John Brittens International Motorhome

Where we were staying at Peski’s just out of Geraldine, was an easy 4k’s ride in to the town.

Geraldine has a fabulous Car, Truck and Tractor Museum along with washing machines, old cinema projectors and anything of note. Its an amazing place.

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We set off on our bikes to ride to the museum and spent an hour or so having a good look around.

Fiona with her great auntie Jeannie’s Morris

Fiona’s great aunty Jeannie’s old 1948 Morris is in the museum so we were keen to check it out as Fiona had travelled in it often as a small girl. Legend has it that Jeannie drained the radiator water every night and refilled it with hot water in the morning saying  “it started so much better. Anyway, Anti Freeze will rot the engine”! And there it is tucked in the corner.

We moved on to two other buildings where we found an old Gypsy styled Motorhome built on a 1926 International chassis by John Britten when he was in his early 20’s.

John’s Motorhome

Between 1972 to 1975, John purchased the old 1926 International Truck Chassis and set to turning it into a Motorhome for his travels around the South Island.

The Tiller

Everything is hand made. All the woodwork and engineering including the Califont for heating the water was all made by John.

The interior of Johns truck

On the sides, there are two hinged wooden doors as windows. There is even some stained glass on the back. It really is stunning given he ws so young and I guess it is no surprise that he went on to do great things with motorbikes and come up with the Britten race bike.

From the back. A nice stained glass window on the back. Note the opening wooden windows.

A great find and there is a lot more to see here. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Fun at the country Fete.

They really know how to promote one of these festivals down here judging by the turnout. The Geraldine Fete was held at a farm about 3 k’s north of Geraldine. There were thousands of people around and it was a great carnival atmosphere.

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Two stages with some great performers kept everyone entertained and it was a fun place to be.

One of the performing groups

I’m not sure how many stalls there were but there was some really interesting South Canterbury stuff available. Fiona and I spent a couple of hours walking around soaking up the vibes and it was neat to see everyone really enjoying themselves.

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I did give some thought to Rafe in the carpark with the long grass but it was no problem getting in or out with the queues.

Where’s Rafe?

We headed into our favorite  Geraldine Cafe for a coffee and a sticky bun before heading back to our park at Peskis’s.

Rafe’s track to the Fete

Botanical Parking

All the way around the South Island when we have talked to other Motorhomers and Caravanners, we’ve had the comment, “ when you’re in Geraldine, you HAVE to stay at Peskis!”.

Nice parking

Geraldine, Pleasant Point and all around this area is Fiona’s families old stamping ground, and there is lots of McLeod family history in this area so we were always going to be stopping here for some time!

Rafe tucked in for the first couple of nights

Peski’s was our destination and what an amazing place it is. Now run by Sue and David Fisher and their dog Tui. The best way to describe it is its like the Botanical Gardens which you can park your Motorhome or Caravan in.

The gardens

It is available to all NZMCA members and it is $15 for a powered site and $5 pp for a grass patch. $2 for the washine machine and $2 for the shower. There is also a cassette only Dump Station too which is also $2  and fresh water.

Down the driveway

We’d just come in the drive in early November, when we were welcomed by David who showed us where everything was and directed us to a powered site at the bottom of the Garden.

The place was reasonably busy but not fill by a long shot but everybody here was happy to be here and the atmosphere is something else.

Happy Hour

David works locally and the Park over property is officially Sue’s baby and it is easy to see they just love it here. They moved from the other side of Geraldine last November when the previous owners wanted to sell and its a stunning place to stay.

No wonder everyone raves about it. Whenever I turn around, I see one or both of them doing something in the grounds and they look fabulous.

Parking up

We decided to stay a week here as its handy to everything around here and every day we catch up with new neighbours and of course our very kind hosts, David and Sue.

They have just had a good friend of theirs make them a new letterbox which is a caravan with the wings on it with their street number.

Down behind the parking area are tracks into the bush and to the river which runs behind the property. David has set up a seat with bark and punga so you can relax down there with the river and solve the worlds problems 🙂

This is the second seat as the first one got washed away but Fiona and I spent a very pleasant ½ hour so as it was so hot and there was a nice breeze coming off the river.

The River
Fiona by the river

A great spot with fantastic hosts who are just amazing.

Running water at the river

We’ll be back here too. A lovely spot!

Rafe’s Track to Peski’s

Traders Chat

With the run of good weather seemingly endless, we headed on to Waimate to the NZMCA park for the night.

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A Grand entrance

This like most of the other NZMCA parks is just fantastic with plenty of room and all the features you would expect with a dump station just around the corner.

We cruised in, got settled by some trees on the grass and checked the place out.

Nice and flat with lots of taps

The park is only about 1k from the centre of town so is easily within walking distance. In the morning, it got a wee bit overcast and grey. Fiona rode into town for a look around and I followed her later once I’d finished a chore or two.

