Kaipara harbour expedition

Just returned from a wonderful week away with Barb and Chris. Chris decided that he wanted to join us on our 5th wheeler + kayak expedition. His last holiday break before leaving home and beginning his first academic year in auckland uni of technology. Will soon be “2 home alone” OMG !

We packed up the 5th wheeler with all the gear including the expedition equipment for our planned kayaking adventure.

The weather was strong easterly so we headed to Glinks gully on the west coast and found a free park over in the front of a bach belonging to a fellow NZMHA ( motor home association) member. Our long time friends Sandy and Gus were up for the weekend at their bach so we spent some fun time with them while we waited for the big easterlies to die down. We joined them for an early morning mullet netting excursion. With only one sweep of the net into the strong surf – we netted about 60 nice sized mullet- it was a case of all hands to the net as the weight of the catch made it a struggle. They have friends- next bach- with a huge fish smoker and we watched as the mullet were expertly cut like open books- in prep for smoking. We saved some regular fillets also which we all enjoyed over a meal with Gus and Sandi.




Sandi was dressed to kill- fish that is!

We headed off after 2 pleasant evenings at “Glinks Gully” to a place called Kelly’s beach in the inside of the Pouto peninsula on the Kaipara harbour. Some very interesting birdlife in these tidal water- these sticky beaks seem to work to the maxim that all beaks should point in the same direction.


Finally by mid week the winds dies back and we packed up our kit and headed off for our kayaking expedition. Destination a small settlement called Tinopai – that offered comfortable camping and hot showers and also a small store. After having no shops for 4 days this sounded rather appealing. The day saw us cover over 18kms and we arrived just as the tide was beginning to run fast out- so we worked hard for the last bit.

The crossing of the kaipara was without incident- we managed to get the slack water – important as this harbour has very fast tide races. It is in fact one of the largest inland harbours in the world – covering an area of 947 square km’s! When the tide starts the run back out it gets speeds of over 5 knots at the narrow heads.

Tinopai was a nice spot to camp and watch the tide retreat. A short walk to the shop and ice-creams and a few extra goodies and a relaxed evening.

We decided to leave the next morning and do a crossing back towards the Pouto peninsula and find a spot to free camp for one last night of adventure. A good crossing for the 12 kms and we only had to fight an outgoing tide in the last km as we made for a suitable spot to camp.We found this great spot – a private maori owned beach ( of our own) and we borrowed it for the night. Fantastic spot- great shade as we again watched the tide retreat.Can you see the pic of barbara waving to me as I was taking the photo onto this beach?( third pic down – in middle)


We paddled back to Kelly’s beach on thursday and Chris took the little P and drove himself home. Barb and I packed up and headed off the Kai-iwi lakes for a last evening before heading home. Such a beautiful spot.
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Barb’s 48th birthday was heralded from this wonderful peaceful vista of the lake. We enjoyed a relaxed morning- brilliant clear dawn- the sun and the stunning view from the 5th wheeler. The water was warm and we both had a dip before heading home – then dinner out to celebrate in style.

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