The Roller Coaster to Napier

We set off around 10am to different parts of Taupo.

Rob, Helen and Chloe had to visit the dump station and water, we needed fuel and Gary and Dianne had to pop in briefly to see old friends on the way out. We were meeting at De Brett’s on the Napier road out where we later met and we were under way.

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The convoy in the car park
The convoy in the car park

The road was in good shape and there really wasn’t much traffic to speak of. We were planning to stop at the Tarawera Cafe where there used to be a pub. You can also stay the night there as well with your CSC Motorhome.

How the Hotel was
How the Hotel was

Its interesting on a windy road how hard it gets to try and get people to overtake you. They travel along half way up your backside and when there’s an opportunity to pass and you move over for them, they sit tight. There was one car that followed Gary first and them came up behind me. It didn’t matter how easy I was making it, the bugger wouldn’t  move on !

It was good to get to Tarawera Cafe and have a nosey around and I was really looking forward to the coffee at that stage. The really windy and up and down stuff was still to come on the road.

After half an hour or so we set off.. All very uneventful and again I was pleasantly surprised how little traffic there was.

We arrived in Napier early in the afternoon and after a quick trip to the supermarket, we headed to one our favourite spots at Clifton Beach.  Its just such a nice spot here and we keep coming back. We had a great night having a few glasses of the wet stuff and a meal out in the sun.  A great day..


The Tracker image to Clifton Beach
The Tracker image to Clifton Beach

And we’re off again

After 3 days over Christmas with Alex, Sarah and our Grandchildren Ayden and Liam, and after eating and drinking far too much 🙂 , it was time to head to Taupo and start making our way down to Martinborough and Cape Palliser. We had a great Christmas with Sarah’s family parked in their driveway with Rafe.

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Son Andrew with grandson Liam during Christmas lunch
Son Andrew with grandson Liam during Christmas lunch
Grandsons Liam and Ayden on the side of the goat pen
Grandsons Liam and Ayden on the side of the goat pen

On the way south, we stopped at the Hamilton Car Museum where we had stayed a month or so ago with the Dethleffs Owners group rally.  We’d parked 75 odd Motorhomes here on the first day and it looked very different today.. See the piccies below.

At the car museum for a cuppa
At the car museum for a cuppa
The empty car museum park
The empty car museum

I was a bit panicked that about what we might find in the way of Christmas Traffic but it was not to be. The traffic was pretty good.

View from the Museum
View from the Museum during the Dethleffs do.

We were meeting up with friends from Snells Beach(North of Auckland) Rob, Helen and Chloe who had been in Taupo for Christmas, and Gary and Dianne who live in Taupo. We were spending the night at their place and then heading on in convoy to Cape Palliser over the next few weeks.

We arrived in Taupo right on the dot of 3pm and Gary and Dianne were outside helping Rob back the Tracker into position so we could park along side. They had just arrived so perfect timing.

After settling Rafe and the Tracker down, we were off for a drink by the BBQ! .. As you do.

We last saw Gary and Dianne at the Dethleffs do at Hamilton where Gary and I were the parking attendants and Di organised the event. It was nice to see them again. It had been a while since we saw Rob, Helen and Chloe too .. Great to see them too.

We were really looking forward to getting away as we’d been stuck in Auckland with pre Christmassy catchups and events.

The Tracker and Rafe about to set off for the next part of the trip
The Tracker and Rafe about to set off for the next part of the trip

A great fun night around the BBQ and we all crashed fairly early.

Races Tracker image to Taupo
Rafe’s  Tracker image to Taupo

We love our Viseo

As B&Brs from Waiheke and being in the hospitality business, Brian and Carol were ready to explore NZ in their 7m A Class Burstner Viseo . They’ve sold the House at Waiheke and now moved north.

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Carol and Brian with their Burstner
Carol and Brian with their Burstner

I bumped into them at Rays Rest during a cup of tea and lunch stop as we swapped notes with their Burstner and Rafe. Both Dethleffs and Burstner are owned by the Hymer group in Germany and although they’re quite different, there are a few similarities.

