Category Archives: Friends

Fulltimers finally land.

After 3 years or so off full time Motorhoming, Gary and Chris  are back in their Ruakaka bach after having it rented out while they were away. They’re still in their Motorhome outside though while they do a virtual rebuild along with huge changes and additions for their retirement.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Outside

Gary and Chris were old boatie mates and we used to spend most weekends and Christmas holidays in the Hauraki Gulf when we had our old Whalechaser Rorqual. They had a lovely old classic sedan called Nau Mai. There were many happy moments and we had a lot of fun.

Gary on the nailgun

After selling up in Devonport and spending 5 years or so in Ranfurly, for a change of scene and direction running a B&B, they then bought their first Motorhome, an ex CI Munro renter on a Mitzi Canter base. They later upgraded this to a newer 6 berth on a Mitzi Fuso which is what they have now.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The house is looking fantastic and is very different to how it was.

We popped up a week or so ago to see how theyre going and theyre nearly up to gibbing after huge changes and the place looks fantastic. New Aluminium Joinery and newly cladded and with a very different layout, its looking very sharp. We’re going up to help them do some painting soon.

Chris with the plans of the Kitchen

Looking Good Guys and looking forward to catching up soon with brushes..!

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

Half a Million Hits !!

Its a huge milestone and we finally got there..

Some of you probably aren’t aware of the number on the top right of the blog but thats the total number of hits that have come our way.

The Hits on the right

You’re not alone and its really interesting where everyone comes from. Most hits come from NZ but there are a lot of you from the UK and around Europe as well. The Dethleffs Users UK have been big supporters too.. Thanks Richard!

Where the hits came from over the last year.

We started the Blog way back in August 2015. One of the first posts was about a Fiamma clothesline I installed on the bike rack on the back of Rafe which as been really useful and it was nice to see that it got some good hits again just in the last week!

When Fiona and I went to the South Island last year, it became very obvious how often we were recognised and how well read the Blog actually is. Thanks to everyone that made themselves known .
It was really nice to meet so many of you and get your feedback.

Thanks again for your support.. Now to get to the Million Hits!

The big Wet

We started planning Queens Birthday quite a few weeks ago so we could book into the anticipated busy Miranda Holiday Park and get parks,  for both Rafe and our friends in their Tracker.

Click on the Images to see Hi res

Fun in the pool

Rob, Helen and Chloe were joining us for the weekend and we were really looking forward to catching up with them again.

Lonely yellow chair

The weekend forecast was not great but we figured that our old favorite spot would be pretty safe.

At last the sun came out briefly

We arrived around midday on Saturday to find that Rob, Helen and Chloe had already arrived and after getting Rafe level and some vents open and the power on, Fiona and I were off to the hot pool.

Chloe’s tent in between us

The rain hadn’t started yet but was forecast to arrive anytime. Later in the day, it was all on and overnight into Sunday, it just didn’t stop. It didn’t prevent us though from ducking in and out for a swim on both days.

Later on Saturday, Rob and Helen popped over for a cold one and some cheese and biccies. I was amazed that despite the forecast, Chloe was still keen to stay the night on an air bed in a small tent between the two vans!

Click on the Gallery below to see a slideshow

Sunday… It was all on, some Thunder, and LOTS of rain. The drainage ditch behind us was chocker and threatening to come into the park from the road. There was water everywhere.

swimming in the rain

Later in the day, the rain eased up and Rob and I went for a walk to have a look around. Many of the parks with Caravans and smaller vans were half under water. Most of the tent sites near us were submerged but despite all this, everyone seemed happy. The pool was busy everytime I went anywhere near it too!

The drain behind us was about to verflow

If you’re going to get stuck in a downpour, I couldn’t think of a better place to be really:-)

Rafe’s Tracker Map

New Home in Pokeno

From starting out 5 years or so ago from a yard behind a church in Howick and outgrowing that space, Jonas Ng and his expanded team, are about to move into their new custom designed building and yard in Pokeno.

Click on an image to see Hi Res

A happy looking Jonas

The building is still under construction and with competion due in June, they’re making the best of it in a temporary yard a few doors down the road.

