Thursday, 10 December 2015

Tapu Creek (Coromandel) - a slice of paradise and our adopted Kiwi family!

So we spent a night in Tauranga which was pretty but a massive port industry so lots of cargo ships around. We decided to treat ourselves to a $12 Chinese and had an early night.

The next day we caught an early morning two hour bus to Thames which is where our HelpEx hosts would pick us up. We met them before having a few hours around Thames. They were a lovely couple with two lovely happy girls, Sophie and Emily and two dogs Charlie and Buster mixed in with a couple of chooks (Chickens), rabbits and a cow called Daisey.

After running a few errands they drove us back to their Campavan park which would be our home for two weeks. They provided a lovely little caravan for us as accomodation. It was in need of a little tender loving care but we had a whole beautiful afternoon ahead of us so we got stuck in and sprouced it up a little and even with all the bugs at night and its leaky windows when it rained, it became our home and we really miss that little caravan!! We even adopted a duck who demanded food every night.

Tapu Creek Campavan Park is on the west side of the Coromandel coast 20mins from Thames and 40mins from Coromandel town in the north. It's a small campavan park that has slots for caravans, campavans, tents etc. And its right next to a freshwater river which flows from the mountajns surrounding the area, which is also where they get their water supply from. It's only a half hour walk to the beach or a 5min driver and it was a perfect slice of paradise, even when it rained, the most rolling in over the mountains was so mystical. They say in Tapu if you see mist over the hills or wind in the evening, rain is on its way. And I definitely began to get that little forecast!

So about our hosts, Rachel and Yannick. Rachel was Kiwi born and bred and Yannick was French. They met when Yannick stayed at the Park, as the Park is owned by Rachel's mum. They fell in love and basically fell pregnant with Sophie 3 months later. And have been together ever since. Sophie is 6 and Emily is 4. Rachel and I developed a wonderful friendship over those two weeks and we really bonded over having French partners, as sometimes the cultural difference can make it hard and vice versa for the men also. Sophie and Emmi were fantastic intelligent little girls who played well together and were a pleasure to be around.

So HelpEx and WWOOFing works like this; you normally work for 2 hours (4hours if all your food is provided too) and that then pays for the accommodation you a provided and sometimes food. Good with Rachel and Yannick was every other day and fantastic things like Mexican, salads, sausage and Kumara mash etc (Kumara is a kind of sweet potato) and we normally did around 2hours of work, which let me tell you was super chilled and easy!

Their work motto is, first and foremost you are on holiday so we want you to enjoy yourselves. We normally wouldn't start work until around 11am and it was mostly just cleaning the camp facilities (kitchens and toilets) and general help around the camp. It was easy, chilled and fun. We couldn't have asked for better!

Around 4 days in we had another helper join us, Guillaume from France (in fact all the helpers turned out to be French - I was surrounded haha)

He helped Pierrick with some of the heavier duties leading up to the function which was why we were all there. On the 4-7th December there were 150 high schoolers coming to the camp on an end of school tradition of spending 3 nights camping, getting drunk and partying. We had been warned it could get very messy but actually it turned out to be pretty tame! They even hired out a while sound system (sorry BOUGHT a sound system as they were rich kids) but hardly even played it! The locals who lived at the camp (there were a few permanent residents there) even had to tell them to turn it on and party but nopw they didn't wanna!

So yea there were a few permanent residents there, one called Dan who was super awesome, would do anything for you and wore his heart on his sleeve. He also lived in a bus which he'd converted into a super cool home with a garden etc. His mum lived next door in her own converted caravan. Then there were a few others and Basil, a totally eco-hippy who also lived in a van round the back up the stream, no toilet no shower etc but he was totally happy! That's what I love about new Zealand, you can do and live however you want, no one looks down on you and everyone is super happy and friendly and it suits them so why should they give a damn what anybody thinks! You don't need money in life to make you happy.

So the Wednesday before the event on the Friday Debbie, Rachel's awesome mum who loves a good beer while we all work (that includes beers for us), came along with two other French helpers, a couple, who didn't speak much English but are learning! They were Thibault and Hourya. Some of Rachel's family (her sister, brother all came for the event as well). Plus two other helpers, Chloe and Leo, a French couple came on the Friday. So basically there were loads of us to share the work load which was nice and still wasn't much so we had alot of free time which was great. Debbie asked us to work until the Monday and then we would have a few days off to explore the Coromandel and because there were two cars between us all it worked out perfectly!

So as we know the rich teeny boppers were pretty tame, they came, set up, started drinking and we pretty much didn't hear a peep from them until 10pm each night when they only had an hour left to party before the noise had to be cut off...not much noise though! Haha - oh another thing to note we saw Thomas's (my cousins) double!! He was a mauri kiwi, one of the school kids, but my God he spoke and looked exactly like Tom!

So we basically worked in the mornings that weekend and then had time off in the afternoon until we had to be back for our evening toilet checks and dinner - as dinner was provided every night of the event.

The first day we all decided to check out the Watergardens down the road, just a simple waterfall walk. Then we went into Coromandel town where we had ice creams and went to a beach further down the road for the afternoon. We also spent other afternoons on beaches and in the river.

Then when the event finished after a day working alot and taking stuff to the dump etc we decided to check out the real hot spots of the Coromandel as we had the remainder of our time at Tapu off. We were in Guillaume's car, which was also his sleeping arrangements so Pierrick was in the front and I was in the back, laying down on his bed. Totally illegal so I had to hide if we ever saw a police car which is rare in New Zealand but it was kinda fun doing road trips like that! 

So we went to Hot Water Beach where you dig your own hole in the sand and the geothermal area turns the water hot so you basically have a bath on the beach!

Then we went to Cathedral Cove and took the short 40minute walk down to what was a beautiful crystal blue Cove with a stunning beach and spent the afternoon there. We also checked out Whitianga just up the road and got supplies for a group BBQ that night which was awesome - especially as we got back quite late so ended up cooking and eating in the pitch black - yep there are no lights other than the moon and stars at Tapu Creek which is awesome!

We also spent 3hrs driving right up to the untouched deserted beaches of Northern Coromandel by Fletchers Bay and port Jackson where we did an ocean walk - stunning!

And we also did New Chums Beach which is a secluded beach walk and was named the world's best beach a few times, and it is pretty awesome!

Unfortunately we had to leave on the Thursday back to Rotorua for our next Stray bus on the Friday 11th December round the East Cape.

So we teamed up with Guillaume who was headed in the same direction as us and we headed to Whangamata where we wanted to Kayak but turns out you can only Kayak on high tide and if it wasn't windy, and we had both! So instead we said our goodbyes to everyone and headed south to My Maunganui where we climbed it for awesome views then headed to a freedom campsite just outside of Rotorua for the night before heading back the following morning. 

To sum it up our two weeks at Tapu Creek were amazing and Rachel and Yannick couldn't do more to help you or make you feel at home and we had the best time! It also helped we met an awesome bunch to spend it sightseeing with. Rachel and Yannick invited us back at any point on our trip and they even allowed us to send stuff to their address and basically to consider Tapu Creek as a home away from home and honestly I would go back in a heartbeat! Thanks for an amazing first experience guys and we wish you all the best...but we will definitely see you soon!! Love yas! (If there is anything I left out, please let me know everyone)

1 comment:

  1. It was lovely having you both. Instant friendship & great bonding over difficult Frenchmen ♡ Miss both your smiles !
    Rachel & Yannick xx