I was thinking 🤔 about the number of times that I must have driven North to Whangarei in my lifetime and realised that it would be quite a large number. Never however, when visiting or when I lived there in the early 1980’s, have I driven any other way than over the Brynderwyn hills. This time as we returned towards SH1 from Tinopai we noticed the detour signage that shows the way around the hills when the road is closed as it has been for recent roadworks.
So we decide to turn left at Paparoa taking the backway to add another piece of tarmac to our extensive collection of roads traveled. The road is very quiet with us almost wondering if we are heading the right way. It’s also quite a twisting road so although we don’t lack for power in the motorhome we find ourselves slowed down by all the corners. I would imagine when this road is used as a detour it would be a nightmare being stuck behind larger trucks and motorhomes if you were in your car.
Coming out at Oakleigh just past the Caltex service station we have another road ticked off and it’s not far from here to Whangarei for a visit to the dump station. This dump station offers access from either side, has potable water and most unusually it has numerous rubbish and recycling bins making it a one stop shop so to speak. A great resource for the motorhome community.
Part of the plan for heading this way was a catch up with some friends the following day so we thought we would spend the night at the NZMCA Park at Manganese Point. We have stayed here previously including our ill fated stay in 2017 when after our 2nd and 3rd nights in the motorhome we got stuck on the driveway before it was sealed. We actually met the couple whose motorhome almost came to grief on this driveway when we stayed at AJ’s (#1697) although I never written about this till now. In what would have been an incredibly scary event for them their motorhome almost went backwards over the cliff after losing traction in the loose gravel. They only avoided this when their motorhome came to rest against a tree preventing any further sliding backwards. This event I am told is what led to the driveway being sealed.
We arrived to find the Park much fuller than we had previously seen it but with a prime spot left available for our motorhome. It was also interesting to see that there are now very clear markings as to where to park your motorhome to prevent idiots from parking parallel to the boundary stopping anyone else from sharing the view.
As is now the custom once we are settled it was time to take Mr Blobby out and show him the views from the top of the small knoll next to our motorhome. I am not sure that he was that impressed very quickly wandering back down the knoll and back into the motorhome. He might not have liked it but I think this is one of the best views if not the best view of any of the NZMCA Parks especially when the sun is shining.
We went for a bit of a wander along the shoreline noticing that the next door neighbour to the park had recently put in quite an impressive boat ramp from his house all the way down to the water, taking out some of the rocks along the shore (We did wonder if the appropriate resource consents had been issued). Quite a feat of engineering and given the steepness of the driveway not one I would like to haul my boat up.
Sarah was keen to jump on the bikes cycle back down the road to have a closer look at the area. I was a little reluctant at first but she convinced me and away we went. It was actually major fun up and down the hills hitting speeds in excess of 50kph with little traffic to worry about and then once I had run out of momentum going up the other side using the E part of the bike to get some assistance.
We rode down to the Blue Heron holiday park at the other end of the road but you cannot really see much from the road and didn’t want to enter the park when we weren’t staying there. It does look like a nice place to stay if you are one of those people who like being connected to power and have the facilities that campgrounds offer.
Back at the NZMCA Park we got chatting to our neighbours, who more than almost any other place we have stayed embodied the spirit of the association with everyone talking to everyone. Although we didn’t share a happy hour that night it was still very interesting to hear everyone’s stories. Don if you are reading this I hope you got your solar and fuse problem sorted. You can see the white boundary markers for the camping spots quite clearly on the right of the above photo. I wonder how long before some self entitled idiot decides to try and remove them?
That evening as the sun started to set I stood on the knoll next to the motorhome taking photos of the views I captured the above photo with the oil refinery in the background mixing with the blue orange light I was very happy with this shot.
With the hot water system not working in the motorhome (see previous blog) that night we resorted to the old fashioned way of getting clean by boiling water in the kettle and then using a bucket, cup and flannel to have the sort of shower/bath we used to have when freedom camping in the old pup tent. We might have moved on from the old tent but some skills are never lost. We are looking forward to our catch up with Peter and Tracey the following day along with exploring the other side of the harbour which will comprise the next blog.
I have featured this Park previously in my ratings but if you want to see the rating for here just click on the above.
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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