Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Labour Weekend at Mapua


We've had an fabulous weekend relaxing with friends, old & new, at the Mapua Leisure Park. Mapua is located about halfway between Nelson & Motueka and the holiday park sits on a large sprawling site at the tip of the peninsula between Ruby Bay and Rabbit Island.

The entrance into Waimea Inlet and Rabbit Island remind us a lot of Matakana Island and Tauranga's inner harbour. And in fact the coast road from Richmond through to Motueka also reminds us of the drive from Tauranga to Katikati, with all the little inlets and tidal estuaries along the way.

The Mapua Wharf, with it's restaurants, cafes and gift shops, is a prominent feature just inside the inlet entrance. A passenger ferry carries people the short distance from the wharf to Rabbit Island, where there are many walking and biking tracks. 

I posted this photo on Facebook over the weekend & labeled it- Papa Bear, Mama Bear & wee Baby Bear. As you can see there are some pretty big fifth-wheelers on the road. Our 5th-wheeler is 9mtrs, Amanda & Pauls' (on the right) is 10mtrs and Katrina & Bernies' is 11mtrs. 

Happy hour- David, Amanda, Paul, Bernie & Katrina. The weather was perfect all weekend although the sun dropped behind the trees a little earlier than we would have liked. There's still a spring chill in the air once that sun goes. 

Katrina & Bernie are due to hit the road full-time next January and they can't wait. In the meantime they head away most weekends with their gorgeous dog family in tow; Boo, Oakley and Paddy the Irish Water Spaniel. You can see in the photo of the rigs above, they have a large dog enclosure that contains the dogs and allows them access to the rig and underneath for shade when they're at home.

Once we'd settled in I had a wander around the park, stopping to say hello to Joey the resident Cockatoo, who had called me over for a 'Scratch, Scratch'. He sticks his head through a gap and bends it right down and nearly back in if you hit the right spot. One of his wings also lift up and down in reaction to the right scratch, a bit life a dog's leg when you hit a nerve while rubbing their belly.

Joey's aviary overlooks a very busy intersection in the campground and I can hear him talking and squawking as people come and go. He calls to me whenever I visit the laundry- I sidle around the corner hoping he won't spot me and then I feel guilty if I don't go and say hello. Yesterday he grabbed my camera strap in his claw and wouldn't let go, he is very cheeky but I do feel a little sad for him. 

There are a number of semi-permanent residents in camp but Garry has got to take the cake with the most 'awesome-est' mobile home of them all. I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked past and had to go back for a second look and say hello to the very charming and slightly eccentric gentleman who was pottering about outside. 

Garry gave me the grand tour, inside and out and showed me many of his bits and bobs and where and how everything fitted together when he did take it out on the road. It's been a work in progress for the last 8 years but very soon he'll be shifting down the road. He loves his outdoor kitchen he told me; I'm sure he has enough burners and elements to cook a feast for the whole campground. The old equipment hanging from the walls reminded me of the stalls at the markets with implements and tools for sale from yesteryear.

Garry has a vege garden on the roof, you can just see a few things sprouting above the roof line. He climbs up through the hatch to water and pick the veges. I love the kids gumboots under each chair leg to stop them disappearing into the ground. On the other side of the truck he showed me his mobile workshop; a vice and grinder on their own frames which pulled out from a gap behind the cab. 

Garry has a neighbour just down the way, who lives in this tiny quirky cottage that looks like it might have once been on the back of a housetruck.

A wander around Mapua Leisure Park reveals many nooks and crannies, interesting buildings, a range of cabin and motel units, open kitchens and even a cafe on the waterfront. The swimming pool and sauna complex were closed for maintenance  but the tennis and volleyball courts were open and being used over the long weekend. During the months of February & March, the park is a 'Clothes Optional'  campground but there are strict rules about where you can and can't walk stark-naked.

There are some lovely displays of sun daisies around the park-

The bird life is also prolific, with dozens of tui feeding on the hundreds of flowering trees. Two or three kingfisher drive me crazy every day with their continuous and monotonous call and I've heard a couple of shinning cuckoos but have failed to spot them. Quail creep about in the bushes and make a dash for it when they get to open ground.

A family of swallows live above the ironing bench in the laundry; it looks like their nest was destroyed a few times before the caretakers gave up. Now two hungry faces peer over the edge and the parents dive-bomb you every time you enter. They fledged yesterday and were trapped against the windows in the laundry, they couldn't find the door so I gave them a helping hand. This morning they were back in the nest!

Another quirky customer....

And a few random captures around camp as people relaxed in the sunshine over the holiday weekend.

We visited the Saturday market (a smaller version of the Napier market, Mum) at Motueka but missed the big event up the valley at the annual Ngatimoti School festival fundraiser which was a shame.

Instead we tiki-toured our way home along the coast road. This is the shipwreck of the Janie Seddon, she was built in 1901 and was credited with firing the first shots of WWII, a warning shot across the bow of the liner City of Delhi. In 1947 she was sold as a fishing trawler but replaced by diesel powered ships which were more efficient than her coal powered engine. Eventually she was sold for scrap but the steel was so hard the company had difficulty trying to cut her up so she was eventually towed to the foreshore and beached there in 1955. And there she still lays, now a much visited historic rusting hulk and monument to shipping in the area.

There was one place I wanted to visit while we were here in Mapua and I wasn't sure whether or not I'd be successful in, a) finding the pond & b) finding the ducks in question as they are notoriously secretive and can disappear for weeks at a time. I found the pond (it's on private property) and I couldn't believe my luck when not only were the ducks in residence they were resting on a bank not far from my entry point.

They soon took off though, but I still managed to get a few reasonable shots. These are Australian Wood Ducks and like my other two favourite exotic duck species, the Plumed Whistling Ducks in Napier & the beautiful male Mandarin Duck at Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes, they are a rare vagrant visitor to New Zealand and only found on this one pond. 

Originally there was just a pair of Wood Ducks but last season they bred and produced 5 ducklings. It's not sure how many survived but from this photo at least 3 of them (others might be nesting at the moment). I'm now lucky enough to have seen all 3 vagrant duck species. I'm going back to see if I can get a little closer later in the week.

And one final photo of another happy hour with a few more friends; all fifth-wheel owners. It was like we held our own rally!


  1. Well Shellie and David,your really on our home turf.... I worked at the Mapua dress optional camp when it was first set up. I put all the ceratone sheets up around the camp and kitchens....100 sheets at the huge price (then) of $13 per sheet. Today were going to the Culverden Fete...tomorrow Art in a Garden at Flaxmere near Harwarden

    1. I thought you'd know the camp well, it's a lovely place and we really enjoyed our time there. I have the Culverden Fete on my must do list but we always seem to be elsewhere when it's on, it's now on next years list! Looks like the weather was perfect too.

  2. 4.15pm 30th October 2016.Congratulations on achieving the three hundred thousand Blogg views.Looking forward to the next 200.000 and making it to half a million.Luv from Mr and MRS Brown.

    1. Glad you were keeping an eye on it for me! Last I looked there was a couple hundred views to go. Pity it didn't roll over tomorrow, just for you! :)

  3. This is a place I'd like to return someday. I love the low tide long walk from the inlet towards the open sea. Miss the lovely view from our waterfront site as seen in your second photo. We drove over to explore the opposite Rabbit Island, spent a leisurely late afternoon watching teenagers playing volley ball on the beach and mothers cooking on BBQ. We were there during February when the cloth option was on, quite a unique experience. It's a pity we didn't get to see anything as interesting as Garry's mobile home. Growing vege on the roof!


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