Category Archives: Close to home

Granny Tag

It has been Musical houses all around with son Alex and his wife Sarah and the boys moving to a new house. Our other son Andrew and partner Jenna have also moved house, and us moving into Rafe fulltime it has been a busy time. To add to the fun, we’ve been trying to give away some of our “extra” stuff while they move !

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Alex getting the lawnmower

Everyone is settling down now and we tried our new parking at Alex’s new place in Ardmore just this last weekend and it works a treat. Rafe is right next to a fence overlooking the families horses and they were keen to see what this Motorhoming lark was all about too, coming over for a look see 🙂

Close up inspection of Rafe

After Alex had mowed the lawns and Fiona had played Granny Tag on the new Trampoline, we all set up our bikes out and set off along the road to Ardmore airfield for a ride and then an ice cream stop. A great day out in the sun.

Liam Fiona and Ayden having “Granny Tag”

This is about our 5th week at Takapuna Holiday park and we’re about to head down to the South Island in the next week or so and catch up with friends down there..

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Perhaps we’ll get a bit more serious about finding a house when we get back in late May when the prices hopefully will have dropped a bit more 🙂

The Horses feeding next door

Wind for Everyone

The last few weeks has found us at Takapuna Holiday Park a few days a week while Fiona is at work. We’re right next to the Boat Ramp where there is never a dull moment. It has been hot with very little wind… until now 🙂 And its really nice.

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Ringside seat

Looking out of the front windows towards Rangitoto Island, you see Windsurfers and Kite Boarders mostly now on foils taking advantage of the wind, and its great to watch. Some of them doing tricks too, like leaping out of the water and doing complete turns. A couple of them were sailing backwards and forwards for about half an hour without even getting wet.. amazing.

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Its really entertaining and most nights you can see a small regular bunch of people just coming down to the ramp to watch.

As the sun goes down

Foiling has really changed the nature of sailing everywhere and it is magic being able to watch it from our ringside seat in Rafe.

Takapuna Beach

Darryn’s Otten

Its funny who you meet at places… such a small world.

We’d only been here half a day when Fiona spots an unusual looking Caravan just along from us and says .. “Blog!” .. so off I trundle and introduce myself to Darryn. It turns out that Darryn’s dad was a very good friend of mine and mentor when I first started as a Photographer in my early teens.

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Darryn with his Otten

Like me, Colin was an ex Herald Photographer but before my time and had a really successful Photographic business in Milford.

Colin, Darryn’s dad and I had our birthdays within days of each other with Colin being a few years older. We used to make the most of celebrating.. Fiona and Colin’s late wife Val, called them “adventures”!!

The other side

Anyway .. back to Darryn. He has been living in Poland after marrying his Polish wife and working remotely for an American Merchant bank in IT.

Table or Bedding

Having family here  who he flies back to see fairly regularly, he decided to get a Caravan and a car to tow it. Having access to good tradesmen and costs being a bit less, he  did them up in Poland before shipping them here in a Container.

The Galley area

The Caravan is amazing being a 1978 Otten made in Holland which he bought in Germany.. yep, its crossed a few borders! He has done quite a lot of work on it to tidy it up but has yet to make it compliant for NZ power so was running on Solar and batteries when I caught up with him. With only an 800k tow weight and the Plymouth with the 471 V8, it would hardly know its behind!

Hinged covers

The Plymouth has had a lot of work done including the new bigger motor. He has also done a lot with the body and painted it. I’d say it would be a rare beast in Poland. It sounds  and looks beautiful.

Darryn with the Plymouth and the Otten

It was really nice to see Darryn to catch up on the news on Colin and his family and to see his amazing Caravan and Car.

Luxury Location

We’re in our 4 th day of sitting on the waters edge at Takapuna Beach Holiday Park after moving from our house and its just the best location.

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Premo Spot

Fiona works in Takapuna 3 days a week so can walk to work from here which is great.

