Wednesday 31 August 2022

Tinopai To Port Albert, Northland

Continuing on with my Northland blogs from February, 2019. 

From Dargaville we headed south to our next destination, Tinopai, a small settlement at the bottom of the Hukatere Peninsula, a reasonably large finger of land that juts out into the mighty Kaipara Harbour.

The Tinopai Camp Ground is right one the edge of the harbour with fabulous views out over the water.

It was the perfect spot to spend a few days relaxing in the middle of a hot summer.

Powered sites are available at the top end of the camp beside the water too & near the facilities, which, like many classic kiwi campgrounds are pretty basic but adequate. 

Of course the harbour is tidal and the view doesn't look quiet so inviting when the tide is out. Except when I captured it late in the evening, the sky with a rosy hue, as the sun dipped below the horizon behind us.

My sister & husband- who we'd seen several times while travelling around Northland- drove across from Whangarei to spend the night in their tent beside us before we headed further south & back to the South Island. 

There's a small marina beside the campground with the usual collection of small boats & old launches; some well loved, others that had seen better days. I didn't have to go far to capture the stunning sunrises either, just to the back of the rig.

I wanted to take a sunrise photo of the Tinopai wharf which is about 2kms further down the road, I drove down to check it out...

And then picked the wrong morning to shoot it. Although I still captured the golden glow, I would have loved it had there been the cloud cover & colours of the sunrise up above in the mosaic. After an evening of great company, good food & fine wine I was a little slow in getting out the door in time to make it down to the wharf for that one. 

We stopped several times on our way down to Tinopai so I could add to my collection of country church photos. And this church was high on my list. 

The Parirau Zion Church is tucked down a lane off the main road. Since these photos were taken there is now a Parirau Church Restoration Committee who are fundraising to restore the church to it's former glory. The Zion Church was the the first permanent Anglican Church to be erected in the Parirau settlement in 1889. It replaced an earlier nikau (native palm) building and became the place of worship for the local Ratana congregation in the 1920s. 

Other churches (and a friendly mule) I captured during our journey down to Tinopai and around to Port Albert are below. Clockwise from top left are; the 1866-67 Matakohe Pioneer Church across the road from the Kauri Museum, St Michael on the Hill (1845) at Hukatere,  All Saints Church (1883) at Mititai, the Paparoa Community Church. And the final one is the Coates Memorial Church at Matakohe, opened in 1950 and the only church in NZ to be dedicated to a NZ politician; Joseph Gordon Coates (1878-1943) was a member of the House of Representatives for 32 years & Prime Minister from 1925-1928.

On our way to our next overnight camp at Port Albert we stopped at The Kauri Museum in Matakohe. 

We enjoyed our visit & had a good look through the many rooms & displays but felt we didn't quite do the visit justice. There were just so many rooms and nooks & crannies to explore with a lot of written information to take in too. It was another very hot summer's day and we were keen to get back on the road and to our next destination in the comfort of our air conditioned ute. This would be a great place to explore on a cold or wet day.

Our next stop was a freedom camping site at the end of the road at Port Albert, another settlement on the edge of the Kaipara Harbour but this time on the south side. We ignored our GPS which kept telling us to turn around and head further south & turn off the main highway at Wellsford. Instead we turned off at Te Hana and wove our way through some dodgy back country roads to Port Albert. 

The freedom camping area is right beside the harbour with another long wharf jutting out into the water.

But no marina this time just a handful of lovely old yachts & fishing boats anchored out in the main channel.

One of the reasons for stopping here was so I didn't have to cook dinner! No seriously I had read great reviews for the fish 'n chip takeaways from the Port Albert General Store, just up the road from the campsite. I can happily report that they were indeed excellent fish 'n chips. I wandered up the road to get them and then we sat outside under the awning eating them in the warm evening air as the sun went down. 

As you can see it was indeed a very hot day, and especially so with no breeze to speak of.

Locals came down to the harbour to fish & swim as the sun sunk below the horizon and temperature dropped a little. 

The next morning dawned clear and still with just a hint of mist rising from the water. It was going to be another hot summer's day.