A & P Parking at Pukekohe

A new addition to the NZMCA clubs network is the Franklin A&P society in Pukekohe.

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Plenty of room

I popped in and their parking is tucked in behind the Saleyards not far from the Racetrack.

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On arrival I popped in to the office where I met a very friendly Jannine who showed me where everything was. There are toilets, they allow Dogs on leads and there is oodles of parking with about 10 powered sites. The powered sites are $12 a night and are tucked in with the partial cover of some trees and protected behind some gates.

Smiling Jannine by the parking

It is all very secure and a neat place to stay.

Rafe in a park. Its probably better diagonally

Jannine is doing a deal for the V8’s and being right next door is the perfect location for the event. Its also a few minutes walk into Pukekohe’s main village.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Parked next to the 1st Hole

One of the great surprises from a wee jaunt around the Waikato has been the discovery of the Ngaruawahia Golf Club.

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A late player at dusk

I phoned Lyn from 50 odd k’s away to make sure that they had space and were open and was bowled over by Lynn’s happy voice on the other end of the phone. It couldn’t have been easier.

30 minutes or so later, I was being shown  a level patch of solid grass nicely protected by a few trees with 3 powered boxes (4 sockets on each) and a picnic table nicely positioned away from the general parking area. It was heavenly!..

At $15 a night per van with power, with the bar handy in the newish clubhouse with toilets and showers available during the day, its fantastic parking.

Nice new building

After settling Rafe down and plugging in, one of my first stops was upstairs to the bar where Lynn was helping out.

Lynn at the bar

I met a couple of really friendly locals there who had just finished 18 holes and were enjoying a couple of beers. They lived and worked in Hamilton which seems to be where a lot of the membership and bars patrons came from but what a nice crowd.

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Lynn showed me where the walking / bike trail is to the Ngaruawahia township along the river which I later walked some of the way along. There is a huge brand new housing subdivision right next door with some amazing houses. I stopped halfway as it started raining and headed back to Rafe but what a lovely spot.

The historic old pub on the corner

A nice place to park with some friendly faces in a nice town.

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Rafe’s Tracker Map

New Home in Pokeno

From starting out 5 years or so ago from a yard behind a church in Howick and outgrowing that space, Jonas Ng and his expanded team, are about to move into their new custom designed building and yard in Pokeno.

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A happy looking Jonas

The building is still under construction and with competion due in June, they’re making the best of it in a temporary yard a few doors down the road.

The current yard

In the last year, they’ve added a Rental Motorhome business with McRent NZ.

A line of McRents ready to go

Now they have Frankia Motorhomes, Neismann and Bichoff, and Morelo to add to the Dethleffs fleet and the yard is looking really busy.

Outside the new building
Inside the huge new Building

And I couldn’t leave without having a nosey at the inside of one of the new Frankia Platins..

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Compared to the Church yard though, there is plenty of room and the new building will be really good for them. Go Jonas!

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Our first EBooks published!

Exciting… we’ve got our first ebooks away!

I’m really chuffed to get them away as it represents a huge amount of time to put them together.

It has been a lot of fun and a huge learning curve but having been involved in publishing some printed books for the Classic Yacht Association before, it was the next logical step.   I’m not expecting to get rich on them but if it covers a few bottles of Chardy and the odd tank of Diesel, then thats all good 🙂

The first two are now available on Amazon as of today and the others are coming. They are slightly  modified from the blog version so they don’t date so quickly and suit a book, and they’re in a fixed format horizontal format to show off the images to their best.

The first one is on our trip to Napier a year or so ago to the Art Deco festival. A great occasion and because its such a great event with some great images, it would be shame not to give these piccies another outing!

The other one is about our trip to the Pinnacles with friends via the Hawkes Bay last year. We were in several Motorhomes and it was a lot of fun. Some great adventures with some unusual places with a concert thrown in too for good measure.

These will both be available here by clicking on the covers above.

Ads will be appearing soon on the side of the Blog and you can keep up to date on this from the Books page.

Some time ago, I also did a blog about some older european images that I had posted for sale as prints etc. Again, I’m not expecting to get rich on them but some of you expressed an interest in getting some of them. They’re now available here.

A big occasion for me as a Blog person but there is more to come. .. Stay tuned 🙂

Fun in the Sun

The Port Hills and Akaroa.. a neat place!

The view as you come over the hill
The view as you come over the hill

I’d forgotten what a windy old road it is to get to Akaroa but after Arthur’s Pass, it was easy. There were a lot of camper vans coming out of Akaroa so I’m pleased we didn’t do it at night.

