Well, we're back in Napier again, parked up beside Mum & Dads' house after another slight variation to the already once amended plan. We're following David's adage of "Ask me tomorrow" ; something he says whenever anyone asks where we're off to next.
We left Sulphur Point Saturday morning and headed back to the NZMCA Park at Ngongotaha in Rotorua for the night. The park wasn't as busy as our previous visit earlier in the month, it also looked very bleak and barren. Sadly the beautiful trees that lined the north side of the park have all been removed- I suspect TV reception and solar power interference are the reasons, although the official word on it, are that the trees are dropping branches and are a danger to visitors. This photo was taken on our previous visit.
Our next stop was south of Rotorua at Lake Rerewhakaaitu, one of the smaller Rotorua Lakes which is tucked in behind Mt Tawarewa and accessed off SH38, the Lake Waikaremoana road. I wanted to check out the two DOC camps at the lake. Although we've explored much of the Rotorua area before we lived on the road, Lake Rerewhakaaitu was not a lake we'd visited before.
We headed to the top of the lake first, to check the DOC Ash Pit Road camp. It's a great spot....when there's not a cold blustery wind blowing straight off the lake. The ground was very soft too and the sun, when it did make an appearance, had already disappeared behind the trees. We decided to leave this camp for the summer, I know it's very popular then and over any holiday period especially with boaties.
We retraced our steps back along the lake stopping to check out the smaller DOC Brett Road campsite on the way; it also didn't look too welcoming so we carried on...
...to the Guy Roe Reserve and camping area which is managed by Rotorua Lakes Council.
The reserve looked a lot more appealing than the two DOC camps, it's amazing what a little warm sun can do for moral. It's $8pp per night at Guy Roe and you do need to be self-contained.
We set up camp in the bottom corner beside a wide finger of a water that enters the lake from a smaller creek upstream.
We parked it so we could sit at the table in the slide-out and watch the birdlife out the window. The local flock of scaup, a small diving duck, were resting in the patch of water lily leaves, but they took off as soon as we moved in!
Even the resident Little Shag wasn't happy with our arrival; he decided he'd had enough and flew off as I tried to sneak up on him by hiding behind a fallen tree.
So we had to do our bird watching from afar but the outlook was still pleasant enough. I'd love to be here when there were lots of water-babies about. This arm of the lake would also make a great place to explore in a kayak.
The camping area is sectioned off, which is a good idea, further down there's a large area for picnicking day trippers and boaties to launch their boats at the boat ramp.
This is looking back to where we are tucked into the corner at the far end of the reserve.
I went for a short walk down past the boat ramp and lake level jetty to check out a muddy dirt track I could see running through the bush and alongside the lake to a far point.
I wish I hadn't. It's obviously the haunt of those who have no good on their minds. Not only had the track been cut up by off-roaders and motorbikes and was gumboot deep in water and mud, someone had shot a few roosters (that had obviously been liberated in the reserve) and left them where they fell.
And it appears a few poachers had used a couple of the clearings to butcher their ill-gotten gains. It was quite disconcerting to realise what 'the thing' was after watching a number of silvereyes scramble over the remains feeding on what I can only assume is fat. Yuk, yuk, yuk! No smell either, although I didn't get too close; thank God for a telephoto lens!
After those discoveries I'd lost the will to go further, so I turned and headed back to the reserve, carefully moving through the undergrowth to the edge of the lake to catch these Scaup on the weed boom, on the way.
It was cold and overcast when we pulled out of camp early the next morning- we often stay hitched when we're stopping for just a night- it makes for a quick getaway in the morning, even if it takes a bit of maneuvering to get us level the night before.
We couldn't go past another stop at our favourite DOC camp at Glenfalls beside the Mohaka River, off the Napier-Taupo Road. There were still patches of snow on the range behind, left-over from the big snow that blasted the area earlier in the month. And as we came over the rise we could see that the river was just as dirty and a lot higher than it was a few weeks ago. Not only were we not going to be on our own, a motorhome had taken our favourite spot on the river bank too. How dare they!
'Red sky at night, shepherds delight'- hopefully that meant we'd finally left the rain behind.
Mist settled in through the valley overnight but quickly lifted as the sun rose the next morning. We'd once again stayed hitched so it was a quick pack up and pull out, arriving...
....back in Napier, setting up on the concrete pad, plugging in and looking like we'd never left.