In the Wine Triangle

Leaving the Gentle Annie and arriving in Hastings, we arranged to stay at a Vineyard right in heart of the Bridge Pa wine triangle. There were Bike Trails almost to the front door of the Vineyard to any of the other Cellar Doors and Vineyards. We were in for a treat.

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Looking out from our parking spot across the Vineyard

The Vineyard was also the home of Double of Quits Vineyard or as we called it Ali’s Bikes. Ali and her husband owned the 4 acres of vines of several varieties and also ran the Bike hire business from a big Barn. Alongside the Barn were 4 powered sites for Motorhomes.

We were perfectly positioned for a great day biking around the vineyards. The weather forecast was great, we were right in the middle of the vineyards, a perfect situation πŸ™‚

On the bike trail to Trinity Hill

Early the next morning, I got the bikes off the back of Rafe and we were off. We headed off to one of the roads up by Roy’s Hill as we had seen Trinity Hill as we drove in.

We bumped into a group of people biking in the opposite direction to us and we stopped for a chat and a recce as quite a few of the vineyards were closed.Β  They had just biked from Trinity Hill and confirmed it was open so destination confirmed!

Fiona crossing the road outside Trinity Hill
Arrived !

We hadn’t booked but they were able to squeeze us in for lunch which was great.

I’ve always been a bit of a Chardonnay fan and they had what had recently won the best Chardonnay in the world in the International Wine competition, the 125 Gimblett and it was the best!

Rahil with the wine from heaven.

I did a wine tasting of three of their better Chardy’s and we had a platter between the two of us… It was just magic and the education on the wines was great too. Rahil was our man of the day telling us all there was to know about the wines. Fantastic experience.

Amazing Platter

After leaving there we headed back to Rafe and our park and settled down in the sun with yes… a glass of Chardonnay πŸ™‚

We hadn’t long been back when we received a call from friends, Rosemary and Steve from the Dethleffs Owners Group in their newish Esprit GT.

Great to see them and we sat outside and enjoyed what was left of the sunshine for the day.

Storage at Trinity Hill

A wonderful day and so nice to be in a good spot to be able to bike around the vineyards.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Vineyard showing Trinity Hill – Armada – GPS

Springvale Suspension Bridge

About 45 minutes after we left Taihape, we arrived at this very popular camping area right by the river. We stopped in a parking area with other Motorhomes for lunch and a look around.

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The new and the old.
Looking back where the road used to go.

Built in 1923 and opened in 1925, the bridge allowed farmers to get their wool through to the port in Napier. In 1970, the road was realigned and replaced with today’s modern bridge. The original bridge is now maintained by the Heritage New Zealand.

Fiona checking out the old bridge.

Looking down from the bridge

When Fiona was living in Waiouru as a child, she remembers doing several family trips to Ongaonga to see her Grandparents. The road took 5 hours to get from Taihape to Napier in their Triumph Herald on the gravel road. You can imagine it with 3 kids in the back over that distance. Sounds like a fun trip πŸ™‚

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It truly is a lovely spot, and I can see why people like to camp here. There were a few people under the trees in tents along with several Caravans and Motorhomes.Β  Several cars were down on the shingle by the river with people having a crack at catching something.

Camping by the river

We walked up to the bridge so I could get a piccy of Fiona on the old bridge. It’s great to see our heritage being looked after like this.

People enjoying the river

We easily spent a couple of hours there chatting to other Motorhomers after having something to eat. A lovely spot.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Springvale Bridge – Armada – GPS

Taihape’s Gumtree

One of the major strategies of this trip was to drive across the Gentle Annie Road from Taihape to Napier. Fiona spent several years as a youngster living in Waiouru and did several trips across this road with her family to see her Grandparents who lived in Ongonga. It was then a gravel road which took some 5 hours, and in a Triumph Herald, that would have been fun!

The first things we did when we arrived in Taihape was to stop at our favourite Cafe Brown Sugar Cafe.

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Plenty of space for their events. Toilets/showers on the left.

