Kowhai Pass – Springfield

The NZMCA has just started a new program called Campersave which allows us Motorhomers to take advantage of the off season when Motorcamps are not busy and also has the benefit for Motorcamps to get some off season cashflow.

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Neat spot

Its a win win for all!

A customer at the door.. old fashioned camping !

So I was keen to support one and the one closest to us was part of the Springfield Domain. It is called the Kowhai Pass Campground as this was the original name for Springfield.

Camp Caretaker Joy in her office

We rocked in and met one of the delightful caretakers, Joy who showed us where to park and where things were. The cost is $20 per van with power. There are toilets and showers as well. The showers cost a $1 which is pretty cheap. I’m sure I spotted a laundry too.

Looking along the main street of Springfield

A great spot for the night and great value with some nice people.

Fiona with the Donut

The next morning we went further west and had a look through Springfield town where there is a tribute to Rewi Alley and of course the famous Donut. A neat spot.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Dowload : 39.25 mbps
Upload : 6.94 mbps
Ping : 154 ms

Rafe’s track to Kowhai Pass

Anzac Day at Oxford

After a great night in Springfield, we headed back to Oxford as an old stamping ground for my family and to be there for the Anzac service.

Oxford was settled by large parts of my family, the Vincents and the Millers. The local cemetary tells the story and they’re also well represented in the Museum and on the local War Memorial Obelisk.

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In the Town Hall during the service

The next morning was the Anzac service so we walked around to the Town Hall where it was standing room only. It was an amazing turn out for such a little town.

In the Main Street

After the service, the returned Soldiers and other services like St John and current Soldiers, formed up for the march to be led down the road a bit to the Cenotaph.

The Cenotaph

Following a lone piper, the parade occupied most of the main street before it turned in to the Cenotaph. .. Very impressive..!

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Two of my great uncles Ashley and Ray Vincent were killed in action about 20 years old and were both on the Cenotaph and had seperate crosses.

The Obelisk

A really impressive setup and the parade went like clockwork. It was also nice to see several armed police turn up just to ensure everyones safety.. thanks Guys.

Donegal House

What a find.. Owned and run by the Boyd family on what was once the family farm, this is a superb setup and has to be one the better Park over properties sites I’ve come across.

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It is set in the grounds of Donegal House Irish Pub about 7 k’s from Kaikoura. Its only downside is it is not walking distance to kaikoura but more than makes up for it with the facilities.

What you see on postcards

We’d only been in the South Island a day and the weather was the pits with it raining non stop so we thought we’d wait it out in front of the open fire at Donegal House 🙂

Inside the Pub

We spent two nights there waiting for the weather to improve before heading further south.

Great Fire

Powered sites are $20 per van per night and non powered is free in a separate area. There are heaps of powered sites all nicely setup up in little fenced areas with Irish names on each!

This is a place with huge family history and they’re very proud of it. Their family tree is up on a board with lots of photos in side of how it was with their relatives.

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The Gardens are amazing too and well cared for. A stunning spot.

The Netspeed Speedtest… Awful! .. I suspect there was an issue with the local tower as it did improve before we left.
Download:  1.48 mbps
Upload:  0.24 mbps
Ping: 76ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Pork Pie Run

Arriving in Wellington, we headed to our favourite spot at Plimmerton at the NZMCA park.

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Plimmerton NZMCA park

The weather forecast for the next few days was awful with torrential rain forecast so we were in for an early start in the morning to drive into Wellington for the 8am Bluebridge sailing.

Rafe with the Mini’s

We were first in line arriving at 0630, half an hour before check in. Not long after we checked in, we were joined by some of the 60 odd Minis doing the Kidscan Charity run from Kaitaia to Invercargill over 6 days. Most were dressed up for the occasion with long hair and bright clothing.. a lot of fun.

This is the 6th running of this event in homage to the Kiwi Classic movie, Goodbye Pork Pie.

The view from the deck through the rain

Once we were on the ferry, they were marshalled in behind us and it looked like it would have been a fun trip.

In the Truck deck as we arrived in Picton

Driving through Kaikoura, we also saw some passing us and stopped in various places along the way.

Minis on the car deck

To donate to the cause or to find out more, see kidscan.org.nz

Tons of Minis

De Molen Windmill

We’ve passed through Foxton several times and every time have said, we should have stopped to check out that Windmill.. well, this time we did and what an amazing project.

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The Windmill

It is modelled on a 17th century Dutch Windmill with some modern changes to meet NZ building codes.

The Milling gear in the Windmill

De Molen was setup by two Dutch immigrants Jan Langen and Cor Slobbe and opened in 2003. It was established as a monument to all the Dutch immigrants that came to New Zealand and bring tourism and create some employment for the town.

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There is easy Motorhome parking behind the Public Library right next door on grass. Admission is $2 for a self guided tour and from the top, you can right out to Foxton beach and also a great view over the town.

Looking out to Foxton Beach

Its well worth doing and Fiona and I also saw the Rembrandt paintings on at the Library right next door. A really interesting hour or so,k

Rafe’s track to the Windmill

Anzacs at Marton

After checking in at the Marton NZMCA parking area, I went for a wander around with the camera.

