Cruising by the River

Staying at Mangaweka! What’s there? .. A fabulous campground by the river and a neat wee town bulging with personality πŸ™‚
Gary and Dianne had finished up in Taupo and we’re ready to come out to play again in Rosie. We arranged to meet at the riverside campground at Mangaweka. I’ve been wanting to try the riverside camping thing for some time and the reviews show these campgrounds are pretty good.

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Rafe and Rosie with the cliffs of Mangaweka
Rafe and Rosie with the cliffs of Mangaweka

Fiona and I arrived early in the afternoon which was just as well as it had been really busy and it was first in best dressed. At $9 per person including power it was sensational value. We met some really nice caravanners parked in the centre, who were packing up to go, said we could grab their spot which was nice, and just as they left after 20 minutes or so, Gary and Dianne arrived in Rosie the XLI.

Fiona, Gary and Dianne on the bridge between the two camps
Fiona, Gary and Dianne on the bridge between the two camps
Looking back to the bridge
Looking back to the bridge

We plugged in, settled down and then set off over the bridge to pay at the Awastone Resort which is setup to be a little more upmarket than the campground.
Both campgrounds are owned and run by Paul and Tricia and their family. The bar, cafe, cabins, with gravel based parks and power right by the river, are $38 for a night for two. We could not go without having a few glasses of wine with homemade sausage rolls on the deck in the sun. After that we walked back over the bridge to celebrate Gary’s birthday. It was good to see them again. We we’re going to celebrate Gary’s birthday in Martinborough .

The Main Street
The Main Street

The next day we walked into the village to check it out. It’s an interesting town as State Highway 1 was moved to bypass the Main Street quite a long time ago and all the old buildings are still there. It’s like time stood still. We met a friend of one of the shop owners and it seems like there is a real arty, creative sort of community getting established there.

After having a look around and a cuppa at the cafe, as we headed back to the Campground, we tried to collar a couple of escaped sheep from a paddock and return them but after 20 minutes or so of pretending to be Sheep dogs and losing badly, we gave it away and carried on after making sure the sheep were heading away from State Highway 1. Isn’t it funny how the sheep can spot some townies pretending to be shepherds a mile away πŸ™‚

The shops in the Main Street
The shops in the Main Street

This is another classic case of a place that’s usually a thoroughfare for most of us being completely overlooked as a neat destination. With both campgrounds here on either side of the river with different price points, they’re well setup for your next visit.

Rafe's Track to Mangaweka
Rafe’s Track to Mangaweka

Charming Greytown

After we arrived in Greytown, we started looking at where we going to stay. The GPS directed us to a neat little POP on the side of a local contractor, John and his wife Rosie. They have century started growing pumpkins on part of his 5 acres in the middle of Greytown. Lovely people who couldn’t do enough for us.

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At the POP .
At the POP .

We setup on their POP area which is half grass and half gravel. From the street you wouldn’t know any of this existed and it was so quiet.
We walked from their into Greytown shops, about 10 minutes walk and spent the afternoon in Greytown. The whole town basically is set around the Main Street which is full of original old buildings still being used and maintained.

The original Butchers shop
The original Butchers shop

The next morning, Rob, Helen and Chloe left to head up to Taupo to go to a NZMCA Rally for kids which was happening. After our farewells, we headed around to the local campground so I could charge up some batteries and flick the hose over Rafe to get the salt off from the pinnacles as it still hadn’t really rained.

One of the more unusual tents
One of the more unusual tents

The campground is great and very reasonably priced. It’s huge and incorporates a huge playground and very much dominated by those in tents which is great so see.

The facilities are nice and clean and it’s all nicely setup. Our park was a bit small for us but the manager was quite happy for us to cover the next parking hole but I managed to park it diagonally within the lines quite easily.
GreytownNice park, great manager and close to town. I think it cost us $32.50 for two including power. At this time of the year, that’s pretty good in my books.

I want one πŸ˜ƒ

And now its ….SOLD

update….sold .. In 24 hours!!

The Pinnacles

We were all quite looking forward to checking these out as apparently, they’ve been used in one of Peter Jacksons movies. I’m not sure which one.

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The march up to the Pinnacles
The march up to the Pinnacles

We left Martinborough early and set off south towards the Pinnacles.Β They’re about 30 odd K’s from Martinborough so they’re a good hour south.
The South West was blowing at around 30-40 knots and we were getting some good puffs on the road. The road is pretty good being sealed all the way but as you get closer, it is quite exposed and at one point, there is a causeway where the waves were virtually crashing on the edge of the road with plenty of debris lying around.
We were pleased to get there. Rob, Helen and Chloe had beaten us there as we had stopped for Groceries and had a look around Martinborough before leaving.

Our park in the corner. Of the Doc camp
Our park in the corner of the Doc camp

Rob had a spectacular spot at the Doc camp there, tucked into a corner, protected by trees and bush with plenty of room for Rafe.
After settling down with a cuppa and getting organised. We set off up the valley towards the Pinnacles.

