Gore Bay…A Hidden Gem Of The South Island.

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Having passed the sign-posted turn off to Gore Bay around 50 times, it was finally time to travel the 1.5 hours from Christchurch to go and check out this hidden gem.

At just 21 kilometres off State Highway 1, Gore Bay is a small village of mainly holiday homes mostly of which are situated a stones throw from the ocean. From 1856, it was used by William ‘Ready Money’ Robinson as a gateway to his Cheviot farm, ferrying in goods and passengers from boats.

The drive itself is part of the Alpine Pacific Triangle and boasts a great view at the top of the hill just before entering Gore Bay called Cathedral Cliffs (-42.8678845195499, 173.3042949346577). It’s best to see this at some stage after lunch when the sun is on the cliffs rather than early in the morning, if you can manage it.

From there it’s just a short 2 minute drive down to Gore Bay which is a beautiful long beach with rocks at each end. Upon arriving, you get the feeling that there’s no rush here and that time stands still. There are no shops here so if you are coming for the day, make sure you stop in at Amberly or Cheviot for any supplies. The beach is perfect for just strolling around. At low tide you can go boulder hopping on the Southern end of the beach and look for washed up Paua shells or sprats swimming about in the shore.

Being on the tourists trail, Gore Bay is very campervan friendly, with good public facilities such as a recycling station (-42.86405118186294
,173.3077751846736),

Public toilets and rubbish bins (located on the southern end of the beach).

So, my advice? Gore Bay is a must-see for anyone with a little time up their sleeve in the North Canterbury region. Sure, it’s a little off the main highway but if you’re not in a rush then pack a picnic and make a day of it, you won’t be disappointed by this now confirmed, ‘little gem of the South Island’.

Freedom Camping Fine Guarantee (Terms and Conditions)

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Our goal is to provide our users with the most trustworthy freedom camping app available so you can get on with discovering our beautiful country without having to worry about Freedom Camping Fines. To put our money where our mouth is, we’ve set aside a Fund to pay any Freedom Camping Fines.

We will pay your Freedom Camping Fine directly to the local council or relevant enforcement authority within 10 working days provided that:

  • you received an Infringement Notice because you relied on materially incorrect information on our App;
  • the infringement offence occurred during the Guarantee Period;
  • you notify us at adam@campermate.co.nz before the end of the Guarantee Period;
  • your notification includes all of the following information:
    • a scan or photo of the Infringement Notice that we can read;
    • the name of the campsite;
    • a screenshot of the incorrect information provided on the App that you relied on; and
    • a brief explanation of what App information you relied on and how that resulted in an Infringement Notice being issued to you;
    • we receive your notification within 48 hours from when you are deemed (under the Act) to have been served the Infringement Notice; and
    • you had the latest version of the App installed at the date and time of the infringement offence.Having the latest version of the app installed, will ensure that the data you’re viewing is up to date. You can double check the data by visiting our companion website at http://www.camping.co.nz. This displays our latest data.

If you don’t meet the criteria above, we won’t be able to pay your Freedom Camping Fine.

If possible, please make sure that the enforcement officer provides enough detail on the Infringement Notice to clearly set out the nature of the infringement, the enforcement officer’s name and that you relied on information available on our App.

Despite the above, we will not be liable to reimburse you for any Freedom Camping Fine that has already been paid (including, where it has been charged or debited from your credit card or other account by a Rental Company). This is mainly because we would be unable to query or dispute the Infringement Notice before the Freedom Camping Fine has been paid. However, if you send us your request in accordance with the above, we promise to take a look and see what we can do for you.

This Freedom Camping Fine guarantee applies to individual users of the App only and is not available for companies (including any Rental Company).

Definitions

Terms used but not defined herein shall have the meaning given to them in the Act.

Act means the Freedom Camping Act 2011 (as at 1 July 2013);

App means our CamperMate App;

Infringement Notice means an infringement notice issued under the Act that sets out the Freedom Camping Fine;

Freedom Camping Fine means a fine payable under an Infringement Notice to the extent such fine is issued for an infringement offence:

  • under section 20(1)(a) or section 20(1)(c) of the Act for freedom camping or preparing to freedom camp in a local authority area in breach of any prohibition or restriction in a bylaw made by a local authority under section 11 of the Act that applies to that area; or
  • under sections 20(1)(g) or 20(1)(j)of the Act for freedom camping or preparing to freedom camp on conservation land in breach of any prohibition or restriction in a freedom camping notice that applies to that land, but for no other prohibited or restricted activity;.

