Category Archives: Northland

In the Fresh Air

We last caught up with friends Rob and Helen before we went to the South Island last year but saw Helen in Lowburn so it was good to see them with Chloe as well.

Click on any image for Hi Res

The Tracker and Rafe in the Campground

We headed up to a neat wee campground in Leigh called Leigh Central. With the weather being off and on sunny and the odd shower but lots of easterly wind, we knew we were in for a few good puffs.

The view across to Tawharanui

We’d only been there about half an hour when Rob turned up with their Tracker and Helen and Chloe arrived later.

Its a small campground which is part of a Motel complex right in the heart of Leigh.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We’d just arrived when the owner Ian popped out to welcome us in. Ian and his wife along with another couple own the complex and have been progressively upgrading it and it looks great. It is run on an honesty system at $20 per van per night, great value and with a view out over the water to Tawharanui Peninsula. There are plans to add Toilets and Shower which are there now but not hooked up and there is a full kitchen and lounge area with a big open fire which would be great in winter.

Nice lounge for winter

It was really nice to see Rob, Helen and Chloe again and we had a great night updating each other with all the news.

The next day, after a big sleep and lie in :-), we walked around to the Leigh School where there was a weigh in for a big Fishing competetion that had been on. There was a huge Marque and lots of stalls for food and it looked set for a big night with live music too.

We walked around the road to the well known Sawmill Cafe and had a beer and a nibble before coming back to the campground and enjoying some great Fish and Chips from the shop next door to the campground.

Mathesons Bay.. check out the wave

As we left, we drove down to the Leigh Wharf area which is really interesting. An easy walk from the campground too. Mathesons Bay is just around the corner and we checked that out as well.

Mathesons Bay Beach

A great place to stay, nice hosts and not far from anywhere. We’ll be back.

The Netspeed Speedtest.
Download: 30.55 Mbps
Upload: 16.33 Mbps
Ping: 26 m

Rafe’s track to Leigh

Holiday Rambling

Meeting Peter, Wendy, Grant, Sharron, Mike and Pam in Northland and checking out their American buses was a lot of fun. They’re a great bunch and have been travelling together for a few years. Three of them even knew each other from back in their school days !

Click on an image for Hi Res

L to R, Peter and Wendy, Pam and Mike, Grant and Sharron with their Motorhomes.

The Holiday Ramblers are on a Ford chassis with 6.8 litre V10 petrol engines with 6 speed auto gearboxes and honestly, when you stand next to them outside, you can barely hear them running. They’re so quiet.

Peter and Wendy’s Rambler

They’re 10 metres long with centre island beds on a 9 ton ticket. They all have slide outs which makes them huge inside. The décor is very similar with the only difference being that Mike’s has a bigger single slideout on one side.

Home on the Range!

As they pulled up beside Rafe, there was a whir of engines with the Hydraulic rams levelling them up, the slideouts coming out and the awnings rolling out. All of them at the same time ! This is Motorhoming the easy way 🙂

With the two slideouts. Peter and Grant’s Motorhomes are like this.
You could play a game of footy here! Mike and Pam’s Rambler

They were imported as a bunch of 12 by a Tauranga importer who had them specially designed for NZ road conditions (width) and wired to conform with the NZ electrical standards, several years ago.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Peter, Wendy, Grant, Sharron, Mike and Pam are either on the phone most nights planning their adventures together with their amazing Motorhomes or on the road.

The bedroom

Top Parking at Tokerau

We had just arrived at the Brett and Bronwen’s Park over property when Bronwen walked out to welcome us with a huge smile. Brett followed soon after. We very quickly felt welcome and they  showed us where everything was.

Click on an Image for Hi res

Nice gardening

After spotting some power points off to the side next to a beautifully bulldozed flat platform, I asked if we  could we use them?  They were $10 a night  so we were in heaven getting ready for a great New Years eve.

The view from the top.

Brett and Bronwen have owned the property for 6 years and have made it available as a POP for just on 3 years but they missed the last NZMCA Bible but what a fantastic place to stay. They are planning to build their dream home up above the site in years to come.  A lovely spot.

Easy parking

Brett was telling me that they’ve just installed a new Maytag washing machine ($4), a new toilet and a dump station too, all a quick walk from Tokerau Beach.

We were going to stay 1 night but feeling really comfortable and it being New Years eve, it would be rude not to stay for at least 3 nights 🙂

Looking out from Karikari Estate

We went for a drive around to have a look around. Karikari Estate is just around the corner. The beach is amazing and goes for miles.

Click on the Gallery for a Slideshow

A great place to stay in the Far North with some lovely hosts.

Rafe’s track to Tokerau

With the Green things

We were heading north with no particular destination firmly set except we thought, maybe a night at Waipu and then a night the NZMCA park at Rainbow Falls if there was room.

Click on the Images to see Hi Res

The traffic was unbelievable so we left the motorway at Silverdale and headed up Highway 16. I haven’t been up this was for a long time so it was a nice drive through. We stopped at the lookout spot looking out over the Kaipara Harbour just before Wellsford which was nice too.

Rafe at Caledonian park in Waipu

We arrived in Waipu and headed straight for our favorite spot at the Caledonian Park. There are only a couple of spots there where you can get a TV signal next to a power pole and we managed to snaffle one of them.

The next morning, the grounds people were up early to set up for the Scottish Games so we headed towards Kerikeri and after a cup of coffee at the Pear Tree Cafe by the Stone Store, we went to check in to the Rainbow Falls park.

