Behind the Top Pub

We were out having a walk towards the upper end of Coromandel, trying to walk off a great tea that we’d enjoyed the night before:-)

Nicely set out grounds
Nicely set out grounds

As we passed the Coromandel Hotel, I remembered being told about some parking for Motorhomes that was available behind the pub. It is not marked on any of the apps and doesn’t appear in the bible so it was time to check it out.

The Hotel
The Hotel

Walking down the side street, beside the Hotel is a backpackers and then what they call the Kampa parking. What a neat place. There are 16 powered sites available on grass for $20 a night per van with 2 people. Apparently the pub puts on some nice meals too and you’re not too far from a bar ūüôā

The Backpackers and a dump station
The Backpackers and a dump station

kampa

I’ll be trying it next time we’re there.¬† It looks nice.

Grand Central Park

In terms of being in the middle of things, this NZMCA park takes the cake for being handy to everything. Great restaurants, several pubs, lots of history and things to do. It is in Coromandel and is just behind the BP station as you come into the town on the left. Blink and you’ll miss the entrance.

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The NZMCA park looking fabulous
The NZMCA park looking fabulous

Its is also very conveniently right behind the Coromandel Smoking Company where you can buy everything from smoked fish and other seafood to great cheese from local cheesemakers.

Keeping out the wind and having fun
Keeping out the wind and having fun

I have been here in the middle of winter when it had been punished by endless rain and many were camped in a small area of gravel by the entrance.  I gather the local managers of the park have a solution to the water problem in winter and there are plans to make it more all weather.  Our two nights there were great and there were about a dozen  other motorhomes and caravans who came and went while we were there.

Our first¬†day there, we had lunch at the local pub with friends Rob, Helen and Chloe. Fiona and I¬†shared a seafood basket for $16 which was amazing with bits of everything along with a¬†nice glass of wine.¬†¬†We decided it was so nice we had to go back later¬†to watch the rugby..¬†the one with the controversial try! … A great night and an interesting game.

The next day, we checked out Driving Creek Railway which is just up the hill from the town.

coromandelThere is so much to see and do in Coromandel. It is so well setup for Motorhomes too and the park perfectly located to make everything easily within walking distance.

The Potter with the Trains

Who else could this be but ex Devonport potter, Barry Brickell.

Unfortunately Barry passed away last year but his Driving Creek Railway business still lives on.  It is an amazing example of what can be achieved by someone with an idea and the drive to see it happen.

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The double decker viaduct
The double decker viaduct

He spent years building up his railway, even making his own trains and designing his own propulsion system using small diesels and hydraulics on the wheels making it very efficient.

Driving Creek Railway is in Coromandel and has easy parking for Motorhomes too but best to get there early for easier parking.

The view from the viaduct
The view from the viaduct

The train ride takes about an hour and works its way up to the Eyeful tower at the top where there is a fantastic view over Coromandel and across to Waiheke Island.  As you go to the top, you cross a couple of viaducts, one of them a double decker. There are several tunnels one of which is lined with pottery tiles made on site.

A train coming through the tunnel with Barry's tiles
A train coming through the tunnel with Barry’s tiles

There are also several retaining walls made with Barry’s left over wine bottles. Its great to see they’ve got an extra life apart from just holding the contents.

DCRA fantastic achievement that is also now a great tourist attraction. You can also buy some nice pottery and souvenirs there too.

Glorious Gravel

One of our favorite parks that we use a lot too, is Ardmore by the airfield. Its a great park and usually full of some interesting people as well.

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The wide view
The wide view with the new gravel

We were on our way to Coromandel with our friends Rob, Helen and Chloe and to avoid the morning traffic we checked in with¬†Rafe and their Tracker for the night.¬† We arrived first and¬†soon after we¬†¬†found we were next to another Dethleffs, some ¬†people that ¬†that we’d met some months ago,¬†Liz and Dave in their Esprit.

The front row
The front row

It was time for a drink so they came over to Rafe and soon after Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived and joined in too.

Dave and Liz's Dethleffs Esprit next to Rafe on the new Gravel
Dave and Liz’s Dethleffs Esprit next to Rafe on the new Gravel

The biggest thing about Ardmore now is the massive amount of gravel that now covers the old grass area at the back. What a huge difference it makes and also extends the useable area of the park.
Its level too which is great.

