Bliss at Tinopai

Turning left at the Bryndrwyn’s is the Kauri Coast road which heads all the way to Dargaville and beyond to the Hokianga Harbour. About 27k’s along is the little settlement of Matakohe where the Kauri Museum is and about another 20 k’s off to the left is the lovely little settlement of Tinopai.

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Its down the end of this peninsular that juts down into the Kairapa Harbour where you’ll find the Tinopai Campground, right on the waters edge.

The Campground

With Fiona at work and this being somewhere I’ve wanted to come and see, this was me for a couple of nights. At $10 a night with power right on the waterfront, it doesn’t get much better.
There are Toilets and $1 showers along with a small Laundry.

I was parked in Chris’s Parade.. yahoo

After settling in Rafe and putting some chocks under the front wheels, I went for a wander. Right next door is the Marina.. VERY tidal with all of the boats sitting in the mud at low tide.

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I’d only been there an hour or so when a local on a quad bike came around giving away fish. I didn’t have any filleting gear so politely declined but what a fantastic atmosphere. Later that day, Sue the campground lady popped around giving away fruit off a tree..

The following day Lillian and Lester arrived with their Dethleffs Esprit and parked right next door and we enjoyed a couple of cold ones out of the wind later in front of Rafe.

Neat spot

Tinopai used to have a service station which sadly has closed so you do need to be aware that there are no shops or services here. Its very remote but you can get an Internet signal if you have Netspeed or WN.

A lovely spot to come and get away from it all and very reasonably priced.

Rafes track to Tinopai

800 000 Hits!

The last 100000 has been a bit of a slog but we finally got there.. Its actually more than 820 000!

Glorious spot  by the Waikato River 

I remember the moment when we hit 600 000. I was on my own in Coromandel at a neat campground by the river so had plenty of time to think about it. Fiona was at work.

Fiona using the Power pole clothesline 🙂  In the Ida Valley

Thanks for being great supporters of these pages and now heading for the Million mark.!

Rafe’s new Landscaped Park

One of the challenges we all have as Motorhome owners is where to park our Motorhomes.  Over the last month or so, we’ve been progressively been making space for ours.

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Boxing on. you can see the original bit
Boxing
The ready mix going in. Ryan floating off the slab

In the last two weeks, one of the bigger changes we’ve made to our new place in Devonport is hard landscaping of our front yard. It includes a flash new raised Garden which Fiona has always wanted. A parking area for our visitors as parking is a premium around here and a few green things around Rafe’s park and making it easier to get Rafe in and out of the park.

Rafe’s first day
Some of that fence has gone

A very good friend of my son Andrew, Ryan and his wife Jordan have done an amazing job. Ryan’s speciality is concrete but he has done a lot in the landscaping area too so we’re really chuffed with what we’ve got on a small difficult site. Ray helped too with redoing the fence and the raised gardens. A great job folks.

The Digger off to pull out the clothesline

We’ve only been here a couple of months. In that time, the concrete parking pad has been extended for Rafe, Hot water cylinder replaced and moved outside, a heat pump installed, the Laundry shifted around to be more functional, and now this amazing Garden.

While the Garden was being done, the fence had to be rebuilt as all the railings were knackered. The posts and palings were reused into an arty random fence.. We like it, the neighbours like it but quite a few don’t 🙂  we can always trim it later !

We also left a few bits at the front off to make it easier to get Rafe in and out 🙂

Ryan supervising the first scraping off the grass

 

Click on the Gallery below to see the progress!

A big thanks to Ryan, Jordan and Ray for their fantastic efforts.

Easy parking

Thats it for now for a while on the house so we’re back in Rafe on the road for summer.

Big Windows

Parked just a couple of rows across was a flash big German Caravan called a Vivaldi made by Tabbert.

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Brent and Natalie

Brent and Natalie from Papamoa are the proud owners of this fantastic Caravan and most afternoons of the Timber Town Romp, there was a Happy Hour set outside this van. The others in the Happy Hour were mostly Brent and Natalie’s neighbours at Papamoa where they are based.

I popped over and joined them one afternoon and the next morning went over for a chat and a look see. One of the first things you notice are the massive windows.

Another look at those fantastic windows

At 8.65 metres long, its a biggie but apparently tows well. With 800 watts odd of Solar power and massive storage, theyre never going to have the lights dim 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to see  a slideshow

After buying the 2005 model van 3 years or so ago from a dealer in the South Island,  where they used to live, they’ve now been “everywhere” but their favorite places are up North.

More table space

A nice Caravan and well set up for some fantastic trips to come.

The Vivaldi

Swinging high at Arapuni

Slightly off the beaten track south of Karapiro but part of the Waikato River Trail is the little town of Arapuni. Its an amazing spot with a really impressive historical Swing Bridge and an old power station built into the side of a hill.

