Pakiri Beach

The last time I went to Pakiri, I was in my teens and it was at the time that we had carless days and huge petrol costs. Two of us went up to Pakiri in a ’62 pillarless Chev Impala and camped with the car and a small tent. Remember those days 🙂

Apart from the horrendous cost in getting there and back with a two stage auto and V8, I still remember it as being a fun weekend away.

Click on an Image to enlarge it.This was to be different and after all those years, the thing that struck me the most was how different it was from my memories from long ago. The office now includes a store for basic provisions and was closer to the beach than I remembered but it is still a magic spot to go to for a break.

Next to the river

When I arrived, I’d just come down a wet and windy Leigh road down the hill and Rafe was absolutely covered in mud.

Manager Rachel couldn’t have been nicer in showing me where to park and although I was given an option of having a view of the river behind some pines, I chose to park a little further away in preference of getting a good TV signal and some winter sun.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Being a participant in the NZMCA’s Camp saver program, Rachel said it was working well for them. With power and access to their great facilities, it makes it really worth doing even if it is the middle of winter. Its a really nice place to be and away from all the hustle and bustle and only an hour or so from Auckland 🙂

Outdoor eating

I’d only been there a few minutes when two people from Wellington rocked in with their rented Maui Campervan. They had taken advantage of the Maui discount after lockdown and were out around the North Island. That’s them in the piccy below.

Late in the day

I went for a wander down to the beach to see what was where.. There was a film crew down there doing a fashion shoot for some ads, a great spot for that.

Close to the beach

The park is right on the river and estuary and an easy walk to the beach. The park is probably three quarters occupied by annual semi permanent caravans and cabins but there is plenty of easy parking for motorhomes and casual overnight stays.

I thought he was waving at me but I’m sure I was too far away.

A lovely spot, nice facilities and a helpful crew, well worth the trip and it brought back some great memories.  I’ll be going back again but this time on the sealed road from Wellsford:-)

Rafe’s tracker map out of Pakiri

A Great Day Out

It was Classic Boat Riverhead Pub day and as it turned out a Reunion of sorts with lots of old friends I haven’t seen for a while. We were going up on Alan’s 28 ft Lanes Classic boat, Raindance.

Click on an Image to enlarge it.

Alan’s boat Raindance ready to go

Alan and I are both ex Launch Captains of the  Classic Yacht Association  so we had both done this trip many times before as part of that role and it was always a fun day out.

Alan picked me up from home about 8:30 and we were down at Bayswater Marina ready to go just before 9. The forecast was for showers and very little wind so the 13 or so other boats coming would be able to deal with this easily.

Off up to the pub

As Alan had organised this, I’d had a bit of a heads up on who was coming so I was looking forward to see some of the original people involved with the rebirth of the Classic Launches in Auckland.

Trinidad leading the charge behind us

We left in the sunshine to head under the harbour bridge and headed up a little beyond the Greenhithe Bridge where we were to meet up with all the other boats and at 10:15, we headed up in single file to the Pub. The departure time was crucial to give us the maximum eating / drinking / social time before the river lost its water with the tide.

Jason catching up. He led the way from here.
Jason and his crew at Herald Island

Jason  in his newly restored boat called My Girl caught up with us off Beachaven and we followed him up to the meeting point just past Herald Island. The other boats all seemed to arrive together and soon we were off to the pub.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I can remember a trip Alan and I did with the CYA where we had 30 plus boats and we had to leave room for the ferry.. there were boats everywhere.. This was going to be much easier with just 13 boats and there was no ferry to worry about.

From up by the pub.

Everybody anchored and tied up without any drama and it was up to the Marque to catchup with old friends. A few people I talked to asked me questions about Motorhomes ! .. seems we might have a few more ex boaties coming our way 🙂

Raindance in front with My girl behind

A great day but all good things have to come to an end and with the tide on its way out, it was time to dodge the showers back to Bayswater.

Alan driving on the way back.

It was an easy trip back with the chop building a little on the way and a few showers.

Back in the Marina

Check out Alans Blog at www.waitematawoodys.com

Opal Springs Hot Pools

As I’ve got older I’ve noticed how I can’t do the big marathon drives I used to do but I suppose some of this has to do with the fact that I’m now driving a 4 plus ton Motorhome, not a Mini or something.

