In sight of the mountain

We’ll be heading here again soon.. a lovely spot!

Friends in New Plymouth suggested I should have a look at Opunake but on the way from Hawera, I read about a small campsite at Kaupokonui Beach which is not far on the Opunake side of Manaia, about 4ks so I thought I’d give it a shot.
KaupokonuiThe campsite itself was down in a valley next to a river entrance to the sea with huge sandhills opposite. It looked the business but before I went down the valley, I stopped at the top to see if there was any internet around.. There was, so off I went.

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Campground with view
Campground with view

I met Jim in the office who was very a happy friendly guy who said that if I stayed for three days, it would be $15 per night.  I still had another week of unsupervised travel before Fiona came down so it sounded like a good plan 🙂
I parked up and almost immediately met my neighbours who were in their new Carado, which is made in the Hymer factory and is identical to the Dethleffs Sunlight. Dot and Ron were cruising in their new van and were originally from  Wellington. They have just sold their house and looking at what to do next.

Whitebaiters enjoying the river
Whitebaiters enjoying the river
Looking across from the Dunes
Looking across from the Dunes

The campground is great as it sits on a plateau above the river entrance. The level below is a favourite spot for whitebaiters and there is a footbridge which makes the Sandhills opposite, easily accessible.

I went for a couple of walks around and the first thing you notice is the quiet, the clean air and for the time I was here, it was non stop sunshine and no wind.
I also met three caravan/bus loads of people from Wanganui here for the weekend.

Our friends from Wanganui enjoying the sun.
Our friends from Wanganui enjoying the sun.

With the first Bledisloe test looming that night, he was having trouble with his sky card which I tested in our tv as well for him but I suspect it needs resetting by sky for not having had power for a few weeks.

Nice pic of Rafe with the mountain
Nice pic of Rafe with the mountain

I went to sleep ignoring the rugby but happened to wake up at midnight anyway and watched it then on Prime.. Great game.
For its money, it’s a nice camp in a great location and it’s not surprising it gets really busy in summer.

Cricket on the mudflats

Another nice contender for Summer 2018

Fiona had left Bland Bay and was heading back to town to do other things .. and work so she suggested that I spend another night out on the way back. We stopped in Waipu and had lunch and then Fiona went on to Auckland.

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The cricket pitch with the campground behind
The cricket pitch with the campground behind

I rang the good folk at one of my favorite spots when the weathers good, Whangateau by Matakana. A great campground run by Auckland City.

In the Grandstand
In the Grandstand

Today was a bit different as when I arrived, the tide was out and there was a friendly game of cricket with two families involved. One was from Whangaparoa and the other from the UK visiting. They were having a ball. I had to get some piccies.

It is a fascinating place to watch as the tide comes in really quickly covering hundreds of metres of exposed mud in just under an hour… Amazing to watch.

The water is coming in
The water is coming in

A nice campground if you’re looking for somewhere not to far from Auckland. See my earlier Whangateau post here.

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Rafes Track to Whangateau Holiday park

Rafes Tracker Map
Rafes Tracker Map

Merry Christmas

Another year flashes by and we’re into Christmas again.. fun times and sunshine.

The last few months have seen us parked up a bit with the house sale going on for longer than we thought. Its a done deal now with settlement in mid February  so we have our last Christmas in this house and then who knows.. 🙂  We haven’t seen anything we like yet so we may be renting or living in Rafe for a wee bit.

Rafe looking Christmasy 

Merry Christmas everyone and Fiona and I hope you have a great New Year.. be careful on the roads and if you see us out there, please come and say hello.

 

A Happy Place

Another nice place to consider for summer!

Fiona’s cousin Iain has been coming here for years, every holiday break and he calls it his “Happy Place” and I heard somone else call it this too… and its all true 🙂

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A Happy Place

Kaiteriteri is just a magic place in the world and with an off season deal for NZMCA members at $98 a week, it truly is happy time sitting there amongst other nice NZMCA’rs looking at the beach literally in front of your front bumper!

Long termers in the middle rows

We’d just stopped and parked in front of the reception and I was walking in to check in when I met Selwyn and Lynda. This was before I’d even checked in ! They were off on a walk over to Little Kaiteriteri via a lookout on a track through the bush. They showed me how to get there so we could do it to. What a welcome !

Close to the water

The receptionist was amazing too. She insisted that if we weren’t happy with the site, I could shift which we did later.

