Category Archives: East Coast 2017

Launch of the Books – Free Download!

Wow.. what a week ..

The last 2 of our Bugger it We Are Off series books were launched last week.  All four are now on Amazon as Kindles EBooks.

To celebrate this, I’ve got the Napier Art deco book available for free for the next 4 days from today (US time) – Tomorrow NZ Time

From 1st August (US time), this book will be available for free for 5 days.  …..Click here

I’ve got them available in the Epub format as well for Ipads but haven’t got a Mac which you need to upload to the iTunes store.. I’ll find a way!

These publications are all based on this Blog.
I’m not expecting them to be best sellers but if someone out there finds a couple of things of interest in there, it was worth doing.

The blurb below is copied from the OUR Books page.

As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 20, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.

Bugger it we are off to the Pinnacles in a convoy is about meeting Motorhome friends in Taupo NZ (central North Island) and heading in our three Motorhomes down to the Pinnacles at the bottom of the North Island.

We travel through the Hawkes Bay wine region on the way, go to a UB40 concert, survive a raging storm and enjoy a great meal in an old style Country Lodge. Lots of fun and some great images.

Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer Motorhome and then following our Motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks explore central Europe with bikes.

There were lots of adventures and lots of laughs. A truly memorable experience.

Bugger it we are off to the South Island of NZ is about our three month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.

We met lots of neat people, caught up with some friends and relatives, stayed in some amazing places and had a great time.

To see more about these books and links to buy, see our Book Page

Nice easy parking with power at Pauanui

One of our favourite places to stay is the Pauanui Club. For $8 a night including power and water and membership of the club for 24 hours, this is extremely good value. We had not long stopped and plugged in and paid for our stay when one of the Directors of the club, Robin, who is responsible for the development of the property popped over for a chat. A really nice guy. He was telling me that the plan over the next year is to add a laundry facility and Hot showers for Motorhomers. There are toilets here already but they’re also adding to those too. It’ll be sensational!

The bikes are ready to go
The bikes are ready to go
Pauanui
The Pauanui Club with the new Showers, Laundry and Toilets area to be in the building on the right

There are 6 powered very flat sites and all surrounded with trees for the wind.   We arrived here from Taupo for two nights to see the grandkids who were staying here. They were only an easy bike ride about 10 minutes away so it works well.
PauanuiJust next door is a full Golf course, a mini golf course which is fun and the legendary airfield with the hangered house alongside for the aviation enthusiasts.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow


On our first day, my son Alex, Sarah and the boys came around on their bikes and we sat out in the sun by the mini golf course.
We took the boys through the mini golf the next day. Liam (3) insisted that the golf club had to be back to front and played it like hockey. Ayden (7) was saying that two or three hits were only one ! :-). They were having fun so to us it didn’t matter.
There is a dump station is just down the road and while there, we stopped for a few minutes to watch the locals out with their jet skis and beach toys.
PauanuiThe Pauanui club also has a full kitchen and bar so on our last night before heading back to Auckland, we were going to have a meal there but for some unknown reason it wasn’t possible so we walked to the nearby town centre and had a great meal there.
We’ve stayed here before. The previous blog can be seen here.

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.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

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..

High Tea at the Chateau

We arrived at the Whakapapa Holiday park with 10 minutes to spare to make our pre booked High Tea at the Chateau. I quickly plugged in Rafe and we locked the door and we headed off down the road.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Rafe tucked up
Rafe tucked up

It’s was an interesting experience as I’m not very practised at these High Tea things. There are three tiers of goodies to eat. Dianne and I shared one platter (if that’s what they’re called) and Gary and Fiona shared the other.

Gary, Fiona and Dianne at High tea.
Gary, Fiona and Dianne at High tea.

Apparently you start from the bottom with the cucumber Sammies and work your way up to the sweet things on the top level. All very interesting.

Fiona all set to go
Fiona all set to go

The Chateau is an amazing old building. Although it has been well looked after, it reeks of another time. It’s a shame that all the joinery has been changed to aluminium but I suppose that’s so they can double glaze and so on but it has been done nicely.

The Windows and Mt Ruapehu
The Windows and Mt Ruapehu

The campground is quite interesting in that it hovers over a river from further up off Mt Ruapehu.

The river behind the parks. The parks are on the left in the trees.
The river behind the parks. The parks are on the left in the trees.

The Motorhome parks are all in between carefully cut out parks in between trees with rock and wood boundaries and all nicely flattened.

Dianne and Fiona heading back. Rosie can be seen through the trees.
Dianne and Fiona heading back. Rosie can be seen through the trees.

There is an amenities block just down from the parks.
Nobody was terribly interested in having dinner after all the goodies from the High Tea so we had a few drinks in Rafe until around 9.30 and then all retired for the night. There was no Internet but we were given free access to the camp wifi. An interesting park.

And Rafe’s Track to get there..

Rafe's Track to Whakapapa Holiday Park
Rafe’s Track to Whakapapa Holiday Park

Cruising by the River

Staying at Mangaweka! What’s there? .. A fabulous campground by the river and a neat wee town bulging with personality 🙂
Gary and Dianne had finished up in Taupo and we’re ready to come out to play again in Rosie. We arranged to meet at the riverside campground at Mangaweka. I’ve been wanting to try the riverside camping thing for some time and the reviews show these campgrounds are pretty good.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

Rafe and Rosie with the cliffs of Mangaweka
Rafe and Rosie with the cliffs of Mangaweka

Fiona and I arrived early in the afternoon which was just as well as it had been really busy and it was first in best dressed. At $9 per person including power it was sensational value. We met some really nice caravanners parked in the centre, who were packing up to go, said we could grab their spot which was nice, and just as they left after 20 minutes or so, Gary and Dianne arrived in Rosie the XLI.

