After leaving Tapapakanga we planned on exploring another of the Auckland regional parks, Waharau which is only really just down the road a few kms but rather than being on the coastal side is part of the Hunua Ranges and as such the park is set into the bush.
The drive between the two parks takes you along the coast past the famed mussel farms where so many snapper have been caught. We pulled over briefly amongst a group of Coral trees to let a couple of cars get past. It’s a narrow winding road that was such a nice drive I really didn’t feel like hurrying, so we took a moment to stretch our legs and snap this photo.
Arriving at the park we find a large building which no doubt serves as park headquarters during the busy summer season but without a soul in sight except the solitary chicken who clearly though she was in charge, we were left looking at the notice board out front to try and work out where the CSC camping area was.
Of course there is never cell phone signal when you want it and the map on the building doesn’t show where the camping area actually is.
We started wandering around the area looking for what might be the CSC parking area finding this rather sad looking carpark behind the building. Since this didn’t really have anything to offer we agreed that this wasn’t our sort of place to stay but it was worth looking around to see if something was more obvious or appealing.
So we wandered down the roadway towards the bush and found three gates two of which stated no entry and this one with the stop sign which also carried the smaller sign that states that the road is closed from this point due to wet ground conditions making the road unsafe for vehicles.
Either side of the gate are the prominent warnings about Kauri dieback and the cleaning station for your boots and shoes. I did wonder if the gate was open and you drove through were you meant to stop and clean your boots at this gate or are there other stations inside the park for this. With it looking like rain we decided not to proceed any further and head back to the perk headquarters to see if we could find anything further about the CSC parking area.
Neither the signage nor the chicken gave us any more information and with a sense of frustration we decided to move on from the park, maybe to return in summer or at least when the roads within the park weren’t closed due to wet ground conditions.
Once back in cellphone coverage I was able to access the Auckland Council website to discover that the CSC camping area was indeed well inside the park and some distance inside the locked gates. Oh well there will be another time.
For those of you with cassettes there is a dump station located on the seaward side of this park next to the public toilets. There is however signage that states that it is only for cassettes and porta potties as it has very limited capacity. So those with black tanks will need to empty elsewhere.
Another short trip down the road and we arrived at the small coastal settlement of Kaiaua home of a rather famous fish and chip shop. Deciding that the energies expended trying to find the CSC camping area at Wharaua needed to be replaced we pulled into the large parking area next to the public toilets and local boat ramp.
From here it’s a short stroll across what I was surprised to learn is a freedom camping area behind the boat club and from there across the road to the fish and chip shop. Depending on how they parked the area is big enough maybe 15 to 20 vehicles but I have read that when they extend the local cycle trail to here that they will also redevelop the freedom camping area increasing capacity. Let’s hope they also add a proper dump station and potable water.
Even though it’s been a few years since the fish and chip shop was rated one of the must visit places in Auckland it’s still very busy yet somehow we lucked in with only one order ahead of ours and then a number of people behind us including a couple of motorhomers who were heading down the road to eat theirs at what is probably one of the most well known freedom camping areas in the country “Rays Rest” where we would also end up later and will be the subject of the next blog.
With a nice warm parcel in hand we wandered back to the motorhome for lunch by the sea pleased to discover that an extra piece of fish had been included in the order. One has to work on maintaining one’s figure! Sadly in my way of thinking the fish and chips weren’t of the standard they were a few years ago and could have done with another couple of minutes in the fryer, just to crispy them up a bit more. Sarah said they were busy and she was happy with hers and I say they used to be better and being busy is no excuse. The shop was busy with locals there as well though so maybe I am the one that’s wrong although I have read other reviews that agree with my thoughts.
There is one of the politest signs I have ever read in the boat trailer/launching area letting people know to use the area behind the boat club. Once the bike trail is extended to here and the area developed a bit more I imagine it could be just as popular as Ray’s Rest especially with the pub and fish and chip shop just across the road. We look forward to returning when the trail is complete. For those keen to read about what’s happening you can click on this link to the council website that contains detailed plans of where and when.
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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