Category Archives: Northland

Night of the Lights

Leigh Central hosted part of the Lights at Leigh which was part of the Matakana Light Festival. What was really convenient is that Leigh Central is also our favorite place for Motorhome Parking in this area.

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Getting busy at Leigh Central

We were sitting at Leigh Eats enjoying a nice cup of coffee when we met Michelle and Rose. Rose used to live in Devonport in a past life and Michelle was organising the Leigh Light Festival.

The weather was awful with the rain pelting down but looking at the rain radar it was due to ease off about 3pm, an hour before the start.

Less than an hour later, the Sun came out and we were on 🙂

The Kids are off for the Scavenger Hunt.

The Leigh part of it started at Leigh School where there was a scavenger hunt for the kids. First stop after that was the Fire Brigade a block away for heated Marshmallows on sticks.. Yum !

Removing the Spark plugs

After this they made their way around to the Leigh Garage where they had to remove a spark plug each and an oil filter! Then onto the Tattoo Parlour to get a stick on Tattoo.

By this time, it was dark and the lights were on. Prizes were to given for the best lighting effort on a House or Letterbox.

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Mums and Dads were at the indoor Markets hosted by Leigh Central and then for some like us, it was off to the Leigh Hotel where Hostess Sarah had gone all out and lit up her dress and and her hair which looked fantastic.

Leigh Bar’s Sarah with her lit Hairdo

A great day finished off with a glass of something back in Rafe with the heater on!

Back at the Motorhomes

 

Rafe’s Tracker map to Leigh

Leigh Central Motorhome Park

We popped in here a year or so ago when Ian and his wife Heather had not long been at the helm of this neat little place.

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Looking across to the the parking

It also has quite a large Motel and Wedding reception area as part of it and since we were here last, they’ve added some some nice wee chalets which they call the Boathouses.

The Boathouses

The trees have grown, the loo and shower complex which they were installing last time are up and running and it is all looking really good.

Great view out across Omaha Bay

Being part of the NZMCA Camp saver program for off season parking is a bonus too.

Plenty of room

As we arrived, Ian and Heather were out wielding their tools adding baseboards to their accomodation at one end of the complex and although they were ovbiously busy, they couldn’t have more accomodating helping us to get setup.

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It’s nice to hear that they’ve been so busy as it really is a top place and very handy to a good Cafe and the pub is just around the corner.

The Reception area

The view out to Tawharanui Peninsular is spectacular.

View out to Tawaharanui

We really enjoyed coming back here and will be back more often. A lovely spot.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

The Big Ride to the Horeke Pub

After a great night of catching up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica along with Dianne and Gary, it was time to get some sleep for the big 30k ride the next day.

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Getting the bikes ready

The next morning, Helen and the the girls set off to check out the Bay of Islands and we got organised and set off towards Horeke.

The top part of the Trail

We simply crossed the road and headed off down the trail. The first part of the trail is downhill..some of it so steep that you are advised to walk it! The first third is pretty much downhill but then it flattens out and its up and down the rest of the way through to Horeke but the trail is pretty easy and nicely set out.

Riding beside the stream

The middle part of the ride go’s through Snows Farm and past a Lily pond and the track is set in some really nice easy bush and along side a river. The scenery and countryside is amazing.

Dianne and Fiona

Eventually the track comes out to a road and then cross’s over to a huge wooden track built up over the Mangroves on the upper reaches of the Hokianga. From there it is only a few K’s to the pub.

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We were well and truly ready for a G&T and a sit down lunch and the lunch didn’t disappoint!  The Seafood Chowder was recommended to us by Noeline at the Rail Stay so 4 Seafood Chowders later, everyone was happy.

Peter the Publican came over to say Hi and it was interesting talking to him. He has owned the Horeke Tavern for more than 25 years so has seen some big changes.

Horeke Pub

Peter runs a shuttle for bikes and gave a us a ride back to the Rail Stay. Gary being a bit of sucker for some more punishment, decided to ride back on his electric bike and did it in really good time too, despite it being mostly uphill on the way back.

