Category Archives: Quirky things

Our first EBooks published!

Exciting… we’ve got our first ebooks away!

I’m really chuffed to get them away as it represents a huge amount of time to put them together.

It has been a lot of fun and a huge learning curve but having been involved in publishing some printed books for the Classic Yacht Association before, it was the next logical step.   I’m not expecting to get rich on them but if it covers a few bottles of Chardy and the odd tank of Diesel, then thats all good 🙂

The first two are now available on Amazon as of today and the others are coming. They are slightly  modified from the blog version so they don’t date so quickly and suit a book, and they’re in a fixed format horizontal format to show off the images to their best.

The first one is on our trip to Napier a year or so ago to the Art Deco festival. A great occasion and because its such a great event with some great images, it would be shame not to give these piccies another outing!

The other one is about our trip to the Pinnacles with friends via the Hawkes Bay last year. We were in several Motorhomes and it was a lot of fun. Some great adventures with some unusual places with a concert thrown in too for good measure.

These will both be available here by clicking on the covers above.

Ads will be appearing soon on the side of the Blog and you can keep up to date on this from the Books page.

Some time ago, I also did a blog about some older european images that I had posted for sale as prints etc. Again, I’m not expecting to get rich on them but some of you expressed an interest in getting some of them. They’re now available here.

A big occasion for me as a Blog person but there is more to come. .. Stay tuned 🙂

Tree Tops

Another oldie but a goodie repost from the South Island..enjoy

South of Hokitika off the main road is Tree Tops. It’s an amazing set of elevated walkways in the trees supported by poles. They’re about 20-30 metres off the ground set up as bridges between platforms.

Remember, you can click on any of these images to see the higher res version

Chris and Madam on the tour
Chris and Fiona on the tour
Chris and Madam on the walkways
Chris and Fiona on the walkways
The view of the lake
The view of the lake
The two in red on the walkways
The two in red on the walkways

There is also a tower with is about 60 odd metres up which look out over a lake and the sea.

The huge tower with Madam in the red
The huge tower with Fiona in the red

All the trees and bird life have little explanation boards at each stop and it’s all very well thought out. There is quite a big cafe there and plenty of parking for Motorhomes.

After years of climbing high things and going to stupid places to get pictures as a newspaper photographer, even up to the top of fuel silos, I couldn’t do the high tower at tree tops. Just the thought of that little bit if metal and a few bolts for each step gave me the willys.  I’m sure it’s quite safe, just me! Funny how you don’t think about these things when you’re young and silly😃

We left there and parked in the NZMCA’s park by the Hokitika bridge.

Another great night with some unusually great west coast weather!

Right on the Edge

We were right on the edge at Simpsons Beach by Whitianga.  A fabulous spot which we’ve been to a few times before.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

Ten steps to the water.

Its on a farm owned by the Simpson family which runs along the foreshore and behind which they’ve been letting people camp at for many years. They charge $10 per vehicle, Motorhome or Caravan per night and donate the money to a cause of their choice. A fantastic gesture and they’re super nice people.

The Beach

One of the quirky things about this area is the Netspeed Mobile Internet coverage. There is a 4G beam from Whitianga out over the water but Simpsons Beach is right on the edge of it but more in the beam for 3G. Because it is 1 click into the 4G, it can’t do anything useful and surfing the web or anything else is a waste of time.. nothing happens !  A lot more happens on 4 bars of 3G than 1 blip of 4G!

What I found you had to do is go into the Huawei App on your ipad or iphone and turn the “Auto” feature off to “3G” so that the router will settle for 3G and not be too ambitious 🙂

The Home screen on the app..Select the Settings Cog

The steps on a Ipad app.. Click on the settings cog on the right hand top of the screen. Then click on Network, then Network Carrier. You’ll see Preffered Network at the top.. click on that to get 3 G and select it and back out (without touching anything else 🙂 ) Its a good idea to reboot the router at this point and it will be away with plenty of throughput.

Click on the images below to follow the gallery in order.

This will affect any wireless carrier anywhere. Its all about your position relative to a transmitting tower.

There must be other spots around NZ where this happens too. Just remember to return the settings to “Auto” after you leave Simpsons Beach or another place like it.

Great spot

Despite this minor alteration to get Fiona her Netflix fix, Simpsons Beach is a fabulous spot and we love staying here. Once when it was chocker in the middle of summer, the local Mr Whippy van cruised through for ice creams 🙂

The Netspeed Speedtest from this site
Download: 9.11 Mbps
Upload: 4.01 Mbps
Ping: 69 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi,170.503600
Rafes Track to Coromandel from Simpsons Beach
From Simpsons Beach to Coromandel

Fast Heat

A couple of months ago, I found out that Philips had released a portable Induction plate and they were available via our NZMCA discount from Noel Leeming.

