Saturday 10 December 2022

Camping at Wenderholm

Life's been a bit busy recently, but I've finally found time to share photos of a lovely holiday Martin and I had 4 weeks back, at Wenderholm.  We'd originally intended to camp at Ambury Park (the only council campsite within accessible biking distance from our house), but it was solidly booked for the dates we had in mind.  Various more-obvious alternatives also fell through and eventually we landed on the Schischka campground, a wee bit up the Puhoi River from Wenderholm beach.

a neat detail in the posts at the Silverdale bus station

To get there we caught the bus into town, the bus up to Silverdale and the bus to Waiwera.  I've never been to Waiwera for anything other than the (currently non-operational) hot pools - it turns out there's a rather lovely beach there :-)



After lunch at the beach we walked a small way up the main road then along part of the Wenderholm regional park perimeter track to our campground.  We've never been camping together without our bikes.  It took a bit of effort to get all our gear (and four days' food) into two packs, and we definitely felt it over the 40-ish minutes it took to carry all our stuff (approx 40kg!!) from Waiwera to the campsite, but it was nice to know we can do it.  There aren't many campsites accessible by bike, train and ferry, so hopefully this will open up a few more car-free options for us!

our two big packs on the bus

all set up with our new tent.  It doesn't have a vestibule, so we made one with the tarp.

enjoying dinner the first night

The campsite was a bit more basic than we were expecting.  The council camp grounds have two different prices (either $8 or $16 a night).  This was one of the more expensive ones, and the others of those that we've stayed at have had cold outdoor showers and picnic tables.  This did have flush loos, but neither showers nor tables.  I was grateful for the wee bollards near our tent site - sometimes to sit on, other times for back support.

looking back to the campsite from the wide expanse of the Puhoi River.  It's very much estuary at this point, and I was surprised that the water tasted distinctly salty, but didn't leave a salty residue on my skin like seawater does.

Unfortunately, partway through, Martin tore our 'new' tent whilst adjusting the fabric.  I tried to patch it, and caused further rips with every stab of my needle.  Presumably, whilst not heavily used, our new-to-us tent was fairly old, as the fabric was pretty brittle.  Fortunately a re-arrangement of the tarp meant we were able to stay nice and dry!  I'm now waiting for some rip-stop tape to arrive from China to mend it properly.  Hopefully we'll still get some good use of it, now we know to be careful.


resting in the cool under the tarp.  Most days were sunny, and the tent itself got pretty hot.

Most of the time we spent lying around listening to an audio book together, between a few swims and short-distance wanders, but on the middle day we did the Maungatauhoro Te Hikoi track.

it starts at the gorgeous avenue of plane trees at the main park entrance

the Puhoi river from one of the lookouts - our campsite is off to the left of the picture

Wenderholm beach is along the front edge of the peninsula that sticks into the mouth of the Puhoi river

in a grassy patch I spotted these glorious intensely-blue flowers.  I think they're flax-leaved blue pimpernell - related to the scarlet pimpernell we get in our own grass all the time, but not at all related to the speedwell they made me think of.

So happy to be able to stride along in the bush!

I was fascinated by how sheer all the land in the area was.  One of these is the Mahurangi Peninsula; I can't remember what the others are.

picnic lunch at the beach after our walk.  We went for a swim after this, and the beach was so beautiful, but I didn't take any photos.  It was absolutely perfect weather.

Me resting after the big walk.  I wanted to be in the sun to warm up (I always get really cold after exertion, and there's no handy electric blanket when we're camping), but didn't want to get burned!

The next day we wandered a short distance along the river and spent some time sitting in gloriously gnarled pohutakawa.

And then it was time to pack up and go home.  It's always astonishing to me, seeing a comfortable 'home' disappear into a few bags.

all that's left is some yellowed grass

Coming home, we stopped for lunch in town and watched some guys fishing off the wharf, as well as having yummy ice creams.  Civilisation has its benefits!

It was such a good break, and good to do before Just Kai got super-busy in the run up to various Christmas-related commitments.  And, it turns out that catching the bus rather than a ferry made for a very low-carbon holiday - only around 48kg CO2e, compared with 70kg CO2e when we went to Waiheke :-)


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