Category Archives: Northland

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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

Fulltimers finally land.

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.

Click on the images for Hi Res

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.

Gary on the nailgun

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 6 berth on a Mitzi Fuso which is what they have now.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

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

We popped up a week or so ago to see how theyre going and theyre nearly up to gibbing after huge changes and the place looks fantastic. New Aluminium Joinery and newly cladded and with a very different layout, its looking very sharp. We’re going up to help them do some painting soon.

Chris with the plans of the Kitchen

Looking Good Guys and looking forward to catching up soon with brushes..!

Pop up Caravan

And it was  2 C overnight !

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Anne and Dave

Dave and Anne were away for their first adventure in their new Jayco Eagle pop up Caravan and were my neighbours at Whangateau.

Jayco Eagle

Having a quick look through, its amazing how much room there is inside them and what you can fit in. They slept in one end and had their luggage at the other end with plenty of room for living space in between.

Dining area

I’ve always wondered how cold you would be in these in a really cold night but in the morning they both said they were as warm as toast so the inuslation in them must really work.

Galley

Apparently it tows beautifully and although it took him about an hour to put together for the first time today, it generally should only take 15-20 minutes once you’ve done it a few times and you get more familiar with it.

Master Bed area

From Kaiwaka, they were staying here in the lovely Whangateau Holiday Park for three or four days to try everything out with their friends.

Dave was telling me that they bought it from a retired School Principal three months ago, who is clever with his hands, and along with lots of other little modifications he added a stay and pulley system so that the Pop Up Top wouldn’t sway around in the wind.. a great add on.

The Stays to stop it wobbling in the wind

Having had a Motorhome before, they were happy to return to the more basic camping setup and were having fun.

Visitors Berth

Although they said it wasn’t an issue, I still wondered about the 2C overnight 🙂

Staying with the Kiwis

One of the features of my around the Dargaville loop was coming across Kiwi North.

Run by a charitable trust, it includes the Whangarei Museum, a Kiwi house and much more, all part of a 25 hectare Heritage park.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

NZMCA’rs can also stay the night there with power for just $15 per night. This also gives you a discount to see the Kiwis and the Museum.

The Static Engine Club

I pulled in and parked in one of the two Motorhome parks out in the main carpark while checking in and met by a very helpful lady on the front desk who showed me where everything was and then gave me a brochure specially printed for NZMCA’rs who want to stay there. It also had a map showing what was there along with things to see and do.

The Kauri Railway Station

After parking Rafe in one of the 4 concrete parking pads setup for Motorhomes and plugging in and opening vents, I set off with the camera to have a look around.

Great parking for 4 on a concrete pad with power and toilets too.

One of the features of the park apart from the Kiwi House and Museum is the Grand old Clarke Homestead built in 1886. The Clarke family also had a Butchery, a Laundry, Dairy and Milking Parlour and has been occupied by three generations of the family up to 1972.

Clarke Homestead with the Jane Mander Study

Also next to the Clarke Homestead is the Jane Mander Study which was a turret that was once on top of the family home in Whangarei. Access was by a rooftop walkway. Jane’s Dad owned the Northern Advocate in the early days and Jane went on to be the Editor.

I found this really interesting as in my Newspaper days as a photographer, with the Herald and the Star, I had to work with the Advocate  guys during Waitangi day protests along with other jobs. They were a great crew to be with and always very helpful.

The Jane Mander Study

The other amazing thing here was the Oruati Chapel built from a single Kauri log in 1859 and was in Doubtless Bay in the north. It is still used today for Weddings and Christenings.

The Oruati Chapel

There are many of Whangarei’s Clubs based here in their own buildings like the Steam society, the Ham Radios club and many others. Its a very interesting place to just have a look around.

Inside the Oruati Chapel. Made from one Kauri log in 1859!

The old Kauri Railway Station along with a separate reduced scale railway along with Riponui Pah school built in 1898. All really good stuff.

Looking out over the Clarke Homestead to Whangarei

Down one end of the park is a Alexander Clarkes grave. He’s the chap that originally came out from the Uk and built the Clarke Homestead.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

A wonderful place to park, plenty to see and do and they really want you to visit them. I couldn’t believe how organised they are for Motorhomers, even having a brochure for NZMCA’rs on what to do and see and complete with the Wings on the cover !

Cultural Parking!

Well worth seeing and doing and great parking.. Go there, they need your support 🙂

The Netspeed Speedtest for here (old Router)
Download: 8.43 Mbps
Upload: 7.47 Mbps
Ping: 55 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Dee Stress the Mitzi Bus

6 years or so ago, Cantabrians Liz and Gordon upsized their Trailite to this beautiful 1999 Mitzibishi Fuso bus.  12 months or so ago, they rented their house  in Christchurch out and now it is their home away from home.

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Liz and Gordon with their dog

It was originally a bus for  the disabled in Japan with only 4 seats at the back so hadn’t had a huge mileage. With a 12 litre rear engine and running on a 15 ton ticket, it is defintely one of the nicer buses I’ve seen.

Oodles of living space

They left Christchurch late last year and after doing the South Island, are now getting around the North.

Galley

I caught up with them at the brand new NZMCA park in Dargaville in between showers for a cuppa and it was nice meeting them.

Click on the Gallery below for slideshow

A great couple out enjoying the country in their palace on wheels.