Fiona wanted to have a bit of a nosey around the town while took Rafe up the hill to the Gumtree Holiday Park which was an easy walk away.

Gumtree was originally setup as an area where Eve and her builder husband could have Eve’s Dance Studio, her husband’s workshop and room for their friends to stay. As time went on, they had some small events with their friends who bought Caravans, so they decided to go all out and set up the area for Motorhomes and caravans to stay. The end of the workshop houses a well setup Toilet and Shower facility and there.

Parked in the corner to get the breeze. The Taihape Airfield is just over the gully behind those big trees.

On arrival I was told to park anywhere on one of the 12 or so powered sites around the fence line and Eve would pop down and give me all the info I needed. Very easy.

It was really hot, so I chose to park in a corner where a nice breeze was coming across the gully nearby. I was the only one there at that time but by the end of the day there were 6 or so mostly Caravans popped in for the night.

Others came later

It’s a great spot and an easy walk down to the town.

Even though Taihape is only a small town, it is not blessed with lots of options for Motorhomes so it’s nice to know there was a nice camp with a reasonable tariff and friendly face within easy reach of the town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Gumtree Holiday Park – Armada – GPS

A great place to stop – Tokoroa

What a pleasant surprise finding the Tokoroa Club parking area.

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Excellent parking

Nicely partitioned away from the normal parking area with 6 powered sites.

The Bowling club next door

It is extremely good value for $10 and they’re really friendly people too.

Massive carpark with the Motorhome parking behind.

Their carparks are huge but at the back of their main carpark are the Motorhome / Caravan parks.

We arrived early in the afternoon, plugged in, opened the vents and went into the bar for a nice cold Gin and Tonic and paid for the park at the same time.

There was a storm due!

They do meals as well but you do need to be a member of a Club to be able to use the indoor areas.

The Club

A great spot for an overnight break.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Tokoroa Club – Armada – GPS

Merry Christmas

Another year flashes by and we’re into Christmas again… fun times and sunshine.

We’re heading down towards Gisborne where we haven’t been for a while, so we’ll see where we end up!

Thanks to everyone for supporting the blog this year.

More Motorhoming while we can’t travel overseas.

Rafe looking Christmasy

Merry Christmas everyone and Fiona and I hope you have a great New Year… be careful on the roads and if you see us out there, please come and say hello.

Matakana Country Park Markets

They’re off to a great start too from just starting out early this year.

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There were about 40 plus stalls with another 10 or so arranged in a circular food court.

The Food Court
Food time

The nice thing about this and several stall holders raved about it was that it was well shaded by some fantastic trees.

I bought some Paua shell Earings for Fiona and some neat soft plastic kitchen utensils for cast pots.

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The way it was set out was nice to with an initial lane which branched out into two other areas, the food court area and the back to the carpark.

Hand made knives

Ivana the organiser was pleased with their progress and the numbers I saw there showed it was in good heart.

A neat addition to the facilities and things to do if you stay at the Motorhome parking area.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Matakana Country Park – Armada GPS

Matakana Country Park Village

Thats exactly what it is too!Β  Set out over 50 acres with Restaurants, A Wedding Venue, A Chapel, a Pub, an Art Gallery, A Gym… the list goes on.

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Nice parking

On our way to see friends on the Takaka Peninsula, we’ve driven past here a few times to it was time to try it out and see the markets on the Sunday which is Fiona’s favourite thing to do.

I booked two nights as I thought Fiona was coming too but at the 11th hour, she came down with a germ and told me not to stay around. It turned out that I came down with it anyway a few days later!

At the ride on train station
The ride on Train

I arrived early in the morning on the Saturday and after getting settled in, I walked the 300 metres odd to the Cafe and central area. I was in the queue in the Cafe when good friends Mark and his wife Dinah arrived with Dinah’s brother Wayne.

The Cafe

I haven’t seen Wayne for years, so it was really nice to see them all. After a cup of coffee and something to eat, they headed off to a working bee at their place nearby.

