Another successful camping trip done and dusted! This time we ventured further north to Russell in the Bay of Islands.
We knew it was going to be a long drive and with recent slips in the area the diversions added a little extra time to the journey. The night before we packed most of the trailer so we could make an early start. We were on the road by 8am! We decided to pull the girls out of school on the Thursday before Good Friday to beat the traffic and I’m so glad we did.
The kids were entertained on the way up there with a few movies. I don’t have an iPad/DVD car holder so I kinda made my own with ribbon and it worked great! They had headphones too so it was a nice quiet ride for us.
Our first stop was at Kawakawa for a quick toilet break and I mean if you’re going to stop to use the toilet this would be the place to stop at. The toilets are pretty cool made using lots of glass bottles and mosaic.
Next stop was at Opua to catch the car ferry to Russell. It was a short ride across but really picturesque and the girls loved it.
We arrived at the Russell Top 10 Holiday Park just after lunch. It was time to put up the tent. Now that the girls are a bit older we get them to help out before they run off! Their job is to pull out all the poles and start putting those together.
I found this time round putting up the tent wasn’t the hard bit, it was setting up all the paraphernalia that goes with the tent that was a mission. If you’re like me I can’t relax until it’s all set up and in its place! Shortly our friends joined us too and we all got stuck in setting up. The park was in pristine condition. The showers and kitchen always clean. This is the first campground that I have seen the staff walking around cleaning and checking on everything all day!
That’s our two red tents all set and ready for the week. I even managed to put up some fairy lights around the gazebo which was quite nice at night.
After slogging away in the heat setting everything up there was no way we were going to be cooking on our first night. So a week before our trip I rang and made a reservation for dinner at The Duke of Marlborough . It was worth doing that early as they get pretty busy especially over peak periods. A delicious meal and a cold beer was exactly what we all needed. Best part it’s only a 10 minute walk from the campground to Russell town.
It was beautiful watching the sun set whilst having dinner. This beach is on The Strand at the Russell wharf and the water was so clear!
The next day we set out exploring. There are so many beautiful bays and beaches to swim at. Our favourite was Long Beach which wasn’t far from the camp either about a 5-10 minutes drive.
There is even a coffee van onsite for you to get your daily fix while watching the kids play.
When we go camping we always take our Weber Q with us. This time we purchased the Weber pizza stone set to make pizzas. Well the stone was amazing!!! So glad we took it. I don’t think we will ever use the oven again!
And no I didn’t make the base that was a store bought base! Fair to say dinner was a hit.
There is so much to do in the Bay of Islands we spent a day driving through Keri Keri and checking out the Stone Store which has been opened since 1836. We made a quick stop to check out Haruru Falls. Then ice cream in Paihia before heading back to camp.
We barely saw the kids at the campground they spent most of the time at the playground so the adults had lots of time to kick back with a wine or even a gin and tonic!
If you do head up to Russell there are loads of boat tours that you can do, from dolphin watching to exploring the bays. They are pricey so be prepared. We booked the Discover Otehei Bay tour through Explore and a family pass was $110.
All in all this was a great trip. It was so relaxed, the kids didn’t want to leave.
What I learnt is that no matter how many times you go camping there is always something that needs tweaking or changing around.
I’m already looking at planning our next trip! So here’s to more adventures and experiences.