Back for a cold one with Rafe later.. Dianne, Jessica, Helen and Gary.

Old Rail Freight Wagons for a Snooze

Motorhome friends Helen and two of her daughters, Chloe and Jessica were heading up to Okaihau to stay at the Okaihau Rail Stay. We were also catching up with Gary and Dianne and cycling part of the Rail trail to Horeke which is about 30 k’s to the coast.

Nice layout

Arriving later in the afternoon, we checked in at the Office and met Noeline who set it up and she helped us with power and getting ourselves organised.

First Class

Noeline has been collecting and doing up old Railway Wagons for about 4 years and now has 4 of them set up for accomodation. There is also a Kitchen, Shower and Toilet all looking like a stattion and railway station side buildings. The whole place is immaculatly tidy and clean quite cleverly set out.

Neoline with Maeo the welcome committee 🙂

The Motorhome parking is over a fence on a big paddock. Beyond that on another section is Noeline’s husbands trucking business.

The Rail Trail from Opua to Horeke is right opposite and so its just case of crossing the road to do the trail.

Us all settled in.

We were charged $30 a night for two including power.

Sorry no map as the GPS tracker has spat the dummy but Okaihau is about 15ks’ north of Kaikohe.

The Hundertwasser Town

Kawakawa is famous for its loos and the artwork of Frederich Hundertwasser. Some of the shops have now taken to this unique look as well and it looks great. We were on route to places North but stopped here for lunch.

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One of the shops

We parked down by the Railway Station at the other end of the town and as we walked through, we found that the Cafe’s were a bit light on the food.

The entrance to the Hundertwasser toilets

What we didn’t know was that there were a couple of cruise ships in at the bay of Islands just around the corner and they had bussed in passengers and literally cleaned out the Cafe’s of food!

The main street

We eventually found one at the other end that the busloads seem to miss so all was good.

Sharing the road

Kawakawa is one of the few places in NZ where the Train goes right through the centre of the main street in town but the locals take it all in their stride. It is a real sight.

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Although most of us know Frederich Hundertwasser as the designer of the Kawakawa loos, he has also designed Railway Stations, Grain Silo’s and other well known buildings all over the world.

Like a Tooth Missing

We were heading up North for the weekend to catch up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica and also meet Gary and Dianne from Taupo. The plan was to meet Gary and Dianne at the Caledonian Park at Waipu for a night and then go on up North after that.

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The Neissmann and Rafe

We pulled into the park early in the afternoon and it was good to see a few others in there enjoying the park. There were several Caravans and a couple of Buses there. What wasn’t so good to see was the missing buidings from the recent fire.

You can the back of Rafe in the park next door

As Gary said later, it was like a Tooth was missing. The fire happened in late September and burnt 3 shops to the ground including Fiona’s favorite cafe which is temporarily trading in a building over the road. Having something like this happen in a small town like Waipu would be devastating and I’m sure was a real shock to the town.

Neat Town
That Gap from across the road.

The town rallied around to help those businesses and many worked through their Christmas Holidays to help get some temprorary accomodation for the Cafe.

Cafe Deli’s temporary accommodation.
Cafe Deli at the back

The next morning we went for a look through the town and had a coffee at the Cafe Deli over the road in their temporary building.

Good to see some others here.

Its good to see they’re rebuilding but what a huge hole.

Fulltimers finally land – Motorhome for Sale

Here’s from October last year

After 3 years or so off full time Motorhoming, Gary and Chris  are back in their Ruakaka bach after having it rented out while they were away. They’re still in their Motorhome outside though while they do a virtual rebuild along with huge changes and additions for their retirement.

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Outside

Gary and Chris were old boatie mates and we used to spend most weekends and Christmas holidays in the Hauraki Gulf when we had our old Whalechaser Rorqual. They had a lovely old classic sedan called Nau Mai. There were many happy moments and we had a lot of fun.

