Historic Greytown

Another one of those towns that we keep coming back to. The food and shopping is good, the real estate prices like everywhere else have skyrocketed but it is still a lovely little town.

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The Sun is out

We checked in at the local campground as we’ve stayed there a few times before and the manager Ken can’t do enough for you. It is also a Winter Campsaver site so that makes it very cost effective in the off season. Nice showers and toilets and nice flat sites with big high hedges to protect against the famous Wairarapa winds. There is also a swimming pool next door run by the council which you can use in the hot months.

Ken was very welcoming and basically is was park wherever you like. We settled Rafe and plugged in and went for a walk into town and started at the french Café for a coffee before moving on to the pub.

That night when we got back, we met our new neighbours Michelle and Patrick from Wanganui and other neighbours Karen and Ian who have recently sold their award winning Olive Grove. Juno Olives. Really nice people who we spent a lot of time with over the next few days.

Play Area

The next day, we took Rafe to Martinborough to have lunch at one of our favourite Vineyards, Margrains. The Chardonnay is fantastic as is the food.

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We started in the main square at a Café in the corner and from there walked around the square to check out the shops. Fiona took a shine to a dress shop there and ended up buying a nice black dress and a wooden necklace to go with it which looks good. We then moved on to Margrains and the slow cooked Pork Belly they do has never tasted better. Nice to wash it down with a great Chardy!

The Pub in town

We headed back to the Greytown Campground to catch up with our neighbours.

On our last day in Greytown we were going to bike up a trail 10 k’s or so to a historic railway station just out of town but we got to the other end of Greytown and it started to pour with rain so a change to plan B. ..

We spent the rest of the day walking through the shops and later had a fantastic communal meal in Michelle and Patrick’s awning with our neat neighbours.

Our Farewell dinner
LtoR Our farewell dinner. Patrick, Michelle, Karen and Ian.

A nice farewell to some super nice people and a great little town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Greytown Campground – Armada GPS

Small town camping

One of the nice things I find about getting out is finding all the little out of the way places you can stay for not a lot…. in other words very good value. They may not be perfectly flat or lacking in something but they make up for it in spades with their charm and beauty.

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Ekatahuna is one of those camping grounds. Great showers, toilets and with power and a well equipped kitchen for those who want them, it is surrounded on three sides by river and is just a stunner.

There is a Heritage walk to the town which is only 5 minutes away.

We arrived in the mid afternoon and checked in and we simply just parked in the middle of the grass. Fiona and I settled opened up some vent, plugged in and we were off to check out the walk around the camp by the river.

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The remains of one of the end supports of an old swing bridge that went across the river as a short cut to town is buried in the trees and can still be seen.

The River surrounding the park

There is a cabin there too which you can stay at and its all very casual and relaxed.

A great place to stop over and quiet too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ekatahuna Campground – Armada GPS

Norsewood

Since we’ve done our DNA, I’ve taken a great interest in things Scandinavian as it turns out that I’m pretty much all Scandinavian through my fathers line with an emphasis on Danish!… even though his Dad was from the Fens in the UK… real Viking country 🙂 it is really interesting.

So we couldn’t go past Norsewood without popping for a look and having lunch at the Café there. The food is amazing as is the coffee.

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The Cafe – ex Bank
The Food!
The Cafe

Norsewood was settled by many Scandinavian family’s who arrived in Napier in 1872 and it grew from there. You can feel it everywhere you look and the area is predominantly still populated by descendants of these original families.

Gas Station / General Store

There is history everywhere you look. The Café used to be the original Bank of NZ and has been used as a Barbers shop, the local Doctors rooms, Music teacher and lastly a Café.

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There is also a Viking Longboat in a glass encased shelter down in the reserve on the corner.

The Viking Longboat

After a walk around the town and a stop at the Norsewear Clothing shop to buy some shirts we got under way again. One of things at the Norsewear shop is that if you spend more than $10 there, they’ll give you a pair of nice wooly bedsocks in either black or white adorned with either Caravans or Motorhomes. Fiona went for the white Motorhome socks and they look very cosy.

The “Wooly Socks” shop

A neat town and there is a camping ground there too if you want to stay.  A neat wee town just oozing character and history.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Norsewood – Armada GPS

Easy biking from Eriksen

We popped into Eriksen NZMCA park for our last night in Napier before heading south.

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New Tables and Chairs
Great Shelter

Eriksen is always easy to park in and is really easy to get into Napier from here. Fiona was keen to get some wool from a shop in Onekawa which is a bit off the beaten track from Eriksen to Napier but on Electric bikes, there were easy bike trails to get there.

Last time I was at Eriksen, they were building a shed for rainy happy hours which is now finished and the gardens just get better and better. The other new addition was pretty solid looking Tables and Chairs strategically placed around the park.

The new(to me) Shed
Parked in the Gardens

After signing in and opening vents, we got the bikes down and headed off to the Wool shop.

