7th Feb., 2011
On the Farm
After many days on the road, we decided we’d like to just find a nice place and hang out there for a little while, before the excitement of Waitangi Day and coming to the farm. So on Friday morning we packed up camp first thing and drove straight for the DOC’s “Forest Pools” free campsite on the Waipapa River, not far up the road from the farm here. It is an absolutely stunning spot, with the campsite shaded by tree ferns and overlooking the deep, clear swimming holes formed by the rocky-bottomed river. It’s also the local swimming place, to there were plenty of other people there during the days (especially Saturday, which was just scorching hot), but we had the campsite to ourselves for nights and evenings.
(Click on Photos to Enlarge)
A cool structure built by a family that was at the river on Friday.
We spent all day Friday there, cooking a delicious brunch of pancakes and eggs and sausages right after we arrived, and then spent the rest of the day lying in the sun, swimming in the river (yes, we went skinny dipping before other people showed up), and enjoying the beauty of the place. After lunch, we took the surfboards and paddled up the river, which was very clear, and surrounded by amazing scenery at every bend. Paddling up it with the sun beating down was pretty nice:
(I know the light makes it look like I'm topless, but I assure you I am not :)
Upstream, we discovered a set of small rapids. This made for lots of fun, as we waded to the top and then sped down them on our boards!
Saturday saw the whole neighborhood arriving at the swimming holes, so it was pretty loud all day, but fun with family noise. I made a run to the nearest village in the morning for a few beers and some ice for the chilly bin, but other than that we just stayed put all day, with the novelty of not going anywhere for a day! Matt paddled upstream again, while I stayed in camp, reading and dozing and dipping in the river every 20 minutes. It has been SO HOT this week, it’s absolute death in the van, but very nice in the shade with a place to swim whenever you like! The river was just cool enough to be refreshing, and the spot was so nice, we wanted to take it home with us! We whiled away Saturday afternoon playing cribbage (Matt beat me rather epicly twice in a row) and cooking dinner in the shade, losing track of time and not minding it a bit. We wore our togs from sunup to sundown, and it was great! I think we’ve gone swimming, either in lake, river, or ocean, every day for the last week. That’s the life!
Evening in camp:
And a couple views of the landscape around the Bay of Islands:
And, for good measure, sunrise at our riverside campsite: