On departing rural Arapuni we checked out another freedom camping spot - the Little Waipa Reserve, on the shores of Lake Karapiro. This is another attractive place to stay, great for picnics, toilets available, and overnight camping is allowed. Several campers were already in residence. A place for summer, we think, and it is sure to be very popular with fisher folk and boaties too.
Little Waipa Reserve
Our curiosity satisfied, we headed up back on SH1 and made our way to Hamilton. The plan was to stop for lunch at the Jukebox Diner, in the Classic Car Museum. What’s not to love about the diner? A 1950s themed diner, walking into my idea of teenage heaven through a 13 m tall 50s replica Wurlitzer Jukebox. With the black and white tiled floors, red formica tables and chairs, and pictures of rock’n’roll stars on the walls, I really expected the Fonz from Happy Days to swagger in the door.
The four of us ordered our lunches, a Big Elvis breakfast for the big breakfast aficionado amongst us, an omelet, and burger and fries for the others. I couldn’t go past the American Hot Dog and Coke Ice-cream Soda, reminiscing that this was the beverage of choice when I attended the Capistrano Youth Club (Hutt Valley) all those years ago.
With my Ice-cream soda
Fed and watered, we went on our way again, travelling on to Auckland, with the traffic getting heavier the closer we got. Our Sat Nav took us a round-about way, eventually making it to the Ardmore Airport NZMCA Park. After finding a spare space, we parked up, signed in and paid our fees for our two night stay.
Such a big place, and chocker-block with caravans, campers, buses and 5th wheelers.
There is water and rubbish disposal available at this site. Plus a little secret – when the Big Tick is on the building next door, campers can walk through the gate to the Air Training Corps buildings and use the showers, toilets, and washing machines for very reasonable prices.
Ablution block (usually) available to campers
We got up bright and early intending to have a shower in the ablution block this morning, to find that the big tick had been replaced with a big red cross. Which meant that the ATC trainees in residence had first use of the facilities. Luckily the red tick was replaced a little later and I got in to do a load of washing.
There is a lot happening over the road with helicopters and small planes coming and going all day. And here comes another one now.
Lots of small planes landing and taking off over the road
This is certainly an interesting site, and is our first time staying here. We’ve been told that there is an Air Force Café not too far away which serves nice coffee – I think we will need to find it.