Category Archives: Friends

Work in Wellington

Wellington beckoned with some photographic work for some ads and a manual for a client I’ve worked with for nearly 20 years. The plan was to drive down in Rafe, take my gear and photograph some people in and around Wellington doing their thing.

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Plenty of room

So off we went checking in with our old friends Dianne and Gary along the way in Taupo, and the next day, checking in to the Wellington Top 10 in Petone.

Lots of space

They were doing an off season deal where if we stayed for more than 5 days, we’d get an extra two nights for free. That worked perfectly for us as the work was finished in 5 days and we’d get to catch up with some of Fiona’s cousins for the last days.

One of the best games / entertainment spaces I’ve seen in a Holiday Park.

The client also arranged for a small rental car so I could get around to all their sites and get the piccies done which was magic.

Fiona up on Mt Victoria

Once the work was done, we had a half day where we could have a bit of a look around with the car to see my old school in Clifton Terrace in the city in Wellington. Its now called a model school. I’m not sure what that means but it was two classrooms and went from the primers all the way to standard 6.  I was about standard 2 or thereabouts and occasionally used to catch the Cable Car to school 🙂

The house we lived in then has now gone and is roughly where the motorway is by the Aurora Tce bridge.

One of the old Cable car trams

We checked our old house in Eastbourne and later, my grandparents old house in Melrose over the hill from the Zoo. The house was huge with a massive garden up the hill behind which was almost vertical.

My grandparents house in Melrose.. my room was the top floor on the left. The workshop was the row of windows by the terrace above the garages.

I remember watching the old Bristol Freighters taking off from Wellington Airport across the other side of Lyall Bay.  My bedroom when we stayed there (we were living in Christchurch then) was on the top floor and used to get the lighthouse flicking through the window every now and then on the wall… amazing.

He also had an amazing workshop and showed me how to make string puppets and a lot of other things. All sorts of things came out of that small workshop. He made some trolleys for us  (younger brother and sisters) to play with on the terrace outside above the garages.

He was a really clever guy and I could never work out why my mothers nick name for him was foolie 🙂
A house with lots of memories.

Te Papa was closed

After returning the rental car, we caught the bus into the city with the idea that we would visit Te Papa and see what had been updated but that was first day of lockdown and it was closed,  so we settled for a nice lunch at Mac’s with a glass of wine.. very civilised !

Fiona about to tuck in a meal at Mac’s

We’ve stayed at the Top 10 before and it is really the only Motorcamp in Wellington for bigger vehicles. It is well equipped with everything and being quiet, we pretty much had a whole section of 6 parks to ourselves for the first part of the week.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I had to photograph some people (formal business portraits) using a portable studio and they were very obliging in letting me use a corner of their conference room for an hour.

More of that amazing games room

They are about to install a heated pool which sounds huge. That will be great as it is a little bit removed from anywhere but the bus stop to the city is only a 10 minute walk away.

The new pool goes here..

They have the best TV / Games room I’ve ever seen in a campground and everything else is tip top. A nice park with everything you would expect from a Top 10 park.

Earlier in the week, we checked in with Fiona’s Cousins, Shona and Bruce and their partners in Plimmerton.

After stopping at their local supermarket which has the best parking for Motorhomes I’ve ever seen, we stayed in Fiona’s other cousin Malcolm and Michelle’s  driveway before heading back up to Taupo.

Outside the New World at Paraparaumu Beach.. great motorhome parking !

It’s always nice to catch up with Dianne and Gary in Taupo. Their house is on the market so it might be our last night at their old house. We enjoyed a fun night with a glass of wine or two and lots of laughs.

Parked with power at Gary and Di’s in Taupo for the last time (Probably)

A week of fun in Wellington with a bit of work thrown in but lots of great memories and nice to catch up with people we haven’t seen for a while too.

Just leaving Waiouru on the Desert Rd.

A little Bedtime reading :-)

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

Saturday was a big day. Rob and Helen were off to collect their new Autotrail Tracker RB and they were beside themselves with excitement.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Rob and Helen looking very happy !
Rob and Helen looking very happy !

Their first Tracker RB had taken them and their daughter Chloe. all around NZ over the last 4 years or so.

The new Tracker looking very smart
The new Tracker looking very smart

The new Tracker is a different colour, has Automatic Transmission and has 180 horses. It has more room in the front lounge area, a separate Shower and Toilet area and lots of other little tweaks.

The new beast with Rafe behind
The new beast with Rafe behind

Having Rafe parked right behind, I was amazed with the changes in some of the vents, and other fittings which you see on Dethleffs and other makes.  Even the tyres are different from the older models.. now Michelins.

Rob unpacking the sealed manual packs.
Rob unpacking the sealed manual packs.

We drove down to meet them at Athenree Holiday Park as a meeting point and to help celebrate their first night away in it.

The Bedroom. The bed runs the opposite way to the older one.
The Bedroom. The bed runs the opposite way to the older one.

We hadn’t long checked in when the first glasses of bubbly were consumed. A nice afternoon in the sun with a swim in the hotpools later as well.

Its a lovely Motorhome and they’re over the moon with it.

Its a good thing that Rob is pretty handy and technically minded and likes reading the odd manual.
Its a good thing that Rob is pretty handy and technically minded and likes reading the odd manual.

As the title says.. lots of bedtime reading manuals for Rob!

The Netspeed Speedtest for Athenree Holiday Park
Download: 42.01 Mbps
Upload: 26.18 Mbps
Ping: 54 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-37.448570,175.966467

Rafe’s Track to Athenree

Rafe’s Track to Athenree.. The Green Dot

Robs Fan

A repost from days gone by .. enjoy

Having spent the last few days with our friends Rob and Helen and their 11yr old daughter Chloe, Rob was keen to show us a modification he has made to his fridge to make it more efficient. Now Rob is a clever guy and is very familiar with things electrical so to see it working as well as it does is fantastic.

Rob with his fan
Rob with his fan

Robs fridge is an under the bench style Dometic 3 way fridge. They imported their AutoTrail themselves from the Uk a few years ago and of course it came with a “Northern Hemisphere” fridge. The difference between those and the “tropical” fridge is that the NZ fridges apparently are setup to be able to deal with hotter climates.
The work around for Uk fridges in NZ is to fit a 12v fan in the cavity behind the fridge with a thermostat to expel the air from behind the fridge, outside.

The thermostat
The thermostat

The 12v fans use next to no power and are really reliable.
Rob says it has made a massive difference to its performance and both he and Helen are really pleased with the way it performs.
There is a link to an Aussie web site which details the technical which Rob found that makes it relatively easy.  Here’s the technical link

Left right, left right, attention !

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

What a great weekend! The weather was great and we had things to do.

After Fiona had finished work, we headed out to one of our favorite spots, the NZMCA park at Ardmore, a hop skip and a jump from Alex, Sarah and the Grandkids.

As always, remember to click on the images to see Hi Res.

Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe
Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe

Our friends, Rob & Helen and their daughter Chloe were heading off for a week or so to Napier and Gisborne so it was great we could pop in to Ardmore to see them off. When we arrived at about 7:30pm, they were off on a walk so they were a bit surprised to see us there when they returned as we hadn’t confirmed that we would be there.

Alex, Sarah and the boys came over after their tea and we all caught up in Rafe. Lots of fun.

The Ardmore NZMCA park is in an airfield precinct so a little noise comes with the territory, usually small planes and sometimes Helicopters.

Ardmore Park with Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe next door. The Cadet hall behind.
Ardmore Park with Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe next door. The Cadet hall behind.

That morning, things were different. At 8am, we heard the repetitive bark of a Sergeant Major type next door in the cadet parade ground teaching St John Juniors how to march. It was quite interesting to watch too as some didn’t know the left from the right so there were some interesting moves happening.
They were all togged up in their black uniforms and looked good, some even wearing their medals. There was one trainer who forgot his black clobber and was doing it all in his Red shorts.

St Johns Juniors marching
St Johns Juniors marching

As Fiona said, good on him for volunteering his time on a Saturday morning but it did sort of spoil the overall look.

About 9:30, we said goodbye to Rob, Helen and Chloe and they headed off to Taupo for their trip to Hawkes Bay and beyond. We left as well and went around to Alex, Sarahs and the Grandkids for the morning and around lunchtime, headed towards one of our other favorite places, Rays Rest at Miranda.  We were  catching up our friends Gary and Chris who were helping other friends Mark and Tina with their first trip out in their new, second hand Motorhome.
Rays Rest is a great spot and the weather was behaving as well.

Rays Rest
Rays Rest

After arriving early in the afternoon, we caught up for cups of tea and later a couple of drinks and then  headed off in Gary’s van down to get the fish and chips for tea from the famous Kaiaua fish and chips shop.  Gary wasn’t drinking so that worked well.  It was nice to see how much progress Mark had made on his motorhome as when he got it, it leaked and had quite a lot of dampness in its linings. .. now all gone.  More on this in another post soon.

We had a great night together and called it quits and hit the hay.

At Rays Rest
At Rays Rest

The next morning was nice in diffused sunshine with little wind. We sat on the foreshore watching people fish and just soaked up the atmosphere.

At Rays Rest, Gary, Fiona, Tina, Chris and Mark
At Rays Rest, Gary, Fiona, Tina, Chris and Mark

Gary, Chris, Tina and Mark were going to carry on to Thames and Coromandel so after lunch, we left them and headed home. A nice weekend.

 

Mark & Tina’s Travelhome

A repost from days gone by .. enjoy

Mark came back from a Turners Auction about 8 or so months ago and surprised us all when he arrived with a 1995 CI Travelhome on a Ford Trader chassis.

The Exterior
The Exterior

Mark & Tina are old boating mates and knowing that he has his hands full with a car restoration, a bike restoration and still has his boat to look after as well, I wondered where he would get the time from to work on what was a do up !

Click on the images to see Hi Res

My first observation  when I first saw it was rot, dampness  and a whole lot of work but what a transformation when I saw it just recently.

All the leaks are fixed, the rot has been removed, leaky hatches have been replaced and all the sleeping accommodation has been completely relined. It looks fantastic.

The weekend we spent with Mark & Tina at Rays Rest was great and for their very first trip away, everything worked well.

Mechanically, it just plods away with the 3.5 l normally aspirated Ford Diesel and Mark tells me it flew through its first COF.

The View
The View

Its looking really nice. Well done both of you.

 

We’ve found a house !

We sold our last house in October last year. Settled in February this year and since then, we’ve been in Rafe fulltime mostly staying at Takapuna Holiday Park for 3-4 days a week.

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Our last night at Takapuna

Fiona has been able to walk to work from there in Takapuna and I’ve been able to do the odd commercial photographic job from there. We escaped in the weekends to where ever with a month off in the South Island as well. Its been fun but I’m very happy to be in a house again.

The rain finally stopped! Our last day

We did put in offers for a couple but were turned down and in hindsight, it was a good thing as what we have now is pretty bloody good! It also has a park for Rafe once we extend a concrete pad in the next few weeks.

Our view

The Kitchen needs doing and Fiona is already sizing up a new Oven.
Here are some images done by the real estate agency.

Click on the Gallery below to see Images of the House

Best of all its only 90 Square metres (we came from 240 sq m) with enough room for our friends and small enough to vacuum with the new Dyson in a few minutes.

It has a view out towards the North over the Waitemata Golf course in Devonport and is 5 minutes bike ride from about 4 beaches.

Our view

The week before we settled, I went to Adelaide to see my family with my two sons Andrew and Alex, as we haven’t seen any of them over there for quite a while. We were only there for 4 days and my sister Jayne went all out and organised a meal with the family and took us to see McClaren Vale and Hahndorf in the Adelaide hills which was great.

It was all a bit of a surprise for a few with my brother Tim coming over from Melbourne and neice flying in from Sydney too. Lots of fun and nice to see everyone.

Click on the gallery below for a Slideshow

The next day after getting back, we settled on the house so it was all a bit hectic! It all went reasonably smoothly and we moved in a few days later.

Even though Rafe has steadies, its really nice to walk around and not have that little wobble under your feet.

Motorhome reunion at the Hot Pools

Some months ago we arranged to get some old time Dethleffers together at the old haunt where we first met at Miranda Hot Pools.

New Playground

Bruce and Judy with Rafe’s twin brother (Motorhome, younger by a month) from Coromandel, and Gary and Dianne from Taupo with their Neismann and Bischoff Arto 88. Gary and Dianne started with a Dethleffs Esprit and then later and Dethleffs XLI.

We all met at the Miranda Holiday park as Jonas (the agent) held the first Annual get together there which Gary and Dianne helped to organise.  The next year was held there too.  Day 2

Its always good fun to come here especially in the middle of winter. Nothing beats a soak in a Hot pool!

People enjoying the pool

It was great to catch up with the crew and for me, its always great to see what Bruce has added to his Motorhome being identical to ours.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Grant and Sharron arrived the next day from Hamilton in their Holiday Rambler. We caught up with them with their friends and their Ramblers at Tokerau a year or so ago.

Grant and Sharron arrived too from Hamilton in their Rambler.

Miranda Holiday Park has changed hands and as its a while since I’ve been here there have been some notable changes.

Bruce and Judy having dogs, had a fenced off area at the back which meant their two dogs could wander around their Motohome park without disappearing off around the camp. A fantastic addition for the camp for Dog lovers.

Bruce and Judy’s van in the Dog area

There is also a Volley Ball / Badminton net and some more cabins added at the back which were all booked out when we were there. Nice!

The new Cabins

We had fun reminiscing with the first Dethleffs getother and the changes over the years.. that was nearly 5 years ago !
A fun weekend.

Rafe at Kaiaua

On the way home we stopped in at Kaiaua for our favourite Fish and Chips for lunch.

Rafe’s Tracker map

The Pine trees on the beach

While we were at Fairlie, I met our neighbours Peter and Val who were heading to Amberley to see their daughter. She just happened to live near the Campground at Amberley Beach. This was to be our next destination too.

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Rafe in the Park

After leaving Fairlie, we checked with old friends Ray and Margaret who have settled now in Geraldine. We met them at Peskis and they later showed us around Lake McGregor when we were with them at Tekapo. We had lots of fun together and it was neat to catch up with them again and see their house.

From here it was a quick stop at Christchurch to get some chemicals for the loo and then off to Amberley Beach.

The Non Dog area

We arrived there about 4pm and the shadows were already starting to get long. The camp is split into two bits. On the right is an area for Dogs and on the left is an area without Dogs. We went to the left and signed up and put our money in the “wooden maiden”. The cost is $5pp plus $5 for power.. very good value with some new loos nearby and the beach just through the sandhills.

Crossing to the pines

We went for a walk down to the beach just for a look and it looks fantastic with Pines on the foreshore in the sandhills.

Fabulous beach

It reminded me of when I was growing up in Christchurch, we used to have family holidays somewhere up this coast and I remember the pine trees that you had to run through to get to the beach and there were lots of old Cribs.. ahh the good old days !

Late Colours

It looked a bit bleak this time but this was only because it was getting late.

In the morning we left there and headed through to Kaikoura. Coming down from Wellington poured with rain all the way so we didnt get to see much but this time it was brilliant sunshine.

Its amazing what has been done here by the roading and railway people fixing things up after the earthquake. We saw some of the brave abseiling workers fixing back wire barriers to stop rocks falling. Amazing

The Pier Hotel

Arriving at Kaikoura for lunch, our first stop was to the Pier Hotel where we’ve eaten before. Looking across from there its amazing to see all the rocks that have been pushed up by the earthquake.

Looking across Kaikoura with all the new Rocks

One of the things still noticeable is the state of the roads around the area but Kaikoura is looking great and its great to see the good folk of Kaikoura bouncing back after such massive damage.

The Netspeed Speedtest Amberley
Download : 42.05 mbps
Upload : 12.16 mbps
Ping : 50 ms

Rafe’s Track North

Biking to Lowburn

Moving from the Queenstown Holiday Park after my job was complete, we were looking forward to catching up with Rob and see Helen who had arrived in Lowburn from Auckland the day before.

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Motorhomes and caravans down at one of my favourite parking spots

We were at Rob and Helen’s place for the weekend and Sunday was planned for a quick bike ride down to the lake by Lowburn Inlet.

Rob had some chores he wanted to deal with and was going to walk down later so we all set off.

The bikes ready to go

Fantastic sunshiney day and warm as toast as long as you kept out of the shadows!

Fiona and Helen heading to Lowburn

We ended up down by the inlet where we’ve stayed in Rafe right by the lake. Its interesting to see that the absolute lakeside has been fenced off but it is still a wonderful place to stay. I believe the loos have had a bit of a makeover too.

Lowburn lake

We didn’t stay long and we biked back up the Lowburn Valley to check out some of the newly built houses. The real estate scene down here is cruising along nicely and I’m not surprised looking at some of the fantastic homes being built here.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

When we arrived back at the house in time for friends Ross and Karen afternoon drinks, Rob was just arriving back from a walk. He didn’t say where he’d been but Rob doesn’t do small walks 🙂

Fiona getting back to Rob and Helen’s

A great day out in the sun.

Yum Yum at Olivers

About a hundred years ago, Fiona trained to be a nurse with Pam.  We became good friends with Pam and husband Ollie, and as they also lived in Devonport we kept in touch.

Cutting a long story short, after their children grew up, they eventually went for a change of lifestyle and bought their farm just out of Temuka and did up the farm house.

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Ollie and Pam

It was a massive restoration which included lifting it up and spinning it around to face the sun.

The Farmhouse

Ollie is a trained chef and along with his cooking skills and having Pam at his side, they’ve setup and run Olivers Farm Stay’s B&B.

We had just arrived at Winchester Domain Camping ground which is about 500 metres up the road from their B&B just as we did a couple of years ago.

Fiona looked a picture as she had just washed her hair and one side of her head all done up in curlers.. think Ena Sharples 🙂 .. Ollie and Pam pull up and pop their heads in the door.. 🙂

After a cup of tea in Rafe, they took us up the road to their local cafe in Winchester.

Several hours went by here and then we went straight to Ollie and Pams home for tea.

It was great to catch up on all the news about their family and where they were up to.

While we had a glass or two of nice wine, Ollie prepared the feast and it was just stunning. No wonder their overseas customers keep coming coming back when there is this standard of hospitality.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The time ticked by unoticed as it does when you’re having fun but what a magic night and lovely to catch up with them both again.

Roasted Kumara !

If you’re in the area or know someone who wants to be spoiled with great food, in a comfortable place with some great humour thrown in. Check out http://www.oliversfarmstay.co.nz