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Some of their Caravans in the fog!

Coming back for our last night away from our post Covid few days away from Whakatane, I decided I’d had enough just as I descended down the Tauranga Kaimai road and that Coffee lounge in Matamata never looked better 🙂  We sat down to a lovely all day Eggs Benny and it was just lovely washed down with some great coffee.

Cabins at the back, motorhome parking and pools down below.. in the fog!

After that, it was off to a place I’ve been to once before just out of town called Opal Springs.

Amazing Fog

They have plenty of powered and non powered sites along with some cabins and they also do a discount for NZMCA’rs.

That pesky Fog

We stopped in and were met by Vanessa who remembered me from a couple of years ago and pointed us in the right direction. Its a great setup with the powered sites all up on a plateau overlooking the pools down below.

It wasn’t long after we arrived, we were off down to the pools where we met a couple from Orewa who were having a Covid breakaway too.

There are several pools with a really hot Private Pool and a Spa as well.  Nice spot, nice people, nice and quiet with great facilities and a really reasonable price.

Rafe’s Track to Opal Springs

Keeping watch on that Island

One of the nicer spots available not far from Opotiki is the Island View Motor Camp right on the beachfront between Ohope and Opotiki. The Island in front is of course White Island and it was steaming away when we were there.

Click on an Image to enlarge them

Nice little hedged parks looking out at the water.

After leaving Whakatane, we thought we’d try this Holiday Park which is also part of the Camp Saver program. Right on the waterfront too.

Great outlook

It was cold and in the middle of winter and I better it pumps during summer.  Its a lovely spot with several tracks through the dunes to the sand. Some enterprising person has even made a throne of sorts so you can sit and enjoy the view.

They currently have several hundred Kiwi fruit pickers there and with Covid still on, we were advised to stay away from the bathroom facilities. I usually prefer ours anyway. All the facilities are normally available and they also have a pool, Kayaks and other water toys available for those interested.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Great spot and later we were joined by David and Michelle in their new Dethleffs Trend.

Rafe’s track to Island View Holiday Park

Great to see David and Michelle again and when we left there, they were staying on a few more days to have a good look around.

Whakatane River

Whakatane .. its great to be here..

It’s been a wee while  since either of us have been in this part of the country so I was really looking forward to checking it out.

Click on any Image to enlarge it.

The Awakeri Campground was great with the pool too but we were leaving that behind.. we arrived in Whakatane later in the morning and checked in and settled down.

Biking past the campground

This was a very different camp from Awakeri where the sites were a lot smaller but it was only $20 a night with power and had everything you would ever want in a fantastic location.

Easy Parking

Whakatane Holiday Park is pretty much right in the centre of town on the edge of the river, protected by a raised stop bank with a walking track on top which the locals seem to really enjoy.

Close by the town
The walking track around to the town

The track goes right into town and it is only 5 minutes away.  All the White Island boat services and Tourist area is based on the edge of the river just along from the park. There is also the Gardens and a model train and playground set up there too.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We enjoyed a good look through the shops and a cuppa in one of the coffee shops and then headed back to Rafe.

Dusk with the walkers

Later in the day, we met David and Michelle who were visiting in their near new Dethleffs Trend motorhome. This is their first motorhome and they were really enjoying it. Nice people and they popped over later for a drink. It was really nice to see them.

Rafe’s Tracker trail to the camp at Whakatane

Nice spot and really handy and great value with the Camp saver.

Away with Hot Pools

After the lockdown, we were itching to get away.

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A nice old Caravan

Fiona had arranged time off for work and for me having  a gap between jobs, it was time to get out in some fresh air.  After packing Rafe, topping up with water and loading food and clothes in, we were away. We decided we’d  stay in over Queens Birthday so we could take advantage of some of the Camp Saver deals.

Down the southern motorway with very little traffic and onto the amazing new Huntly bypass. This was our first time over it as it was finished just before lockdown. What a big saving in time and easy to get through. Now we just need a real bypass for Hamilton.

It has been a long time since I have driven around the lakes by Rotoiti, Rotoetu and Rotoma. Despite the weather being a miserable, it was an easy drive through.

Hot pool and it was nice and hot!

