We started planning Queens Birthday quite a few weeks ago so we could book into the anticipated busy Miranda Holiday Park and get parks, for both Rafe and our friends in their Tracker.
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Rob, Helen and Chloe were joining us for the weekend and we were really looking forward to catching up with them again.
The weekend forecast was not great but we figured that our old favorite spot would be pretty safe.
We arrived around midday on Saturday to find that Rob, Helen and Chloe had already arrived and after getting Rafe level and some vents open and the power on, Fiona and I were off to the hot pool.
The rain hadn’t started yet but was forecast to arrive anytime. Later in the day, it was all on and overnight into Sunday, it just didn’t stop. It didn’t prevent us though from ducking in and out for a swim on both days.
Later on Saturday, Rob and Helen popped over for a cold one and some cheese and biccies. I was amazed that despite the forecast, Chloe was still keen to stay the night on an air bed in a small tent between the two vans!
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Tent sites near us
The BBQ area
Gumboots for Happy Hour!
Sunday… It was all on, some Thunder, and LOTS of rain. The drainage ditch behind us was chocker and threatening to come into the park from the road. There was water everywhere.
Later in the day, the rain eased up and Rob and I went for a walk to have a look around. Many of the parks with Caravans and smaller vans were half under water. Most of the tent sites near us were submerged but despite all this, everyone seemed happy. The pool was busy everytime I went anywhere near it too!
If you’re going to get stuck in a downpour, I couldn’t think of a better place to be really:-)
One of the great surprises from a wee jaunt around the Waikato has been the discovery of the Ngaruawahia Golf Club.
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I phoned Lyn from 50 odd k’s away to make sure that they had space and were open and was bowled over by Lynn’s happy voice on the other end of the phone. It couldn’t have been easier.
30 minutes or so later, I was being shown a level patch of solid grass nicely protected by a few trees with 3 powered boxes (4 sockets on each) and a picnic table nicely positioned away from the general parking area. It was heavenly!..
At $15 a night per van with power, with the bar handy in the newish clubhouse with toilets and showers available during the day, its fantastic parking.
After settling Rafe down and plugging in, one of my first stops was upstairs to the bar where Lynn was helping out.
I met a couple of really friendly locals there who had just finished 18 holes and were enjoying a couple of beers. They lived and worked in Hamilton which seems to be where a lot of the membership and bars patrons came from but what a nice crowd.
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The riverfront housing next to the Golf course with the walkway.
Looking towards the town
Fantastic Parking with plenty of power points
Showing the main carpark from the motorhome parking
Ngaruawahia’s main street
Lynn showed me where the walking / bike trail is to the Ngaruawahia township along the river which I later walked some of the way along. There is a huge brand new housing subdivision right next door with some amazing houses. I stopped halfway as it started raining and headed back to Rafe but what a lovely spot.
A nice place to park with some friendly faces in a nice town.
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After a couple of nice days at Richmond, we decided we would cross the strait early and head back to Auckland. We headed to our favourite Blenheim Motorcamp, Spring Creek for a night before catching the ferry on a perfect day to cross to Wellington.
It was nice to see the owners Christine and Andy and the campground was looking good. I gave Rafe a good wash to tidy up a bit while Fiona got some washing done as well.
The next morning, we were off early and with perfect weather, the crossing was fantastic. We arrived in the middle of the day so we thought Plimmerton NZMCA park would be good for the night and then we would head to Taupo to stay with friends Gary and Dianne. They had arranged for some other friends Ian and Lynda with their Dethleffs XLI to join us for four nights as well. We were really looking forward to seeing them all again.
After an early departure from Plimmerton, we left and made good time getting to Waiouru at lunchtime after stopping at the Woolshed café in Sanson for a cuppa and some fuel. $1.19 a litre at the Sanson Caltex Truck stop for diesel.. amazing.
We had paid up to $1.45 a litre in the South Island.
We cruised in to Taupo about 3.30pm and as it was nearly 30C – hot!, we were with Gary and Dianne in their pool to cool off. It was nice to see them both again.
Ian and Lynda were arriving the following day.
The next day, Gary took one look at Rafe and while I washed Rafe, he made it clear that he thought, Rafe needed a bit more TLC.
Within a few minutes, he was out with his cut and polish kit and got straight into all of Rafe’s blue bits. The bonnet and the doors and the the decals down the side.
A light cut, a polish and buffing and it looked like a different vehicle.
When Ian arrived the next day, they were both at it but what a huge difference! Even the wheels got some silicone treatment!
We went down to Repco to get some Turtle Wax so I could wax it when I got back to Auckland (Which I’ve now done).
Thanks guys, you made such a difference and Rafe now looks a picture!
After 4 great days with the crew in Taupo, we headed back to Alex and Sara’s in Ardmore in Auckland (Son and Daughter in law) and the Grandkids Ayden and Liam. It was nice to see them again and with that, the South Island trip came to a close.
Christmas was on the doorstep and we were looking forward to catching up with friends and family. Many we hadn’t seen since we left for Europe over 6 months ago.
Last year in October, the camp was bought out by a Hapu of Tainui and the welcome we got from manager Mathew was unbelievable.
He’s a lovely guy and again was just so helpful. With the new management comes some enthusiasm to do a few deals to rev things up in winter. The deal we had was pay for one adult and get another one free for a powered site which was amazing. Where else do you get this with all the other facilities too 🙂
After finding a nice spot for Rafe and settling down, Fiona and I decided to walk the 1k or so down to Sunset beach. A nice easy flat walk and the beach is amazing. There is something that is quite magical about our West Coast beaches.
The wild west
The Tv room and Kitchen
A local bach
The front fence
We spent an hour so taking it all in and then headed back to Rafe.
As it was a holiday park and despite the cold weather, the park was reasonably busy with plenty of caravans and lots of Bach owners in their permanent chalets in the park.
Some have gone to some trouble to set them apart from the others.
The rain came down overnight which we expected and we enjoyed a leisurely run home with very little traffic.
Its a great spot, the camp is well setup and with Mathew on the handlebars now, you’ll really enjoy your stay. Check it out.
We’ve watched this place over the last year or so but it just gets better and better. The food is consistently good and its a neat place to stop.
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There is one Motorhome park on the gravel but there is also plenty of solid lawn parking for Caravans and Motorhomes while you visit.
It is right on the turnoff to Thames on Highway 27 as you’re heading towards Thames. Turn left at the Thames turnoff coming from the motorway and its on your right.
There is plenty of parking. There is a kids play area for the nippers, great food and reasonably priced. Style shop is there too in a seperate building, for the Mums to load up while Dad soaks up the sun outside 🙂 … a dress shop 🙂
Fiona’s Date Scone
Nice outdoor area
An easy guide to Coromandel
Playground for the young ones
We stopped here on the way to catch up with friends at Coromandel for a scone and a cuppa. Although we were early, around 10:30ish, it was just getting busy so its good to see they’re doing so well.
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 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.
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.
Great stuff! A great use of what could otherwise be wasted space.