When you have a camper you start discovering places you didn’t know existed. Some are even right on your doorstep.
The Waikato River, with its system of hydro dam-inspired lakes is literally minutes away from where we live. Lake Arapuni has some good spots, but it’s on Lake Karapiro that the Barlow family found a tidy little gem.
The Horahora Domain, which I guess is pretty well known, laps the edge of Karapiro as the Waikato River ends one of its longer south/north stretches and is home to the Piarere Waterski Club. In summer it’s a busy, bustling place to be. Horahora is chocker with motorhomes, caravans and people enjoying the lake.
But this ain’t what’s drawn us to the place.
Set beyond the ski club is what looks like a thin, rolling paddock waiting for the cows from the neighbouring farm. It is, actually, AJ’s Park and, we’ve found, is a great little location for a short break from home.
Firstly, as full disclosure, I haven’t actually spent a night out there myself. Being as it’s so close to home it’s pointless to get a house sitter in so someone has to stay home to look after our pets (we have a ten year old black Labrador and four cats – two are ours, two are squatters) and, of course, Jean loves to pull rank. But I’ve been out there to enjoy the sun during the day and early evening and even toasted marshmallows with the family. So, all but.
For a fairly minimal cost of $5 per person, per night you get a variety of pozzies to choose from, all within metres of the lake. The facilities are at the south end of the site and include a small shed with all the essentials – shower, reading material, golf clubs… There’s also a flush toilet next door. You’ll even find a gas BBQ, basin and a brazier for when it gets cold (or if you fancy toasting marshmallows). And a little jetty and rope swing for the kids.
When the sun’s out there aren’t too many nicer places to sit in the shade, beer in hand, and contemplate 3-4-3 versus 4-2-3-1…until being interrupted by a screaming two year old who doesn’t understand the meaning of quiet time.
Mobile reception appears to be a bit dodgy if you’re on Vodafone (but, according to Jean, good if you’re on Spark). I suffered when we were out there in early December and I was trying to livestream the National Futsal League final in which WaiBOP was playing Canterbury. We (WaiBOP) got beaten, so it was probably a good thing I struggled, but reception is something to always be mindful of. So if you’re planning to watch the football on-line out there you should probably be prepared.
Actually, Vodafone – sort it out please (because I know you’re reading this…).
Honestly, being new to the whole motor home gig, I’m not sure how well known this place is. It’s on the NZMCA app, so you can find it easy enough. I reckon you should. Alternatively, just phone Alan on 027 484 4097 or Joanne on 027 240 6528 to let them know you’re coming, head through Horahora Domain, enter using the gate next to the ski club, and set yourself up (and don’t forget to wander down to the hut to pay your five bucks).