The current yard

In the last year, they’ve added a Rental Motorhome business with McRent NZ.

A line of McRents ready to go

Now they have Frankia Motorhomes, Neismann and Bichoff, and Morelo to add to the Dethleffs fleet and the yard is looking really busy.

Outside the new building
Inside the huge new Building

And I couldn’t leave without having a nosey at the inside of one of the new Frankia Platins..

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

Compared to the Church yard though, there is plenty of room and the new building will be really good for them. Go Jonas!

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Our first EBooks published!

Exciting… we’ve got our first ebooks away!

I’m really chuffed to get them away as it represents a huge amount of time to put them together.

It has been a lot of fun and a huge learning curve but having been involved in publishing some printed books for the Classic Yacht Association before, it was the next logical step.   I’m not expecting to get rich on them but if it covers a few bottles of Chardy and the odd tank of Diesel, then thats all good 🙂

The first two are now available on Amazon as of today and the others are coming. They are slightly  modified from the blog version so they don’t date so quickly and suit a book, and they’re in a fixed format horizontal format to show off the images to their best.

The first one is on our trip to Napier a year or so ago to the Art Deco festival. A great occasion and because its such a great event with some great images, it would be shame not to give these piccies another outing!

The other one is about our trip to the Pinnacles with friends via the Hawkes Bay last year. We were in several Motorhomes and it was a lot of fun. Some great adventures with some unusual places with a concert thrown in too for good measure.

These will both be available here by clicking on the covers above.

Ads will be appearing soon on the side of the Blog and you can keep up to date on this from the Books page.

Some time ago, I also did a blog about some older european images that I had posted for sale as prints etc. Again, I’m not expecting to get rich on them but some of you expressed an interest in getting some of them. They’re now available here.

A big occasion for me as a Blog person but there is more to come. .. Stay tuned 🙂

Party in Waihi

I love those weekends when you have nothing else to do but drive a short distance, enjoy your Motorhome for a couple of nights with a party in between and then go home to recover 🙂

Well .. this was one of those and it was fun!

Click on the Images for Hi Res

It was our old friend Angela’s 50th birthday and it was at Rob and Angelas small horse farm at Waihi.

Waihi Station

I’ve always loved Waihi and one of those character towns and a good place to stay.. the Railway Station. Now $15 a night with power or $10 without, it is very handy to everything and and its fun watching the trains come and go.

Train arriving in from Waikino
A couple of extra passengers

We’ve been here a few times, once with friends Rob and Helen and Gary and Dianne when we walked/biked through the Karangahake Gorge and Waikino. Lots of fun.

We arrived late on Saturday, parked, watched some TV and then hit the hay.

The park behind the station

Angela and Robs place is on the other side of Waihi and kickoff was midday. We did have a sudden mad moment when we thought about walking it but with bottles of wine etc, a taxi sounded like a much better idea.

Angela and Rob at the party

We met some really nice people and it was nice to see Angela and Rob in their rural home.

The birthday girl blowing out the candles

Its funny when you go to these places and meet people and they went to the same school as you or lived around the corner and you feel you should have met them earlier but didn’t. Thats how it was with several people .. amazing!

About 5pm it felt like it was our time to go… We rang the cab but no sign of her so we started walking back. Several more calls to the cab on the way. No response so half an hour later, we were back at the Railway Station.

People getting off

A neat day out in a lovely town.

The Station with the parking behind

My previous blogs on Wahi have much more on the town and the trip through the Gorge.

There is good Netspeed Internet available here but I forgot to do a speedtest.

Rafe’s track to Waihi

Pauanui Never Fails!

  1. After several weeks of sanding, painting and repairing things and generally getting the house on the market, it was time for a well earned break.

Our friends Helen, Rob and Chloe were keen to head to one of our favourite spots at the Pauanui Club at Pauanui.

Mini Golf next to the parking at Pauanui.

To beat the holiday weekend traffic, Fiona and I decided that I would get Rafe stocked up.  I would then collect her from work at 6pm and we would head down to the motorway towards Ardmore and maybe spend the night there.  We would then go early the next day  to Coromandel to try to beat the worst of the traffic.

