This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!
On the way back from Waihi we stopped in for a look at the Karangahake gorge.
We are intending to do the bike trail but it’s all about gathering up more knowledge before we take this on.
It’s a really interesting area with several short walks that are not part of the trail. We had a look at a couple of the old power stations and batteries while we were there which takes an hour according to the sign. The walking doesn’t take anything like that and it’s well worth a look.
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The overall map on the site
The first swing bridge
The second swing bridge with the battery ruins on the left
The River in the gorge
Fiona being a goldminer
The second battery
The second battery at the lowest level
The second battery at the middle level with the huge wall remaining
The second level wall with the walkway across the river
Remains of the track for the ore
The battery end of the skyway ore buckets. (Flying fox)
Looking along the river with the road alongside
Looking back into Karangahake
Looking back to Karangahake as it was at the time
Karangahake was a small town which included all the things you’d expect to see in a town like Te Aroha or similar.
We walked across the swing bridges and up the hill past the power station, the two batteries built down the hillsides. The ore was swung across the river from the tops of hills in a flying fox type of setup before processing with cyanide. It really was a huge setup. It’s not until you’re up there that you realise the scale of it all and looking at the remains, what it must have taken to build the buildings themselves and the infrastructure to go with it.
We walked all around and as the weather deteriorated, we worked our way closer to Rafe in the carpark. Another one of those feature areas that I’ve driven past lots of times and was really pleased we stopped for a look.
This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!
Isn’t just great having the NZMCA app now running on our iPads. Even though I’ve had the gps files installed in Rafes in dash gps, it’s really nice sitting in the deck chair with the iPad and figuring out where to next with the app.
We found in the iPad, a great spot in Waihi that sounded fantastic. It’s at the Goldfields railway station at Waihi. For $10 per night, there are 6 powered sites and more space for others as well. There is also access to water and the Rail Trail toilets as the Rail Trail ends at the railway station. About 15 minutes walk away is the centre of town.
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The train with the Waihi station
Nicely kept carriages
Rafe in the overnight area from the train
Pulling out of Waihi, off to Waikino
The traffic to waihi
Close to waikino
A nice Mitzi zooming past
Arriving at Waikino
Inside the cafe at Waikino station
Outside Waikino station
Shifting the loco
Back to Waihi
On the way back to Waihi
The Conductor watching at a crossing
We arrived and plugged in, paid for the park and we’re just in time for the last train ride to Waikino and back. The perfect way to check out the bike trails before walking or biking the Karangahake gorge trails.
The train stops for 15 minutes or so, just enough time for a beer, glass of wine or just a coffee or ice cream. A great way to spend a couple of hours and fun too.
There are 3 return trips each day from Waihi.
After 15 years of owning their 7m 1990 Nissan Civilian, Engineer Dave and his wife Josy are finally enjoying their now completed Motorhome.
About 10 years ago, Dave and a friend got started on the restoration of two buses, a Hino for Daves Friend and the Nissan Civilian for themselves. After years of using it while the restoration carried on, it now looks fantastic.
Daves friend had access to a CNC router which they used to make the Matai bench top and bathroom hand basin and the results are amazing. The floor was hand made using strips of native NZ timbers put together to look like parquet flooring but a whole lot nicer.
The Galley showing the pantries opened
The swivel tv above the bed
The swivelling drop down TV which can be watched from anywhere. Two slide out pantries.
With the centre island bed, it is very comfortable.
I met them both at Te Mata point as we enjoyed a cold drink. It’s great to see them enjoying the results of their hard work.
They tell me that although they’ve been all over NZ, there are still nooks and crannies that they’re yet to explore.
We were out having a walk towards the upper end of Coromandel, trying to walk off a great tea that we’d enjoyed the night before:-)
As we passed the Coromandel Hotel, I remembered being told about some parking for Motorhomes that was available behind the pub. It is not marked on any of the apps and doesn’t appear in the bible so it was time to check it out.
Walking down the side street, beside the Hotel is a backpackers and then what they call the Kampa parking. What a neat place. There are 16 powered sites available on grass for $20 a night per van with 2 people. Apparently the pub puts on some nice meals too and you’re not too far from a bar 🙂
I’ll be trying it next time we’re there. It looks nice.
In terms of being in the middle of things, this NZMCA park takes the cake for being handy to everything. Great restaurants, several pubs, lots of history and things to do. It is in Coromandel and is just behind the BP station as you come into the town on the left. Blink and you’ll miss the entrance.
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Its is also very conveniently right behind the Coromandel Smoking Company where you can buy everything from smoked fish and other seafood to great cheese from local cheesemakers.
I have been here in the middle of winter when it had been punished by endless rain and many were camped in a small area of gravel by the entrance. I gather the local managers of the park have a solution to the water problem in winter and there are plans to make it more all weather. Our two nights there were great and there were about a dozen other motorhomes and caravans who came and went while we were there.
