Puriri Bay – Nature at it’s Best

With Mum’s funeral out of the way and family on their way back to parts afar. It was time for Sarah and I to have a bit of “me” time and spend a few days decompressing. I didn’t really feel like driving all the way to the “recovery ward” AKA Ramp Road on the Karikari Peninsula, so we decided on our other go-to place Puriri Bay.

One minor problem, with Mum’s ill health we hadn’t bothered to invest in a DOC pass. So I decided to brave the dreaded the Auckland traffic and head out to Takanini and the NZMCA head office to collect one. A short while later with my wallet, $295 lighter mission accomplished, time to hit the road.

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It’s always one of those moments when you come up and over the hill here, wondering how full the campground will be. I wouldn’t say it was packed, but there were more motorhomes than we had expected. Sarah went into the little shed to register with me telling her I didn’t really care where we ended up. Although a waterfront spot would be preferable.

Puriri Bay - Lillian We ended up on the left-hand side of the camp, looking out to sea. Parked right next to fellow Dethleff’s owners Lillian and Lester who we met here last year. Lillian is an avid photographer regularly posting her photos on various social media pages and took this shot of the two vans side by side.

Not that I really wanted to spend hours on the net, but the signal in this spot falls into the shadow of the hill between it and the cellphone tower. So the following morning, it was back to the office to see if it was possible to move. We don’t have an internet modem in the van and rely on using the hotspot on my cellphone.

We have in the past stayed on the corner spot next to the stream outlet. This, however, was roped off to protect the nesting Oyster Catchers. So we moved onto one of the level spots that run alongside the stream. The places must be 9 metres square as we only just fit but with no-one behind us no problem.

It wasn’t long before we were being entertained by the Oyster Catcher searching for grubs and worms in the long grass alongside the stream. It’s hard to believe that it was only a metre or so from where I was sitting.

That night we had happy hour with fellow Dethleffs motorhome owners, Lillian, Lester and other from the camp. Aside from the usual motorhome crowd, we were joined by this cheeky Quail. Not only was it running around between peoples feet but also made it’s way inside Lillian’s motorhome making itself quite at home.

With another perfect day drawing to a close, it was time for a wander up and down the beach before another glorious sunset. It’s almost impossible to come here and stay for more than a couple of days and not see some of the most spectacular sunsets. I have some more photos coming further into this blog.

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The following day it was time to stretch the legs a little with a walk over the hill to Admirals Bay. For a number of years, there has been a large tree trunk stuck on the beach. For the last couple of years, another pair of Oyster Catchers have made it their home. I am not sure if they nest here, but they were undoubtedly picking and tidying up the rotten bits of wood. Or maybe they were just looking for hidden grubs.

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That night as we sat in our motorhome I watched one of the Oyster Catchers from the nest in front of us. Carrying what appeared to be, bits of white something away from the nest. We went to investigate, and I apologise for the terrible photo, to discover that they were carting away bits of the eggs. The chicks had hatched!

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The following morning the chicks made their first appearance, nothing more than little grey fluff balls. From here, the hard work of sourcing food becomes an ongoing task for the parents.

We tried our own bit of food sourcing, fishing from the rocks. Sadly we were far less successful than the surrounding wildlife. Although we did watch the stingray in the above photo (far right) cruising past us.

A spectacular sight whilst standing on the rocks and too far away to take a decent photo with my phone. Was a flock of over 100 Gannets having a feeding frenzy in the harbour. Watching them drop out of the sky like kamakazi bombers was just a special experience.

We didn’t bring our boat this time but those that had were enjoying a very successful time. Almost everyone seemed to be using soft bait, one of the regular campers showed me photos of two very large snapper (70cm plus) that he had caught and released. We were treated to some fresh snapper after having missed out trying to catch our own of the rocks.

Oh No

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We had a rather exciting incident with our gas hob as you can see from the above photo. Sarah had been reheating something for me. She took it off the heat so I could add water and continue the process. I thought that she had turned the element off not down, so I lit another and carried on. Not realising that the rear element was still alight I finished cooking and shut the lid. Bang!!! Glass everywhere.

All very inconvenient as I use the top as bench space when drying the dishes. No worries we decided we would just get online and order the part from the local agent. It turned out to be not quite as easy as it sounds. Turns out there are hundreds of different configurations and sizes and spare parts aren’t easy to source. Thankfully I know Peter at RV Repairs in Albany, Auckland and he is going to make a template and then get the new top manufactured locally.

Sunsets.

I mentioned earlier in my post about the sunsets here, and we had to wait for the final night at Puriri Bay for one of the most spectacular I have seen here. As you can see from the above photos, it was just stunning. Probably aided by the smoke that has drifted across the Tasman Sea from the fires in Australia but whatever the reason, one of the best ever.

So much else.

We spent in total 7 nights here. During this time, we took advantage of lots of other things that the place has to offer. Sarah went for the bush walk behind the camp and up through the hills with Meg, another camper we had met and keen to do the walk. I wrote about this walk a couple of years ago here.

We both wandered along the road back towards Bland Bay. Stopping and dreaming at a section we found for sale looking out over the harbour. Also admiring a Kereru and what seemed to be a very early flowering pohutukawa.

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I must say that after the stress of all that happened before our visit here we both feel refreshed again. Recharged by nature and the peace of Puriri Bay.

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