Remember, you can click on any of these images to see the higher res version

Lunch with a view
Lunch with a view
Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view
Fun in the water
Fun in the water
Eager Seagulls hanging about for scraps
Eager Seagulls hanging about for scraps

The weather continues to be kind to us with another great day. Water like glass and the cafes and eateries were chocker. Parking was awkward but we parked in trailer parking by the boat ramp as you first enter Akaroa. I believe this is also a place where you can overnight for free.
People were just our there enjoying themselves. It was neat to see and the locals seem very genuine with their wish to help you. Very like the west coasters.

French colour
French colour
The Bistro
The Bistro

We checked into the Top Ten campground up on the hill with a park overlooking Akaroa .. Possibly French Bay vineyards and cheese places on the way back to  Christchurch.

Majestic Mountains

A stunning part of the South Island, Arthurs Pass .. a repost

The view from our park at Jacksons Retreat
The view from our park at Jacksons Retreat

After lunch in Hokitika, we walked back over the bridge to the SouthPark NZMCA park and got ready to leave for Arthur’s pass. We were going to stay at Jacksons retreat which has won several awards as campsite of the year. They had something I’d never seen before which was 4-5 bay open side barn like structures set up for Motorhomes. While we were there, there were three tents and a Motorhome in one of them. The weather must be that rough that they have to shelter in these structures! All the Motorhome parks are set up on terraces, all getting a view of the bridge to Lake Brunner and the river. It is well setup with new clean toilets and showers and a laundry. A nice spot.
It the only place to stay on that road until Arthur’s Pass and then you’re at the mercy of the Keas!

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The old pub at Otira
The old pub at Otira

We stopped briefly at Otira and Arthur’s Pass but cruised on to Klondyke for lunch, a nicely setup stop by the river.

When's lunch!
When’s lunch!.. At Klondyke
At Klondyke in the Arthur's Pass National Park
At Klondyke in the Arthur’s Pass National Park
Klondyke in the Arthur's pass national park
Klondyke in the Arthur’s pass national park
Arthur's Pass
Arthur’s Pass
Another Arthur's Pass pic
Another Arthur’s Pass pic
Lake Pearson
Lake Pearson

I remember Arthur’s pass being a pig to get through but even with a nearly 8m Motorhome found it relatively easy.

Over the mountains on the road from Darfield to Christchurch
Over the mountains on the road from Darfield to Christchurch

We stopped regularly for piccies and eventually at Darfield for a cup of tea before we arrived at one of NZMCA ‘s larger parks at Weedons, just out of Christchurch.

Tree Tops

Another oldie but a goodie repost from the South Island..enjoy

South of Hokitika off the main road is Tree Tops. It’s an amazing set of elevated walkways in the trees supported by poles. They’re about 20-30 metres off the ground set up as bridges between platforms.

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Chris and Madam on the tour
Chris and Fiona on the tour
Chris and Madam on the walkways
Chris and Fiona on the walkways
The view of the lake
The view of the lake
The two in red on the walkways
The two in red on the walkways

There is also a tower with is about 60 odd metres up which look out over a lake and the sea.

The huge tower with Madam in the red
The huge tower with Fiona in the red

All the trees and bird life have little explanation boards at each stop and it’s all very well thought out. There is quite a big cafe there and plenty of parking for Motorhomes.

After years of climbing high things and going to stupid places to get pictures as a newspaper photographer, even up to the top of fuel silos, I couldn’t do the high tower at tree tops. Just the thought of that little bit if metal and a few bolts for each step gave me the willys.  I’m sure it’s quite safe, just me! Funny how you don’t think about these things when you’re young and silly😃

We left there and parked in the NZMCA’s park by the Hokitika bridge.

Another great night with some unusually great west coast weather!

Old stuff

Shantytown near Greymouth is always an interesting place to stop.
Some neat stuff to see.   Another old post. Enjoy

The Shantytown train and station
The Shantytown train and station

This was a great way to spend a day when I suspected that it might another tourist tatty type of setup but it was anything but. We spent a good few hours looking over the various bits of old furniture, clothing, printing equipment used by the Greymouth Star, old houses, a ride on a steam train and much much more.
After checking out a water powered stamping battery, after a small wait, we were on a steam train to check out a sawmill 1k up in the hills.

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Madam checking out the waterwheel
Fiona checking out the waterwheel

Fascinating to see the steam engines setup expressly for pulling logs out of the hills and one was operated by two pre teen brothers.

Cobb and Co buggy and shed
Cobb and Co buggy and shed
Train at the station
Train at the station
Two young boys check out the Train
Two young boys check out the Train
The Tin Pub
The Tin Pub

After this, we walked down through a gold mining town largely built of corrugated iron with a pub, a gold mining merchant and some houses.

