Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Okoromai and Army Bay Beaches


Last weekend was stunning weather. We spent the Saturday with friends who'd travelled up from Hahei to visit their son who lives near Manly and Stanmore Bay. On Sunday we went for a drive; the Whangaparaoa Peninsula is quite hilly and some of the streets are quite steep. We first went UP the hill from where we're staying to see what we could see . . . a beautiful view across the water towards Auckland city.

Then we drove back down and headed eastout towards the end of the peninsula and Shakespear Regional Park, hoping to be able to take Lucy for a walk; but unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the reserve. So we kept driving and before long came across Okoromai Beach, on the Auckland side of the peninsula. Lots of people were gathering cockles in the low tide; I was surprised at the footwear of some of the people who'd ventured out into the water to find some.

Back up on the grass was a convenient tap to hose the sand off the cockles . . . and those shoes! There are several signs aroundin a few different languagesreminding people that there's a limit of 50 cockles per gatherer per day.

Although it was getting later in the day, there were still a lot of people around taking advantage of the sunshineOkoromai Bay Beach is obviously a popular picnic spot.

After we left that beach, we headed north to the other coast and Army Bay. Just to the right of this photo is a boat ramp, and the car park we were in had plenty of longer parking spaces to allow for cars with boat trailers. No doubt it's much busier than this in the summer. 

Looking west along the beach.

There were some intriguing trees like this one that appear to be lounging on the sand with their roots stretched back towards the bank, anchoring them to some life-preserving sustenance. As on many beaches in New Zealand, the sea appears to be slowly encroaching on the land.


Dogs were welcome on both beaches at this time of yearLucy enjoyed a run along the sand off leash on the Army Bay Beach where there were fewer people. This photo was taken back at Okoromai Bay Beach.

Heading home again, we stopped at this small lakeI don't know that it has a name. We've seen model boats on it in the past. Dave pointed out the golf course he'd played on just last weekyou can see some bunkers on the far side of the lake.

Here's a map of the area. The golf course Dave was on was the Gulf Harbour Country Clubit's quite a large courseon both sides of Gulf Harbour Drive. The Whangaparaoa Golf Club is also showing on the mapyet to be played, but I understand there is a plan . . . .

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Sunday, 5 August 2018

Gulf Harbour


We're currently parked up at the Fairway Bay Marina at Gulf Harbour on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula and will be here for five more weeks. Yes, the plan was to head further north, but things happened . . . .

We were having problems with our TV pixilating and, as Apollo (the company who provided our Satellite Dish) are in Whangaparaoa, we planned a night at this marina nearby before we took the rig in for them to sort out the next morning. Seems the issue was not as straightforward as we'd expected . . . after spending a morning on the side of the road while the Apollo people were first trying to find out what was wrong and then waiting for people to return phone calls, we were no closer to a resolution. We were a bit too close to Carters' driveway and making it difficult for large trucks to get in there, so we moved down the road to Mitre 10's car park. By about 4pm, we decided we'd be spending another night at the marina.

Back at the marina, Dave went to have a beer with Phil, the chap who looks after the property (the part where campers can stay, not the boats). Phil announced that he was off to the UK for five weeks andlong story shortDave now has a job filling in while he's away. He has to collect the money from people who come to stay in their motorhomes, caravans, etc., clean the ablutions block twice a week and get some gas bottles filled up in town for the nearby Yogi's Bar & Eatery (owned by his new boss, Grant). For performing these tasks, we'll get a free site and free power for the duration of our stay. Not having to travel for a while suits me also as it frees up some time; I've been busier than usual lately, having picked up another proofreading job which required quite a bit of research. Although it's been time-consuming, I'm really enjoying it.

This is the entrance to the marina car park.

A road off to the right goes down to Yogi's Bar.

Through the gate at the end of the car park, you can see us parked there to the left.

This is the view from the other side. Phil's fifth wheelerhe's parked here permanentlyis on the left, and the motorhome to the right stayed a couple of nights, then moved on.

