Oh dear, we thought about dropping the pop top on the Toy before bed, forecast was for some strong winds overnight, but we were that tired from the poor night's sleep last night, it was to bed we went a tad after 9 pm and clean forgot all about it. So it was no surprise then, when the Toy started to rock and the canvas on the pop top started flapping that I was woken by it. Time was midnight! I woke first, nudged Ian (none too happy) explained my worry, and I'll say this about Ian, when he wants to move he can! Okay, okay... I hear you all are saying, I should have got up and done it myself but this poor lady is weak and feeble and hasn't the strength to either drop it down or lift it up, so I'm afraid it's all down to my 'man that can'! Anyway once closed we tried to resume our slumber, Ian fell asleep almost straight away, me I lay awake for what seemed like hours listening to the wind and beating rain. Of course, I fell asleep eventually and next thing I knew it was gone 7 am.
The route we chose today was back to Dargaville, then onto the SH12 to Brynderwyn, down the SH1 to Wellsford and turn off onto SH16 for Helensville. The plan was to get to Auckland and book up the Sky Tower Walk and possibly another Dolphin cruise. We could have gone straight down the SH1, not for us, another route was to be explored.
A signpost pointing toward Piroa Falls had Ian almost doing a hand break turn. Another Falls to see?
The tarmac road ended and onto another gravel road. Hmm, something
familiar about that bridge we thought. Then it clicked! We had already
been there, admittedly from a different direction but no doubt about it as we arrived. No point in going again so turned around and headed
back. See post HERE
Back on track, and it was all stop at another lookout. On the SH16 and oh for a clear and sunny day. Someone must have heard me because for the briefest of moments the sun put in an appearance just as I clicked the shutter.
More roadworks. Forget how long the sat nav tells you it will take to reach your destination, add another 30 minutes, and it would be nearer the mark. This time not traffic lights, just a cone in the centre of the lane!
|The chap controlling the traffic was up the bank.|
Bad weather was coming. You could see the darkening skies in the distance and the clouds took on a threatening formation of their own.
Before the deluge hit us in the distance were strange shapes. It was on the Kaipara Coast Highway 16 between Wellsford and West Auckland. Apparently it is an open-air park containing the biggest collection of large outdoor sculptures in New Zealand. Owner Alan Gibbs bought the property in 1991 to escape the English
winter and over the past 25 years has transformed the 400 hectares into what it is today. It is open to the public but only on certain days. We knew little if nothing about it, I looked it up on the web when we stopped in Auckland.
The rain started and boy did it rain, lightening all around, and we knew we were in for a difficult journey into Auckland. Through yet more roadworks, wet horrible mucky roads, Ian was glad he resisted the temptation to wash the Toy yesterday.
And this was most appropriate for the conditions I thought, although I do find it kinda weird it was a house being transported by a boat haulage company!
Auckland, a huge city full of cars, confusing roads and idiots trying to beat the traffic by speeding along the hard shoulder. Where are the cops when you need them!
|Argh... more cars than we have seen in months!|
Trying to find a park for the night was almost impossible. The sat nav first took us to a multi story car park. On Ian's app it said suitable for motorhomes...hmm I don't think so! Height barriers??? Next she took us to a boy's athletic club, again I don't think so. By now Ian was getting cheesed off, I had had enough of the congestion, the one way system and being unsure which lane to take, so I was all for just leaving the city for good.
In the end we found a place on Taumana Reserve south west of the city. Tucked ourselves away behind the bushes next to the water, and breathed a sigh of relief that finally we could stop and chill. There are loos here but locked from 9 pm not opening again until 6 am. The gates are also locked so should give us peace of mind. One downside, the SH20 runs within spitting distance of where we are parked. Oh well, one cant have it all.
9 pm we had a knock on the side. It was the warden coming to lock the gates. He also informed us we were in the wrong place! But such a nice man said we could stay where we were for tonight but in future the only freedom camping spots were opposite to the toilets. That was the worst place in my opinion. The highway is almost your neighbour! Noisy of what!
Ian has also made a decision, not to do the Sky Tower walk, the wind is set to reach 40kph, even he would be scared at standing on a thin ledge at that speed held on by nothing more than a harness, and as for the Dolphin cruise, no availability until the weekend. So onwards and downwards, towards a walk I have been looking forward to for ages, the Karangahake Gorge historic walkway on the SH2.