A Tune Up for Rafe’s Dome and Some Smart New Technology!

I had to pop in to Apollo TV to get my now nearly 4 year old Apollo dome serviced as I was having trouble getting some of the channels. Chris was very happy to sort it all out for me!

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All is revealed.. looking good

Ever since Prime moved, it has been really difficult to get and TV1 and TV2 suffered badly from rain fade where TV3 didn’t!

Chris checking over the Dome

After talking to both Chris and Duncan, I made and appointment and off I went to their office in Whnagaparoa. Nice guys that were only too happy to help me with the dome. It also turns out that my Dome cover has just about done its dash so there is a new one coming. $399 fitted. They get hammered by our high UV and get cracks in them. Mine has cracks around the screw holes on the edge so is all good for a wee while.

Chris got the ladder out and within 10 minutes or so, had it reset and pointing correctly at the Satellite fixing all the problems. Apparently my dome has a GPS in it to it knows where it is in the world and sets itself and the skew based on position and the signal strength as well.
Chris was telling me that when they first starting bringing in the Domes, they realised that the Dome Cover was much bigger than the Dish so they had the Dish made as large as they could and still fit under the Cover giving us TV watchers more signal!

I couldn’t get over the friendly customer service and speed at which they dealt with my wee problem.

The sample straight out of the Box

While talking to Chris, he was telling me about the new Avtex Sound Bar which fits on the bottom of the Avtex 19” TV and vastly improves its sound while only drawing .75A and they’re only $375 retail.

Chris with the first Sound Bar

Duncan set one up for me to have a listen and the sound is stunning. The power and sound is all sourced directly from the TV where they mount underneath. All very easy and tidy. They can also be used as a remote Bluetooth speaker for your cell phones too.

Their first shipment is arriving shortly and is already just about completely spoken for!

The sound bar fitted to a 19″ TV

Some of the new technology in this space is amazing with so much happening.. now to just win Lotto and I’ll be very happy 🙂

We’re on the Market !

Well its been nice to be back in our house and to have Rafe safely parked in his little spot alongside.

It has been a fun 8 months or so cruising around Europe and the South Island and we both feel better for it.

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Back in the late 70’s, we had another smaller house in Devonport which we were in for 28 years or so. The boys grew up here and as we needed more space, we simply kept adding on until there was no more site coverage. At the time I had a huge Photographic Studio up in Albany and had decided to move home amd work from home as my work had changed to more location work. What studio work I had could be done in a big garage. So around 2006 we bought Roslyn Tce..  8 years or so later,  I no longer have any real studio work and the boys have left home, its time to downsize.

Oldest son Drew is a real estate person and he’s handling the sale.

The Motorhome parking is on the far right with a 16 amp plug on the side of the house too.

Having been used to living in a Motorhome for over 6 months, we are rattling in this huge house with no need for a Studio. Its on the Market!

While we were on the road, one question I was asked pretty reguarly was how were we getting on with renting it. How do we know its not getting smashed up and the rent going astray etc.

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Enter Dianne our property manager who has been really good checking out the tenants thoroughly, credit checks etc,  Regular inspections were done to see it was being looked after. When we got back, the house was in good shape. The tenants had had it commercially cleaned.

Back to the House sale..Its been a busy time! I’ve been busy painting fences and fixing things I should have done years ago.. and the place is looking good. If you’re looking for a place in Devonport with motorhome parking (up to 9 metres) and with power, here it is!

Fiona mentioned the other day why we didn’t fix all these little things years ago! I wonder 🙂

Early Magic in Auckland

It was really nice to be back in Auckland after a nice trip around the South Island and to see our families and friends again. We’ve been away now for over 6 months so we had lots of catching up to do.

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Rafe parked for Christmas in Ardmore on Sara and Alex’s (son)driveway.

Fiona was asked to step in at her old job in Takapuna for a few days so we thought we’d treat ourselves with a park on the waterfront at Takapuna Motorcamp. Friends Gary and Dianne with their new Niesmann and Bischoff and Ian and Lynda with their Dethleffs XLI joined us too.

Fantastic spot

On one of the mornings after Fiona left to walk to work, I set off to walk around the coast to Milford. It is an easy 30 minutes or so mostly along paths but with a little rock hopping right at the beginning.

Takapuna beach, campground on the right

Some of the houses are amazing. It is a great walk and it seems like the world is out there enjoying it. Its just nice sucking in the early morning fresh air and stopping now and then just to take it all in.

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I eventually ended up in Milford and went to check out our old family boat Rorqual which was happily sitting in the sun in the marina.

Milford Marina, Rorqual the Whalechaser in the foreground

I have done a blog on the both the campground and this walk before but both the campground and the walk, really are a treasure so really this is all about the photos.


Rafe’s track from Milford

Holiday Rambling

Meeting Peter, Wendy, Grant, Sharron, Mike and Pam in Northland and checking out their American buses was a lot of fun. They’re a great bunch and have been travelling together for a few years. Three of them even knew each other from back in their school days !

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L to R, Peter and Wendy, Pam and Mike, Grant and Sharron with their Motorhomes.

The Holiday Ramblers are on a Ford chassis with 6.8 litre V10 petrol engines with 6 speed auto gearboxes and honestly, when you stand next to them outside, you can barely hear them running. They’re so quiet.

