Monday 20 November 2023

Ngongotaha to Papamoa

In Ngongotaha, I had a laugh with the woman in this ute - it really looked like the dog was planning on driving...

Before we left Ngongotaha and after our yummy breakfast (see the previous post) David emptied the cassette and the grey water while I got the inside of the motorhome ready for the journey. It's not that the jobs are divided up as blue jobs and pink jobs, but David prefers to do the waste and water stuff. I'm not sure why, to be honest. I think he likes to take on that load as he appreciates that I do a big share of the workload as I'm the only driver.  I did do some handwashing while he was doing two of the three water jobs - two tops of mine, knickers and socks. I hung them in the shower as they had to drip dry - no spinner and my hands are not the best at wringing things out these days - it's old age weakening my wrists, dammit! (Today, I shook out the floor-mats while David vacuumed and I realised just how weak my arms and writs are - weights training coming up! Cans of tomatoes will be multipurpose items on this holiday...)

As we left the NZMCA camp, google maps showed both left and right as options. A left turn seemed easier so off we went - and it took us up the western side of the lake and into a really windy gorge road through the Mangawera Forest. Very different from the Kaimai Range Road, the main route from the Waikato to Tauranga, which is wide, has lots of passing lanes and is quite open. Great scenery on the way we went - not that I could indulge in much viewing of it...

We had planned to park the motorhome outside Pauline and Barry's place in Papamoa but we would have had to be a bit on the roadway, and their street is not particularly wide. So we decided on the Tasman Holiday Park right beside Papamoa Beach that we have stayed at twice before. No site with a sea view but that didn't matter. We were however just down the bank from the site we stayed on with Kirsty and Olek earlier this year.💗

It was good to see B&P - we had lots of great times with them in the UK as fellow members of the Zero Degrees Club, and Barry was an absolute boon for us when we were new to the boat; especially when we went out on to the Thames, their boating experience was invaluable to us. And they loved coming to stay onboard. Lots of fun and laughter...

About 3 years ago on a Zero Degrees Weekend in Taranaki, Barry had a stroke and he's had a series of them since. So he's no longer the fit and healthy man he was, and it's been a struggle for him accepting the limitations of his life now. But we still had lots of laughs, and I was my usual sensitive self, as you'd expect!

Pauline and I decided on a Thai curry for dinner and because we are veggie, I took on making it. I have lemongrass and lime leaves in the freezer. I did forget a vital ingredient though in the final concoction - Thai curries need sugar (I think it's the lemongrass and lime leaves) and I didn't add any. So when it was served up, Pauline added sweet chilli sauce - yum!! There were plenty of leftovers so we had a container each - last night's dinner for them and for us, even though we were at Karaka by that time and they were still in Papamoa.

On our way out of the Tauranga area, we all drove to Helen and Alan's place near Katikati. They weren't home and we did go down to the orchard hunting but no luck. So we had lunch in the motorhome outside H&A's place, then P&B drove back to Papamoa and we drove on to Karaka.

The drive is through the Karangahake Gorge - a dramatic and very starkly beautiful landscape. I think it was originally a gold mining area. And no, Irene, I didn't take any photos! I am not allowed to wield the phone two handed and drive at the same time, woman. And if I ask David to take photos I am well past where I want them taken from before he has even recognised that I have asked him a question or made a request.

We went through Ngatea and I felt really guilty because Jan and Rae have moved there recently and we didn't call in. My bad. And when I looked at 2IJ's list of places we should visit, Ngatea Water Gardens was on it - I had seen it as we drove through but ignored it... However, we are planning another trip to the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel later this year, so it's on the list for then.

Eventually we joined up with SH1 on the motorway that heads to and through Auckland. We were struck by the bizarre numbering of the motorway exits (496, 491, 475, 468, ...) and I need to investigate how they were decided on. The only logical explanation we could come up with was that it was to do with distance from the northern most point of the motorway, but that is a guess and probably not correct. In my scenario, the 496 would be 49.6 miles or kms. I am going to look it up and find out because it's weird!

We had originally intended to stay behind a pub on the Gt South Road, but when we looked at the reviews there were mixed responses. And a Saturday night behind a pub may not be the best for us old early to bed bunnies.

So we went to a fabulous Park Over Property (POP) at Karaka called Ribbonwood. What a lovely place - a beautiful place off the beaten track, a wonderful garden and very lovely hosts - and friendly George, the rabbiting cat!

One of three chestnut trees on the lawn at Ribbonwood. They are beautiful and remind me so much of England.
Heading back down the drive for a walk

Are these clivia?
A boardwalk as part of the path that Kate has established through the garden.
And there's the CROW - isn't that a beautiful setting?
The thought that has gone into this garden is a joy.
An arty shot, yes? Beautiful leaves, and I don't know what tree that is.
The view out of the windscreen across the lawn. I saw a rabbit hopping there and George was NOT in pursuit!
Roses and agapanthus at the gate.


It rained overnight David tells me but I slept through most of it, and it rained today as we headed away to get through Auckland. Our first task was to find the Bruce Pullman Reserve (in Takanini, I think - Google Maps is a wonderful thing!) so we could fill with water and empty the cassette again - who keeps filling it? We then headed for The Warehouse so David could buy an adapter plug. (He got the wrong one, so a refund is required and we now know that he can find the one he needs at The Chemist Warehouse.)

The parking area is very tight and there is no parking out on the street. I did find a row of 5 or 6 empty parks that I could use and then I did a three point turn so I was facing the right way for heading away. The motorhome is manoeuvrable**!  **How should that be spelled?

We fetched up at Wenderholm Regional Park, having booked a site here. A bit of a faff as we had to register with Auckland Regional Council first and their password requirements are stricter than most I've used. We arrived and found the park was chocka block with kayakers and their cars! But on the outskirts away from the water, we found some hardstanding and a noticeboard which indicated that the hardstanding was one of the bookable sites - result!!

I spent much of the afternoon sitting out in the sunny breeze reading. Bliss!

A lovely large piece of hardstanding just for us!

And lovely trees to look out at.

After dinner, when the place had emptied out pretty much, we went out for a walk. This pou was carved from a totara tree trunk. This side represents a waka (a canoe) depicting the number of waka that arrived here.

This side of the pou represents the people - there is a fuller explanation in the following photos.

This homestead is open for viewing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons - I didn't realise that so we missed out!

Our darling granddaughter Caitlin died 15 years ago. Marta, our lovely former daughter in law, sent us this photo of her headstone in St John's Town of Dalry. She will have gone to visit the cemetery most likely with her mum, Jola. When Marta sent the photo, David and I were listening to Robbie Williams singing I'm loving angels instead - a song that always reminds me of Caitlin.


Ian and Irene Jameison said...

Beautiful headstone and a wonderful way to remember Caitlin. And such lovely sentiment too, brought tears to my eyes.

I will let you off about taking photos whilst driving, not a great idea, especially on the Karangahake Gorge road! David needs to keep the phone on camera mode at all times so when you shout PHOTO, his reactions will be instant!

Don't forget to try freedom camping, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Looking forward to the next instalment.


Jenny said...

Such a beautiful remembrance of your darling granddaughter.

Marilyn, nb Waka Huia said...

Thank you, 2IJ and Jenny,
When we were in Scotland in May, on her birthday, we went to the cemetery to visit her headstone. It is in a beautiful spot and very peaceful.
We have a plaque for her that will be put up again by her rose which has been transplanted to Wren St. It reads in part: We carry your heart in our heart. And we do.