John and Cynthia:  Knotperfect

New Zealand: November 2016

Kaikoura SH1

Well, yes, the major talking point is the big quake which will dictate part of our travels this trip.

  You can follow any current geological activity here  and all the New Zealand news here

Back on the North Island, we discovered a new park at Waitawa, which is not yet fully open.


We'll be back


We met up with our great friends Jan and Kev for the ubiquitous fish 'n chups, beer and wine.  They greeted me with something I have been searching for every year since we have been coming here - number 8 wire!

There is folklore that says any Kiwi can fix anything with a piece of number 8 wire.  This piece has been made into a bangle and I adore it.  A big big Thank you for that super gift.

Next stop, we settled in at Shakespear (no, there isn't an 'e') and had a good 20 minutes entertainment by a party of Chinese visitors who were obviously fascinated by a campervan parked close to the park roadway.  Maybe they don't have campers in Asia?  They swarmed all over the bemused owners and it seemed as though every one of them insisted on shaking hands with everyone too.  A great number of photos were taken.  Only one person spoke English btw.

Chinese visitors  


We felt quite relieved to be on the other side of the field and the entire episode was very funny.

Next, to a campground that used to be pretty miserable so we haven't been for a while.  We heard it has been upgraded and sure enough, it's super now.  Wenderholm is just north of Orewa.  It's free to visit in daytime and will set you back $15 per person (unless you have an annual pass) to stay for the night.


There are fabulous trees (below: this is a pohutakawa with bromeliads on board) and lots of birds and acres of space and well-marked walking trails


On the left is a tui, they make all kinds of calls, some melodious and some quite funny.  The thrushes sing loudly and beautifully with a bit of an accent compared to the English.  There are fantails, ducks, blackbirds, sparrows and many more too.

Whangarei next stop.  Good for shopping and boat watching.

Our spot for the night was right beside the lifting bridge.  We can't believe how many times that lifted.  I'm sure they should have set times that the bridge will open for the yachts - they'll wear that bridge out.  It must have done 8 times in an hour.

Continuing north, we stopped in a large layby for coffee.  I was a little puzzled by the slightly scruffy camper further along as it seemed a funny place to park other than for a quick comfort stop.  As we moved off, it became clear - it was a speed camera !  Sneaky eh?

and then, blow me ...  there was a random breathaliser checkpoint in Kerikeri

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This is Matauri Bay.  Below is the view from along the beach and the arrow points to the top of the Rainbow Warrior memorial.  Close up below. That's quite a climb and harder coming down.  We did it in 2008.


Above right, our photo from 2008.  As you can see in the background, the views are spectacular.  The Greenpeace ship was scuttled out there (right) after being patched up following the French Secret Service attack in Auckland harbour in 1985 (left) and it is now a dive site.


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