Category Archives: Hawkes Bay 22

Back to the Bay

The next morning, we got fuel, filled up an LPG bottle which ran out and we were off up through the gorge towards Opotiki. I was quite looking forward to the drive as it is years since we’ve done this. It is actually quite a good road despite the potholes.

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Just over 2 hours later, we found ourselves coming into Opotiki where we stopped for something to eat and then onto Island View Holiday Park. It’s called that but due to the weather building up, you simply couldn’t see White Island at all through the murk.

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We’ve been to this park before just prior to one of the Covid lockdowns and being off season, it was $20 for two (Campsaver). There was no one else here!

Wild !

With it being top of the silly season, almost all of the Campgrounds in the Bay had cranked their prices to make the most of the demand and this park was no exception. We saw it as a treat for a couple of days. We’d done well over the previous week or so all good!

The Pool

The weather was closing in with wind and rain warnings and we were only just behind the sand dunes. A few went for a swim in the wild waters down by the surf club, but most went for the safer option in the camp pool.

The vibe was amazing with everyone having fun. There is a bike trail along behind the dunes but peters out both ways which confused a few people.

Spoilt for choice

The camp is well setup with multiple toilet and shower blocks, but it was just nice sitting down on the sand watching the waves crash and in a funny way, quite therapeutic 🙂

We stayed a couple of nights to hunker down for the worst of the weather that wasn’t as bad as predicted.

Nice people, a nice setup but now that I’m a  pensioner, I might keep our next visit to off peak 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to Island view – Armada GPS

Gisborne, here we come.

On New Year’s Day we said goodbye to Steve and Rosemary. They were heading down towards Carterton.

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We were well overdue for a trip to Gisborne as it has been 7 years since our last visit!

We headed off via the coast up past Wairoa which seemed to go on forever. The forecast bad weather had arrived and was settling in.

We found a neat little Fish shop just by the turnoff to Mahia Peninsula which had the best Fish and Chips I’ve tasted for a long time then we headed off again up towards Gisborne.

The park

The new NZMCA park in Gisborne is a beauty right over the road from the beach. With the weather the way it was it was no real surprise to see a couple of cruise ships anchored off the coast.

Fiona checking out the cruise ships

The next day we spent the morning catching up with the Laundry, bedding and all. It was nice to have a everything clean again. After that we headed off to find a nice Cafe for some lunch and got some more groceries while we were right next to a 4 Square.

Waikanae Beach
Fiona on the beach

The new park is a cracker with the beach right over the road.
Well done to the local crew for the Garden Art, it looks great.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Gisborne – Armada GPS

 

Out with the Old, in with the New

It was New Year’s Eve. We left the Hawkes Bay Golf club reasonably early so we could find a good spot at Eriksen Park. It was busy but there were plenty of gaps.

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The Dethleff corner. Steve and Rosemary’s Esprit, Rafe and Ian and Erik’s Esprit.

We’d only driven about halfway into the park when we spotted an older Dethleffs Esprit with some big gaps alongside, so I parked alongside and Steve next to us. Easy.

Busy at Eriksen Park

After we’d opened vents and settled in, off came the bikes and the four of us set off to Napier for lunch. It was nice to see some of the old cars cruising the streets.

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We then went to the famous Masonic Hotel for a drink but after less than ½ hour, we were told they were closing so we moved to this amazing wine bar just down the road that Steve knew about, where we were entertained by really good German host who really looked after us.

At Napier shops about to have lunch. Steve, Fiona and Rosemary. Check out the car going past.
On the way back to Eriksen into the gale !

At least an hour went by, maybe more 🙂 and we set off back to Eriksen on our bikes along the waterfront. The easterly wind had really got up, so the electric assistance was cranked to the max 🙂

Ian, Rosemary, Steve, Fiona and Erik enjoying a New Years eve Happy Hour.

The owners of the older Esprit came back in their Toad, and we went over and met them. Nice guys from up by Kaitaia, Eric and Ian. They later came over and joined us for a New Year’s Eve drink.

Bliss

After tea, we sat outside while it got a bit cooler and waited for the fireworks.

A really good day on the bikes again with friends.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Eriksen Park – Armada – GPS

Sunshine, Biking and some new Vineyards

We woke up to another great day of sunshine and after cups of Tea and Coffee with Steve and Rosemary, we decided it would be better to move a little further down the road.

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At the Golf Club, Steve and Rosemary’s Esprit behind

We were heading to the Hawkes Bay Golf club so after a trip into Hastings to get some provisions and the dump station, we headed to the Golf Club.

Horse was the camp supervisor, and he very quickly had us sorted for a spot with some power. There were showers and Toilets too in the main building across the practice Tee.

We decided to keep it close today and not ride too far as it was predicted to get really hot. There were two vineyards close by that both had good ratings. Alpha Domus and Abbey rather than attempt the 25k’s odd the day before 🙂

From the parking area across to the Clubhouse and facilities

After leaving the golf club we headed for the closest one Abbey but before we got there, we bumped into some people biking away for some feedback and they said it was chocker being right on lunchtime, so we thought we’d head to Alpha Domus a bit further down the road.

At Alpha Domus about to enjoy some really nice Sparkling Rose.
Alpha Domus by the vines. Fiona Rosemary and Steve. – Iphone pic.

It was lovely there. Some nice trees in the carpark to chain the bikes to, a great sparkling Rose and some very helpful people. They didn’t have anything to eat so we settled for a couple of bags of chips. The Sparkling Beatrix Rose was a stunner, and it was very pleasant sitting in the shade on the edge of the vineyard.

At Abbey, Steve with his beer tasting.

After this we headed about 200 metres up the road to Abbey Vineyard and it was still pretty busy but what a great atmosphere. There was a band playing and it was alive and kicking 🙂

Steve did a beer tasting, Fiona had an upmarket Gin and Tonic and I settled for a Chardonnay and the platter we got between us was amazing.

Rosemary and Steve at Abbey
The Scene at Abbey

We spent a good hour or two here and then had a quiet ride back to the Motorhomes.

A perfect day in paradise… Steve and Rosemary joined us after tea in Rafe.  A fantastic day with good company.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Golf Club via Provisions – Armada – GPS

In the Wine Triangle

Leaving the Gentle Annie and arriving in Hastings, we arranged to stay at a Vineyard right in heart of the Bridge Pa wine triangle. There were Bike Trails almost to the front door of the Vineyard to any of the other Cellar Doors and Vineyards. We were in for a treat.

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Looking out from our parking spot across the Vineyard

The Vineyard was also the home of Double of Quits Vineyard or as we called it Ali’s Bikes. Ali and her husband owned the 4 acres of vines of several varieties and also ran the Bike hire business from a big Barn. Alongside the Barn were 4 powered sites for Motorhomes.

We were perfectly positioned for a great day biking around the vineyards. The weather forecast was great, we were right in the middle of the vineyards, a perfect situation 🙂

On the bike trail to Trinity Hill

Early the next morning, I got the bikes off the back of Rafe and we were off. We headed off to one of the roads up by Roy’s Hill as we had seen Trinity Hill as we drove in.

We bumped into a group of people biking in the opposite direction to us and we stopped for a chat and a recce as quite a few of the vineyards were closed.  They had just biked from Trinity Hill and confirmed it was open so destination confirmed!

Fiona crossing the road outside Trinity Hill
Arrived !

We hadn’t booked but they were able to squeeze us in for lunch which was great.

I’ve always been a bit of a Chardonnay fan and they had what had recently won the best Chardonnay in the world in the International Wine competition, the 125 Gimblett and it was the best!

Rahil with the wine from heaven.

I did a wine tasting of three of their better Chardy’s and we had a platter between the two of us… It was just magic and the education on the wines was great too. Rahil was our man of the day telling us all there was to know about the wines. Fantastic experience.

Amazing Platter

After leaving there we headed back to Rafe and our park and settled down in the sun with yes… a glass of Chardonnay 🙂

We hadn’t long been back when we received a call from friends, Rosemary and Steve from the Dethleffs Owners Group in their newish Esprit GT.

Great to see them and we sat outside and enjoyed what was left of the sunshine for the day.

Storage at Trinity Hill

A wonderful day and so nice to be in a good spot to be able to bike around the vineyards.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Vineyard showing Trinity Hill – Armada – GPS

Springvale Suspension Bridge

About 45 minutes after we left Taihape, we arrived at this very popular camping area right by the river. We stopped in a parking area with other Motorhomes for lunch and a look around.

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The new and the old.
Looking back where the road used to go.

Built in 1923 and opened in 1925, the bridge allowed farmers to get their wool through to the port in Napier. In 1970, the road was realigned and replaced with today’s modern bridge. The original bridge is now maintained by the Heritage New Zealand.

Fiona checking out the old bridge.

Looking down from the bridge

When Fiona was living in Waiouru as a child, she remembers doing several family trips to Ongaonga to see her Grandparents. The road took 5 hours to get from Taihape to Napier in their Triumph Herald on the gravel road. You can imagine it with 3 kids in the back over that distance. Sounds like a fun trip 🙂

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It truly is a lovely spot, and I can see why people like to camp here. There were a few people under the trees in tents along with several Caravans and Motorhomes.  Several cars were down on the shingle by the river with people having a crack at catching something.

Camping by the river

We walked up to the bridge so I could get a piccy of Fiona on the old bridge. It’s great to see our heritage being looked after like this.

People enjoying the river

We easily spent a couple of hours there chatting to other Motorhomers after having something to eat. A lovely spot.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Springvale Bridge – Armada – GPS

Taihape’s Gumtree

One of the major strategies of this trip was to drive across the Gentle Annie Road from Taihape to Napier. Fiona spent several years as a youngster living in Waiouru and did several trips across this road with her family to see her Grandparents who lived in Ongonga. It was then a gravel road which took some 5 hours, and in a Triumph Herald, that would have been fun!

The first things we did when we arrived in Taihape was to stop at our favourite Cafe Brown Sugar Cafe.

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Plenty of space for their events. Toilets/showers on the left.

Fiona wanted to have a bit of a nosey around the town while took Rafe up the hill to the Gumtree Holiday Park which was an easy walk away.

Gumtree was originally setup as an area where Eve and her builder husband could have Eve’s Dance Studio, her husband’s workshop and room for their friends to stay. As time went on, they had some small events with their friends who bought Caravans, so they decided to go all out and set up the area for Motorhomes and caravans to stay. The end of the workshop houses a well setup Toilet and Shower facility and there.

Parked in the corner to get the breeze. The Taihape Airfield is just over the gully behind those big trees.

On arrival I was told to park anywhere on one of the 12 or so powered sites around the fence line and Eve would pop down and give me all the info I needed. Very easy.

It was really hot, so I chose to park in a corner where a nice breeze was coming across the gully nearby. I was the only one there at that time but by the end of the day there were 6 or so mostly Caravans popped in for the night.

Others came later

It’s a great spot and an easy walk down to the town.

Even though Taihape is only a small town, it is not blessed with lots of options for Motorhomes so it’s nice to know there was a nice camp with a reasonable tariff and friendly face within easy reach of the town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Gumtree Holiday Park – Armada – GPS

A great place to stop – Tokoroa

What a pleasant surprise finding the Tokoroa Club parking area.

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Excellent parking

Nicely partitioned away from the normal parking area with 6 powered sites.

The Bowling club next door

It is extremely good value for $10 and they’re really friendly people too.

Massive carpark with the Motorhome parking behind.

Their carparks are huge but at the back of their main carpark are the Motorhome / Caravan parks.

We arrived early in the afternoon, plugged in, opened the vents and went into the bar for a nice cold Gin and Tonic and paid for the park at the same time.

There was a storm due!

They do meals as well but you do need to be a member of a Club to be able to use the indoor areas.

The Club

A great spot for an overnight break.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Tokoroa Club – Armada – GPS