Dawn on Farewell Spit

This is something every Kiwi should do.. fantastic trip done in late 2015 early one morning.  Enjoy.

Madam with the Bedfird Bus
Madam with the special Bedford Bus

After a night of rockin and rollin with the wind( I thought that only happened on boats!), we were up a 6am to drive to the Spit to meet the tour bus. Nobody had really had any sleep since 3am when the big puffs came through but we were all looking forward to a great trip so it didn’t matter. The wind was blowing 30-40 knots creating a mini constant sand storm.

A tree washed out from Golden Bay with the bus
A tree washed out from Golden Bay with the bus

The bus picked us up from the carpark at 7am from a paddock next to some forestry equipment.  This is set around the tide so we could get back safely. There were about 8 of us on the bus and off we went.

We headed down the beach. The trip is about 30ks to the end of the spit.

The dunes under the lighthouse
The dunes under the lighthouse

We stopped briefly to check out a tree which had been blown around from the bay around the end of the spit and washed up on the northern ocean side and got buried in the sand.

After crossing a creek and about 45 minutes, we arrived at the lighthouse and to have a cup of tea and muffin in the lighthouse keepers old house. This has been done up and maintained by the Eco tour operators and DOC and was in its original form as it was when the lighthouse keepers left in the early 80’s. Some of the lighthouse keepers families have donated pictures as they were at the light. The history and artefacts on display are amazing. I didn’t realise that the lights ran on kerosene, like a gas light with a mantle right up until the early 50’s in some if these lighthouses.

The lighthouse
The lighthouse
Madam leaning into the wind
Madam leaning into the wind

Back to the bus and we were off to have a wander in a sand dunes. The wind was howling by this stage so the sand was flying.

Footprints leading up from the Bus
Footprints leading up from the Bus 

After a trip to Fossil point to look at some fossils of shells. ( I found Gary 🙂 ).  After that we were dropped off back at Rafe in the paddock.

A must do trip for every Kiwi, I thoroughly recommend it.

The Gravel pit

Another from the 2015 South Island trip – Collingwood  and more!

Collingwood Harbour
Collingwood Harbour

After leaving the comfort of the camping ground at Takaka, we headed towards Collingwood. A cup of tea was the order of the day and a whitebait sandwiches for $10.00 and it was delicious. Collingwood is a small settlement on the edge of an amazing harbour. We sat and admired the view before heading to our park for the night, the Gravel Pit south of Puponga.

Us parked at the Gravel pit
Us parked at the Gravel pit

The Gravel pit is a small area of flattened out gravel on the edge of the water with views for Africa and very popular but free!

Looking towards Farewell Spit from the Gravel pit
Looking towards Farewell Spit from the Gravel pit

It is about 10 minutes drive from Puponga which is at the beginning of the spit so a perfect spot if you’re doing the spit trip. When we arrived, there was brilliant sunshine and it was very pleasant.

The forecast 30 odd knots of wind which we thought we’d be sheltered from whistled straight in at 3am and we rocked and rolled until 6am when we got up for the spit trip.  Next posting !

The largest Motorcamp I’ve seen!

While we’re selling our house and we’re stuck indoors, I thought I’d rerun some of the better posts from our 2015 trip to the South Island with friends Gary and Chris. It was our first trip south with Rafe which was then very new.


Kaiteriteri waterfront
Kaiteriteri waterfront

It’s easy to see why Kaiteriteri Motorcamp was voted one of the top tourist spots in the country.

Kaiteriteri beach
Kaiteriteri beach
Kaiteriteri beach
Kaiteriteri beach

After driving through Nelson from Pelorus Bridge, we stopped at Richmond for lunch as Madam had booked into a hair salon there for a haircut. I had one too while we were there. After lunch we met up again with Gary and Chris at Rabbit Island where they had spent most of the day. It was getting late in the day so we decided to make our way to the amazing Kaiteriteri beach camp.

Kaiteriteri waterfront
Kaiteriteri waterfront
Gary enjoying the view
Our friend Gary enjoying the view

Right on the beachfront, you can see why it would be popular. There is a restaurant, potable water everywhere you look and it’s nice water too, and a dump station. There are several large amenities blocks including reasonably priced laundries.

Kaiteriteri motor camp
Kaiteriteri motor camp
Nearly empty park
Nearly empty park

In summer, they have up to 1600 campers/caravanners/Motorhomes. It must be mayhem but apparently iris not. The size of a small town! I’ve only seen a handful of people here so we were pretty lucky to have the place pretty much to ourselves.
In between showers we set up a barbecue lunch under the two awnings.
Tomorrow we head to Takaka over the famous Takaka hill road, to head towards Farewell spit.

Party in Waihi

I love those weekends when you have nothing else to do but drive a short distance, enjoy your Motorhome for a couple of nights with a party in between and then go home to recover 🙂

Well .. this was one of those and it was fun!

