Friday 1 July 2022

Camping at Karamatura

Last weekend Martin and stayed at the Karamatura campground in the Waitakere Ranges.  When I was a child my family used to often take visitors to Auckland on the Karamatura Loop Walk, so it's a place I've been many times, although never to stay overnight.

We'd originally planned to camp there in November and to go to Ambury Park last weekend, but it turned out that campsite is closed for the winter so Karamatura it was. 

This is near our tentsite.  It's a stunningly beautiful place, and I loved going to sleep to the sound of running water.

Unlike the other Council campsites we've stayed out (which have all been $16 ones - this was $9 and hence more basic) there was only one picnic table.  But it came with a most excellent shelter, and for all but one night we were the only campers, so we mostly kept our stuff spread out all over it.

Our tent from near the shelter

The campsite included a single composting toilet, at the top of this wee hill.  At least half again as high up the same hill was the only place we could get cellphone reception and, whilst it was good enough to download the daily Bible reading liturgy we use on holiday, we never got enough signal to download the weather...

And this was the most challenging part for me - you had to cross across these stones to get from the carpark to the campsite, and from the campsite back to the tracks.  I did spend some time practising stepping between stones and definitely improved by the end of our stay!

Whilst we had the campsite itself to ourselves, around 60 scouts and their leaders were staying at the Karamatura barn paddock campsite just over the hill behind us.  During the day they traveled between various activity stations: we were right next to 'water purification and river crossing'.  It was fun watching the kids and chatting to the leaders between sessions - and I learned a bit, too!

The second night, as we'd warned by the scout leaders it might, it rained quite heavily.  It turned out our tent isn't as waterproof as it used to be, but adding the tarp as a second fly made a world of difference.

Our tent looked like it had grown wings :-)

Before Martin added the tarp a fair few things had gotten wet.  Here they all are drying on a hammock, repurposed as a washing line!

Such a lovely spot to be!


On the Thursday and Friday we didn't do much, but on the Saturday we headed up to the Karamatura Falls.  Last time we'd be in the area the Falls track was shut for Kauri dieback, but I'd been pleased to see it was open again :-)

When we booked the tent site, we saw there was another group booked for the Saturday night.  So, on Saturday, we tidied out stuff up a bit and kept an ear out for visitors.  In the early evening they arrived - on bikes - and Martin popped out to say hello.  He didn't recognise the first couple of people, but then someone called out "look what the cat dragged in!  It's Martin!".  About half the group were folk he plays bike polo with.  They were a friendly lot and I enjoyed chatting with them at dinner - and particularly enjoyed meeting Robbie, whose blog I read on and off.

Suddenly not 'our' campsite any more - an extra nine tents scattered around on Saturday evening.

The holiday was lovely and relaxing, but was marked by a few negatives.  Firstly, on the first night Martin was eating his dinner, when one wing of his glasses simply fell off..  Fortunately we were able to sew them back together (it turned out the metal piece down the centre of the wing had failed), but he's very much looking forward to his new glasses showing up in a few weeks' time!

And then, on Friday afternoon Martin popped back to drop a few things in the car (the road to Huia is much too hilly for me, so we'd borrowed Sarah's car for the weekend) only to find this:


There'd been a bonfire lit between us and the carpark the previous night, and we'd already found heaps of beer cans scattered around it.  Presumably the same group thought destroying a car would be fun...  It was a bit of a shock to come across that, and it did lead to a bunch of phone calls to Sarah and the police and various other hassle, but we decided to stay on and enjoy the rest of the holiday.  On the Saturday the tow truck came to take Sarah's car to the wreckers, and then my parents were kind enough to come out and collect us on the Sunday afternoon.

Discounting the fact the trip led to a destroyed car (!!) it was very economical as well as fun.  Cars aren't great for climate change, but it turns out ferries are even worse.  We didn't account for the tow truck, but including us driving out there then my parents driving out and back to collect us, the trip was only responsible for around 39kg CO2e - about what the planet can absorb per two people over five days.  Not bad for a four day trip!  It also came in at just under $150 :-)

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