The following day after some late drizzly rain, it was brilliantly fine again so we parked by the Waimate reserve where they had Market Day. It was nice wandering around and just seeing the locals sitting in the sun, chatting away.

At the market

I think it was more of a social get together rather than anyone stressing too much about making huge sales 🙂

The main street at Rush hour 😉

I was impressed with the NZMCA park as was everyone else who parked there.

The Recycling area

Well done to those who put it together and look after it.

Tea by Winchester

One of the things we wanted to do was catch up with old friends Pam and Campbell who we knew from our old days is Devonport. They have set up an amazing Farmstay B&B business just outside Temuka and had invited us for tea. Yippee.

The next issue was where to put Rafe as Google Earth showed their driveway impassable for Motorhomes and there wasn’t roadside parking either.

Plenty of room

There was an great camping ground a few K’s up the road at Winchester which was $18 a night with plenty of room to spread out so we headed there.

The campground is actually in the Showground’s so there are times of the year when it isn’t available. Nice showers which don’t require any money and a big kitchen common room which looks the business.

Lots of space
Showers and Toilets

After an afternoon of lazing in the 20 C plus sun, we got the bikes down and headed down the road to Pam and Campbells place. Drinks in the sun on the deck and amazing roast meal and it was really neat to see them after having not seen them for at least 20 odd years. They look really well and the House they have done up looks great and they’re now running it as Olivers  Farm Stay  Bed & Breakfast. Campbell is a Chef so the meals are stunning !

Campbell and Pam

Campbell very kindly dropped us off at the campsite later, with the bikes on a bike rack on the back of his car as it was a bit dodgy in the dark on State Highway 1 ! Thanks very much guys and it was lovely to catch up again after all this time.

The Boulders

I can’t believe the great weather we have had in the South Island. Almost every day has had temperatures of around 17C plus and perfect blue sky. Today was no different as we left Dunedin.

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In the carpark

Our first stop was to check out the famous Moeraki boulders. Its interesting that the signposts for the boulders all point to a restaurant above the beach which provides a nicely made set of steps and track to get down to them. Clever marketing I thought!

Boulders

We parked in the huge carpark and wandered down to the beach where there were already a good number of people with their iphones getting piccies of the boulders. These are amazing. Apparently they’re over 5.5 million years old and were made on the sea floor with mud!

Interesting shapes and they certainly drew a large crowd while we were there.

Next stop was Oamaru for lunch. We stopped down in a large carpark by the Historical Precinct and had a wander around through the old buildings and shops. We were only here a few years ago and it has changed quite a bit since then.

The Criterion hotel

While I was standing in the middle of the road in the old precinct, a chap on a penny farthing came screaming around the corner! Later when I checked out my images, the best one was with his eyes shut looking really brave 🙂

The man on his Penny farthing


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Its always a pleasure looking around Oamaru and I can see why my old friend Grant and his family moved here. Its got a lovely feel and atmosphere to it.

The waterfront

Larnach’s Garden

I’ve been to Larnach’s Castle a few times before but never really noticed or appreciated the huge gardens.

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The castle was originally built by William Larnach for his family in 1874. The Barker family bought the Castle in 1967 after it had fallen into a state of disrepair and had basically been abandoned which is when they restored the Castle and then later the gardens.

Outside the ballroom

The Barkers have done an amazing job of creating a massive series of different gardens in and around the Castle. One of the features is a Pergola (the lead pic) which is huge and covered in trees creating a tunnel with a view of Dunedin and the end.

Dunedin through the Pergola

Other areas have small lookouts suspended over banks with amazing views of the harbour.

Fiona enjoying the Garden

We drove up the peninsula in Rafe and its an interesting road. The weather had closed in and it was quite dreary and drizzly, not conducive to nice bright piccies!

On the road to the castle looking towards Port Chalmers

We parked right up the top of the carpark and set off through the gardens.

Rafe tucked up in the top corner

Just the entrance from the carpark was spectacular with really bright flowers and nice trees. I’m not really up on all the names of plants and gardening but even I could see that this was special.

The entrance to the Garden

We came out onto the front lawn of the Castle and because we hadn’t read the instructions :-), we set off in the opposite direction to the intended tour but made it to all the areas of interest !

Larnach Castle

After an hour or so, we ended up in the Castle Ballroom and Cafe. Two open fires burning made it really warm and inviting and after another 30 minutes or so, we set off to head down the road to Portobello.

The Cafe / Ballroom

We had a quick look around Portobello and then headed back around the waterfront back to the city. It is quite a long way and is a slow road back. Its well worth doing and the Gardens and the Castle are a must do too.

More nice Garden
Round the back with the Alice in Wonderland area

The Gardens were $15 each which included parking.

At the Octagon

It was lovely arriving in Dunedin in the sunshine. We came in from Mosgiel and coming over the hill on the motorway with the sea and the peninsula in the distance was an amazing sight.

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The Octagon

We’ve been here before but only for a day here and a day there and it has always been raining and dreary so it was really a nice suprise to see it sunny and warm.