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Looking up to the Power Station

The Swing Bridge was built in the early 1920’s so that workers for the power station could get to work. The power station is the oldest and the largest in capacity and was opened in 1929. It is now under the protection of the Historic Places trust and signs at the site, show the effort that went into protecting it from possible Japanese bomb attack during the war by camouflaging it.

Leonies Motorhome parking

And just down the road from the bridge, Leonie runs a great Motorhome and caravan site in her back yard which is a flat paddock, where NZMCA’rs can stay for $10 with power, toilet and shower. There are modern 10 power points and its really easy parking. You might need levelling ramps in some areas but its all very easy with an honesty box and simple instructions.

Neat parking

The site is an easy walk to the bike trail and to the town and to the Swing Bridge which is spectacular. Its well worth the walk and is only 10-15 minutes away on foot, either along the road or via the bike trail just outside the park.

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I’m not one for heights now I’m getting a bit older and a bit more sensible, so it took me a couple of go’s before I went out in the middle of the bridge 🙂 .. but in my defence, there was a lot of wind 🙂
I’m pleased I did though.. check out the image below.

The Power Station from the bridge

On the way back to Rafe, I stopped in at the only shop on the main road which happily is a Cafe. I stopped for lunch on the way back to Rafe. The food is great and they do a great coffee too!

Leonie’s Motorhome Park is fantastic  and we’ll be back with the bikes to do the trails around here.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Rotating Tyres

During my travels through the last NZMCA Motorhome show in Auckland, I bumped into Phil Jackson at Carters. He made a point of reminding me to make sure I rotated my tyres to get the best out of them but at that stage they had only done 5000k’s odd, but now that they’ve done 10000 k’s, I thought I’d better get on with it 🙂

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All ready at Carters

So I duly made an appointment with Carters Tyres in Highbrook, where I had my tyres fitted and they were happy to rotate them for me. Carters are a big supporter of the NZMCA and if you’re looking for tyres, they give NZMCA members a pretty good discount. They saved me a fortune.

The Tyre Technician for the day was Mohit who was ready to get stuck in as I rolled in.

On the way up

One of the traps with the Dethleffs wheel covers is they have some Alun nuts as a decoration and a couple that are actually functional. Sometimes its a bit of a mission to pick the real ones. The plastic ones have to glued back on if you get them by accident !

Spot the decorations

Mohit successfully navigated his way around that and whipped all the wheels off one at a time and rebalanced the wheels for the front as he refitted them.

Off with the first tyre
All done !

While they were off, its amazing seeing them side by side to see the wear. On their own it was hard to see but definitely the wear can be seen next to each other. In the pictures, the front tyre is on the left.

Mohit with a front (left) and rear tyre (right) .. not a lot of difference

As Rafe is a front wheel drive vehicle, the back wheels are just being dragged along behind for the ride so there is minimal wear until they’re on the front so tyre rotation is really important if you want to get even wear from your tyres.

Front tyres being balanced

An hour later, we all ready to go again. .. for another 10 k’s until the next rotation 🙂

Ready to go for another 10k

Two Together

While I was standing in the main carpark helping traffic get from one side to the other at the Tokoroa Timber Town Romp, in came John and Joan in their massive 11m long Motorhome.

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Joan and John

They originally came from Rotorua but have recently moved to Matata and “Homely” is their mobile Bach which they’ve had for more than 20 years. In that time, they’ve completely rebuilt the interior including putting in features like slide out cutting boards and bench extensions.

The magic pull out extensions

John tells me that it is two Ford D750 chassis’s welded together powered by a Hino eh700 with a Manual Gearbox. It has a Leyland Bison Cab and the the exterior is colour steel. On top is a Butynol roof.

From behind with the 4 wheel drive tray on the back.

They’ve been all over in it and travel with their two small dogs Bear and Wolf.

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They got a very clever friend of theirs in Rotorua to do the fantastic graphics on the side which make it quite distinctive.

Very comfortable

As I walked away after chatting to them for half an hour or so, they looked very settled and content in their very comfortable Motorhome.

Flying Cat

Timber Town Romp – Let there be Music!

The morning started a bit later with I suspect a few sore heads after the NZ-UK Rugby game and there was lots of chatter about the game. To console myself, I kept telling myself that it is only a game after all… not quite that simple but it helped 🙂

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Roger and Diane’s Fifth Wheeler opposite Rafe

I spent the morning reading, listening to some music and generally just blobbed for a few hours. The weather was amazing with a clear blue sky and as the day went on, it got much warmer after a fairly cold start.

Its Knitting time

Today was a real Music Day with a band called Tuned out Larry, Jenny and Band which was a three piece band from Tokerau. A nice sound. After that, there was the usual 4pm Happy Hour. This was the last one for the event so it was well attended 🙂

Time to dance

I went back to Rafe and had tea but was looking forward to the  next band.  Over in the main Hall was  the  Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. A very slick performance by some very talented people!

