I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Thursday 15 February 2024

The BIG One 2024 - New Zealand - Days 11, 12 and 13

 Sunday 11th February - Thames


I woke up with a chesty cough, goodness knows where it had sprung from.


We had a long drive from Paihia in the north to Thames south of Auckland - 5 hours.  It was very pleasant, Richard drove and I coughed!!


When we got to Thames we started looking for a freedom camping spot.  Using one of the apps we found the most idyllic place, right by the sea overlooking islands.  We couldn’t believe our luck.  I sat down to get some blogging done but I couldn’t publish anything as the signal was too poor - there had to be one downside!  Richard cooked a BBQ and I made the chips!  We then settled down with the rest of the wine and watched the sunset - the first sunset I have seen for ages.

Monday 12th February - Whitianga


Our freedom camping didn’t work out very well 🙁  We happily plugged my sleep machine into the cigarette lighter with its nice long lead only to find that the 12v went off about 10 mins!  So I had to discard the machine however things got worse as I couldn’t sleep for coughing, a real smokers cough!  I think I finally got to sleep, exhausted, about 4am only to be woken up by a knock as the door at 6.30am by a man from the council asking if we had been freedom camping all night, Richard said that we had only to be told that we weren’t in the right spot!!  Apparently we had driven straight through the signs telling us all about freedom camping there and that we should have been between two arrows!  The fact that we were one of three vans, the other two being New Zealanders, made us realised that it wasn’t just us that was stupid!  The chap gave us an hour to move but it was two hours in the end.


We drove up the Coromandel Peninsula to the town of Coromandel where we stopped to get me some cough medicine.  It was a very pretty town.  Just to the north of the town was the Driving Creek Railway, an amazing little railway.  A guy called Barry Brickell bought the land in 1973.  Barry constructed the narrow-gauge railway to be all-weather, environmentally benign, aesthetically pleasing and economically sound.  The property had originally been mainly farmland with scattered scrub and wild pines. Barry wanted to restore the land to pre-colonial times which led to over 27,000 native trees being planted over a 30 years period.  A nursery was built to grow the thousands of native seedlings needed.  The railway was opened as a tourist attraction in 1990.  Eventually in 2003 the railway was completed to the top of the property and the Eyefull Tower was built giving wonderful views to the intrepid tourists!  We really enjoyed our trip on a very unique railway.


We then drove across the Coromandel to Whitianga but as we drove I began to feel poorly - I think a combination of coughing and no CPAP machine was all too much for me.  We booked into a site in Whitianga so we could have electricity and I took to my bed and stayed there.  I didn’t eat or drink a thing - just slept.  We had booked a boat trip to Cathedral Cove but I could not have done that than fly and Richard didn’t want to go on his own.


Tuesday 13th February - Tauranga


I slept right through until 7am from about 2pm yesterday!  I wondered if what I have is flu, it’s not Covid as I did a test.  


We set off and saw a sign to Hot Pools Beach so did a detour.  There were three car parks with the third being for the pools but at the second it said no motorhomes at the third car park so we turned round and stopped at the first car park and went for a walk on the beach and I paddled in the South Pacific Ocean!


We drove south to see a gorge but the car park was rammed so we gave that up as a bad job!


We carried on to Tauranga to visit Mount Maunangui however the parking there was crazy too.  We eventually found a space a long way down and pulled in.  Richard was worried that the rear corner was hanging over the cycle path but we set off to walk along the boardwalk, however I tripped over the kerb stone and fell, fortunately, onto sand.  Two ladies came over to help Richard get me up as, with having two replacement knees, it is very painful to kneel.  We treated ourselves to an ice cream.  We ordered two scoops each as we would do in England but one scoop was like an English two scoops!! We found a bench to sit on but it wasn’t in the shade and the ice cream melted very fast all down my clean trousers!  The ice cream was amazing though!


We had fun and games driving to our campsite.  The sat nav told us that she had found a quicker route and did I want to accept it - I said yes so we turned round and headed back the way we had come.  She then said she had found yet another quicker route so I clicked yes, and we turned round and went down the same road again - that was three times!!  At the third time of telling us about her marvellous quicker route I said no thank you and we continued on to the site.  We could have been going like that all night!


I cooked dinner but just felt so exhausted that I couldn’t eat much at all.  I went to bed about 8pm but didn’t sleep that well as Richard was coughing!  He’d obviously picked up my germs 😷

1 comment:

  1. Get well soon you two. Hope you find a GP or pharmacy that might help.