Sunday 21 April 2013

Lucky Escape

1250kms, 41 days, 12 camping sites & 50,000 photos (not quite but you get the picture, or should that be photo) we are back in Tauranga after our wonderful trip around the Coromandel Peninsula. We’ll be here for a month or so catching up with visiting family & tying up a few more loose ends before we are back on the road again, hopefully in early June.  Our next adventure will be exploring the "Winterless North” during winter(of course) before we finally head, in spring, to the South Island for a year or so.

Our last night at Waihi Beach was very unsettling. The drought has definitely broken in this part of the country.  I had thought the rain at Broken Hill was torrential but it had nothing on the hammering we got at Waihi Beach. The noise was deafening, the rain ran off the van in a solid sheet, the paths & roadway around the site were flooded & poor Maddie thought the world was going to end. With the school holidays starting, I felt sorry for the dozens of campers that had arrived late afternoon & early evening to set up their tents & caravans. I could also hear the stream that flowed just behind  our van roaring through the narrow gap on its way to the beachfront.  I was thinking it was lucky we gave those eels a few feeds because they’ll have surly been swept away or if they did manage to hunker down in the stream bed they wouldn’t be seeing the light of day for a few days.
The stream runs under the bridge just beside our camp site
After a very long night and just before daybreak the rain got even heavier, solid & torrential for a couple of hours & then it just stopped.  After that a steady stream of bedraggled campers & excited kids started making their way to the showers & kitchen but generally their camp sites looked like they had survived the night reasonably well. There was a lot of surface water lying about and that benign stream that was at the most about 6 inches deep yesterday was now a raging torrent. I took the photo below with my cell phone from my bed when I woke. 
Wet & bleak
And I bet most of you reading this are thinking we got caught in the breaking news; the Waihi Stream has broken it banks, there are flash floods, dozens of campers at the Top10 holiday park have been evacuated, firemen are using ropes to help campers across a bridge. Waihi Beach Road is flooded & cars are stuck in flood waters etc. Well that was our “lucky escape”, we left yesterday morning after Friday night’s heavy rain. The latest problems have been caused by Saturday’s downpour. Here’s the stream before & after Friday’s rain, it’s now burst its banks & flooded all the cabins, the bridge that fireman were called to help with evacuations is the one that was beside our campsite.  Maybe we would have floated out of there had we still be on site, David is so relieved we were gone.

That's what it looked like the day before
Before leaving Waihi Beach, we had a reasonably quite last day letting Maddie enjoy the campground facilities & making friends with some of the arriving children. It was lovely for us to have the time with Maddie but we can both honestly say we NEVER want to be in such a popular family orientated campground during school holidays again. The noise & activity went on all day & well into the night. I seriously think that some parents must come for a break themselves, they seem to release their kids into the grounds & say “go for it” just be home for dinner!
Maddie & I went to feed the eels again, there seemed to be lots more & I noticed all the red swirls on a few of the eel photos that I had over-exposed, maybe it's the slime that they're releasing as they slithered about all over each other.

Notice the red swirls, maybe slime?
Maddie also wanted to go shell hunting again, she didn’t think she had enough shells to take home for Mum & she also wanted to find some more of my special ones for me.  I think she felt guilty as while her & Poppa were washing her shells yesterday she tried to help by washing mine too. She threw my delicate shells into the bucket with hers & gave them a good rinse around & broke most of them. She told me Poppa broke them but then later must have thought better of it & said, she & Poppa had broken them but we’d get some more tomorrow.  True to her word she found me lots more.
Shell Pasta
Waihi Beach
We did our last dump station duties at the fairly new & well appointed Waihi Beach dump station, Maddie was intrigued to see what was going on, although quickly took a few steps back when the lever was pulled. She had been curious whenever she  used the toilet as to where it was going, she even took  a look underneath the van to check it out once.  Maddie has also named out water pump Mr Woodpecker, & it does sound like a woodpecker everytime it hammers through the van.
The connected hose is to flush the black tank
And that was that. We drove through to Tauranga yesterday morning in overcast weather, managed to park up the van & unpack a fair bit before the rain hit us as well, solid torrential rain that has flooded parts of Tauranga too. The drought has well & truly broken.
The rain pouring off our slide-out roof back in Tauranga.
I really wanted to get out there & save some of it :)
We have had an amazing six weeks & have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Life on the road is all it’s cracked up to be & more. You do have to have an open mind & be ready to step outside your comfort zone should the need arise, you do have to prepared to compromise on some things that you might usually take for granted but generally it’s a fantastic way of exploring our beautiful country & we're loving it. It’s a thrill to wake each morning to a different view & know that each new day will bring new experiences. We have met some great people & without exception everyone is so friendly & welcoming. We really do live in Paradise.
We threw ourselves in the deep end by tackling the Coromandel as our first major trip but we’ve decided that David will be able to handle anything that comes his way now, nothing could be worse than some of the roads that we have travelled.

I’m working on a map of our travels with links to all the places we’ve visited & links back to the blog which I’ll post here in due course. In the meantime a big thank you too, to the dozens of people who are following my blog, it’s nice to know you’re  “Out There” following along.
See you up north…..


  1. I hope that the hose being used at the dump station was for flushing your waste tank and not filling your fresh water tank.

    1. Thanks for that, yes it's our black tank flush (I shall add a note to the pic just in case others wonder too)Our fresh water fill is on the other side & we have a separate hose for that.Cheers!

  2. We've just watched the news - it was a narrow escape! See you soon x

    1. Sure was, Maddie even recognised the red bridge "that's where we fed the eels!"

  3. We enjoyed sharing your adventures with you both Shellie via your blog. By now you should be pretty much tuned in to camping (in luxury accommodation of course) and future road trips will be tackled with much more confidence. We look forward to your winterless north blog. Pam & Gerald

    1. Glad you enjoyed following along, we can't wait to get back on the road! xx


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