After selling up in Devonport and spending 5 years or so in Ranfurly, for a change of scene and direction running a B&B, they then bought their first Motorhome, an ex CI Munro renter on a Mitzi Canter base. They later upgraded this to a newer Mitzi Fuso which is what they have now and now they’ve finished their Ruakaka rebuild, it is on the market!

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The house is looking fantastic and is very different to how it was.

And from now…

So .. the Mitzi Motorhome.. here’s some facts and figures that Gary has sent me.

The kitchen area

Its a 2008 Mitsi Fuso Canter with a 3.9 Litre Turbo with a Manual 5 speed box.

It has Rego till December and a New COF and its  never failed a COF
There are 3000 RUC remaining.
The Speedo has 95088 km on it, and the Hubometer has 91220.
It is officially a  CI MUNRO ULTIMA 4 berth. Gary put 6.5 metres on it but I’ve parked next to it and its at least 7 metres long.
Rear wheel drive on duals.  Stove / oven / Dometic 3 way fridge freezer and a Diesel Heater. It has also had Netspeed installed and the Aerials are on the roof.

Here’s some piccies when he first bought it….

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Thats about all I can add or remember so call Gary for more info on 027 778 8557.

All I can add is that Gary being an engineer, he has looked after it and it is in really good Nick.. Someone is going to be buying  a really nice Motorhome.

Getting Away

Its not far to go and its easy and its familiar.

Mangawhai Heads on the estuary is just lovely.

Lovely spot

Easy walks around to the beach and you can walk the other way for miles too.

Splash

We had escaped for the weekend to give our agent Lance a good crack at the first weekend of open homes without us or Rafe in the way and we weren’t quite ready to go home so it was Mangawhai.

Enjoying the water

I was here only a month or two before so knew that with the NZMCA mid winter rates and it being right next to the water, it was pretty good without travelling too far.

We’d been to the markets, had a coffee and a look at Bennetts chocolate factory and ready just to plug in and go for a walk along the foreshore.

Its a lovely area and as I think I said in my last post from here, it would be a good place to retire to being close to the families in the big smoke.. only 90 minutes or so away.

A Park with a view.

Kevin and Melissa Wallace escaped from Auckland about 15 years ago and bought their piece of paradise in Port Albert not long after.

Looking over towards Port Albert

The house along with a huge orchard sit on the top of a ridge overlooking the back of Port Albert and there’s a peek of the Kaipara too.

Great parking

Fiona and I arrived in Rafe and keen to check it all out, were there when Kevin popped in and was very happy to show us around and we were invited to check out the orchard on the other side of the house.

Fruit for Africa

After plugging Rafe in and opening some vents, I went for a wander to see what was what.

Part of the Orchard

There is a fantastic shower with a loo, a dump station and UV treated water. It was all there.

We had a great night there and all for $20 for us both.

In the morning, Kevin popped in with some Avocados and a Lemon which was great. Fantastic hosts sharing their lovely place by the Kaipara.

If you’re heading to Port Albert and go about 4k’s past the turnoff, you’ll find it on your left or on the App.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 19.13 Mbps
Upload: 13.52 Mbps
Ping: 62 ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

Port Albert Wharf

After stopping at the Port Albert General Store to check out the amazing fish and chips, we doodled down the hill to check out the Wharf and domain.

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Amazing wharf

The area was settled in the 1880’s and was quite thriving settlement caller Albertland but they eventually all drifted away to Auckland and other bigger centres. There is a museum in Wellsford dedicated to this area which is well worth a look at.

A Plaque telling the story of the Albert Landers

Self contained Motorhomes can stay here for free for up to 2 days but need to vacate during the day.

There are good Toilets here and a huge gravel area which runs down to a boat ramp.

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Its a lovely spot and while we were there, there were three small vans ready to stop for the night.

The Gravel area.

Its only 8 k’s from Wellsford and the road runs down to Helensville and Kaukapapa so is not far for many things to see and do.

Rafe’s Tracker map