Guarantee Period means from 12pm on 10th December 2014 until either (i) 11:59pm on 1st of March 2015, or (ii) when the Fund runs out, (whichever is earlier);

Fund means the amount of NZD$2,100;

Rental Company means the holder of a rental service licence under the Land Transport Act 1998 or any other company or person that is the owner of the vehicle that is the subject of the Infringement Notice; and

we, us, our, etc., means GeoZone Limited c/- Leech and Partners, 44 Mandeville Street, Riccarton, Christchurch.

Exploring The Heaphy Track By Bike

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Fresh off the Department of Conservation extending the season for mountain biking the Heaphy Track plans were being laid for a long weekend trip, biking one of NZ’s most popular walking tracks in the Kahurangi National Park, north west of the South Island. The trip is 82km and optional to start in either direction. Packing was saved for the day before and consisted of some essentials  such as sandfly repellent, sun screen, tyre repair kit, EPIRB, sleeping bag with as many snacks packed in as possible

We chose to do the North-South route and on reflection was the best as you do a hard grind for the first 3-4 hours then the rest of the track is a bit of a breeze with a stunning downhill section from the James Mackay Hut to the Heaphy Hut. There are multiple options for getting to the start of the track. Our group was 10 guys from Christchurch, so we drove vehicles and met the car re-locators in Motueka who came with us to the start of the track (near Browns Hut). We took about 15 minutes to get all our bikes and gear sorted and left for the first stage to the Perry Saddle Hut at around 3pm. On reflection we should’ve left a little earlier as some of the group had issues with their bikes along the way so ended up arriving in the dark (trip was end of November). As mentioned earlier, the first leg was a grind to get to Perry Saddle Hut, but the good thing is you’re excited about starting the track so in my opinion it’s the best time to get the hard work out of the way.

The next day is when the real fun starts. It’s a mellow start across a tussocky plateau where you’ll spot some pretty sweet views like the one below. We had a bit of cloud in the morning so it wasn’t until lunchtime where we could start to experience views like this.

One of the best moments of the trip was having lunch at the James Mackay Hut, and being able to see the Heaphy River Mouth about 35kms away which is where we were staying that night. Why was that so cool? Well, it’s 90% downhill, so it’s a stunning single track cruise down to your next destination. You’ll also be cruising alongside the Heaphy river (below).

The Heaphy Hut would have to be one of the most stunning DOC huts I have stayed at. It’s not only situated at a river mouth meaning you get the best of fresh water (swimming, trout) and the ocean (Kahawai, wild waves) though there is currently a marine reserve at the sea side of the river so there’s no fishing up until the high tide mark. Make sure you take some sandly repellent though. They’re savage here.

The view of the hut from the river (below). The river is perfect for swimming in after the bike ride. There are trout in there. I had my rod with a Toby but didn’t have any luck though they were following it.

The ride out the next day was amazing. Its a flat ride along the coast. We struck it on a day where the surf was clean and the sun was out. We even had a pod of dolphins following alongside our group however by this point in the trip my iPhone had run out of battery and died so couldn’t capture it. If you get the chance I definitely recommend either biking or walking the Heaphy Track.

The West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail-Greymouth to Hokitika

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I love the West Coast of the South Island. The fact you can be immersed in some of the densest bush New Zealand has to offer, all within a few hours drive from Christchurch really appeals to me. Now imagine someone cuts a path through that dense bush and you’ve got yourself the West Coast Wilderness Cycle Trail, part of the New Zealand cycle trail network that runs from Greymouth to Ross and around 132km in total. We had a few days spare during the holidays, so given the weather was forecast for near perfect conditions, headed to Greymouth to go from Greymouth to Hokitika.

I personally hadn’t biked more than 5 kms total in the last three months, so was a little wary about how I would fare on this ride. We called into the local sports shop in Greymouth and bought a few spare bike tubes and the owner let us use the bike pump to inflate the tyres. There were four of us on the trip, and we each had a back pack with the bare essentials. We’d booked ahead at the Cowboy Paradise, which served up dinner and breakfast so we only really had to worry about snacks along the way. The initial trail leading out of Greymouth, was on a gravel path alongside the river toward the sea at Blaketown. You meander past some of the old wharf relics like cranes and structures. It’s a nice gentle cruise to start you off and make sure everything is running smoothly.

