We were heading north with no particular destination firmly set except we thought, maybe a night at Waipu and then a night the NZMCA park at Rainbow Falls if there was room.
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The traffic was unbelievable so we left the motorway at Silverdale and headed up Highway 16. I haven’t been up this was for a long time so it was a nice drive through. We stopped at the lookout spot looking out over the Kaipara Harbour just before Wellsford which was nice too.
We arrived in Waipu and headed straight for our favorite spot at the Caledonian Park. There are only a couple of spots there where you can get a TV signal next to a power pole and we managed to snaffle one of them.
The next morning, the grounds people were up early to set up for the Scottish Games so we headed towards Kerikeri and after a cup of coffee at the Pear Tree Cafe by the Stone Store, we went to check in to the Rainbow Falls park.
This has to be one of the better parks being right next to a fantastic walking track with the Falls right behind.
Just by chance, it happened that old friends Max and Jan were staying opposite us in their new Hobby Caravan so we joined them for a drink outside their caravan.
The next day, we went for a walk down towards the Stone Store by the river but got half way down when we realised that we didn’t have a wallet between us for something at the other end so we turned around and headed back to Rafe.
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People at the falls
Swimming at the Falls
Easy walking down to the Stone Store (takes about an hour)
Along the river
A fantastic walk with people fishing in the river, lots of people out enjoying the walk and people swimming under the falls. It is really nice to see so many people out enjoying this fantastic park.
We had just got back when my old mate Grant rang and he Dani arrived ready for a cold drink. Max and Jan arrived back at the park not long after (Dani’s parents) and joined us as well. Lots of fun and laughs in Rafe in a nice park.
If you haven’t been to this park, it truly is fantastic having some great walks, the falls and public loos just over the fence as well. The park is now at a point where almost half of it now has gravel down with the grass growing through and it looks great.
We trekked back to Martinborough on the Saturday morning to a busy Martinborough rugby ground. There were Caravans and Motorhomes for Africa. It was the day of the Fair so people had come from far and wide.
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The park was an amazing place and having gone to virtually having it to ourselves a weekend before with the Cruise Martinborough event to it being as busy as it was was great.
Friends Gary and Dianne, and Ian and Lynda went to Ngawi while we were in Greytown and they arrived back the day before. We met John and Yvonne from Ruakaka in their Dethleffs Nomad Caravan and they were here again too. It was going to be a fun weekend.
We all walked into town and had a good cruise around the Market. Where there were Hot Rods and Classic cars a week before, there were stalls in every corner. It was amazing.
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next door in the Park
This guy was fantastic
The food carts were popular
One of the things I really enjoy doing at these events is simply buying a lime thickshake and a bun and sitting in a street side cafe and watch the world go by. Its great fun.
After a couple of hours of checking out every nook and cranny, we headed back to the park for something wet and cold. The wind finally dropped off a bit, but was bitterly cold. It allowed us to move out into the field where there was some raucous laughter amongst some dancing and singing along.
Greytown is one of those lovely little towns that just oozes charm and is full of history.
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With up to 35C heat, we thought a trip to the Greytown pool next door to the wonderful little Greytown Holiday Park, well it would be rude not too! The pool is free being provided by the kind citizens of Greytown and it must be slightly heated as it was about 28 C in the pool!
The Holiday Park is fabulous with Ken and Nina at the helm. Ken is a real character and couldn’t be more helpful. At $35 for 2 with the NZMCA discount with power, it is very good value. And of course the use of the pool next door !
We were both keen to check out the Shoc Chocolate shop which is almost part of the local Museum.
The Cobblestone Museum is amazing and has a collection of several of the oldest buildings in the area.
There were also a few clever people in the area. One called Donald Donald who invented the wool press and got world wide patents for it. This is back in the late 80’s. He was also well know for inventing a wire fence strainer amongst other things.
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Inside the school house
The inside of the Church
A Church in the Museum
Donald Donalds barn at the Museum
Rafe in the Greytown Holiday Park
A local Church, Hospital, School House and others were well set out in an area where there was originally the Transport Hub for the area with the original cobbles still intact.
And afterwards.. the Shoc Chocolate shop was a great place to stop too.
The big day for Cruise Martinborough is when all the cars start in Puruatanga park, where we were staying and then all roar into the town square and completely surround the main square.