Well done to those who make it such a great park.

ArdmoreWe had a great night there and in the morning were up early to get away to Coromandel.

The Laundry Chute

Its amazing who you meet and what clever things they do to their motorhomes to make them work better for their lifestyle. During the recent Dethleffs Owners group meeting at the Classic Car Museum in Hamilton, I was fortunate enough to meet Walter and Nolina from Taupo and to see some of the clever things they have done to their Dethleffs Esprit.

Don’t forget you can click on the images for hi res !

Walter lying across the bed showing the top of the laundry chute.
Walter lying across the bed showing the top of the laundry chute.

Walter saw the need to have somewhere to put their laundry. In almost all the centre island bed Dethleffs models, there is a shelf which extends about 800mm along each side of the bed from the back wall.

In mine I have a speaker and some usb jacks for phones and ipads etc.   Walter very cleverly decided to use his on one side to install an opening round marine hatch which opens to a chute which Nolina made, that drops down into the garage underneath. The bottom of the chute detachs as a bag to cart away the washing.  Fabulous idea and a great way of getting the washing out of the way.

The chute in the garage with the detachable bag.
The chute in the garage with the detachable bag.

That’s an idea I’m going to use ūüôā

They have also made use of waste space under a seat and in a cupboard for a glasses case and a drinks cabinet under the seat.

Nolina with the drinks cabinet.
Nolina with the drinks cabinet.

Great stuff! A great use of what could otherwise be wasted space.

The old and the new at the Museum

It is always a great occasion once a year when the nations Dethleffs owners get together for a catchup all in one spot. Its a good opportunity to see what others have done to their vans to make their motorhoming more fun.

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View from the Museum
View from the Museum

This year was the biggest yet with 75 motorhomes and caravans which made life interesting to yours truly and my old friend Gary from Taupo to get them all parked. We had a lot of fun as we did it with little walkie talkies that Gary had.¬†The hard part was not¬†being able to have a chat with everyone as they came in, that had to wait for later.¬† As they all had the same sided habitation door, we decided we’d park them in rows with the doors facing together on a 3 metre space and the opposite side being a 4 meter space so that people could escape without skittling tables and chairs etc and it worked really well.

In the social lane
In the social lane
From the road .. impressive.
From the road .. impressive.

The first 40 odd arrived on the Friday and everyone settled in, met old friends and checked out the car museum.  The car museum is fabulous. We visited this last March and had a good look through. You can see that here. There are all those cars that we had as kids, the Mark 1 Zephyrs, the Prefects and a lot older. It really is something to see. Outside is normally a NZMCA POP where you can stay overnight and it was nice to see friends Marama and Karen pop in for the night.

The next day after a good breakfast in the Juke Box Diner onsite, we caught a bus to a local Tea Estate and got to taste and learn about locally grown tea which was really interesting and on the way back popped in for lunch at the Hamilton Gardens Café. Some decided to walk off their lunch around the amazing gardens.

After getting back to HQ at the museum, it was open home for motorhomes so a quick vacuum and a tidy up of Rafe and it was visits all around. Lots of fun and it was nice to see people we hadn’t seen for a long time.

Open Homes
Open Homes

At 6pm it was time for a drink in the Marquee and a feed in the Diner which was immediately followed by a great display of the local rock n roll dance club and they were fantastic.

dethleffs
Slightly blurry cell phone pic!

We finished up the day with Dianne and Gary with friends Ian and Lynda in their XLI right next to us. A lot of fun and we had some great laughs.

catching up with friends
Ian and Lynda’s XLI on the left, Rafe on the right.
The way there from Rafes tracker
The way there from Rafes tracker

A great day and well hosted by Mr and Mrs Dethleff in NZ, Jonas and Irene Ng. Thanks guys and thanks to Dianne for organising  a great day out.

And the Netspeed speed test from this site.
Test Date: 12/11/2016 5:14 PM
Download: 40.43 Mbps
Upload: 12.35 Mbps
Ping: 34 ms

Bliss in Paradise

With no jobs in the book and with the sun shining, it was time to hit the road.¬† I had just paid for a years Auckland City Parks pass so I thought I’d try Tauwharanui at the end of the Takatu peninsula, north of Kawau Island.¬†

Check these in Hi Res by clicking on them!!