Once you hit Blaketown you ride parallel to the coast until you cross the Taramakau River bridge and head slightly inland for Kumara. This inland section is mostly through thick bush and past muddy bogs, at this point it’s still mainly flat. The weather was perfect, sunny yet still a slight breeze to keep the temperature down. Soon enough you find yourself at the back of Kumara, a small town with a population of 309. Here you can fill up your water bottles and stop by the local dairy if needed.

Leaving Kumara, the track starts to get slightly narrower and winds around pine trees as you head toward Dillmans Dam, a beautiful water reservoir which is possible to swim in. The water is really clear and pretty inviting.

By this stage we were starting to wonder if we would make it on time to the Cowboys Paradise Lodge in time for the dinner at 7pm so we pushed on wary of an hour or so of climbing still to come. It’s an interesting part of the trip, as you find yourself passing these canals which have the clearest water imaginable. As I had used all my water up, I filled up in the river and can confirm that I didn’t have any issues after drinking this water. We arrived at Cowboys Paradise at 6.30pm and met Mike the owner, a real character that had been building this place up for 15 years. The rooms were awesome, and the showers were amazing. If you are doing the trip I definitely recommend staying here. At around 8.30pm the sun hid behind the mountains and the sandflies came out, so it was time to retreat.

The next day is one of the best sections. If you’re heading toward Hokitika, you’ll cruise down the farm path next to cows and then onto a gravel road, eventually ending up at Lake Kaniere. As you hit the lake, you’ll see a 15 minute DOC track which you can take your bike on and takes a few minutes. There are toilets at Lake Kaniere and a couple of picnic tables, so this is a good spot for a lunch break before starting along the last path toward Hokitika. It’s also a pretty good spot for a swim, if you go past the picnic tables just around the the left you’ll find a small beach.

The last section (for us anyway) was to Hokitika, and again the majority of this section was passing through a nice bush track. It goes from track then onto the asphalt road which you’ll ride along for the last 15kms or so before arriving into Hokitika, where spent a few hours going to the local museum and the beach, before getting  a pre arranged shuttle back to the Greymouth Top 10 at 2.30pm. All in all, it was an awesome trip that’s not too arduous, spend some time in the bush and meet some characters along the way. If you have a few days and keen for an adventure give it a go!

A weekend in Hanmer Springs

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Hanmer Springs is just short of a two hour drive from Christchurch and is popular among both tourists and Cantabrians keen for a romantic getaway. It’s like a miniature Queenstown, with access to a couple of ski fields, a few mountain biking trails and that festive spirit in the air, all year round. If you’re arriving in your campervan, you’ll see plenty of ‘No Freedom Camping’ signs around the town. Don’t feel discriminated against! Also like Queenstown, Hanmer Springs was one of the towns which was the hotbed for freedom camping and something was needed. Hence a lot of signs around the place.

If you’re wondering if there is a freedom campsite in Hanmer, at the time of writing (July 2015) there is one suitable for certified self contained vehicles (look for the green icon on the CamperMate app) which is on Department of Conservation managed land (rather than council land). It’s located just off Jollies Pass Road (head past the sign for Hanmer Forest and look for a small Pawsons Road sign). It’s small and basic, with only a handful of space available but it’s there and available. The official text (which you’ll also find on the CamperMate app) is: Restricted to self contained vehicles, for 4 nights maximum in a single calendar month, between 5 pm and 9 am the following day. So as long as you are certified self contained, and obey these rules then you’re sorted and can spend some time exploring the town.

So, what’s there to do in Hanmer? Hands down, the most popular activity in Hanmer is the Thermal pools which is right in the middle of town. It’s a little pricey at $22/adult but after a days skiing, mountain biking or hiking the pinch doesn’t feel all that bad. There’s a bunch of pools to choose from ranging from 28 degrees up to about 38 or so degrees. These do get packed out from about 12pm, so if you can get there in the morning from 10am it’s recommended.

You shouldn’t have an issue finding a park for your campervan in Hanmer Springs. Yes, it’ll be packed directly outside the pools, but if you can’d find something suitable around there just head up Cononical Hill Road until you find a park and walk back down into town. You shouldn’t have to walk more than 3 or 4 minutes.

So, you’ve finished your dip in the pools before the lunchtime crowd and now you’re looking for somewhere to eat. You’ve got plenty of options from cafes, takeaways, supermarket and my recommendation, the Bakery about 100 metres up from the Four Square supermarket. For a busy town, the prices were actually quite reasonable and if you don’t mind possibly standing in line for 10 minutes then go for one of their pies or rolls as the food was good.