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It is truly a magnificant sight. The park in the middle under the trees, gets covered in portable deck chairs from the car owners to shelter from the sun. The coffee and Ice Cream carts are doing a roaring trade. The Cafe’s are flat out and its just a neat scene of people everywhere wandering through the magnificent old Fords, Chevrolets and many others.
The time and money that has gone into these cars is unbelievable and it is not until you get a close up look at some of them that you can appreciate the craftsmenship involved.
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People enjoying the sights
Time for a photo
The pie carts were busy
Cruising in the park
American muscle everywhere you look
We spent an hour or so having a good look around before settling for a good old fashioned lime thickshake from a milkshake bar in the square.
An amazing scene with several retailers saying that they wished it happened more often 🙂 So do I !
We had arrived in Rafe along with Ian and Lynda with their XLI, and Gary and Dianne with their Niesmann and Bichoff Arto at the NZMCA parking area at the Rugby Ground at Martinborough.
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The official Motorhome and caravan parking was at Puruatanga Park. In previous years this has been called Cruise Central but this year it was simply a registration area.
We arrived mid afternoon on the first day and were directed to park around the end of a fence which was just perfect.
Early one morning.. it was probably after 9am 🙂 you could hear the dulcit tones of many Ford and Chev V8’s arriving for registration before they headed off to the Drag strip at Masterton for a day of action!
More and more cars kept coming to the point that I thought I should shift Rafe out of the way but there was plenty of room.
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A V8 Hillman with a Home made Tear Drop
Many of the Woman dressed up really nicely in Polka Dot dresses and Parasols but the chaps seemed happy in their cut off jeans and T shirts which seemed a bit of a let down 🙂 .. whatever spins your wheels I suppose !
Some amazing vehicles and it was nice being able to walk amongst them and talk to the people involved with them.
An hour so so later, they were leaving for Masterton for the Drag Strip. A real spectacle and good to see so many cars so nicely looked after.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been wanting to visit Martinborough while the Cruise Martinborough festival was on and this time, it was a happening thing. Nothing to get in the way!
We set off from Ardmore early and by mid afternoon, we found ourselves half way along the Napier Taupo road heading for Hastings. Fiona had tracked down a long lost family friend in Havelock North and we were determined to catch up with her. Annie was a very close friend of Fiona’s late father Norm and she is just a lovely lovely lady. She also did the flowers and helped Fiona at our wedding a hundred years ago. By getting here in one day meant that we had a day to catch up with Annie before we caught up with other friends also going to Martinborough.
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We checked in at an Orchard Parking spot in Hastings. As I drove in, I was welcomed by Rose the Manager, who cheerfully showed me where everything was and helped me get the power sorted ($15 a night) and left us to settle down Rafe. It was almost 5 pm and our neighbours, Sharon and Allan in a 5th wheeler were getting their chairs ready for happy hour amongst the apple trees so we joined them with some other friends of theirs. Lots of fun and nice people. The sun was shining and we were having fun.
Early the next morning, there was a knock on the door and it was Dick Spiekerman bearing gifts. A bag of Walnuts and a bag of Oranges along with a big smile and happily showed me around the property. A lovely guy who clearly is passionate about the property and its amenities for Motorhomers.
They’ve had the Orchard for about 30 years but the parking area has been running for about 8 years. Dick and Elly Spiekerman have had several caravans and 5th Wheelers and still get away from time to time. Now retired he has leased out the business and the Parking area is his new passion.
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The Happy Hour Pavilion by the court
Rafe at Napier. A wonderful spot
A tennis court with a Happy Hour pavilion, a toilet and a shower along with a cold weather happy hour room and only 10 minutes drive to Hastings. What more could you want.
They also do long term parking.
We caught up with Annie and her daughter and grandaughter, at her home in Havelock, and then later joined up with friends at Clifton Beach ready for the trip to Martinborough.
Fiona and I had both taken 6 months off for a trip to Europe and to go around the South Island and we were really looking forward to it..
After getting back from Europe in early August and with our house still rented out, we immediately went to Taupo to pick up Rafe who was being cared for in Gary’s shed by Gary’s neighbour Chris… kind chaps that they are !
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We returned to Auckland to get a few things done like drop down steadies on Rafe and a couple of other things and then we were off.
