The Promised trip to Rotorua

Some time ago we promised the Grandsons Ayden and Liam that we would take them to Rotorua for a few days and see the boiling mud and swim in a hot pool.

The boys have never been to Rotorua so were looking forward to it after a false start a few months ago, when one of them got sick and we couldn’t go.

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Ayden and Liam playing in the Playground.

We were also meeting our friends Rob, Helen and daughter Chloe who were on their way to the South Island.

After picking up Fiona from work in Takapuna and then collecting the boys at Ardmore, we were off to Rotovegas! We didn’t leave until late so we weren’t expecting to be in Rotorua much before about 7pm.

As it was cold and there was some pretty rough weather due to arrive, we decided on staying at the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park which looked pretty good with the hot pools.

When its cold outside and there is an Internet signal!

It is a well setup place and comes with several thermal pools and a playground for the kids. It was also perfectly located  for us as we were just around the corner from Te Puia and Whakarewarewa.

The Tracker and Rafe by the flash amenities building.

Helen had made a nice tea for us and after settling down Rafe, we moved into an amazingly well setup new kitchen and dining Room. It was all connected to our parks with a covered walkway which I thought was pretty cleverly done.

Great setup

After a great night of catching up with Rob, Helen and Chloe, we setup the drop down bed for the boys and all turned in for the night.

In the morning, Rob and Helen were taking Chloe up the Gondolas and headed for Ngongotaha while we went outside with the boys and took them to Te Puia which was just over the road.

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I had a good look around the camp in the early afternoon and it is huge. There are 164 powered sites and nearly 30 odd cabins and units and while we were there, the housemovers were setting up some more !

Something for everyone. At 10C I’m not sure this is me !

After spending the day in the thermal area, we arrived back just as it started to rain and headed for a hot swim where we caught up with Rob, Helen and Chloe.

After Happy hour and a few glasses of Chardy in the Tracker, we hit the sack for the night.

Smaller hot hot pools

A great spot to stay for the Hot Pools, for the thermal attractions and the amenities are superb.

The Netspeed Speedtest here..  not too flash!
Download: 6.46 Mbps
Upload: 1.79 Mbps
Ping: 47 ms

Rafes Tracker Map to the Thermal Holiday park

David’s Treasure Trove

Rafe is nearly 4 years old and it seems everything is expiring. One of those items is the Electrical Certificate and that was due to expire next month but while I’m doing inspections, oil changes and stuff, I thought I’d get on with it.

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Sunbeam

After making a time with David Allbon who was listed on the NZMCA website, I rocked up to his house in Glenfield with Rafe and David put Rafe through his electrical paces. I was impressed with how thorough it was. He tested all the 240v power points and devices and checked the RCD tripped off in the allotted times allowed. The lead was checked too. We passed with flying colours.

David with a new bike he is working on.

David then led me to do the paperwork on his desk in his garage which just happened to be the boot lid of his Triumph Stag. His Garage was amazing. There was a 1929 Sunbeam, a 1926 Douglas Motorbike, a lovely convertible MG which was covered in his Motorhome bits. He is also working on another lovely old bike which I forgot to ask what it was but a real treasure trove.

The MG

David was telling me that most of the cars he has owned for a “long time” which suggested 40 years or more in some cases.

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Looking at the Sunbeam engine bay with its 6 cylinder, 2 litre motor, you could eat your lunch off it ! Its lovely to see these old vehicles being looked after and loved to this level.

The 6 cylinder 2 litre Sunbeam motor

David and his wife Barbara also have a Nissan Motorhome which was away having some repairs done to it after it was damaged by a falling tree.

If you’re looking for an Electrical Certificate, David is your man..!

Pop up Caravan

And it was  2 C overnight !

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Anne and Dave

Dave and Anne were away for their first adventure in their new Jayco Eagle pop up Caravan and were my neighbours at Whangateau.

Jayco Eagle

Having a quick look through, its amazing how much room there is inside them and what you can fit in. They slept in one end and had their luggage at the other end with plenty of room for living space in between.

Dining area

I’ve always wondered how cold you would be in these in a really cold night but in the morning they both said they were as warm as toast so the inuslation in them must really work.

Galley

Apparently it tows beautifully and although it took him about an hour to put together for the first time today, it generally should only take 15-20 minutes once you’ve done it a few times and you get more familiar with it.

Master Bed area

From Kaiwaka, they were staying here in the lovely Whangateau Holiday Park for three or four days to try everything out with their friends.

Dave was telling me that they bought it from a retired School Principal three months ago, who is clever with his hands, and along with lots of other little modifications he added a stay and pulley system so that the Pop Up Top wouldn’t sway around in the wind.. a great add on.

The Stays to stop it wobbling in the wind

Having had a Motorhome before, they were happy to return to the more basic camping setup and were having fun.

Visitors Berth

Although they said it wasn’t an issue, I still wondered about the 2C overnight 🙂

Staying with the Kiwis

One of the features of my around the Dargaville loop was coming across Kiwi North.

Run by a charitable trust, it includes the Whangarei Museum, a Kiwi house and much more, all part of a 25 hectare Heritage park.

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NZMCA’rs can also stay the night there with power for just $15 per night. This also gives you a discount to see the Kiwis and the Museum.

The Static Engine Club

I pulled in and parked in one of the two Motorhome parks out in the main carpark while checking in and met by a very helpful lady on the front desk who showed me where everything was and then gave me a brochure specially printed for NZMCA’rs who want to stay there. It also had a map showing what was there along with things to see and do.

