So much has been written about the lockdown in Auckland over the last few months that I think we are all over it. We might be over it but it was still having a major influence on our lifestyles cramping our desire to go camping. When the restrictions did finally lift on the Friday, Sarah and I decided to let the masses enjoy the weekend and do something early the following week. Since travel out of the Auckland borders was still forbidden we wanted somewhere close where we could spend a couple of nights. The Auckland Regional Park network offer some fabulous places to stay but many of the designated motorhome spots restrict you to a one night stay. But, our favourite place in Auckland allows a three night stay.
We have stayed at Shakespear Regional Park a few times over the last couple of years. Both in the self contained parking area and the campsite. When I checked the online booking system I expected to find both sites almost fully booked. That, however, proved not to be the case with only a couple of other existing bookings each night in the SCC area. If you haven’t stayed here the camping area is set back from the beach a couple of hundred metres. With our choice of spots we decided watching the sheep and looking out at the Pohutukawa blossoms was our preference.
It really is a spectacular time of the year to be in a place like this. Not just for the blossoms but also the sound of Tui flying from tree to tree feeding on the nectar.
The park was also remarkably empty of people, even those just day tripping or coming to the beach for a picnic. Not that we were complaining.
Of course you cannot have everything perfect, with the tide out for most of the day. We did manage an early morning swim, my first since we stayed here in January 2020. It’s really hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since I have made it into the water. Last summer it simply wasn’t possible due to conditions associated with my lymphoma.
We found other ways to amuse ourselves, including walking a couple of the trails around the park. Over the years we have been here we have walked all of them and had I been fitter we may have done more. I really surprised myself by making it to the lookout station, located at the highest point in the park. (A misadventure during a surgical biopsy has left me with reduced lung capacity) Although I must confess that we walked the easy way taking the gently sloping road that leads to the top as opposed to the almost vertical pathway that leads up from the self contained camping area.
I did consider calling this blog “The Maternity Ward.” Given that everywhere in the park there seemed to be birds with their young. These Oyster Catchers got very upset with Sarah and I as we wandered along the beach, straying closer to their nest than we had attended. The Pukeko’s around the park were chasing just about everyone and the sheep in the next paddock at times, trying to drive them away from their young.
With the next day dawning and looking like it was going to be an absolute scorcher. Sarah decided that we would do another of the walks before I was allowed breakfast. This time heading along the beach then up and over a small headland, with a great view back down the beach. As you come down on the otherside of the headland you come to the gate in the predator proof fence. It’s this fence that is helping keep all the wildlife within the park safe and completely cuts of the park from the rest of the peninsula.
Later that day we had a visit from a couple we have known for a few years via a Facebook friendship but have never actually met. Rose and Dave have lived on the Hibiscus Coast for many years but have recently sold their home and are about to undertake life on the road from March 2022. They have purchased a bright orange Tekapo caravan and will be hard to miss, so make sure you say hello if you see them. Of course I forgot to take any photos but we had a wonderful catch up.
Over the past few years I have written a year end blog around our travels for the year. My treatment for lymphoma and poor health during the year means there is really nothing to write about. But there was one really important event we attended during the year that deserves special mention. In 2020 I found a group on Facebook dedicated to motorhomers in New Zealand dealing with cancer and in March 2021 we attended a rally of members. I wrote about that event here. I urge anyone reading this who is suffering from any form of cancer and looking for support to check out the Cancers Hero’s of New Zealand Facebook page. It might well help you as it helped me.
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can then click the link to read the blog about that area.