All posts by Chris Miller - Buggeritweareoff.com

Founder and Creator of Buggeritweareoff.com. Ex Newspaper Photographer and Commercial Photographer for more than 40 years.

Dinner at the Door

This is one of those places that you will remember for being super slick.

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This site was originally developed a few years ago by a chap who was really into Jetsprinting and set up the whole back area with a lake with obstacles for his hobby. I think since then it has changed hands and the new owners have developed the campground and Cafe. The lake is still there behind the campground area which is nicely set out with toilets and showers at one side. Plenty of powered sites to service them all and hop, skip and jump to the Flat Hills Café right next door.

Where the Jetsprinting used to be

We pulled into the massive carpark just a few k’s north of Hunterville and checked in at the Café. The lady there couldn’t have been more obliging and gave us a map showing where everything was.

After we’d ordered a coffee each and bought something to snack on, she explained that if we ordered tea and paid for it then (it was about 3.30pm then), we could specify a delivery time to the Motorhome at tea time. The options were 5pm , 6pm or 7pm. Wow I thought, I haven’t ever come across this before.

Inside the Cafe

We quickly ordered a meal each and after our coffee’s and a look around went back to Rafe.

Friendly Donkey

Our meals arrived right on the dot of 6pm and they were nice and hot and good food. A knock on the door and in it came. We washed the dishes and returned them in the morning.

The campground is on State Highway 1 and directly over the main road is the main trunk line to Wellington so you do hear the odd train and truck going past but at $22 Campsaver prices, its still really good value.

Nice parking

Its a great place for kids being well fenced with a great playground and plenty of farm animals for them to see.

The play area

Nice people, great value and very easy access and parking.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Flat Hills Cafe – Armada GPS

Sunny Wellington

Yep it was really sunny. I was a bit anxious coming into Wellington as the city is not famous for its abundance of parking for Motorhomes at a sensible price.

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Plenty of Room

As we came over the Rimutaka’s, I thought we’d give the Petone Workingman Clubs parking a shot and see if we could fluke a powered site. When we arrived, we were in luck!

Flags at Half mast for the Duke

They have recently increased the price to $20 with or without power but with power, I think that is pretty reasonable and the food and facilities are just the best. The parking area is quite big with room for about 15-20 off Caravans and Motorhomes with a gap. There are only 4 powered sites all bunched together around a corner fence. You have to be quick to get a powered site 🙂

I went to sign in and we went in to have a drink and some tea. We’re members of a club in the south island so were able to use that for the bar.  Great food at great prices.  Nice to see the dancing on the floor too while people waited for their dinner.

Fiona at the Bar
Dancing in the club

The next day we walked around to the Ava train station and caught a train into Wellington.

In the city
Nice waterfront

The train system in Wellington is so slick. Why can Wellington do this and Auckland can’t!

The Ava Railway station

15 minutes or so from Petone and we’re in the center of Wellington enjoying lunch at a French café not far from the railway station. We walked downtown to the waterfront area which is really nicely done with cafes everywhere and plenty of seating and relaxing space for the office workers. Lots of runners and people exercising in their lunch breaks, its great to see.

Fiona indicated shopping was on the agenda so it was time for me to slowly walk back to the train and head back to Rafe. Fiona arrived about an hour later and it was time to head back into the club for dinner.

The next morning, Fiona wanted to catch up with an old friend from Devonport now living in Upper Hutt so she caught the train up there and I went for a walk around Petone, just a block away.

Its a neat place Wellington and it was nice that over the 3 nights we were there, we didn’t have anything but sunshine and sometimes a little cloud.

I love what the clubs are doing with them making their parking available to us to stay and its a great place to have a meal or a drink too and at great prices.

Historic Greytown

Another one of those towns that we keep coming back to. The food and shopping is good, the real estate prices like everywhere else have skyrocketed but it is still a lovely little town.

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The Sun is out

We checked in at the local campground as we’ve stayed there a few times before and the manager Ken can’t do enough for you. It is also a Winter Campsaver site so that makes it very cost effective in the off season. Nice showers and toilets and nice flat sites with big high hedges to protect against the famous Wairarapa winds. There is also a swimming pool next door run by the council which you can use in the hot months.

Ken was very welcoming and basically is was park wherever you like. We settled Rafe and plugged in and went for a walk into town and started at the french Café for a coffee before moving on to the pub.

That night when we got back, we met our new neighbours Michelle and Patrick from Wanganui and other neighbours Karen and Ian who have recently sold their award winning Olive Grove. Juno Olives. Really nice people who we spent a lot of time with over the next few days.

Play Area

The next day, we took Rafe to Martinborough to have lunch at one of our favourite Vineyards, Margrains. The Chardonnay is fantastic as is the food.

