Maunga not mountain

Living in the Coromandel Coast town of Tairua we had an amazing view of the harbour and on to Mount Paaku. Having jumped across New Zealand to the west coast our view is so very similar, but now we get to admire the sunset surrounding Mount Karioi every night.

 

When we found our slice of paradise in Tairua we really thought that we would be in that house forever, but as it turned out we were nearly there. We were just on the wrong coast. Blessed with a husband who is a keen surfer, our place of residence was always influenced by the call of the sea. We have spent years calling Muriwai Beach and Gisborne home, but now we feel that Raglan is our final destination (maybe). And as it turns out many others end their journey, searching for the perfect place, here in Raglan. After all the Maori name Whāingaroa means ‘the long pursuit’, which refers to the lengthy search of the Tainui waka ‘canoe’ for a final destination.

Most commonly known as a thoroughfare to the rest of the Coromandel, Tairua which means ‘two tides’ also hosts an awesome surf break when the swells right. Tairua should be known more for its Polynesian fishing lure, which was found during an  archaeological excavation in 1964. The lure is made from a black lipped pearl shell Pinctada margaritifera which is not native to New Zealand. The lure is highly significant because it was made in East Polynesia and brought here, on a waka, with the Polynesian settlers of Aotearoa. It now lives at the Auckland Museum.

 

I always find it interesting that many people call themselves locals of a particular place and yet they know nothing of its history. The double cone volcanic peak that dominates the landscape of Tairua and neighbouring Pauanui ‘large abalone’ is known as Mt Paku, when we should actually be referring to it as Maunga Paku. And paku, which means ‘particle, dried, little and small’ should be pronounced Pakū indicating a long vowel, giving a more fitting meaning for a volcano, of ‘ to make a sudden sound’. Pāku as it’s commonly referred to isn’t even in Maori dictionaries. I was told that it was originally named Paaku which is the Maori name of the fairy’s that lived on the mountain.

In the glorious town of Raglan Whāingaroa Maunga Karioi is a 2.4 million year old extinct volcano, the earliest of a line of 6 calcalkalic volcanoes. The profile of Karioi from Raglan is likened to a ‘Sleeping Lady’ Wahine Moe. Karioi which means ‘to loiter or idle’ could humourously depict the laid back nature of the surfing culture which is evident.

The nearby township of Te Uku is where our children attend school. As if preparing you for your entry into Whāingaroa, Te Uku Roast Office is located beside the school, offering Raglan Roast daily ground coffee! I’d love to learn more about Te Uku and the white clay that it is named after. It would be amazing to use a locally source material in my sculptural work.

Living in Raglan we are surrounded by like-minded people, valuing a laid back lifestyle and appreciating nature. There is a strong awareness and appreciation of the environment and many inhabitants are willing to make a difference.

hari ahau i

 

 

Reminiscing about our retro Coromandel abode

What a funky home we had. We couldn’t believe our luck when we  managed to purchase this much loved 1970’s bach, perched up on Tairua Heights, over looking the harbour and Pauanui. Every room sported different retro wallpaper from the past.

As decorative as it was, the wallpaper was the first to go. In effort to pay tribute to the past, I left a strip of wallpaper in each room, adding to the character? A bucket of warm water and sugar soap was all that was needed. That, and a posse of little people, of which we had a few.

DIY landscaping building pink batts insulation

Installing Pink Batts was an extreme adventure of its own. My husband and I donned our disposable overalls, gardening gloves and glasses and headed for the rafters. It was hot, scratchy and dark. I gave up early in our mission and headed for the showers, leaving hubby in the roof for the rest of the afternoon. I imagined the professional installers, midget ninjas, who we nimble and flexible, flipping from joist to joist, slotting the bales in with ease. We just aren’t built for Pink Batt installation. However if a buck is to be saved, we will give most things a go.