Stunning!
Stunning!

We stayed here more than a year or so go with friends, Gary, Chris and Rob, Helen and Chloe. We only had the one night here so exploring the area wasn’t really on the agenda that particular trip but it’s just a magic place.

At Dusk .. Little Barrier
At Dusk .. Little Barrier

When I first arrived, I think there was only 1 other person here and I bumped into him on the beach. He’d parked down in the tents only area but I assumed he knew ūüėÄ

TauwharanuiThe next day, I set out with the camera to have a nosy around. The beach is beautiful with Little Barrier just off it and Great Barrier further out. Compared to Auckland, you could almost reach out and touch them.

The water is stunning with a clean deep blue merging into Turquoise, just like the tropics with beautiful white sand. As you walk further, the beach merges with two more, all part of Anchor Bay.. Just beautiful. I spent a couple of hours just sitting on a rock under a tree just admiring the colours.. sensational.

Beach from Heaven
Beach from Heaven

After getting some nice piccies, I wandered back to the track to find that I’d forgotten which of the many tracks took me back to Rafe. I ended up walking about 3ks just to find my way back ūüėé I can hear Fiona saying something like good exercise !

The long road back after the "wrong turn"
The long road back after the “wrong turn”

At nearly 600 hectares of Regional park, it’s a huge place and there are plenty of interesting walks to go on. There are¬† information boards to guide the way with brochures available. No Dogs as its a pest proof and kiwi zone.

Just behind the sand dunes
Just behind the sand dunes

A fabulous place and not too far from the big smoke at Auckland. 

TauwharanuiI ¬†can see myself spending lots of time here. ūüėé

And a screen grab from Rafe’s new tracker system to show its location.

And how we got here, from Rafe's Tracker system
And how we got here, from Rafe’s Tracker system

The Netspeed speed test here..given how isolated it is, this a great result.

Test Date: 3/11/2016 11:49 AM
Download: 15.38 Mbps
Upload: 2.76 Mbps
Ping: 46 ms

A Classic trip to the Riverhead Pub

With the All Blacks losing to Ireland and the weather forecast looking miserable, you could have easily flagged the day as one for the slippers and the fireplace but when the call goes out for the Classic Launches Riverhead trip, it is one not to be missed!

Trinidad under way with the Bridge and City behind
Trinidad under way with the Bridge and City behind

Fiona and I have done this for years, usually twice a year and it never disappoints.  See a previous trip here.

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riverheadClassic boat owners Paula and Stephen Pepperill sold their Classic Yacht to renovate their newly purchased Riverhead Hotel and have done a stunning job in rescuing it after years of being run down and neglected. These days, ferry loads of passengers make the day trip from Auckland to have a great lunch with a few drinks and to enjoy the river trip. It has also become one of the more popular trips for the Classic Yacht Launches too.

Where we went.. From Bayswater to Riverhead and back.
Where we went.. From Bayswater to Riverhead and back.

Its always a fun event and can be quite nerve racking for the novices as the channel is quite narrow in places and can be only a 1 metre or so deep in places so its a great event for confidence building and to join in with a new adventure.

At Lucas Creek .. half way. Dani, Grant, Robyn and Fiona with Trinidad behind.
At Lucas Creek .. half way.
Dani, Grant, Robyn and Fiona with Trinidad behind.

Fiona and I decided to take Rafe down to the marina carpark and stay two nights so we could get away early and stay the night after.

Juanita with Rangitoto behind
Juanita with Rangitoto behind

We were meeting Alan and his wife Robyn on their 28ft 1928 Lanes tramtop at the marina at 9.00am. Friends Dani and Grant were going to be there too.  Alan was Launch Captain of the CYA (Classic Yacht Association) for 4 years after my 2 years as LC, and Alan, Grant and I have done lots of boating together when I had Rorqual.

Launch captain, Angus Rogers Mahunui
Launch captain, Angus Rogers Mahunui

We met under the centre span of the Auckland Harbour Bridge and at 09:30, Alan led the way up to the first meeting point at Lucas creek, about half way where we were meeting several other boats and their crews.