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We started in the main square at a Café in the corner and from there walked around the square to check out the shops. Fiona took a shine to a dress shop there and ended up buying a nice black dress and a wooden necklace to go with it which looks good. We then moved on to Margrains and the slow cooked Pork Belly they do has never tasted better. Nice to wash it down with a great Chardy!

The Pub in town

We headed back to the Greytown Campground to catch up with our neighbours.

On our last day in Greytown we were going to bike up a trail 10 k’s or so to a historic railway station just out of town but we got to the other end of Greytown and it started to pour with rain so a change to plan B. ..

We spent the rest of the day walking through the shops and later had a fantastic communal meal in Michelle and Patrick’s awning with our neat neighbours.

Our Farewell dinner
LtoR Our farewell dinner. Patrick, Michelle, Karen and Ian.

A nice farewell to some super nice people and a great little town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Greytown Campground – Armada GPS

Small town camping

One of the nice things I find about getting out is finding all the little out of the way places you can stay for not a lot…. in other words very good value. They may not be perfectly flat or lacking in something but they make up for it in spades with their charm and beauty.

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Ekatahuna is one of those camping grounds. Great showers, toilets and with power and a well equipped kitchen for those who want them, it is surrounded on three sides by river and is just a stunner.

There is a Heritage walk to the town which is only 5 minutes away.

We arrived in the mid afternoon and checked in and we simply just parked in the middle of the grass. Fiona and I settled opened up some vent, plugged in and we were off to check out the walk around the camp by the river.

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The remains of one of the end supports of an old swing bridge that went across the river as a short cut to town is buried in the trees and can still be seen.

The River surrounding the park

There is a cabin there too which you can stay at and its all very casual and relaxed.

A great place to stop over and quiet too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ekatahuna Campground – Armada GPS

Norsewood

Since we’ve done our DNA, I’ve taken a great interest in things Scandinavian as it turns out that I’m pretty much all Scandinavian through my fathers line with an emphasis on Danish!… even though his Dad was from the Fens in the UK… real Viking country 🙂 it is really interesting.

So we couldn’t go past Norsewood without popping for a look and having lunch at the Café there. The food is amazing as is the coffee.

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The Cafe – ex Bank
The Food!
The Cafe

Norsewood was settled by many Scandinavian family’s who arrived in Napier in 1872 and it grew from there. You can feel it everywhere you look and the area is predominantly still populated by descendants of these original families.

Gas Station / General Store

There is history everywhere you look. The Café used to be the original Bank of NZ and has been used as a Barbers shop, the local Doctors rooms, Music teacher and lastly a Café.

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There is also a Viking Longboat in a glass encased shelter down in the reserve on the corner.

The Viking Longboat

After a walk around the town and a stop at the Norsewear Clothing shop to buy some shirts we got under way again. One of things at the Norsewear shop is that if you spend more than $10 there, they’ll give you a pair of nice wooly bedsocks in either black or white adorned with either Caravans or Motorhomes. Fiona went for the white Motorhome socks and they look very cosy.

The “Wooly Socks” shop

A neat town and there is a camping ground there too if you want to stay.  A neat wee town just oozing character and history.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Norsewood – Armada GPS

Easy biking from Eriksen

We popped into Eriksen NZMCA park for our last night in Napier before heading south.

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New Tables and Chairs
Great Shelter

Eriksen is always easy to park in and is really easy to get into Napier from here. Fiona was keen to get some wool from a shop in Onekawa which is a bit off the beaten track from Eriksen to Napier but on Electric bikes, there were easy bike trails to get there.

Last time I was at Eriksen, they were building a shed for rainy happy hours which is now finished and the gardens just get better and better. The other new addition was pretty solid looking Tables and Chairs strategically placed around the park.

The new(to me) Shed
Parked in the Gardens

After signing in and opening vents, we got the bikes down and headed off to the Wool shop.

The Bike Trails here are just amazing and there was one that went most of the way through a reserve. Really nice and safe.

After this we headed into Napier City to have lunch and look at the shops and after a few hours headed back along the water front back to Eriksen Park.

A great day on the bikes having fun.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Eriksen NZMCA Park – Armada GPS

Sun and Wine at Te Awanga

One of our favourite spots in the Hawkes Bay has to be Clifton Reserve. With Toilets and Rubbish recycling and right on the most amazing beach, it can’t be beaten and its a gold coin donation.

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Looking towards Napier

We’ve stayed here quite a few times and it is always fabulous. This time we were here so we could bike along to the Te Awanga Vineyard which was a few K’s down the road to have lunch. A perfect way to start a great day.

Great view

After settling down Rafe and getting the bikes down, we were off and heading down some great bike tracks towards the vineyard. Their driveway would probably be nearly a k long through the vineyards but its very easy and a lovely ride.

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Parking in a bike rack not far from where we would eat, we were given a table which looked out over the vineyard towards Cape Kidnappers which was great.

