Category Archives: Bay of Plenty

Sun and Sand at the Mount

After we left Cambridge, we both decided we weren’t ready to go home so we headed east and while driving decided on heading to Mount Maunganui. I’ve got several friends who have stayed at the campground at the beach and I’ve been wanting to give it a go.

Up and over the Kaimai’s and onto the mount was easy and we arrived not much after midday.

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The reception people were fantastic and we were given #1 park which they said was a bit of a treat as it was a Sunday night. #1 park is right next to the surf club and as close as you can get to the beach… absolutely a primo spot.

The Campground

There was a beach volley ball competition right on the other side of the surf club which was a final of a competition and it was well set up with a big audience watching. A real buzz.

Beach Volleyball champs

There was an endless stream of people walking along the boardwalk, both up and down the Mount, only feet from our bumper. We were right in the thick of it!

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow/to enlarge

I went for a walk around to get the lie of the land and some images and had just posted one with my phone on Facebook when we got an immediate reply from Fiona’s cousin, Malcolm and Michelle who had just arrived at their apartment along the road. They had come  from Raumati beach.

An hour or so later and we were having tea with them in Rafe looking out at the beach in front of us.. magic.

Right on the Beach

We were going to check out the hot pools which are half price if you stay here but crashed instead.

The next morning, we had a coffee with Malcom and Michelle at their apartment and then headed home. Its a great place to stay and we were very fortunate and lucky to get on the front row so to speak but I think doing it again, a few rows back would be just fine for me.

A very well setup park with new ablution block and everything that opens and shuts..

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Mount – Armada GPS

Berry’s for everyone !

As we drove into Whakatane from Awakere to get some provisions from Countdown, Fiona spotted Julian’s Berry Farm and Café on the way. A perfect stop off for us on the way back for lunch.

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Outside eating
The Berries

Its a huge farm on many acres doing all the berries under the sun. At the moment they’re just about out of Strawberries but there was plenty of everything else 🙂

Under the Pergola

The café is great and they’ve got the Berry Ice creams too.

Parking was easy with a big parking area for Motorhomes and Caravans so easy there too.

Easy parking

It was stinking hot so we chose to sit outside under the shady pergola and the food was perfect.

Popular Mini Golf
Fun and Games

We had these amazing strawberry sundaes. They were $9 something each but just the best, we even came back the next day to do it all again.. 🙂

The ice cream sundae

A must do if you’re in the area.. on the way to Whakatane on the Tauranga side on the main road in, about 3 k’s before the Hub in Whakatane on the left.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Berry Farm and Cafe. – Armada GPS

Awakeri Hot Pools

One of our new favourite places and it is very reasonably priced, even at this time of the year.

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Neat atmosphere

We have been here before on the edge of winter which was probably a better time for Hot pools as it was stinking hot.. over 30C!. Having the big established trees around were a blessing with the heat and they didn’t seem to stop the nice cooling breezes wafting through.

We were in and were given a HUGE park right in the middle, handy to everything.

Click on the Gallery below for a slide show

Two huge pools with sun shades easy parking its a great spot and very close to the big smoke at Whakatane.

BBQ area

There were plenty of Motorhomes and Caravans there and some nice looking cabins too. Nice facilities and friendly people too.

Rafe’s Tracker Map to Awakeri – Armada GPS

Step out to the Water

Its the silly season and we were looking for somewhere to go.. many places jack up their prices in the hot spots, think $70-80 a night for two and good on them but we would rather go somewhere off the track than pay that and often its just as nice.

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Hot, Wet and just good fun!

We settled on Bledisloe Holiday Park at Little Waihi right on the water.. Just a magic spot and the prices were very reasonable .. 5 nights for just under $200 with power, beachfront parking, fantastic showers(free) and loos of course.

Plenty of Jandals

The camp was busy and slightly chaotic being New Year holiday period but what a spot!.

Fishing at the entrance to the Estuary

On our first day we took Rafe down the road to check out Papamoa. We were parked up on the hill in a Freedom camping spot looking over the beach next to the campground. Fiona was getting ready to go for a swim. I noticed some people all standing on the sand checking something out and there it was.. about a 3 metre shark swimming through the 2 nd breaker along the beach.

The view from Maketu Café towards the Mount.

There was a woman with her 2 yr old toddler just in the water running to grab him.. she also went down the beach further to alert other swimmers and I’ve never seen them get out of the water so fast. Needless to say, Fiona never made it into the water.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slide Show

After the excitement there, we headed to Maketu where the famous pies come from but the shop was shut. We headed for the Café on the water which does an amazing Seafood Basket for lunch looking along the beach towards the Mount.

The Beach in front of us

After a great lunch we headed back to the camp and settled in for the next few days. We met some great people and I have to say, I really enjoyed the change for us of sitting in one spot for a few days and swimming, reading and just taking it all in.

Fiona reading her Ipad

A wonderful park in a superb spot. You can walk over the estuary at low tide to Pukehina Peninsular for somewhere else to explore.

Happy New Year !!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Little Waihi – Armada GPS

 

Happy New Year

Where ever you are, I hope you’re having a great time (now that we’re allowed to) !

We’re in Little Waihi enjoying the water and doing very little 😃.

That’s Pukehina in the distance.

Happy New Year all and enjoy the time away.

Blobbing out in the Hot Pools

Our first visit to Athenree Holiday park was in the middle of winter in 2016 when we were presented with the 20000th peppermints! .. being the 20000th visitor to their Holiday Park.

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Rafe looking out over the Estuary

Arriving early in the afternoon after babysitting our Grandkids at Ardmore, we were looking forward to blobbing out for a couple of nights with the pools and generally doing very little.

Kids enjoying the pool

I met Peter at the office who couldn’t have been more welcoming and he very efficiently showed me where everything was and after parking Rafe and getting settled down, we very quickly went for our first swim.

And the hottest pool

Peter and Belinda who have owned this for the last 5 months have also joined up with the NZMCA’s Campsaver Winter program so that makes it really affordable as well. The app shows them having 77 powered sites along with several Motels and Cabins. A well setup park.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We were last here with our friends Rob and Helen a few years ago, when they first picked up their brand new Autotrail after its arrival from Britain via Tauranga.  A great place to meet on their “maiden voyage” home 🙂

Athenree is a fantastic spot right on the estuary and with the hot pools on site, it makes it very easy to find excuses for doing absolutely nothing 🙂 .. that was us this weekend! .. And it’s not that far from Auckland in the scheme of things.

Neat Murals

One of the things I really liked was the murals around the pools which are absolutely amazing. There is also a fantastic painting which is a really accurate take of the pool area.

The pool with the Murals

I posted a pic of us parked on the grass on Facebook which was spotted by our friends Ian and Lee who have a Bach in Waihi Beach so we got a call to pop round to see them for a cup of tea which was nice. Great to see them as we haven’t seen them for a few months.

Sunset

A lovely Motorcamp run by some neat people and being a sucker for some nice hot pools, I’ll be back for lots more of this.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Athenree – Armada GPS

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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