Waihi Beach NZMCA Park

I was on my way to Bowentown but couldn’t help but pop in and have a nosey at one of our new Parks. Its also got a Cafe a few doors along so very handy.

The NZMCA park at Waihi Beach

As I drove in one of the first things I saw was Robin and Linda’s brand new Morelo.  They’ve sold their house and the new beast is now their new home. It comes from the same stable as the Dethleffs in Pokeno so I was keen to catch up and see how it was all going.

The park.. Robin and Linda’s Morelo and Rafe on the other side.

They’re  having fun. They’re really pleased with it. At 8.4 metres long it was the height that’s impressive.. they’re massive!

We had a good natter and my 5 minute chat and quick stop to get some piccies turned into an hour or so! .. Nice people.

The Entrance

The park had about 20 odd Motorhomes and Caravans in it and there was plenty of room for more.

Its in a great location being an easy walk to the beach and to the shops and the Cafe next door will be pleased to see the park open.

Another great place to park and a great addition to the network of parks.

Rafe’s Track to the NZMCA park

Windows

Karangahake Gorge is just amazing. We walked around here a year or two ago but didn’t quite get to the Windows walk for some reason. Well.. its wild.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The Main suspension bridge over the Ohimemuri river

After parking Rafe in the carpark next to two other Motorhomes, I set off with the box brownie and headed across the suspension bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River.

The Power Station looking back to the carpark

The old Powerhouse used to be at the other end but all that can be seen now is the concrete base.

Looking back over the old PowerStation ruins to the carpark.

The walk is supposed to take an hour and is 2.5 kms. I headed off up the right hand side of the gorge along a pathway which had some mine entrances heading off into the hillside.

How is that track

As the walk went further on, the pathway was cut into the sheer cliff face and protected by barriers. Just stunning with the river below. Knowing that this was a loop walk back across the other side, I couldn’t see anywhere across the other side that looked like it could accommodate a track!

The second bridge up to the tunnels.

As I went further on, I came across another suspension bridge crossing the river and a track leading up some steps into a Tunnel. Just as well I brought my cell phone for some light although a torch would have been better .. note for next time!

The original tracks are still in there for the Gold Diggings train too.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow of the walk

As the Tunnel went on their were little exits (Windows) out across the river and eventually it came out to a well formed track.

The Spanish chaps ahead

I bumped into a couple of chaps from Spain enjoying the walk who were keen to do more walks. A family with small kids went through too so its suitable for all ages.

One of the old carts

Further along there was the ruins of the processing plants that occupied most of the hillside. Its not a big area so its amazing what they fitted in there at that time.

The foundations of one of the big factories

After a chat with my Spanish friends at the end of the track, I headed back across the main swing bridge to the carpark where there was originally a whole township. An amazing spot! .. I’ll definitely have to come back here again.!

Rafe’s Track to the Windows walks

The Control Gates at Aratiatia

On the way to the National Equestrian centre where we were to stay for the night, there is a bridge and dam that is crossed which crosses the Aratiatia Control Gates.

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Waiting for the start with the gates behind

Every now and then, they open the gates to let the water head down the Waikato river. It is spectacular and there are always good crowds there to see it happen.

Before

The rush of water is amazing and the area below the bridge transforms from empty to full with millions of litres of water in minutes.

Nearly full

There is good parking there for Motorhomes and Caravans and while we were there, there was a visit from the Huka Falls Jetboat.

The Huka Falls jet above the gates

We quietly queued up and waited for the sirens and then the rush of water.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow of the stages

An amazing spectacle and you can check with the Taupo visitors centre for opening times.

After the action, we moved on up to the Equestrian Centre for the night.. another favorite place.

Toilets, Showers and rubbish right opposite

The prices have changed and are now $5 per person plus $5 for power. This includes access to a toilet and shower. A good place to stop for a night.

Boiling Mud and Geysers

Grandsons, Ayden and Liam were both really looking forward to seeing some boiling mud for the first time and if we could, the famous Pohutu Geyser.

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Fiona, Ayden and Liam on the way to the Geysers

We left early and walked about 100 metres to Te Puia all well connected by tunnels under the roadway. The family pass which was normally $150 odd seemed appropriate and because there was a NZ special discount, we were able to show our drivers licenses and get nearly $50 off !  A big saving.

The base of the Geysers

There  just enough time to get the boys an ice cream and us a coffee before the next tour was due to head off with Guide Kiri.

Kiri with the Tour group

She was fantastic and as the Geysers were still building up a head of steam, after teaching the group of about 60 in the tour how to pronounce the full name of Whakarewarewa(and a lot more), she took us first to see the craft academy. Whakarewarewa is the abbreviated form !

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I didn’t realise but they have a full Academy for training craftsmen from Bone or Stone carving to Wood Carving, Jewellery and many other skills. They work on show for the tourists behind and below a walkway and you finally end up in a Gallery where the work is available to buy. The trainees have uniforms and have a full apprenticeship/graduation ceremony. It is an amazing setup. Very entrepreneurial and all done very nicely. I was impressed.

The base of the Geysers

The steam was building up so Kiri took us down to the Mud Pools then onto the Geysers. Unfortunately there was a grey sky and the steam and the clouds all merged so it was impossible to really see the water let alone photograph it. The boys enjoyed it and also got to sit on some warm concrete which was nice as it was only 10C!

Boiling Mud

We spent about 4 hours there all up and we decided it was time to head back to Rafe and go and warm up in the Hot Pool.

