With the first round of chemo taking place on last Thursday and Friday, I took the weekend to recover. Then it was off in the motorhome for an eagerly awaited break and some rest and relaxation. Last time I went through chemo, it was (almost) a breeze. Sadly not so this time with a ghastly queezy feeling in my stomach, but not enough to stop us going.
With the drought affecting Northland, almost every public potable water tap has been turned off. So it made sense to head the other way. While I respect the reasons behind this decision, I wonder what effect it will have on the local community and business that rely on the tourist trade. I certainly hope that the drought breaks soon and these restrictions can be lifted.
Yet again we didn’t really know where we were going until we got there. We had some vague plans that went completely out the window as I sailed past the turn off for the Coromandel. With that destination out of the equation, Sarah suggested that we head for the Waikato River for some of the camping around there.
With our motorhome being stored on a farm, we don’t have access to freshwater to fill the tanks. Our tanks weren’t empty, we had about half a tank. But it would be good to head away with them full. I thought I had heard about a new dump station just off the new expressway by Taupiri. Turns out now I am home that it does exist, but the signage is dreadful. We could not find it, and I still don’t know if it has water or not.
Last time we headed this way it became Mr Blobby’s final trip so a sad moment as we drove past Little Waipa then into the Arapuni village. There are some great notice boards around the town full of information about the cycle trail and places to stay alongside the river. I, of course, neglected to take any photos or looked at any instructions as to how to get to Jones Landing. This appeared to be the closest place to spend the first night.
Instead, we found ourselves on the other side of the river. Faced with the choice of either site, we chose Bulmers Landing as it was closer to Arapuni. Thinking we could always spend the following night at Arapuni Landing.
We didn’t quite know what to expect but arrived to find ourselves the only campers. The notice board states that there is a limit of 10 CSC vehicles here. It would, however, be a real jostle for a riverside spot if there were more than a couple of you. We parked up, giving ourselves a decent view of the river while still allowing room for others.
There are a couple of areas here that you might call a beach. With sand as well as water I suppose that’s what it was. However, the extensive weed and the colour of the water were a little off-putting. So neither of us ventured in for a swim.
We did though, gaze at the multitude of small fish swimming below the jetty. Not having a phone signal here I couldn’t see what they were. Once back home, I found out that they are the pest fish, Rudd. Speaking with one of the locals, out walking their dog, they told me that there are plenty of trout in the lake so it would be an excellent base to stay and fish from.
The travel directory states that there is water at this camping area that, however, is a mistake. With a big sign on the toilet block that the water here is not drinkable. There is also nowhere to connect a hose or any outside taps.
Some hours later, we were still wondering how we had missed Jones Landing. Consulting the trusty travel directory we worked out that it was actually on the other side of the river from us. Turns out we should have turned left before crossing the Arapuni dam. We will have to visit another day as neither of us wanted to travel backwards on this trip.
Turns out that we were on our own that night, so we had to enjoy happy hour with only each others company. Still, the views made up for the peace and quiet brought about by solitary camping. We might have been on our own, but there was plenty of activity across the water at Jones Landing. Watching waterskiers and other activities provided quite the entertainment.
As the sun started to go down behind us, the cliffs on the other side of the lake began to turn all sorts of shades of orange and pink. My photo doesn’t do it justice, but it would be worth staying here just to see the sunset.
Click below to see my ratings for this camp.
We spent a silent night here on our own. Speaking with another of the locals the following morning she did mention that there have been problems at this site with “boy racers”. Indeed parts of the reserve appeared to have been chewed up by vehicles. So maybe we were lucky or the fact that it was Monday night had a lot to do with it. She also mentioned that the camp had been absolutely packed up until a few weeks prior so maybe we had timed our arrival perfectly.
We decided that we would visit Arapuni Landing, another area you can stay just a few km’s up the road. Like Bulmers Landing, it has toilets, excellent views, mostly level ground and not much else. This Landing is more suited to boating with a very steep drop off just metres from the shoreline.
As you can see from the above photos, it was a great day. We took the chance to explore the area with a walk to the southern point of the Landing, where it opens out into a vast lake. You cannot camp at this end of the Landing, but it’s certainly worth taking the time to explore and admire the views.
As we wander back to the motorhome, we could hear what at first sounded like a really powerful boat coming towards us. Then as the sound got closer, we realised it was a low flying plane. Before we knew it, we were being buzzed by an Air Force Orion flying maybe 50 metres above the river. It certainly wasn’t coming into land. So must have been doing exercises or searching for something.
We didn’t stay here but could just have easily stayed here instead of Bulmers Landing. Two very similar camping areas both with a very relaxed feel, especially without any cell phone signal to disturb you. An area well worth visiting although it’s probably quieter during the week than the weekend.
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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