We have some pretty decent spots in New Zealand. Take, for example, Tapapakanga Regional Park on the Firth of Thames. Horrible place…
I took the boys up to QBE (North Harbour) Stadium to watch the All Whites begin the latest phase of their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign then we overnighted at Tapapakanga on the way home.
The All Whites played New Caledonia and we won 2-0 but probably should have won by more. Still, it was a result, three points and, as there are no easy games in international football anymore, we had to be happy with that. It was a damn sight better than the dire performance in the return match a few days later.
While we were at football Jean had driven the camper to Tapapakanga then began firing through photos on WhatsApp of the spot she’d set up at – basically a step out the door then two steps more and you’re on the beach.
I looked at the pics, looked at the boys slapping each other, looked at the football and thought about hitting the road. I stuck it out to the end and we were on the road soon enough.
The drive there was neat, particularly once we left the motorway at Hill Road. Through the countryside at Clevedon, past Kawakawa then over the windy bits which eventually took us to where we were going…it’s a great New Zealand road.
The park was virtually empty. Only us and a couple of tents. There was a bit of drizzle when the boys and I arrived, but we had our camper so we were fine. The photos didn’t lie.
Next morning the sun was back. It’s not often you get to roll out of bed and onto the beach. The kids didn’t even bother getting out of their jarmies. They were setting up shop in some of the ancient over-hanging trees, chucking stones in the sea, climbing the rocks…all without needing a tablet or phone. It was nice while it lasted.
We hung out at the beach for a few hours before heading home, via lunch at Kaiaua’s Pirate park. For the second trip in a row we were in two vehicles, so Nathan and I in the big red made it home much quicker, despite spending much of the trip home guiding Jean through some of the Hauraki Plains’ most interesting back roads.
Our not-so-secret favourite family location