Pohutu Geyser is in there somewhere

As I say, I was very impressed with the way it was all setup. Paths and bridges are a long way from what I remember from the old Whaka village with them all being well engineered and maintained.
A fun day for young and old 🙂

Launch of the Books – Free Download!

Wow.. what a week ..

The last 2 of our Bugger it We Are Off series books were launched last week.  All four are now on Amazon as Kindles EBooks.

To celebrate this, I’ve got the Napier Art deco book available for free for the next 4 days from today (US time) – Tomorrow NZ Time

From 1st August (US time), this book will be available for free for 5 days.  …..Click here

I’ve got them available in the Epub format as well for Ipads but haven’t got a Mac which you need to upload to the iTunes store.. I’ll find a way!

These publications are all based on this Blog.
I’m not expecting them to be best sellers but if someone out there finds a couple of things of interest in there, it was worth doing.

The blurb below is copied from the OUR Books page.

As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 20, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.

Bugger it we are off to the Pinnacles in a convoy is about meeting Motorhome friends in Taupo NZ (central North Island) and heading in our three Motorhomes down to the Pinnacles at the bottom of the North Island.

We travel through the Hawkes Bay wine region on the way, go to a UB40 concert, survive a raging storm and enjoy a great meal in an old style Country Lodge. Lots of fun and some great images.

Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer Motorhome and then following our Motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks explore central Europe with bikes.

There were lots of adventures and lots of laughs. A truly memorable experience.

Bugger it we are off to the South Island of NZ is about our three month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.

We met lots of neat people, caught up with some friends and relatives, stayed in some amazing places and had a great time.

To see more about these books and links to buy, see our Book Page

The Promised trip to Rotorua

Some time ago we promised the Grandsons Ayden and Liam that we would take them to Rotorua for a few days and see the boiling mud and swim in a hot pool.

The boys have never been to Rotorua so were looking forward to it after a false start a few months ago, when one of them got sick and we couldn’t go.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Ayden and Liam playing in the Playground.

We were also meeting our friends Rob, Helen and daughter Chloe who were on their way to the South Island.

After picking up Fiona from work in Takapuna and then collecting the boys at Ardmore, we were off to Rotovegas! We didn’t leave until late so we weren’t expecting to be in Rotorua much before about 7pm.

As it was cold and there was some pretty rough weather due to arrive, we decided on staying at the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park which looked pretty good with the hot pools.

When its cold outside and there is an Internet signal!

It is a well setup place and comes with several thermal pools and a playground for the kids. It was also perfectly located  for us as we were just around the corner from Te Puia and Whakarewarewa.

The Tracker and Rafe by the flash amenities building.

Helen had made a nice tea for us and after settling down Rafe, we moved into an amazingly well setup new kitchen and dining Room. It was all connected to our parks with a covered walkway which I thought was pretty cleverly done.

Great setup

After a great night of catching up with Rob, Helen and Chloe, we setup the drop down bed for the boys and all turned in for the night.

In the morning, Rob and Helen were taking Chloe up the Gondolas and headed for Ngongotaha while we went outside with the boys and took them to Te Puia which was just over the road.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I had a good look around the camp in the early afternoon and it is huge. There are 164 powered sites and nearly 30 odd cabins and units and while we were there, the housemovers were setting up some more !

Something for everyone. At 10C I’m not sure this is me !

After spending the day in the thermal area, we arrived back just as it started to rain and headed for a hot swim where we caught up with Rob, Helen and Chloe.

After Happy hour and a few glasses of Chardy in the Tracker, we hit the sack for the night.

Smaller hot hot pools

A great spot to stay for the Hot Pools, for the thermal attractions and the amenities are superb.

The Netspeed Speedtest here..  not too flash!
Download: 6.46 Mbps
Upload: 1.79 Mbps
Ping: 47 ms

Rafes Tracker Map to the Thermal Holiday park

David’s Treasure Trove

Rafe is nearly 4 years old and it seems everything is expiring. One of those items is the Electrical Certificate and that was due to expire next month but while I’m doing inspections, oil changes and stuff, I thought I’d get on with it.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Sunbeam

After making a time with David Allbon who was listed on the NZMCA website, I rocked up to his house in Glenfield with Rafe and David put Rafe through his electrical paces. I was impressed with how thorough it was. He tested all the 240v power points and devices and checked the RCD tripped off in the allotted times allowed. The lead was checked too. We passed with flying colours.

David with a new bike he is working on.

David then led me to do the paperwork on his desk in his garage which just happened to be the boot lid of his Triumph Stag. His Garage was amazing. There was a 1929 Sunbeam, a 1926 Douglas Motorbike, a lovely convertible MG which was covered in his Motorhome bits. He is also working on another lovely old bike which I forgot to ask what it was but a real treasure trove.

The MG

David was telling me that most of the cars he has owned for a “long time” which suggested 40 years or more in some cases.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Looking at the Sunbeam engine bay with its 6 cylinder, 2 litre motor, you could eat your lunch off it ! Its lovely to see these old vehicles being looked after and loved to this level.

The 6 cylinder 2 litre Sunbeam motor

David and his wife Barbara also have a Nissan Motorhome which was away having some repairs done to it after it was damaged by a falling tree.

If you’re looking for an Electrical Certificate, David is your man..!

Fiona & Chris, two empty nesters put their dreams of doing something different into reality… Living in their Motorhome, come along for the ride.

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