Monday 7 May 2018

Beach Hop North- Another Wharf & Another Bay


From Anaura Bay it's just 30kms to Tokomaru Bay where we visited another very long historic wharf, this one in need of some tender loving care too.

Tokomaru Bay wharf is 366 metres long; the condition of the concrete and rail length of the wharf isn't too bad but it may be too late to restore the wooden piles and missing deck in the dog leg at the end which is closed off with a chain-link fence. 

Just above the wharf there are a number of derelict and old buildings associated with past industry in Tolomaru Bay; the old freezing works...

and the NZ Shipping Company store and offices (click the photo to enlarge), amongst others.

Anyone looking for a new 5th-wheeler? 

Tokomaru Bay is also on the Gisborne District Council camping permit list; there are two areas, a north site and a south site (see the map below) and at both sites there are several areas along the beach front where you can stay but many are across the road from residents houses. I always feel a bit mean parking in their view though it wasn't going to be a problem for us this time as we were heading further on to another bay for the night.

Tokomaru Bay- North Camp
Before we left Tokomaru we made a quick stop back in the village so I could take a photo of the historic St Mary's Church built in 1884. What a lovely little church, very rustic and very kiwi with corrugated iron walls and roof.

Our next destination is just north of Te Puia Springs but we were talking too much and trying to decide if the large pond on the side of the road just north of the settlement was in fact the 'spring' that we missed the turnoff and had to travel a few kilometres before we could safety turn around and head back to the side road. And the road to our next camp site is no different to all the other side roads we've taken; narrow, winding, with plenty of blind corners and dropping quickly to the coastline.

Te Puia Springs Hotel
Waipiro Bay is a another tiny forgotten settlement that has seen better times, it also has a number of abandoned buildings.  

Waipiro Bay also has a beautiful church with the most amazing view out over the bay; St Abraham's was built in 1926. I smiled when I saw the flowering Myrtle tree in the corner, normally I wouldn't have a clue what tree it was but I know where there is a similar sized one taking pride of place in the centre of a garden, pruned and shaped to perfection by Dad.

And as is the case with most of the churches on the East Coast (and in many others areas too), they are part and parcel of the local Marae. I've said to David a few times that I would love to make a project out of photographing all the beautiful Wharenui/Meeting Houses we pass on our travels. Often they can't be seen clearly from the road so I'd need to get permission to shoot them and that would be a bit of a hassle.

Meeting houses and woolsheds, they'll be on my next 'obsession' list, when I've finished shooting churches and swing-bridges!

David comes looking for me, I've left him up on the road near the Trading Company ruins. It was just going to be a short walk down to the church to take a couple of photos but I'm taking longer than usual and he's worried he's blocking the road with the rig (it's not like it's Piccadilly Station or anything, we haven't seen another vehicle since we turned of the main highway).

I try and take any photos as soon as I get the opportunity because nine times out of ten Murphy's Law kicks in; either the weather turns to custard, we take a different route out when we leave, vehicles park in front of the subject or a number of other reasons and I miss the chance to get a good shot. So I get the church photo out of the way before we head to the camp site.

The road turns to gravel and it's now looking more like a dirt track. We worry about where it leads as we climb a short rise and then turn hard right towards the beach, will we be able to turn around. Have we in fact got the right place.

The road turns to mud as it climbs another rise right above the beach and we see a car is waiting for us to pass before it can proceed. David winds down the window and asks if there's a McDonalds up here. That breaks the ice and the guy, who must have been wondering what on earth was coming over the rise towards him (probably thinking mad buggers!) has a large smile on his face and points us in the direction of the grassy reserve ahead. 

Except we drive right on by the reserve and across the ford, thinking there might be another camping area further up. There are no signs at the first area.

Once across the ford we realise that there are no more grassy reserves and the road ends not too far ahead. There's also no turning areas so there's nothing for it but to back up. Hence the reason I'm out of the ute and directing David back across the ford (and taking photos!) 

We find a reasonably level spot right on the edge overlooking the beach... 

...with magnificent views to the right... 

...and left.

With, once again, the whole place to ourselves. Where are all these campers we've been hearing about in the North Island?  

We're still worried we haven't got the right place as there are no signs, although there is a concrete tank toilet near us. The council pamphlet shows the camping site is back up the road- on the little flat patch of  grass you can see in the top photo below but when I check it out later it looks like a squatter has set up camp and claimed the area for himself. 

I check for photos on the internet and find a few with caravans and motorhomes parked up along the reserve where we are. Someone has conveniently (for them) removed the sign that I see in a photo which was next to the toilet.

We're now happy and we settle down for the day. Later on I catch 'Nigel Mo Mates' having a happy hour swing. 

It's a fiery start to the day next morning; after a slow start to the day, we pack up and head off again, inching our way closer to East Cape.  Waipiro Bay is the last of the Gisborne District Council  permitted freedom camping sites heading north and the final one we stay in. Within a couple of weeks, this and a few of the other permit sites will be closed for winter; I'm sure I can hear a collective sigh of relief from the locals.

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