Backpacking Pensioners travel blog

View from Waiwera Campsite

Another view from the campsite


Last nights private thermal hot pool was really nice; I never realised that becoming old and wrinkly meant you spent all this time soaking in lovely hot water. However the availability of the spa is not a sufficient inducement for us to remain at this camp site which is uninspiring and has no outlook other than the site itself. As today’s weather forecast is for a cloudy morning and heavy rain showers for the rest of the day, we decided to move across to the east coast and visit Waiwera where there is also hot thermal pools.

Although the journey was only 25 miles, once again the route took us up hill, down dale, and round the bend(s), and it was very pleasurable. Eventually we dropped down to sea level and turned into the camp site which was tucked underneath the hill and nestled alongside the curve at the south end of the bay. Despite emphasising that I needed a spot for a seven metre motorhome we were given a corner position right infront of the water where we overlapped the camp road by a metre. I identified a better parking space further along which was still in prime position and informed the site manager of the change.

After lunch and between the heavy rain showers we set off along the beach with our towels and swim wear for the 400 yards walk to the spa complex. The ‘spa’ has various sized hot pools and water slides; and we have a 30% discount voucher as clients of the camp site.

As we left our van we met a group of adults returning to the site. They were well covered in heavy coats and muffled up to the chin with scarves. As we exchanged ‘hello’s’, one of the ladies looking pointedly at our garb said, “I guess you are from the Northern Hemisphere”, and of course she was right. What a lot of wimps the New Zealanders are when there is a bit of cold weather about.

We arrived at the spa at the same time as the next rain. Inside the foyer we could hear a lot of noise from children in the main pools so we asked about the availability of a private pool, which we would have to book for a whole hour. One was available in 15 minutes, so far so good. The cost of $40, (£16), seemed extortionate but never mind. Then we learned that there was no discount for the private pools and the cost was $40 each. For that money we might as well have a private pool each as it would not cost any more than we were being asked for. We cancelled the booking. Last night we paid $8 for a ½ hour; this place wanted $80 for one hour. Maybe we will return when the kids have left the main pool.

The bad news was it was now raining heavily; the good news was the bar across the road was open. Although there was hardly anybody inside the bar, tonight from 6.30 pm it will fill up as the faithful gather to watch the All Black Rugby Team play the South Africans who are the current World Champions. Maybe a return to the bar will be preferable to a return to the spa.

By the time we had made and eaten the evening meal, and listened to more rain and wind outside the van, we decided that an evening in our warm van appealed more than venturing out into the cold wet night; even to watch the All Blacks.

Tomorrow we will move north up the west coast. This is another camp site which has not impressed us. It appears to be run down and in need of a good spruce up. The Walwera Hot Pools have a very good reputation but we found the price list to be far more expensive than the other Hot Pools we have visited. The price probably reflects the easy accessibility to the Auckland public.

For us, Walwera has been a welcome port in a storm, and no doubt it will look much nicer in sunny weather. Equally we have no doubt we are moving on to better pastures.

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