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Great Parking

Marton is probably the only NZMCA park with Loos and a shower which is nice and the check in room is huge and there is plenty of room to relax if there is bad weather and you want a break from your Motorhome.

Down in the corner

We last stayed here with friends Chris and Gary a couple of years ago but the improvements just keep coming.

The parks are now all nicely marked with plenty of nicely planted areas to enjoy.

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Right next door to this park is one of Marton’s big reserves with a Monument to our fallen heroes and a rugby field next door. The gardens around are lovely with a nice grove of trees filtering the light as you enter the park.

Nice light next door

The crosses for our fallen soldiers were all in place and there were some amazing metallic Poppies around the trees and on the banks, just as a finishing touch.

Guarded by the Magpie

A great setup and with Fiona and I both coming from huge Army families, it was really nice to see the town was so well setup for Anzac Day.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 64.25 Mbps
Upload: 19.33 Mbps
Ping: 55ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

 

Heading South

After two months at the Takapuna Motorcamp during some amazing weather, and driveways and friends places inbetween, it was time for a change of scene.

We had always planned to go to the South Island while we were “homeless” and with Devonport prices flat, there’s every chance they ‘ll get flatter during winter 🙂

The plan was to shoot a Photographic job for a really good client I’ve had for more than 25 years in the middle of may, and to catch up with friends in Cromwell and Gary and Dianne in Taupo on the way down and back.

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Close up inspection of Rafe

We spent our last night at Ardmore with Alex, Sarah and the grandsons parked next to the horses and early the next day, we set off to Taupo. It was an uneventful easy trip and we seemed to miss most of the Easter traffic too.

Parked in Taupo

Arriving in Taupo, I texted friends Gary and Di who were just arriving back from a holiday overseas that day to see if they were up to a drink and catchup and got an immediate reply to say they were now screaming through Tirau and would be here soon.

We had a great night catching up with them, hearing about their travels in Thailand and early the next day, we set off towards Marton.

A seaplane taking off on Lake Taupo

We stopped for lunch right in the middle of the Desert Rd  and I though out of curiosity, I’d try our Netspeed connection and I was gobsmacked to get around 50 plus Megabytes a second.. huge! .. miles from anywhere !

Ngaruahoe
Rafe and Ruapehu

After a pleasant trip through Waiouru and Taihape, we arrived at Marton and settled in for the night.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 56.03 Mbps
Upload: 29.33 Mbps
Ping: 58 ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

Granny Tag

It has been Musical houses all around with son Alex and his wife Sarah and the boys moving to a new house. Our other son Andrew and partner Jenna have also moved house, and us moving into Rafe fulltime it has been a busy time. To add to the fun, we’ve been trying to give away some of our “extra” stuff while they move !

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Alex getting the lawnmower

Everyone is settling down now and we tried our new parking at Alex’s new place in Ardmore just this last weekend and it works a treat. Rafe is right next to a fence overlooking the families horses and they were keen to see what this Motorhoming lark was all about too, coming over for a look see 🙂

Close up inspection of Rafe

After Alex had mowed the lawns and Fiona had played Granny Tag on the new Trampoline, we all set up our bikes out and set off along the road to Ardmore airfield for a ride and then an ice cream stop. A great day out in the sun.

Liam Fiona and Ayden having “Granny Tag”

This is about our 5th week at Takapuna Holiday park and we’re about to head down to the South Island in the next week or so and catch up with friends down there..

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Perhaps we’ll get a bit more serious about finding a house when we get back in late May when the prices hopefully will have dropped a bit more 🙂

The Horses feeding next door

Wind for Everyone

The last few weeks has found us at Takapuna Holiday Park a few days a week while Fiona is at work. We’re right next to the Boat Ramp where there is never a dull moment. It has been hot with very little wind… until now 🙂 And its really nice.

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Ringside seat

Looking out of the front windows towards Rangitoto Island, you see Windsurfers and Kite Boarders mostly now on foils taking advantage of the wind, and its great to watch. Some of them doing tricks too, like leaping out of the water and doing complete turns. A couple of them were sailing backwards and forwards for about half an hour without even getting wet.. amazing.

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Its really entertaining and most nights you can see a small regular bunch of people just coming down to the ramp to watch.

As the sun goes down

Foiling has really changed the nature of sailing everywhere and it is magic being able to watch it from our ringside seat in Rafe.

Takapuna Beach

Bruce and Judy’s Table

From the Clever Changes department comes Bruces new dining table which he made himself.

Bruce and Judy are probably the only other people in NZ that have a Motorhome that is almost exactly like Rafe.. just 1 month younger.. same colour, same 3 litre Iveco motor, the lot.

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Bruce and Judy with their two dogs and their Globe 4.

Bruce and Judy are both very involved with the NZMCA in their area in the Western Bay of Plenty.

Tidied away

They both decided that they could change the table into a drop leave arrangement where they could have more space in the entertaining area with the table put away when its not needed and the extensions going in when the crowd arrives 🙂

Click on the gallery below to see the table changes.

A great setup and I’m twitching about doing something similar in Rafe.  We caught up with them recently in Papakura when they were on their way home from Whangarei.

The two Globe 4’s together.. Rafe on the right.

A great couple and a really nice Motorhome 🙂

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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