We left Auckland and first stop was Taupo with Gary and Dianne, who we’d been around Europe with and other Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda. A few nights there, a night in Mangaweka, then to Wellington to catch up with my son Alex who commutes from Auckland, then onto the ferry and the adventure began.
Best Park over property (POP) – Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.
Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂
I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip. Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.
Rafe at the Mangaweka Campground
Entering the Tory Channel. North Island behind
Rafe with the handbrake on with people getting off at Picton.
Looking across towards Nelson with the snow on the tops of the hills
Some extras with the daffodils
Dogs exercising their owners.
I can feel a drink coming on
The famous Restaurant over the water.
Looking down the main street with the Old St Peters Church and the Windmill behind. The Windmill was in the main street of Nelson for many years.
Fiona on the Bristol Freighter
The Bristol Freighter
The port and the shops
Late afternoon in the sun
Looking down from the lookout
A Happy Place
The Moutere Inn
Dusk looking down Reeftons main street with the old lights lighting the street.
The Bearded Miners. Gavin, Peter and Mark
People collecting Driftwood down by the Greymouth Breakwater
ith rafe outside that famous Hotel
The Jetty down at Lake Mahinapua
The Bar. Amazing working cash register
Fiona with the fire at the Empire
Up in the Historic Gold area
The Franz Josef Glacier. See if you can spot a Helicopter
Rafe at Hawea
The amazing dump station with the grates in the ground at Queenstown
Queenstown with Jacks Point on the right
Fiona and Jessa at Q’town
Fiona checking out the Fairlight Railway Station
A Train at the Station
Inside the carriage – Lumsden
The Texaco Tanker Invercargill
Fiona in the café done up as a 50’s Kitchen
Curio bay looking towards the campground
The park setup – Lawrence
One of the Roxburgh pubs
A sluicing lake behind the park _ Roxburgh.
Close to the bike trail – Roxburgh
Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
A view over Clyde
The old Hotel
The road through the vineyard through the Kawarau Gorge
The kawerau River from the road
Jessa checking out a Pinot Gris at Mt Rosa
Lunch at the historic Gibbston Valley Tavern
The Ophir Bridge
The Function Centre – Omakau
The front of the Hotel
Starting off at Ranfurly Railway Station
Fiona arriving at Wedderburn
Once the tea rooms, now a museum.
The Dunedin Railway Station
Along the Platform
The Taieri train
In the Railway Station
The Pergola with a peep of Dunedin at the end.
Outside the ballroom
The main street at Rush hour 😉 Waimate
The Oamaru Wharf
Plenty of room
Sue (Peskis) with her new Letterbox
The gardens at Peskis
Fiona checking out the Hats
Cheers at Geraldine
One of the performing groups
Fiona with her great auntie Jeannie’s Morris
The interior of Johns truck
Fiona with the Cadburys Chocolate
Lake Tekapo late on our first day
Love the different layers in the colour
The Stone Church with the tourists
Happy Hour with all our visitors at Tekapo. Cell pic
A bridge across the river
Across Lake McGregor
Our neighbours Jim and Lynley back at the NZMCA park
The first Tunnel
On the way back to Omakau
A Miners hut
On the way to the Stamper Battery
Fiona gold panning
Under the mountains
Rafe in front of the house plugged in. The visitors area on the very left.
The boat club down by the NZMCA park
Parked behind the Gate in Cromwell
Ross is a great character.. the birthday boy.
The pools at Hamner
Fiona enjoying the heat.
Look at all that water.
Fiona at the market – Nelson
The Church cafe – Richmond
The bar at the cellar Door
Lots of Motorhomes on the deck
Ian and Gary with all the polishing toys!
We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.
The weather was superb. Fiona reckons we only had 1 wet day in the South Island! I reckon it was 3 but the weather really looked after us, if anything it was quite hot with a record breaking 33C in Cromwell on the day we decided to do a bike ride from Lowburn to the Historic Precinct and back !
The difference in Fuel prices between the different parts of NZ was quite noticeable with the highest I saw at $1.48 a litre for diesel around Hanmer and the lowest $1.19 in Cromwell. We filled up in Takanini before we left at $.98 a litre! As Fiona says though Hay Ho.. when in Rome !
