While most of our time during this period was in the Bay of Plenty we did spend a small amount of time just over the border in the Waikato so I also have a few notes and images from Cambridge and the Waikato River.
Like the Coromandel we'd been to the Bay of Plenty earlier in the year and this time decided to head back to Matata as our base. Absolutely love the site at Matata which is run by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Most DOC grounds are a free for all but Matata is run more like a commercial campground with allocated areas although it was that quiet when we arrived we were told we could pick our spot this time around. (I think the wardens are a lot more relaxed at this time of year i.e. before rather than after the Christmas and New Year chaos!). A beautiful beach just 30 meters from your front door, glorious walks along the coast and through native bush and a great town in Whakatane with excellent coffee and food (The French Patisserie), and friendly locals.........all in all, one of my favourite areas in the North Island.
We also spent some time parked up on the banks of the Waikato River near to Lake Karapiro. This stretch of water and the lake are very popular with rowers, water skiers and jet skis. Having tried a jet ski, being behind a boat on both skis and a biscuit I'm not really sure of why they are so popular but judging by the screams of joy and squeals of laughter then it would seem I'm in the minority ;-). On the plus side early in the morning the water skiers did make for some interesting images.
The last few weeks have also included some time back at Lake Rerewhakaaitu. This beautiful campground run by DOC is just stunning and, as we realised on our last day, extremely popular over the Christmas break with families. We started off with around 5 vans scattered around the camp site with the closest around 20 meters away......the last day we were surrounded with boats, tents, badminton nets and various other child and teenage paraphernalia.......never ceases to amaze me how much gear families can bring with them! Not that we can really say too much now having invested in an inflatable kayak which we used a few times out on the lake. Certainly gave a different perspective on just how idyllic the location is looking back from the middle of the lake :-)