After the short stop in Napier it was time to start our exploration of the coast south from there towards Castlepoint. In some ways it’s a good thing that the road doesn’t run down the coast as this probably deters many people from taking the long and winding roads that lead towards these beautiful beaches. In other ways it’s one hell of a drive to get to some of them but more about that later in other blogs.
Our friends Adrian and Sally had marked down Kairakau Beach as one of the must visit places, with it being the closest to Napier it’s were we decided to start the tour. If I had been sensible I would have loaded Google maps or used the GPS and got there a lot quicker than I did by heading out on SH2. They say you are never lost you are just exploring new areas or at least that’s what I told Sarah.
When you arrive at Kairakau Beach you drive past the council owned camping ground which strangely is only open till the end of April and then shuts down for winter before reopening in spring. The other really strange thing is the sign on the side of the campground building saying NO CAMPING BEYOND THIS POINT it’s not till you look closer that you see in brackets underneath (unless self contained). I am sure this leads to a lot of confusion as we met some people having lunch next to the campground who thought they couldn’t stay here until we told them otherwise.
Following the road you arrive at the designated freedom camping area which according to the travel directory has space for 7 vehicles although there is nothing on the signage at the camping area to state this is the case. The camp is located along the road before it dead ends with each space having a view of the sea although bushes and shrubs obscure the views from some sites.
Having got ourselves settled it was time to stretch our legs and let Mr Blobby out for an explore (it’s great that pets are allowed here). The hills behind the camp really dominate the scenery here and whilst I considered a walk to the top a closer inspection revealed that they were just to steep for someone with my lack of fitness to consider attempting.
We noticed other campers in and out in the water and decided after dipping in our toes that it was warm enough to have a swim. Neither of us are what I would call competent swimmers and both of us were concerned about rips and strong currents with this being a surf beach. However we were assured that it was safe swimming here, so togs on and time to get wet.
We both love exploring the areas around where we are staying so after the swim we dragged the bikes out of the back of the motorhome and set off to explore the local area. Heading back towards the main road we came across this wonderful walnut tree growing on the side of the road. The tree was laden with nuts with both of us starting to stuff our pockets when a lady in a car stopped asking if we would like a bag. We really collected quite the haul but still left plenty for others.
Hidden in the back roads between some houses was this sad little cemetery with almost all of the few gravestones damaged in some way it felt quite out of place and neglected. Like it belonged to a different time period, some relic of the past. I am sure this was not the case but it was sad to see all the broken headstones.
Last time we headed away with Mr Blobby on his first big adventure he didn’t really get out and about that much. On this trip we found him more willing to explore. Thankfully at 20 years of age his days of running away are past him with us able to keep a watchful eye yet give him some space. We found that after a stroll around he often came back into the motorhome without us having to come and get him. Lets hope he is learning to enjoy his new holiday lifestyle and we have many more adventures to come with him.
The next morning we woke to an absolute blaze of colour in the sky with the reds, blues and purples changing by the second as the sun rose over the water. We have seen some spectacular sunsets in various locations around the country but have not witnessed many sunrises and certainly not one with the colours this one was displaying. It’s the sort of thing you would imagine people would pay money to see. Amazingly the sunset the following morning was just as spectacular almost as if this is some magical spot where you are treated to fantastic displays of nature.
I mentioned earlier in the blog about the supposed limit of 7 motorhomes, well it’s fair to say that was exceeded on our second night with 23 vehicles spending the night. There was plenty of space for everyone with nobody parked on top of each other so I don’t think it was an issue. If however there is a limit my question is who applies it and who decides who stays and who goes, is it the local council or is it meant to be self regulated. With the pressure on freedom camping from all sorts of different places I guess it’s a question that will need to be answered sooner rather than later.
Kairakau Beach is somewhere that we will both return too, just a fabulous spot with the most amazing sunrises. Make sure you do visit.
Among the vehicles spending the night were a group from the NZMCA in Taupo on a safari and although we didn’t spend much time with them that night we would almost be following each other down the coast so more about this to come.
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