With the Green things

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.

Rafe at Caledonian park in Waipu

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.

Rainbow Falls park with the lighthouse

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.

Max and Jan’s new Hobby with the wrap around sun glasses 🙂

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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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.

Dusk

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.

Rafe’s Track to Rainbow Falls Park

The Famous Martinborough Fair

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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Back at the Park

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.

Fiona checking out the Jade

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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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.

The next door Neighbour.. Nice !

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.

Out in the Middle
Cold !

A great day!

Rafe’s Track North from the park via the Dump Station

A Break in Greytown

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 Gypsy caravan which you can rent at Greytown Holiday Park

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 !

Fiona checking out one of the oldest Greytown Cottages in the Museum

We were both keen to check out the Shoc Chocolate shop which is almost part of the local Museum.

Inside the Cottage

The Cobblestone Museum is amazing and has a collection of several of the oldest buildings in the area.

The original Cobblestones

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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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.

A very mod front entrance of the Museum

And afterwards.. the Shoc Chocolate shop was a great place to stop too.

The Roar in the Square

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.

Grants Plymouth and Caravan
BBQ in a hurry!

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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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.

End of the day

An amazing scene with several retailers saying that they wished it happened more often 🙂  So do I !

Where we parked in relation to the square

Motorhomes and Muscle

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 Xli, Rafe blocking the wind and the Niesmann and Bichoff on the right

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.

Us parked up the back

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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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.

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Apples and Pears Parking

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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Rafe with our neighbours and the Apple trees

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.

Amongst the Apples

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.

Dick on the Tennis Court

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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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.

Looking towards Napier from Clifton beach
At Clifton beach

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.

Rafe’s Track to Dick’s POP

What was Hot in the South Island

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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Welding on the feet

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.

Rafe and Ian and Lynda’s XLI

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.

Dianne picking the girls up for a tiki tour around Taupo

The highlights:
Best Park over property (POP) –  Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.

Nice parking

Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂

The View

Best NZMCA park – probably a tie between Tekapo and Ranfurly. Tekapo is stunning amongst the pine trees right on the lake and Ranfurly, dead flat with a dump station next door, rubbish and water and right in the middle of town !

Amongst the pines with Ray and Margaret on the right

Best Long term rate campground – Kaiteriteri right on the beach. Just magnificent.

Close to the water

Best pub that we stayed at – Empire Hotel in Ross. Great roast meals, lovely town and great hosts.

The Empire

Also Omakau Hotel with a fully setup Motorhome park at the back.

Best Museum we saw – Bill Richardsons Truck Museum. Brilliantly done and with a huge collection of all sorts.. even lawnmowers and tools.

Henry Ford and some Bowsers

Best Bike ride – Otago rail trail. Omakau to Ida valley and back. Also Lowburn to Historic Precinct in Cromwell.

The first Viaduct

Best Bridge that we crossed in Rafe – Historic Ophir Bridge. I found myself doing some quick mental arithmetic to make sure it was safe 🙂

Rafe on the Ophir Bridge

Most amazing discovery – Brittens first Motorhome which we found in the Geraldine museum.

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

I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip.
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We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.

Fiona on the bike ride on the way back to Lowburn alongside lake Dunstan

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 Historic Precinct

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 !

Happy Hour at Peski’s

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.