A lot of landscaping later, wrangling in as many volunteer hands as we could, we opened up the view. Anyone who came to visit was put to work. Thankfully we had our own dumping ground for vegetation at the bottom of the section.

We had a lot of fun in the overgrown neglected garden. We encouraged the kids to get involved as we planted natives and fruiting shelter belts of feijoa and a hedge of lavender to encourage the bees. There was always plenty to do, mucking around on our property. What an amazing back drop to our children’s lives.

 

 

 

 

 

Tairua Pipemasters -Brad Smeele Fundraiser

All About the Event

The Tairua Pipemasters was an awesome event, that returned in 2015, to raise funds for Brad Smeele’s recovery. Brad Smeele is an internationally recognised professional wakeboarder, who at 27, unfortunately had a very serious accident, while attempting a trick, in Florida. The accident resulted in Brad shattering his C4 vertebrae,  becoming a quadriplegic.

Brad’s Accident

He is am amazing guy, and the support of his fans, friends and family and his determination has seen him progress. He is truly inspirational and his progress is worth following. He decided he is not going to cut his hair until he walks again! Go Brad!

Brad Smeeles Recovery Facebook Page

The children at Tairua School were fortunate enough to have Brad guest speak at their assembly.

The Brad Smeele Foundation raises funds for his recovery. There are some pretty cool tee shirts and singlets available. 100% of the proceeds from your purchase go directly to the Brad Smeele Foundation to ensure he receives the best possible treatment and care.

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

tairua piemasters brad smeeletairua piemasters brad smeeletairua pipe masters brad smeele

Tairua Wet n Wild

 

Tairua is host to the Wet n Wild event that runs over a summer weekend. It is an action packed couple of days with plenty to see and do! Tairua is a perfect location for such events as it has a great surf beach for those ocean flips and sprays, and a harbour which on full tide, hosts the jet ski races. These include circuit races, a  slalom track and a public novice track for anyone keen to give it a go!

-unfortunately Tairua Wet n Wild is not running in 2016

There is even flyboard demonstrations!

The weekend is action packed with a good ol Kiwi water slide, and those brave enough can jump off the bridge scaffolding and onto the giant inflatable blobby! Fun for the spectators! I was continually laughing at the children being flung into the air, and the water sliders water entry attempts ; ) An awesome weekend!

NZ Jetski on Facebook

The Coromandel

NZ Jetski WetnWild

This post includes photos from last years event.

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

at 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Mill Creek Bird and Animal Encounters

Mill Creek Bird and Animal Encounters, also known as Mill Creek Bird Park, is located 10min South of Whitianga, towards Tairua. There is signage on State Highway 25,  leading you to a dirt road and onto their driveway, lined with mini train tracks ; )

Mill creek bird and animal garden

As you wander the grounds you will find a range of animals for the kids to feed, from donkeys to eels, from to turtles to geese. There is over 400 birds housed in 45 aviaries ranging from tiny finches to huge Macaws.

They have been operating a  Bird & Animal Rescue Centre for the past 3 years, and have DOC authority to hold injured protected wildlife in captivity, so you may get the to opportunity to see New Zealand native birds such as the Ruru (Morepork) or the Kereru (Wood pigeon) up close!

There’s plenty to keep the kids occupied, with mini train rides, a playground and a mini putt. Mum and Dad can relax at the Station Café.

There is even accommodation to suit, whether it’s a campervan park, a self contained unit or B’n’B you need, they can provide it. They will even allow your dog or bird to stay with you at the campground! (prior arrangement)

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Whiti Farm Park Fun!

Whiti Farm Park is located along State Highway 25, between Tairua and Whitianga.

You can’t miss it! Its so decorative and creative, capturing the imagination and excitement all of children and adults that venture through the gates! Many of the structures have been created using recycled pieces and have been built by hand with a lot of love and passion. It is definitely worth a look! Bring a picnic and stay for the day.

