With the Green things

We were heading north with no particular destination firmly set except we thought, maybe a night at Waipu and then a night the NZMCA park at Rainbow Falls if there was room.

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The traffic was unbelievable so we left the motorway at Silverdale and headed up Highway 16. I haven’t been up this was for a long time so it was a nice drive through. We stopped at the lookout spot looking out over the Kaipara Harbour just before Wellsford which was nice too.

Rafe at Caledonian park in Waipu

We arrived in Waipu and headed straight for our favorite spot at the Caledonian Park. There are only a couple of spots there where you can get a TV signal next to a power pole and we managed to snaffle one of them.

The next morning, the grounds people were up early to set up for the Scottish Games so we headed towards Kerikeri and after a cup of coffee at the Pear Tree Cafe by the Stone Store, we went to check in to the Rainbow Falls park.

This has to be one of the better parks being right next to a fantastic walking track with the Falls right behind.

Rainbow Falls park with the lighthouse

Just by chance, it happened that old friends Max and Jan were staying opposite us in their new Hobby Caravan so we joined them for a drink outside their caravan.

Max and Jan’s new Hobby with the wrap around sun glasses ๐Ÿ™‚

The next day, we went for a walk down towards the Stone Store by the river but got half way down when we realised that we didn’t have a wallet between us for something at the other end so we turned around and headed back to Rafe.

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A fantastic walk with people fishing in the river, lots of people out enjoying the walk and people swimming under the falls. It is really nice to see so many people out enjoying this fantastic park.

Dusk

We had just got back when my old mate Grant rang and he Dani arrived ready for a cold drink. Max and Jan arrived back at the park not long after (Dani’s parents) and joined us as well. Lots of fun and laughs in Rafe in a nice park.

If you haven’t been to this park, it truly is fantastic having some great walks, the falls and public loos just over the fence as well. The park is now at a point where almost half of it now has gravel down with the grass growing through and it looks great.

Rafe’s Track to Rainbow Falls Park

The Famous Martinborough Fair

We trekked back to Martinborough on the Saturday morning to a busy Martinborough rugby ground. There were Caravans and Motorhomes for Africa. It was the day of the Fair so people had come from far and wide.

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Back at the Park

The park was an amazing place and having gone to virtually having it to ourselves a weekend before with the Cruise Martinborough event to it being as busy as it was was great.

Friends Gary and Dianne, and Ian and Lynda went to Ngawi while we were in Greytown and they arrived back the day before. We met John and Yvonne from Ruakaka in their Dethleffs Nomad Caravan and they were here again too. It was going to be a fun weekend.

Fiona checking out the Jade

We all walked into town and had a good cruise around the Market. Where there were Hot Rods and Classic cars a week before, there were stalls in every corner. It was amazing.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slide show

One of the things I really enjoy doing at these events is simply buying a lime thickshake and a bun and sitting in a street side cafe and watch the world go by. Its great fun.

The next door Neighbour.. Nice !

After a couple of hours of checking out every nook and cranny, we headed back to the park for something wet and cold. The wind finally dropped off a bit, but was bitterly cold. It allowed us to move out into the field where there was some raucous laughter amongst some dancing and singing along.

Out in the Middle
Cold !

A great day!

Rafe’s Track North from the park via the Dump Station

A Break in Greytown

Greytown is one of those lovely little towns that just oozes charm and is full of history.

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With up to 35C heat, we thought a trip to the Greytown pool next door to the wonderful little Greytown Holiday Park, well it would be rude not too! The pool is free being provided by the kind citizens of Greytown and it must be slightly heated as it was about 28 C in the pool!

The Gypsy caravan which you can rent at Greytown Holiday Park

The Holiday Park is fabulous with Ken and Nina at the helm. Ken is a real character and couldn’t be more helpful. At $35 for 2 with the NZMCA discount with power, it is very good value. And of course the use of the pool next door !

Fiona checking out one of the oldest Greytown Cottages in the Museum

We were both keen to check out the Shoc Chocolate shop which is almost part of the local Museum.

Inside the Cottage

The Cobblestone Museum is amazing and has a collection of several of the oldest buildings in the area.

The original Cobblestones

There were also a few clever people in the area. One called Donald Donald who invented the wool press and got world wide patents for it. This is back in the late 80’s. He was also well know for inventing a wire fence strainer amongst other things.

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A local Church, Hospital, School House and others were well set out in an area where there was originally the Transport Hub for the area with the original cobbles still intact.

A very mod front entrance of the Museum

And afterwards.. the Shoc Chocolate shop was a great place to stop too.