The NZMCA park in Dunedin

We headed straight for the Woodhaugh NZMCA park which is on the northern side of the city  but is very easy to find and handy for buses into town. After arriving and getting settled we walked around the corner and caught a bus into the Octagon.

Walking up to the Bus stop by the river

Fiona was keen to go to the Scottish Shop and check out the tartans. After that we head a quick look around the Octagon before heading down to the iconic Railway Station and having a good look round there. This building is something else.

The Dunedin Railway Station

Opened in 1904, it was Dunedin’s fourth railway station and was designed by Architect George Troup, earning him the nickname Gingerbread George after the pink basalt and Oamaru stone used in the building.

In the Railway Station

It is a stunning building with more than 750,000 mosaic tiles in the floor and is something to see.

Spectacular décor inside the station

Its nice to see Dunedin Railways doing so well with the Taieri Gorge railway excursions. The trains look fantastic and are all original carriages.

The Taieri train

Cadbury’s Café and Chocolate Tours was next on our list so we walked up a couple of blocks to check in for a Hot Chocolate made with Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate. No extra sugar required 🙂

Fiona with the Cadburys Chocolate

Its something else and I recommend you try one if you’re in the area. They also do the tours of the factory too but having just done one a few months ago in Belgium, we passed on this.

Plenty of room for more

After wandering around the town a bit more, we caught the #3 bus back to the NZMCA park.

Rafe with Robert and Dawns Burstner next door(in the middle)

When we arrived back at the camp, we had a new neighbour with a new Burstner so I went over and introduced myself and after tea, Robert and Dawn came over for a few glasses of nice Pinot and cider with lots of laughs.

A great day in a nice city in the sun with some nice people.

Art Deco on the Rail Trail

I used to joke with my old friend Gary who lived here, about Rantartica but over the 4 days we spent in the new NZMCA park here in Ranfurly, the temperature ranged during the day between 24 and 26 degrees every day. Beautiful blue skies with only one morning with a bit of drizzle.

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The NZMCA Park in Ranfurly

Stunning weather and a lovely town.

Rafe with the awning out in the heat of Ranfurly

The people are really friendly and the buildings are amazing.

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Around the time of the war, the town was struck badly by a string of suspicious fires where a significant number of iconic buildings were burnt to the ground.

Once the tea rooms, now a museum.

At the time, money was scarce and the cheapest and quickest way to replace them was to do the Art Deco style. The town is blessed with these lovely old buildings with some real class.

The famous Ranfurly pub

The drizzly day we had was when the town had its market day at the railway station and it was just great to see the whole town come out to play, even in the dreary weather. It was only shortlived and an hour two later, there was brilliant sunshine again.

The entrance to the park

We were originally only going to stay for two nights but its such a great place to stay so we stayed for four! The NZMCA park is right in the middle of town and is huge.

Looking down the road to Dunedin towards the St Bathans mountains

We’ll definitely be staying here again.

Rafe’s track to Ranfurly

A Bike ride to Wedderburn

We were staying at the NZMCA park at Ranfurly which is huge and virtually right in the middle of town. There is a dump station right next door along with recycling.

On our first night there, we met up again with David and Therese from Papamoa who we bumped into while we were looking at Ophir. It was nice to see them again.

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The NZMCA Park. Dave and Therese’s caravan on the left. Rafe on the right.

The next day saw an excellent day for weather, little wind, about 25C and we were ready to go. My old mate Gary who used to live here for a few years with his wife Chris, had recommended that we head up to Wedderburn as its only 9k’s and although its a slight uphil run all the way, we would love coming back after a beer at the Wedderburn pub 🙂

Starting off at Ranfurly Railway Station

Sounded like a great idea to me! Gary and Chris moved down here a few years ago and setup a B&B just on the outskirts of the town but have now moved to the warmer climes of Ruakaka to be closer to their adult children.

We left the Ranfurly Railway Station right on 10am and off we went. It was really easy riding for most of the way. The only impediment in some parts was watching places where there was extra gravel that could slip under the wheels but the surface generally was easy.

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There are a couple of huts along the way for a breather along with historical information. One has a loo slightly off in the trees but its there !

Fiona heading for Wedderburn

I didn’t look at the watch when we arrived but it was lunchtime so after some water and a cup of coffee in the pub, we had lunch which was fantastic.

The Wedderburn Tavern

I think her name was Sheryl (not sure) but she and her husband are selling after running the pub for 17 years ! They are moving to a new lifestyle place North of Auckland so that’s a big change for them. They have done a great job with their Wedderburn Tavern. It looks fantastic.

Great Countryside

We set off on our bikes and with minimal pedalling, were back in Ranfurly in time to tidy up and to meet up with David and Therese for a drink at the end of the day. Its great riding and Gary hit the nail on the head for a ride from Ranfurly. Its a lot of fun and even for someone like me. We both found it easy on an ordinary bike.(Not electric!)