On the way to Riverhead
On the way to Riverhead
Raindance at the wahrdf with others jostling for a park
Raindance at the wharf with others jostling for a park

In the well sheltered upper harbour, the water was calm and there was very little wind. About an hour later, everyone was jockeying for a parking spot, some rafting with friends and the Tino Rawa Trust tender Whistleblower was on hand to ferry people into the Pub’s jetty.

About 100 people turned up, some by car as well. There was a band playing, the sun made an appearance and it was a great few hours of catching up with old friends and meeting a few new people too.

About 2pm (1.5hrs after full tide), many started to leave before the creek ran out of water ūüôā¬† We had a fun trip back with a couple of drinks, some Sausage Rolls and some chocolates and strawberries which Fiona had prepared.

Time to go, Grant stand and Fiona sitting waiting to go.
Time to go, Grant standing and Fiona sitting waiting to go.

We stepped off the boat to a hot shower and a cup of coffee after a neat day out. Thanks for a great day out on the water Robyn and Alan,  and its always fun to see Grant and Dani too.

There are more images on Alans blog Waitematawoodys.com

Sorting out the shambles in the Wardrobe

I don’t know about you but when I’m away¬†Motorhoming but I largely wear T shirts, Jeans and Shorts etc.¬† Stuff you’d stick in a drawer. The Dethleffs come with well set up wardrobes but not a lot of drawers in the bed room area for clothes.

The cloth basket with clothes
The cloth basket with clothes

So I set out to change our wardrobe into something that would be useful for clothes like drawers.

The first option we used lasted about 18 months which was a hanging basket type of arrangement which was suspended from the rail. It had cloth covered cardboard boxes which slid in and out like drawers. This worked quite well for about 8 months when it just collapsed to a point where it was almost unusable.

What we started with. You can see the top hangy bit straining on day 1
What we started with. You can see the top hangy bit straining on day 1

I set out a few weeks ago to sort this out with some shelving bits which I got from Bunnings.

The screwed rails with the first shelf in
The screwed rails with the first shelf in

The Steel supports screw in first using glue and short screws(also glued) and then the shelf brackets clip in with plastic locks which prevent the shelf or brackets from coming out while you’re driving.

All the shelves in
All the shelves in

I thought that I would possibly have to bungy cord the shelves in while we were moving but so far, I haven’t even had to do that. It works a treat. The whole things for these shelves cost about $240.00 so it wasn’t insignificant but the problem seems to have gone away ūüôā

Hiding from the World

We were going to take our grandson Ayden for a school holiday trip to Rotorua but unfortunately, he came down with a germ and after another night with his Mum and Dad on the ranch in Ardmore, he was still too crook to travel.

Fiona and I thought we’d try a new campground out at Martins Bay at the end of the Mahurangi Peninsula overlooking Moturekareka Island and also a bit of Kawau.¬† A lovely part of the world and we were pretty much the only people there on our second night.

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Rafe looking lonely
Rafe looking lonely

The Motorcamp is one of the Auckland City commercial campgrounds like Whangateau and Orewa. They were having an off peak special of $15 a person so given the rain and the showers were rolling through, we thought we’d give a shot.

Powered sites along the beachfront
Powered sites along the beachfront

Its a huge campground with lots of permanent caravans with decks and addons but there are also plenty of powered sites, I think in the region of 130 odd I saw somewhere.

A good facilities block with token and 50c showers and a well setup kitchen and TV room. Being in a popular fishing area, there is a boat and fish washing area and a separate storage area for boats and tractors.
Above the main part of the campground on a hill, there is a raised area with views over the whole bay where you stay if you pay a wee bit more.

From the Scandretts track with Martins bay and Whangaparoa in the distance
From the Scandretts track with Martins bay and Whangaparoa in the distance

On our first full day, we set off along the beach past heaps of baches for a walk up to Scandretts Park. Its an easy walk up a well worn track up to the top of the hill and you can walk down to Scandretts Bay, or several tracks take you out to a pah at the end of the point. The views are amazing.

Scandretts Bay looking towards Takatu Peninsula
Scandretts Bay looking towards Takatu Peninsula

We had rolling showers with lots of fine periods while we were there and they had just had lots of rain so quite a bit of the park was roped off to recover.

Moturoa Island and Whangaparoa in the distance
Moturoa Island and Whangaparoa in the distance

A nice park which I  reckon would be packed in summer and very handy to Kawau Island and the other islands.