Christmas in the Boatyard

Granted, for some, sitting in a boatyard workshop drinking copious quantities of beer may not be regarded as a great Christmas. But even the hardiest curmudgeon would be hard-pressed not to see this as fun. Every Friday, the staff at Riverside Drive Marina have a get-together at the boatyard workshop to celebrate the end of the week and the start of the weekend – usually from around 4.30 in the afternoon. At Christmas, this is notched up a level.

Well, at least the funky headwear comes out. 

Mo and 3-beer Maria

Party table

Party animal

Party outside

Dame Edna came to visit


Duck boat

Ozzie Osbourne and friends

The choir

The beer barrow

Christmas in the tent

Another tradition at Riverside Drive is the Sunday Night barbecue in the BBQ tent. This, too, is ramped up a notch on Christmas Day, when we marina dwellers each bring something to share with our boatie friends. 

Maria and Elizabeth

Maam demonstrating her fine culinary skills

New Year and Old Friends

On New Year’s, we had surprise visitors – Bill and Moira – with whom we sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 2017 and the Pacific in 2019. They were visiting family in New Zealand, so the stars aligned for us to catch up. 

Looks like the singing has started

The drinking has definitely started

The psychosis has started

And the table dancing is starting

Reunion photo – and a hairy arm

New Year’s Day walk around the Hatea loop


Hatea River Walk

The loop we walked with Bill and Moira provides a great view of the waterside, but turning right at the town basin opens up a completely different view of Whangarei

Spending most of our time in town, it’s easy to forget how close you are to nature. The Hatea River Walk perfectly juxtaposes urbanity and the native environment. And it starts from a car park in the town centre. 

What to expect

Stroll along the river

Magic mushrooms

Upper reaches of the river

Into the forest

Over the bridge

And towards the waterfall

More waterfall

The waterfall

There’s enough to see on that walk to keep your mind off the distance – it’s a ten-mile return. But it is well worth it.