Tag Archives: Camping

Exploring Tawharanui Regional Park

We have been camping at Tawharanui for about 15 years now and still haven’t done all the walks. Probably because when we get there we tend to go into major relaxation mode and just move between the campground and the beach. OK that makes us sounds more lazy than I would like – we do run out to the end of the peninsular andjumping around in the surf is a great workout. There are lots of tracks to run here ( usually we are camping in a group so the kids stay at the camp with friends ) and my husband and I run together but more recently we have camped by ourselves and of course we still wanted to run ( coz that’s what we do ) so we take the kids mountain bikes and all had an awesome time doing a 10km loop round the peninsula enjoying stunning views from every angle while on Takahe watch. Yes that’s right Takahe were recently introduced to the park and while we didn’t see them this time we saw 3 last time we were there. Even if you don’t see the Takahe the bird song in the bush is amazing and we ticked a few more birds off our bird spottinglist, Saddleback this time.

Now I’m not much of a bird watcher but there is an impressive list of birds to be found in the regional park. We found that when we camp by ourselves we are more motivated to explore so did more bird watching and ticked another walk of the list. The Maori Bay coastal walk starts and finishes at the Lagoon carpark near the park entrance, and can be walked in either direction. We walked around the coast first after checking the tide times very carefully.  We had a near disaster ( stranding ) on a coastal walk earlier in the year – lets just say children were carried on shoulders and my husband got quite wet.

At the start of this walk ( heading north around the coast ) there is a tide chart to avoid any tide disasters. While the main North facing beaches at Tawharanui are known for their glistening white sand, the Kawau Island side of the peninsula is rocky so be prepared to rock hop for about 1 hour. The views out to Kawau Island are of course stunning with lots of bird life to enjoy (shags and gannets ) and the rock pools were teaming with sea life to make the walk fun for everyone. Its a very peaceful walk with no other people around. When you get to Maori Bay ( a little hard to know exactly which bay it is ) there is an exit track up a cliff pathway which joins back onto the main trail network. We didn’t think the sign for the track was very easy to see so keep your eyes peeled for the stairs. It was then an easy 35 minute walk back through the bush where our Takehe watch could continue and of course we got to do some more bird spotting.

More information on Tawharanui regional park.

Tawharanui Regional Park
Tawharanui Regional Park

How we like to camp

Our family loves camping and has many happy memories spent in campgrounds all around New Zealand. We recently started looking at upgrading our camper trailer and it got me to thinking that the camper trailer ( if you aren’t familiar with the term it’s the featured image for this post ) is probably the easiest and possibly cheapest ways to get into camping.

My husband and I both spent out childhoods camping with our families. My husband spent the summers in a borrowed canvas tent ( borrowed from the local scouts where my father-in-law was Scout leader ) with no floor and wasn’t very waterproof.  I on the other hand spent the winters ( yes the winters, we kayaked and there was more water in the river in winter ) in a camper trailer or VW combi van with the kids ( and one of those kids was me ) in a tent. My husband and I both camped in Department of Conservation campgrounds as children, where the biggest luxury is a long drop toilet.

Unfortunately I didn’t initially embrace camping as an adult as I thought I had an allergy to the grass and camping was quite annoying as my feet would end up lumpy and painful. Turns out that my feet are very sensitive to the sun and my feet issues were resolved with some spray on sunscreen so thankfully we could happily buy our first tent and embrace camping as adults.

We had many happy years in our tiny dome tent that we couldn’t stand up in, and packing everything in to the car at night as there was no room in the tent to store it. After a fabulous road trip around the Taranaki region, we decided to upgrade to a tent that we could stand up in with a vestibule. I am not really sure what a vestibule is but I do love the sound of the word. Of course with our bigger tent we had more space for things so bought a wee table and camping pantry.

No sooner had we taken the tent for its maiden journey than we discovered we were having our first child …hmm might need to add a room onto that tent. When we were a family of three we enjoyed many camping weekends away. And at this point I might lose my adventure mumma street cred when I say that two kids made me less so inclined to pack up the tent and head away camping. Not to mention we would have needed camping bunks to fit into our tent.

And so I have to hand it to my awesome bunch of friends who got us back into camping when our kids were a little older.

And time for another tent ( yes that’s our third tent )….a 3 room one this time. Very luxurious. And with all that space we bought another table and a comfier airbed.

And yes at this point we had such a big tent and so much stuff to put in the tent ( I might camp but I don’t like to lower my standards ) that we had to hire a trailer to get everything in. Packing was quite an undertaking and we found we weren’t going away camping as much we would have liked.

Enter the camper trailer…beds, bedding, table, seating, cooker, plates, gin glasses  ( enough for the whole campground if you are like me ) all packed up and ready to go. We love our camper, its so much easier to pack ( all we need to pack is clothes and food ), easy to set up, robust canvas that has never leaked in the rain, doesn’t get blown around in the wind and the canvas is so dark that the kids even sleep in when we are camping.

We recently spent 3 weeks travelling around the South Island in our camper trailer and thoroughly enjoyed it.

When I look at all the camping gear we have bought over the years I think the best place to start would have been a camper trailer.

Top tip:

If you want ease of packing and setting up look into getting a camper trailer. You can spend $30,000 on a new flash one but we got ours second hand for $2,500 which we estimate would have been about the same amount as the camping equipment we have bought over the years. The time saving on packing is priceless and because its easier to pack we go camping a lot more and even go away for one night, which we wouldn’t have done with the tent.