Category Archives: North Island road trip 2016

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.

Drinks and Food by the side of the Hot Pool !

I felt like spoiling myself and had heard about the new Top 10 Taupo’s new pool bar. A swim in a hot pool and be served a nice Chardonnay sounded like just the ticket to me.

Check out these images in Hi Res by clicking on them

I arrived at the Top 10 around lunch time which was great after a great run across the Napier – Taupo rd. After spending two nights in the NZMCA Eriksen rd park, I was a little taken back by the Top 10 winter rates for a single person at $27.00. But then thought, everything is spic and span and the new multi million dollar pool complex and so on, it’s not that bad when you compare it to others and I was spoiling myself 🙂

People enjoying the Bar
People enjoying the Bar
One of the hotter pools
One of the hotter pools

After parking Rafe, it was time to do some laundry and check the place out out before having a swim. It’s nicely laid out with lots of green things (trees and stuff) between parks and the Toilets and Showers are absolutely immaculate and pretty new. There is also Pétanque, Volleyball, Tennis, Trampolines, Basketball and something new called Neos.. There’s plenty for everyone.
The washing was finished so I was off for a swim.

There are no steps which makes it interesting for getting in and out. You sort of slide in and out over a concrete bank. The main hot pool is huge with other hotter and cooler pools and channels from it. There is a cave which is 4 metres deep at one end of the pool with a waterfall over the entrance. And the bar.. Fantastic. You can buy pizza’s, meals, drinks, what ever takes your fancy and there are partly submerged chairs to sit on too. There was a unique system when I checked in where they took my credit card number so all you have to do is give the bar person your site number and sign your name and it’s all done. The prices were very reasonable too .. $8.00 for a big glass of Chardy. Very pleasant.

Enjoying the Sun
Enjoying the Sun

There is also a huge TV screen over the pool which had the movie Shrek on when I first got in. Early in the evening, it had the league on which I thought was a bit of an atmosphere killer. It was better when it was switched off in between !.. Each to there own.

Kids watching Shrek
Kids watching Shrek

Although this is a commercial Top 10 site and the price is up there at $57 peak for 2 with power, it isn’t too bad when you see what’s there and you’re ready to treat yourself to something special.
TaupoIt’s a novel experience and a first for me here in NZ. This is the only one in NZ like this. Go and spoil yourself.

All of Eriksen

Well .. It just gets better and better here at Eriksen road. The last time I was here during the Napier Art Deco week earlier in the year, two thirds of it was roped off but now it’s huge.. Massive! What a great park.

Eriksen Park
Eriksen Park

I was staying two nights and came here so I could get a really good signal for uploading some piccies for these posts but I love it here as you’re well away from boy racers etc and it feels nice and secure.

There were only a handful of other Motorhomes here so there was room for Africa. I can’t imagine that even in the height of summer, you’d ever fill this park and it’s dead flat too. I understand too that there is a new building coming for people to meet and greet without getting wet  when it rains, which will be great.

Plenty of room
Plenty of room

The first night was good until 4:30 odd in the morning when Rafe started moving all over the place. I thought it was wind but then decided that the movement was everywhere and it turned out to be the earthquake off East Cape. Within minutes, Facebook took off and eventually I got to sleep and woke up around 9 odd.

Click on the images to see them in Hi Res or a slideshow

I went for a bike ride into Napier which is about 20 minutes away by bike. There are great bike trails here and it’s pretty much straight down the waterfront and you’re there. Fiona had been “encouraging” me to get a haircut so I found a barber and when I sat down, out came the electric clippers and he went straight up the back of my head!! .. It sounds worse than it was but needless to say, it’s one of the shortest haircuts I’ve had for a long long time. It must be what they do in Napier 🙂

While I was sitting in a cafe in Napier recovering from my short haircut, munching on something, I found that I’d missed a phone call while the barber was attacking me.
It was Chris Nuttall who has recently taken over the admin role of http://www.nzmotorhome.co.nz. I’ve met him before when we first got Rafe at a Campercare show so it was great to hear from him. Between us, we decided it would be good to catch up for something cold back at Eriksen. I had an hour to get back, have a shower and tidy myself up. There was a chance too that Shellie and David Evans might pop in too so I was looking forward to meeting them.
Chris and then the Evans’s arrived and we had a very happy two or more hours of catching up. A lot of fun.

Chris Nuttall, Shellie and David Evans .. A fun afternoon
Chris Nuttall, Shellie and David Evans .. A fun afternoon
The Sunset outside Rafe when Chris and the Evans's left.
The Sunset outside Rafe when Chris and the Evans’s left.

Ericksen Park. I’m very impressed and what a great spot. I’ll be back again and well done to all those involved in getting it to where it is today.

A bike ride through Wanganui

I was staying at Caroline’s Outback Campground and with a day where it was threatening to rain, I decided to ride into Wanganui town and have a wee look around.Wanganui
I stopped down by where the ferry is kept on the river not far from Moutua Park and the buildings around there were just something else.

Click on the images to see them in Hi Res or a slideshow

WanganuiQuite a few of them were vacant which gave me reason to think that some of the businesses might be finding it tough but despite that, they’re well maintained and just beautiful buildings. I’m a bit of sucker for things like this, old boats buildings cars.. Just nice to see.

While I was there, a maintainence person came about and started painting the funnel of the river boat. I also came across a lady trying to get a picture of the ball on the waterfront without getting herself in the reflections so I was happy to show her how with the built in cracks on the ball. 😀Wanganui
After an hour of cruising around, I headed back to the camp before the expected rain hit. Great bike tracks and walkways and a neat little city with lovely buildings.

Caroline’s Outback Gem

Caroline had a really popular Celtic cafe and bar in the Whanganui City Centre but tragedy struck and it burnt to the ground. Bouncing back from adversity, she purchased the Arohomo Hotel next to the river which was for sale at the time.

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From the street
From the street

Over the course of the last few years, she has completely rebuilt the Bar and Restaurant and now Caroline’s Boatshed is one of Whanganui’s finest eating out establishments.
Caroline's BoathouseHaving quite a lot of land behind the Restaurant, with her Caretaker, Bruce, they’ve developed this into a well equipped Motorhome park complete with 30 powered sites, a dump station, showers and a washing machine.

At $15 a night for a powered site for 1 or $25 for two, it’s very good value.

The outbuilding at the back.
The outbuilding at the back.

For me, being right next to the river, a flat bike ride to town, it’s a magic discovery

The Old Tank

Heading for the Countdown supermarket at Kilburnie after a quick trip down from Paekaekareki was easy. There was plenty of parking over two car parks and I got heaps of stuff for us both for a few days. After nearly two weeks of unsupervised travel, I’d spent the previous two days tidying up the van, washing the linen and getting things shipshape for Fiona  🙂

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In Evans Bay
In Evans Bay

It was time to head for the airport and pick her up from the flight from Auckland. I hadn’t been to Wellington airport for a while so I was a bit unsure of how Motorhome friendly it might or might not be!  Wee bit stressful !
After getting a fright at how low the canopy was for the pick up area, I opted for the departure ramp and all was fine !
We made it safely to Evans Bay after that and it was nice to be able to switch off, open the vents and have a cup of tea and work out what we were doing.

WW1 DisplayAfter we’d had lunch in a French Cafe in town by David Jones, we walked to the main War memorial museum to see the Peter Jackson display of World War 1.  It was amazing with the usual high quality displays. The realism was quite something.

Tank tracks above
Tank tracks above

It was interesting as my Grandfather drove one of these old Tanks in the Somme in the First World War. I remember as a 4 year old him telling me stories of how they used to cross the German trenches with these monsters.  I won’t spill all the gory details but it’s interesting that now that I’m nearly 60, I can still remember exactly what he described 🙂
I used to love listening to his stories and he loved telling them.  He was a real character.
Apparently he turned up to his own funeral after the war at his home town in Little Downham, Ely. He saw someone in the street and asked where they were.. “Oh Bert, they’re all at your funeral down at the church!”  His mother was so pleased to see him that she scraped the mud of his coat and put it in a little tin. My son Alex has got that tin with the dirt today along with medals and other important family stuff. … Great stuff for a 4 yr old 🙂 .. And his peppermints in the old Mark 1 Zephyr were good too !

Back to the show.. I didn’t realise the scale and how big they were compared to infantry soldiers and the crews.

Poignant Memorial
Poignant Memorial

The display was stunning and I reckon it’s a must do if you’re in Wellington. The very last display is quite poignant too of an older chap in a field of poppies with a young boy.. Fantastic display.

Roxy Theatre

In Wellington, I received a message from my old friend (and work colleague and Motorhomer) Grant suggesting that we should go and check out the Roxy Theatre in Miramar.

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RoxyAs it was only a few K’s away from our base at Evans Bay, we set out to check it out and it’s a thing of beauty.

Owned jointly by Richard Taylor and Jamie Selkirk of Weta Workshop fame, it is simply stunning.
imageThey’ve owned it for quite a long time but due to their work commitments with the movie industry, they had to put the renovation job on hold until a few years ago.
It was once a shopping centre so it has been a big do up job.

There is a really nice cafe on the ground floor but the decor and attention to detail with old movie cameras, the art and a huge ceiling mural is just stunning.

RoxyIn the middle of Miramar shops, it’s something you must check out.
The Weta cave is at the other end of Park ave, which is also worth visiting too. There is easy Motorhome parking in the surrounding streets so easy to get there.  Thanks Grant for telling us about it.

Bruces’s House Truck

This is Bruce’s second do up Housetruck and it’s a purler. It has everything that you’d need and is very well setup with a proper fireplace, a full kitchen and a very comfortable lounge.

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Bruce with his Truck
Bruce with his Truck

It started as a partly built 1976 Bedford Truck and he has done it up and finished it off over the last few years.

It is called Beats Walkin, which was named by his young daughter and he currently uses it as his home and office for Caroline’s Outback Holiday Park where he is the resident caretaker.

The Bedford
The Bedford

It’s a very comfortable and spacious home with all the mod cons. He’s also one of the nicest camp ground people you’re likely to come across too.  Nice one Bruce.

The Water Tower

One of the things that was a recommended thing to do by Rob in New Plymouth was the Water Tower in Hawera and he was right. It’s well worth doing just to give you a sense of where everything is.

And you can see it everywhere.
And you can see it everywhere.

The Water Tower was built in 1914 as the Insurance companies at the time were concerned about the low water pressure for fire fighting after a series of disastrous fires.

The Main Street of Hawera with the base of Mt Taranaki on the right.
The Main Street of Hawera with the base of Mt Taranaki on the right.

While it was being constructed, there was an earthquake which put the whole tower on a lean. When the water was pumped in later, they fixed it in the middle of the night by undermining the foundations and shoring them up.

There are more than 220 odd steps but with fairly large galleries between the levels to stop and catch your breath. It costs $2.50 per person which you pay to the ISite at the foot of the tower and they’ll give you a key.
Very worthwhile cheap entertainment for an hour or so and a fantastic view from the top.

In sight of the mountain

Friends in New Plymouth suggested I should have a look at Opunake but on the way from Hawera, I read about a small campsite at Kaupokonui Beach which is not far on the Opunake side of Manaia, about 4ks so I thought I’d give it a shot.
KaupokonuiThe campsite itself was down in a valley next to a river entrance to the sea with huge sandhills opposite. It looked the business but before I went down the valley, I stopped at the top to see if there was any internet around.. There was, so off I went.

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Campground with view
Campground with view

I met Jim in the office who was very a happy friendly guy who said that if I stayed for three days, it would be $15 per night.  I still had another week of unsupervised travel before Fiona came down so it sounded like a good plan 🙂
I parked up and almost immediately met my neighbours who were in their new Carado, which is made in the Hymer factory and is identical to the Dethleffs Sunlight. Dot and Ron were cruising in their new van and were originally from  Wellington. They have just sold their house and looking at what to do next.

Whitebaiters enjoying the river
Whitebaiters enjoying the river
Looking across from the Dunes
Looking across from the Dunes

The campground is great as it sits on a plateau above the river entrance. The level below is a favourite spot for whitebaiters and there is a footbridge which makes the Sandhills opposite, easily accessible.

I went for a couple of walks around and the first thing you notice is the quiet, the clean air and for the time I was here, it was non stop sunshine and no wind.
I also met three caravan/bus loads of people from Wanganui here for the weekend.

Our friends from Wanganui enjoying the sun.
Our friends from Wanganui enjoying the sun.

With the first Bledisloe test looming that night, he was having trouble with his sky card which I tested in our tv as well for him but I suspect it needs resetting by sky for not having had power for a few weeks.

Nice pic of Rafe with the mountain
Nice pic of Rafe with the mountain

I went to sleep ignoring the rugby but happened to wake up at midnight anyway and watched it then on Prime.. Great game.
For its money, it’s a nice camp in a great location and it’s not surprising it gets really busy in summer.