The Kauri Railway Station

After parking Rafe in one of the 4 concrete parking pads setup for Motorhomes and plugging in and opening vents, I set off with the camera to have a look around.

Great parking for 4 on a concrete pad with power and toilets too.

One of the features of the park apart from the Kiwi House and Museum is the Grand old Clarke Homestead built in 1886. The Clarke family also had a Butchery, a Laundry, Dairy and Milking Parlour and has been occupied by three generations of the family up to 1972.

Clarke Homestead with the Jane Mander Study

Also next to the Clarke Homestead is the Jane Mander Study which was a turret that was once on top of the family home in Whangarei. Access was by a rooftop walkway. Jane’s Dad owned the Northern Advocate in the early days and Jane went on to be the Editor.

I found this really interesting as in my Newspaper days as a photographer, with the Herald and the Star, I had to work with the Advocate  guys during Waitangi day protests along with other jobs. They were a great crew to be with and always very helpful.

The Jane Mander Study

The other amazing thing here was the Oruati Chapel built from a single Kauri log in 1859 and was in Doubtless Bay in the north. It is still used today for Weddings and Christenings.

The Oruati Chapel

There are many of Whangarei’s Clubs based here in their own buildings like the Steam society, the Ham Radios club and many others. Its a very interesting place to just have a look around.

Inside the Oruati Chapel. Made from one Kauri log in 1859!

The old Kauri Railway Station along with a separate reduced scale railway along with Riponui Pah school built in 1898. All really good stuff.

Looking out over the Clarke Homestead to Whangarei

Down one end of the park is a Alexander Clarkes grave. He’s the chap that originally came out from the Uk and built the Clarke Homestead.

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A wonderful place to park, plenty to see and do and they really want you to visit them. I couldn’t believe how organised they are for Motorhomers, even having a brochure for NZMCA’rs on what to do and see and complete with the Wings on the cover !

Cultural Parking!

Well worth seeing and doing and great parking.. Go there, they need your support 🙂

The Netspeed Speedtest for here (old Router)
Download: 8.43 Mbps
Upload: 7.47 Mbps
Ping: 55 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Dee Stress the Mitzi Bus

6 years or so ago, Cantabrians Liz and Gordon upsized their Trailite to this beautiful 1999 Mitzibishi Fuso bus.  12 months or so ago, they rented their house  in Christchurch out and now it is their home away from home.

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Liz and Gordon with their dog

It was originally a bus for  the disabled in Japan with only 4 seats at the back so hadn’t had a huge mileage. With a 12 litre rear engine and running on a 15 ton ticket, it is defintely one of the nicer buses I’ve seen.

Oodles of living space

They left Christchurch late last year and after doing the South Island, are now getting around the North.

Galley

I caught up with them at the brand new NZMCA park in Dargaville in between showers for a cuppa and it was nice meeting them.

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A great couple out enjoying the country in their palace on wheels.

New Dargaville park with History

This was my first trip to the brand new Dargaville NZMCA park and its a cracker.

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Close to the water

It is right on the rivers edge with another smaller river on a side boundary and only a few minutes walk to the centre of town.

This was one of my first times of the new check in system and paying on the NZMCA App and it was easy. What a great system.

There are two old heritage buildings on the site with a couple of old jettys on the side of the river.

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After a wander around watching the river water flow from all the rain we’d had, it reminded me of when I was a nipper just mooching around the waters edge and sitting on old wharves on a quiet day.

2 minutes walk to the Rotunda and the town

I went for a walk into town over the bridge and what a neat atmosphere. The old band rotunda and some public loos are only a few minutes away and although the brown colour of the Wairoa River isn’t exactly beautiful, there is a real sense of history and a real charm about the place.

All weather and safe

We’re very lucky to have this network of NZMCA parks and once the word gets out, this new one is sure to be popular.

The Netspeed Speedtest here (Old Router)
Download: 7.64 Mbps
Upload: 21.01 Mbps
Ping: 44 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Views of the Kaipara

Matakohe is a neat little spot with oodles of history. The Kauri Museum is a great way to soak up more than 200 years of what went on in the Northland Gum industry and in the local area. You can actually stay here with your self contained Motorhome but it is on pretty sloping ground.

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Just along the road is the Matakohe Holiday Park which has had a bit of makeover since we were last there a year or so ago. There seems to be a bit more gravel, and some new playground bits and pieces. The view on a nice day is just sensational and is a great way to wake up.
When I arrived, the forecast was evil. There were gusts of 40-50 knots expected with thunderstorms and even some hail predicted so I checked in at Matakohe to hunker down.

The view

At $20 a night less the NZMCA discount, I virtually had the place to myself on a midweek, winter night.

Even space for a dog

And true to form, only the thunder didn’t arrive but it rained and rained. Although there’s a good view over the harbour, it is still very sheltered and I was pleased to be on a solid gravel ground.

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The dump station is easy, the fresh water is easy and although I didn’t use the shower, from our last visit, it all works and looks the business.

I was pleased to be able to get some nice images with some blue sky.

Kitchen, Laundry, Toilets and showers

Nice hosts in a great location on the Kauri Coast road through to Dargaville and beyond, and the view of the northern Kaipara is lovely.

The Netspeed Speedtest here (Old Router)
Download: 17.79 Mbps
Upload: 3.80 Mbps
Ping: 52 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map