It has also been a while since either of us had been over to Whakatane we headed out towards Awakeri Hot springs. With over 100 powered sites and at a really reasonable rate and now the weather is colder, this seemed very sensible being close to a hot pool. 🙂

Arriving mid afternoon, we plugged in and settled Rafe and headed for the pool.  Within minutes we had met some people some people also from Auckland who were doing just what we were, escaping after the Covid lockdown and they also had limited time so were counting the days away.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Its a lovely spot and only 12 k’s from Whakatane.

The next morning, after another swim in the pool, we headed into Whakatane for some groceries and a bit of a look around.

It was cold in the morning!

Back to the camp, we headed for the pool.

 A lovely park, some nice people running it. The free Wi-Fi didn’t really happen but there were so many other nice things about this park, it didn’t matter. Great pools and spotlessly clean. We’ll be back.

Rafe’s track to Awakeri

Everyone has a Jetty

Another one from 2018..

Over our boating years, both Alan and I have had some amazing moments in both Bon Accord harbour at Kawau and around Kawau so being  driven around on the ferry so we could have a good look with a commentary was a real treat.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Lidgards and Kawau Yacht club

Alan does one of the biggest, if not the biggest Wooden Boating Blogs around called Waitematawoodys.com and was on the Classic Yacht Association committee with me for several years.  We have been known to sneak away in Rafe for the odd boys trip which are always fun!

We left Rafe about 9:30 from the Sandspit Holiday Park and wandered along the road to the wharf to get our tickets and check in.  So after having a cuppa at the café on the wharf we set off about 10:30 for Kawau.

Mansion House

Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.

His and Hers

Almost all the houses only have water only access and the way they’ve been built either on top of a hill with their own chairlifts (think electric Wheely Bin on a rail 🙂 ) with a jetty at the bottom or on the water. Some of them are amazing but I suspect most would be either baches, occupied by retired folk or who don’t have to commute.

Kawau Yacht Club

We were on the Royal Mail boat which started at Vivian Bay in the north and worked its way around to Bon Accord Harbour and Mansion House Bay and then down to South Cove where there was mail to be dropped off. On the way back to Mansion House Bay for lunch, we passed the Old Copper Mine.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Kawau was huge source of copper in the mid 1800’s with a community of around 300 related to the Mine and its output at its peak. By the 1800’s it all fizzled out and most of the miners moved on to the Gold Fields.

The remains of the Copper Mine

After a walk around the Mansion House and the coffee shop, we eventually made our way back to the ferry. It was nice barrelling along at 15 knots in the sun with a glass of Pinot Gris in hand.

Alan getting off the Ferry

Friendly Peacocks on the lawn

We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Right On The Water

Here’s another one from 2018… enjoy

They’ve had a lot of rain up here so the Sandspit Holiday Park crew suggested that we stick to one back from the water just to make sure we don’t sink!

Click on an Image for Hi res

Nice parking

My old boating friend Alan and I were in need of some time out of the house so we decided a few days before to check out the Sandspit Holiday Park and do a trip to Kawau on the ferry. Sounded like a plan thought I so off we went early on the Friday afternoon. It is only 42k’s from Auckland and with little traffic, we were there at 3.30pm.

Its a lovely little park with a lot of permanent Baches and Caravans but what a neat spot.

With an NZMCA discount, it was $23 each a night. With their very new Showers and Kitchens, its a delight to stay at. There are a whole bunch of older interesting buildings there too and Horace the Morris is a feature as well.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We stayed two nights with a ferry trip to Kawau in between. Lucky with the weather, after getting back from Kawau, we walked along to the newly setup restaurant on the top floor of the Sandspit Yacht Club and caught up with Motorhome friends Rob and Helen who live not far away from there.

The ferry a few minutes walk away.

The last time we were here, unbeknown to me, they had some issues with the drainage system for the bathrooms which used to be a real problem apparently in the height of summer.

The new Drainage system

This has all been upgraded and put up the hill out of the way and hasn’t been an issue since.  Nice friendly hosts who were happy to help with anything. ..

A shot from the ferry. You can see Rafe in the middle.

A great spot and handy to the Kawau ferry and the new Marina at Sandspit.