Doc suggests a 1.5hrs easy walk round trip. I would say this is understated and would be a 2 hr trip with the last K being a good uphill slog in gravel. Those who know me will tell you that I’m not the fittest trooper on the planet but if I can do it, anyone can but it is a wee bit more that what Doc say it is.
PinnaclesIt is spectacular and is well worth the slog mostly up the side of a stream. I commented to Rob on the way back that I felt a bit like Daniel Boon given the slightly eery almost desert like landscape similarities.

Daniel Booning down the stream
Daniel Booning down the stream

We set the chairs up behind Rafe and the Tracker out of the wind, wheeled out some portable music and started on a wet debrief of the day’s activities as you do :-).Β A nice day in the sun checking out some neat stuff we’d never seen before.

Rafe’s track to the Pinnacles

Martinborough to the Pinnacles
Martinborough to the Pinnacles

Martinborough by Bike

The weather was great, there was still a bit of wind around but that’s normal for the Wairarapa apparently.

Getting ready
Getting ready

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Helen, Fiona, Rob and Chloe outside the first Vineyard
Helen, Fiona, Rob and Chloe outside the first Vineyard

Rob, Helen and Chloe had hired bikes for the day. I unloaded our bikes off the back of Rafe, put some air in the tires and we were off.
Martinborough is setup around a square which makes navigation really easy.

Chloe outside a vineyard on the way.
Chloe outside a vineyard on the way.

The first vineyard to visit was diagonally opposite the Martinborough Top 10 which is where we’re staying. We were there for the first hour and then moved onto Margrains where we had lunch before and were familiar with their wines.

My perfect house :-)
My perfect house πŸ™‚

It’s amazing how the same or similar grape and wine type can taste so different with just half a kilometre or so between them.

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The food was great and the wine even better with us buying a few bottles between us.

The Square
The Square

We’d just arrived back at the Motorcamp by bike after having a good nosey around the town, when the wine was dropped off at the campground.

The Square with Rafe on the other side.
The Square with Rafe on the other side.

It’s a great wee town Martinborough. Being nice and flat, it is perfect for bike riding and exploring.

UB 40 At Martinborough

We’d been in Martinborough about 2 hrs and it was time for a nice glass of Chardy with Rob and Helen to fortify ourselves for the bus trip from the Top 10 Campground and Luna Estate on the other side of Martinborough where the concert was being held.

The VIP stands
The VIP stands

The bus arrived at 3:30 approx and we were greeted with a huge line down the path to the Vineyard. At 4pm, the line had moved and at 4:30 odd, we finally made it into the concert to find that due to the bad organisation of getting people through the gates, most punters had missed most, if not all of the first act which was Boh Runga. We got the last 10 minutes or so and she was very good. Rob gave the officer of the day a good dressing down for the delays and things started to change :-). Go Rob !

Boh on stage
Boh on stage

They were expecting 5000 people which is not a lot in terms of concerts these days and everywhere you looked, the actions of the volunteer troops shouted disorganisation.
Anyway .. Beyond that..the bar service was great.

Fiona, Chloe, Rob and Helen and the crowd.
Fiona, Chloe, Rob and Helen and the crowd.

The music and the mixing of the sound was sensational. Ub40 sounded like they always do.. Brilliant and given that most people brought foldout chairs and whatnot to sit on, very few people sat on them as they were dancing and shaking around for most of the night.

UB40 in full swing
UB40 in full swing

The weather had been threatening to rain but thankfully held off..
A great concert despite the delays at the beginning.

Middle of the night chaos

It was our last night at Castlepoint and the puffs were really building. The forecast had been for the wind to drop around 9pm but it still seemed to be building.

Us on the top row with sheltered by the hill behind. Those at the bottom rows had the wind funnelling up the valley behind.
Us on the top row with sheltered by the hill behind. Those at the bottom rows had the wind funnelling up the valley behind.

The Coastguard app on my phone was showing a steady 40 knots gusting at 60 at the lighthouse which was just across the bay from us.
Gary and Dianne had left earlier that day but we’re coming back later in the week to rejoin our wee convoy but I was quietly pleased he wasn’t there with his extra height and length.

Just as it was getting dark, Rob decided he would shift the Tracker and point it more Northwards into the wind coming around the hill so I followed suit and also brought Rafe back further to escape more of the wind.

About 1.30am, we were woken up by some huge puffs and Rafe was really rockin and rolling. I saw Robs light go on but didn’t get up to see what was happening.
I looked at the Coastguard app again and it was 55 knots with 73 knot gusts.. The local paper later recorded this as 120k ! So much for the forecast. By 3am it had dropped right back to less than 30 knots.. What a wild night !
In the morning, I found out that Rob had gone for a wild windy walk around the campground to find absolute devastation on the bottom level. Tents shredded and boogie boards flying.. It was mayhem apparently and we were better off where we were. Apparently many abandoned their sites and went home. The camp management talked about dumping a ute full of tent bits later.

