Category Archives: Coromandel 2018

Simpsons Beach

A few k’s north of Whitianga is the famous Simpsons Beach.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

It is one of my all time favorite spots to stay being right on the beach and with pretty much all weather parking on grass and its huge.

It has been a while since we’ve been here so I never miss an opportunity. It is $10 per van per night.

A stunning part of the world

There is a cassette only dump station which is connected to a Septic tank which I’ve never used but plenty do and there is potable water too. I waited until I went back through Whitianga and used that Dump Station.

How good is this!

I rocked up to the “Office” door and Margaret popped her head around the door with the usual smiley face she has. A really nice lady and its amazing that she pretty much runs this now on her own now.

well drained sandy grass

All the proceeds from Camping are sent to the Charity of the moment. Last time we were here it was St Johns in Whitianga.

I met Dave and Helen who were in their Caravan from Whangamata who were with their friends who were next to us. Dave is a Self Containment officer so it was really interesting talking to him about Motorhome and Caravan things.

There was also a really nice guy from Nelson staying there called Bim who is travelling around the North Island with his friend in his Motorhome with a boat. With the wind blowing Dogs off Chains that day, neither Dave or Bim were keen to battle the elements out in the bay in their boats.

Whitianga around the headland in the distance

I went for a couple of walks along the beach and got some updated images.. Its a sensational place to stay and its a place you never get sick of.

See Rafe’s tracker map below for the location.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 32.60 mbs
Upload: 14.33 mbs
Ping: 41ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

Whitianga NZMCA Park

This is a relatively new park and as I was in the area, I thought it would be rude not to pop in and have a nosey.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Tons of room

Its right on the main turnoff for Whitianga and just along from Countdown and opposite the Waterways so its in a great spot.

Enjoying the Sun

I was heading further North so didn’t stay the night but there was plenty of room with about 10 Motorhomes and Caravans there. It comes complete with Potable water at the entranceway and I’m sure I saw a rubbish bin there too.

And just next door
Whitianga Waterways

A nice spot… another great park.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Back to Nature at RiverGlen

With a river flowing around it and easy to walk through bush, this really is a lovely spot to stay.

Click on an image for Hi Res

The River

I dropped in out of the blue and with my NZMCA card was charged $10 with power which I thought was amazing. This included some Wifi, access to Toilets, Showers and a well set up Kitchen.

Plenty of space

After settling down with Rafe, opening some vents and plugging in, I set off to have a look around.

Nice Bush

I was blown away by the beauty of the bush and the river. There are quite few permanent Caravans attached to buildings set up as Baches but not many of them were occupied.

Perfect spot

Although I could get some wifi via my Netspeed connection, it was a bit ropey and the cell phone service was erratic too. Even text messages were tough going but it is all about enjoying talking to each other and enjoying the scenery.

Great river

Only 3k’s from the Coroglen pub on a nicely formed gravel road, it is easy to get to.

Click on the Gallery to see a Slideshow

I spent a very pleasant couple of hours chatting to a couple of 20 something year old Danish Soldiers who had recently been in Afghanistan which was really interesting as my youngest son was there in NZ’s first rotation when he was 17 about 2001.  They’re both travelling around NZ together in a small van.

A really nice spot, nice hosts and really good value.

Rafe’s Tracker map

The Lost Spring in Whitianga

This is as good as it gets without going to a tropical island and includes all the nice things that go with it.

Fiona and I first came here about 8 years or so ago when there was an accommodation deal with an apartment block next door where we could walk through a hole in the fence. It was just magic and we have often talked about when we could go again.

The swing bridge

There is something seriously nice about sitting in the pool having cocktails and beautiful sea food chowder while you’re enjoying the heat from the thermal waters.

In December this year, they’re celebrating their 10th Anniversary so we might have to pop back in then too 🙂

Click on any Image for Hi Res

Just over 10 years or so ago, longtime Whitianga entrepreneur Alan found out he had some thermal water under his property but it was just a case of finding it.  After sinking 4 bores down at huge expense, he struck gold and the Lost Spring was found. Over the course of a few years, he then set out to create what we see now as the Lost Spring Hot Pools and Restaurant.

A Cave that you can swim into

The detail in the Caves and Volcanos with waterfalls and the Gardens are amazing and its something else to swim in and out of them.

You’ve probably gathered by now that I’m a real sucker for some nice Hot Pools but these really do take the cake!

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Alan now runs it with his daughter Allana and it just gets better and better with the addition of a Day Spa and some elevated Massage Therapy  rooms overlooking the pools.