The Roar in the Square

The big day for Cruise Martinborough is when all the cars start in Puruatanga park, where we were staying and then all roar into the town square and completely surround the main square.

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It is truly a magnificant sight. The park in the middle under the trees, gets covered in portable deck chairs from the car owners to shelter from the sun. The coffee and Ice Cream carts are doing a roaring trade. The Cafe’s are flat out and its just a neat scene of people everywhere wandering through the magnificent old Fords, Chevrolets and many others.

Grants Plymouth and Caravan
BBQ in a hurry!

The time and money that has gone into these cars is unbelievable and it is not until you get a close up look at some of them that you can appreciate the craftsmenship involved.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We spent an hour or so having a good look around before settling for a good old fashioned lime thickshake from a milkshake bar in the square.

End of the day

An amazing scene with several retailers saying that they wished it happened more often ๐Ÿ™‚  So do I !

Where we parked in relation to the square

Motorhomes and Muscle

We had arrived in Rafe along with Ian and Lynda with their XLI, and Gary and Dianne with their Niesmann and Bichoff Arto at the NZMCA parking area at the Rugby Ground at Martinborough.

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The Xli, Rafe blocking the wind and the Niesmann and Bichoff on the right

The official Motorhome and caravan parking was at Puruatanga Park. In previous years this has been called Cruise Central but this year it was simply a registration area.

Us parked up the back

We arrived mid afternoon on the first day and were directed to park around the end of a fence which was just perfect.

Early one morning.. it was probably after 9am ๐Ÿ™‚ you could hear the dulcit tones of many Ford and Chev V8’s arriving for registration before they headed off to the Drag strip at Masterton for a day of action!

More and more cars kept coming to the point that I thought I should shift Rafe out of the way but there was plenty of room.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Many of the Woman dressed up really nicely in Polka Dot dresses and Parasols but the chaps seemed happy in their cut off jeans and T shirts which seemed a bit of a let down ๐Ÿ™‚ .. whatever spins your wheels I suppose !

Some amazing vehicles and it was nice being able to walk amongst them and talk to the people involved with them.

An hour so so later, they were leaving for Masterton for the Drag Strip. A real spectacle and good to see so many cars so nicely looked after.

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A Stormy night with a view

I discovered that an old friend who I used to work with many years ago was not so well, so I thought I’d try and cheer him up by popping in to see him in New Plymouth.

This post is really about the wild piccies!

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Tyres on the tarmac

I checked into Belt Rd campground in New Plymouth, where I met Nadine who was holding the fort. She very kindly checked me in to a waterfront site with a view which I was a bit apprehensive about due to a wind and rain warning for that night. Very nice of her to offer me that siteย  though ๐Ÿ™‚

Nice spot but a bit exposed with the forecast

I trundled off to the first of two sites she gave me to look at โ€ฆ the first I checked out on foot to make sure it was solid as it was grass at the top of the cliff looking out over the port. Very nice spot but I was concerned about the grass and the water with Rafe’s 4.4 tons odd. I tried parking on it and went to move back again and I basically wheel spun to get back to the tar seal road behind.. scary stuff.

Where I nearly got stuck
Perched on the hill

So a compromise was called on where I backed in a park further down the campground and kept my front wheels on the road. I could still reach the power box so all was well.

Looking out for that wild weather.
I’m not sure washing his new Merc in Salt water is a good idea.

Needless to say, I was a bit stressed after that and went to see my friend for the afternoon and it was really nice to see him.

After an hour or so, he had some other visitors so I came back to Rafe and settled down to watch the weather.ย  Fantastic views but it was blowing dogs off chains!

We’ve been to this park in the height of summer and its a fantastic place but it really surprised me that they had no gravel parking at all for those odd winter months where it just rains.

Nice cabins

When I returned after hearing from my friend who is a long term local was telling me that it never rains there.. Yeah right thought I!

I went for a walk to get some piccies and to have a look around.ย  ย A spectacular spot though with great views everywhere you look and not that far from the centre of New Plymouth shopping centre.

That night I woke up about three times to some huge puffs of wind buffeting Rafe around and I immediately thought of a motorhome and caravanner up on the edge of the cliff where I was supposed to go… it blew and it rained and it rocked and rolled.. amazing.

Port behind

In the morning I got up early to get back to Auckland as it was in a full lockdown!!ย  I did have plans to check in on an old mate in Eltham, next time!

Having been here before in better weather, it is definitely a top spot to stay.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Belt Rd Campground – Armada GPS

Peace and quiet at Otorohanga

It’s been a while since I stopped in at Otorohanga but I was on a bit of a solo mission to get to New Plymouth to catch up with an old friend.

