62. Sunshine on Karikari Peninsula

We travelled to the very tip of Karikari Peninsula, a bit disappointed to be leaving the northern spit of 90 Mile Beach but excited to see this new place. There’s so much to learn about each of the places we visit; even though we talk with people we often still have questions later, and realise how little we know. There’s a lot of knowledge about places that comes only when you spend time and engage deeply, both with the environment and learning opportunities.

Even though we’ve almost been travelling for a year, we haven’t nearly seen all of New Zealand. By the time we visit local beaches and bush and take some walks and find places of natural beauty to visit, time passes. Of course, the meals continue to need preparing and the washing to be done as well, which take up a bit of time. We sometimes use laundromats but often we wash by hand as we’re often in the middle of nowhere avoiding towns and cities.

We talk quite a bit about our next step as neither of us can imagine leaving this life behind yet. Kevin is a good handyman and I’m happy to try seasonal work, so that will be a way of having the flexibility of an income coupled with time to travel. We own our house in Nelson which we’ve rented out, so that’s a bit of income already.

Our caravan is too small for long term living, and after studying a lot of the motorhomes and campers around us we think we would feel most at home in a 5th wheeler. It would give us the flexibility of being able to detach the car from the camper, and would also give us additional space. Imagine not having stuff falling from our fridge every time we open it! Our second choice would be a motorhome with a towbar attached so we could tow a vehicle around behind us, to use for tripping around.

If we keep travelling, we would want to make a contribution to each community we visit, so think we could get in touch with local groups and commit to volunteer work of planting, weeding or trapping for a few days with every stop.

So, we’ll see where this takes us over the coming months.

At the north of Karikari Peninsula lies the Maitai DoC Camp, which is run in conjunction with the iwi of this area, Ngāti Kahu, who welcome visitors to walk on the beach and to fish from the rocks but request us to keep off the peaks of the headland…
…the Headland being the point where, in the past, important strategic decisions were debated and made by Ngāti Kahu leaders in relation to the everyday lives of their people.
Absolutely beautiful beaches on both sides of the Headland…
What? Horses behind a fence?
We left Maitai Camp after a couple of nights and moved to the NZMCA park up at Tokerau Beach.
Another beaut beaches – they’re still coming!
This beach is on the western point of Karikari Peninsula, at Rangiputa where we drove for a day trip.
There are many walks to do around here; in fact you can walk from Maitai Bay to Rangiputa. We’ll have to return for those…
From here, at Rangiputa, I could see the walk I took from Kaimaumau Road to Houhora Heads a week or more ago – along the beach you can see on the other side of Rangaunu Bay, left to right, all the way to Tohoraha, or Mt Camel, on the right. It looks so close!
We could see several fishing boats; there seemed to be a reef out in the middle where boats were gathered. There were quite a few folks fishing off the rocks as well.
A kingfisher.
Smooth, seaworn pink and white bivalves.
We drove further along Puheke Road past Rangiputa until we reached this beach. We figured the hill, named Puwheke, must be an old Pā site.
Everywhere we’ve been to do with 90 Mile Beach and here on Karikari Peninsula, people are asked to keep vehicles off the dunes. This helps immensely with the native plant and birdlife which are fragile in the face of tyre terrorism. Most beach birds lay their eggs in nests on the sand.
We drove a bit further along, up and around the base of Puwheke.
After leaving Karikari Peninsula we dropped south to Kaitaia.
We returned to 90 Mile beach where I walked along from Waipapakauri Beach to Shipwreck Bay.

On the way to drop me off, Kevin and I stopped to view Lake Ngata, a big, picturesque lake surrounded by marshes of grasses and low shrubs. It’s used locally for rowing. You can walk all around the perimeter of this lake – another one for the future.
This sign, the first of two like this we would see, caused us to both laugh and not laugh – maybe respect has to go both ways to work?
The final piece of road onto 90 Mile Beach at Waipapakauri. You can drive most of the way along 90 Mile Beach (between Ahipara and Shipwreck Bay there are too many rocks, but you could certainly get from Te Paki Stream to Ahipara) as long as you time it with low tide. There’s a speed limit of 30 kilometres per hour and it’s 88 kilometres long, so that’s about 3 hours for the trip, 1 1/2 hours either side of low tide.
There in the distance, where the bay curves around, lies Ahipara and Shipwreck Bay.
There goes Harry Potter’s aunt’s beach house.
Looking back towards Waipapakauri from near Ahipara. I had my umbrella with me, needing it twice to shelter from drenching, short-lived showers.
I passed over two large patches of shells washed up, otherwise it was mostly sand and sea, and a long undulating dune running alongside me.
Passing Ahipara. It was fun to watch a horse and rider out walking with a cyclist – they splashed and rolled across the river together, chatting the whole time.
The remains of a wrecked ship at Shipwreck’s Bay. Someone told Kevin that it was stolen a while back (or just part of it maybe), then returned on the sly.
I got Kevin to photograph me reaching the end of the beach. I can now say I’ve walked the two ends of 90 Mile Beach – just the lengthy middle part to go!
This blog is filled with so many signs, why not finish with one?

2 thoughts on “62. Sunshine on Karikari Peninsula”

  1. What a really great read and photos.

    Good luck with your future plans re getting a bigger travelling option.

    It’ll be interesting to read of your journey through a the available options.

    Exciting but a bit daunting too.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is exciting – we’ve learned a lot over the past year about what to look for, and it’s always great hearing other’s opinions too – what works for one sure might not work for another though! People have pretty different ideas, but it all seems to come down to what suits their individual needs best.


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