Allana and Alan

They also have some overnight parking for customers Motorhomes so if you spend the day there, you can blob out straight into your Motorhome afterwards.

One of the neat things here is the old Whitianga Schoolhouse was moved and restored and is now the Restaurant, Reception  and changing room area.

Enjoying the Heat

The whole experience is a real treat and trust me, you will feel very spoiled!

One of the New Elevated Massage therapy rooms.

If you’re in the area, this is an experience you won’t forget and remember you can park your Motorhome there if you’ve had a swim.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

A Reunion of sorts

Friends Gary and Dianne have just spent 3 months Motorhoming around France and a Mediterranean Cruise so it was good to be able to catch up with them and hear all their news. We last saw them  well over 6 months or so. We arranged to meet “half way” between Taupo and Auckland and that was Waihi Beach 🙂

Click on an image for Hi Res

Rafe at Waihi beach NZMCA after we arrived.

Several weekends ago, the grandsons Ayden and Liam came to stay the night with us. Liam left his comfy Bunbun (soft toy rabbit) behind so we needed to stop in at their place in Ardmore on the way and drop them off. We haven’t seen son and daughter in law Alex and Sarah much lately so it was nice to see them for the night.

We set off for Waihi Beach NZMCA park early the next morning and stopped at Ngatea for a Latte, as you do and while sitting in the sun, I received a call from Tracey to say she would highly likely have an offer for our house by the following morning… WOW .. after the best part of a year in trying to sell it.

So with that start to the day, we were off fizzing through the Karangahake Gorge and into Waihi Beach.

Must be Dethleffs corner!

I expected the NZMCA park to pretty full but there was only a hand full of caravans and Motorhomes scattered around the outside when we arrived. The weather was stunning so we sat outside and had cups of tea until Gary and Dianne arrived in the Neismann & Bischoff.

Cups of Coffee with the sun beating down

More phone calls arrived and with confirmation that an offer was coming and what it was, we knew we had something to celebrate 🙂 .. and celebrate we did. Fiona even had two bottles of cider !!
It was really nice to hear some of the highlights of Gary and Diannes trip and some of the places they stayed at in France and good to catch up too.

Dusk at the Waihi Beach NZMCA park

In the morning, we spent most of the morning with phone calls and sending and receiving documents and by late afternoon, it was in the bag! A great day..SOLD .. cash unconditional too!

Gary, Fiona and Dianne about to head back to our bikes from the shops.

The next day.. more fine weather and we set off on the bikes into Waihi Beach shops to get some groceries from the 4 square which is about 1 k away. An easy flat ride.

Another nice day in the sun. Later that day Robin and Linda who recently sold their house in Waihi and bought a Morelo that they’re now living in, popped in to say hi and later joined us for a drink. Really nice to see them too.

L to R, Gary, Fiona, Dianne, Linda and Robin with the N&B, Morelo and Rafe behind.

After they went, Gary and I walked down the road to the local Fish and Chip shop to hunt and forage for tea and the girls were very happy with the result.. complete with Oysters and Scallops 🙂

The NZMCA park is a great addition to the park network and is very hand to the beach, shops and there is a Cafe right next door too, and don’t forget the Fish and Chips!

A neat weekend and great to see everyone.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 23.64mbs
Upload: 11.33mbs
Ping: 59ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

A night in a VW

The iconic shape of the VW Combi and the bright colours were hard to miss.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Tania with the VW’s

The happy voice of Bowentown Holiday Park, Tania  was only to pleased to show me through the amazing Combi cabins. With the bright Green and Orange exterior paintjob they almost glow in the dark!

What can you say !

They’re about 4 years old and were originally made in Auckland and are fully insulated, complete with heating and set up very comfortably.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

New owners of the Park, Mike and Bec are planning to plant some gardens around them and restore the colours to that of the original VW’s.

For those who want to stay with Motorhome or Caravan friends, this is the next best thing and in the off season, they’re just $85 a night.

A great sight to see and a fun way to spend the weekend away!

Caniwi

Many of you will have seen Nelson and Marees Trailite with Caniwi across its forehead along with the NZMCA wings. Nelson is originally from Canada hence the Cankiwi name!

Click on an image to see Hi Res

Nice big lounge area

They’ve had their van for 3 years now. Amazing as it seems like yesterday when they got it!

The van is a 2015 Trailite Karapiro powered by a 3 litre Turbo diesel on a VW base. They’ve done 32000 k’s over the last 3 years and spent a lot of it in the South Island and it still looks brand new!

