Category Archives: Bay of Plenty

Opal Springs Hot Pools

As I’ve got older I’ve noticed how I can’t do the big marathon drives I used to do but I suppose some of this has to do with the fact that I’m now driving a 4 plus ton Motorhome, not a Mini or something.

Click on an Image to enlarge it

Some of their Caravans in the fog!

Coming back for our last night away from our post Covid few days away from Whakatane, I decided I’d had enough just as I descended down the Tauranga Kaimai road and that Coffee lounge in Matamata never looked better 🙂  We sat down to a lovely all day Eggs Benny and it was just lovely washed down with some great coffee.

Cabins at the back, motorhome parking and pools down below.. in the fog!

After that, it was off to a place I’ve been to once before just out of town called Opal Springs.

Amazing Fog

They have plenty of powered and non powered sites along with some cabins and they also do a discount for NZMCA’rs.

That pesky Fog

We stopped in and were met by Vanessa who remembered me from a couple of years ago and pointed us in the right direction. Its a great setup with the powered sites all up on a plateau overlooking the pools down below.

It wasn’t long after we arrived, we were off down to the pools where we met a couple from Orewa who were having a Covid breakaway too.

There are several pools with a really hot Private Pool and a Spa as well.  Nice spot, nice people, nice and quiet with great facilities and a really reasonable price.

Rafe’s Track to Opal Springs

Keeping watch on that Island

One of the nicer spots available not far from Opotiki is the Island View Motor Camp right on the beachfront between Ohope and Opotiki. The Island in front is of course White Island and it was steaming away when we were there.

Click on an Image to enlarge them

Nice little hedged parks looking out at the water.

After leaving Whakatane, we thought we’d try this Holiday Park which is also part of the Camp Saver program. Right on the waterfront too.

Great outlook

It was cold and in the middle of winter and I better it pumps during summer.  Its a lovely spot with several tracks through the dunes to the sand. Some enterprising person has even made a throne of sorts so you can sit and enjoy the view.

They currently have several hundred Kiwi fruit pickers there and with Covid still on, we were advised to stay away from the bathroom facilities. I usually prefer ours anyway. All the facilities are normally available and they also have a pool, Kayaks and other water toys available for those interested.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Great spot and later we were joined by David and Michelle in their new Dethleffs Trend.

Rafe’s track to Island View Holiday Park

Great to see David and Michelle again and when we left there, they were staying on a few more days to have a good look around.

Away with Hot Pools

After the lockdown, we were itching to get away.

Click on the Images to enlarge them.

A nice old Caravan

Fiona had arranged time off for work and for me having  a gap between jobs, it was time to get out in some fresh air.  After packing Rafe, topping up with water and loading food and clothes in, we were away. We decided we’d  stay in over Queens Birthday so we could take advantage of some of the Camp Saver deals.

Down the southern motorway with very little traffic and onto the amazing new Huntly bypass. This was our first time over it as it was finished just before lockdown. What a big saving in time and easy to get through. Now we just need a real bypass for Hamilton.

It has been a long time since I have driven around the lakes by Rotoiti, Rotoetu and Rotoma. Despite the weather being a miserable, it was an easy drive through.

Hot pool and it was nice and hot!

It has also been a while since either of us had been over to Whakatane we headed out towards Awakeri Hot springs. With over 100 powered sites and at a really reasonable rate and now the weather is colder, this seemed very sensible being close to a hot pool. 🙂

Arriving mid afternoon, we plugged in and settled Rafe and headed for the pool.  Within minutes we had met some people some people also from Auckland who were doing just what we were, escaping after the Covid lockdown and they also had limited time so were counting the days away.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Its a lovely spot and only 12 k’s from Whakatane.

The next morning, after another swim in the pool, we headed into Whakatane for some groceries and a bit of a look around.

It was cold in the morning!

Back to the camp, we headed for the pool.

 A lovely park, some nice people running it. The free Wi-Fi didn’t really happen but there were so many other nice things about this park, it didn’t matter. Great pools and spotlessly clean. We’ll be back.

Rafe’s track to Awakeri

A little Bedtime reading :-)

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

Saturday was a big day. Rob and Helen were off to collect their new Autotrail Tracker RB and they were beside themselves with excitement.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Rob and Helen looking very happy !
Rob and Helen looking very happy !

Their first Tracker RB had taken them and their daughter Chloe. all around NZ over the last 4 years or so.

The new Tracker looking very smart
The new Tracker looking very smart

The new Tracker is a different colour, has Automatic Transmission and has 180 horses. It has more room in the front lounge area, a separate Shower and Toilet area and lots of other little tweaks.

