We woke to another sunny day – blue skies and that sort of thing. We were heading for the beach, but in no hurry. And it takes a while to sort Suzi out for travel… We took the chance to empty our waste tanks in Katikati, and finally headed east at 1pm – going through and past Tauranga. We were not too sure of our old Tauranga street map, so gave Nev the Nav his instructions and let him find the way. There were all sorts of expressways getting through and around Tauranga – which kept the traffic and us moving. There was only one moment of panic when I realised at the last minute that we couldn’t go straight through a roundabout from the left lane. We survived that, and were soon heading east, on the road to Whakatane. Nev hadn’t heard of Little Waihi Beach so I told him to find Maketu, thinking it’d be easy to sort out once we got closer. It was – sort of – although Little Waihi Beach is not that well signposted. It’s almost like it is one of those mythical places that only exist via wierd routes. We finally arrived at the Bledisloe Park camping ground at about 2.30pm, and they gave us a good site with a view of the estuary and the sea beyond. And the office sold fish and chips and icecreams – that looked dangerous 🙂
The camp is on a peninsula that juts out into the estuary, with access to the ocean beach around under the cliffs beside the estuary mouth. We went for an explore on our bikes, around the park and then around the small town – well bunch of houses really – maybe more a village. The whole place reminded me a lot of Aramoana near Dunedin – there is something about seaside villages where time seems to slow down. Maybe it is a space-time continuum warp thing. Whatever, you can feel yourself relaxing. And relax we did. Later we went for a walk along the ocean beach. There were some keen surfers enjoying the last of the day. A cold wind had sprung up by then, so we were happy to get back to Suzi and get the heater on and get tea on.
Friday 3 April – at the beach and in the shower
We woke early (well earlier) and watched the sunrise. It was anmother beautiful sunny day. Wyn decided some more cake would be nice, so decided to take advantage of the camp kitchen to make Alaine’s teacake. And we had a go with the showers. These were token in the box showers, limited to something like 3 minutes. And the showers had no control taps at all – you got the temperature and pressure that came out the nozzle – all very exciting. So I got myself all ready and undressed, not sure how long the delay was once I put my token in the slot. I put the money in the slot, and jumped under the shower. … nothing. So I figured maybe there was a delay timed to give time t get undressed. So I waited ….. nothing. Then I checked the token box thing for instructions or buttons or digital readouts or timers …. nothing. I was a bit annoyed as I’d have to get dressed again and go for a walk to the office to see wha tthe story was. I gave the token box a thump and heard the token drop and then the shower burst forth. It was good and hot – for me anyway. And not so much a shower as more like standing under a waterfull – good pressure too. We passed the day reading and walking on the beach and sitting around in the sun, and enjoyed watching the sunset.
Saturday 4 April – Visitors at the beach
We were up earlyish again – Wyn’s grandson and his mother were coming over to visit. We went for a walk around the park – with a soccer ball. It’s been a few years since I’ve chased one quite so much. Later we went for a walk right along the ocean beach – this time with a rugby ball. It’s definitely been a long time since I’ve chased one of them quite so much. In fact I got quite hot and tuckered out in the process. On the way back we passed quite a large pool of seawater up the beach – which looked very inviting. So the younger and older rugby players enjoyed a swim.
Then it was time for a late lunch and to pack up to head back to the packhouse. We loved Little Waihi – it was a great place to relax and is a beautiful location. We let Nev guide us, which he did. The only trouble was we couldn’t ask him to find us an icecream shop with room to park Suzi. So we missed our isecream stop, but made up for it once we got back by taking the car to the supermarket and getting 2l of icecream and some cones of our own. Now we’ll be completely self-sufficient 🙂