It’s been a while since we have stayed here, and Kaitoke Regional Park is just as lovely as ever. Nestled against the foothills of the Tararua Ranges, the area of the park covers almost 3000 hectares. As well as the gently undulating grassy picnic and camping areas, the park is made up of steep bush clad hills covered with centuries old forests. Rimu, rata, hinau and kamahi grow in the fertile river flats, red beech grows on the lower slopes, while black beech forests grow on the higher spurs and ridge tops. We decided to camp here for the night, continuing on our way tomorrow to our Caravan Rally weekend at Clareville, driving over the Rimutaka Hill to the Wairarapa.
There is no shortage of native birds in such a wonderful environment, such as tui, piwakawaka (fantail), kereru and silver eyes which are everywhere in the bush and quite easy to see. The shy New Zealand bush falcon thrives in the hilly areas, so we read, but would be much more difficult to spot. We had a more mundane bird sighting when our campsite was invaded by a whole posse of mallard ducks as they waddled slowly by to nibble at tasty morsels in the grass.
This camp uses a self registration system. We filled out the registration card and displayed it in the caravan window, and placed our overnight fees of $6 pp in the envelope provided to feed into the Iron Maiden.
Water, toilets, BBQs, kitchen and a sheltered picnic area is available for the campers. No rubbish bins though, it is strictly pack in and pack out.
Other campers arrived during the day, parked their vans and set up their tents here and there. With plenty of room and several large camping areas available, we can hardly see them. Geoff and Eileen arrived in time for a late 4zees, and parked up beside us. We welcomed them with the offer of a cuppa. So it was two coffees for the ladies and two mugs of beer for the blokes. Geoff had a special brew he was keen to share – very tasty, was the verdict.