Looking from our rig towards the boats.

Off to the right as you enter the gate is this area where travellers not needing power can park up for $15/night. It's probably a lot busier here in the summer. Yogi's is the building immediately to the right of the caravan. The ablutions block is behind Yogis.

StellaGrant and Bronnie's boat. We can see her from our bedroom and lounge windows.

Across from Stella . . .

. . . and rotating right (you'll notice the boat on the very left is the same as the one in the photo above).

All the ramps down to the boats are protected with these locked gates and CCTV security cameras. That's Stella hidden behind the gate.

There're a couple of eastern rosellasaka rosella parakeetsthat must live around here. We've seen them more than once, foraging on the ground outside our rig.

This cute kingfisher is a change from the ever-present seagull.
I saw a beautiful pheasant one day, up on a little grassy hill just behind our rig; but he was too crafty for me and saw me coming with my camera.

There's been a lot of rain around here but today the sun was shining, so we thought we'd go for a short walk around to the entrance of the marina. There're a lot of boats moored up here!



There it iswhere the boats exit. Note this catamaran cruising along. We followed it and took a few more photos as it made its way out of the entrance.


Auckland City in the distance over the water.

There's a small beach at the end of the track we were walking along. Matakana Island is in the distance to the left.

The catamaran again, this time with its sail up and with Auckland City as a backdrop.

Walking back . . . this is the track we were wandering along. Water on one side and bush and trees on the other. There was quite a bit of gorse down here; obviously not a tourist spot.

The tenacity of trees in the face of crumbling foundations fascinates me, especially huge ones like this. You can see a large branch has broken off near the base and is just hanging there.

There are some beautiful homes around this area. In the distance are Gulf Harbour buildings. These ones look like apartmentswe drive past them on the way back in to Whangaparoa; we'll have to explore!

A closer view.

Our TV is temporarily fixed. After several hours of trying to identify the problem (pulling out controllers, emptying cupboards so the wiring under the base could be checked, etc.), both guysyes, by now there were two of them on the jobdecided the interference was being caused by the proximity of our modem to the wiring controlling our TV. Things work well if the modem is moved down to the floorwhich is bearable while we're plugged in to power as we have a power outlet down lowbut when we get back on the road again, we'll need to have it hardwired. Next week, they're planning to come back and try another couple of modems to see if we can find something that's compatible. It's just as well we're staying here; but we're not looking forward to seeing their bill.


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Thursday, 5 July 2018

A Bird's Paradise


Lately we've been busy sorting out a few issues with our rig, surviving the wet, cold weather, and spending time with friends and family. Hence, there's not been so much time for photography and blog posts.

This post is a tribute to our wonderful friends, Garth and Helen, who have created this wee paradise for birds in a section of their garden in Taranaki. You can watch the birds from the kitchen window as they enjoy the banquet laid before them. First the sugar water . . .

This bottle can be replenished several times a day. I think I recall Garth saying the birds could swig their way through a bottle in under an hour! In one of my photos we counted 11 waxeyes. Also known as silvereye, white-eye, blight-bird, tauhou, silver-eye and wax-eye. Rather confusing, but a cute little bird. You should be able to count nine in this photo below. (And at least nine in the photo above as well. Don't miss the little fella in the bottom right waiting for his turn).

This shows the entire bottle. It works on a gravity feed system.

After the entree, the main course. A whole loaf of bread fits into this structure. Notice how the waxeyes manage to fit their entire head and shoulders through the netting. 


Look mum, one "hand"!

A picture showing the bread holder Garth built. 
(The plastic blue lid on top has no significance.)

And lastly, dessert. Helen makes these moulds of fat and wild bird seed. They also scatter bird seed on the ground for the birds. This time there's a green finch joining the waxeye. Apparently, other finches often come to visit, but on the day I was there, these were all that arrived.

Three birds! A waxeye, a green finch in the background, and a sparrow.

Some close-ups of the cute little waxeyes.





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