Special Spots - Part 2
Thanks for the memories: As we mentioned in our last issue, we had such an overwhelming response from readers telling us about your favourite spots around New Zealand that we decided to go again. Read on to discover more quiet spots off the beaten track, historic spots that give a glimpse into the past, and spots with scenery that will inspire you to hit the road and make the most of the upcoming summer holidays.
Lake Opuha, Fairlie
We recently sold our house in Christchurch, moved to a smaller property in Rangiora and took early retirement. Part of our plan was to buy a caravan and this photo was taken at Lake Opuha, just out of Fairlie, on day six of our ‘shake down’ week with our new Australian Option RV off road caravan. Actually this was our fifth camp site in six nights, a little hectic but a great learning curve as we had not had a caravan before. Having stayed at Lake Pukaki, Glentanner Holiday Park (Mt Cook), Falstone Camping Ground (Lake Benmore) and Lake Ruataniwha Holiday Park (Twizel) this was a real surprise to find such a tranquil selling with elusive trout in the lake. This was a free camp, with CSC required, and we have definitely put it on our list to revisit when we have more time. A stunning spot to stay – makes one realise how lucky we are to live in this environment.
Gary & Carol Jamieson #80780
On the side of SH2, approximately 15kms north of the Napier Airport, is a small and unassuming rest area with a sign indicating that this is one of the entrances to the Tangoio Walkway. The walkway itself heads north from here through a mixture of native and pine forest, including 70-year-old redwoods, to the White Pine Bush car park around 4.4km or 90 minutes away. However, this is also the best access to both the Te Ana Falls and the Tangoio Falls Lookout. Tangoio Falls Lookout is marked as a 50 minute 4kms return walk and does involve a moderate gradient on trails which can be muddy and very slippery after rain. However, the more attractive and accessible Te Ana Falls are only about 20 minutes each way on a trail which is almost flat. This easy walk took me far longer than the estimated 40 minutes return though, as I made so many stops to photograph the beautiful bush and Kareaara Stream. It is a wonderfully relaxing spot to break up a journey – and you just may have it all to yourself.
Lyndon Hookham #47235
Tapu Creek Park
Brilliant weather on the east coast of Coromandel, but not so inviting on the west time to pull up for the night. At Tapu, a sign leading up a narrow, winding valley road says ‘Tapu Creek Campervan Park’ and 3kms up Tapu Coroglen Rd you’re there. Nestled between rugged bush and forest, and the most delightful creek you could imagine, this place looked cute. That’s an unusual way to describe a park, but there were so many personal touches around the site, it had a great feeling about it! Ten metres or so from the van was Tapu Creek, shame it wasn’t summer anymore, it looks so inviting! Not far up the valley lies Mahara Pottery and Sculpture Garden, Raupara Water Gardens and the Square Totara tree (true!) or you can just keep on driving back to the east coast and Coroglen. Indeed, the road less travelled led to a special little hideaway! Lindsay Gibb &
Jenny Streeter #57965
We travelled out to the Poolburn dam last year and it has become a firm favourite. It was almost deserted when we were there, and the majestic surroundings were surreal. We certainly understand why Peter Jackson used this location for Lord of the Rings! There is plenty of scope for walking, cycling, fishing and swimming, or just soaking up the solitude. The night sky appears so bright, with no light pollution from towns. To get there from Alexandra drive to Omakau and turn off to the historic village of Ophir. Access to the dam is on an unsealed road over the hills.
Kathy Field & Royce Nordlof #13371
Waihora Lagoon, Pureora Forest Park
This special place, an hour’s drive from Taupo, was created by the huge eruption that formed Lake Taupo 1800 years ago, covering the Pureora Forest with volcanic ash. From the carpark there is a 600 metre walk through beautiful forest to reach the lagoon, a rare ephemeral wetland fed entirely by rain water. Because of this water levels can vary, and in a season without rain it may dry up almost completely. The lagoon is surrounded by tall forest trees – rimu and kahikatea predominantly, and these create beautiful reflections in the water. A boardwalk makes it possible to walk close to the lagoon, in fact over it in part, if rainfall has been high. Turn off SH32 just south of Tihoi (signposted) and travel 7kms along a dirt road to the lagoon carpark. It can be rutted and muddy, and is more suited to SUV and 4x4 vehicles. Large motorhomes would not be suitable as the road is also fairly narrow – but the destination is definitely worth it.