When you take into account the costs of owning a house with rates, Insurance and Maintenance and everything else, doing this for 3 – 4 days a week is pretty cost efficient. Its also handy to the Devonport market while we look for another house.

Takapuna Holiday Park has had some interesting moments recently. Being in a prime spot, it has been under pressure by others for its space.

Lovely tropical atmosphere

A couple of years ago, there was a bit of a stoush when the council had thoughts of giving some or all of the campground land for development of young sailors but they didn’t count on the locals wanting to keep the park as is.  Its my understanding that the land occupied by the Holiday Park was gifted on the condition it was used as a Campground or similar.

Looking over the park from the office

Anyway, despite our helicoptered in MP at the time, baracking for the Yachties, the locals won the day and the Campground stays.

Colourful, Caravans

Early in April all the old Caravans are going and they’re going to be replaced with a whole lot of new Powered sites so that will make a difference and make it available to more Motorhomes and Caravanners.

Will be all powered sites soon

This will make a huge difference as many of the Caravans are well past their use by date and the park will do well with the extra space for powered sites.

Takapuna Beach behind

Its a lovely spot and we’ve been here a few times over the last few years and is a great bolthole.

Bliss looking out at Rangitoto

The waterfront parks are 7 metres so I have to park Rafe on an angle but the parks are wide enough to do this.

Rental caravans
10 steps away for a swim

Toilets and Showers, Kitchen and Laundry are all in good shape. They’re beautifully clean and everything works so you can’t ask for more than this.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We’re probably going to be here three days a week for the next month or so as we’re still looking for another house and for Fiona’s work but I can’t think of a nicer place to be.

Right on the best beach in Auckland and with some great walks along the waterfont right up to Milford and beyond, and south to Narrow Neck. The shops are great and close by and there is a licensed Cafe just on the edge of the campground serving great Coffee overlooking the boatramp. Great entertainment at low tide !!

See our previous visits to Takapuna here and the walk to Milford here.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 64.36 mbps
Upload: 23.76 mbps
Ping: 45ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

The Dragon Truck

While we were in Narrow Neck, across the car park was a Blue Truck with an amazing Dragon artwork along one side.

Love the stairs
Looking back to the Galley

I wandered over when the owners turned up to meet Garrith and his partner Summer.

The Bunks

Takapuna based Garrith has had the 1996 Ford Trader for 6 months, and in that time has set it up so he can live in it. It looks comfortable but with only 6 months, I get the feeling it will be quite different in another 12 months time.

The living area looking forward

There is an amazing amount of room in it and they’re really enjoying being on the road and check out Garrith’s Mural on the side.

The Trader from the front

Narrow Neck Sunshine

Our first night out of the house was spent at a friends Garage Forecourt in Devonport. Mark very kindly said we could stay the weekend but the first two nights away from the house were fantastic and with the remnants of a cylcone bearing down on us, it was nice to half tucked under his forecourt verandah.

We met our regular Friday night friends Alan, Grant and Robyn, just around the corner at a Bar and enjoyed some good nerve settling banter with them before joining them for a great Italian meal up by the Victoria Theatre in Devonport. Fantastic night.

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Waking up early on Saturday, Rafe’s grey tank said it was full (which it wasn’t) so a quick trip was made to the dump station at Albany and we did a complete dump and top up of fresh water so we were right for a few days. Fiona followed me in the car up to the lockup with some last minute leftovers from the Packers like vacuum cleaners and cleaning stuff to squeeze in the door 🙂 .. It is packed to the rafters literally !!

Good easy parking

With the weather improving, we headed to Woddall Park in Narrow Neck, a well known freedom camping spot. Its interesting as one of the recent less than intelligent moments from our Council was a decision to ban Motorhomes staying at this park without any discussion. The locals however were outraged and promptly got them to reinstate the parking as the presence of Motorhomers meant the hoon element had completely dissapeared.
Fan bloody tastic ! .. A classic case of Council plonkers making arbitrary decisions and not listening.

My intermediate and High School years were spent not living very far from this beach so I know it pretty well.