Peter and Wendy’s Rambler

They’re 10 metres long with centre island beds on a 9 ton ticket. They all have slide outs which makes them huge inside. The décor is very similar with the only difference being that Mike’s has a bigger single slideout on one side.

Home on the Range!

As they pulled up beside Rafe, there was a whir of engines with the Hydraulic rams levelling them up, the slideouts coming out and the awnings rolling out. All of them at the same time ! This is Motorhoming the easy way 🙂

With the two slideouts. Peter and Grant’s Motorhomes are like this.
You could play a game of footy here! Mike and Pam’s Rambler

They were imported as a bunch of 12 by a Tauranga importer who had them specially designed for NZ road conditions (width) and wired to conform with the NZ electrical standards, several years ago.

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Peter, Wendy, Grant, Sharron, Mike and Pam are either on the phone most nights planning their adventures together with their amazing Motorhomes or on the road.

The bedroom

Top Parking at Tokerau

We had just arrived at the Brett and Bronwen’s Park over property when Bronwen walked out to welcome us with a huge smile. Brett followed soon after. We very quickly felt welcome and they  showed us where everything was.

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Nice gardening

After spotting some power points off to the side next to a beautifully bulldozed flat platform, I asked if we  could we use them?  They were $10 a night  so we were in heaven getting ready for a great New Years eve.

The view from the top.

Brett and Bronwen have owned the property for 6 years and have made it available as a POP for just on 3 years but they missed the last NZMCA Bible but what a fantastic place to stay. They are planning to build their dream home up above the site in years to come.  A lovely spot.

Easy parking

Brett was telling me that they’ve just installed a new Maytag washing machine ($4), a new toilet and a dump station too, all a quick walk from Tokerau Beach.

We were going to stay 1 night but feeling really comfortable and it being New Years eve, it would be rude not to stay for at least 3 nights 🙂

Looking out from Karikari Estate

We went for a drive around to have a look around. Karikari Estate is just around the corner. The beach is amazing and goes for miles.

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A great place to stay in the Far North with some lovely hosts.

Rafe’s track to Tokerau

With the Green things

We were heading north with no particular destination firmly set except we thought, maybe a night at Waipu and then a night the NZMCA park at Rainbow Falls if there was room.

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The traffic was unbelievable so we left the motorway at Silverdale and headed up Highway 16. I haven’t been up this was for a long time so it was a nice drive through. We stopped at the lookout spot looking out over the Kaipara Harbour just before Wellsford which was nice too.

Rafe at Caledonian park in Waipu

We arrived in Waipu and headed straight for our favorite spot at the Caledonian Park. There are only a couple of spots there where you can get a TV signal next to a power pole and we managed to snaffle one of them.

The next morning, the grounds people were up early to set up for the Scottish Games so we headed towards Kerikeri and after a cup of coffee at the Pear Tree Cafe by the Stone Store, we went to check in to the Rainbow Falls park.

This has to be one of the better parks being right next to a fantastic walking track with the Falls right behind.

Rainbow Falls park with the lighthouse

Just by chance, it happened that old friends Max and Jan were staying opposite us in their new Hobby Caravan so we joined them for a drink outside their caravan.

Max and Jan’s new Hobby with the wrap around sun glasses 🙂

The next day, we went for a walk down towards the Stone Store by the river but got half way down when we realised that we didn’t have a wallet between us for something at the other end so we turned around and headed back to Rafe.

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A fantastic walk with people fishing in the river, lots of people out enjoying the walk and people swimming under the falls. It is really nice to see so many people out enjoying this fantastic park.


We had just got back when my old mate Grant rang and he Dani arrived ready for a cold drink. Max and Jan arrived back at the park not long after (Dani’s parents) and joined us as well. Lots of fun and laughs in Rafe in a nice park.

If you haven’t been to this park, it truly is fantastic having some great walks, the falls and public loos just over the fence as well. The park is now at a point where almost half of it now has gravel down with the grass growing through and it looks great.

Rafe’s Track to Rainbow Falls Park

The Famous Martinborough Fair

We trekked back to Martinborough on the Saturday morning to a busy Martinborough rugby ground. There were Caravans and Motorhomes for Africa. It was the day of the Fair so people had come from far and wide.

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Back at the Park

The park was an amazing place and having gone to virtually having it to ourselves a weekend before with the Cruise Martinborough event to it being as busy as it was was great.

Friends Gary and Dianne, and Ian and Lynda went to Ngawi while we were in Greytown and they arrived back the day before. We met John and Yvonne from Ruakaka in their Dethleffs Nomad Caravan and they were here again too. It was going to be a fun weekend.

Fiona checking out the Jade

We all walked into town and had a good cruise around the Market. Where there were Hot Rods and Classic cars a week before, there were stalls in every corner. It was amazing.

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One of the things I really enjoy doing at these events is simply buying a lime thickshake and a bun and sitting in a street side cafe and watch the world go by. Its great fun.

The next door Neighbour.. Nice !

After a couple of hours of checking out every nook and cranny, we headed back to the park for something wet and cold. The wind finally dropped off a bit, but was bitterly cold. It allowed us to move out into the field where there was some raucous laughter amongst some dancing and singing along.

Out in the Middle
Cold !

A great day!

Rafe’s Track North from the park via the Dump Station

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