I had to try one and since using it, I’m completely sold.  Fiona loves it too. Its amazing.

Don’t forget you can click on the images for hi res!

Its a bugger of a thing to photograph .. almost like a piece of black glass!!

Just recently I got really brave and decided to try to boil the water for coffee on it with our scruffy old kettle. From a cold water start, in the time it took to put coffee and pills into a cup and a tea bag in the other,  and milk in both, the kettle was whistling its head off. Even with gas, this would take all of 5 minutes or so.

InductionCooking a steak… cold frypan, a little oil… chuck the steak in, hit the go button and the pan is sizzling within 5 seconds !!!! .. and it tastes sensational.

Admittedly you can only use it when you’re plugged in but its neat to be able to use this instead of gas and it keeps control of the heat instantly.

InductionThe only thing you have to check is that you have pots that a magnet will stick to and it comes with a magnet so you can check your pots. The unit will scream at you if you don’t have anything on it or the pot is incorrect.

Recommended Retail is $199 from Noel Leeming  .. my discounted price was closer to $120 !! …although this was a few months ago.

A Great Christmas present !!

The Homebuilt Caravan

While we were in a park in the north, Sculptor Nick and partner Tracy rocked in with their girls Mila and Ruby, and their Homebuilt Caravan.

matakoheThey found it in a barn in Balclutha and after recladding it and  modifiying their table so it could add extra beds for the girls, they’ve set off around the country for a year on the road.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

They were not keen on going down the track of having a gas oven so they settled on a wood burner which also heats their water.


Its all insulated and warm and toasty and it was nice to see them happy and getting around NZ.

The Laundry Chute

Its amazing who you meet and what clever things they do to their motorhomes to make them work better for their lifestyle. During the recent Dethleffs Owners group meeting at the Classic Car Museum in Hamilton, I was fortunate enough to meet Walter and Nolina from Taupo and to see some of the clever things they have done to their Dethleffs Esprit.

Don’t forget you can click on the images for hi res !

Walter lying across the bed showing the top of the laundry chute.
Walter lying across the bed showing the top of the laundry chute.

Walter saw the need to have somewhere to put their laundry. In almost all the centre island bed Dethleffs models, there is a shelf which extends about 800mm along each side of the bed from the back wall.

In mine I have a speaker and some usb jacks for phones and ipads etc.   Walter very cleverly decided to use his on one side to install an opening round marine hatch which opens to a chute which Nolina made, that drops down into the garage underneath. The bottom of the chute detachs as a bag to cart away the washing.  Fabulous idea and a great way of getting the washing out of the way.

The chute in the garage with the detachable bag.
The chute in the garage with the detachable bag.

That’s an idea I’m going to use 🙂

They have also made use of waste space under a seat and in a cupboard for a glasses case and a drinks cabinet under the seat.

Nolina with the drinks cabinet.
Nolina with the drinks cabinet.

Great stuff! A great use of what could otherwise be wasted space.

Waterfront Parking

Sandspit Holiday Park is one of those places I’ve wanted to try out for months so I was chuffed when I found a good reason to stay here and with reasonable weather too.

It is an easy walk to the wharf for ferrys to Kawau so its well placed if you want to do a day or two at the Island. Its also an easy walk to the Sandspit Yacht club and the brand new marina that has just opened there.

Check out the images in Hi Res by clicking on them or for a slideshow.

Our spot near the water
Our spot near the water

We dropped in out of the blue after a few days of heavy rain so we were walked down to check the grass waterfront parks to see if they were up to handling Rafe’s weight. With plenty of gravel and sand about, I decided it felt pretty solid and we’d give it a go.

Neat Cottages that you can stay in all along the waterfront.
Neat Cottages that you can stay in all along the waterfront.

As it was off peak in winter, the cost for two of us was $32 with power for the night which I thought was great value.

After settling down Rafe, plugging in and opening hatches, I went for a walk with the camera.

They have some amazing quirky cottages and the buildings are great. There is even Horace the Morris parked in the grass.


The ablution block is almost brand new and the shower and toilets are amazing.

Bring the boat in
Bring the boat in

We went for a walk before the sun went down to the ferry jetty where boaties were coming in and a few were fishing.

A really interesting place.  We’re planning to go back with the Grandies as they could easily stay in one of the many cottages there.

The Netspeed Speedtest:
Download: 31.31 Mbps
Upload: 4.47 Mbps
Ping: 59 ms
Server: Auckland,174.728499