Huge

Its a huge campground with muliple ammenties blocks. In winter, they cut costs by closing all but one block. There are more than 400 powered sites and several cottages. They even have their own small supermarket and nearby are several bars and restaurants to suit all tastes . A very well setup campground.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After checking in on a brilliantly fine day, we went for a walk up to the lookout at one end of the beach and Fiona carried on to Little Kaiteriteri for more exercise. That afternoon, we sat around the beach and checked out the camp.

Fiona at the lookout

Later in the day, we met up again with Selwyn and Lynda who were only parked two away from us so we commandeered an empty barbeque table and enjoyed an hour of laughs and something cold with them. They hadn’t come that far as they lived in Motueka or “Mot” as its known locally. This to me gives you some idea of how good they think it is at Kaiteriteri when they could be anywhere.

Looking down from the lookout

The next day, we took off in Rafe over to the next bay around Marahau. It is a really bendy, twisty road and we averaged probably 30 k all the way there. Interesting though to see and it is another lovely bay. From here you can go right up into the Abel Tasman Park. We headed back on another easier road and stopped for a cup of tea at the charming coffee shop in Riwaka.

Looking across to Little Kaiteriteri

We have been here before a couple of years ago with Gary and Chris with their Fuso. But weren’t here long enough to have a good look around.

Lovely spot and a very Happy Place !

Rafes Track to Kaiteriteri

Its all about that Beach

Part 3 of the 2018 Nice spots to go for Summer

The Bowentown Holiday Park is in one of the best locations with one of the best Beachs !

With a friendly crew and with the NZMCA off season deal of pay for two nights,  and get two thrown in, it was just too tempting! Their normal tariff at $23pp powered I thought was very reasonable anyway, given the facilities provided.

With Tania’s cheery voice on the phone  and confirming there was a space for Rafe, I was underway.

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On the way, I stopped off at Karangahake Gorge to do the Windows walk. Well worth doing, and after that, I stopped to check out the new NZMCA park at Waihi Beach.

Another great addition to the parks network.

Nice outlook

The Bowentown Holiday Park is at the end of a long  peninsula right on the beach. It is well setup up with a newish Amenities block with TV room, Games room, huge Kitchen and an amazing space age looking Laundry. There is also a spa pool area there too.
I was offered a park right up against the hill overlooking the beach and the rest of the park. It was a breeze getting in and settling Rafe and I was off for a look around and down to the beach. A magic spot.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The park has just changed hands after 30 something years, with new owners Mike and Bec settling in and only just 4 weeks in, have already got a plan of attack for new improvements. Two of the cabins are well into a full refurbishment with more to come!

New owners Mike and Bec

The beach here though is the feature of course and being right next to it, it just doesn’t get any better. Even in Winter!

A nice park, nice people and I’ll be back soon.

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Schischka Park – Wenderholm

Part 2 of nice places to go this summer!

The last time we stayed at Wenderholm, we stayed in the public carpark by the beach. Although we had a great night and its a great spot,  compared to other Auckland CSC parks where Motorhomers were safely fenced off, this was somewhat of a disappointment.

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SchiskaAfter discussing this with our veteran Auckland parks motorhoming friends, Rob and Helen, they told us that the Schischka park was THE place to go so here we were and it was fabulous.

SchiskaThere is a big electric gate with a digital keypad and after a 500 metre driveway it opens up to a massive grassed parking area by the water with brand new flush toilets in the middle. There are also some baches where you can stay if you don’t have your own accommodation.

We could only spend one night here but it is stunning. We went for a walk down a waterfront track to the beach and checked out the old Historic Couldrey House. There are new toilets there too. There are walks all over the hill there too so plenty to do and see.

The camp from the Estaury
The camp from the Estaury

A great place to stay and so handy to the big smoke of Auckland too.
One of Rafe’s tracking maps below.map

The Rudder Cup

The Rudder cup was first run in 1908 and again on its 100th anniversary in 2008. The race involves some of NZ’s finest Classic launches racing overnight up to Sail Rock and back. This is the third time the full length race has been held.

Sail Rock is just over 100 nautical miles from Auckland and is just off the coast by Pakiri. north of Auckland.

At the visitors berth

In 2008, I was keen to run but Rorqual had an overheating problem and it would have been too risky but now that my son Drew has spent the last year going over the boat completely and has largely sorted out all these issues, we’re getting much closer but its great that he’s basically beaten it.

