Each time we have parked at Manganese Point, we have looked to the other side of the harbour and asked that age-old question “what is over there?” so we thought we would find out. Due to meet our friends at the Waipu Golf Club a little later that day we decided to explore the area around One Tree Point/Ruakaka to fill in the day, so to speak.
Without having spoken to Sarah about it, I was a little concerned about our departure from Manganese Point given the lack of area to turn a van of our size around. We were, however, blessed with good luck when the caravan on the left departed, allowing us to back into that space, giving us a free and easy exit. No problems getting up the driveway this time, unlike our first visit, then back on the road into town and then south.
First, though we decided to take the drive around the headland at Onerahi following Beach Rd a very narrow roadway. I certainly would not want to drive in the height of summer given the lack of places where we could have pulled over. It is, however, a lovely drive and one well worth making.
Further along the road, it widens out (just), and there is an area set aside for freedom camping opposite the toilets.
The area is beautiful and reasonably level although you cannot camp where our motorhome is parked you can from where I took this shot. A maximum stay of one night with space for maybe 3 or 4 vehicles up to 10 metres in length, could be an option next time we are in the area. The only drawback to staying here is that right above you is the runway for Whangarei airport, so you are directly under the flight path. However, it’s not exactly Heathrow or New York, so it’s only the occasional plane to disturb you.
After having driven all the way around the harbour, we find ourselves in One Tree Point and from here with a better camera, you could probably see what we could with our eyes. The NZMCA Park at Manganese Point on the other side. The arrow points to the spot.
We had found parking in an area opposite the local boating club, and since it’s designed for vehicles with trailers, the spaces are more than big enough to park our motorhome. Then we discovered that it’s also a designated freedom camping area with space for 4 motorhomes. Ok yes, you are in a carpark, but unlike so many others we could actually fit here. An added bonus is the super clean toilets in the middle of the carpark. A limit of 1 night here also applies.
Further along, the road is the new housing development at Marsden Cove, which appears to be an area of speedy growth, with shops and quite a large commercial area under development. Parts of this development are high-end housing with waterways direct from the sea to your house. We stood there at the entrance to the waterways admiring the view across the harbour.
There is also a freedom camping area here as well. Located in the carpark shown above, yes you can only stay one night, with only space for a couple of vans it’s right on the beach, it would be a nice spot to stay.
A little further up the road is the North Port area and beach. Last time we came here many years ago you could drive all the way to the wharf, this time we either came the wrong way or you can no longer drive as far as the wharf. Stopping and parking up in the carpark, we wandered down to the beach. Seeing the sign banning the collection of shellfish, I wondered if this was due to contamination, but it’s actually due to the massive decline in numbers. The chart that shows the degradation of the shellfish beds is frightening, and I hope that this Rahui allows the recovery of numbers.
It was time to head towards the Waipu Golf Club and a catch up with Peter and Tracey who are fellow Dethleffs owners as well as being very keen golfers. They had played a round at what appears a very picturesque course that also has a cafe open to the public. With a large carpark area, we had no problem parking up. The cafe offers a wide range of food and good coffee. Another of these places we have driven past many times without stopping, next time we probably will as they welcome visitors even if they don’t play golf.
Peter and Tracey had been thinking about a new motorhome last time we spoke with them, so we weren’t surprised to hear that they had visited Jonas at Zion Motorhomes and ordered a new Dethleffs Esprit, which they hope to take delivery of later this year. Bet you are looking forward to taking delivery guys!
We decided that we would spend the night at the Caledonian Park in Waipu at $10 without power and $15 with it’s a cheap place to stay and helps support the local community with payment of the fees. The envelopes for payment are located in all the power boxes, so there is no excuse about not knowing the charges, unlike another place we stayed earlier this year. We did have a bit of an issue finding the place to drop off the envelope but eventually found the correct building and popped our $15 into the slot.
As evening started to roll around the locals turned up for rugby training with what seemed like the total population of the area in attendance. Starting with the little kids at 5pm through to the adults as the lights in the park took away the gloom of night, Then just as suddenly it was all over, obviously everyone getting ready for the upcoming weekend’s games.
We have been fortunate on this trip with good weather and the sunset that night was just gorgeous with the mix of orange, pink and blue.
Click on the above to see our review of the campground here. I have updated the information since our last visit.
From here we are heading down the coast towards Mangawhai taking the route that avoids SH1 and the Brynderwyns. A route we haven’t driven in the motorhome and another road travelled to add to the ever-growing collection.
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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