Whiti Farm Park is magical playground, with a ship to explore, toadstool tables and a giant trampoline! There so much to keep children of all ages entertained….

….and then there’s the animals!

Buy your kids a bag of animal feed at the office and away they go! It’s obvious how much these animals are loved. Their enclosures are clean and well kept, and the animals all looked very healthy and happy. I would definitely recommend this to anyone!

whiti farm park finger bitten emu

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Golden Hills Battery

 

The Golden Hills Battery  is a short walk which is great for kids, and prams as there aren’t any stairs! It can be a very educational walk as it takes you past two mining tunnels, one with the trolley tracks coming out of it. Unlike other tunnels in these hills, these ones are either unsafe or are still in use, so are closed off to the public. The history of this area is amazing, and the ruins help piece it all together. In 1908 the Golden Hills mine was producing gold on a large scale. By 1910 the stamper battery was built across the river from the mine. Unfortunately production lasted only 3 years.

At the end of the track are the battery ruins. What remains are the concrete foundations with support wires embedded, and huge concrete arches that once supported large cyanide vats.

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Gem of the Boom Creek

So back up Puketui Valley Rd Doug and I went! Today we were just after a short walk, after my epic 14km walk completing in the Surf 2 Firth ; )

6.5km in from the main Highway 25 is the Bridge Carpark. I walked back along the dirt road until I got to the bush entrance (the opposite direction of the white bridge). The Broken Hills  Gem of the Boom track is an easy walk of 20min. It’s really fun for adults as it gives a couple of good opportunities to scare the bejezzes outta the kids!

Take the lower path…

puketui valley broken hills walking track coromandel nz

which leads to a bridge…

puketui valley broken hills walking track coromandel nz gold mining glow worms

and onto the first tunnel, where you can see cave weta. The track is easily followed by locating the orange triangles. The old type are equilateral triangles which are just nailed to a tree, while the new type are more pointed and actually indicate the direction of the track! Much better! Thanks DOC.

Further along you will come across another cave. Now this one is pretty deep. It goes in an L shape, so if you can get ahead of your party and hide, it makes for a good heart attack ; )

It also has a few glow worms. What I like about this cave is that the worms are low down, so you can easily show children the droplet chains that these creatures create to trap bugs, which are attached to the glow worms glow!

More on glowworms

The damp walls glistening with what is probably insect poop, looks like silver and gold!  Very magical ; )

Then, not much further along is the dug out jail cave, where lies a naughty miner!

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

Playing in Puketui Valley

One of my favourite places to play is the Puketui Valley Broken Hills walking tracks. The turn off is pretty much opposite the turnoff to Pauanui on State Highway 25. Morrison Road turns into Puketui Valley Rd, which takes you past the Te Timatanga earthship, and onto a scenic stretch of gravel road. Don’t mistake this road for Puketui Rd, which comes off the Kopu-Hikuai Rd, State Highway 25a.

Make sure you let someone know where you are going and what time you are due back, as there is no cell phone coverage once you’re in there!

Drive across an amazing bridge and you will soon see the tranquil DOC Campsite at Broken Hills (which unfortunately does not allow dogs.) The Broken Hills tracks  do tho, so I took my boy, Doug along for the day.

Further up the road you will come to two different track entry points, and roadside parking. The first offers two short walks, both easy walks and are child friendly.

At the end of  Puketui Valley Rd is the entrance to an array of tracks of varying distances.

I like to photograph the maps if I didn’t already have one, so that once in there I can look back on my phone to see which way to go, or what it is I’ve stumbled upon.

I had about 2 hours to play, so decided on the Collins Track, taking the Water Race Tracks.

As with most New Zealand bush walks, the protection of the native Kauri tree is of great importance. Kauri Dieback refers to the disease Phytophthora agathidicida. The spores from this fungus-like disease live in soil and are spread with soil movement. That is why they ask you to clean your gear after venturing into one of New Zealand’s native forests and to keep to the tracks, staying off the Kauri roots. These tracks however did not have the sanitising stations which I’ve seen at other bush walks.

