The Wagon Train Park

When Phil Walker returned from one of his last ocean going yacht delivery trips and settled with his wife Sylvia in Kerikeri on their lifestyle block,  little did he know that he was about to get started rather than slow down for their retirement.

On a sunny afternoon he set out the picnic table for the arrival of some of his overseas yacht friends and over a few glasses of wine, they decided that the land should be turned into a an RV park with room for chalets,  and they had decided on a new name for it too.
That was 12 years ago and what a great setup it is now.

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Taken the next morning when the sun came out

I dropped in on a really grotty day where the forecast was evil and decided it was time to plug myself in, wash my linen, vacuum Rafe and generally tidy myself up.

As I arrived I met Phil  who cruised down on his metallic pink scooter. He gave me all the background and its a fascinating story. Now in his mid 70’s, he runs the park and Sylvia is still working part time locally. What about the retirement I asked ?  There’s  a shrug of the shoulders and a smile.

You don’t see too many new RV parks with the perfectly flat and manicured parking spots, its great. The standard parking charge for a powered site is $18.00. There is a complete laundry available and a fully equipped kitchen.

This would be great in summer

You’ll find it just before the turnoff to Kerikeri. It is well worth checking out for a night or two.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site.. its awful!..
Download: 2.28 Mbps
Upload: 2.37 Mbps
Ping: 60 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-35.267769,173.938412

Rafe’s Tracker map

Off to Kerikeri

Great Parking at the Bascule Bridge

You have to hand it to the Whangarei Council. They really have pulled out all the stops at the Bascule Bridge Parking area.

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Very civilised parking

There are white vertical strips on the fence to mark the parks with a number in the middle of each park. The parks are wide enough to get a decent sized 8 plus metres vehicle in and still be able to create a 3 metre or close gap between each Motorhome.

The opening bridge

I haven’t see this recently so was pleasantly surprised to see how well it was setup. I immediately went to a Hot Dog cart that was there and celebrated with a Hot Dog on a stick and some chips for lunch 🙂

Brightly painted loos

The Hot Dog man was telling me how the Rally was setup over the road and they were starting from the bridge that night with a special stage on the other side of the bridge.  The cars were due to line up on the bridge by 5pm and then set off at 7pm.

The walkway into town

I thought I’d hang about and watch the action.

The rally cars on the bridge. This was as far as I could get without paying!

By 4:30pm, the car park was chocker but it was all very gentlemanly and apart from the rally cars noise until around 9pm, it was all good. I went for a walk down to the foreshore around 8pm and met a local couple with their young kids. They had just come down for a look.

The Rally start on the bridge

A great place to park for free and there are some nicely painted up new toilets too. You can also walk or bike into town along the pathways along the waterfront.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 14.70 Mbps
Upload: 2.40 Mbps
Ping: 58 ms

Rafes Track to the bridge

Bascule bridge

Staying in a Train

I rocked in to the Dargaville Campervan Park and Cabins and was immediately greeted by Donna leaping out of her live in caravan with a big welcome.  She was fantastic. She and her husband Vic have been managing the Park for some time now and love it.

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Being the only Motorhome in the park in the middle of the week, she suggested I could park anywhere. Unique to this park are a couple of the parks that have an ensuite cabin for Motorhomes where you can park next door and have exclusive use of your own private shower and bathroom for the duration of your stay. The cost of my parking was $18 for the night on my own but on gravel and the bathroom facilities are amazing. There is also a dump station available.

Rafe parked next to an Ensuite

Around the outside of the Motorhome parking are about 10 “cabins” which are actually ex NZ Railways Good wagons converted to accomodation and done really well. With decks attached, small kitchenettes and full bathrooms, they’re fantatsic.

The park is right in the centre of town and with Countdown and the Warehouse at the end of the road, makes it very handy to everything.

You can’t beat the welcome from Donna and its a very comfortable place to stay in the centre of a neat town.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Dargaville at the top of the map

Glinks by the Sea

That sounds much posher than Glinks Gully 🙂

About 20 k’s South west of Dargaville is the small settlement of Glinks Gully. There are  lots of Baches and homes there with a fabulous beach. See Rafe’s Tracker map at the bottom for directions.

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I arrived around lunchtime with the intention of staying the night but given the state of the campground and how long and low Rafe is, I decided not to stay but its a neat spot if you’ve got a smaller and higher ground clearance Motorhome.

On the beach

The views are stunning straight down to the beach. There is an honesty box in the roundhouse like kitchen and the cost to stay with the NZMCA discount would have been $10 for me on my own.

