Thursday 21 February 2013

Glenfalls, Mohaka

Before leaving Napier we had one more "first" to do; empty the black & grey water tanks at a dump station. There are numerous dump stations located in every city & town around NZ. RVing(recreational vehicle) is a very popular pastime with Kiwis & tourists alike, it pays to be self contained & have the certification to back it up. A "green" sticker allows you to camp both in official sites including council & NZMCA owned parks along with DOC(Dept. of Conservation) reserves amongst others and in some cases freedom camp anywhere within reason, as long as that province or council allows it. Sadly a few people have ruined it for many in some of the most popular holiday spots, leaving behind their rubbish & human waste to pollute the environment and causing councils to ban freedom camping for all.

The empty went better than expected & was really quite simple long as you held your breath for a few seconds on the initial connection.

A dump station with a view on a prime beach front site!

Once emptied  we were back on the road heading to Glenfalls about an hour north of Napier on the Napier-Taupo Road. Glenfalls is a DOC camping ground and very popular over the summer months as it sits beside the mighty Mohaka, a great trout fishing & rafting river. Except it wasn't so mighty due to the drought, it was more of a shallow trickle. Never mind, school holidays were finished and there were only 3 other vans parked up.

We had the pick of sites & after a quick walk around settled on the river bank just a few strides from the water. Perfect!

Once levelled & set up David arranged his 24hr fishing license on line(by driving back up the road to a high point :) ), got his gear organised & was off to catch the evening rise. It was another very hot afternoon and with no breeze in the valley the river looked very inviting. After a leisurely swim to cool off I too crossed the river with my camera and followed the narrow sheep tracks around the point to where David was fishing. With the river being so shallow & clear David did well to catch 6 trout in total, all small or very small & all sent on their way. As any fly fisherman will tell you the thrill is in the hunt, catching dinner is of little significance and not a necessary outcome.
I left my fisherman happily casting away & working on his strategy(in fact I don't think he even noticed I had gone) and climbed to the top of the brow to take some photos of the valley.
As I climbed further up the hill I came across a flock of wild geese (these were of the domesticated type that have obviously moved on from a farm pond), they weren't too keen to see me and took off on foot for the hills, it was rather strange to see them filing up the steep hill one after the other like sheep. Bringing up the rear were two canada geese, one limping badly & his mate helpfully nudging him along. Going by the mess & feathers on the shingle flats, they all must come down to the river at night to roost. Each morning two or three V formations of canada geese flew low up the river past the camp site obviously on their way to a grain field or some such somewhere & then back again in the evening.

Even though it was a scorcher of a day I was determined to carry on to the top of the hill, again following the narrow sheep tracks, so I could take some photos looking down over the camping ground. It was a great view once up there but with quite a steep descent I had to carefully watch my footing on the way down.
Later the next day we took a drive further down the road to check out a another two DOC camp sites, located on the edge of the river too. The road turned to gravel just past Glenfalls & was very badly rutted due to the dozens of logging trucks using it at the moment, there are quite a few large pine plantations inland that are getting felled. David wasn't too pleased with the constant rattling and juddering not to mention the dust that was coating the ute.
At the turn off onto a dirt road that took us down to the camp sites is a large cleared area with a lookout over the river. An amazing view awaited us, the river has formed a perfect horseshoe (called an oxbow) and is overlooked by the remarkable 'Organs', a rocky outcrop sculpted by the elements into what look like a giant set of organ pipes.
The Organs, Mohaka River
Both Everett camp sites were deserted although we could see from the trampled grass and dead patches that both sites had had a busy Christmas/New Year too. There were also signs that hunters frequent the area, using anything handy along with stolen road signs as target practice. After a bit of fun with one of the signs we returned it back up the road to where it belonged.

We decided that we actually liked Glenfalls better, not that we would have been able to tow the fifth-wheeler into the lower Everetts site due to the climb out of the ford & a washout further on.

Back on the "main" road we drove further on, I was hoping to get to Boundary Stream, a "Mainland Island", a bird sanctuary which is protected by a predator free fence. But after driving a further 10 kms or so on the dusty & bone rattling road we decided to turn around and head home. We could tackle Boundary Stream later when we are exploring the East Coast, come in from Tutira which is the more common route. We stopped before turning around so I could take some photos of the farmland which, because of the drought, is tinder dry.

If you would like to see more of Glenfalls & the surrounding area please click here;
 Glenfalls, Mohaka River

After our first trip away we've decided we quite like this lifestyle which is just as well considering all that we've done to get to this point, and after a day at home we're both keen to get back on the road. That will have to wait for a couple of weeks as we still have a few things to sort in Tauranga but already the van is reloaded and waiting.

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