One of the things that really surprised me as we went around was how many people recognised us from this Blog and who made themselves known. It was fantastic to meet you and to hear your feedback. We’re fast approaching 400,000 views which is amazing in less than 2 years!
We’re back in Auckland with our feet up for a bit before we set off again.
After a couple of nice days at Richmond, we decided we would cross the strait early and head back to Auckland. We headed to our favourite Blenheim Motorcamp, Spring Creek for a night before catching the ferry on a perfect day to cross to Wellington.
It was nice to see the owners Christine and Andy and the campground was looking good. I gave Rafe a good wash to tidy up a bit while Fiona got some washing done as well.
The next morning, we were off early and with perfect weather, the crossing was fantastic. We arrived in the middle of the day so we thought Plimmerton NZMCA park would be good for the night and then we would head to Taupo to stay with friends Gary and Dianne. They had arranged for some other friends Ian and Lynda with their Dethleffs XLI to join us for four nights as well. We were really looking forward to seeing them all again.
After an early departure from Plimmerton, we left and made good time getting to Waiouru at lunchtime after stopping at the Woolshed café in Sanson for a cuppa and some fuel. $1.19 a litre at the Sanson Caltex Truck stop for diesel.. amazing.
We had paid up to $1.45 a litre in the South Island.
We cruised in to Taupo about 3.30pm and as it was nearly 30C – hot!, we were with Gary and Dianne in their pool to cool off. It was nice to see them both again.
Ian and Lynda were arriving the following day.
The next day, Gary took one look at Rafe and while I washed Rafe, he made it clear that he thought, Rafe needed a bit more TLC.
Within a few minutes, he was out with his cut and polish kit and got straight into all of Rafe’s blue bits. The bonnet and the doors and the the decals down the side.
A light cut, a polish and buffing and it looked like a different vehicle.
When Ian arrived the next day, they were both at it but what a huge difference! Even the wheels got some silicone treatment!
We went down to Repco to get some Turtle Wax so I could wax it when I got back to Auckland (Which I’ve now done).
Thanks guys, you made such a difference and Rafe now looks a picture!
After 4 great days with the crew in Taupo, we headed back to Alex and Sara’s in Ardmore in Auckland (Son and Daughter in law) and the Grandkids Ayden and Liam. It was nice to see them again and with that, the South Island trip came to a close.
Christmas was on the doorstep and we were looking forward to catching up with friends and family. Many we hadn’t seen since we left for Europe over 6 months ago.
They’re a great couple and have been fulltiming in the Commanche now for nearly 2 years and loving the lifestyle.
After tea they joined us for a cup of coffee and a biscuit in Rafe. As Fiona says, they were the inspiration for us to try fulltiming so it was good to catch up with them and see how they were going.
The Richmond Motorhome park is part of the A&P grounds in Richmond and is extremely good value with powered sites for just $15. There are toilets, several washing machines and recyling and rubbish collection.
We left the next morning for the day to go into Nelson to see Monty’s market in the middle of town.
Interesting seeing people out having fun in the sun looking for the bargains.
After this we went to find somewhere nice for lunch and came across a group of three cafes all on the one site on the way to Motueka, about 2k’s from Richmond.
We initially thought they were owned by the same person but they are separate and competing businesses. We stopped in at the Waimea Cellar Door Cafe which was quite quirky and rustic with its décor. There is another cafe in a Church next door called la Capilla and also a burger bar called Abbey Road.
They had a deal on for a cup of coffee and a scone for $7 so we did that and then had a cider and a glass of the Waimea Chardonnay. Very nice it was too and a generous pour as well!
They all look like nice places with plenty of easy Motorhome parking around the back.
As we said our goodbyes to the good folk at Hamner, Roses’s parting words were “ Make sure you stop at Maruia Falls and take your camera!”
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So I was under orders. About 20k’s or so after Springs Junction where the West Coast road, The Lewis pass road and the Nelson road meet, there is a small carpark on the side of the road which has tracks down to these amazing falls on the river.
These are the falls Rose was talking about and there is a 5 minute walking track down to the river where you can get the real view from the waters edge. Its an impressive sight and the volume of water that gets through here is just huge.
You can also park overnight in your motorhome in the carpark if you want to.
We spent an hour or so here and its well worth checking this out and its not a big long walk either 🙂