The new beast with Rafe behind
The new beast with Rafe behind

Having Rafe parked right behind, I was amazed with the changes in some of the vents, and other fittings which you see on Dethleffs and other makes.  Even the tyres are different from the older models.. now Michelins.

Rob unpacking the sealed manual packs.
Rob unpacking the sealed manual packs.

We drove down to meet them at Athenree Holiday Park as a meeting point and to help celebrate their first night away in it.

The Bedroom. The bed runs the opposite way to the older one.
The Bedroom. The bed runs the opposite way to the older one.

We hadn’t long checked in when the first glasses of bubbly were consumed. A nice afternoon in the sun with a swim in the hotpools later as well.

Its a lovely Motorhome and they’re over the moon with it.

Its a good thing that Rob is pretty handy and technically minded and likes reading the odd manual.
Its a good thing that Rob is pretty handy and technically minded and likes reading the odd manual.

As the title says.. lots of bedtime reading manuals for Rob!

The Netspeed Speedtest for Athenree Holiday Park
Download: 42.01 Mbps
Upload: 26.18 Mbps
Ping: 54 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-37.448570,175.966467

Rafe’s Track to Athenree

Rafe’s Track to Athenree.. The Green Dot

From the Blue Beast to the White

Earlier this year at the Covi show, I met  Alan and Keitha and their Blue Beast which they had extensively rebuilt both inside and out.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Alan and Keitha with their previous van, The Mazda Triton

They were at the Waihi Beach opening and with their new Dethleffs Trend and they love it.

Living area

The Trend was an ex rental and is significantly smaller and more manageable than their older 1990 Mazda Triton Motorhome..

Sleeping Dept

The Trend had 9000k’s on the clock (Hardly touched) and they’ve just enjoyed a great trip down to Christchurch stopping in at Lake Ellesmere.

Galley

With the new 2.3 litre 130HP fiat motor, they’re really enjoying the fuel economy that that comes from one of these new technology motors.

With their new baby, they’re really enjoying the change to a newer, smaller, more nimble vehicle.

Kiwifruit and Avocados

This has to be one the best Parking spots that I’ve found and I pretty much found it by accident.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Great Parking

It was set up for the workers originally for Robert and Ruth McLeods Kiwifruit and Avocado Orchard workers  just outside Katikati and is now a NZMCA charges apply site. There are Toilets and Showers with Washing facilities and about 20 powered sites set among some fruit trees. It is $10 a night per person with power. I’d just been at the Waihi Beach opening for a couple of days and needed to give camera batteries and my laptop a bit of a shove on power so this was fantastic. There are quite a few long termers and workers there who take a personal interest in keeping the place spic and span. It is a busy little spot but a fantastic place to stop off if you’re on the way somewhere. There is also a family of Pukekos that seem to be pretty territorial and keep an eye on the place as well 🙂

A lovely spot.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 51.13 Mbps
Upload: 25.88 Mbps
Ping: 59 ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

The Razza Waihi Beach

What a great place.  Perched on a hill looking over Waihi Beach looking out to Mayor Island and views right down to Bowentown.

Mayor Island
Mayor Island

We were helping friends Rob and Helen celebrate picking up their new Autotrail Tracker. The campground volunteered that the RSA courtesy van was coming and we could get a ride to the famous Gunners Restaurant.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

Rob, Helen and Fiona arriving in the van.
Rob, Helen and Fiona arriving in the van.

It was a Saturday night so their overnight parking was pretty busy but not full and looked fantastic. The NZMCA card admitted us to the bar and to the restaurant. We opted for the carvery at $18 a head and it was absolutely amazing. There was also a salad bar which was great too.

After a few drinks, we headed back in the courtesy van to the campground. A great night

The Razza parking area
The Razza parking area

The next day, Fiona and I decided we would have to give the parking at the RSA a go so after having had a good look around the area, we arrived around 3pm and clocked ourselves in for the overnight stay and for a drink at the bar. A perfectly fine day, views for Africa it was an nice place to be. We’d both vowed that we wouldn’t do the carvery again but I ended up eating that anyway 🙂 ..and every bit as nice as the first night.
While there is no cost for overnight parking, it is expected that you at least buy a drink or even a meal. You won’t regret it either 🙂

Not far to walk home:-)
Not far to walk home:-)

In the morning, we were woken up with a knock on the door. It was an RSA person asking us to move to the carpark so the diggers could tear up the grass to turn it into a gravel park as it turns into a mud bog in winter. No worries.. the lady at the bar had told us this was coming but no one knew it was the next day.