On the same road as the bakery (walking away from the town) you’ll find the Conical Hill walk, a 20 minute walk up to a nice view over the town. It’s a nice bush walk that meanders through the trees and ends with a nice view over the town. I’ll admit that I cheated and this photo below was only half way up. So just imagine a view twice as good as this. It’s a great town, with lots of charm.  Somewhere you can easily have a great weekend either in winter or summer, campervan or self drive.

Edit: So on the evening of writing this is snowed, which turned the town a beautiful white. This time made it all the way up Conical Hill and took this photo. Well worth the journey up there.

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A Kayaking Trip On Lake Brunner, Canterbury

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Lake Brunner is a beautiful lake around three hours drive from Christchurch or 45 minutes from Greymouth and covers an area of 40 km² with beautiful clear water that’s ideal for swimming. It’s a weekend destination for not only many Cantabrians but also for visiting tourists, as there’s also an awesome free campsite for self contained campervans located at Iveagh Bay. The weather was forecast to be fairly decent over Queens Brthday weekend, and given we haven’t lost any motivation yet to explore in our kayak, decided to head over on the Saturday afternoon. We woke to a gorgeous West Coast Sunday morning, with a mist which just added to the experience. We drove past the boat ramp and parked on the waters edge, near the yacht club.

The awesome thing about kayaking in lakes is just how still and clear the water is, which made for what was probably our easiest launch ever with barely a ripple on the beach. We launched the kayak and headed around the Eastern side of the lake, trawling for trout with a small cobra lure about 10-15 metres behind the kayak. There were a few little streams that entered the lake from the Eastern side, so thought that would be the best option.

There was very little weed in the lake, so the conditions seemed perfect for fishing, however anyone that has read any previous posts that involve me fishing should not get too excited. The mist started to roll in, and after about an hours paddling we came across this awesome little island called Refuge Island which we tied up at (see below) -42.617977, 171.471630.

It was quite a cool experience, visiting a tiny island like this by boat, there’s just something about being able to throw a stone from one side of the island to the other that fascinates me. Upon arrival though, most of the island was covered by gorse which limited exploration opportunities.  We continued on, with the cobra behind us and seeing very little activity. The lake itself is 109 metres deep at it’s deepest, and have been reading about thermoclines which are at about 20 metres below the surface. Have you had any luck fishing on Lake Brunner? Please pass on any tips you may have!

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A Weekend Trip To Rakaia and Peel Forest

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What I find awesome about travelling around New Zealand in a campervan is that you don’t have to travel far to find an awesome place to camp. There’s also a range to suit any budget, from freedom camping sites to fully catered, and everything in between. One of those in between campsites is the Rakaia Huts campground, located on the banks of the Rakaia River and is one of the low cost campgrounds on the CamperMate app. It’s only about an hour or so from Christchurch and while it might be a little off the main highway, it’s a good place to come and explore. On-site managers Gary and Roslyn have created a very friendly vibe here and it almost seems like a big revolving happy family, which we were lucky enough to drop into for one night in our Britz 4 berth campervan. We left Christchurch right in the thick of the weekend traffic, Friday 5pm. The new highway can take you out via Lincoln where you can shave 10 minutes or so off your travelling time. The roads out this way don’t see the amount of traffic as the Hornby route, so for driving in a campervan it’s ideal.

Upon arrival we were greeted by Roslyn and after setting up went and met Gary and other campers in the kitchen. Everyone is on a first name basis here, very cool! The cost for staying here is $15 night/2 adults (powered) or $10 night/2 adults (non-powered). The Rakaia Huts is actually a little town, so we went for a walk and bought some honey from a locals honesty box. Upon returning Gary invited us for a trip to the river mouth (about 1km away) on his quad bike which was a nice little adventure before we made tracks to the next campsite, Peel Forest inland from Geraldine.

Peel Forest Campsite is an awesome Department of Conservation campsite that is a little more expensive than the normal D.O.C. campsite but at $15 per night per adult comes equipped with a lot more facilities than your normal campground such as power, an awesome kitchen and hot showers. You pay at the camp office which is about 3 kms before the actual campsite. It closes at 7.30pm, if you don’t make it there before it closes the manager will drop by in the morning (though you’ll need to have cash then). Below is the kitchen and shower block.

Aside from the hot showers, what I like most about this campsite is the amount of walks and fun things to do in the area. The Rangitata River is just a 5 minute walk from the campsite (take your gumboots as there’s a stream you have to cross to get there) which I’m told has trout and salmon however, unfortunately while we did try, we cannot confirm this 😉

We woke up in the morning to a beautiful sunrise and some Pukeko rummaging around the Chestnut trees in the campsite. It does get a little wet here, so it closes over Winter but opens again at Labour weekend. If you do arrive and the campsite is closed, there’s another parking area which they’ll let you park on, just ask at the camps store about it.

