We have been home for the last few weeks sorting out some things for my mother, who sadly has had to move into the care facility at the retirement village after suffering a small stroke. It’s been quite the effort moving stuff out of the old apartment and adding it to our ever-growing pile of things that we seem to be collecting at home. Anyway with her now settled and no appointments scheduled it was time to take a well-earned break and slip away for a few days.
Neither of us had any idea where we would go with just a vague plan to head away. Like so many times in the past, we suddenly found ourselves crossing the harbour bridge heading north still talking about where we would go. I mentioned to Sarah about the new camp saver scheme launched by the NZMCA, where a select number of campgrounds were offering discounted rates during the off-peak winter months. Currently, there are three of these in Northland one at Tinopai and one in Pouto and the final one at Kai Iwi. We have actually been to all of these places previously but in the old motorhome and not mentioned in this blog.
So even though we hadn’t really decided that was where we would head we turned left at the Brynderwyns towards the campgrounds. Firstly however we stopped in Pahi a small village and camping area located in the upper reaches of the Kaipara harbour. The camp has rates of $15 per person with power and a 10% discount for NZMCA members. There are all the usual facilities here, including a small dump station located next to the public toilets.
The camp is also the site of one of the most giant Moreton bay fig trees in the world. This tree is genuinely enormous, stretching over 50 metres in diameter and that was in 2011, so it probably has grown even bigger since then.
There is a considerable gravel area next to the camp which in the warmer months would probably be full of cars and trailers from the people who would be launching their boats here. For us, though it was a place to stop have a bite to eat while we decided if we were going to spend the night here or move on.
The locals told us there is excellent fishing off the rocks located just at the end of the road that runs alongside the small beach to the right of this area looking at the water. However, as the tide was high, we couldn’t access them to try it.
Also standing on this site are the Pahi community hall and the local fishing club. It’s not hard to imagine in summer these two place just humming with people and quite the centre of attention inside the local community. There is such a different feel to the area on the west side of SH1 compared to the settlements on the eastern side.
In the end, we decided against staying the night in Pahi, nothing against the camp we just decided to stay elsewhere. The road west from Pahi leads toward Matakohe and the Kauri Museum. Although we didn’t visit on this trip, we have been there previously and found it absolutely fascinating.
Some photos from our trip to the museum in 2017 before we started this blog. At $25 per adult, the entry fee is one of the steepest we have encountered for a local museum, but it’s absolutely packed full of stuff related to kauri and well worth a visit. There is a camping ground just down the road from the museum so if you spend all day there as we did when we visited then it’s not far to drive to find somewhere to stay.
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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