Click on the Images for Hi Res

It was our old friend Angela’s 50th birthday and it was at Rob and Angelas small horse farm at Waihi.

Waihi Station

I’ve always loved Waihi and one of those character towns and a good place to stay.. the Railway Station. Now $15 a night with power or $10 without, it is very handy to everything and and its fun watching the trains come and go.

Train arriving in from Waikino
A couple of extra passengers

We’ve been here a few times, once with friends Rob and Helen and Gary and Dianne when we walked/biked through the Karangahake Gorge and Waikino. Lots of fun.

We arrived late on Saturday, parked, watched some TV and then hit the hay.

The park behind the station

Angela and Robs place is on the other side of Waihi and kickoff was midday. We did have a sudden mad moment when we thought about walking it but with bottles of wine etc, a taxi sounded like a much better idea.

Angela and Rob at the party

We met some really nice people and it was nice to see Angela and Rob in their rural home.

The birthday girl blowing out the candles

Its funny when you go to these places and meet people and they went to the same school as you or lived around the corner and you feel you should have met them earlier but didn’t. Thats how it was with several people .. amazing!

About 5pm it felt like it was our time to go… We rang the cab but no sign of her so we started walking back. Several more calls to the cab on the way. No response so half an hour later, we were back at the Railway Station.

People getting off

A neat day out in a lovely town.

The Station with the parking behind

My previous blogs on Wahi have much more on the town and the trip through the Gorge.

There is good Netspeed Internet available here but I forgot to do a speedtest.

Rafe’s track to Waihi

Pauanui Never Fails!

  1. After several weeks of sanding, painting and repairing things and generally getting the house on the market, it was time for a well earned break.

Our friends Helen, Rob and Chloe were keen to head to one of our favourite spots at the Pauanui Club at Pauanui.

Mini Golf next to the parking at Pauanui.

To beat the holiday weekend traffic, Fiona and I decided that I would get Rafe stocked up.  I would then collect her from work at 6pm and we would head down to the motorway towards Ardmore and maybe spend the night there.  We would then go early the next day  to Coromandel to try to beat the worst of the traffic.

As we crossed the bridge, there was no traffic !  We got to Manukau, still no traffic until we hit Takanini where roadworks slowed it down to a crawl but after a 1k or so, we were away again !  We decided we’d keep going until we’d had enough and that ended up being Thames  🙂

I’ve never stayed at Rhodes park before but it is just on the left after Thames Airfield before you get into Thames. It is Free parking provided by the local council and  its a great place. A great big piece of flat gravel and you can park anywhere.

There were about 10 or so Caravans and Motorhomes and everyone had plenty of room.  There as a good Internet signal there too but I forgot to measure it!

We woke up in the morning around 7:30 to the phone ringing which Fiona answered and it was Rob saying that they were at Drury on the Southern Motorway stopped in traffic. We made a decision to get up and get going in case the traffic extended to the Coromandel road and got cracking.

Plenty of space

As it turned out, it only took us about 40 minutes to get to Pauanui and we were there shortly after 9am. Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived about an hour or so later.

One of the Hanger homes

The Club parking is superb and it is extremely good value. At $10 including power, toilets, a cold shower(if you have no option) and access to their bar and superb meals. It is also right next door to the Airfield with homes with built in hangers alongside the runway. There is always something to see and do. The town is an easy 5 minute walk away as well with some nice Cafe’s and a small supermarket. It is also right next door to a great Mini Golf park which was busy for most of the weekend.

There were 4 Motorhomes there when we arrived and there was plenty of room for more.

Rafe and the Tracker in the park

Some positive feedback for them. There is room for more Motorhomes there down one end but the 8 power sockets are on two poles where they could spread this over three poles and increase their turnover but its fantastic as it is!

Great Beach with Slipper Island behind

We went for a walk around to see our son Alex’s family about a 1k away who were staying in Sarah’s family bach. Grandsons Ayden and Liam were there too so we took them down to the beach about 100 metres away.

Pauanui is a great surf beach with the famous Slipper island just off shore.

Liam and Ayden digging in the sand. Chloe, Rob, Helen and Fiona further up the beach.

That night, Alex and Sarah and the boys came around and we all went to the Pauanui club for a few glasses of fizz and they had tea.

Ayden and Liam digging holes on the beach

The next day, they all walked around to the Pauanui Waterways and had a look at this amazing development. Rob, Helen and Chloe  climbed up to the top of Mt Pauanui which is a feat too!

Pauanui Waterways

All in all, over three days, it was nice to be in one spot for a period and just be able to blob and check out what was just around the corner.

Here is a previous post on this site too.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 26.55 Mbps
Upload: 31.46 Mbps

Rafe’s Tracker Map

A Park for Rafe

One of the things we all have to do as Motorhomers or caravanners is to find somewhere to park our vehicles when theyre not in use. Not always an easy thing to do when they’re of larger proportions !Now that we’re back in our house for a wee while getting ready for our next adventure, I recently came across some old images of the parking area we developed for Rafe which I thought might give some of you some ideas.