The Kitchen roundhouse with Rafe behind

I parked Rafe thankfully without scraping on anything underneath and then went for a look around. I wandered down to the beach to check it out and once you get to the edge of the water, you can look in both directions and it is endless. The sun was shining and it was a great day so it was perfect for checking it all out.

I walked back to the camp up the hill and decided that I wouldn’t relax worrying about getting Rafe out in the morning so decided to head out again. I ended up having a 10-15 minute conversation with one of the local farmers parked in the middle of the road. The locals are really friendly and he was encouraging me to head down to Poutu to check out the lighthouse at the bottom of the peninsula. Another time..

Looking north

A great place to stay but I would recommend only for Motorhomes less than 7 metres and with plenty of ground clearance.

Rafes Tracker Map to Glinks Gully

Glinks Gully on the coast

Historical Parking with a View

One of the places I’ve been wanting to check out while in Dargaville was the Museum at the top of the hill. The GPS was giving me strange messages that it wasn’t available but it seems they’ve changed the roading to get there. My GPS just didn’t know wbaout it!

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Dargaville from the Museum

Up the hill overlooking Dargaville is the Museum which provides Motorhome parking and also has a dump station and some outside Toilets near the parking with the most amazing view over the Dargaville area.

Museum parking

I had a quick nosey through the museum and it is amazing how much happened in this area with the river and shipping. The Gum Digging history is well documented too along with the Dalmation settlers who largely were involved with the Kauri Gum industry.

Its a great wee town Dargaville, lots to see and plenty of places to stay.

One of the murals on the wall of the Dargaville Museum

This would be one of the premo places to park for a night or two and the Museum is a must do too.

Peace and Quiet

What a beautiful place Pahi is. We’ve been here before I was doing this blog with friends just after some heavy rain. We had to park on the gravel so its not an all weather grassy surface.

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Looking down from up the road.

Pahi is about 15 minutes off the main highway through to Dargaville. It is at the end of a peninsula south of Paparoa.

A local anti Fouling his boat

When I arrived, I was met with a sign in the office to make myself comfortable in a park of my choice and they’ll catch up with me. For $10 (with NZMCA discount) per person per night with power, it is exceptionally good value and its in a lovely spot in the northern reaches of the Kaipara Harbour.

All tide ramp

Apparently it is one of the few all tide ramps in the whole of the Kaipara.

Just like in the travel magazines!

The wharf is great for a walk down or just for a look around. There are some really quirky little houses there dotted around the waterfront, almost like an old fishing village you see in the magazines.

The camp is a Doc park with the staff being managed by a local committee and apparently it works well. There is an old Hotel which had its license transferred to the Paparoa pub in the 50’s. It is still in great shape but is now a private house. The camp has a dump stations and a recently renovated toilet and shower block.

Looking across to Whakapirau

A lovely spot which you could easily spend a few days at and run by some really nice people.

There was a good 3G Internet signal here but I forgot to speedtest it.

Rafe’s Track to Pahi

Pahi

 

Busy with the Boats

Tim and Annette, my younger Aussie based brother and his wife had been over for the weekend but they were busy doing their own thing so we thought we’d escape from the house and head off to an Auckland City Park. We were headed for Shakespear Park at the end of the Whangaparoa Peninsula, North of Auckland city.

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Rafe in the trees

We had the last park left available as they had restricted the CSC parking to 10 Motorhomes due to the amount of water from the recent heavy rain. It was busier than I’ve ever seen it and most had opted to park on the gravel parks where they could. One of the more obvious vehicles there was Roy and Bernice Vannini who were camp hosts.

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The city doesn’t seem far away

While the weather was good, I went for my customary walks around to see what was happening. There was action everywhere as there were more tan 300 odd sea scouts in boats at the main camp at the other end of the beach. They were having a great time in their boats with plenty of people around in rescue craft keeping an eye on them. Others were just enjoying the beach and the park.

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Its a lovely spot and its the first time I’ve seen it this busy.

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Looking great

Bernice and Roy came over to catch up which was fantastic as I’ve been following their blog over the last year or so. They’re fulltimers and have been for years in their 10m American Bus. Tons of room and they’ve done a lovely job of making it work for them. They’ve recently done a 3 month Motorhome trip around Europe so Fiona and I were keen to hear how they went and mistakes not to make 🙂 We’re heading over there in June and really looking forward to it.  It sounds like they had a great trip and they gave us heaps of ideas and tips, books to read and so on. Very helpful !