As we crossed the bridge, there was no traffic !  We got to Manukau, still no traffic until we hit Takanini where roadworks slowed it down to a crawl but after a 1k or so, we were away again !  We decided we’d keep going until we’d had enough and that ended up being Thames  🙂

I’ve never stayed at Rhodes park before but it is just on the left after Thames Airfield before you get into Thames. It is Free parking provided by the local council and  its a great place. A great big piece of flat gravel and you can park anywhere.

There were about 10 or so Caravans and Motorhomes and everyone had plenty of room.  There as a good Internet signal there too but I forgot to measure it!

We woke up in the morning around 7:30 to the phone ringing which Fiona answered and it was Rob saying that they were at Drury on the Southern Motorway stopped in traffic. We made a decision to get up and get going in case the traffic extended to the Coromandel road and got cracking.

Plenty of space

As it turned out, it only took us about 40 minutes to get to Pauanui and we were there shortly after 9am. Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived about an hour or so later.

One of the Hanger homes

The Club parking is superb and it is extremely good value. At $10 including power, toilets, a cold shower(if you have no option) and access to their bar and superb meals. It is also right next door to the Airfield with homes with built in hangers alongside the runway. There is always something to see and do. The town is an easy 5 minute walk away as well with some nice Cafe’s and a small supermarket. It is also right next door to a great Mini Golf park which was busy for most of the weekend.

There were 4 Motorhomes there when we arrived and there was plenty of room for more.

Rafe and the Tracker in the park

Some positive feedback for them. There is room for more Motorhomes there down one end but the 8 power sockets are on two poles where they could spread this over three poles and increase their turnover but its fantastic as it is!

Great Beach with Slipper Island behind

We went for a walk around to see our son Alex’s family about a 1k away who were staying in Sarah’s family bach. Grandsons Ayden and Liam were there too so we took them down to the beach about 100 metres away.

Pauanui is a great surf beach with the famous Slipper island just off shore.

Liam and Ayden digging in the sand. Chloe, Rob, Helen and Fiona further up the beach.

That night, Alex and Sarah and the boys came around and we all went to the Pauanui club for a few glasses of fizz and they had tea.

Ayden and Liam digging holes on the beach

The next day, they all walked around to the Pauanui Waterways and had a look at this amazing development. Rob, Helen and Chloe  climbed up to the top of Mt Pauanui which is a feat too!

Pauanui Waterways

All in all, over three days, it was nice to be in one spot for a period and just be able to blob and check out what was just around the corner.

Here is a previous post on this site too.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 26.55 Mbps
Upload: 31.46 Mbps
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-37.020966,175.860385

Rafe’s Tracker Map

A Blast Northwards

After a couple of nice days at Richmond, we decided we would cross the strait early and head back to Auckland. We headed to our favourite Blenheim Motorcamp, Spring Creek  for a night before catching the ferry on a perfect day to cross to Wellington.

Lots of Motorhomes on the deck

It was nice to see the owners Christine and Andy and the campground was looking good. I gave Rafe a good wash to tidy up a bit while Fiona got some washing done as well.

Primo spot next to the creek.

The next morning, we were off early and with perfect weather, the crossing was fantastic. We arrived in the middle of the day so we thought Plimmerton NZMCA park would be good for the night and then we would head to Taupo to stay with friends Gary and Dianne. They had arranged for some other friends Ian and Lynda with their Dethleffs XLI to join us for four nights as well. We were really looking forward to seeing them all again.

A panorama of the Plimmerton when we arrived.

After an early departure from Plimmerton, we left and made good time getting to Waiouru at lunchtime after stopping at the Woolshed café in Sanson for a cuppa and some fuel.  $1.19 a litre at the Sanson Caltex Truck stop for diesel.. amazing.
We had paid up to $1.45 a litre in the South Island.

Mt Ruapehu at Waiouru

We cruised in to Taupo about 3.30pm and as it was nearly 30C – hot!, we were with Gary and Dianne in their pool to cool off.  It was nice to see them both again.

Rafe parked at Gary and Diannes

Ian and Lynda were arriving the following day.

Ian and Lynda’s Dethleff XLI

The next day, Gary took one look at Rafe and while I washed Rafe, he made it clear that he thought, Rafe needed a bit more TLC.

Ian and Gary with all the polishing toys!

Within a few minutes, he was out with his cut and polish kit and got straight into all of Rafe’s blue bits. The bonnet and the doors and the the decals down the side.

Look at that reflection in the bonnet!

A light cut, a polish and buffing and it looked like a different vehicle.

Ian and Gary with Rafe.. look at the Tyres!

When Ian arrived the next day, they were both at it but what a huge difference! Even the wheels got some silicone treatment!

We went down to Repco to get some Turtle Wax so I could wax it when I got back to Auckland (Which I’ve now done).

Thanks guys, you made such a difference and Rafe now looks a picture!

Shiny 🙂

After 4 great days with the crew in Taupo, we headed back to Alex and Sara’s in Ardmore in Auckland (Son and Daughter in law) and the Grandkids Ayden and Liam. It was nice to see them again and with that, the South Island trip came to a close.

Christmas was on the doorstep and we were looking forward to catching up with friends and family. Many we hadn’t seen since we left for Europe over 6 months ago.

Rafe’s track to Auckland

Settling down at Lowburn

It has been a busy week with huge temperatures for Cromwell with us sitting amongst the trees at Lowburn.

Click on an Images of Hi Res

Our spot at Lowburn

Sunday finally arrived and this was the day Helen and her good friend Glenys were arriving in Queenstown, picking up a rental car and heading to Helen and Robs new house in Lowburn Valley.

The tenant had moved out and Helen was setting it up ready for Christmas.

Rafe in front of the house plugged in. The visitors area on the very left.

They have had a Barn built next to the house for their new Autotrail Tracker and bits and bobs, and on the side of that is a Motorhome Plug for their friends in their Motorhomes.. yippee, thats us !

Rafe in front of the new Barn

While we were waiting for Helen and Glenys to arrive, our friends in Cromwell, Ross and Karen who moved here 15 or so years ago, rang us earlier and said they’d pick us up from Lowburn Harbour to join them down at the Historic Precinct for a cup of coffee.  It was nice to see Ross and Karen at their home  and  after a short while, we walked down the road to the Precinct. It was nice to see all their friends, some we had met before and hadn’t seen for a while.

The Historic Precinct

After a couple of hours, Ross dropped us off back to Lowburn Harbour and while we were there, Helen and Glenys pulled up too ! A chance for Helen and Glenys to meet with Ross which was great.

The shops down at the Historic Precinct

We packed Rafe for a move and headed around to Helen and Robs new house in the valley only a few K’s away and settled Rafe down again. The guest area by the Barn area is still to be concreted so I set Rafe up with blocks to level up with.

Glenys and Fiona after a huge walk over on of the local hills
Helen glued to the phone organising furniture and things.

Over the next few days, we did a few trips around to check out Cromwell and Bannockburn including a trip with Fiona’s niece Jessa, who came over from Queenstown for the afternoon and we went wine tasting at Mt Difficulty. I knew the Mt Difficulty Chardonnay was amazing so just went for a glass rather than the tasting and I wasn’t disappointed!

One of the props at Mt Difficulty

After that we headed back to Lowburn for a late lunch.

Our special lunch after the wine tasting back at home with Jessa

Helen and Glenys only had four days here so on their last day after they had left and we’d said goodbye, Fiona and I decided to bike into Cromwell’s historic precinct from the Lowburn valley, about 18 k’s round trip. A bad call as the heat that day broke all the records and was 33C at 4pm. We were back by then but it was stinking hot!

Fiona on the bike ride on the way back to Lowburn alongside Lake Dunstan

We had a fun week with Helen, Glenys, Jessa and Ross and Karen and their friends. More to come.

The boat club down by the NZMCA park

It is Ross’s birthday at the end of the week and all our old boating friends that we used to spend Christmas with out in the Hauraki Gulf, over many years, are flying down to join in so it should be fun.