OHOPE & WHAKATANE
ROAD TRIP (PART 1)
Our friends’ daughter participated in the yearly OXFAM 50km walking which was held in Whakatane (300km from Auckland). OXFAM is a world-wide development organisation that mobilises the power of people against poverty.
This was the ideal opportunity for us to see more of New Zealand and we left with our friends on a Friday afternoon for our first camping experience in New Zealand.
Ohope was the first spot where we pitched our tent. It is only 6km from Whakatane and the beach is one of New Zealand’s most loved beaches.
Fortunately, our friends had a big enough tent in order for us to share with them
It was interesting to see how the camping grounds differs from those in South Africa. The first thing we noticed is that there were no “braai” (barbeque) facilities at each camping spot … this is something that you will always find when camping in South Africa. There were a couple of gas grillers at a central point … but “yeah nah” … you know our feeling about these 😉.
We were also amazed at how well-equipped the other facilities were at their camping grounds. The communal kitchen had stoves, fridges, basins and even toasters for everyone to use.
A very well-equipped kitchen at Ohope camping grounds
There was also an area where you could sit and eat, as well as soft couches to relax with a TV playing in the background.
Even a dining room and soft couches!
On further investigation we found a game room, as well as a small ‘theatre’ where you can watch movies!
A game room and a mini theatre … wow!
We were – to say the least – quite surprised to have found all of these luxuries at a camping ground! Back in South Africa, you take your tent and everything you will need to enjoy a weekend in nature – away from your home environment. And for entertainment, we usually sit around a fire and enjoy just being outdoors … no tv’s or sometimes even no WiFi!
Maybe there are camping grounds here in New Zealand that looks different … and maybe Ohope is just a very ‘classy’ camping ground!
We watched the sun set on our first evening of camping … and also saw some clouds that mean we will probably have some rain during the night …
The sun set on our first night of camping in New Zealand
Yep, it did rain during the night and we had to scramble inside the tent to find dry ground – except for Berto, who choose the only dry spot in the tent! What is camping without memories like these!
In the morning we had to take everything out of the tent to dry out in the sun 🤪
We spent some time on Ohope’s lovely beach. I can see why this beach is very busy during the high summer season – 11km’s of uninterrupted, white Pacific beach sand … just beautiful. After last night’s rain, it was not so hot that we wanted to test the water, but it was great to just sit on the beach and enjoy this beautiful place.
It was great to feel the sand between our toes on Ohope’s beach – really beautiful
The rest of the day, we spent at different places near Whakatane where Megan (our friends’ daughter) and her team were walking the OXFAM trail. There were many spots on this route where we could sit and relax. The different teams would then stop at each of these rest points, have something to eat and drink before they continue walking.
Berto & Werner enjoy a moment of laughter at one of the rest points of the OXFAM trail
It was only late in the evening that Megan and her team finished their 50km hike. There was a festive mood at the finish point, with tents where you could buy something to eat and drink.
Some colourfull chairs at the finish point of OXFAM 2019
Megan and her friends completed their 50km OXFAM trail – well done girls!
We enjoyed our day exploring Ohope and Whakatane and it was great to see the spirit of caring that was displayed by the participants of OXFAM 2019.
… I saw this world map at Ohope camping grounds … and had to laugh …
New Zealand – On top of the world!
Tomorrow we will leave Ohope and Whakatane to see more new places … we were particularly looking forward to experience the well-known Hot Water Beach at Hahei.