Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Night At A Motor Camp on Kai Iwi Beach

Yesterday we left the dreamy Ahu Ahu in Oakura (just south of New Plymouth, lower left) and took the surf beach road that rides a gentle curve to the west of Mount Taranaki, the large green circle in the middle below left.

Destination: a motor camp just north of Whanganui on Kai Iwi Beach.

The landscape rolls and the road twists and turns. (NZ drivers drive too fast and are impatient, in my view.)

Despite paper maps, ipad, and common sense, occasionally a wrong turn is taken (muttering ensues). But look what we stumbled on while trying to go somewhere else: the Bason Botanical Reserve, in the middle of apparently nowhere, glorious in the sun.

We spent a quiet hour strolling the grounds and glasshouses.

Through the trouble of this world there still
runs a thin stream of serenity for those who seek it.
Stanley Bason


Sedum garden 

Motor camps are campgrounds that have spots for short-term and long-term rental. For long-term, people bring their caravans (campers that are towed in) and lease a spot for months or the entire year. Many have small additions built onto them that expand the amount of space in the bach ("batch," or holiday home). Some motor camps are located on drop-dead gorgeous stretches of beach, others not so much.

It was one of the latter we finally located. We checked in to a fully serviced cabin on the motor camp grounds, just a few caravans away from Terry, affable New Zealander working on a handsome addition. ("We built the deck and then said why not make an overhand to keep the rain off it," he said, laughing about how his bach work grows by the minute.)

Our modest nest for the night, newly built, no water view. We're trying to get a sense of what these camps are like as an alternative to our preferred remote camp spots, here in NZ run by the DOC, department of conservation (also, of course, we have no caravan yet.) Nice porch for cocktail sipping.

And it was adequately appointed, with kitchen, bedroom, and bath.

A short walk away, Kai Iwi Beach.

And yet, impossible to resist. We walked down this morning before hitting the road. It was misting lightly, raining intermittently.

Remind me to tell you how much I like my rain jacket from the Chicago REI sale rack, two deep zippered pockets on the sides and one where I have my hand. Plus: hood.

Today we drove toward just north of Wellington, at the southern tip of the North Island, so we can board a ferry and cross to the South Island tomorrow. More road pictures? Our pleasure.

Road signs here are direct and to the point

The Tararua Range to our left heading south toward Wellington.

What's this at the side of the road. Art pulls off so we can check it out, again a little large for us, but sweet in a 1970s sort of way.

Dog transporter? I guess they could sleep under the lofted bed. Clean interior, exterior less so, and-- large issue--no propane, which means we'd have to be plugged in anywhere we stayed. That rules out a lot of remote camping spots. 

We'll find our caravan, one of these days...

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