Fiona lived on the beachfront reserve for a few years as it was Army housing as her dad was CO of Fort Cautley, so she was really familiar with it too.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

A lovely spot. The day we were there, there was a big day for small yacht racing out on the beach.

Its neat to watch the Dads all pitching in helping their kids rig their yachts and set them off racing.

Dad’s waitiung

Lovely to see them having a cuppa at the club house and waiting on the beach and helping them in too afterwards.

Narrow Neck with Browns Island behind

The pictures tell the story really but a fabulous spot for a night and great walks from here to Cheltenham and most of the way to Takapuna too.

Rangitoto Island

There is also a bus stop to the ferry or to Takapuna right next to the park.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download:  64.84 mbps
Upload: 36.68 mbps
Ping: 37 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

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.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 12.89 Mbps
Upload: 16.67 Mbps
Ping: 74 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.315094,174.765907

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.

 

David’s Treasure Trove

Rafe is nearly 4 years old and it seems everything is expiring. One of those items is the Electrical Certificate and that was due to expire next month but while I’m doing inspections, oil changes and stuff, I thought I’d get on with it.

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Sunbeam

After making a time with David Allbon who was listed on the NZMCA website, I rocked up to his house in Glenfield with Rafe and David put Rafe through his electrical paces. I was impressed with how thorough it was. He tested all the 240v power points and devices and checked the RCD tripped off in the allotted times allowed. The lead was checked too. We passed with flying colours.

David with a new bike he is working on.

David then led me to do the paperwork on his desk in his garage which just happened to be the boot lid of his Triumph Stag. His Garage was amazing. There was a 1929 Sunbeam, a 1926 Douglas Motorbike, a lovely convertible MG which was covered in his Motorhome bits. He is also working on another lovely old bike which I forgot to ask what it was but a real treasure trove.

The MG

David was telling me that most of the cars he has owned for a “long time” which suggested 40 years or more in some cases.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Looking at the Sunbeam engine bay with its 6 cylinder, 2 litre motor, you could eat your lunch off it ! Its lovely to see these old vehicles being looked after and loved to this level.

The 6 cylinder 2 litre Sunbeam motor

David and his wife Barbara also have a Nissan Motorhome which was away having some repairs done to it after it was damaged by a falling tree.

If you’re looking for an Electrical Certificate, David is your man..!

Away in the Wet

Our friends Rob and Helen were keen to get out to play Motorhomes and we were keen too!

As the weekend weather was looking pretty naff, we thought somewhere local would be the ticket. After some false starts, we settled on Pinewoods at Red Beach.

I last came here a year ago and back then they were setting out some new concrete parking for Motorhomes. Thats all done now and it looks great and  apparently they’ve been working really well.  So well that they’re looking at putting some more in.

Nice concrete pads

Pinewoods is run by a company of Bach owners and the Motorcamp is run as part of this.

Some of the baches up on the hill

The showers and access to a nice TV lounge, and Kitchen are included in the price. There is also a coin operated Laundry for those who need this.

More Baches

The forecasted weather was bang on and it was naff but we had a nice time in Rafe for happy hour. Helen had made a nice Lasagne and we added some chicken and bits so we moved to the Tracker later. A great fun night.

The best table Tennis table I’ve ever seen!

Early in the morning, I went for a walk around to see if I could get some updated piccies around and after that the others went for a look around.

From Jacobs Ladder looking towards Orewa

Right at the top of the camp, there are some well fenced concrete steps which run down the cliff to the rocks called Jacobs Ladder. From here you can see right up to Kawau and across to Orewa.

Around the other side is a direct track through to Red Beach which comes out behind the Surf Club.

Red Beach

At $18 each with the NZMCA discount, its priced reasonably and is a nice place to stay and if you live in Auckland, its not far away.

The Netspeed Speedtest here
Download: 15.13 Mbps
Upload: 2.16 Mbps
Ping: 20 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.601808,174.705547

Rafe’s Tracker map