Category Archives: Quirky things

Everyone has a Jetty

Over our boating years, both Alan and I have had some amazing moments in both Bon Accord harbour at Kawau and around Kawau so being  driven around on the ferry so we could have a good look with a commentary was a real treat.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Lidgards and Kawau Yacht club

Alan does one of the biggest, if not the biggest Wooden Boating Blogs around called Waitematawoodys.com and was on the Classic Yacht Association committee with me for several years.  We have been known to sneak away in Rafe for the odd boys trip which are always fun!

We left Rafe about 9:30 from the Sandspit Holiday Park and wandered along the road to the wharf to get our tickets and check in.  So after having a cuppa at the café on the wharf we set off about 10:30 for Kawau.

Mansion House

Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.

His and Hers

Almost all the houses only have water only access and the way they’ve been built either on top of a hill with their own chairlifts (think electric Wheely Bin on a rail 🙂 ) with a jetty at the bottom or on the water. Some of them are amazing but I suspect most would be either baches, occupied by retired folk or who don’t have to commute.

Kawau Yacht Club

We were on the Royal Mail boat which started at Vivian Bay in the north and worked its way around to Bon Accord Harbour and Mansion House Bay and then down to South Cove where there was mail to be dropped off. On the way back to Mansion House Bay for lunch, we passed the Old Copper Mine.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Kawau was huge source of copper in the mid 1800’s with a community of around 300 related to the Mine and its output at its peak. By the 1800’s it all fizzled out and most of the miners moved on to the Gold Fields.

The remains of the Copper Mine

After a walk around the Mansion House and the coffee shop, we eventually made our way back to the ferry. It was nice barrelling along at 15 knots in the sun with a glass of Pinot Gris in hand.

Alan getting off the Ferry
Friendly Peacocks on the lawn

We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Right On The Water

They’ve had a lot of rain up here so the Sandspit Holiday Park crew suggested that we stick to one back from the water just to make sure we don’t sink!

Click on an Image for Hi res

Nice parking

My old boating friend Alan and I were in need of some time out of the house so we decided a few days before to check out the Sandspit Holiday Park and do a trip to Kawau on the ferry. Sounded like a plan thought I so off we went early on the Friday afternoon. It is only 42k’s from Auckland and with little traffic, we were there at 3.30pm.

Its a lovely little park with a lot of permanent Baches and Caravans but what a neat spot.

With an NZMCA discount, it was $23 each a night. With their very new Showers and Kitchens, its a delight to stay at. There are a whole bunch of older interesting buildings there too and Horace the Morris is a feature as well.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We stayed two nights with a ferry trip to Kawau in between. Lucky with the weather, after getting back from Kawau, we walked along to the newly setup restaurant on the top floor of the Sandspit Yacht Club and caught up with Motorhome friends Rob and Helen who live not far away from there.

The ferry a few minutes walk away.

The last time we were here, unbeknown to me, they had some issues with the drainage system for the bathrooms which used to be a real problem apparently in the height of summer.

The new Drainage system

This has all been upgraded and put up the hill out of the way and hasn’t been an issue since.  Nice friendly hosts who were happy to help with anything. ..

A shot from the ferry. You can see Rafe in the middle.

A great spot and handy to the Kawau ferry and the new Marina at Sandspit.

The Netspeed Speedtest for here.
Download: 7.34 Mbps
Upload: 2.10 Mbps
Ping: 23 ms
I think the tower was playing up a bit as we had some difficulty with the connection over the two nights.

Rafes Tracker Map

 

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
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-45.872500,170.503600
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!

Induction
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.

matakohe

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