It was a rainy night in Opotiki and still quite damp when we were packing up the next morning. Various texts and phone calls took place and we arranged to meet up with Andrew and Debbie who were freedom camping down at the Opotiki estuary. Robin and Andrew are both enthusiastic members of the NZMotorhome Forum and keep in touch about anything to do with caravanning, and motorhome related topics. With two Leisureline vans and a Southern Star all parked up together, the various attributes and features of our three vans were well examined and commented on. We were grateful to sip our coffees under their pullout awning as the weather changed from rain to drizzle and a little bit in-between.
Andrew has made several additions to his van and it was heads down and looking as he showed Robin just what was hiding under the seating area. He is full of good ideas to make caravanning easier.
And how is this for a view right outside the caravan door? So nice and peaceful and well away from suburbia. By the look of that black cloud, another shower is on the way.
We were intrigued just what this caravan was doing up so high on the hill overlooking the estuary. They would have a great view, but what about the wind? And how did it get there, we wondered?
After lunch we waited till the heavy downpour abated, then travelled along Wainui Road to visit the Cheddar Valley Pottery. Margaret and Stuart Slade were hard at work, and were quite happy for us to take a few photos of their work.
They make a lovely range of pottery, including beautiful plates and tiles featuring New Zealand birds. They also do commissions and you can have the likeness of your caravan, motor-home or boat painted onto a plate or plaque. Wedding plates are also a speciality of theirs, as an idea of what to buy couple who has everything. We bought Muffy a cute little food dish – she can use this one at home.
A little further along the road we stopped at the Ohiwa Oyster Farm. Oysters were in short supply, so we purchased some fresh fish fillets for our evening meal. The last time we were here we enjoyed a fish and chip lunch sitting outside at the picnic tables as we watched the world go by. It was much too wet and misty to sit and enjoy the view today.
Driving past Ohope with all the serious beach front real estate, we skirted around Whakatane to catch up with our travelling companions, playing telephone tag as we tried to find somewhere to stop overnight. (We really need to come back this way again and take our time visiting all these interesting places). Our original choice of POP was too small to accommodate our three large vans, and we finally ended up parked behind the Rangitaiki Cossie Club at Edgecumbe. The fresh fish we bought for dinner will now have to wait till tomorrow, as we will all be dining in the club restaurant tonight.
Edgecumbe suffered a large earthquake back in 1987 with the epicentre almost underneath the small town. This twisted iron girder from the Fonterra factory shows the huge forces of nature which came into play on that fateful day. The ground level at this site dropped 2ms and a fault line formed 1km away crossing the Edgecumbe Whakatane Highway. 6000 domestic and industrial claims were lodged, with the largest claim being $144 million from the dairy processing plant on this site.