Category Archives: Waikato

The Bike ride to Miranda Cafe

One of the amazing little hidden treasures in Miranda is this amazing Cafe and Gallery.

Annie with some of the Art

It is run and owned by Annie Wilson and her family.   Annie has been here about 7 years with the Cafe with the Gallery coming together over that time. There is also a fantastic easy parking for Motorhomes right in front.

Bikes outside

The easy way of getting here is like we did, from Miranda Holiday park on our bikes.

It is an easy 30 minute ride but there is a small hill so an ebike makes life a bit easier.

The Team
On the trail to Kaiaua

We left early on a Saturday morning from Miranda Holiday Park while we were at a Dethleffs get together and rode an easy trail along the foreshore until we got back to a bridge. Going right, you’re heading to Rays Rest and Kaiaua or if you go left and head to the corner and up the hill, you’ll come across the cafe.

Fiona with the some of the selection.. Photo by Mary

We had a nice morning tea and something to eat and then walked next door to check out the Gallery.

A sculpture outside the Gallery
Mary and Fiona in the Gallery
A pitchfork sculpture

The art is amazing and is from many well known artists as well as some locals.

That stained glass window

The outside Toilet was designed by Annie and a friend and is something else with its beautiful stained glass window and also has a wooden toilet seat!

Fiona and Mary ready for the road

After a couple of hours here, we biked back to Miranda and were back in the Hot Pools.. a great morning.

Tony and Mary back at their Motorhome

Dethleffs Owners Group 2nd Soiree 2022

And it was a goodie too.. Many arrived early on Friday afternoon and were well settled by the time Fiona and I arrived about 12:30!

The day before we found out about the Kaiaua Pub courtesy van. I knew we had about 12 interested so it was all last minute but after two trips of the van, they all managed to get to the table and it all went well.

It was still raining off and on so I was in the pool soon after arriving, my favourite part of Miranda 🙂

Electrical help

As the day went on, it was a great meet and greet. For many of the 46 Motorhomes that arrived, this was their first get together and for me, the biggest turnout of vans ever.

It was funny though as the numbers from the bookings were 46, if you walked around and looked, it didn’t seem too crowded.

As the day wore on. More and more people were making themselves known and introducing themselves to everyone and looking around the Motorhomes.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged slide show – Friday

4pm came around and the BBQ area suddenly filled up with laughter and Wine bottles..

Day two was Bike ride day towards Kaiaua. Tony Coupe who put his hand up early encouraging riders to bring their bikes  and had a plan to ride to a neat little Café and Gallery called Stray Dog Café.  It was just up the hill off to the left on the way to Kaiaua. Fantastic place with an amazing Gallery  Thanks Tony.. more on this in another post coming soon.

On the trail to Kaiaua

We arrived back at Miranda a couple of hours later. A great ride and it was time for a coffee and another swim in the pool.

Neil during his talk. Pic by Mary Coupe

At 3pm, we had Neil showing quite a few interested people the basics on Amp hours and how to calculate your battery needs. Very useful and many went away very happy. Great work.. thanks Neil.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow – Saturday

At 4pm was time for a Team Photo but to make sure everyone was there, we started happy hour and then did the images. Photographer Grant who has the same camera as me, was keen to get me in the photo so we did a quick swap for a fun pic. Thanks Grant.

I was talking to one of the camp senior staff, Gay the next day and she was telling me they were watching us in the CCTV while we were getting organised and starting happy hour then suddenly we all vanished in a nano second.. “where did they go”! That must have been photo time 🙂

Click on this to enlarge for a better look.

John Ogilvie had very kindly brought his amazing projector along for the rugby and with Michelle’s screen, were were all ready for the big game starting later.

Everyone in
Tea time.
The leftovers of the shared meal.. I was too busy eating to get a before shot 🙂

At 6, the food started appearing on the Barbecue area and we all got stuck in. The food was unbelievable. Normally at a shared meal you end up with a lot of snacky stuff but this was top drawer dishes. Well done everyone. Stunning Stuff.

The tidying up and dishes were done in the well equipped kitchen and we were set for the Rugby.