The crowd enjoying the Hamilton Bluegrass band
The two originals, Alan and Paul
Pam with the fantastic Voice

I’ve heard them several times before and although they’ve now got a different line up, the two original 5th formers from Fairfield High school who started the band, Alan and Paul, are still there and sounding as good as ever. Pauls ex wife Colleen was the original Fiddler and sadly she has moved on but one of their sons is the very talented Bass player and their Daughter in Law is the new Fiddle player.  The Mandolin player who is also an instrument repairer and Potter from Coromandel and Pam the singer and Guitar player complete the lineup.  Pams voice is something else… a great sound and I was there right to the end 🙂

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A very successful event run by a very switched on team.

Piccy time

A great Weekend.

Timber Town Romp – Let the Games Begin

I was up pretty early for me at 7:30! It was cold even though the sun was out for the first time for days.

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People getting ready for the games

Today was to be a big day with the Highland Games and it was fun. There were extra points if you wore some Tartan and many made a real effort with some great costumes.

On the bank

The first event was The Hamilton Pipe Band. There’s something about Bagpipes that just get me going.. I love it! A wonderful sound.

Boom Boom

One of the NZMCA Waikato organiser Neal was dressed up in Tartan, and had a set of bagpipes made of electrical Conduit pipes. He had a recording on his cell phone for the sound effects. A great sight. It was funny to see.

Neal with his Bagpipes

He also managed to momentarily slot himself on the end of the line with the Hamilton Pipers playing. Lots of fun.

Neal “Playing along”
Watching the fun

The Games started straight after that. There was Hammer throwing (into a bucket), Caber throwing, Gumboot throwing which was fun to watch. And later there was egg throwing and they weren’t hard boiled either 🙂 Brian Stanley seemed to do pretty well here 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The Forest View High School provided a Sausage Sizzle with Steak Sandwiches and other niceties. They did so well that the queue created meant that the events later had to put back while everyone had a feed.

I’m really pleased for the kids at the school as they really put themselves out to make this happen and with at least 150 odd people out of approximately 600 that attended, their sports trip had every chance of being a well funded one 🙂

Marching off

The Haggis was piped in by the Hamilton Pipe band and later another big Happy Hour in the Events Centre. Lots of people this time and after that, there was a performance by Tim Armstrong and his band. Unfortunately, he was competing against the NZ Rugby world cup semi final.

I was lucky to be able to watch it with Rodger and Diane next door with a nice Pinot to finish off the day. Despite the Rugby result, it was a great day in Paradise with some really nice people.

Happy Hour outside

Timber Town Romp – Getting Settled

Yes, it was at Tokoroa. Tokeroa is not somewhere I’ve spent any time at and after a walk around, its quite a neat wee town. Everything is handy and the locals all seemed super friendly.

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Rafe in his spot surrounded by vans

I was heading to the latest NZMCA Rally being the Timber Town Romp which was looking like being a real hoot.  Hosted by the good folk from the Waikato area of the NZMCA, it was held at the recently setup South Waikato Events centre which was a fantastic venue.

Everywhere you look

Having done parking at a Dethleffs event a few years before, I quickly volunteered to help with the parking and all was good.

After registering inside the centre, I met Des and Cathy who were manning the desk along with some others clocking everyone in. A big job.

All those white things

That night I bumped into lots of people I knew which was fantastic, including Rodger and Diane who were parked right next door. I knew Rodger from his time as Custodian at the Ardmore Park. A great guy who most will know from the park and has been involved in several of the Covi shows parking at Ellerslie.

Tokoroa’s main street is undergoing some major road works so the original plan of opening the gates at 11am was quickly found to be impractical as the Motorhomes and Caravans starting queing earlier than planned.  In the interests of safety and not cloggging up the main street, the decision was made to open early and get everyone safely parked.

I was in the main carpark making sure Motorhomes and Caravanners took a wide track so they could line up correctly for the entrance.

That carpark filled up around 11:30 so we started the other paddock. While another friend who I was pleased to see, Alan marked out several rows of new parking sites, I stood in the entrance way and directed them in. Others were parking them as they came onto the field. Everyone pitched in and we covered each other for cups of tea and lunch breaks etc..

The second park with the first in the distance behind…

It was a fun day and there were no disasters either which was a bonus 🙂 So after starting about 9am, most of us had finished about 4pm, we think we parked about 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans !  Fortunately it got warmer as the day went on starting out around 5 degrees !

Raffle winner

It was time for the first Happy Hour of the event and that was held in the Events Centre main hall which is HUGE! One of the biggest Happy Hours I’ve ever been to.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

At 7pm there was a show from a solo performer Ebonivory Neville Ormsby where many got up onto the dance floor. Very slick too from a one man show. And this was just Day One!

Dancing
Rafe’s Tracker map to the Event.

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