The main street
The main street

We stopped for lunch in a reasonably priced cafe in the village and moved in to the town hotel, the church, the newspaper office, Hannah’s shoe shop, and a hospital. I’ll let the pictures tell the story from here but it was a well spent several hours and well worth doing if you’re in area – 10ks south of Greymouth

Me and Gary having a rest !
Me and Gary having a rest at the end of a long hard day!

The Pancakes

Don’t forget to click on the Images to enlarge .. oldie repost

Not far from the beach
NZMCA park at Westport

Yesterday morning, we met Jim, the custodian of the Westport NZMCA park. What a neat guy, the park is fantastic and it’s clear to see that he lives and breathes the park. We are fortunate to have people like him and other volunteers looking after our parks.

Earlier, we’d ridden the bikes into Westport town centre, about a 15 minute ride, Google reckons it 10 minutes 🙂 .. We must be slow buggers!  It took us about 20 🙂

The girls found their Postie Plus and Gary was looking for a barber. We didn’t really do much but it was nice to get some exercise in the sun and check out the town. Once back at the park, we loaded our bikes, got ready to go and we headed in to get diesel, lpg and water from Caltex.

Great outlook from Punakaiki
Great outlook from Punakaiki

We were heading then for the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes. I hadn’t seen these since I was about 10 yrs old so it was nice to see. Doc has done a really good job of the pathways and it’s a fantastic feature of our landscape.

Violence in the water at Punakaiki
Violence in the water at Punakaiki
Classic look of Punakaiki
Classic look of Punakaiki
The view south at Punakaiki
The view south at Punakaiki
Fairy Terns on the rock at Punakaiki
Fairy Terns on the rock at Punakaiki
Madam and Chris on the steps at Punakaiki
Fiona and Chris on the steps at Punakaiki
The Punakaiki rocks
The Punakaiki rocks

After an hour their and lunch in the carpark, we moved on to Greymouth.
We are staying in a Motorhome park behind a service station 5 minutes walk from town. Great spot. We walked around to the Speights Ale house on the Quay for a meal. We’re moving on to Hokitika tomorrow to do the tree tops walk.

Buller Diggers

Another Oldie ..

Buller Gorge from the road
Buller Gorge from the road

Murchison was a great spot. Having water and the dump station in the park was a treat. After sorting out Rafes various tank levels, we headed towards Westport.
Once in the Buller gorge, I really wanted to get a water rushing over boulders pic but where the road was close to the river for this shot, there was no where safe to pull up a 4.4 tonne Motorhome safely.
After going through Fiona’s dark moments from the previous day for missing out on the crafts and cheese shops, I was determined to find some interesting stuff to stop at and we found it.

Motorhome parking at Lyall
Motorhome parking at Lyall
Lyall Motorhome parking
Lyall Motorhome parking

Marked on the map as a “rest area” but also listed as a DOC Motorhome overnighting area, was the old Gold mining town of Lyall. The town went bust in the 1880’s and has all gone now but there are walking tracks, several swing bridges, a cemetery and signs of old gold mining all around the area.
There were half a dozen Motorhomes and a couple of caravans, many of their owners off hiking the paths through the remains of the town.
Fiona and Chris went off for a trot and found the cemetery and some of the bridges.

The river through the trees
The river through the trees
The river form the swing bridge
The river form the swing bridge

A really interesting stop and a really sheltered spot for Motorhomes if you wanted to stay the night.
Leaving there our next stop was Inangahua where the big earthquake was centred. There is a museum there with lots of information about Lyall and the earthquake in Inangahua which is well worth a look. We also stopped at the cafe next door for the most amazing pies. Mine was Chicken curry with cashew nuts, made on site with the most amazing pastry. Chris and Gary commented on how good their pies were too.

The cutout for the road in the middle
The cutout for the road in the middle
The cutout rock over the road
The cutout rock over the road

We were back on the road and heading through the Buller gorge crossing several one way bridges and an amazing cut out of a cliff, also one way. Fiona managed to get a picture of it as we drive through it on my cell phone. I looked in the rear vision mirrors at Gary behind and there wan’t a lot if room around the van with the overhanging rock. Quite something !
Half an hour or so later, we arrived at the NZMCA park on the waterfront at Westport after a quick trip to the supermarket.

Madam on the beach
Fiona on the beach

A walk on the beach and a bbq tea and the day was done. Another great spot to stay. Blue skies and the wind has dropped off. A great day in paradise.