Because so much has been done on Rorqual recently and it has literally only just been put back together with so many changes, it was deemed to risky to go the whole distance but we thought we would show up on the start line and join in the fun and then peel off.

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Jason’s boat My Girl with Rorqual and Meola behind

We left Milford on the tide around lunch time and headed down to Westhaven marina to the Royal NZ Yacht Squadron (Home of the Americas Cup for those overseas) which is a bout 40 minutes by water. There we were to join up with some of the other boats who were going to start the race.

Rorqual and My Girl at the visitors berth

We had a great afternoon at the Squadrons visitors berth catching up with everyone and checking out different boats.

Catch up time at the visitors berth. Drew in the white shirt next to Rorqual with My Girl behind.

With us at the visitors berth was Jason with his boat My Girl that he has been restoring over the last couple of years and she looks fabulous. It has a big Turbo charged Volvo in her so she was one of the race favorites for her class. Behind us was an old work boat owned by Ian called Meola. Ian invited us on board and and showed us around. He has repowered it with a 4 cylinder Gardner and she looks a picture.

Meola under the bridge waiting for the start.

Not long after we arrived, old friends Barb and Dave arrived with their old Salthouse classic Trinidad. It was nice to see them too.

David bringing Trinidad into the Squadron base from Bayswater

About 6:30, everyone started to head out towards the startline under the bridge. There were 14 boats racing and they were all ready to go. While we waiting there, race official Baden motored around in a tender and checked all the boats had all their safety gear.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slide show

The weather forecast for the race was a little grim with heavy rain and thunderstorms predicted for most of the race area and Auckland and while we bobbed around waiting for the start time at 7pm, the patchy showers were heading across Auckland.

The Cannon sounded at 7pm and Drew opened up the noise and we were off. With a puff of black smoke we were heading off down to North Head at the entrance to Auckland Harbour. As there is a 12 knot limit in the harbour until you get to North Head, Drew kept Rorqual’s speed down until we got well past Devonport and then opened her up to 16 knots.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slide show

By the time we got to Devonport Wharf which is about half way down the harbour, we were well ahead of most of the fleet and only one of Drew’s mates in a Thundercat with a 50HP Yamaha on the back was with us. He spent 10 minutes or so playing in our wake which provided some entertainment for us.

Our entertainment for the day.. the Thundercat with the big Yamaha

We got about half way across to Rangitoto light when Drew decided to withdraw from the race and we headed back sedately at around 15 knots.

Sterling won the Veteran Division and the Rudder Cup

Rorqual performed amazingly and I was really pleased that Drew has managed to crack the heating issue with only some small things to be done to finish things off.

Heading off towards the Tiri channel

They dropped me off in Viaduct Harbour and I caught the ferry home to Devonport. They went on to Islington Bay for a boys night away. A fun day!

Kumi and Meloa heading north

I was watching the race on my phone on a tracking app and I noticed some of the Rudder racers had returned back to the Squadron base in Westhaven by 3am in the morning which is great timing.

Bliss in Paradise

Just in time for the Silly Season .. Here’s the first of some preloved posts of  nice places to go this summer! .. Enjoy

With no jobs in the book and with the sun shining, it was time to hit the road.  I had just paid for a years Auckland City Parks pass so I thought I’d try Tauwharanui at the end of the Takatu peninsula, north of Kawau Island. 

Check these in Hi Res by clicking on them!!

Stunning!
Stunning!

We stayed here more than a year or so go with friends, Gary, Chris and Rob, Helen and Chloe. We only had the one night here so exploring the area wasn’t really on the agenda that particular trip but it’s just a magic place.

At Dusk .. Little Barrier
At Dusk .. Little Barrier

When I first arrived, I think there was only 1 other person here and I bumped into him on the beach. He’d parked down in the tents only area but I assumed he knew 😀

TauwharanuiThe next day, I set out with the camera to have a nosy around. The beach is beautiful with Little Barrier just off it and Great Barrier further out. Compared to Auckland, you could almost reach out and touch them.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The water is stunning with a clean deep blue merging into Turquoise, just like the tropics with beautiful white sand. As you walk further, the beach merges with two more, all part of Anchor Bay.. Just beautiful. I spent a couple of hours just sitting on a rock under a tree just admiring the colours.. sensational.

