Wind and White Sands – Rarawa Beach

As I mentioned in my last blog, the wind had really begun to get up during our stay at the Te Pua Reserve. With our fellow campers having abandoned us retreating south to Rarawa Beach Sarah and I considered what to do. We had planned to travel right up to Cape Reinga spending nights at each of the two DOC camps in the area. But with a gale force Easterly wind, I was reluctant to go anywhere.

We sat in the van with the wind whistling around us, getting stronger by the minute. We both knew that staying here wasn’t really ideal, so we had to decide whether to brave going North to finish the journey or retreat south.

In the end, we decided to retreat south, knowing that the campsites at the Cape would be very exposed to the strong Easterly wind. When we had driven out to the Te Pau Reserve, the road had been dry with just a little dust sticking to the van. The journey out was somewhat different with the truck getting a free mud wash.

We must have had a tailwind heading back to the main road as we barely noticed the wind. It was, however, quite a different story once on the main road with the van really being buffeted. At times we struggled either with a powerful headwind slowing the truck down. Or almost being blown from the road as we crossed open ridges or clear gullies. I don’t think we exceeded 70 km’s the whole journey.

We arrived at the Rarawa campground to find the others hunkered down, sheltered by the trees. With no marked spaces here it was park where you like, with us choosing a spot sheltered not only by the trees but by the others.

We had visited this camp once before many years ago, choosing at that stage not to stay as it was nothing much more than an open paddock. Also, a number of pine trees had been recently felled making it look like a forestry bock. These days extensive planting of natives have sectioned off the camp into natural areas making it far more appealing.

With the rain continuing to bucket down, I decided to take advantage of all this free water and give the motorhome a scrub. The design of our motorhome is such that, depending on how you park, water flows like a waterfall down one side. This means that you can put a bucket underneath and it will fill very quickly.

Using these torrents of water, I was able to wash the motorhome and myself quite quickly. I often wonder how those people who live on the road with no access to water other than campgrounds and dump stations get on washing their vans. Now I think I have found the answer.

This campground is one of the places around the country that has a problem with Argentinian ants. According to the DOC website, these creatures form huge colonies during winter while aggressively searching for food. I did wonder how well they could swim with the campground more of a lake while we were there.   It is, however, a severe problem and from what I have read, you don’t want these things in your motorhome.

The following day with the rain having eased slightly it was time to “explore”. Since this campsite is situated a couple of hundred metres from the beach, we followed the well-worn path alongside the river towards the beach.

Many years ago, when we did come here, although we didn’t stay, we did explore the beach. One of my memories of this walk was our youngest son who was maybe only 6 at the time, asking if the pure white sand was snow, something he hadn’t seen before.

The rain might have stopped, but that didn’t stop the sky looking very ominous. Strangely though there was a sense of the calm after the storm.

These remote beaches have their own beauty, and even when the pure white sand is covered with the debris from the storm, it’s still a special place.

The power of the wind had created it’s own snow effect with the sand whipped up over the plants reminding me of a winter scene.


Rarawa Beach is the sort of place you would come to get away from it all. I guess there would be people arriving that were disappointed to find that you cannot camp on the beach. To me, though that’s one of the things that makes this place unique, you are separated from it creating more remoteness at the beach itself.

We know that some people come here using it as a base, using the road to access the beach and apparently some fantastic kite and Kontiki fishing. Maybe that’s a reason for a visit another time with far too much weed in the water from the storm.

We headed home from here, with this blog being a couple of weeks after our stay. For those who have followed my blog over the previous year or so you will now that we have been at home often helping my mother with various hospital visits. Sadly on 7th November, she passed away. With all that was going on this blog sort of got pushed back but the story is now told.

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