Park as it’s one of the few that we haven’t visited (we have 6 left to visit). According to the gentleman in the caravan, 5 campers were staying there the previous night. I must say that as it’s set back from the beach a couple of hundred metres and lacks the views that the freedom camping area at Ramp Road offers it’s hard to see us staying there. It does also appear from the ground that this is also flood-prone. So probably not such a great option during winter. The local area have sealed a driveway that leads to an elevated piece of ground so that will likely assist, but I would undoubtedly walk it first after heavy rain.
There is one extraordinary sign in the Park. Apparently, the resource consent only allows for 50 vehicles movements each day (25 in and 25 out) Which makes me wonder if you are arriving late on a busy summers day how you know how many people have already come and gone before you.
So the word is that this place is not on any of the App’s. It also doesn’t show in the travel bible. So it’s secret and don’t tell anyone about it. I think to myself that this will be great a beautiful quiet spot at the beach free from the masses. Adrian had asked us to stop at the fishing tackle store and pick up some more bait, and while we were there we watched a large caravan turn down the road, Oh well plenty of space I am sure.
As we arrived at the entrance to the camping area (a very narrow roadway), we saw the caravan pulled over on the side with the people having walked up to inspect the site first. Snooze and you lose turns out it’s not so secret with almost every space taken in fact there was only one space left that a motorhome of our size could squeeze into. There is space here for a total of around 12 vans, and with the caravan, it’s fair to say it was full.
What made it even better is that although the spot we tucked ourselves into was one back from the water, once we got chatting to the people next to us, it turned out that they were just leaving and so we moved over into the waterfront position.
The beach is just like you see in the postcards of old from tropical islands with white sand and blue water just a magic place. I am also pleased to report that after some effort the caravan also managed to find a place to park up, just not a very level one and one that wouldn’t have suited us but at least they had somewhere to stay.
I’ve always had a problem getting hats to fit (yes I have a large head), so I tend not to wear them, but the sun had really played havoc with me, and Sarah insisted that I wear one. The first day she gave me the old Bunnings hat she wears when we are fishing. As you can see, one size really does not fit all! The following day our friends John and Gaylene lent me one of John’s hats a much better fit. Will have to go and buy one of these.
Not long after getting settled in it was back to Puheke Beach to get the Kontiki back out and collect another batch of pipi’s to share at happy hour. As you can see we obtained a decent haul of snapper, with a couple of quite decent fish. We had a bit of fun actually getting the line back in though as it was heavily coated with seaweed. Making it too heavy for the motorised reel with Adrian and myself grabbing the line to walk it up the beach, quite the effort.
Rangiputa is famous for its sunsets, and so it was to be again that night with what was just a fantastic display of colours.
The following morning we went for a wander to explore the area. Close to the entrance of the freedom camping spot, there is a reserve named after local identity Dave Wilkinson. We found Dave in his enormous garden next to the reserve where he grows such exotic things as pineapples and bananas, as well as all the usual stuff you would find in a garden.
Dave has spent a lifetime here planting and looking after the local reserve areas, including installing picnic tables along the waterfront. He is firmly in favour of controlled freedom camping here believing that the beauty of the area should be available for all.
At the top of the hill above the beach, we took the above shot where you can just see our motorhome (closest to the hill). Had we not talked to Dave, we wouldn’t have known that there is also a rather pleasant short walk down the hill here through the bush.
We spent a delightful evening that night enjoying yet another bite of John’s smoked fish with a feed of pipi’s to go with it. I didn’t take any photos of the happy hour (other than the fish). We were joined by some of the other campers were a discussion was held about this beautiful place. I was again reminded that this was a secret place and shouldn’t be sharing about it on my blog. I then told all of them that others have written about this already and if it was so secret why was it so full here!
There aren’t that many places where there is a sign at the entrance to the area telling you to “relax you are at the beach”, and nothing sums up this place better than that so Sssh don’t tell anyone!!!
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