Archives For Coromandel

Brown kiwi live in the North Island. There are four distinct forms, including the Coromandel brown kiwi.

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During his three-month stay at Fantail Bay campsite in the Coromandel, Camp Manager Frederick Church took a photo of every sunset . He shares a selection for your viewing pleasure.

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Greg Van Der Lee started life in DOC as a goat hunter. He now works in Hauraki as a Partnerships Ranger—engaging more people in conservation. Come behind the scenes and into Greg’s world…

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Today’s photo shows one of the Coromandel brown kiwi relocated to predator-free Motutapu Island in the Hauraki Gulf last week.

Kiwi being released on Motutapu. Photo by Kiwis for Kiwi.

It was the biggest ever single translocation of Coromandel brown kiwi and was done to create new diversity and future-proof the species.

Did you know?

There are 5 kiwi species:

  • Little spotted kiwi on several offshore islands and at Karori Sanctuary in Wellington
  • Great spotted kiwi/roroa in the northern South Island
  • Brown kiwi in the North Island
  • Rowi at Okarito, on the West Coast of the South Island
  • Tokoeka in the South Island (Fiordland, the Haast Range and on Stewart Island) and on Kapiti Island.

2 of the 5 kiwi species have distinct geographical varieties within them:

  • Brown kiwi have four geographically and genetically distinct forms: Northland, Coromandel, western and eastern.
  • Tokoeka also have four distinct geographical forms: Haast, northern Fiordland, southern Fiordland, and Stewart Island.

A $1.5 million plan to turn Great Mercury Island into a pest-free wildlife sanctuary was revealed this week.

To profile this announcement we’ve chosen this photo—taken at sunset in Peach Tree Cove, on Great Mercury Island—for our ‘Photo of the Week’.

Sunset on Great Mercury Island.  Photo: Nev10 (cc)

Great Mercury Island (also known as Ahuahu) is owned by Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite. It is located off the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula (seen in the distance in this photo) and is one of seven islands that make up the Mercury Islands. The other six islands are DOC-managed nature reserves.

Photo by Neville10/flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

By Herb Christophers

Since I was a nipper in the backyard with an old woven mat pegged to the fence line, I have enjoyed camping outdoors! My first real pup tent was demolished in short order. It was like a light bed sheet held up by toothpicks’ – looked good but didn’t work properly!’

Herb's family campsite.

Herb’s family camp site

So, by the time I had been tramping over many years in many places – mostly with just a fly or a small tent, I was a dyed-in-the-wool camper! I did not find it difficult to adapt to a larger canvas tent when a family came along. I just applied the same principles as my lightweight days and accepted that I did not have to carry the load on my back!

Ashley from Greenland learns to turn a steak

Ashley from Greenland learns to turn a steak

My wife would have liked a spiral staircase but they don’t do those in canvas. Even so, I wondered how we used to fill the three rooms of a canvas mansion that spilled out to resemble a small village after the kids had decided that they wanted their own little tents! In spite of this, we have always kept it simple and resisted the temptation to get too high tech which is why we prefer the less well appointed campsites. We enjoy places where making do gives you a real sense of achievement and a healthy respect for the environment and what it can provide.

The kids hang out

The kids hang out

Over the years we have had some great camping holidays and my wife and I still take a small tent away with us to pitch at a convenient DOC campsite.

Coastal areas have always been favourites. The sounds and smells of the sea are so relaxing and even the sound of the wind tugging in the trees is something that keeps me in touch with the forces of nature. I tend to be a bit of a geek too. Out come the binocs – kaka here, dotterel there, heron over yonder by the banded rail… Summer in the sun!

Variable oystercatcher spotted at the beach.

Variable oystercatcher spotted at the beach

So, as summer holidays approach I bust out the tent and all the other paraphernalia, pitch it in the backyard to check it out and think back a few decades to when the adventure began!

Camping near the coast, looking out to Slipper Island.

Camping on the Coromandel coast

By Herb Christophers, 28 December 2011

In the North Island, gold mining was a key part of the Coromandel’s early development. Similarly, in the South Island, Otago was the centre of the gold rush in the 1800’s. Today, both Coromandel and Otago offer great family camping and sight seeing, and a golden opportunity for those who like to get off the beaten track.

Today I’m going to show you around the Coromandel. We’ll head down to Otago on Wednesday.

A little paddler practices in the shallows

Coromandel – Off the grid but on the internet

The sun shines, the surf bubbles on the beach, pohutukawa blossom and people’s minds turn to summer.

Like generations before them, people repeat the summer migration from urban sprawl to that place where priorities get re-ordered. Where meeting old friends is more important than meeting deadlines. It’s a place that has become part of family folklore and generation after generation, the families keep coming back.

These days with technology, ‘coming back’ can start when you let your fingers do the walking on the DOC online booking system. Some Coromandel gems are off the grid—no cell phone reception in some places—but they are on the internet.

