Exploring the Coast – Matauri Bay

The wind persisted on Sunday, if anything a bit stronger. It had been windy through the night although we seemed to be getting used to the crashing of the surf a few metres away. We watched some more of the telethon in bed; there’s something addictive about it. Wyn was in a creative mood; breakfast was freshly squeezed orange juice and pancakes. Out the back window the waves were crashing onto the beach and further west were smashing against cliffs; making for interesting watching. Further around the cliffs there is a hole in the rocks, right through. This is not the Hole in the Rock at the Bay of Islands that they take big boats through. But it looks like boats could get through this one as well. And beyond that and before Taupo Bay a sea stack juts around the corner, with waves smashing against the bottom of it as well.

After lunch we went for a drive; back onto the “Tourist Drive” road, and further east around the coast. There is a DOC walk along the Mahinepua Peninsula. Except when we got to Mahinepua Beach there was a cryptic DOC sign “Track Closed”. The peninsula looks like a spectacular walk and it was a disappointment. Some brief explanation might be helpful. Maybe it had been invaded by aliens or sold to Americans. Or perhaps just closed because of lambing – which does come early in these parts. The sea in these bays was more exposed to the north east, and was wild to say the least. We carried on, and took the road down to Matauri Bay. This looks like a work-in-progress with a massive subdivision sitting empty, and a weird sort of car park, at least we think it is a car park. The camp looks like a tidy one, albeit more exposed to the north west. While checking out the subdivision we met a couple who we’d met with a Traillite motorhome at Wingatui near Dunedin back at the beginning of the year. Given that we were both in cars they did well to remember us.

On the way back, before we dropped down towards Tauranga Bay we stopped and got out the laptop and found we had a signal so were able to upload a blog post and check our emails. We were back at Tauranga Bay in time for the TV news at 6pm. By this stage the wind was getting up, with strong gusts rocking Suzi and blowing the satellite dish off the signal. We gave up on the TV and lowered the dish; which was lucky as we discovered the next morning that another motorhome next to us had had their dish blown and buckled backwards. I dug out my Life of Brian DVD and we watched that as the evening got progressively wilder and the surf behind us got louder. By 10.30pm Wyn was out checking for alternative parking spots. We decided to cut our losses. There was a bit of stuff to undo first; at least it wasn’t cold – just windy and wild and occasionally wet. We found a site much further back and in the lee of buildings, and we parked into the wind; Suzi does prevent a bit of a profile sideways. It wasn’t long before we were set up and settled down. It was much quieter where we were, with far less buffeting from the wind.

Monday dawned grey and wet and windy. We started thinking it was about time to move on; the forecast is for more of this weather for a while. A beach with no sun and endless wind is not much fun. We spent the day catching up on things; Wyn washing and trying to get washing dry, and me catching up with the blog and both of us working out a plan for the next 3 weeks. We’ll head from here to Kerikeri and then west to the Hokianga and south down the West Coast to Dargaville. From there we’ll cross back to the east and up to Whangarei and back to Kerikeri by the end of the month. The route we came up with matched our three-week timeframe nicely.

Wyn gave up on trying to get the washing dry between showers, and resorted to the camp dryer. This was the first time we’ve had to use power for drying our clothes in the North Island – not a bad effort. And yesterday was sheet washing day, not the sort of thing to hang up inside. We enjoyed a walk to both ends of the beach between showers. The surf was spectacular with the wind and the swell smashing on the rocks. We watched an episode of Top Gear from several seasons ago – but since we’ve missed them all they’re all new anyway. We made a few preparations for moving on, and I even wrote a letter with a pen and paper.

Today, Tuesday, has dawned dry and windy – but not as windy as yesterday. It was 14 degrees at 7.30am and threatening rain so there were a few jobs to get done outside to get ready for going. We’ll head to Kerikeri to get a few things done, and then go west from there, probably to Wairere to see the boulders. Then tomorrow the plan is to move on to the Hokianga Harbour for a couple of nights. We’ve got to do some serious shopping in Kerikeri for Bran Bix – my breakfast cereal of choice/habit. Luckily they stock more than that – we’re getting low on lots of things. We’ll get our internet things sent and uploaded and post our letters and fuel up and generally do the town things before heading off to the west coast for a while.

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