A great atmosphere and we had a few other campers join us on the fringes to watch as well. I found out after talking to Gay in the office that they had quite a few people who wanted to watch in the TV room but there is no drinking or food in there so they were suggesting joining us so that was good. There even some people on the other side of the screen in the BBQ area watching it backwards from the opposite side of the screen 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to Enlarge

Well done and thanks John (the projectionist) and thanks again Michelle for the use of your screen. Although the result wasn’t what we wanted, it was still a fun night.


All in all, a great weekend finished off with a farewell coffee/tea catchup before everyone went off in different directions.

Talking to Gay (Miranda Holiday Park) afterwards, she said it went well for them, no one got up their noses (not from our group anyway) and for them it was easy.

Thanks too to Paul McLuckie who put his drone up to get the amazing drone images.

Click on this image to enlarge.

Thanks everyone for coming, we had a lot of fun and it was nice to see everyone again. Some we haven’t seen for years.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

The Picturesque and Amazing Raglan.

After enjoying a great All Blacks win  in the Raglan Holiday Park, we headed into town over the walk bridge to check out the shops. First stop was a Café for a coffee and then we walked about 1k across to the wharf and Silo area.

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Raglan personified
The Historic Raglan
Neat shops

We last visited this area years ago with friends Dianne and Gary from Taupo so check that post out for more photos of this area.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

Since then, one of the Silos has been converted into what looks to be some very nice rentable Apartments.

The Silos

Its a busy area with a fantastic Fish and Chip shop on the outer end of the wharf along with some pottery and Leather shops. Fiona bought herself a new Leather Hand Bag where we enjoyed a really nice chat with the shopkeeper. I complimented her on her lovely London accent before she told me she was from Perth ! Oops .. but she did have a nice English Accent so no harm done 🙂

The Raglan Wharf
Cafe opposite Raglan Wharf

After a coffee in a new (to us) Café opposite the wharf, we headed back to the town and Rafe.

Sundown

An amazing little town and not far from Auckland with the current Diesel prices as they are.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan – Armada GPS

Peace and Quiet at Raglan

The weather was good, there was a beach only a few yards away and the town was only 10 minutes walk.

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Rafe at Raglan

We were looking to get out of the traffic but not too far away.. Raglan won the day. It has been a while since we were last here but it has an atmosphere all of its own. Very like Waiheke Island with some of the similar arty but down to earth shops.

Kids enjoying Badminton
Our neighbours from Hamilton and Tauranga enjoying the sun.

When my son Drew found out we were heading to Raglan, he said we had to go to Orca so I booked in online and its a magic spot. We went for lunch and the food was fantastic and it was very reasonable with a great view too.

The view out of the main street
The Historic Raglan Pub

After lunch we headed back to Rafe at the Raglan Holiday Park and then later onto the beach.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

There was a family from Hamilton with their youngest doing hand stands and flips on the sand while they enjoyed a glass of wine and watched the sun go down. Just magic.

Amazing Sunset

We were looking forward to the next day, Watching the rugby and then checking out the town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan – Armada GPS

House & Garden RV style!

Paeroa would have to get first prize in the Antique shops. A fantastic place if you like looking at old interesting stuff.

We’ve passed through here lots of times but only stayed here once before  and that was at the Paeroa RV centre.

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I hadn’t booked or anything and just rocked up and as I checked in, there was something vaguely familiar about the nice lady checking me in.

After I gave her my name, she looked at me strangely and and said, “I went to school with you at Takapuna Grammar School”, the penny dropped and everything fell into place. Jane was also was at school with Fiona at Vauxhall Primary School.. amazing memory.  We spent the next hour or so going though all the common friends that we have and strangely enough, have managed to keep in touch with.

Jane’s partner Steve is the caretaker and they have an amazing old Devonport Ferries red bus, a real slice of history.

Jane with her and Steve’s ex Devonport Ferries Bus

Paeroa RV Centre has changed over the years and now house s a lot of permanent people in bigger vehicles and they’ve developed a real community there. I found all of them very welcoming and very friendly and with the less than friendly winter weather that we’ve had lately, its a great spot to get comfortable.