Great spot

We must have spent several hours here eating pizza, drinking Chardonnay and Cider before we headed back to Rafe at Clifton. A fantastic spot and very reasonably priced. There are two other vineyards there too which we’ve been to as well. Clearwater and Elephant Hill. All are very good with different levels of food and pricing.

Sheltered

Arriving back at Clifton, it was starting to fill up but there was plenty of room for all.

Nice evening
Sundown

A great day in Paradise.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Clifton – Armada GPS

Dick and Ellie’s Motorhome Parking

We last came here in early 2018 when we were on our way to Martinborough to see the Cruise Martinborough Festival. Have a look here to see it before the trees were removed.

I’d only just got to the top of the drive when out popped Dick to welcome us to his property and to show us where to park. He was just the same as I remembered him a few years ago. Big smiles and a happy guy.

The Trees have gone

When we were last here the place was a thriving Orchard with Apples. As Dick had retired some years ago, he had leased out the area for others to run it but for whatever reason it was not successful and the trees were removed so there is now lots of room for Caravans and Motorhomes.

After we settled down Rafe and opened vents and plugged in and whatnot, we set off on the bikes into Havelock shops about 7k’s away. We got there in time to enjoy a coffee at a cafe and Fiona had a quick squizz at the shops there before we headed back to Rafe. Neither of us are too thrilled about riding on 100k country roads with little or no bike space so we decided that we would not do that again.

Downtown Havelock

Fiona was keen to catch up with a long lost cousin who lives in Havelock so she rang Ann, her cousin who popped around with her husband Ian for an hour or so which was neat.

Fiona and I have both had our DNA done and this was a DNA match on Fiona’s side of the family who we hadn’t met so it was all clever stuff.

The Pavilion
Tennis anyone

Fiona showed her the family photo album which I had on my ipad. Great to meet the cousins especially from a part of the family you haven’t met and nice for Ann to see some of her cousins in the photo album.

Flat parking

A lovely park with a shower and toilet and very good value and handy to Havelock and many vineyards.. just watch that traffic if you’re on bikes.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Dick and Ellies Parking – Armada GPS

1,000,000 Hits

The last 100 k odd seemed like it was taking a lifetime but we made it. 1 Million Hits..

After 5 years or so we’ve made it!

The first post! August 2015

Now that we’re back in a house again, it has been a real struggle to keep up with the content and I’ve found myself doing trips just to get something to write about.  I’ve also just retired last month as a Commercial Photographer, so I will be taking things a bit more quietly from here so you will notice the posts only being made when there is something to publish.

One of our first posts.. Fiona and Rafe at Coromandel Motor camp

But this is the Milestone that matters… !!

Our first trip away in the South Island in our Caravan . wee Rafe.

Thanks again for checking in and thanks to everyone that made suggestions and offered help.

More to come…!!

At Simpsons Beach Coromandel

The boys are back in town

My son Alex and his two sons, Liam and Ayden were on there way down to join us from their Easter break at Pauanui.

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Plenty of tents

We were staying at the  Cozy Cottage Holiday park where I had arranged a Cabin for them to stay in. We brought the boys here a year or so ago for a weekend so we thought they might remember bits of it.

Good parking

We had just finished lunch with friends in the carpark on the Rotorua waterfront when we found out that they had arrived and checked in so we were off to catch up with them back at the park.

Play area

Apparently, the boys recognised the park and youngest Liam, said “Don’t worry Dad, I know where everything is so I’ll show you.”! He even remembered where we were parked the last time we bought them down and they stayed in the drop down bed in Rafe. .. they don’t miss a trick 🙂

Ayden waiting by Rafe at the camp

After they were settled, we got in Alex’s car and went around the Subway so they could get something to eat and then we went to Kuirau Park to show them the Thermal area.

Kuirau Park
Kuirau Park
Kuirau Park

They boys were fascinated and after it was evident that they were still getting over the drive down we headed back to the Cozy Cottage Park for a swim in the hot pools which they really enjoyed and it was good time to relax out of the car.

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After that we headed back to Eat st to find something that we could all agree on to eat 🙂 We settled on some shared Pizza’s at the same Italian Restaurant Fiona and I had lunched at a few days before, and it actually worked out cheaper than if we had eaten that well known takeaway that starts with M and much nicer 🙂

Digging for hot water at the Lake’s edge
LtoR Ayden, Fiona(Granny), Alex (son) and Liam digging for hot water.

After that it was pretty much bedtime for the boys but in the morning, we headed down to the Lakefront with borrowed shovels for the boys to find hot water in the sand!  Its amazing how the temperatures vary from their location on the beach. Some holes only a metre apart were too hot to wade in or just comfortable.. amazing.

Close to Ohinemutu

We all said goodbye and saw them off to the Luge and we headed back to Auckland on checkout time. A neat weekend and nice to see everyone.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cozy Cottage – Armada GPS