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Escape to Papatowai

Heather Auckram

After the chaos of Christmas our frazzled nerves needed restoring. We threw a few supplies into the campervan and headed for the healing calm of Papatowai.


To avoid the volumes of holiday traffic on SH1, we took the slower-paced Southern Scenic Route from Fortrose and were glad we did.


There was pure scenic magic round every bend; farms, quaint cottages, sea, wetlands, bush, sealed and unsealed roads and hardly any people.


As we approached Papatowai the road wound through bush covered hills and came out at the must-stop Florence Hill lookout. The view is picture perfect; golden sands of Tautuku Bay, white surf, the expanse of a blue Pacific Ocean.


The DOC camp is a bush framed camp tucked behind the local store. Dogs allowed. You need to book online and there are no designated sites.


The next day started with blue skies and went from hot to hotter. As there were expectant mother sea lions on the sand, waiting to give birth, we took shelter from the sun with a stroll through the trees on The Old Coach track alongside the estuary. It’s the original route the horse-drawn coaches took after coming off the beach. The Lost Gypsy Gallery and the local store both make great food, with the store having fuel and supplies too.


I could get no wifi signal on the Spark network. I simply had no choice but to just enjoy the disconnection from the world beyond the hills and just breathe.


Absolute bliss.


Thank you Papatowai from a fully restored human.  n


Photos ©2024 Heather Auckram


absolute bliss

DOC. Not currently affected by law changes

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