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After that, I went for a walk back to Rafe just as new neighbours were arriving.

I later went over to the pub to check it all out and it seemed there was a wedding on. Lots of people glammed up and had popped through from the adjoining wedding reception area.

The Gallery

I later met the General Manager Peter who was telling me that they had been absolutely dealt to by the rain and had all sorts of plans to upgrade the parking for the Motorhomes and add some new sites.

The Action Ninja World for kids

After a quiet drink with my neighbours, I packed it in for the night looking forward to the Markets the next morning πŸ™‚

Rafe’s Tracker map to Matakana Country Park – Armada GPS

Idyllic Sandspit

This is one of those places that you’ll keep coming back to. It is just magic and there’s a ferry to Kawau too.

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Just Bliss

I arrived early in the afternoon and got myself setup in a corner spot but then realised that under some huge trees, there would be no TV signal.

First thing on the waterfront
Looking over towards the ferry wharf

It’s a fairly casual arrangement, β€œPark wherever you like except the waterfront spots which are booked for a whole bunch of Ozzies in their Britz vans”. I was only 10 steps away anyway so that was fine:-)

The Ozzies on the water

It was warm, there were people out kayaking in the camps free Kayaks and people out swimming.

The Ozzies catching up
Kayaking fun

I went for a walk across to the Sandpit Yacht club later for tea and sat out on the deck with a nice glass of chardonnay. Very civilised I thought but such a nice spot and the food was fantastic too.

At the Yacht club

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Later it was time to head back for a shower in the fantastic newish ablutions block.

Some of the history

There used to be a whole bunch of pretend historic shops around the office area which all seem to have gone which is a shame.. one of the features of this camp but still a great spot to stay all the same.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Sandspit – Armada GPS

Shelly Beach

This has been on my list of places to see for quite a few years, and I finally get to go there. The weather forecast was evil but as it turned out it didn’t really eventuate to the level promised πŸ™‚

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The cafe

I arrived just in time for lunch at the Cafe to check in for a park for the night.

The ablutions and cafe behind

I was served by a very friendly chap who gave me the run down on where everything was and then made my lunch and a coffee so I was off to a great start. The parking was $12 per peron which included power, showers and toilets. There is also a dump station there too!

The parking area

The parking is basically one behind the other on what looked like it was once a wide driveway, so you need some wheel ramps to combat a slight camber.

Parking

The facilities are fantastic and look reasonably newish but well maintained.

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I met my very friendly neighbours on both sides and after that went for a walk down to the wharf where several people were enjoying their fishing. I’m not sure what the birds were but there were lots of them.

Lovely spot.

Later, I was showing my neighbour from Orewa one of the year books I used to produce for the Classic Yacht Association, and he recognised himself in one of the photos!

Its been in the wars πŸ™‚

A lovely spot to stay in a nice part of the world.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Shelley Beach – Armada – GPS

The Famous Puhoi Pub

One of the iconic Hotels around and just out of Auckland is this wonderful old historic pub. It also has a huge carpark where you can stay overnight in your Motorhome or Caravan.

The Parking area

While I was in this neck of the woods, I thought I’d pop in and check it out.

How the first settlers arrived.

Puhoi started out having three Hotels after emigrants from Europe all wanted to be in on the business. Eventually one bought the others out and the current Puhoi Hotel which was built in 1879 became the communities premier place to socialise.

It has been owned by the same family since 1962.

At the bar

I love old buildings and this one has the charm and grace to go with it. The bar is decked out with every Knick knack you can imagine. It just reeks of character.

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You can stay the night in the hotel too if you have friends without their own accommodation. The parking for Motorhomes is just across the road.

I went for a brief walk around the village, and it is like time stood still. The old buildings look like they would have been 100 odd years ago.

A neat little village and nice to place to stop.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Puhoi – Armada – GPS

Fiona & Chris, two empty nesters put their dreams of doing something different into reality… Living in their Motorhome, come along for the ride.

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