This has to be one of the better parks being right next to a fantastic walking track with the Falls right behind.

Rainbow Falls park with the lighthouse

Just by chance, it happened that old friends Max and Jan were staying opposite us in their new Hobby Caravan so we joined them for a drink outside their caravan.

Max and Jan’s new Hobby with the wrap around sun glasses 🙂

The next day, we went for a walk down towards the Stone Store by the river but got half way down when we realised that we didn’t have a wallet between us for something at the other end so we turned around and headed back to Rafe.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

A fantastic walk with people fishing in the river, lots of people out enjoying the walk and people swimming under the falls. It is really nice to see so many people out enjoying this fantastic park.

Dusk

We had just got back when my old mate Grant rang and he Dani arrived ready for a cold drink. Max and Jan arrived back at the park not long after (Dani’s parents) and joined us as well. Lots of fun and laughs in Rafe in a nice park.

If you haven’t been to this park, it truly is fantastic having some great walks, the falls and public loos just over the fence as well. The park is now at a point where almost half of it now has gravel down with the grass growing through and it looks great.

Rafe’s Track to Rainbow Falls Park

Gravel at Waipu

We popped in at Waipu on the way home from further north to find that the Caledonian park has now got a Gravel driveway from St Mary St which is fantastic news.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Lovely parking

Often  we’ve been there to stay and its either been wet or about to rain and although the parking under the trees is pretty well drained and solid, the road across the end of the footy field to get to the parking, is often a bog and impassable.

From the carpark. You can see the parking under the trees on the right.
Once boggy and mucky!

Staying out in the carpark when there is a rugby event on is not really my cup of tea and although we’ve done this when it has been wet, its not really a relaxing area to be in with cars coming and going.

With the hall behind

So good news. A great park for NZMCA’rs at $10 a night with power and toilets and so close to Waipu, its a wonderful place to stay.

Tucked Away

Driving along the waterfront in Paihia while I was trying to decide where to stay, I passed Terry and Ruth’s Dethleffs White Magic A Class Motorhome parked on the side of the road. I’ve been meaning to try to catch up with Terry as I’ve been following their progress around the bay with their friends on Facebook. I turned Rafe around and parked a few spaces behind and as it was lunchtime, wandered along the waterfront to look for something to eat.

There was neat place about 50 yards along which was doing $10 roast lamb meals which I thought sounded good and ordered a glass of Chardy to go with it. While I was sitting there, I thought I’d facebook message Terry and see if he was around. I’ve never met Terry or Ruth before so had no idea what they looked like. I simply said I was parked behind them, be nice to catch up and where I was having lunch.

Within two minutes, I had a response back and my neighbours at the next table were looking around for me. How’s that for small world stuff and technology.. I shifted to their table and we swapped various stories for the next hour or so. .. Fun times in the fast lane 🙂 It was nice to catch up and I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon.

Click on the Images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

After a memorable lunch with Terry and Ruth, I decided on staying at a little tucked away waterfront site called Beachside Holiday Park owned by Dusty and Aroha Miller.

Right on the water

In their office they have a picture on the wall taken in the early 70’s of the park and it looks completely different. Dusty and Aroha have been here for 15 years, progressively working to a plan they had done for the transformation of this fantastic site. They say there is still things to do but the place looks fantastic.

Dusty with the older pic and the plan behind

The Dump station is what you wish for everywhere where you don’t even need to get your grey water hose dirty. Simply back up over the grate and let her rip !

The laundry looks like a Space Station with industrial machines right along one wall. Toilets and showers are all in new condition and kept very clean. Walking around there are non powered sites for tents on little grassed terraces carved out for camping, most with great views of the water.

Beam me up laundry!

There is a boat ramp there and a rack of kayaks which are available for guests.

For the first night I was parked by the water but Rafe was poking out a bit on the roadway so I moved to a bigger site one row back for the second night. I was also parked under a tree so I had TV reception the next night too!  The charge is $20pp which is pretty much normal at this time of the year around Paihia but right on the water parking with all the facilities, its fantastic.

Nice people and nice to see someone investing in the future and doing a great job of it.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 21.03 Mbps
Upload: 4.03 Mbps
Ping: 59 ms

Rafe’s Track to this site

How I got there, you can see where I turned around to catch up with Terry.

The Trusty VW

I bumped into Russell and Pearl at the Kaikohe Equestrian Centre. They were behind me as we drove in so it was nice to have someone else around in that huge carpark.

It wasn’t long before it we introduced ourselves and had a quiet cold one while we watched the local Pony Club pack things up.

Russell and Pearl

They’re Ex Publicans from Alexandra in Otago and are following a book called the Great Kiwi Pub Crawl which they were given for Christmas. So far it has been 3 months and they’re really enjoying themselves. They’re both veteran Motor homers and Caravanners with their current LT35 VW being their 5th recreational vehicle of any sort.

The galley

They bought the VW 3 years ago as an ex renter. Russell was telling me that its done over 300,000 k’s and apparently their engineer was telling him, they don’t touch them until at least 800,000k’s.

Plenty of k’s left there then.

Inside

They are coming up to their 25th year membership of the NZMCA!!. their number is 6000 something  .. I think the current new members are around 75000.

With their 25 years in the NZMCA, they get another badge to add to the 7 they’ve already got.  Well done!