The Grass getting dug up
The Grass getting dug up

It was an easy move but I felt a bit for the Caravanners but it was received with good humour .

A wonderful place to stay, eat and drink and for friendliness they are unbeatable.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this park

Download: 42.58 Mbps
Upload: 10.70 Mbps
Ping: 63 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-37.406769,175.935864

Rafes Tracker Map

Our track from Athenree down to Bowentown and to the RSA

 

The Busiest Bay around

While we were looking around Bowentown, we stumbled on Anzac Bay. What a great spot and I can now understand why it has had so many issues with Freedom Camping.  It seems now to be well managed but so busy, you’d need to get there really early to have any chance of getting an overnight spot.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

No room at the Inn
No room at the Inn

Great view
Great view

The water literally sparkles and its a really protected safe beach for the kids too. Waterskiing and jet skiers were having fun there too.

We were just stopping to have lunch but within minutes of arriving, I was chatting quite happily to my next door neighbor from Auckland and his friends in a matching Auto Sleeper. They had met as a result of buying the same vehicle 4 or so years ago and were travelling together. Nice people.

Busy busy
Busy busy

After a few sammies and a cuppa, we went for a wander down to the beach and to check out some of the Motorhomes in the overnight area. Some were pretty close together but they all seemed happy with the setup. It was chocker and it was a Sunday too.

Check out that water
Check out that water

A lovely bay and if I get there early enough one day, I might try a night there.

A little Bedtime reading :-)

Saturday was a big day. Rob and Helen were off to collect their new Autotrail Tracker RB and they were beside themselves with excitement.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Rob and Helen looking very happy !
Rob and Helen looking very happy !

Their first Tracker RB had taken them and their daughter Chloe. all around NZ over the last 4 years or so.

The new Tracker looking very smart
The new Tracker looking very smart

The new Tracker is a different colour, has Automatic Transmission and has 180 horses. It has more room in the front lounge area, a separate Shower and Toilet area and lots of other little tweaks.

The new beast with Rafe behind
The new beast with Rafe behind

Having Rafe parked right behind, I was amazed with the changes in some of the vents, and other fittings which you see on Dethleffs and other makes.  Even the tyres are different from the older models.. now Michelins.

Rob unpacking the sealed manual packs.
Rob unpacking the sealed manual packs.

We drove down to meet them at Athenree Holiday Park as a meeting point and to help celebrate their first night away in it.

The Bedroom. The bed runs the opposite way to the older one.
The Bedroom. The bed runs the opposite way to the older one.

We hadn’t long checked in when the first glasses of bubbly were consumed. A nice afternoon in the sun with a swim in the hotpools later as well.

Its a lovely Motorhome and they’re over the moon with it.

Its a good thing that Rob is pretty handy and technically minded and likes reading the odd manual.
Its a good thing that Rob is pretty handy and technically minded and likes reading the odd manual.

As the title says.. lots of bedtime reading manuals for Rob!

The Netspeed Speedtest for Athenree Holiday Park
Download: 42.01 Mbps
Upload: 26.18 Mbps
Ping: 54 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-37.448570,175.966467

Rafe’s Track to Athenree

Rafe’s Track to Athenree.. The Green Dot

Peak time at Ngongotaha

This really is an amazing park. The last time I was here, the trees had just come down and there was some concern as to how it would be without them. Nothing to worry about here, its fabulous and now with the extra space, it has just got a whole lot better.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

The front part looking good but as it had been so wet, no one was game to park on it.
The front part looking good but as it had been so wet, no one was game to park on it.

We were in transit between Taupo and Auckland getting Fiona back to the grandkids in their home in Ardmore for the birthday Grannies cake cutting 🙂

RotoruaWe stopped off down by the lake when we first arrived and went for a look around and a cup of tea after driving with a crosswind after a great night in Taupo.  After looking through the app for somewhere to stay, Ngongotaha NZMCA park was the standout place.

Busy
Busy

The first thing I noticed when we came in is that the driveway seems to have been smoothed out and there is a big new area at the front on the right for more parking. The night before a big storm had gone right through the country and everywhere was pretty wet so there was no one in this new area but it looked like a great addition.

As we got to the top, we easily found a park and I went for a walk around the back. It was covered in caravan and a couple of Motorhomes.  I’ve never seen anyone parked right out the back so it was great to see.

Nice to see so many caravans
Nice to see so many caravans

I had only been there half an hour when a couple of people who I knew popped out for a chat. A lovely park and great to see the improvements and it being so busy..