In the 1900’s Broken Hills was a site for Gold Mining. This type of alluvial mining was tough. It involved digging and sifting through mud, sand and gravel using shovels sieves, or even bare hands. Batteries were built to process the quartz found. The quartz was battered into powder by massive stamper which released the gold particles so they could be chemically recovered using cyanide. This process required water and that’s what the race tracks were built for. To ensure a good supply to the plant.

Gold mining in New Zealand

The track lead through three short tunnels. If you are afraid of the dark, or not keen on weta , I advise you to clamber over the tunnels following the narrow paths!

I took the 3rd Water Race Track, and added an extra 20min to my trek, an awful lot steps but some pretty amazing views!

Then, the descent, which took me past some pretty scary looking old mines and thankfully back to the double tunnels! Oh yay, wetas again!

 

By that stage I was well ready for some open space and enjoyed the fresh scenic walk along the rivers edge….

back to the short bridge I crossed at the start.

But this time I notice a little path just to the right of the Water Race Track. I had a quick peek and saw a cute little stream, and Doug had a drink. The underside of the bridge was pretty cool too. Even if you aren’t into big bush walks, at least park at the end of the Puketui Valley Rd and walk 10min to this little bridge, check out the waterfall, and then 5 min further up are the amazing river views. You won’t be disappointed.

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

Surf to Firth -toughening up

Being new to competitive running/walking I signed up for the 14k walk. I was just ‘Toughening Up’ ; ) My father, who was running the Surf to Firth marathon for the second time was ‘Tough Enough’.

Our bus ride dropped us up at the Waiotahi Block track, where we checked in and waited until our start time of 10am. This was a great time to chat to other competitors and to hear their story’s of how and why they we taking on the challenge. I meet John from Texas who had been Air Bnb’ing around New Zealand with his wife; Glen, whose wife was supporting him while grandparents minded their daughters and a young woman from the UK who has been in New Zealand for 3 weeks and was working and living at the Thames hospital. I’m looking forward to the results to see how these guys all got on!

I was fortunate to find a lovely couple, Andy and Sue from Pauanui, who were travelling at a great pace. I apologised as I tagged along with them for an hour, until we came across the mud. Ooooo and there was lots of it!

Andy has been a volunteer involved in the Pauanui To Tairua Trail which I have previously blogged about! I love the 8km track they have created. He told me of their struggle to find sponsor’s for the project. Check out the link if you think maybe you could contribute!

The first half of the track took an hour and a half, which was pretty good, considering the DOC tramping estimated times.

surf to firth nz new zealand bush walk run coromandel

From this height we came across some pretty amazing views.

The weather was perfect, although it had rained over night, which resulted in some pretty messy sneakers. At some spots there just wasn’t anywhere to go but straight through it. I pitied my father who was yet to come through this part of the track! I wasn’t sure what state he would find it in! I came across a stream, hesitated and put my foot right in it! I tripped once, on the descent and grazed my leg. It was awesome!

Then the 1km mark, and I was out of the bush and walking as fast I could to the finish line and my adoring fans! It was hard to resist the urge to run!

Then a 2 hour wait for my Dad to finish his marathon!

surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel

It was a great race and now I’m hooked! I can’t wait for the next race and will definitely attempt a run rather than a walk, which had it’s own challenges. Sometimes I just wanted to run! And it was hard being overtaken by runners when you know you had it in you to go faster too! Will see how sore I am tomorrow, how my bruise browns up and try and get all that mud off my shoes!

Surf 2 Firth

Before I go, check out this guy’s post:surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel Craig Lovelock

He’s Craig Lovelock and is fundraising for St Catherines Hospice.

A mazing!

surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel Craig Lovelock

52 Marathons Facebook Page

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

info.tairua@xtra.co.nz

Find them on Facebook too!