We left Brian and his boat in Whangarei, heading towards our favourite destination, the Whangaruru Harbour. For once we drove past the turn off carrying on with thoughts of checking out and staying at Elliot Bay a privately owned beach/camping area much closer to Russell than Whangarei on the Rawhiti/Russell Road.
The signage is a little difficult to spot, so keep your eyes open as you follow the coast. It’s around 46kms from the turn off on SH1
We decided that rather than try and enter the property, we would park in the area they have set aside across the road from the beach. Where you can park safely off the road rather than straddled across it as we were in the above photo. From here you can cross the road over a stile and onto the beach. There is a $2 charge to use the carpark for the day or part thereof. It’s worth paying just to get a look at this magnificent beach.
I know from a friend of mine who has stayed here and said that the camping area is in, under and around the pohutukawa trees next to the beach with access through the farm. As there was no one in the farmhouse on the day we visited and signage stating no entry to the farm without permission, we couldn’t access the camping area as you would if you stayed here. However, the walk down the beautiful beach from the carpark area gave us a good sense of what it would be like to spend a few nights here.
It’s $20 per person per night here even though there are no facilities and it’s winter which we both thought was rather steep even if you are staying in an unspoilt paradise. As there are no facilities self-containment is absolutely essential, you will also need to arrive with your supplies, including a full water tank, as it’s a fair way to the nearest shops if you run out of something. Phone signal here is non-existent for any provider and as it’s a working farm, so pets of any sort are forbidden inside the gate. When it comes to getting rid of your waste, it’s a long way to the nearest dump station unless you are prepared to stay at a commercial campsite where there is one in Russell and one in Bland Bay both about 20kms away in either direction.
The ground in the area we assumed was the camping area wasn’t particularly level, and it appeared quite soft from the farm to get to this point, so we decided against staying here. The farm is currently for sale, so it’s hard to know how much longer it will be available for camping. We also imagine that in summer it is a very popular place for fishing, surfing and boating. In fact, my friend who lives in Whangarei has caught a 20lb snapper from nearby rocks.
So if you want to get off the beaten track and stay somewhere remote in a camp that brings back memories of days gone by. Come check this place out before the farm is sold and lost to everyone. And if you would like to buy yourself a slice of paradise, the Harcourts Real Estate listing is here.
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