Some of the appendages to their parks .. think decks and little garden areas are amazing. I very definitely felt very undecorated and certainly not anywhere in the hunt for a prize for my park 🙂 I did have some moss and a neighbour pots nearby though 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to check out the Gardens

Having met Steve and Jane, they talked me into staying a second night and I spent the next day walking into Paeroa, getting a haircut and buying some costume jewelry for Fiona.

Downtown Paeroa
There’s a plastic bottle now !

A fantastic place to stay, great people and I was really pleased to catch up with Jane again and meet Steve.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Paeroa – Armada GPS

Wonderful Waikite

We’ve been trying to get into Waikite at all the wrong times it seems. At the end of the weekend, we managed to bag a spot in their camping ground for a night. There are only about 20 powered sites so that explains why a holiday weekend is probably going to awkward.. 🙂

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The campground at Waikiti

Waikite is about half an hour south of Rotorua and in its own little valley about 6 k’s from Waiotapu.

Our park at Waikiti

The campground does its best to be level but does have a little bit of a slope on it. Nothing that can’t be fixed with a wheel ramp or a block of wood 🙂

Pool with a view

We arrived around midday and after setting things up in Rafe, plugging in and opening vents, I went for a walk with the camera. Its an amazing place with some of its history on the walls in the onsite café.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

There are 3 smaller scenic pools plus a big main pool in the middle. Attached to the side of the main pool are two small spa pool sized pools so plenty of choice. They are all different temperatures so you can chose your own comfort zone 🙂

View from the lookout

A walk up the back behind the pools will take to the spring where the water is so hot, it is constantly bubbling out of the ground and running down a stream beside the pools.

The boiling spring at the back. The source!

On the track back to the pools is a lookout up the hill looking out all over the area. Both well worth checking out.

Lovely pools

We spent hours in the pools off and on and ending up having a simple nice shared seafood platter from the café there.

One of the bigger (and hotter) pools

The outside temperature got down to 5 degrees that night so we took advantage of the late 11am checkout for another early warm up swim before leaving.

Spa pools on the side

Everybody we’ve met raves about this place and I can see why. Its like being in another world and you can’t beat those Hot Pools.

Rafe’s tracker map to Waikite – Armada GPS

Near a Hot Pool in naff weather!

We had not long returned from a trip around the South Island where we got a crack in the windscreen, courtesy of an oncoming truck speeding through roadworks. Our 8 year old Habitation door fly screen also lost its string too so after fixing these up, we were ready to go again or at least I was.

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It doesn’t often look like this.. early in the day.

As Fiona was working, she suggested I go away for a few days so with the forecast looking not that flash, I thought Miranda wasn’t too far to go and with the hot pools, was the perfect place to be.

The last time we came here was when we were baby sitting our grand sons Ayden and Liam and while it was wet, we had fun.

The weather was fantastic for the first of my three night stay and showery for the rest of the time so it was a case of dodging the showers from Rafe to the pool 🙂

I don’t think I’ve every seen the camp ground this quiet and this empty but this was my first midweek visit so hardly surprising but by the end of each day, the place seemed to fill up nicely.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

The camp has grown to now be more than 90 odd powered sites with BIG parks out the back and more doggy sites too. The dog sites is a great idea and is perfect for those who want to let their pets outside while keeping them close.

A doggy site.
The new Ablutions block out the back

The new nearby ablutions block looks the business too and with some of the trees out by the road gone, there is more room for walks and bike riding.

The new Children’s pool.

Its a great go to place for those who don’t want to travel too far and have and easy few days away.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

Mighty River Campground – Karapiro

On the edge of the Waikato river at Karapiro is an amazing complex set up for our competitive rowers.  All the top rowing regattas are held here and most of our top Olympic and Commonwealth Games Rowers and Canoeists all train at this fantastic facility.

Click on any Image to enlarge

Nice parking on the lower camping area
Down by the river

Attached to this is the Campground run by Liz and her assistants and it is HUGE. There are two campgrounds and they’re dead flat. The top one is set back a bit from the river but has a view through the trees and the bottom campground, right on the river.