Beach from Heaven
Beach from Heaven

After getting some nice piccies, I wandered back to the track to find that I’d forgotten which of the many tracks took me back to Rafe. I ended up walking about 3ks just to find my way back 😎 I can hear Fiona saying something like good exercise !

The long road back after the "wrong turn"
The long road back after the “wrong turn”

At nearly 600 hectares of Regional park, it’s a huge place and there are plenty of interesting walks to go on. There are  information boards to guide the way with brochures available. No Dogs as its a pest proof and kiwi zone.

Just behind the sand dunes
Just behind the sand dunes

A fabulous place and not too far from the big smoke at Auckland. 

TauwharanuiI  can see myself spending lots of time here. 😎

And a screen grab from Rafe’s new tracker system to show its location.

And how we got here, from Rafe's Tracker system
And how we got here, from Rafe’s Tracker system

The Netspeed speed test here..given how isolated it is, this a great result.

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You know you’re on the West Coast When..

You’ve got black sand between your toes and at the Kopua Raglan Motorcamp right on the beach, there is plenty of that.

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The Black Sand

We’ve stayed here a few times now and one of the things that I really noticed this time is the recently done up showers and toilets. The pressure in the showers is so good, you almost don’t need soap.. let the water do its thing.. amazing.

Chess anyone?

When you check in, you get a swipe card which you use for both the automatic gates and the facilities. A good system and it worked well. There is a $10 bond which you get back as you leave after returning the card.

Lots of stripes

The camp is on a peninsula of sand basically so it there were no worries with the awful forecast of heavy rain. We knew we’d be fine on the well drained sand. It is almost completely surrounded by water but there is a well lit footbridge connecting it to the town with an easy walk in to the cafes and shops.

The Bridge to Raglan

There are more than 200 powered sites with quite a few permanent caravans and they also have Cabins that can be rented too.

The Fish and Chip shop on the edge of the camp and apparently they’re pretty good.

I heard someone comment that they thought it was a bit expensive but at $86 for two nights for two nights with power and all the new facilities with the NZMCA discount, I thought that was very reasonable.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We spent a couple of really nice nights there. Yes it rained and it blew but nothing like the forecast said. Over the two days there with friends, Dianne and Gary from Taupo and Jonas and Irene from Auckland, we had several walks into town for a look around the shops and an great meal at one of their restaurants.

The Beach

Very easy accomodation, friendly people, great facilities and a really interesting town.

Rafe, The Niesmann and Jonas’s Trend

Before you ask, No Dogs but there is some free Wifi!

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Rafe’s Tracker to the Camp

A Special little town called Raglan

After a few weeks of being housebound and itching to get away, our friend Dianne in Taupo arranged a get together in Raglan.

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Jonas trying out a surfboard on a Mural

Raglan was deemed to be reasonably easy for everyone and a pleasant place to be. There were going to be three Motorhomes, Us in Rafe, Gary and Dianne in their Niesmann and Bichoff and Jonas and Irene with a Dethleffs Trend McRent Motorhome from their fleet.

One of the amazing shops

The weather forecast was a shocker with high winds and heavy rain forecast but when has that ever stopped us before 🙂 The Classic Yacht Association had already cancelled their annual Christmas hooley just based on the forecast a few days before !

At the campground

After staying a night with Alex and Sarah and the grandies, we set off early to the dump station at Papakura and then Raglan stopping briefly at the Countdown supermarket in Huntly for a few forgotten items.

We arrived at Raglan Kopua Holiday Park around lunch time and after parking Rafe, plugging in and opening some vents, we had a quick lunch and then set off to Raglan township across the bridge for a look around.

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At this stage we pretty much had a blue sky but the wind was blowing and it was threatening.

Raglan really is a seriously nice town full of very friendly people. The choice for cafe’s is fantastic and there seems to be a real Hippy/Surfy culture which you can see everywhere.

After an hour or so, we headed back over the foot bridge connecting the Motorcamp to the town and arrived back just in time to see Gary and Dianne arrive from Taupo.

The famous Hotel

The next morning we were joined by Jonas and Irene and had a another trip into the village for another look around and after an afternoon of chatting, cups of coffee, a few glasses of wine and lots of laughs, we headed back in for a meal in one of the towns fine restaurants.

Last time we were here a few years ago, we walked right around the foreshore to the wharf where there is an amazing fish and chip shop and some more great shopping.

One of the unusual shops

A fantastic town with an amazing atmosphere and I’m looking forward to going back sometime soon.

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Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan