AUCKLAND: HIBISCUS COAST
|return to location list print|
Sullivan's Bay - Mahurangi Regional Park
rvexplorer id: 17346
Sullivan's Bay was a new discovery for us - at the end of a long winding road to the east coast from State Highway 1. I'd found it using Google maps and then zooming in to have a closer look using street view. We drove there, test-driving our new motorhome, purchased from a friend who had just imported it from the UK after using it to explore Europe for the previous six months.
The views coming over the ridge before descending into the bay were visually stunning, and we stopped to take some pictures before driving down into Sullivan's Bay.
The bay itself is set in Mahurangi Regional Park and is clearly a popular location for camping and swimming, or just a Sunday afternoon out. We arrived on a busy Auckland anniversary day weekend, and it was pretty clear that we really should have booked.
The camp grounds are managed by the Auckland Regional Council, and we chatted to Dave, the camp supervisor to see what was possible. The camp grounds are divided into two areas - one for normal camping at $12 per person, and the other for certified self-contained vehicles at $6 per person. Both were fully booked.
So, we made ourselves some lunch and went for a walk. As you can see from the pictures, Sullivan's Bay is a really pretty place, with camping right by the water. It would normally be very sheltered by the surrounding hills, but on this occassion, the wind was from from the south-east, and was chanelled right into the bay. This didn't seem to deter the campers, and many were swimming, and some attempting to catch fish. But it did make for a brisk and somewhat chilly walk around the beach.
We stopped for another chat to Dave, who told us that there had been a cancellation, and a phone call to the booking office soon confirmed that we could have a place after all. Great! We parked in the newly vacated spot and got ourselves set up for the night, surrounded by the local ducks who looked pretty well fed by all the campers.
Next morning, the wind was still blowing, but we went for a walk along the beach, joining the children playing, and commiserating with the some enthusiastic fishermen who were mostly pulling in seaweed. But there were 4 or 5 banded dotterel scampering around, and also some oyster catchers. The dotterel are now endangered, so it was good to see them in their natural environment.
There is something rejuvenating about wandering down a beach in bare feet and surrounded by such magnificent views. We were there at a busy time on a public holiday, but I can imagine it would be very different during the week with almost noone else around.
A final chat with Dave clarified that the best time to come fishing is in November, and that it is also a great location for sending out a kontiki. There are also 3 walks around the coast into other bays that take between 2 and 3 hours each. Some of the bays are only accessible on foot, or by boat.
Typical of the other regional parks, it is unpretentious, stunningly beautiful, and well maintained. The only negative for us was the lack of mobile phone coverage at the campsite - but then, for some, that would be an advantage!
We'll definitely be coming back, but will also check the wind direction and book into the camp ground ahead of time.