Joy Coyle #57805
Charleston, West Coast
Charleston, located 30kms south of Westport, is just a shadow of its former glory days when it was a thriving town thanks to gold being discovered by William Fox in 1867. The gold is gone, but Charleston has a great deal to offer the traveller. We had a fantastic time travelling through dense rainforest on the Nile River Rainforest Train, a recreation of the old bush trams. We travelled to the magnificent limestone cliffs, accessed over a great suspension bridge, then got into wetsuits and lugged tractor tyre inner tubes up a narrow path bordering one of the limestone cliffs to enter a series of caves. Floating down the underground lake and river, gazing up at the myriad of glow worms before exiting into the Nile River, was a memorable experience, even if I did tip backwards out of my tube into the dark water! Nearby is Charleston Bay (also known as Constant Bay) with its narrow and often fiercely turbulent entrance. It is a source of wonder that ships used to navigate through this wild entrance. Inside is a lovely and peaceful harbour, now very much silted up from the gold-mining days, but a great spot for a picnic or a stroll through the thick flax.
Frank Leadley #17643
Te Mata Peak, Havelock North
A sealed road leads to the summit with a trig point and 360 degree amazing views. It offers visitors a stunning variety of vistas over the beautiful Heretaunga Plains, the Ruahine and Kaweka ranges and to the ocean. On a clear day you can even see Mount Ruapehu. The drive up to the peak is a real thrill in itself and not for the fainthearted. Watch out though for walkers, cyclists and tight bends on your way up to the top car park. There are several challenging mountain bike tracks and walking tracks as seen on the photo. It has been a well-known site for hang gliding and paragliding for the past 30 years. It also has several Geocaches in it for those who have taken up this sport.
Neil & Carla Rein #62038
Wairata Station Farmstay, Waioeka Gorge
Summer was particularly hot this year and it was so refreshing to swim each day in the many rivers around the East Coast. We enjoyed Motu River, a local water hole in Te Araroa and across the road from Wairata Station Farmstay where we stayed during our six-day trip from Tauranga around the East Coast to Gisborne, returning via the Waioeka Gorge. We were happy to again overnight at the Wairata Station POP (#3031), in the Waioeka Gorge where we have previously enjoyed an overnight a few years ago. This remote and quiet farm paddock surrounded by bush is a peaceful relaxing spot to camp. We again enjoyed the ripe blackberries we picked from the roadside on our way back from our afternoon swim in the nearby water hole, which is within walking distance of the paddock. Wairata Station Farmstay has self-contained facilities to stay in and many other activities available.
Robyn & Hec Crawford #29346
Pinders Pond, Otago
Located about 5kms from Roxburgh, Pinders Pond is an old dredge hole left by goldmining activities in the 19th century. Adjacent to the Clutha River and with direct access to the Clutha Gold Trail cycleway, it is a hot favourite with my grandchildren. The pond itself is excellent for swimming, and the Clutha Gold Trail allows you to follow the river to get to Roxburgh or Millers Flat easily by bike. Originally managed by DOC it is now managed by the council as a recreation site. Jimmy’s Pies are essential according to the children, situated in the main street of Roxburgh they bake about 20,000 pies a day made to an old family recipe. Roxburgh is the main township in the Teviot valley which is renowned for its pip and stone fruit orchards. There are a lot of places to visit locally including the hydro dam, Teviot woolshed ruins and lonely graves (nice story there) and you can get all the information at i-SITE on Scotland Street.
Bill & Maeve Torr #55401
Maraehako Bay, East Coast
Don’t miss this gem if you’re travelling the East Cape. The beautiful little sheltered bay, 90kms from Opotiki and 245kms from Gisborne, has a pebble beach and a grassy field for camping. There are no marked campsites, you just turn up and find a space to suit. There is a stand of large pohutukawa trees along the shore and a good swimming beach. There is also a superb swimming hole where the stream meets the sea at one end of the beach. The place is perfect to explore with kayaks, and a good spot for fishing from the beach. We enjoyed fish for dinner kindly shared by our campervan neighbour who caught more than he needed. Best of all, you can collect driftwood and light a campfire on the beach, cook marshmallows (or your dinner) sit back and enjoy camping the way it used to be. There is a basic facilities block with toilets and metered showers. We paid $15pp last summer, loved our time there and plan to return again, this time with our cast iron fry pan!
Pam Standen #65983
Totaranui is a one hour drive from Takaka on a winding narrow road, the last 12kms is gravel. But when you drive down the avenue of trees you can’t help noticing the locals – weka, tui, pukeko and kereru. Totaranui camp (#6018) is DOC’s biggest camp, located in the northern end of Abel Tasman National Park. It’s made up of parking lots surrounded by trees, and
The way you log in is changing
To make it easier for you to remember your login details and to enhance security you’ll log in using your membership number or email address and set password. Once you have chosen your own password your MAC code will no longer work.
We suggest you update your log in details now:
Update login details  Update later