Camping and Fishing Adventure – Great Barrier Island

When Ralph, a friend who was born and raised on Great Barrier Island but whom I had met in Auckland, told me that he was coming to the Island and that he’d be keen to go for a fish, I was quite excited to meeting him again after about 3-4 years. We saw each other in Tryphena and I very much liked his plan to camp on the beach where he grew up and go for a land-based fish early the next morning targeting kingfish.

We met more or less at the end of the road and hiked into XXX Bay fully laden with rods, reels, bait, burley, beer, food, sleeping bag, dog, etc. It was already dark by the time we arrived, the beach was secluded, we had a few drinks, sharing stories and since it was quite warm, spent the night under stars. I realized that Ralph used to come to this beach for kai (food) all the time, it was a 30 minute walk from his home, there were fruit trees along the way for a snack, plenty streams for fresh water and the Bay had it all. Exciting stuff on the beach to find and bring home and yummy food in the water to dive or fish for. Arguably the best playground for anybody.

I find it quite interesting as a fisherman, who tends to go to different spots depending on the conditions, that Ralph used to have only one option in terms of fishing. He went pretty much every time to the same area, a great fishing/diving/surfing area, and only a 30 min walk from home.


This picture was taken at about 0700. We camped on the rocky beach the night before.
This picture was taken at about 0700. We camped on the rocky beach the night before.

We got up early, before 0600, and were fishing before dawn. Ralph landed a nice snapper (estimated about 3-4 pound) on the hand line immediately. Moments later, I had a nice-sized trevally swimming under a balloon. We landed a kahawai and Ralph sent it out as a live bait. Wow, things were looking really good. Overcast weather, early in the morning, two hours before low tide, lots of burley in the water and two active live-baits. Well, we didn’t have any problems catching more live baits, small trevally and snapper were feeding aggressively in the burley trail. Every now and then a small kahawai showed up.

We did everything right, had different types of live baits, one close, one further away, burleyed hard and replaced the live baits a few times. Ralph had a 15 cm long kahawai out for hours, I mean, it was a no-brainer really. This one will be eaten.

Well, we didn’t see a kingi at all and didn’t have any other forms of takes on the live baits, there were plenty snapper to be caught but this was not our intention. Unfortunately, Ralph’s nice snapper got washed out on a larger swell wave and even more unfortunately, it started raining. The first shower wasn’t too bad, things got wet, we got wet, but hey these things happen. The second shower was more frustrating and I think after the fourth heavy shower we decided to call it a day.

We did what we could, live baited through the low tide and a few more hours, but it was to no other avail than personal pleasure in taking in the elements and being there.


Looks like Rabbit Island, but it is not.
Fortunately, the sun came out when we had finished fishing; this gave us some more time in the bay to dry our gear.



P1060369On the way back, I stopped at Ralph’s place and he showed me around. I saw his study room, the desk where he used to spend hours being home schooled. Always interesting to see other people’s homes and properties. It gives me new ideas and also hope, especially when the homes are more of the modest kind and you look at it, walk around in it and imagine what it was like to raise a family there.

Let me put it this way: I’m glad to meet more people who have lived and prospered with little amounts of money, with the rationale being to eliminate debt and to develop the lifestyle and property with one’s own hands and knowledge. This is, of course, in crass contrast to the concept of earning a salary, paying the top tax bracket, and paying for any development or lifestyle.

For me, it is not so much about which option is the better one, it is about circumstances. If you are enjoying a healthy salary and you can see yourself making even more, go for it, why not? I mean, realistically, you should be pursuing what you believe in. However, it is fact, that the money you need to build a home, raise a family and pursue your dreams and hobbies is negligible compared to what the average person earns in a life time in New Zealand. We waste so much of our time and money.

I catch myself looking at how kids are being raised with some form of disgust. Parents show up with one child, but the car is full with toys, baby gear, a pram that would cost as much as my annual property tax. Soo much gear, then there is all of that so-called technology. Dad and Mom have smart phones, and each one a tablet, the kid has of course a tablet, too. The sheer amount of unnecessary things is one side. Another side is that education is completely left in the hands of institutions. There is no doubt that I look up to those Moms and Dads that don’t have much financial means, but are able to provide for their kids and don’t leave education completely in the hands of institutions.

If you feel complimented and commended here, ask yourself how much money you spend per week on take away coffee. Chances are high I’m not appealing to you after all.

But enough of that, I don’t think I’m able to translate what I’m thinking precisely here. On the hike back out on my own, I noticed yet another fruit I am unfamiliar with. Of course, you wouldn’t eat any unknown food, but I told myself that eating half of it won’t kill me. Well, it was so delicious, I ended up eating 6-7 but hesitated from taking anything home. Funny enough, eating something unknown plays tricks on your brain and I started feeling a bit sick – lucky it had nothing to do with the fruit.

Strange, extremely delicious fruit. Who knows what this is? Not a yellow guava, didn't have 4 big kernels in the centre either.
Strange, extremely delicious fruit. Who knows what this is? Not a yellow guava, didn’t have 4 big kernels in the centre either.
On the drive back home, a couple pictures of Tryphena
On the drive back home, a couple pictures of Tryphena

Speaking of fruit trees, Ross gave me a banana tree and I planted it the other day. I wanted to take a picture before and after, but while preparing for the ‘after picture’ I stepped on a wasp nest, which was right under my feet the entire time, so I didn’t get that picture taken. Bizarrely, I found more than a hand full of wasp nests in recent days, taking a shower, mowing the lawns, feeding the chicken, picking a cucumber from the garden…. They are all over the place…


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