Category Archives: Bay of Plenty

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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..

The 20000th Peppermint

I was having a bit of browse through the NZMCA app and found Athenree Holiday Park. We cruised into the entrance and popped into the reception. Well, what a welcome.. “You’re our 20000th customer, have a peppermint! ”
Fantastic. That doesn’t happen too often!

Fiona having a cup of tea in the sun
Fiona having a cup of tea in the sun

We’re parked right on the waterfront facing towards Katikati just up from Bowentown.

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They have two hot pools. One is directly fed by a bore that goes down 220 metres and the water comes up about 35c. They have another smaller adults pool which has the water tweaked up by a heat exchanger from waste water. It’s fantastic.. Nice and hot.

The Pools .. hot adults pool on the left
The Pools .. hot adults pool on the left

Nice big flat parks and with the pools, great.

anthenreeAcross the road is a kids playground and the other side of the peninsula. More water!

Right by the water
Right by the water

Home for a few days after this.

The Route March

I picked Fiona up from work after at 6pm and we headed to Ardmore park to meet Rob, Helen and Chloe in their Autotrail Tracker.

Early start and it was cold!
Early start and it was cold!

The park was chocker as there was an air show on for the long weekend starting the next morning so we were up early and after getting some diesel in Papakura, we were on the motorway heading south.

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The frost at Ardmore
The frost at Ardmore

The holiday traffic hadn’t started yet. At the bottom of the Bombay hills, there was really heavy fog and it didn’t really lift until we got to Paeroa.

At  9:30 am, we were having morning tea at the Talisman Cafe at Karangahake. We’d been here before and it’s a great place to stop with a motorhomes as there is a huge park right opposite by the swing bridge beside the river. See our earlier blog on Karangahake here.
About half an hour later, we passed through Katikati and met Rob and Helen buying Limes and Manderins on the road to Sapphire Springs.

Rosie arriving.
Rosie arriving with Gary and Dianne.

Gary and Dianne arrived shortly after from Taupo in their newly named “Rosie”. It’s great as I can now refer to her as Rosie rather than “the XLI”!

Kids playing in the river
Kids playing in the river

Sapphire springs is a lovely little camp built around a meandering river. There are quite a few cabins and permanent caravans there but it is well setup with clean loos and showers, and of course, the hot pools.

The pool complex is very smart and well setup but we found the pools a wee bit on the cool side. I think the hottest was around 35 degrees but it was very pleasant all the same. After getting dressed and getting ourselves organised, we had sundowners (without the sun as it had gone), in Rosie.

The route march home. Helen in front
The route march home.

The next day, the decision was made to walk into Katikati. Those who know me will know that I while I love bike riding, I’m not too fussed about long walks! This was 6.5 k in each direction which was  ok in the end. The original plan was to walk in and taxi back but there were no taxis. Good excercise anyway.
imageWe had a lovely lunch at the Talisman Hotel which has a huge car park out the back if you’re looking for somewhere to park your motorhome. As far as I’m aware, it’s not for overnighting. After our hearty lunch, we had a quick look through one of more than 3-4 antique or second hand shops, and then we set off for the camp.

We got as far as the Countdown supermarket and there was a chap in a near empty bus waiting for someone. Gary joked with him if he was going our way and he replied if he saw us, he’d stop and pick us up. We were about 1k down the road and there he was. He’d stopped to pick us up and he ran us up the road to the motor camp.. another 4ks odd. Rob decided he’d walk so carried on walking.
It turns out he has a motorhome of his own.

As we got off, I gave him $20 and suggested he buy himself a beer as a gesture of thanks but he was adamant he wouldn’t accept it and left it on the floor. Everyone got off behind me and no one would accept it back.
Rob arrived back about 20 minutes or so later with the $20! Apparently he pulled over to Rob, opened his hand out of his window so Rob couldn’t see what he was doing and dropped the $20 in his hand and drove off ! Bugger!
We did our best ! It was really nice of him to give us a ride back.

Later on the first day
Later on

We had a few drinks in the Tracker with Rob, Helen and Chloe. A quick tea and I was bed by 8pm. A big excercise day 😃
Great fun catching up with our Motorhome friends in a nice spot.

Hmm. It’s that smell again.

One thing about Rotorua is your nose tells you when you’ve arrived. It’s that unmistakeable smell of the sulphur.  It’s has been a while since we’ve been here so it was nice to hear that our friends, Gary and Dianne from Taupo,  were heading that way too and funnily enough had intended to stay at the same place.

We arrived early in the afternoon on Friday and headed to the Ngongotaha NZMCA park. A fabulous spot with a bit of a view of the lake from an elevated platform which used to be a sale yard.

The view from the park with a peep of the lake.
The view from the park with a peep of the lake.

The local committee have done a great job turning this into one of the NZMCA’s premier spots to stay. It has full recycling of rubbish, a dump station and fresh water and is huge. A nice grassed area at the back for the kids to play in (or grandkids) and lots if trees.

They have even very thoughtfully signposted where not to park if you don’t want to lose your satellite tv signal 🤓 A really nice touch!

After settling down with Rafe, opening some vents and meeting the neighbours, I wandered over to the back of the park where several Traillites were parked up. Some really nice people  who I later had a drink with. They were from Cambridge and were on a group trip to some hot springs over by Whakatane. From what they were saying, it sounds like a great spot. Somewhere we’ll have to check out sometime soon.

"Traillite Corner"
“Traillite Corner”

Early the next morning, Peter, one of the Cambridge group from “Traillite corner ” as I named it 😊 Popped over to see my temporarily installed Internet and I gave him all the info on how to and where to get it.

A foggy start
A foggy start

Not long after they left with their friends, Dianne arrived in her car and then Gary with Luka their Grandson in the XLI.

After cups of tea and a catch up, we went in Diannes car into Rotovegas for lunch and a look around the shops as you do.

Fiona bought me some new clobber from Katmandu, some nice shirts and a couple of pairs of shorts and Gary was checking out lawn mowers.

A couple of hours later and we were back at the Ngongotaha park sitting outside have a few cold ones. It’s definitely no longer summer so we ended up with Gary, Dianne and Luka in the XLI having a nice tea.

Sundowners at Ngongotaha
Sundowners at Ngongotaha

The  last time we stopped at Ngongotaha park, it had just opened and was pretty barren but the committee here have done a great job of making it one if the better places to stay.