After a morning of uploading pictures through a glorious wifi connection, we can bring some chronological continuity back to the blog! Returning now to our February 19th departure from Whangarei:
We started our camping adventure in Wenderhelm, about 90 minutes south of Whangarei and just north of Auckland. The park is small as far as land preserves in New Zealand go, but the campsite offered all the fluffy emerald grass we could imagine, as well as sweeping views of the estuary and hillside. There was also a lovely mountain to be hiked that looks over the beach and the historic home on the grounds. We shared the space with a number of families getting out of town for the weekend and a few flotillas of seasoned camper van travelers.
In the lead photo you can check out our camping rig: our sweet Kathmandu tent (dwarfed by our neighbor's red nylon mansion), our little car that holds all our on-the-go belongings, and the barbecue from the boat that we tricked out with a griddle attachment.
And then there is me! I'm sure my family remembers well the days when I swore I would never camp again (there was a disastrous trip when I was around 14 that included some behind the ear fungus, some seriously unsuccessful hiking, some pms-induced hysterics, and was followed by a decade-long refusal to enter the wilderness overnight). But here I am, at the mercy of whatever bathroom facilities we find and sleeping on the ground, giving three cheers for my own personal growth.
It's been some of the easiest personal growth around, given New Zealand's bounty of natural wonders.
The view of the beach from the lookout point:
The estuary at sunset: