Category Archives: North Island road trip 2016

At one with the Elephant

The first night had gone well at Clifton Beach and it was time to go and play.  After walks down the road and along the beach, it was time to get ready for a lunch that we’d booked at Elephant Hill Vineyard which is just across the road.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Looking out towards Cape Kidnappers
Looking out towards Cape Kidnappers

We were perfectly positioned to take advantage of our primo parking place at Clifton.  There was half an hour to go before our pre booked check in time so that was well spent checking out some really nice wines.

Dianne, Helen and Fiona walking to the vineyard.
Dianne, Helen and Fiona walking to the vineyard.
Elephant Hill Vineyard
Elephant Hill Vineyard

The weather was prefect, the food beautiful, the wine fantastic, great company so what more good you ask for 🙂

A cell phone pic.. L to R, Rob, Helen, Chloe, Dianne, Me, Gary and Fiona
A cell phone pic.. L to R, Rob, Helen, Chloe, Dianne, Me, Gary and Fiona

It is also Motorhome friendly for those who want to park there for a couple of hours while you have lunch.

Gary taking photos of the vineyard
Gary taking photos of the vineyard

The combination of Clifton Beach parking and Elephant Hill Vineyard.. A perfect match for when you’re in Napier.

The Woolshed

As you’re coming North on State Highway 1 is a new Cafe called the Woolshed. It’s about 200 metres south of Sanson on the left. It was built from the foundations and flooring of a huge house.

The Huge carpark
The Huge carpark

The building looks like it has been there forever but it is brand new.
Fiona and I were on route from Wanganui to Palmerston North so she could catch a flight back to Auckland so we diverted to try out this new cafe.
It has a massive carpark so it’s very easy to park even the biggest vehicles and their toads! While we were there, a caravanning couple popped in.

It’s full of character and you would put money on it being a do up rather than a new build and has plenty of sheep and wool paraphernalia scattered around the room. There is even a couple of model full sized sheep just inside the door and a full wool press in a corner.

The inside of the cafe
The inside of the cafe

Out the back there are sliding doors for full on BBQ sessions and a playhouse and other extras for the kids/grandkids.
WoolshedNice coffee and although I forgot to get a piccy of it, Fiona and I went halves in a very nice and filling shepherds pie for under $10.
Looks out for it as you get close or drive through Sanson. About 200 metres south of Sanson on the left going north.

Our own Bathroom

We were heading to Wanganui to catch up with our old neighbours Terry and Lisa but on the way, I had heard about a campground in Kapiti which had a shower and toilet shed for each Motorhome site. I had to check this out.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

Rafe and our helpful neighbour
Rafe and our helpful neighbour

It was a real treat having our own little self contained bathroom just outside the door.  While we were in town, we would see if we could catch up with Fiona’s cousin Malcolm and his wife Michelle, and have them for tea.

We arrived at Kapiti Holiday Park around 4pm and were shown where to park in “Windsor Lane”.  Each named avenue is surrounded by huge high hedges protecting everyone from any winds.

The avenues
The avenues

The hedges also mean you have to be mindful of the direction you park if you want TV reception. My very kind neighbour pointed this out to me when I backed in and he realised that I wouldn’t get a signal where I was, but if I turned Rafe around the other way, my dome would be further from the hedge and would get a clean signal. Good to have that local knowledge.  Thanks neighbor!
KapitiThe little shed had its own shower, toilet and handbasin  in with its own hot water cylinder. There was also a gully trap next to the shed on the outside for waste and a freshwater tap at the back along with a power point. Everything you could ever want and very convenient.

Delicately cut in to the hedge
Delicately cut in to the hedge

We could easily do a dash for the shower in the morning with a towel around us without anyone noticing ! With winter prices it was $40.00 for the night for us both.

The meal went well and it was great to see Malcolm and Michelle.
Just over the road was Paraparamu Beach so we were off for a walk and see the coast. Kapiti Island looks huge as it is just off the beach.

Fiona having a walk
Fiona having a walk on the beach with Kapiti Island behind.

A lovely park and quite a novelty with the little cabins.

The Old Senior NCO’s Mess

One of the trips I’ve always wanted to do while in Wellington was to drive from Lyall Bay all the way around the outside past Seatoun and Worser Bay. The buildings into the cliffs and the rustic charms of the way the houses are all set into the cliffs is amazing. It’s like a different world.

The view
The view

When you come out the other end towards Miramar, there is the old Air Force Base and workshops. These days they’re mostly occupied by Artists and a few tradespeople. The old Senior NCO’s mess is now used by a cafe called The Chocolate Fish BBQ cafe.

At the front door
At the front door
Plenty of good easy parking
Plenty of good easy parking

The building has a Historic classification which prevents them from poking holes in it for vents etc so they’ve carefully added a clip on lean to for the kitchen which seems to work quite well for them. The rest of the building is just as it was as a mess building with a few mods for convenience.

My Pork Sandwich
My Pork Sandwich

One of the staff was quite a talented artist and has painted all the seats and backs of the chairs with different images which really brightens the place.

The food is sensational and very reasonably priced and is very sandwich based but they’re a good hearty size! .. Outside, the views of the city are fantastic, there are plenty of things for kids or grandchildren to play with and best of all, really easy Motorhome friendly parking.

The view
The view

The place oozes history and we found ourselves easily enjoying a couple of hours taking it all in.

Hunker down at Holdens

The weather was about to go downhill dramatically and as there was a deal going on the Campermate app at Holdens Bay Holiday park for $14 a night, it seemed sensible to take up the offer.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

Lots of room in winter
Lots of room in winter

A couple of nights plugged in with the heater on to clear some posts, sounded like a good idea. There were hot pools there too.

Holdens
Rafe all settled in before the afternoon rush.

Its a big park with lots of rental apartments and plenty of powered parks and being a cold winters day and about to get colder, it had more motorhomes there than I expected.
Holdens  Bay is on the eastern side of Lake Rotorua just south of the airport. Its a little out of the way but apart from the odd plane, its a nice quiet spot with great facilities. You can also walk to the lake which is only 5 minutes away and there is a technology museum almost next door. With the deal and forecasted bad weather, a great spot to hunker down.

NZ is such a small place. I’d no sooner settled Rafe down when I heard a frantic tooting and looked around. There was some people that I’d met the night before in Taupo and put them onto Campermate.
A young Dutch graphic designer with his theatre nurse wife, Stephen and Angelique with their 3 year old son. A really nice couple who were into their third and last week of a NZ campervan tour. They had got  the same deal I had and were staying one night before pushing on towards Auckland. I also bumped into them a few days later at Miranda Holiday park, one of my recommendations for their last night. We’ll hopefully catch up with them in Rotterdam when we get there sometime next year.

HoldensFor those offshore, Campermate is a free cell phone app which shows where Campgrounds, dumpstations, free parking, petrol stations etc are on a map and use your location but also has deals. Well worth getting if you’re touring NZ.

Holdens bay towards Rotorua
Holdens bay towards Rotorua

Its such a neat place Rotorua with so much to do and has a calming atmosphere to it and of course all the Thermal stuff happening.

The Netspeed Speed test for this site:
Test Date: 5/09/2016 2:18 PM
Download: 29.28 Mbps
Upload: 1.87 Mbps
Ping: 46 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-38.122029,176.307822

The Trees have gone

It always amused me by the foresight of the Rotorua team with their signs pointing out where not to park in the NZMCA Ngongotaha park, if you wanted a TV signal.

Click on the images for hi Res or a slideshow

Ngongotaha looking fantastic
Ngongotaha looking fantastic
The park from the driveway
The park from the driveway

This was due to the huge trees all down one side of the park. There was one tree really that was the culprit for the TV reception problems but I understand they were all a bit rotten so had to go for safety reasons after a limb fell.

Look at that view
Look at that view

Although I thought the trees looked great and I was a wee bit concerned when I heard they had gone, it does look fantastic.

I also understand that the area down the front is about to get a makeover and be made ready for more parking.

Lots of rot in the stump
Lots of rot in the stump

Great work guys.. it’s one of the better parks around.

And the Netspeed tests here were amazing:
Test Date: 6/09/2016 3:15 PM
Download: 49.51 Mbps
Upload: 30.07 Mbps
Ping: 33 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-38.076339,176.210040

Ohinemutu

It’s always a great experience checking out St Faiths Church and Ohinemutu on the lakefront, when I’m in Rotorua.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

The chap in the window
The walk on water window

I can remember coming here when I was in short pants and it still looks as good now if not better.

Inside St Faiths
Inside St Faiths

It’s always quite serene and has an air about it which is nice. I think the thermal steam from the cracks in the road and everywhere probably helps this too.

There were quite a few people there too having a good look around so that’s great for the donation boxes there. OhinemutuA lovely peaceful spot and there’s a couple of overnight spots for motorhomers just around the corner by the boatramp.

By the pools parking

In Rotorua recently, I discovered by accident almost, the amazing new free overnight parking put in as part of the Motorhome Friendly towns scheme and by the Rotorua Council.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

Great Parking
Great Parking

What a great spot right in the middle of town really and in the Gardens area by the Polynesian Pools complex.

Although it’s essentially a modified carpark, it has been done really nicely with the sculpture garden next door and surrounded by pools.

The view from the park
The view from the park

Well done Rotorua Council and I bet it’ll be well used by Motorhomers.

Eat Street Rotorua

I parked Rafe in the free Motorhome parking by the boat ramp on the lake front and went for a 5 minute walk up towards the shops with the camera.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

Eat st entrance
Eat st entrance

Walking up the road towards Tutanekai Street, I couldn’t help but notice the new restaurant and eating out area there.
Eat StA whole block of covered walkway which is apparently partly retractable with Bars, Restaurants and Cafes all along the road on both sides.

It looks fantastic. Because it was only 10.30 odd in the morning nothing was open but I bet it’s a lively area in the evenings.
Eat StNext time, I’ll come later in the day. It looks like a lot of fun.

Evers Swindell Reserve Clive

On a nice fine day, this is a lovely spot in Clive, right next to the river, and courtesy of the Hastings Council, you can stay here with a gold coin donation.

The River
The River

There’s usually plenty to look at, rowers, people walking, sometimes the odd boatie. There were several buses there and a Motorhome and there was oodles of room for more. Motorhome Parking is under the trees but not in the carpark at the end.

Gorgeous spoy
Gorgeous spot!

With the sun beating down and people coming and going on the biking / walking path behind down to the beach, fantastic.
I was trying to upload some images for several blogs and for whatever reason, the uploads kept bombing out so I decided as I was in a bit of a valley, I’d move to Eriksen Park which isn’t that far from Clive.

CliveThere are toilets there too but I did see signs talking about it being prone to flooding with high tides and rainfall. Lovely spot but pick the weather.