As you’re coming North on State Highway 1 is a new Cafe called the Woolshed. It’s about 200 metres south of Sanson on the left. It was built from the foundations and flooring of a huge house.
The building looks like it has been there forever but it is brand new.
Fiona and I were on route from Wanganui to Palmerston North so she could catch a flight back to Auckland so we diverted to try out this new cafe.
It has a massive carpark so it’s very easy to park even the biggest vehicles and their toads! While we were there, a caravanning couple popped in.
Open the sliding doors to the BBQ area
The Outside area
It’s full of character and you would put money on it being a do up rather than a new build and has plenty of sheep and wool paraphernalia scattered around the room. There is even a couple of model full sized sheep just inside the door and a full wool press in a corner.
Out the back there are sliding doors for full on BBQ sessions and a playhouse and other extras for the kids/grandkids. Nice coffee and although I forgot to get a piccy of it, Fiona and I went halves in a very nice and filling shepherds pie for under $10.
Looks out for it as you get close or drive through Sanson. About 200 metres south of Sanson on the left going north.
We were heading to Wanganui to catch up with our old neighbours Terry and Lisa but on the way, I had heard about a campground in Kapiti which had a shower and toilet shed for each Motorhome site. I had to check this out.
Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow
It was a real treat having our own little self contained bathroom just outside the door. While we were in town, we would see if we could catch up with Fiona’s cousin Malcolm and his wife Michelle, and have them for tea.
We arrived at Kapiti Holiday Park around 4pm and were shown where to park in “Windsor Lane”. Each named avenue is surrounded by huge high hedges protecting everyone from any winds.
The hedges also mean you have to be mindful of the direction you park if you want TV reception. My very kind neighbour pointed this out to me when I backed in and he realised that I wouldn’t get a signal where I was, but if I turned Rafe around the other way, my dome would be further from the hedge and would get a clean signal. Good to have that local knowledge. Thanks neighbor! The little shed had its own shower, toilet and handbasin in with its own hot water cylinder. There was also a gully trap next to the shed on the outside for waste and a freshwater tap at the back along with a power point. Everything you could ever want and very convenient.
We could easily do a dash for the shower in the morning with a towel around us without anyone noticing ! With winter prices it was $40.00 for the night for us both.
Rafe in the zone
Inside the shed
The meal went well and it was great to see Malcolm and Michelle.
Just over the road was Paraparamu Beach so we were off for a walk and see the coast. Kapiti Island looks huge as it is just off the beach.
A lovely park and quite a novelty with the little cabins.
One of the trips I’ve always wanted to do while in Wellington was to drive from Lyall Bay all the way around the outside past Seatoun and Worser Bay. The buildings into the cliffs and the rustic charms of the way the houses are all set into the cliffs is amazing. It’s like a different world.
When you come out the other end towards Miramar, there is the old Air Force Base and workshops. These days they’re mostly occupied by Artists and a few tradespeople. The old Senior NCO’s mess is now used by a cafe called The Chocolate Fish BBQ cafe.
The building has a Historic classification which prevents them from poking holes in it for vents etc so they’ve carefully added a clip on lean to for the kitchen which seems to work quite well for them. The rest of the building is just as it was as a mess building with a few mods for convenience.
One of the staff was quite a talented artist and has painted all the seats and backs of the chairs with different images which really brightens the place.
The company vehicle
Fiona picking her lunch
Half of Fiona’s Fish Sammy
A picture on the wall of how it looked earlier on..
The food is sensational and very reasonably priced and is very sandwich based but they’re a good hearty size! .. Outside, the views of the city are fantastic, there are plenty of things for kids or grandchildren to play with and best of all, really easy Motorhome friendly parking.
The place oozes history and we found ourselves easily enjoying a couple of hours taking it all in.
The weather was about to go downhill dramatically and as there was a deal going on the Campermate app at Holdens Bay Holiday park for $14 a night, it seemed sensible to take up the offer.
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A couple of nights plugged in with the heater on to clear some posts, sounded like a good idea. There were hot pools there too.
Its a big park with lots of rental apartments and plenty of powered parks and being a cold winters day and about to get colder, it had more motorhomes there than I expected.
Holdens Bay is on the eastern side of Lake Rotorua just south of the airport. Its a little out of the way but apart from the odd plane, its a nice quiet spot with great facilities. You can also walk to the lake which is only 5 minutes away and there is a technology museum almost next door. With the deal and forecasted bad weather, a great spot to hunker down.
Nice Kitchen and toilets
The Pool but not pool weather
Looking into Rotorua
NZ is such a small place. I’d no sooner settled Rafe down when I heard a frantic tooting and looked around. There was some people that I’d met the night before in Taupo and put them onto Campermate.
A young Dutch graphic designer with his theatre nurse wife, Stephen and Angelique with their 3 year old son. A really nice couple who were into their third and last week of a NZ campervan tour. They had got the same deal I had and were staying one night before pushing on towards Auckland. I also bumped into them a few days later at Miranda Holiday park, one of my recommendations for their last night. We’ll hopefully catch up with them in Rotterdam when we get there sometime next year.
