Flying Solo – Alone In The Motorhome

Sarah and I have been together for over 30 years and a motorhoming couple for the last 18 years and other than the time I took a couple of my boys away not long after we purchased the new motorhome I have never been away without her in the motorhome. It’s not something that I really wanted to do.However the gathering of the Dethleffs owners group we are a part of was going to take place at Otamuri Bay a DOC Camp that forbids domestic pets.


Those who have been following my recent blogs will know that recently we have started traveling with Mr Blobby our 20 year old cat who obviously would be persona non grata at the DOC camp. The event also coincided with an event that Sarah was going to. So the decision was made that I would be flying solo for the weekend.

This camp is very special to both of us as it’s the very first place we came when we purchased our Mitsubishi Canter in 2001. With so many family memories about this place it was very nostalgic driving along the road to the camp. Although it would have been better to have shared these memories with someone else sitting in the other front seat.


The Dethleffs gathering is mainly based amongst Dethleffs owners who live north of Auckland but somehow a couple of interlopers like myself have managed to become part of the group. Having met a number of these people at the last gathering some of whom now follow this blog I was questioned upon arrival about the absence of both Sarah and Mr Blobby in fact they seemed far more disappointed that Mr Blobby wasn’t there than Sarah.

The Gathering had been organised by another John who like all good organisers puts together an event and then gets called away to another event. We all missed you John! your attendance at the next is compulsory!

I am sure that Jonas from Zion Motorhomes would have been proud to see such an array of vehicles he had sold with models right across the Dethleffs spectrum. That evening we all gathered together for happy hour and amongst the topics for discussion was the mileage on our motorhome with everyone wondering how far we have traveled in it since we appear to have covered most of the country. The answer is just under 23,000kms and we have loved ever kilometre of it. What a fantastic country we live in that allows the freedom to explore so many places.


With daylight saving now finished and the temperature starting to drop happy hour finished before the sun started to disappear leaving the sky with the orange glow you can see above.  20190413_083829

One of the drawbacks of this wonderful camp is the lack of cellphone signal and whilst that wouldn’t have bothered me much if I had Sarah with me. I did find it frustrating to only have enough signal to text and just white noise if the phone call did connect. With that in mind it was out with my bike early the following morning for a ride up the hill to find signal. I found the perfect spot overlooking the small motorcamp at Barrons Farm. This is somewhere we have never stayed and looking at the road (track) down to the campsite I am not sure that the motorhome would make it back up the hill.

Then out with the fishing rod and a stroll to the next bay round from the camp for a bit of a fish. Having previously caught fish directly from the beach before, that was where I started but without a bite, I moved to the rocks at the far end of the beach. Making a wonderful job of catching nothing except snags I gave up to head back to the motorhome and joined everyone for morning tea.


And what a morning tea it was with almost everyone providing something (read cakes/scones/biscuits etc) I felt embarrassed with the display of food when I hadn’t made anything to contribute but maybe not as embarrassed as Colin who in jest had volunteered Neville and Sue’s van as the venue only to then have Sue offer sausage rolls to everyone that she had cooked in her stove. Thanks Sue they were delicious! There was no need for lunch after a morning tea of that size.


It was then time to have another go at trying to catch the elusive fish. With a couple of people already surfcasting out from the camp. I wandered down the other end of the beach for a solo fish sadly the fish had decided that this was the perfect weekend for their holidays as absolutely nothing was biting.


It was whilst I was at the other end that I noticed Ken together with most of the others in the group setting up his fishing cannon (at least that’s what I call it) he had made this cannon himself which uses compressed air to launch the sinker and bait much further that you could surfcast. As Ken had left his compressor at home he was using a large bicycle pump to get air into the cannon. Judging by the number of people who had a go at pumping it was quite hard work to get it to launch a PSI of 100.

The first fire resulted in a strike however Ken lost the fish in the fight to get it back to shore. One disadvantage of getting it out so far is it’s a long way to wind it back in. Whilst Ken was setting up for another go I decided that I had wasted enough time trying to catch the non existent fish and wound in to then go and inspect the mighty cannon. As I was wandering back down the beach the second firing took place sadly the cannon malfunctioned sending the sinker out hundreds of metres without either the line or bait attached as the cannon tube came apart separating the sinker from the line. Oh well there’s always next time.

With the waves barely more than a ripple and the water looking so inviting after I had put away the fishing rod it was on with the togs, back to the beach for a swim. Considering it’s the middle of April the water is warmer than you might expect. It was very pleasant even if the rest of the group all thought I was mad. At least I enjoyed it.

For the second day in a row after a decent happy hour sharing stories the sunset lit up the sky behind the camp with a wonderful orange glow. It’s when you get back to the motorhome knowing that you are on your own without your lifelong companion that being away solo becomes much harder. There is no one to share the stories of the day with and without cellphone coverage to say goodnight too, it wasn’t the best of nights.

Otamure Bay (Whananaki)

Proximity to Attractions

If you are coming for fishing, swimming, sunbathing then it's right here a few metres from the beach.

Nearest Supplies/Town

Make sure you are well stocked as the nearest shops are in Hikurangi although the camp store in Whananaki about 4kms away carries basic stuff.

Ground Surface

Level spots in the middle of the camp but if you want sea views then all these spots are on a slight slope.

Proximity to Water/Dump Station

Nearest dump station is in Whangarei and all water taps are the push button sort making it impossible to connect a hose and fill your camper.

Outlook from Camp

If you can grab one of the waterfront spots then terrific views otherwise you are in a bit of a dip making views of the water non existant.

Noise during Day and Night

No traffic noise just the sounds of other campers and the waves rolling into the beach.

Cellphone Signal

Not much coverage but I was able to get enough for text messaging. There is wireless available if you want to pay for this.

Walking/Cycling Tracks

No specific tracks from the camp just nice walks along the beach and over the headland to the right of the camp.

Overall Rating:

A fairly stock standard DOC camp with a year round camp manager. Long drop toilets and I believe they now have hot showers available for a cost. Really nice beach.

A night made even worse with the alarm from the fridge telling me that it had run out of gas at 4am. From that point it was impossible to get back to sleep and I decided that flying solo, leaving Sarah behind is not something that I would do again in a hurry. I could have stayed another night, in fact that was the original plan, but I just didn’t have it in me and headed home after breakfast.


The Dethleffs group had like last time made me feel very welcome and I certainly enjoyed everyone’s company I just missed Sarah a lot more than I thought I would. The next gathering of this little group will happen again in a few months and I am looking forward to being there with Sarah and Mr Blobby.

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 

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