A weekend around Waihora

Last weekend, after a week catching up with family around the Bay of Plenty and Taupō, we travelled up to Clarks Beach on the Manukau Harbour. The plan was to meet our daughter and our two youngest grandchildren at Clarks Beach Holiday Park (#1276) for the weekend.

It’s a great family holiday park with a covered pool area, playground, and karts for hire. Our kids loved it.

The beach reserve is just below the camp. There are some huge old macrocarpa trees there.

I went for an evening walk and caught the sunset.

After we’d checked out the next morning we thought we’d have a look and see what Waiuku had going on.

Waiuku sits at the southern end of an estuary of the Manukau harbour, known as the Waiuku River, and is forty kilometres south west of Auckland City centre.

This area is at the bottom end of town …

… where The Kentish Hotel sits dominating the scene. As it has since 1853.

It’s New Zealand’s longest running hotel, the board says.

Along with the historic buildings and the viewing deck this area has a real charm.

We took a look inside the old jail.

Waiuku Lockup 1865 …

There’s a walkway along the estuary, and the museum looks interesting too. We walked a little way with the kids, but the museum will have to wait for another day.

It was time for the family to leave, but John and I had decided to stay in the area a bit longer.

We’d parked the caravan at Waiau Boat Club (#1279) that morning after leaving Clarks Beach.

We’d phoned the contact listed in the NZMCA app. He told us that the grass paddock normally used by motor caravanners was closed off due to rain the previous week but we’d be welcome in the car park area.

It’s a lovely spot with old pohutukawa trees overlooking the harbour and boat ramp.

A donation (suggested $5 per night) is asked, and bank account details are included on the information board on the gate.

There is a security gate at the entrance, but it wasn’t working when we were there. Even so, it felt very safe and quiet.

I went for a walk around the historic reserve the next morning …

Great views of the harbour.

Waiau Pa is a small settlement with a gas station, small cafe, Four Square convenience store, and a school.

I read where ‘Pa’ was added to the name Waiau about a hundred years ago when a local farmer got tired of his pay out cheques getting lost in the mail. They were going to the Canterbury town in the South Island of the same name.

It has caused some confusion because visitors come expecting to find an historic fortified Māori Pā. This whole area has significant Māori history, but sadly nothing remains of it now except this sign in the reserve.

This is a great CAP (charges apply parking), especially with the security gate working properly. It’s a lovely area.

But, it’s time for us to move on to our next destination, the Manukau Heads.

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