by Malcolm Street
About 45 minutes north of Auckland there’s a selection of sights and sounds to be discovered simply by joining up the dots of a few caravan/tourist parks and taking time out to visit a few other locations in between.
Heading from south to north, the first of these is Waiwera Thermal Park. Waiwera is easily bypassed if you take the Northern Gateway Toll Road, so be sure to take the Hibiscus Coast Highway instead.
Waiwera itself is quite a small village and the caravan park really doesn’t achieve a four star rating, but camping on one of the waterfront sites is certainly an wonderful attraction. Another is taking the short walk to the Waiwera Infinity Thermal Spa Resort. There’s nothing like a relaxing hour or so in the thermal waters there after a day on the road; especially as staying at the caravan park gets a good entry discount! An important tip when staying at Waiwera is that there is only a small shop there, so stock up for your evening meal beforehand or plan to visit a restaurant in the nearby town of Orewa.
Just north of Waiwera is Wenderholm Park. A very rural and scenic place, it’s possible to camp there and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet whilst taking a few short walks and observing the birdlife by day or the stars by night.
A little further long the Hibiscus Coast Highway is the historic town of Puhoi. Famous for some of its historic buildings it’s also home to the Puhoi Cheese factory, where you’ll find something for every taste in cheese - not to mention an excellent café for just about everything else.
A walk around Puhoi reveals some clues to its historic past including one of the smallest town libraries I have ever seen. Then there is the village pub, which not only serves good meals and drinks but also contains some very interesting memorabilia from past and present!
Heading further north to Warkworth and then heading east out to Sandspit, the Sandspit Holiday Park is worth booking into. I first stayed here some years ago and one of its memorable features was the little historic downscaled ‘village’ they have created. If nothing else it makes for some interesting viewing, as well as for keen photographers a Kodak Shop that has an interesting display of historic cameras. Anyone planning an evening meal out should head for Warkworth as there isn’t much on offer around the Holiday Park itself.
All of these attractions can be visited easily in less than a day, of course, but taking a little more time it’s easy to enjoy some of the sights and sounds that are a short step away from the big city but a million miles from care. And if you’re an Aussie holidaying in NZ, just grab a camper for two or three days and really make the most of this fascinating area.
For the full article download Issue 12 of iMotorhome eMagazine by clicking on the link below.