Shakespear is a funny place where the Internet is concerned as the first time we came here was without aerials and we got a very slow connection, useable but just ! The second time was later last year and we couldn’t get anything.. with aerials but without the patch for the aerials so I suspect they weren’t working. This time, it was pretty good for a known problem area,  but we’ve got the aerials working well now  but it was slow but usable and it seemed reliable. A tricky wee spot!

With Tim and Annette coming in for tea for their last night in NZ and after having a cup of tea in the morning with Roy and Bernice, we headed back to town.

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Checking it all out

Its always nice coming to Shakespear and its so close too.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 5.96 Mbps
Upload: 1.93 Mbps
Ping: 53 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.613140,174.824475

The image from Rafes Tracker.

Rafes Track .. the red dots showing where I went faster than 90k!

The Corner Shops

We’ve watched this place over the last year or so but it just gets better and better. The food is consistently good and its a neat place to stop.

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Nice Parking area

There is one Motorhome park on the gravel but there is also plenty of solid lawn parking for Caravans and Motorhomes while you visit.

The “Style Shop” 🙂

It is right on the turnoff to Thames on Highway 27 as you’re heading towards Thames. Turn left at the Thames turnoff coming from the motorway and its on your right.

There is plenty of parking. There is a kids play area for the nippers, great food and reasonably priced. Style shop is there too in a seperate building, for the Mums to load up while Dad soaks up the sun outside 🙂 … a dress shop 🙂

We stopped here on the way to catch up with friends at Coromandel for a scone and a cuppa. Although we were early, around 10:30ish, it was just getting busy so its good to see they’re doing so well.

 

Top Value Parking with Top Value Tucker

The Coromandel Hotel is a real surprise.

The front of the Hotel

By walking down the street beside it reveals a nice private flat powered Motorhome park behind the hotel nicely planted out with Palms and with a nice outlook. It is $25 (for two)a night and includes the use of the nearby Backpackers Toilet and Showers. It also has a dump station.

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Solid ground too.
The Backpackers with the Dump Station, Showers and Toilets.

We arrived early on a Friday and checked in for a weekend at Coromandel. Our friends Dianne and Gary were staying in a motel room in the Coromandel Top 10 right opposite so it worked perfectly.

We went for a walk down to the town which takes all of 10 minutes and enjoyed a cuppa at one of the many cafes down there and after checking into some of the shops wandered back to Rafe. There is a Laundromat there too.

That night it rained and we popped over to the Motel unit and enjoyed a few laughs and glasses of wine before heading to the Coromandel Hotel for tea. It was stunning. Gary and I had a carpetbag steak each, Fiona had a seafood chowder which had huge pieces of seafood in it and Dianne had the roast pork. The best was still to come.. liquorice ice cream with sambuca.. and it was huge. We all hooked in. This is really something to see and even better to eat.

Looking down the back

A neat place to stay and great place to eat as well.

I have done a blog on this before but this is the first time we’ve stayed here and I’m pleased we did!

One thing I did find interesting is like Simpsons Beach, I had to switch the router back to 3G. Although it worked on 4G, It was significantly faster on 3G.. see the speedtests below.

The Netspeed speedtests for this site.

3G
Download: 22.95 Mbps
Upload: 2.41 Mbps
Ping: 67 ms

4G
Download: 5.67 Mbps
Upload: 0.08 Mbps
Ping: 72 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.755005,175.499769

The Coroglen Tavern

We were on our way to Whitianga and were told about the magic Mussel Fritters that come from the Coroglen Tavern.

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Jed and Michelle outside their Hotel

3 years ago, Landlady (In the traditional Coro St fashion) Michelle and her other half Jed, bought the pub from Michelles parents and are redeveloping it as they can.

As responsible hosts, they are providing an area for Motorhomers to spend the night after enjoying their hospitality. As Michelle said, “They haven’t finished here yet”.

The Motorhome parking area. Plenty of room.

The Coroglen Tavern is the local for a wide area of Coromandel and is a well known Saturday night music hotspot.

We timed it beautifully with our arrival bang on lunchtime and it was very hard to go past the Seafood Basket and of course the amazing Mussel Fritters. YUM. This is a serious must do!

Mussel Fritters .. YUM!
The Seafood basket

There is parking around the back or we just parked Rafe in front.

Rafe parked outside

Jed and Michelle and their staff were very helpful and as I said, the food was something out of this world. Try it 🙂