Category Archives: Canterbury

Thunder and Lightning

While we were in Cromwell, we heard the odd crash of thunder in the distance and given that there were 5 days of storms in that region, we seem to miss it all 🙂

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Rafe with Brian and Rose’s Jayco

After leaving Weedons, were headed into Christchurch to get some more toilet chemicals and then started the trek north to Hanmer.

It is years since we were last at Hanmer and its a great place.

The Hanmer park

We headed into the NZMCA park which I’ve driven past numerous times but this was our first time in it. What a neat spot. We’d only just pulled up and I was levelling up Rafe when I met our next door neighbours Tony and Beryl from Motueka, who were heading south to catch up with family in Arrowtown. They had a nice little Bailey caravan and having lived in a bigger model earlier were seasoned caravanners so it was really interesting chatting to them.

John at happy hour!

We were joined by their caravan by John and his girlfriend from Australia who was a real character. He had been part of the television series Outback Truckers so it was great to catch up with them too.

The pools

The next morning, we took Rafe into Hanmer which is about 7 k’s from the park and had a swim and lunch in the hotpools. While were there, out rolled these huge black clouds and it was all on with the thunder and the lightning. Even in the daylight you could see the lightening.

Happy hour before the rain

We got back to the park quite late and a new van had come in while we were out. Brian and Rose from Motueka. We got talking to them too and it turned out that they lived only a few houses away from Tony and Beryl 🙂 A small world.

And the rain came down!

We all got together between Rafe and Brians Motorhome and enjoyed a cold drink and a laugh or two. The Thunder and lightening hadn’t finished yet but we all had umbrellas which I thought was very stoic !

Dusk at Hanmer NZMCA park

The Hanmer park doesn’t have any water, rubbish or any extras and as I said, its 7ks out of town but given that there is no freedom camping in the area, the options are very limited but its a great wee park all the same and comes it at the same great price as all the other NZMCA parks. 🙂

Rafe’s Track

Murray and Faye’s Fleetwood Bus

We first me Murray and Faye at Weedons several years ago when they visited us in Rafe for a few cold ones late one day and we bumped into them again a year or so later as they arrived at Pauanui and we were leaving so it was really nice to catch up with them again.

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Murray and Faye

They are now custodians of the Weedons NZMCA park just out of Christchurch and are really pleased with their new baby, “California”.

It is a 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow with a 300HP Cummins Turbo 6 cylinder diesel engine which they got last September. It is 11m long.

Dining area / Galley

I asked him how many litres of Fresh, Grey and Black water they could hold and the numbers had many zeros on them so the simple explanation is they can go for 10 days with big showers each 🙂
Thats impressive !

The Bedroom
The Lounge

Its a lovely bus which they’re slowly adding their own touches to.

The Galley

Murrays parting comment was that he can’t get over how easy and comfortable it is to drive. “Its just like a car!”

From the back

Heading North

The day of Ross’s party came around and with permission from the Hotel, we parked Rafe behind the Gate where Ross’s party was. It was a great do and I reckon there must have been a few sore heads the next day.

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Parked behind the Gate in Cromwell

Ross was in his element and was having a great time. I really enjoyed catching up with Ross and his family and some of our old boating friends who flew down for the occasion.

Ross is a great character.. the birthday boy.

The next day we joined the crew down at the Precinct again for a cup of Coffee and then headed back to Rob and Helen’s place at Lowburn for our last night before heading north.

At Helen’s for the last night

In the morning, we went to the recycling centre to drop off the rubbish and while we were there, I asked the nice chap in the little building if he could tell me what Rafe weighed. I had no idea.
With a Tare weight of 3499kg and a GVM of 4400kg, I was hoping it would be somewhere in between. It was 4080kg with full fuel and water and two of us onboard with plenty of food and wine 🙂 Yippee.. After a post on facebook, several suggested I should be carrying more wine !  A nice idea 🙂

We headed up the side of Lake Dunstan towards Geraldine where we were to stop for the night with Sue and David Fisher at Peski’s. We ended up staying for two nights and from there headed on up to Weedons NZMCA park.

The Weedons Park

It has been a few years since we were last here and it has changed quite a bit. It was nice to bump into our old friends Murray and Faye and to see that they now custodians of Weedons.

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Its a huge park with storage fenced off at the back. There is a dump station there for cassettes only (septic tank) but there’s also a good dump station just down the road.

Rafe in line

A nice park and handy to know its there as there aren’t too many options in this area.

Rafes Track North

A Hidden Sanctuary in Paradise

We woke up to another stunning day at Tekapo NZMCA park by the lake. Ray and Margaret next door in their bus were up and about. Fiona had an idea that she’d like to take Rafe out and check out some of the lakes nearby.

As soon as I stepped out to see Ray, they were doing exactly that and did we want to come with them in their Toad (Suzuki). Then came the rustling around for thermos flasks and cooly bags. A better idea said I, why don’t we take Rafe and we’ll have fridge and cup of tea / butter etc facilities. We were off.

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Ray and Margaret have been on the road in their bus for 4 ½ years so there aren’t many places in the South Island that they don’t know about. One of their little Gems was a neat place called McGregor Lake and Lake Alexandrina.

Looking across lake McGregor to Tekapo

Its about 12k’s from Tekapo and is run as a campsite by a Community Committee. It is in a fantastic spot on the side of a river between the two lakes. Just spectacular.

Stunning Spot

You can stay their for $10 a night per person. There are Toilets and Showers and rubbish along with an outdoor kitchen.

Our first stop was the Dump Station at Tekapo to fill and empty and then the local 4 Square shop for some fresh bits for lunch, then we were off.