The Living space
The Living space
The Galley
The Galley

They bought their Viseo from a dealer in Taupo in 2011 before the current importer was dealing with them.  It has a 3l Fiat motor with a manual gearbox and plenty of room. Having a solar panel and LED lights makes it really easy to enjoy their freedom camping and the NZMCA parks which they’re really keen on.

They previously had a Mitzi Canter which they had had since 2005.

A great view
A great view

They’ve been all over the country in it several times and are thrilled with it. The favorite place was Lake Tekapo. .. I think Rays Rest is pretty good too 🙂

Schischka Park – Wenderholm

The last time we stayed at Wenderholm, we stayed in the public carpark by the beach. Although we had a great night and its a great spot,  compared to other Auckland CSC parks where Motorhomers were safely fenced off, this was somewhat of a disappointment.

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SchiskaAfter discussing this with our veteran Auckland parks motorhoming friends, Rob and Helen, they told us that the Schischka park was THE place to go so here we were and it was fabulous.

SchiskaThere is a big electric gate with a digital keypad and after a 500 metre driveway it opens up to a massive grassed parking area by the water with brand new flush toilets in the middle. There are also some baches where you can stay if you don’t have your own accommodation.

We could only spend one night here but it is stunning. We went for a walk down a waterfront track to the beach and checked out the old Historic Couldrey House. There are new toilets there too. There are walks all over the hill there too so plenty to do and see.

The camp from the Estaury
The camp from the Estaury

A great place to stay and so handy to the big smoke of Auckland too.
One of Rafe’s tracking maps

Fast Heat

A couple of months ago, I found out that Philips had released a portable Induction plate and they were available via our NZMCA discount from Noel Leeming.

I had to try one and since using it, I’m completely sold.  Fiona loves it too. Its amazing.

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Its a bugger of a thing to photograph .. almost like a piece of black glass!!

Just recently I got really brave and decided to try to boil the water for coffee on it with our scruffy old kettle. From a cold water start, in the time it took to put coffee and pills into a cup and a tea bag in the other,  and milk in both, the kettle was whistling its head off. Even with gas, this would take all of 5 minutes or so.

InductionCooking a steak… cold frypan, a little oil… chuck the steak in, hit the go button and the pan is sizzling within 5 seconds !!!! .. and it tastes sensational.

Admittedly you can only use it when you’re plugged in but its neat to be able to use this instead of gas and it keeps control of the heat instantly.

InductionThe only thing you have to check is that you have pots that a magnet will stick to and it comes with a magnet so you can check your pots. The unit will scream at you if you don’t have anything on it or the pot is incorrect.

Recommended Retail is $199 from Noel Leeming  .. my discounted price was closer to $120 !! …although this was a few months ago.

A Great Christmas present !!

The Homebuilt Caravan

While we were in a park in the north, Sculptor Nick and partner Tracy rocked in with their girls Mila and Ruby, and their Homebuilt Caravan.

matakoheThey found it in a barn in Balclutha and after recladding it and  modifiying their table so it could add extra beds for the girls, they’ve set off around the country for a year on the road.

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They were not keen on going down the track of having a gas oven so they settled on a wood burner which also heats their water.


Its all insulated and warm and toasty and it was nice to see them happy and getting around NZ.

Off the beaten track

Every now and then when you’re off the main roads and you start looking for a good place to stay, you find a little purler.

We were in Matakohe after having a look around Tinopai.  The weather was on again off again rain so we checked into the Matakohe Holiday Park which is just past the museum. The off season cost for both Fiona and I was $34 for a powered site which I thought was pretty good given the facilities were all in good nick and included a dump station.

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matakoheWhat a huge welcome from a really friendly hostess who couldn’t do enough for us.  We were shown to a park which had a view over the harbour with plenty of room around us. There seemed to be a picnic table and a bit of grass around every park along with plenty of taps scattered around for water. The park also had a nice community feel there as many of the guests knew each other and they were very welcoming as well.

