Camping on the Beach

One thing I learned after moving here… New Zealanders love to camp!   I grew up in Arkansas and have memories of camping at the lake or a river. My girls had not experienced a tent until moving to New Zealand and that was mostly due to my desire to not sleep on the ground.  I finally agreed once Andrew purchased a 3 room tent with air mattresses, cooking gear and extra warm sleeping bags.  Bonus New Zealand does not have snakes!  Here we are set-up with our full size refrigerator.  “Glamping” would be a more fitting description!

IMG_7361 We did a test run at Lake Rotorua last year over a long weekend. I really wanted to camp on the beach though and Waihi Beach’s Top 10 Holiday Resort was perfect.  There is no wonder they request summer bookings months in advance due to the amenities of this camp.  They have tent space right next to beach, pool, spa, playground, kitchens, movie room, fitness center, under 5 area, jump pillow, kids club and more.

The sunrise on our 1st morning there!

IMG_7403Each morning I would go for a walk on the beach while the girls attended the kids’ club activity.  They did driftwood boats races, cooking, crafts, etc.  The girls looked forward to playing with other children and I enjoyed my hour or two break!  Here the girls are showing off their driftwood boats.

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I understand now why so many Kiwis invest in a bach or caravan and disappear to the beach every summer.  Look at these views from my morning walks!

The weather did not cooperate with us on the 1st few days.  The wind being particularly strong kept us off the beach. Luckily my friends came to the rescue by taking us on local walks.

Dickeys Flat is a campsite located on the Waitawheta River and a walkway leads to a popular swimming hole.  Make sure to bring a torch as you walk through mines first which have uneven surfaces and can be muddy. The river water is cold so Aubrey borrowed a wetsuit to go jump off rocks with her friends.  The water temperature and lack of wetsuit kept me observing from the side.  Thank goodness I had friends willing to swim out with Aubrey!

Our next walk took us over to Orokawa Bay.  The track leads you over a hill with great views of the Pacific Ocean before arriving at a secluded white sand beach.  The walk took us about 45 minutes each way.  Too bad the weather was not a little nicer…

Waihi town offered activity options too.  We took a heritage train ride from Waihi and Waikino one afternoon. The views were amazing and the conductor entertained the girls even allowing them to wear his special conductor’s hat and stamped a train on their arms.

Back at the camp we swam, built sandcastles, boogie boarded and fed the eels.  About dinner time people would joke about wine o’clock. The evenings consisted of card games, family movies and laughing with friends.

IMG_7478 from Amber Herden on Vimeo.

This was such an incredible 10 days with my only regret being Andrew’s work schedule keeping him away during the weekdays.   Camping on a New Zealand beach should be on everyone’s bucket list!