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I didn’t have time to get into town this time to check out the Kiwiana which this town is famous for but we’ll be through here again soon I’m sure.

Great space and check out the river

We first stopped in here a couple of years ago when the NZMCA park was only new. Its a pearler being right next to the Waipa river and with the trees being bare of leaves, there is a great view right across the river to farmland beyond. The perfect outlook while you enjoy that later afternoon glass of Rose ๐Ÿ™‚

I pulled in later in the afternoon and there was plenty of room.ย  I was going to try the local campground but they had a policy of a minimum charge for two, even in the middle of winter so I decided to doย  without the power and settle for a nice spot by the river.

A walkway too.
The view from my window

With some high winds and plenty of rain expected, it was nice to be in behind the trees by he bank of the river too.

Nice park, nice outlook with water and rubbish collection and its interesting to see there is a choice between gravel and grass here too! Well done to those who look after it.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the NZMCA park – Armada GPS

All the Stone Chips have gone!

One of the things we should have done when we first got our Motorhome 7 odd years ago was to put some protection on the bonnet against stone chips. I remember Fiona mentioning it at the time but I was too eager to use the new toy!

Years later after progressively touching up the stone chips on the bonnet leaving pimples of touch up paint, it was time to either repaint the bonnet or tidy things up.

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Masking out the design

Having just had the bumper done up after it dropped all its paint, I needed to have the decals that Dethleffs originally put on replaced on the newly painted bumper.

Jeremy applies the white base.

My son Drew was involved in Drift Car racing and met Jeremy years ago who is a sign writer extraordinaire who is also a dab hand at wrapping cars and anything else. Drew introduced us by phone so off I went to Jeremy’s workshop get the new decals.

Jay doing the other side with the white base.

Jeremy is an old school sign writer who can still do signs with a brush.. sounds to me like a photographer who still knows how to process a roll of film ๐Ÿ™‚ I liked the sound of that.. nothing like experience!

He immediately looked at the images I had of the original decals and said โ€œI can do much better than thatโ€ ! Jeremys right hand man Jay was there on one side while Jeremy was on the other.

On goes the blue
Applying the blue over the white.
Jeremy trimming the blue shape

Jeremy’s version of the Decals were quite a lot bigger but followed the contours of the bumper much more closely and also met up with the pattern on the sides of the van much better so it all looked a lot more streamlined than the original Dethleffs effort. I was over the moon.

Click on the Gallery below for blow by blow slideshow

Next came the bonnet which I was only going to get Jeremy to tackle if it wasn’t a huge job. Jeremy took one look at it and after a comment like โ€œeasy peasyโ€, we were off.

Jeremy sanding the “pimples” on the bonnet.

Jeremy got some very fine wet and dry sandpaper and with some water, gently hand sanded all the little pimples of touch up paint that I had applied down so the bonnet was smooth. There was also a Globe 4 decal on the bonnet which had to go too.

Applying the protective bonnet cover.

The bonnet then looked like a bluey grey colour which looked awful. I think Jeremy could tell I was a bit nervous so he cut off a tiny bit of bonnet protector and after wetting it, stuck it in the middle of all the horrible grey and immediately, it took on the lovely deep blue I was used to! It was a WOW moment.. I was amazed and it was a high gloss too.

Squeezing out the water.

Jay appeared with a sheet of the protector big enough for our bonnet and between them, they wet it and the bonnet and on it went. The next 30 minutes or so were spent squeezing out the water but it looked absolutely amazing. The best part was that out of the 40 or so original stone chips on the bonnet, the sanded paint filled up the holes left like a filler so you could really only see a handful of them afterwards.. A HUGE improvement.. Its like a new bonnet.

Jay tidying up at the end

Watching the process was awesome too.. with the new technology products now it really was something to see.

Wow all finished

If you’re looking to do a stone chip tidy up or do something with your Motorhome or Caravan, you can find Jeremy and Jay at Big Brown Industries in the Wairau Valley.ย  www.bigbrown.co.nz

Jeremy and Jay with the end result

Taking the Boys to Miranda

Our son Alex had a trip arranged to meet some people in the South Island for a few days so Fiona and I were on deck to look after the Grandies, Ayden and Liam.

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Parking in the street.. with auto wooden levelling blocks:-)

We parked Rafe over the road in a car park space in Papakura and I’d taken a couple of blocks of wood to level up Rafe with the camber which worked perfectly.

