Freedom at its Best

Rays Rest Reserve in Miranda is located beachside, next to the Taramaire Wildlife Refuge Reserve and approximately 4 km south of the Kaiaua township and adjacent to the Firth of Thames. The local Council allows free-camping for self-contained motorhomes and campervans, for up to two nights.

A self-contained vehicle means it displays a ‘self-containment certificate’, because there are no facilities of any description.  It really epitomises ‘freedom’ camping.

We’ve driven by the area many times on our way elsewhere and I’ve often thought how idyllic it would be to just pull in and be there for a few days.  Recently we joined a couple of friends with their van, and spent two nights, two days there.

Rays Rest is a very spacious area and finding a spot is on a first come, first served basis. There are campervans, motorhomes and caravans of all shapes and sizes.  One morning the boys walked the beach and counted 40 vehicles.  Over coffee later that day, the calculation was that there was almost $7M worth of vehicles sitting there.  And then there were the toys that came with many of them – E-bikes, kayaks, rubber duckies, fishing rods and reels, electric Kontiki lines and drones.

Self contained caravan – one of the smaller, chic units.

Our toys were the cameras which allowed us to enjoy photographing a variety of bird life, the sunsets and the landscapes close by.

The wetland environment is a stopover for thousands of migratory birds.  On this visit, sadly all the Godwits had departed for their return journey to the Northern Hemisphere.  But there were hundreds of Oystercatchers, White Fronted Terns, Red-billed Seagulls, who seemed overly human-friendly and a few White Faced Herons. It’s easy to lose time when watching the behaviour of the various species, as well as get caught out by a rapidly incoming tide!

There’s something incredibly tranquil about going to sleep at night and waking up in the morning to the sound of gentle waves breaking on the incoming tide.  As well as hearing the twitter and chatter of the birds playing on the shorefront.

Equally enjoyable is watching the birds walk further and further out with the outgoing tide, all the while pecking and digging for food, or washing themselves in the shallow waters.

A juvenile white-fronted tern fluffing itself up – rear view.
Lift off.
Soaking up the scenery or posing for me!
A red-billed gull preening

Aside from enjoying the space, quietness, and the company of others, we also learnt more about Moti – particularly some necessary actions we hadn’t done, but should have.  Such as removing a certain cover so the water would heat up under solar power, and filling the separate water tank for the self-contained loo, which we’d never done since taking delivery.  

Slowly but surely we, or should I say Chris, is getting to grips with the operational aspects of Moti.  Pretty soon he’ll do it all by rote.  But we will make up a check list for pre-departures, and another for arrivals.  Just like flying a plane!

Gone fishing.

4 thoughts on “Freedom at its Best”

  1. Lovely bird shots Moira!
    I would imagine that getting to grips with water for the loo would be a good thing to get sorted !!!!!!

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