The Netspeed Speedtest for here.
Download: 7.34 Mbps
Upload: 2.10 Mbps
Ping: 23 ms
I think the tower was playing up a bit as we had some difficulty with the connection over the two nights.

Rafes Tracker Map

 

Happy at Hahei

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

We’d survived the weather as fortunately the storm veered away from Coromandel and left us with plenty of rain but no wind.

Debris after the storm

I woke up early on Good Friday and took Rafe around to the dump station and got prepared for the next few days at our prebooked beachfront site. Fiona was driving down to Ardmore to be picked up by Helen and Rob and they were due to arrive around the middle of the day. Rob was following in their new Autotrail Tracker with daughter Chloe.

Click on the Images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

Our wee spot in paradise

When I arrived up at the beachfront site, there was another little Swift rental alongside. I jumped out to move a BBQ table out of the way and Eric from the Swift gave me a hand. Eric and his wife Mary Ann were from Victoria in Canada and were traveling around NZ.

About 11am, I received a call from Fiona to say that they had arrived and that the camp wouldn’t allow them to come in until 11:30. Seriously?  This does nothing to create a holiday atmosphere!

Our little setup with the tables. The Tracker and Rafe

Half an hour went by and Rob brought the Tracker in to park. As Rafes door is on the right and the Trackers door is on the left, I suggested I move to Rob’s park so the doors faced each other. This turned out to work really well as Gary, Dianne, Neil, Christine and even Eric and Mary Ann all came around to join us for drinks and nibbles for several nights. A lot of fun.

Happy Hour. LtoR: Dianne, Gary, Fiona, Christine, Neil, Helen, Chloe and Rob

Happy at Hahei

Back to friday. As the day went on, the park got more people in but by Sunday morning, it was really only about 1/3rd full.

Its a great park, a stunning location where our parks on the beachfront had tracks directly down to the sand. We were effectively parked on the back of the sand dunes.

Beachfront parking

The outlook 🙂

Toilets were handy, Gary and Diannes Beachfront cottage was right next to us, it couldn’t be better.

Beachfront cottages behind us.

My only comment would be that I found there was definitely room for improvement in the welcoming process at the office.  To be fair this may have been stress caused by the cancellations they would have had.

The stunning beach

All the same, I have to rate it as one of the better Motorcamps around in a great place and we had a lot of fun.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site.
Download: 16.77 Mbps
Upload: 19.06 Mbps
Ping: 69 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.841268,175.809322

Rafe’s Tracker Map

To Hahei

Storm at Coromandel

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

The build up was huge and as a result, we left Coromandel early and headed to Whitianga and then onto Hahei, as we figured it was very likely that we could get blocked in at Coromandel with closed roads. The road to Thames was already closed due to slips and wasn’t due to open until after Easter. After stopping at Whitianga for groceries, I cruised onto Hahei Holiday Park.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

I parked two rows back from the beach for the first two nights until the storm went through but on the second day, I decided to park behind the office amongst some trees for wind protection drawing on old boating experience.

My hideaway with the trees

Friends Gary and Dianne were in a beachfront cottage and Fiona had gone back to Auckland on the ferry for a couple of days work but was due back soon. ..so I was flying solo for a couple of days.

The Beachfront Cottages

Unfortunately the  camp was absolutely deserted as most Motorhomers had disappeared and run for cover due to the forecast which initially had Cormomandel getting hammered by the remnants of ex tropical  cyclone Cook.

The primo beach spots all empty

Gary and Diannes friends Neil and Christine arrived up from Otaki way on THE day and later, when the bell struck 4pm and the promised winds were only about 20 knots at peak and the rain was easing, we decided it was a fizzer and it was time for a light refreshment.

Just after 5 it stopped raining and it was time to go and check out the beach .  What a great sunset with all the clouds.

I felt for the campground people as the place was deserted and from Hahei’s perspective, there really wasn’t a storm at all. Yes there was plenty of rain but the cost to all those on the peninsula at a peak time, it really was a beat up. I suppose from the forecasters perspective, it had to be that way rather than have people unprepared and it could have been a lot worse. It seems a real pity that it affects so many people’s livelyhoods.

Out in the sunshine

The next day, everyone that was there all seemed to be enjoying the sunshine on the beach. It really is one of the best beaches around.

Rafes tracker image to Hahei

To Hahei

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