The Dethleffs Rally on the top campground

We had arranged to host the 2022 Dethleffs Rally here tip toeing a bit around the Covid outbreak which was at its peak. We lost a few due to Covid and about 8 or so more wanting to keep their heads down.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow/to enlarge

We spent some time at the Café here which is great too.. nice food and great coffee and an easy walk from the Motorhomes in either campground. Its a great spot for just watching the rowing too with a cuppa in hand.

It is 7 k’s odd from Cambridge and there is a bike trail all the way in so bring your bike. There is a no dogs policy but cats are ok.

All in all, a lovely spot.

Rafe’s Tracker Map – Armada GPS

The Runaway Keys

During the Dethleffs Rally at Karapiro, there was a group of cyclists who biked into Cambridge on the bike trail.

On the way there the keys to John and Kirstie’s Motorhome somehow managed to break free and were later found by a friendly Cambridge local.

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John on the phone

It was quickly established by the local who the group on bikes were and he set about getting the keys back to John and Kirsty by handing them to a couple of Police officers in a patrol car in Cambridge.

In the meantime back at Karapiro, John and Kirsty were locked out of their Motorhome with the spare set inside.

John Peats pic of Kirsty doing an impression of Spiderman!

A plan was hatched to get Kirsty (the smaller of the two) up onto the roof and to climb in through the hatch above their bedroom. John Peat was hand to get a magnificent picture of Kirsty’s legs in the air  half way into the hatch 🙂

The Keys arrive. Kirsty and John with the Police.

About an hour went by and a very kind couple of Police officers in the Police patrol car found time in their program and came to drop off the runaway keys. It was good to see the faces change from concern to smiles for everyone and it was by then time for a cold one.. very timely 🙂

The 2022 Dethleffs Karapiro Rally

The venue was the Mighty River Domain at Karapiro which was fantastic.  Given that the  last Dethleffs do a few years ago was here and was a big success and after talking to the camp manager Liz who couldn’t do enough to help me, it was a done deal!

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Just before kick off, we had nearly 50 people coming (limit of 100 red light) but by the weekend, we’d lost quite a few so that was a bit disappointing.  A couple caught Covid and others were hunkering down.  We’ll try for one next year. So we had about 25 people which worked well.

On the Friday everyone started arriving from the middle of the day onwards.

My GPS sent us to cross the Dam but when I got there, there were limits on both weight and length due to the curve in the dam. We were at the front of the one way queue but managed to back out of the way when the light went green. There was one hardy Dethleffs soul who went across anyway.. he was later presented the bravery award !

Later in the day, Jonas and Irene arrived.. (Mr and Mrs Dethleff of NZ) and Jonas started to cut up a whole lot of meat he’d got from the Pokeno Butchery for everyone.. one of the best around. Just about everyone provided a salad .. a great communal effort and the variety was amazing.

Irene and Jonas with the meat.

I was a bit reluctant to take on this fantastic quality meat and burn it or undercook it so Jonas took on the cooking role which he did to perfection helped by John O on his BBQ.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow/Enlarge images

After tea, the campfire seating plan was retained for a social session and later outside various Motorhomes.

The next day, those who brought their bikes hit the bike trail into Cambridge to a café which was about 7 k’s away.

Fiona and I were joined by a few at the park Café overlooking the lake for a couple of hours until the cyclists returned.

The afternoon was spent with everyone sussing out each others Motorhomes and a good catchup.

For many this was their first Rally or Motorhome get together and the feedback was fantastic.. “when is the next one?” was a common question!

Later we reassembled the circle of chairs and all enjoyed a meal and a few drinks together and more fun times outside some ones Motorhome.

One the following morning, we all caught up at the Café and a group pic to celebrate the occasion.

The Team pic

A good result. Although I’ve been involved in helping previous Dethleffs and NZMCA rallies with parking (one with over 400 motorhomes!) this was something quite different.. especially with the germ floating around.

Rafe’s Tracker Map – Armada GPS