Uretiti Recreational Reserve... An area of land owned by the people of New Zealand and managed by the NZ Department of Conservation... has become a favourite place to park and spend time at any time, but especially over the winter.
Northland, on the whole, experiences a very mild winter climate, the weather being more wet than cold.
It is accessed from State Highway 1, approximately 5km north of Waipu and 27km south of Whangarei.
There are approximately 300 sites, behind the sand dunes of Uretiti Beach.
You can surf, fish or swim and part of the beach is a designated naturist beach for sun lovers.
Nearby, 20 minutes south, is the stunning coastal walking track at Managwhai Heads and about 15km inland are the Waipu Caves.
I haven't visited either yet ... So more adventures in store.
Parked in the sun with, in the winter, no close neighbours, is lovely.
I park with my long side to the north for all day sun and to maximise my solar panels for power.
I wandered round the reserve with my camera...
You can see how few people are here.
Very different to the summer time when its packed and the mandatory 3meters apart for vehicles...
Because of fire safety... Needs to be observed.
A combination of hills and hollows and well planted trees and shrubs makes a very attractive back yard!
There are plenty of cold water taps...
And very efficient 'long drop' toilets... Those are the buildings with tall air 'chimney' vents you can see.
There is a sealed road right round the reserve...
In the summer it is the evening promenade strip.
At the entrance... By the office... is an excellent rubbish and re-cycling disposal site.
On my DoC pass which, as a member of the NZ Motor Caravan Assn, I buy annually for $175, I can park here for up to two weeks at a time and either pay for the 3rd week or go somewhere else for a week then come back for another two weeks.
I could go to another Doc camp for two weeks and rotate round NZ but I can't stay continually at any one camp. My pass is not valid at the three Northland camps for 3 months over the summer and other NZ camps for 2 months over summer.
It's not that I don't enjoy people and meeting others here... I do and have met some amazing people and formed good friendships with like minded people 'on the road'.
But somehow, winter, the isolation, nature around me, feels a bit like hibernation and a time for reflection and thinking about what I want to do and where I want to go next...