Fiona, Gary and Dianne on the bridge between the two camps
Fiona, Gary and Dianne on the bridge between the two camps
Looking back to the bridge
Looking back to the bridge

We plugged in, settled down and then set off over the bridge to pay at the Awastone Resort which is setup to be a little more upmarket than the campground.
Both campgrounds are owned and run by Paul and Tricia and their family. The bar, cafe, cabins, with gravel based parks and power right by the river, are $38 for a night for two. We could not go without having a few glasses of wine with homemade sausage rolls on the deck in the sun. After that we walked back over the bridge to celebrate Gary’s birthday. It was good to see them again. We we’re going to celebrate Gary’s birthday in Martinborough .

The Main Street
The Main Street

The next day we walked into the village to check it out. It’s an interesting town as State Highway 1 was moved to bypass the Main Street quite a long time ago and all the old buildings are still there. It’s like time stood still. We met a friend of one of the shop owners and it seems like there is a real arty, creative sort of community getting established there.

After having a look around and a cuppa at the cafe, as we headed back to the Campground, we tried to collar a couple of escaped sheep from a paddock and return them but after 20 minutes or so of pretending to be Sheep dogs and losing badly, we gave it away and carried on after making sure the sheep were heading away from State Highway 1. Isn’t it funny how the sheep can spot some townies pretending to be shepherds a mile away 🙂

The shops in the Main Street
The shops in the Main Street

This is another classic case of a place that’s usually a thoroughfare for most of us being completely overlooked as a neat destination. With both campgrounds here on either side of the river with different price points, they’re well setup for your next visit.

Rafe's Track to Mangaweka
Rafe’s Track to Mangaweka

Charming Greytown

After we arrived in Greytown, we started looking at where we going to stay. The GPS directed us to a neat little POP on the side of a local contractor, John and his wife Rosie. They have century started growing pumpkins on part of his 5 acres in the middle of Greytown. Lovely people who couldn’t do enough for us.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

At the POP .
At the POP .

We setup on their POP area which is half grass and half gravel. From the street you wouldn’t know any of this existed and it was so quiet.
We walked from their into Greytown shops, about 10 minutes walk and spent the afternoon in Greytown. The whole town basically is set around the Main Street which is full of original old buildings still being used and maintained.

The original Butchers shop
The original Butchers shop

The next morning, Rob, Helen and Chloe left to head up to Taupo to go to a NZMCA Rally for kids which was happening. After our farewells, we headed around to the local campground so I could charge up some batteries and flick the hose over Rafe to get the salt off from the pinnacles as it still hadn’t really rained.

One of the more unusual tents
One of the more unusual tents

The campground is great and very reasonably priced. It’s huge and incorporates a huge playground and very much dominated by those in tents which is great so see.

The facilities are nice and clean and it’s all nicely setup. Our park was a bit small for us but the manager was quite happy for us to cover the next parking hole but I managed to park it diagonally within the lines quite easily.
GreytownNice park, great manager and close to town. I think it cost us $32.50 for two including power. At this time of the year, that’s pretty good in my books.

The Pinnacles

We were all quite looking forward to checking these out as apparently, they’ve been used in one of Peter Jacksons movies. I’m not sure which one.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

The march up to the Pinnacles
The march up to the Pinnacles

We left Martinborough early and set off south towards the Pinnacles. They’re about 30 odd K’s from Martinborough so they’re a good hour south.
The South West was blowing at around 30-40 knots and we were getting some good puffs on the road. The road is pretty good being sealed all the way but as you get closer, it is quite exposed and at one point, there is a causeway where the waves were virtually crashing on the edge of the road with plenty of debris lying around.
We were pleased to get there. Rob, Helen and Chloe had beaten us there as we had stopped for Groceries and had a look around Martinborough before leaving.

Our park in the corner. Of the Doc camp
Our park in the corner of the Doc camp

Rob had a spectacular spot at the Doc camp there, tucked into a corner, protected by trees and bush with plenty of room for Rafe.
After settling down with a cuppa and getting organised. We set off up the valley towards the Pinnacles.

Doc suggests a 1.5hrs easy walk round trip. I would say this is understated and would be a 2 hr trip with the last K being a good uphill slog in gravel. Those who know me will tell you that I’m not the fittest trooper on the planet but if I can do it, anyone can but it is a wee bit more that what Doc say it is.
PinnaclesIt is spectacular and is well worth the slog mostly up the side of a stream. I commented to Rob on the way back that I felt a bit like Daniel Boon given the slightly eery almost desert like landscape similarities.

Daniel Booning down the stream
Daniel Booning down the stream

We set the chairs up behind Rafe and the Tracker out of the wind, wheeled out some portable music and started on a wet debrief of the day’s activities as you do :-). A nice day in the sun checking out some neat stuff we’d never seen before.

Rafe’s track to the Pinnacles

Martinborough to the Pinnacles
Martinborough to the Pinnacles