Our view of the water.. weather wasn't heloing
Our view of the water.. weather wasn’t helping

We’d only been there an hour or so (around 4pm by then) and by 6pm, it went to being quite empty to pretty chocker and many of them seemed to be regulars. In the morning, we topped up with water, tested the dump station and we were off.

Wonderful hosts and a nice little park if you’re in that neck of the woods.

See Rafe’s tracker map for the location below.


New overnight parking at Hukerenui

On our way north by the Hukerenui Pub is the Jack Morgan Museum. I was interested in this as my old Whalechaser Rorqual was built by a Jack Morgan in Picton and although I was certain there was no connection given the distance, one never knows 🙂

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The Museum
The Museum

It turns out that the Hukerenui Jack Morgan was a real character and was a local identity an on retirement started his collection which now makes up the contents of the Museum. Some of the locals have done a great job of the gardens next door too.

His parents owned the pub next door which is where he was born.

The Parking, plenty of room
The Parking, plenty of room

A really interesting place and if you visit the Museum, you can stay for free on the grass behind. It is $6 a night otherwise. There are toilets there too.

MorganIts well worth a look through with all sorts of knick nacks from years gone by and there is a café next door in the pub to finish off with a cup of tea.

The Classic Yacht Christmas invasion at Patio Bay, Waiheke Island

Every year at this time, the Classic Yachts and Launches of the CYA race down and anchor at Patio Bay and enjoy a great knees up for Christmas.

The old girls (Wooden boats !) and their owners enjoy a few cold ones on their boats together before heading to shore to Bert and Margaret Woollicotts family Bach.  Several Barbeques are setup(with wood) and everyone does their own thing.

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Alan and I are both ex Launch Captains of the CYA and have been on the committee and helped organise different parts of this great annual event.  My old boat Rorqual was still in bits in mid restoration by my son Andrew, so I was really pleased to be able to go down with Alan on his 1928 Lanes launch, Raindance.

Raindance ready to go
Raindance ready to go

After getting things ready at Bayswater marina, we headed off to the start line of the yacht race at Orakei Wharf. It was going to be a long day as there was absolutely no wind. The sea was flat calm.

We hung around for 20 minutes or so to get some pictures and then handed down towards Waiheke. After a couple of hours or so so later, we arrived at the bottom end of Waiheke with quite a few boats already there, mostly from the day before making a weekend of it. The weather was just stunning even a little too hot.. Everyone was looking for shade and there was no wind at all.

Brian and Roseanne on their boat Silens
Brian and Roseanne on their boat Silens

We visited Roseanne and Brian on their boat Silens which as anchored just behind us and later were visited by our friend Richard from the Devonport Yacht Club.

imageAround 5, the yachts had finally arrived and we headed into shore to enjoy a meal from heaven that Alan had already prepared. …Alan’s a great cook and is legendary for his skills in the galley 😀

imageA great night of catching up with old friends and we later headed back to Raindance.

imageIn the morning, we were visited by Steve who had sailed down from Mahurangi for the event.  Alan cooked up a great feed of Baked Beans on toast and several cups of tea to blow the cobwebs out for all three of us.

Patio Bay behind .. Heading to Bayswater

By 9ish, we were under way for the 3hr trip back to Bayswater.  A great couple of days and nice to see everyone.

See Alan’s blog for more.

Treats at Makana

As you come into Kerikeri on the left, there is a new complex of buildings set up as a Chocolate Factory and Café.

Rafe parked up safely
Rafe parked up safely

A great place to spoil yourself as well as rest your legs and get something sweet.  It is also very easy to park Motorhomes in the car park as long as you pick one of the end parks on each row. There is also bus parking around the back for caravans and longer vehicles.

We visited a Chocolate factory on the outskirts of Blenheim, last year and that was their South Is store.

MakanaEasy parking, lots of nice sweet things and great Coffee.