Earlier this year my partner Nick and I loaded up my Nissan Cube with two weeks worth of camping essentials and set out to discover NZ! Amongst our essentials were our two little dogs, Bonzo and Bean. The first stop on our journey was the Rimutaka Forest Park. My handy Rankers camping app pointed us in the direction of the dog friendly Corner Creek Campground. We were going with the theme of ‘if dogs are allowed, lets just go!’ and so we did!
This was Cubey’s first big drive, and boy was it was a learning curve. Turns out that that little bad boy can go a long way on empty. If you’re not that keen on finding out exactly how far your car can drive on the E light, I found the AA Roadservice app to be a priceless tool for finding petrol stations and mechanics in the area… as well as call outs, but we’ll get to that at a later date!The road down to Corner Creek Campground was like nothing I have ever experienced before. The view was incredible from the top of the hill, I can still see that place when I close my eyes. What awaited us down the bottom of the windy, gravel road full of one way bridges and fast country drivers was unbelievable. I wish I had the vocabulary complexity to put it down into words.
It is not long until the ‘road’ disappears completely and what you are left with is a rugged beach track to get to the campsite. The drive was one of my favourite parts about staying at Corner Creek Campground. Cubey managed the drive but it was a bit of a push. I would recommend coming here in a 4 wheel drive, especially in the winter months. You cross two stream fords to reach the campground, the depth and strength of the flow depends on the rainfall and seasons but it is so much fun!
The rugged road carries on for 3k, you’ll pass old Kiwi Baches and incredible scenery before reaching the well sign posted Corner Creek Campground. This is a DOC managed beach front campsite that costs only $8 per night for an adult ($4 for a child) and has well sheltered, first come first served, non powered sites. The toilets and small cleaning area are well kept and surprisingly clean for their very remote location.
Speaking of remote, there is no cell service here and pretty much no one else around. For us this was heaven and exactly what we wanted when we set out to discover NZ. The surrounding coastal manuka forest combined with the rugged, raw beach and ocean made for hours and hours of exploration. We spent the warmer hours discovering Palliser Bay, the forest, the beach, getting to know the locals and checking out the famous surf and fishing spots.
The evenings here were cold and windy, we ventured through the hills, skimmed rocks and just enjoyed each others company without the interruptions of modern day life . The evening stroll along the beach back to Corner Creek Campground was just as beautiful as it was in the day, the moon was low and large and truly took my breath away. The dogs loved it here at Ocean Beach, I could see them happily making this little slice of the Wairarapa their home.
That was until we went to bed. The wind truly howls here. It quite literally howls through the hills, somewhat beautiful, somewhat haunting. We didn’t get much sleep during our stay here. Our instant pop-up tent from Kmart struggled and bent numerous times through the night, we knew it would be windy but could not have prepared for what we witnessed. In the morning the campsite was littered with peoples belongings, tents had blown away and others slept in their cars. We used Pegless Clotheslines to hold up the tent during the night and our tent managed to survive! Yey for multitasking travel accessories.
The morning was calm and still, exactly like the day before, a complete contrast to the night we had just witnessed. We packed up Cubey and head out, our next stop was the Interislander.
I can’t wait to find the time to get back down here to Ocean Beach, Corner Creek Campground and Palliser Bay. There is so much to discover in the Rimutaka Forest Park (sans dogs) and I plan to make a weekend of it to truly make the most of what this raw corner of our beautiful country has on offer. If you’re into amazing rock formations and keen for a hike, you have to check out the Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve too!