Before heading back to Christchurch, we checked out one of the stunning Department of Conservation forest walks on the Rangitata Gorge Road. I’ve never seen the Fantails so plentiful as I’ve seen them here. It’s an awesome spot, if you have some time to spare in South Canterbury, it’s definitely worth taking the time and spending a night in either of these campsites.

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A Weekend in Okarito

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A major change that I’ve seen in the last few years has been the increase in holiday homes available for rent on one of the many websites such as holidayhouses.co.nz, bookabach and Airbnb. This provides a great opportunity to stay in bach’s off the beaten track that you wouldn’t probably normally get to experience. For the Easter long weekend, we found one such bach in Okarito, a small coastal village around 27kms from Franz Josef that consists of around 30 permanent residents. The village is located right next to a lagoon (12 square kms) and  is the largest unmodified wetland in New Zealand. The lagoon feels as though it’s the heart and soul of the village and provides fishing and kayaking opportunities, in addition to a few beautiful D.O.C. walks you can do in the area. The two images below are from the top of the Trig walk, here you can see the village and the lagoon.

Above: The view from the top of the Trig walkway (takes about 45 minutes to get there). Below: Turn around 180 degrees and you’ll see this beautiful view of the 3 mile lagoon (you can walk there at low tide).

There’s a local company that rents out kayaks for $50 per person for 2 hours or $60 for 4 hours and this will give you an opportunity to explore the lagoon and head up the little rivers/streams that feed into the lagoon. It’s a good idea to hire the kayak when it’s an incoming tide (which will make for an easier paddle) then spend a few hours exploring and come back when the tide is slack or outgoing. Ask in the shop and they’ll let you know the best options. They also make coffees here and are the only shop in Okarito. You would expect that the coffee would be expensive as they’re the only option but no, standard pricing that you would expect in any town!

Below: The town even has it’s own airstrip!

And it’s own Tennis Club!

I would recommend taking your bicycle if you can. There’s a DOC walk about a 15 minute bike out of town called the Pakihi walk that is quite nice and takes around 30 minutes. You’ll be passing a kiwi zone on there way there, so take care!

You’ll also want to take your fishing rod, as you can catch Trout, Salmon, Rig and Kahawai in the lagoon/river mouth. I didn’t have any luck aside from seeing a Flounder which you are most likely to find around the mud flats at high tide.

There’s also a cheaper option to stay in Okarito, and that’s the community campground which is $12.50 per adult per night and has a bunch of facilities such as a shower, BBQ and laundry facilities. If you’re staying here in a tent, remember that it can rain a lot on the West Coast so be prepared!

I didn’t know about Okarito prior to Easter and it was fantastic to be able to discover a small town like this. The locals are all very friendly and there’s a bunch of outdoor activities to do. If you are looking for an adventure off the beaten track without cell phone reception, then Okarito should definitely be on your ‘to-do’ list.

A Kayaking Day-trip in the Akaroa Harbour

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A double sea kayak is my new toy, and I am absolutely loving it as you can probably tell from the previous blog post. Previously inaccessible areas in Canterbury and further afield are now open to exploration in the 5.6 metre yellow cruiser. With flat conditions forecast throughout Banks Peninsula, we loaded up the kayak bound for launching at Wainui, on the opposite side of the harbour to Wainui-which also has an awesome freedom camping area where you can stay for a maximum of three nights. This however, was only a day trip but for those looking for it can find it on the CamperMate app. We parked up at the Wainui boat ramp and within full view of the cruise ship headed out toward the harbour entrance with a 10 or so knot southerly blowing.

I’ve been snorkelling and fishing over at Wainui before, but have never been around the coast so this was a first. As it turns out there are a few small caves nestled into the cliffs as you paddle. They’re not the type that you would find pirate treasure in yaaarr, but a few good boat lengths at least. We left at low tide, which meant the caves were a little more exposed. If you’re doing this trip be wary of a southerly swell rolling through as this would be the last place I would want to be.

The water was pretty clear and you could see the bottom at around 4-5 metres. Sadly, no treasure to be found.

We carried on and parked up at the next bay which was Mat Wight Bay, a quiet stony beach that was sheltered from the wind. Like a lounge suite that you keep wrapped in plastic, the kayak is currently being treated to some red carpet treatment, notice it resting on our life jackets and a wetsuit to avoid any scratches. It was pretty calm still and low tide had only passed about an hour or so earlier, so I got the snorkel and went looking for some Paua for our tea.