The boys were at School during the days so when Saturday morning came, we all went around to watch Ayden play rugby for his team at Ardmore. They were playing the top team in the competition so I think they would have been pleasantly surprised if they would win. The boys played really well, Ayden scored one of the two tries and they had a great game. The end result was 19-12 and after hearing the opposing coach saying afterwards say that Ayden’s team had improved vastly since the last time they played together, and it was a great game for both teams was really nice to hear.

Ayden in his half back role
On the charge

After the game, we went back to the house and then set off for the treat trip to Miranda Holiday Park in Rafe. Fiona and I used to go there quite often but haven’t been for several years so there were quite a few changes.

Checking in was a breeze and we were given one of our favourite parking spots against what used to be the hedge beside the driveway except its all gone ! .. Shock horror but I have to say it does look good the way it has been done and it lets a lot of light and sun into the place.

It had been raining for most of the day off and on so there was quite a bit of water around.

We hadn’t been there long when the boys went off for a bit of an explore and very quickly found that the office had ice creams and lollies ๐Ÿ™‚

The Miranda Office

It was time for a swim where we discovered the other new feature, which is the addition of a smaller toddlers pool next to the main pool.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The last time we were here was with our friends Bruce and Judy with Rafe’s twin and Dianne and Gary from Taupo. This was when we discovered the Dog friendly campsites out the back. They’re obviously a hit as there are quite a few more there now.. what a great idea. A bigger pitch with room around your motorhome for the dogs to roam while still being fenced in from the rest of the Campground.. fantastic.

The Dog Parks

Its always a great spot to stay and always clean and tidy.

Later we took the boys up to the Kaiaua Fish and Chip shop for tea followed by another swim in the pool. It was then time to watch the first All Blacks Aussie game in the TV room before we all crashed for the day.

It was wet

In the morning, we managed to sneak in a quick swim before we checked out and hit the road home. A great few days. The boys really enjoyed it and so did we!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

Back to Rafe

We arrived in Auckland about an hour earlier than planned around 10:30pm and immediately grabbed a cab and headed for the Hotel Ibis at the airport. Our son Alex was going to pick us up in our car around 7:30 in the morning but with the body clocks being as they were, we were awake and ready to go by 5:30am wondering what to do with ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚

It was great to see Alex, Sarah and the boys at their home in Ardmore after a long time away.  Unfortunately, we had to press on and pick up Rafe from Dianne and Gary’s shed in Taupo otherwise we had no where to sleep !

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We left Ardmore around 9:30 and headed south stopping at Cambridge for lunch and then getting to Taupo about 1pm. Rafe’s COF had expired and it was booked in for 2pm which it flew through.

I hate the waiting and standing around with WOF’s or COF’s as you never know what is going to spring out of the woodwork but today was a good day ๐Ÿ™‚

Lovely spot

We headed up to the National Equestrian Centre which is off the road north to Rotorua, just after the turnoff from Taupo. Its a magic spot and is $10 including power, showers and toilets.

Caravan Alley

With the jet lag the way it was, neither of us felt too good about driving north until we’d had a go at our body clocks and getting some sleep so we elected to stay here, despite the weather for the next 3 days and it just came down cats and dogs.

Toilets, Showers and rubbish right opposite

Although my front wheels were close to the gravel. There was quite a bit of churned up mud just in front so I was keeping an eye on that. The land around Taupo is a little top soil over pumice so it is really well draining and although there was a huge puddle behind and partly under us, when the rain stopped and we had to get out, I simply backed back from the mud and drove sideways around it and there was no slipping at all ! The water that was behind us had drained away really quickly.

You can see some of the neighbouring thermal activity here.

Its a great spot to park and the caretaker is really helpful and a really nice bloke.

After leaving there, we thought a night at the NZMCA park at Ngongotaha might be the ticket and then after that Auckland.

At Alex and Sarah’s  in Auckland

On the fourth day, we headed back to Auckland and stayed with Alex, Sarah and the boys in Ardmore.

Liam and Granny Fiona on the sideline.

The next day grandson Ayden was playing rugby at his rugby club around the corner so we all went around and watched that.

Ayden off for the Tryline. On the left, Grandad Paul, Granny Fiona and Grand Gran Mary all providing plenty of encouragement !

A great family occasion. Sarah’s parents Paul and Mary were there too. Ayden scored about 5 tries which was great so a lot of family excitement.

Ayden off again with the ball

Its lovely to be back in Rafe and we don’t realise how spoilt we are until we drive something a bit older. Its nice to be back.

Rafe’s track to the equestrian centre from Taupo

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