Before with wee Rafe

Initially when we first got Rafe, we still had wee Rafe the caravan as although we had sold it and it had been paid for, it was waiting on transport to the its new home in Central Otago.

Cutting down the Oak

To make Rafe’s parking spot, we had to bowl a rather large Pin Oak tree and a couple of other insignificant shrubs but the hole created for Rafe was perfect. We were a bit lucky that the back half of the area was alreadyset up with concrete pavers.

Clearing the Green things

After the first few months, we found that the ground was getting a bit mushy and needed to be fortified with some fairly coarse gravel to stop Rafe from sinking in the front.

Sawdust and Mush

The other change we made was rebuilding a partly rotten fence and hanging it on hinges so it could fold out of the way to make it easy to back in.

Before the gate and Gravel

We also added in a 16 amp plug on an RCD circuit for getting the fridge down and keeping the batteries topped up.

All done
All Done
Rafe’s park complete with 16 amp power

Although is wasn’t hugely expensive, the cost was a few bits of wood for the fence, some hinges, the tree felling and the wiring and RCD. But well worth it to get Rafe off the street!

Its amazing how many people have asked me how I get Rafe in there too 🙂

Be kind to Your Fridge

One of the issues with the influx of a lot of European Motorhomes has been that many of them don’t have “Tropical” Fridges but instead have a Dometic fridge setup for Europe which it is generally expected to work in much cooler conditions than here in NZ.

Click on the images to see Hi Res

The Kit on the floor

An easy way to sort this out is to install a Fridge Cooling Kit which Dometic supply for approximately $110 depending on where you get it from.  This helps to get rid of any build up of heat in the cavity behind the fridge to help with  it’s efficiency, especially when it is sitting in a campground.

Before I go any further.. although this kit is relatively easy to install yourself, I found that it involved putting screws into the back of the fridge in an area I wasn’t comfortable with so if you have any doubts, get someone like Vantage RV to install it.

Make sure you fix the Fan the right way up

Rafe was booked in to Vantage RV for a week for a whole lot of maintenance as we have been living in it fulltime and had to defer several things that needed to be done. While it was there, it made sense to get a Fridge Cooling kit installed despite the fact that my fridge has never really had any issues. It all helps as they say 🙂

Click on the Gallery to see a slideshow

Johan was given the short straw to do the job…Once the 3.5 years off dust was blown out of the back of the fridge, he screwed on the fan unit and then clipped on the Thermostat. Next came the wiring. The cover came off and there were two terminals there waiting for the wires to clip on to.

All done.. nice and tidy.

It was all very straight forward but not a job that I’d want to take it on myself and the whole job was done very quickly but then Johan has done heaps of these and made it look very easy.

We tested it by turning the fridge on and directing a heat gun on the thermostat and off it went. I was amazed by how quiet it was.

Now to load up the fridge and give it a real test!

There is more information on this see Robs Fan and Mikes Fridge

In the Fresh Air

We last caught up with friends Rob and Helen before we went to the South Island last year but saw Helen in Lowburn so it was good to see them with Chloe as well.

Click on any image for Hi Res

The Tracker and Rafe in the Campground

We headed up to a neat wee campground in Leigh called Leigh Central. With the weather being off and on sunny and the odd shower but lots of easterly wind, we knew we were in for a few good puffs.

The view across to Tawharanui

We’d only been there about half an hour when Rob turned up with their Tracker and Helen and Chloe arrived later.

Its a small campground which is part of a Motel complex right in the heart of Leigh.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We’d just arrived when the owner Ian popped out to welcome us in. Ian and his wife along with another couple own the complex and have been progressively upgrading it and it looks great. It is run on an honesty system at $20 per van per night, great value and with a view out over the water to Tawharanui Peninsula. There are plans to add Toilets and Shower which are there now but not hooked up and there is a full kitchen and lounge area with a big open fire which would be great in winter.

Nice lounge for winter

It was really nice to see Rob, Helen and Chloe again and we had a great night updating each other with all the news.

The next day, after a big sleep and lie in :-), we walked around to the Leigh School where there was a weigh in for a big Fishing competetion that had been on. There was a huge Marque and lots of stalls for food and it looked set for a big night with live music too.

We walked around the road to the well known Sawmill Cafe and had a beer and a nibble before coming back to the campground and enjoying some great Fish and Chips from the shop next door to the campground.

Mathesons Bay.. check out the wave

As we left, we drove down to the Leigh Wharf area which is really interesting. An easy walk from the campground too. Mathesons Bay is just around the corner and we checked that out as well.

Mathesons Bay Beach

A great place to stay, nice hosts and not far from anywhere. We’ll be back.

The Netspeed Speedtest.
Download: 30.55 Mbps
Upload: 16.33 Mbps
Ping: 26 m

Rafe’s track to Leigh