2011/04/22 The back-roads tour to the Waitakares .

The photovan has been sitting idle for too long so on the Friday of the long weekend I decided to do some exploring along the back-roads from Raglan to Port Waikato , via Waikaretu .
I used the trusty D40 and 18-200 lens for many of the shots .
 It's only about 100 km but much of the time you are only going about 40km/hr so it takes a while - I saw two other cars the entire trip .

There is a side trip 1.4km from the intersection to Port Waikato that goes to the Nikau caves and cafe , it was closed I think due to the religious holiday .

There is some reasonable scenery along the way with occasional glimpses of the sea .

I had the 10.5mm fisheye lens on the D50 which helped get in a lot of the scenery :)

There are many old buildings and vehicles rotting away on the farms .

And some who just don't care about anything .....

After getting back on the highway you have to drive through Awful Auckland , cars , people , buildings , more cars and people ..... but as you work your way to Huia you leave all of that behind and the scenery starts to get better .

The 10.5 was very useful for some of the pictures , including some taken from the drivers seat .

The road gets narrow and windy , the rain didn't help either .

At the end of the road is the Whatipu campsite - nothing fancy but a good location .

I just bought the Panasonic FT3 compact and it was used for the rest of these pictures - it turned out really handy .

There is a short walk along the beach to the caves and a campsite as well .

There is a camp site near the caves as well ....

And then I headed back past the camp ground again and toward the beach .

The beach is well worth exploring , lots of rock formations and interesting places to explore .

The Panasonic did a good job , even when it started raining I could carry  on taking pictures - I eventually made my way back to the campground .

In the evening I settled down with a cup of coffee and a movie ......

As it got dark I realized I had the tripod tucked away in the storage box - I mounted the D50 and fisheye lens on it and took some snaps of the stars , including a few trails of the planes landing at the nearby airport .

I headed back home the next morning , one day I will go back and spend more time on the beach and hopefully get better light :)