The world is a funny place and, invariably due to a multitude of factors, you find yourself in a situation you hadn't planned for. With no obvious places to stay we had written off the idea of exploring the Waikato any further than we had from Mokau earlier in the year. All that changed a few weeks ago though while we were sat enjoying the view and getting ready for some sunset images around Matapouri. As we were taking in the last light of the day we met James and Mandy who had very similar views on life to ourselves and after quite a bit of chatting said that we would be welcome to spend some time on the farm at Thundercross Valley. A few weeks and emails later and we found ourselves leaving Northland and making our way into the Waikato :-).
I'm not one to dwell on negativities but unfortunately we were hammered by rain just about every day of our two week stay which really hampered our usual walking activities. That constant rain does account for why the grass is so green though! Still, it didn't stop us getting out and armed with some new camera gear I found myself capturing all manner of images, some of which you can see below.
Day trips out from our base at Thundercross Valley (pay attention later my motorcycling friends) included Port Waikato, Waiuku, Manukau Heads, Auckland, Hamilton Gardens and a fortunate bit of timing of being in Pukekohe at the right time :-)
Port Waikato is a great place and both times we were there we found ourselves chatting to the really friendly locals. On our first occasion the tide was right in and not much beach to see, but the second time the tide was fully out and the beach is amazing. Great spot to be at sunset, the beach is called 'sunset beach' so there is a clue in the title ;-).
On a trip up to Waiuku we saw a sign for a lighthouse......around 45 minutes later we found it! Great views from this spot up on the Manukau Heads from which you can even see the Sky Tower in Auckland. It was one of those spots which shows the trusting charm of New Zealand has not been lost as you can buy a tea towel with an image of the lighthouse to remind you of your travels and just put your money in the honesty box. But, what if you don't have any money? No problem at all as they have put their bank details on the tea towel so you can send a cheque or pay by bank transfer, brilliant :-)
I've not had any time near a race track in over a year and I really wanted to try out some new gear. With an incredible bit of luck the track at Pukekohe was hosting a corporate hot laps day and they had no problem in me being really close to the track, wahoo. Camera performed great and I had a very big grin on my face as the trucks and cars whizzed past around 5 meters from where I was stood on the main straight.
Now, to expand on my cryptic message above. For all of my friends out there who would love the challenge of whizzing around 700 acres of farmland on motocross tracks then Thunder Valley is the place for you. James is able to offer tuition, various grades of track as well as bike hire. If you are in the Auckland, Waikato or Hamilton area at all please do look up his details at www.thundercrossvalley.co.nz and have some fun. It was way too wet for us to indulge while we were there, but there's always next time :-).