Waste Free Camping- Whananaki, Northland

Firstly, happy New Year! I hope everyone had a safe and sustainable Christmas and New Year. As I mentioned in my last post the BF & I were planning on camping for a week after Christmas and over New Years. I planned for weeks as to how I was going to camp waste free, I knew this would be difficult as I was without my trusty kitchen and compost bin. Well, we did it, however… it took lots of aforementioned planning and a shortened trip to succeed…

Whananaki Campground; Northland:

We went camping at Whananaki Campground in Northland, about 45 minutes north of Whangarei. This is a ‘scenic’ Department of Conservation campground, meaning there were some facilities but not heaps (“limited range” is how DOC like to describe it). Most of you know I love tramping and camping and have no problems with ‘going bush’ for extended periods of time. However I quickly learned something about myself, I don’t like being at a popular campsite that is packed full during a heat spell with limited trees. As it is the busiest time of year for Northland, all 130 campsites were packed full, I found myself feeling claustrophobic. The days were really hot and sunny, which was great as we were by the beach and that made for plenty of swimming opportunities. Although as we live under an Ozone hole and all this meant wearing buckets of sunblock and hiding in the shade all day. I got heat stroke on the first day and was ill the first night. For most of the trip I lazed in the shade with our friend’s and read, we also took a mini road-trip to explore the dirt roads of Ruakaka forest and the bays in between.
Shakshouka for breakfast and dinner
I ate plenty of ice cream, which meant if I couldn’t buy it by the scoop we bought in a 1 Litre paper box. We had 2 large chilli/esky bins, which were filled with freezer blocks and frozen plastic bottles of water I had salvaged from recycling. I had pre-cooked various beans and frozen them in glass jars and packed lots of fruits and veges, some eggs, pasta sauce, kombucha and beer. I had a seperate box full of various jars of dried goods such as porridge, popcorn kernels and red lentils.
Fresh popped stove top popcorn
The campsite has 2 massive rubbish bins, you pay a $2 fee for a rubbish bag and can only dispose of rubbish using the bags. There is also have glass and plastic recycling facilities, however no paper or cardboard recycling, so we took home our paper waste. I saved all of our compost in a container and kept it in the chilli bin as the campsite does not have compost facilities. The only things we disposed of at the campsite were beer bottles. The only rubbish we produced was from our campground sticker for our car, and chocolate wrappers from some Cadbury Favourites I was gifted for Christmas (more on that in my December rubbish update).
While I managed to camp practically rubbish free I will admit it would have been difficult had we stayed longer, as we had intended on doing. We would have had to buy a bag of ice to keep our food and chilli bins cold, and the compost was getting a bit icky too. We ended up cutting the trip short due to the impending weather reports, heavy rain. Which is great for Northland as there is a water shortage and the campsite had removed all of the shower heads to save water. Sure enough it poured all new years eve, and is still raining days later. Many campsites were evacuated or abandoned. Which leads me to think about all of the tents that have been left behind… Gippsland Unwrapped (in Australia) saw for herself the after effects of a camping festival, take a look at the photos she shared on Facebook.
No roadtrip is complete without a Bin Inn stop
On our way home we stopped at Bin Inn in Kamo, just north of Whangarei. We had planned on going to Bin Inn in Keri Keri on our way to our second camping venture, so I had been prepared for a bulk bin shop. Bin Inn in Kamo was well stocked, I was really impressed! You could tell it stocked for a more rural audience, as some of the bulk bins were large containers, mainly full of animal feed and cleaning ingredients. I also found some items I have yet to find in Auckland; bulk Tahini paste, masa harina (for making tortillas), tea bags and loose tea (we buy our from Khyber Spice as our local Bin Inn’s do not stock it) and PASTA! I have mentioned numerous times before how I have had no luck in finding plastic free pasta, so I stocked up a massive mesh bag full. They even had gluten free bulk bin pasta. I was really impressed. The staff there were really helpful and friendly, even when they found out I was an Aucklander.
I enjoyed our camping trip and was glad to get away, but I was also happy to return to Auckland which was unbelievably quiet as everyone was on holiday. We passed queues of traffic heading North for new years. I spent New Years Eve with my friend’s for a low key house party, which I took my mason jar and straw to and drank a mix of blackberry kombucha and wine.
I don’t really do New Year’s Resolutions, but I have a few goals in mind. I want to build upon the momentum that was 2015. I plan to keep blogging, do more yoga, declutter my life more, continue to not buy new, reduce my waste and switch out any plastic products as I use them up.

Let me know in the comments how your NYE went and if you managed to get away and do it waste free

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