We headed along the road to Mt St John and then a short gravel road and we were there.

Across Lake McGregor

We met a chap who had been there a while in his caravan and was keenly following the antics of the local Paradise Ducks. He directed us further down a track to the other area where there more than 50 Caravans and a whole bunch of Baches up on the hill.

Ray on the left walking to lake Alexandrina

As we walked along the river, Ray told us about a time when he was here earlier when he saw Salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The small river was just chocker with Salmon. It would have been quite sight !

Great camping

With the caravans on both sides of the river, its just an idylic spot to stay. No shops and no pubs but if you’ve got a kayak or just want to blob, what a sensational spot.

Lake Alexandrina

After a good look around, we retired to Rafe for lunch with cups of tea and plenty of laughs.

The images say it all.
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After lunch we tidied up and headed back to Tekapo Club camp and organised ourselves for the next event of the day, Happy Hour!

Our neighbours Jim and Lynley back at the NZMCA park

As the afternoon wore on, more and more neighbouring Motorhomers and Caravanners came over to join us. Its really interesting meeting people from all walks of life and where they come from. Lots are retired but many still work and its interesting hearing their stories.

Happy Hour with all our visitors at Tekapo. Cell pic

Another fantastic day in the Sunny South Island.

Rafe’s Track to the camping area.

Lakeside with the Pines

The storm was a bit of a non event at Geraldine. There was a bit of wind in the afternoon but not enough to upset our 5pm meeting 🙂 Overnight there was a little rain but not enough to keep us awake at all so when we woke up to bright sunshine, it was like we’d missed something 🙂

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We were leaving Peski’s today after more than a week with Sue and David’s wonderful hospitality and with our neighbours, Ray and Margaret, decided we’d meet up at the NZMCA’s superb park on the lakes edge in Tekapo.

Tekapo NZMCA park with Ray and Margaret’s Bus on the right

I’ve never been here before but its a stunning spot. It was a bit grey and gloomy when we first arrived and just as we were leaving for a walk to the church along the track to town, Ray and Margaret arrived.

Love the different layers in the colour
A tribute to Border Collies

The wind was howling from the west but as we got closer to the Church, more blue sky appeared and the wind dropped off slowly.

On our walk back from town

By the time we returned less than an hour later, we had sunshine and lots of it.

Lake Tekapo late on our first day

The next day, Ray and Margaret went for a bike ride to the pools and I rode while Fiona walked into the township. The track goes right down the side of the NZMCA park and finishes at the old stone Church. I couldn’t believe all the tourists going nuts at the church with their point and shoot cameras. All good for the countries tourist dollars!

The Stone Church with the tourists

The last time I was here, there were only a few houses and a few bars. Now its a fully fledged town.

From the new Footbridge looking down on the Lake

After lunch, we headed to the supermarket and I headed back to the NZMCA park on my bike with the veges for the fridge and Fiona had a look around the shops and walked back.

The park though is fantastic. Its a bit lumpy and uneven but I see that a roped off area further down has had some remedial work on levelling it out but we found places we could park in without any problem.

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A nice park and there are some public loos just along the track a bit from the park. (5 minutes walk) There is also a dump station just across the road.

On our ride in the next day

The look of the lake never ceases to amaze me with the different light. The water is almost turquoise and when the mountains have some sun on them with no clouds around, the lake is stunning. A lovely place to stay.

Rafe’s track to Tekapo

John Brittens International Motorhome

Where we were staying at Peski’s just out of Geraldine, was an easy 4k’s ride in to the town.

Geraldine has a fabulous Car, Truck and Tractor Museum along with washing machines, old cinema projectors and anything of note. Its an amazing place.

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We set off on our bikes to ride to the museum and spent an hour or so having a good look around.

Fiona with her great auntie Jeannie’s Morris

Fiona’s great aunty Jeannie’s old 1948 Morris is in the museum so we were keen to check it out as Fiona had travelled in it often as a small girl. Legend has it that Jeannie drained the radiator water every night and refilled it with hot water in the morning saying  “it started so much better. Anyway, Anti Freeze will rot the engine”! And there it is tucked in the corner.

We moved on to two other buildings where we found an old Gypsy styled Motorhome built on a 1926 International chassis by John Britten when he was in his early 20’s.

John’s Motorhome

Between 1972 to 1975, John purchased the old 1926 International Truck Chassis and set to turning it into a Motorhome for his travels around the South Island.

The Tiller

Everything is hand made. All the woodwork and engineering including the Califont for heating the water was all made by John.

The interior of Johns truck

On the sides, there are two hinged wooden doors as windows. There is even some stained glass on the back. It really is stunning given he ws so young and I guess it is no surprise that he went on to do great things with motorbikes and come up with the Britten race bike.

From the back. A nice stained glass window on the back. Note the opening wooden windows.

A great find and there is a lot more to see here. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Fun at the country Fete.

They really know how to promote one of these festivals down here judging by the turnout. The Geraldine Fete was held at a farm about 3 k’s north of Geraldine. There were thousands of people around and it was a great carnival atmosphere.

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Two stages with some great performers kept everyone entertained and it was a fun place to be.

One of the performing groups

I’m not sure how many stalls there were but there was some really interesting South Canterbury stuff available. Fiona and I spent a couple of hours walking around soaking up the vibes and it was neat to see everyone really enjoying themselves.

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I did give some thought to Rafe in the carpark with the long grass but it was no problem getting in or out with the queues.

Where’s Rafe?

We headed into our favorite  Geraldine Cafe for a coffee and a sticky bun before heading back to our park at Peskis’s.

Rafe’s track to the Fete