For those offshore, Campermate is a free cell phone app which shows where Campgrounds, dumpstations, free parking, petrol stations etc are on a map and use your location but also has deals. Well worth getting if you’re touring NZ.
Its such a neat place Rotorua with so much to do and has a calming atmosphere to it and of course all the Thermal stuff happening.
It always amused me by the foresight of the Rotorua team with their signs pointing out where not to park in the NZMCA Ngongotaha park, if you wanted a TV signal.
Click on the images for hi Res or a slideshow
This was due to the huge trees all down one side of the park. There was one tree really that was the culprit for the TV reception problems but I understand they were all a bit rotten so had to go for safety reasons after a limb fell.
Although I thought the trees looked great and I was a wee bit concerned when I heard they had gone, it does look fantastic.
The Dump station
From the back looking out to the lake
I also understand that the area down the front is about to get a makeover and be made ready for more parking.
Great work guys.. it’s one of the better parks around.
It’s always a great experience checking out St Faiths Church and Ohinemutu on the lakefront, when I’m in Rotorua.
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I can remember coming here when I was in short pants and it still looks as good now if not better.
It’s always quite serene and has an air about it which is nice. I think the thermal steam from the cracks in the road and everywhere probably helps this too.
There were quite a few people there too having a good look around so that’s great for the donation boxes there. A lovely peaceful spot and there’s a couple of overnight spots for motorhomers just around the corner by the boatramp.
As we arrived right on the dot for “elbow exercise time” (with a glass in hand) at 5pm. We started on some wine while Fiona made us all a nice chicken tea.
We weren’t far into the conversation when Gary filled me in on the new Netspeed Router firmware upgrade and what a difference it had made for him.
With all of my speed tests around the country and comparing notes with Gary’s tests, it became very obvious that his speeds were generally 5 mbs a second or so faster than mine. I put that down to the fact that the sides of his van are fibreglass and the sides of mine are composite with an outside shell of aluminium. I’d assumed from that despite us having external aerials, that the router in automatic mode with aerials, was favouring the internal aerials which gave Gary a better signal. Well. .. No more 🙂
The good folk at Netspeed have released a router firmware upgrade which gives you the option to tell the router to only use the external aerials. The firmware upgrade is free but you will have to install it yourself or get someone slightly techy to do it for you. Netspeed will also do it over the phone with you too. It only takes five minutes and is not complicated and well worth doing. The big thing with this upgrade is not to be rushed and let the upgrade finish before fiddling with anything.
Wait for that magic moment when you get the box pop up that says “Success!”
Back to our elbow exercise.. While chatting away, Gary brought out his laptop which had the upgrade file on it for my router and in a few minutes had it installed on my router. In Uretiti, I immediately went from 2 bars of 4g to three and that added about 15 Mbps odd to my download speed as I was able to get my roof aerials really pumping rather than let the router do as it pleased with my useless internal aerials… Useless inside a metal cage anyway.
Thanks heaps Gary.. We had a great night. Nice to see you both again too.
The Netspeed speed test at Uretiti earlier
Download: 24.42 Mbps
Upload: 2.45 Mbps
Ping: 49 ms
After with the external aerials pumping!
Download: 46.62 Mbps
Upload: 3.39 Mbps
Ping: 35 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
The upload speed is still awful but it is an iffy spot but it’s well worth doing the upgrade !!
How to do the upgrade.. Call Netspeed for the link for the download then download the right file for your router.
Log into your router as administrator.. For security reasons, I’m not going to tell you how to do this here but look at your router instructions.
Follow the instructions in the following screens.
Have fun and enjoy the extra speed. Call the fine team at Netspeed if you get stuck or need help.
I parked Rafe in the free Motorhome parking by the boat ramp on the lake front and went for a 5 minute walk up towards the shops with the camera.
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Walking up the road towards Tutanekai Street, I couldn’t help but notice the new restaurant and eating out area there. A whole block of covered walkway which is apparently partly retractable with Bars, Restaurants and Cafes all along the road on both sides.
It looks fantastic. Because it was only 10.30 odd in the morning nothing was open but I bet it’s a lively area in the evenings. Next time, I’ll come later in the day. It looks like a lot of fun.
On a nice fine day, this is a lovely spot in Clive, right next to the river, and courtesy of the Hastings Council, you can stay here with a gold coin donation.
There’s usually plenty to look at, rowers, people walking, sometimes the odd boatie. There were several buses there and a Motorhome and there was oodles of room for more. Motorhome Parking is under the trees but not in the carpark at the end.
With the sun beating down and people coming and going on the biking / walking path behind down to the beach, fantastic.
I was trying to upload some images for several blogs and for whatever reason, the uploads kept bombing out so I decided as I was in a bit of a valley, I’d move to Eriksen Park which isn’t that far from Clive.
There are toilets there too but I did see signs talking about it being prone to flooding with high tides and rainfall. Lovely spot but pick the weather.
This is the tale of our mini adventure to the Outer Hebrides in our 6m coach built motorhome. I hope you find the story of the people we met and the places we've seen interesting and useful if you're planning your own trip.