If you’re thinking of going snorkelling for Paua, check out this video for some tips: I tend to go as deep as my breath will allow and don’t like to take more than one from one group. While 10 might be the maximum per person (aside from some areas like Kaikoura where it is 6) you really don’t need to take anymore than what you need. I like making a Paua soup from 6. You might like to download the free NZ Fishing Rules app to find out how many you can take in your region.

On the return trip back, the Southerly swell came in a bit and we were riding some waves, it got a little hairy to be honest and controlling the radar at the back can be a little difficult when you’re being pushed along behind from the wave (rather than from from your paddles). We made it back to Wainui around 5pm and made the journey back to Christchurch in about an hour and a half. A perfect day trip in Canterbury!

A Weekend Spent Kayaking in Abel Tasman

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The Abel Tasman National Park is an amazing part of New Zealand with a beautiful walking track 54.4 kms in length and is one of the Department of Conservations great walks. If you’re coming to New Zealand you should experience this track in some way, this time around we decided to give kayaking a go and chose a long weekend to do it. We booked our camping accommodation over the DOC website and chose the boat access only campsites at Mosquito Bay and Observation Beach. I bought a double sea kayak off Trademe and picked it up in Picton on the way through after the Bluebridge guys loaded it on, it arrived in perfect condition and we loaded it up before heading to Marahau Aqua Taxis to get a water taxi to the upper area of the park.

We got dropped off at Bark Bay, the first campsite (Mosquito Bay) is just on the point you see below here, it’s right on the edge of the marine reserve and takes around 40 minutes to paddle there. It was a good start to test the kayak without a full day ahead of us. Before arriving and while not in the marine reserve, I dropped a fishing line with some squid as bait near a rocky outcrop. I had hoped to catch some fish for tea, but only caught one small spotty which was thrown back.

We arrived at the Mosquito Bay campsite at about 4pm and as it was low tide, we had o drag the kayak which at that stage weighed in at about 60 kgs up the sand about 100 metres. If you can manage it, try to arrive at high tide! You have to drag your kayaks up onto the rails provided, so that they don’t float away when the tide comes up. It’s a basic site with water (unfiltered) available on site. There are also a few picnic tables here too. Everyone was very friendly and the campsite had a very chilled out vibe to it.

You have an awesome beach right on your doorstep, the sand is golden and the water was pretty warm (February), one thing that I would take in hindsight is a pair of goggles and a snorkel. Of course you cannot take anything here as it’s a marine reserve, but it would’ve been pretty cool to take a look around as the water is so clear. This image below is one of the walkways from the campsite, down to the beach. If you see the rocky outcrop in the distance there (about 40 metres off shore) it’s got an awesome platform for jumping off.

The next day it was onwards to our next camp Observation Beach. If you wanted to get there without a stop it would probably only take you 1.5 hours or so, as we had all day we stopped in at some quiet beaches along the way, and also at Anchorage, a large campsite with a hut for cooking in and a few nice walks.

We had had perfect weather up until this point and no swell which made for great kayaking conditions, however at around 11am the wind started to pick up and we had to tackle the ‘mad mile’ which was just around the corner. I asked the water taxi bloke who had just pulled into Anchorage, but he said heading south wouldn’t be an issue, but people paddling north were having a bit of a rough time. We made it without any issues and as soon as we rounded the corner past Te Pukatea Bay we were into the slightly rougher waves for about 30 minutes, before rounding the corner into the very sheltered Observation Beach which you see below here. This was bliss!

Observation Beach was another boat only access campsite, and was a little smaller than Mosquito Bay. Upon arrival we found there were a lot of bees attracted to one particular location by the picnic table, so we stayed clear and weren’t bothered by them throughout the entire evening/next day. This was my favourite site, it had a water tap, toilet and a fantastic beach. You didn’t need to pull the kayaks right up like the previous night.

I find that while they might be $2 more expensive than other pasta snacks, these Watties Tortellini Pasta Mixes are awesome when camping. The amount of time you save and the dishes is well worth it in my books.

The next day it was a short paddle of two hours before arriving back at Marahau. What I really like about this trip is that there’s not too much actual kayaking involved, it’s pretty relaxed which means you’ve got ample time to stop off and explore at these smaller campsites. As I’m the proud owner of a sea kayak, you’ll probably read a few more posts about it in the future!