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Both pointing into the wind :-)
Both pointing into the wind πŸ™‚

In the morning it was bright and sunny and very calm.. Amazing..
After an easy breakfast and a cuppa, we left together and headed towards Martinborough.
On the way we stopped at Greytown at a French bakery which Fiona is a bit partial to and then back to Carterton to head towards Stonehenge Aotearoa.

Stonehenge is about 11k’s east of Carterton on someone’s farm.
Very cleverly done with Audio visual explanations and basically, it is a huge Sundial with extra options πŸ™‚ .. I’m sure there’s a lot more to it that that but it’s an interesting setup. Well worth looking at if you’re in the area with a Motorhome friendly carpark.

Dusk at Martinborough
Dusk at Martinborough

We arrived in Martinborough around Midday in bright sunshine and settled Rafe down for a few days at the Vineyards πŸ™‚
And our track to Martinborough from Rafe’s Tracker

Castlepoint to Martinborough
Castlepoint to Martinborough

Blowing Dogs Off Chains

After a great New Year’s Eve, we knew the wind was going to blow but I was keen to go for a walk up to the lighthouse and get some piccies.

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imageAs we walked down the beach towards Castlepoint Reserve, you could feel the wind building. By the time we started walking up the track to the lighthouse and being exposed to the wind, you really had to hang on and lean into the wind.

Fiona battling with the wind
Fiona battling with the wind

About half way up we were hanging onto the handrail to make sure you didn’t get blown over.. Madness! We weren’t far from the lighthouse now so it was worth persevering. imageThe Lighthouse was built in 1913 so the lighthouse keeper must have had some interesting climbs up the rock to do his thing. These days it is all automated. After a good look around, we headed back down against the wind to find that it had been a steady 40 knots with 60 knot gusts. imageYou could feel the sand stinging your legs from the beach as we walked along. Probably a bit silly really but I’m pleased we did it.

Employee of the month at Tui Brewery :-)

We left Dannevirke camping ground around 10 am and after a quick top up with diesel and to the Dannevirke Supermarket, we were under way. We had just gone through Woodville when Fiona noticed a gift shop that might have some old plates to update our ones in Rafe. About 15 minutes later, Gary and Dianne came around the corner in Rosie and stopped.. They had just been through the Manawatu gorge and back after missing the turnoff :-). Fiona had just come back when they were away again.

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imageWe hadn’t gone very far when we arrived at the Tui Brewery. For those overseas, Tui is well known for the quirky billboards with clever advertising.

Fiona with the girls!
Fiona with the girls!

It’s also well known for their TV ads with the hot girls who are the workers so we had to get Fiona in on the act with their board with Employee of the month. With the old building covered in scaffolding, they must be giving it some love.
imageThere’s a great big carpark there so easy Motorhome parking and they look like they do great lunches. You can also do tours of the brewery too. A good place to stop.
We cruised on and stopped just outside Masterton and made our own lunch before heading on to Castlepoint.
imageI’d booked the three of us into the Holiday Park there and they had allocated us an amazing park for three on the top of the hill looking out over the beach.

Our wee spot in the world. Rafe, Rosie and the Tracker
Our wee spot in the world.
Rafe, Rosie and the Tracker

We were all blown away. The weather was amazing so we were going to have a great night. Click here to see the earlier post on New Year’s Eve.

Rafe's track to Castlepoint
Rafe’s track to Castlepoint

Off to the Beach

After a great night at Wallingford Homestead, we woke up to a beautiful blue sky so I retook some of the piccies and after that we headed off done the road towards Porangahau.
Jen at Wallingford Homestead has told us a about a great Cafe where we should have lunch at but none of us could find it πŸ™‚
We headed off down to Porangahau and then down to the beach.

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Porangahau Beach
Porangahau Beach

There is a free overnight parking area there just behind the beach which was being well used but still room for more. The beach is stunning and goes for miles.

Porangahau Beach
Porangahau Beach freedom camping area

Rob, Helen and Fiona went for a quick walk along the beach before Rob, Helen and Chloe left us there to head down to Cape Turnagain to see the Seals. We’d sort of lost Gary and Dianne at that point but figured they must be on the road to Herbertville somewhere.

Fiona, Helen and Rob walking along Porangahau Beach
Fiona, Helen and Rob walking along Porangahau Beach

After a cup of tea beside the campground, we headed off towards Herbertville, still looking for the mysterious cafe but happy to find anything else.

The longest name in the world
Fiona checking out the longest name in the world

We decided in the end to keep heading towards the Dannevirke Campground where we’d stayed before. It’s a magic little spot in the Dannevirke Domain run by the local council. The laundry there got a good workout as we all got the clothes cleaned up and we were ready to go again.image
We had a nice catchup under awnings with a few glasses of wine. Another nice day.

Rafe's Track to Dannevirke
Rafe’s Track to Dannevirke