Let’s have a look at the great opportunities that beckon from the click of a mouse.

Colville

Colville is an interesting place. Not long after you drive through this small settlement, the road turns to gravel, the cell phone drops out and you drive past the last place to get an ice cream! Mind you, there is a truck that does the rounds of the DOC campsites and ice cream is one of their staples.

A left turn, to continue up the western coastline leads to three stunning campsites. A right turn takes you over to the East Coast either up to Stony Bay, or on the circuit back past Waikawau Bay via Kennedy Bay to Coromandel.

Stony Bay

This is the far eastern end of the line for the top of the Coromandel

After you leave Colville, the short climb over the hill to the eastern side of the peninsula leads to a fork in the road. The choice to turn right at the bottom of the hill is the path most taken towards Waikawau Bay. Turning left however, takes you further up the East Coast to the remote beach at Stony Bay.

Stony Bay is a deep inlet, flanked by the bush-clad hills of Mount Moehau. This is the far eastern end of the line for the top of the Coromandel. From the 5-hectare campground, you can drop down to the sea to go fishing or diving, otherwise follow the Coromandel Walkway to Fletcher Bay or loop high up the hill on the mountain bike track (grade: intermediate).

As a standard DOC campsite, Stony Bay has good facilities. There is water from the tap, toilets, a barbeque and even a cold shower. That’s a good excuse to take your solar shower.

You can book via the online booking system.

Longitude: 175.4226609
Latitude: 36.5125151

Waikawau Bay

Hungry boys come back from the shop

Waikawau Bay campsite is DOC’s most popular site in the North Island and it’s not difficult to see why—a stunning beach, an open camp site and relative isolation.

In spite of its popularity, it is easy to get away from other campers, if that’s what you want, and the beach, which stretches to the north, is a great place to do just that—you might have to share the sand with NZ dotterels and oystercatchers, they are all busy with nesting around the summer period. Just remember, it’s no holiday for them!

Waikawau Bay campground has undergone a transformation in the last few years as flood prone areas in the camp are retired and others are brought into use to cope with the demand during the peak season.

The camp shop can keep you supplied with essentials.

Longitude: 175.538218
Latitude: 36.6061165

Fantail Bay

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt

Fantail Bay faces west onto the Hauraki Gulf under the giant pohutukawa trees that characterise the coastal vegetation in the Coromandel. The westerly aspect keeps the day warm, and dappled light through the trees keeps the tent sites cool in the hot midday sun.

The fishing must be good because last summer when I was there, some campers I met were throwing back the snapper under 10 pounds (why do fishers still talk in pounds? New Zealand went metric in about 1972).

It was a fishing competition among the camping families who have been coming back for four generations and it wasn’t just the oldies catching the big ones!  Having a boat is a good idea.

Fantail Bay campsite has a toehold to a corner of the Coromandel Forest Park and the track behind the camp leads up towards Mount Moehau. In the evening you can climb up the steep hill track for about 30 minutes and hear kiwi. There are a few pairs up there and the pest control operations by MEG (Moehau Environment Group), local iwi, and DOC allow them to thrive.

Longitude: 175.3283698
Latitude: 36.523345

Port Jackson

With Granddad in front of the campsite

Shoehorned onto the sandy strip between the beach and the road, this long thin campsite is very popular and it is easy to see why.

The safe beach is at the front of your tent, the pohutukawa and dunes are all around you and the northerly aspect means you have sunshine for most of the day. This makes it an idyllic spot to camp and to launch your boat. The sandy beach sweeps east to the Muriwai walkway that begins at the headland and travels along the coastal cliff towards Fletcher Bay. The views from up there are stunning in all directions and recent pest control work has seen the cliff-dwelling pohutukawa trees coming back strongly to provide a spectacular sight in the early summer.

The chances to paddle, swim and fish in this area are countless and with a family friendly atmosphere, Port Jackson makes a great summer camping site that’s away from the madding crowd. If you are missing your phone fix, the northern-most phone box in the Coromandel is outside the camp gate, but obviously you can’t text on it. Just carry on camping.

Longitude: 175.3416975
Latitude: 36.4840486

Fletcher Bay

Eager to get back to playing

It’s the end of the line here. If you go any further east, it will have to be on foot or on a bike around the Coromandel Walkway to Stony Bay.

The old timers will tell you of the days of camping in a sheep paddock. These days, it’s a bit more organised, and a bit more popular. It’s still raw, but with intensive plantings over the last winter, and a bit of subtle landscape management, the place will be stunning in a very short time.

Hardly surprising, the fishing is still good and the location, looking out towards Great Barrier Island, is an image straight off the lid of an old biscuit tin. If you need more salubrious accommodation, there is the backpackers lodge at the back of the campground.

Longitude: 175.3907775
Latitude: 36.4777358