Our first day there, we had lunch at the local pub with friends Rob, Helen and Chloe. Fiona and I shared a seafood basket for $16 which was amazing with bits of everything along with a nice glass of wine. We decided it was so nice we had to go back later to watch the rugby.. the one with the controversial try! … A great night and an interesting game.
The shop to go to for Happy hour food 🙂
Lunch in the Beer garden
The Seafood basket.. Yum
Rob, Helen, Chloe and Fiona behind enjoying lunch at the pub.
Who else could this be but ex Devonport potter, Barry Brickell.
Unfortunately Barry passed away last year but his Driving Creek Railway business still lives on. It is an amazing example of what can be achieved by someone with an idea and the drive to see it happen.
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He spent years building up his railway, even making his own trains and designing his own propulsion system using small diesels and hydraulics on the wheels making it very efficient.
One of Barry’s retaining walls 🙂
The view from the Eyeful Tower
Happy people getting off the train
Driving Creek Railway is in Coromandel and has easy parking for Motorhomes too but best to get there early for easier parking.
The train ride takes about an hour and works its way up to the Eyeful tower at the top where there is a fantastic view over Coromandel and across to Waiheke Island. As you go to the top, you cross a couple of viaducts, one of them a double decker. There are several tunnels one of which is lined with pottery tiles made on site.
There are also several retaining walls made with Barry’s left over wine bottles. Its great to see they’ve got an extra life apart from just holding the contents.
A fantastic achievement that is also now a great tourist attraction. You can also buy some nice pottery and souvenirs there too.
One of our favorite parks that we use a lot too, is Ardmore by the airfield. Its a great park and usually full of some interesting people as well.
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We were on our way to Coromandel with our friends Rob, Helen and Chloe and to avoid the morning traffic we checked in with Rafe and their Tracker for the night. We arrived first and soon after we found we were next to another Dethleffs, some people that that we’d met some months ago, Liz and Dave in their Esprit.
It was time for a drink so they came over to Rafe and soon after Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived and joined in too.
The biggest thing about Ardmore now is the massive amount of gravel that now covers the old grass area at the back. What a huge difference it makes and also extends the useable area of the park.
Its level too which is great.
Well done to those who make it such a great park.
We had a great night there and in the morning were up early to get away to Coromandel.
There’s nothing quite like a great welcome when you first arrive to check in for a spot in a Holiday Park.Helen and Trevor have been managing Coromandel Top 10 Holiday Park for the owners while they take a break overseas.
After seeing the state of the not quite finished NZMCA park, I decided to check in to the Coromandel Top 10 Holiday park and what a great welcome 🙂
Due to the huge amounts of rain, the grass was a muddy bog and everyone was huddled in a corner on the tar seal. There had been a few towed out that morning and more were rescued over the next few days !
I was given a nice park on Gravel with plenty of room around me with nice hedges separating the parking spots. Dump station just opposite and easy to get a big Motorhome into.
There is a heated swimming pool which some brave people were swimming in when I arrived back from a walk into town and it wasn’t a warm summer night either! The pool was warm but the lights were off and they’d forgotten about towels too.They were having fun with their children who were in too.
I was on my own and with winter rates it was $22 a night with power and the use of everything which I thought was pretty good for an effortless couple of nights in a clean and well kept Holiday Park.
The kids in the park on Saturday certainly enjoyed it.
Leaving Thames after a great few days cruising around the Coromandel Peninsula with plenty of time of my hands. I had all day to get home but just before Pipiroa, I started seeing signs for the Bugger café. Well with the Toyota Bugger ad having just been judged one of the all time top ads and the name of this blog, I just had to stop and check it out and I wasn’t to be disappointed.
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A huge carpark in front and although it was busy with cars, there were plenty of big spaces to make easy parking for a large motorhome like Rafe.
I stopped to take some piccies outside and wandered in to a big cheery welcome from owner, Glenda and her team.. nothing beats a great welcome.
Nice food, nice people, reasonable pricing and lots of Bugger bits around the wall encouraging good humour. Their line is “Laugh a little” which you can see everywhere and its infectious.
I bought a Bugger Tshirt and a Bugger Motorhome Rug called the Bugger Rug for Fiona. Lots of fun and neat people.
Glenda and John also have a Bugger café in Tirau.
It doesn’t get much better than this. In a great spot, perfectly flat parking, Power, Water, a very handy bar if you need one and cooked dinner next to a Golf course and Mini Golf.. where? At the Pauanui Club. And only $8 a day for parking with the power and access to the loos.
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I was on my last night after doing the round trip from Thames via Coromandel and Whitianga meeting heaps of neat new people and catching up with some old friends too. A great few days.
For the kids, conveniently right next to the bar
Airstrip next door
So its nice to kick back, plug in and make it easy. The grass is really well drained and is solid so I have no worries about the rain or it getting muddy.
We’ve stayed here before earlier this year when it was warmer and I’ve also done a blog on it. Its worth having a look at the last blog as it was done in summer and there were a few more people around.
Since my last visit, the water has been finished off at the parking spots and it’s all looking good.
The club is a magic spot, they’re friendly helpful people and with a bike, from here it’s not far to anywhere.