Galley

Their favorite spots were the Tekapo NZMCA park and Pinders Pond in Roxburgh..both our favorites too.

The Bedroom

It was nice to catch up with them at the Waihi Beach NZMCA park opening.

Its all about that Beach

The Bowentown Holiday Park is in one of the best locations with one of the best Beachs !

With a friendly crew and with the NZMCA off season deal of pay for two nights,  and get two thrown in, it was just too tempting! Their normal tariff at $23pp powered I thought was very reasonable anyway, given the facilities provided.

With Tania’s cheery voice on the phone  and confirming there was a space for Rafe, I was underway.

Click on an image for Hi Res

On the way, I stopped off at Karangahake Gorge to do the Windows walk. Well worth doing, and after that, I stopped to check out the new NZMCA park at Waihi Beach.

Another great addition to the parks network.

Nice outlook

The Bowentown Holiday Park is at the end of a long  peninsula right on the beach. It is well setup up with a newish Amenities block with TV room, Games room, huge Kitchen and an amazing space age looking Laundry. There is also a spa pool area there too.
I was offered a park right up against the hill overlooking the beach and the rest of the park. It was a breeze getting in and settling Rafe and I was off for a look around and down to the beach. A magic spot.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The park has just changed hands after 30 something years, with new owners Mike and Bec settling in and only just 4 weeks in, have already got a plan of attack for new improvements. Two of the cabins are well into a full refurbishment with more to come!

New owners Mike and Bec

The beach here though is the feature of course and being right next to it, it just doesn’t get any better. Even in Winter!

A nice park, nice people and I’ll be back soon.

The Netspeed Speed test
Download 12.79mbs
Upload 3.12mbs
Ping 157ms

Rafe’s Track

Waihi Beach NZMCA Park

I was on my way to Bowentown but couldn’t help but pop in and have a nosey at one of our new Parks. Its also got a Cafe a few doors along so very handy.

The NZMCA park at Waihi Beach

As I drove in one of the first things I saw was Robin and Linda’s brand new Morelo.  They’ve sold their house and the new beast is now their new home. It comes from the same stable as the Dethleffs in Pokeno so I was keen to catch up and see how it was all going.

The park.. Robin and Linda’s Morelo and Rafe on the other side.

They’re  having fun. They’re really pleased with it. At 8.4 metres long it was the height that’s impressive.. they’re massive!

We had a good natter and my 5 minute chat and quick stop to get some piccies turned into an hour or so! .. Nice people.

The Entrance

The park had about 20 odd Motorhomes and Caravans in it and there was plenty of room for more.

Its in a great location being an easy walk to the beach and to the shops and the Cafe next door will be pleased to see the park open.

Another great place to park and a great addition to the network of parks.

Rafe’s Track to the NZMCA park

Windows

Karangahake Gorge is just amazing. We walked around here a year or two ago but didn’t quite get to the Windows walk for some reason. Well.. its wild.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The Main suspension bridge over the Ohimemuri river

After parking Rafe in the carpark next to two other Motorhomes, I set off with the box brownie and headed across the suspension bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River.

The Power Station looking back to the carpark

The old Powerhouse used to be at the other end but all that can be seen now is the concrete base.

Looking back over the old PowerStation ruins to the carpark.

The walk is supposed to take an hour and is 2.5 kms. I headed off up the right hand side of the gorge along a pathway which had some mine entrances heading off into the hillside.

How is that track

As the walk went further on, the pathway was cut into the sheer cliff face and protected by barriers. Just stunning with the river below. Knowing that this was a loop walk back across the other side, I couldn’t see anywhere across the other side that looked like it could accommodate a track!

The second bridge up to the tunnels.

As I went further on, I came across another suspension bridge crossing the river and a track leading up some steps into a Tunnel. Just as well I brought my cell phone for some light although a torch would have been better .. note for next time!

The original tracks are still in there for the Gold Diggings train too.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow of the walk

As the Tunnel went on their were little exits (Windows) out across the river and eventually it came out to a well formed track.

The Spanish chaps ahead

I bumped into a couple of chaps from Spain enjoying the walk who were keen to do more walks. A family with small kids went through too so its suitable for all ages.

One of the old carts

Further along there was the ruins of the processing plants that occupied most of the hillside. Its not a big area so its amazing what they fitted in there at that time.

The foundations of one of the big factories

After a chat with my Spanish friends at the end of the track, I headed back across the main swing bridge to the carpark where there was originally a whole township. An amazing spot! .. I’ll definitely have to come back here again.!

Rafe’s Track to the Windows walks