The Bike Trails here are just amazing and there was one that went most of the way through a reserve. Really nice and safe.

After this we headed into Napier City to have lunch and look at the shops and after a few hours headed back along the water front back to Eriksen Park.

A great day on the bikes having fun.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Eriksen NZMCA Park – Armada GPS

Sun and Wine at Te Awanga

One of our favourite spots in the Hawkes Bay has to be Clifton Reserve. With Toilets and Rubbish recycling and right on the most amazing beach, it can’t be beaten and its a gold coin donation.

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Looking towards Napier

We’ve stayed here quite a few times and it is always fabulous. This time we were here so we could bike along to the Te Awanga Vineyard which was a few K’s down the road to have lunch. A perfect way to start a great day.

Great view

After settling down Rafe and getting the bikes down, we were off and heading down some great bike tracks towards the vineyard. Their driveway would probably be nearly a k long through the vineyards but its very easy and a lovely ride.

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Parking in a bike rack not far from where we would eat, we were given a table which looked out over the vineyard towards Cape Kidnappers which was great.

Great spot

We must have spent several hours here eating pizza, drinking Chardonnay and Cider before we headed back to Rafe at Clifton. A fantastic spot and very reasonably priced. There are two other vineyards there too which we’ve been to as well. Clearwater and Elephant Hill. All are very good with different levels of food and pricing.

Sheltered

Arriving back at Clifton, it was starting to fill up but there was plenty of room for all.

Nice evening
Sundown

A great day in Paradise.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Clifton – Armada GPS

Dick and Ellie’s Motorhome Parking

We last came here in early 2018 when we were on our way to Martinborough to see the Cruise Martinborough Festival. Have a look here to see it before the trees were removed.

I’d only just got to the top of the drive when out popped Dick to welcome us to his property and to show us where to park. He was just the same as I remembered him a few years ago. Big smiles and a happy guy.

The Trees have gone

When we were last here the place was a thriving Orchard with Apples. As Dick had retired some years ago, he had leased out the area for others to run it but for whatever reason it was not successful and the trees were removed so there is now lots of room for Caravans and Motorhomes.

After we settled down Rafe and opened vents and plugged in and whatnot, we set off on the bikes into Havelock shops about 7k’s away. We got there in time to enjoy a coffee at a cafe and Fiona had a quick squizz at the shops there before we headed back to Rafe. Neither of us are too thrilled about riding on 100k country roads with little or no bike space so we decided that we would not do that again.

Downtown Havelock

Fiona was keen to catch up with a long lost cousin who lives in Havelock so she rang Ann, her cousin who popped around with her husband Ian for an hour or so which was neat.

Fiona and I have both had our DNA done and this was a DNA match on Fiona’s side of the family who we hadn’t met so it was all clever stuff.

The Pavilion
Tennis anyone

Fiona showed her the family photo album which I had on my ipad. Great to meet the cousins especially from a part of the family you haven’t met and nice for Ann to see some of her cousins in the photo album.

Flat parking

A lovely park with a shower and toilet and very good value and handy to Havelock and many vineyards.. just watch that traffic if you’re on bikes.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Dick and Ellies Parking – Armada GPS

1,000,000 Hits

The last 100 k odd seemed like it was taking a lifetime but we made it. 1 Million Hits..

After 5 years or so we’ve made it!

The first post! August 2015

Now that we’re back in a house again, it has been a real struggle to keep up with the content and I’ve found myself doing trips just to get something to write about.  I’ve also just retired last month as a Commercial Photographer, so I will be taking things a bit more quietly from here so you will notice the posts only being made when there is something to publish.

One of our first posts.. Fiona and Rafe at Coromandel Motor camp

But this is the Milestone that matters… !!

Our first trip away in the South Island in our Caravan . wee Rafe.

Thanks again for checking in and thanks to everyone that made suggestions and offered help.

More to come…!!

At Simpsons Beach Coromandel

The boys are back in town

My son Alex and his two sons, Liam and Ayden were on there way down to join us from their Easter break at Pauanui.

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Plenty of tents

We were staying at the  Cozy Cottage Holiday park where I had arranged a Cabin for them to stay in. We brought the boys here a year or so ago for a weekend so we thought they might remember bits of it.

Good parking

We had just finished lunch with friends in the carpark on the Rotorua waterfront when we found out that they had arrived and checked in so we were off to catch up with them back at the park.

Play area

Apparently, the boys recognised the park and youngest Liam, said “Don’t worry Dad, I know where everything is so I’ll show you.”! He even remembered where we were parked the last time we bought them down and they stayed in the drop down bed in Rafe. .. they don’t miss a trick 🙂

Ayden waiting by Rafe at the camp

After they were settled, we got in Alex’s car and went around the Subway so they could get something to eat and then we went to Kuirau Park to show them the Thermal area.

Kuirau Park
Kuirau Park
Kuirau Park

They boys were fascinated and after it was evident that they were still getting over the drive down we headed back to the Cozy Cottage Park for a swim in the hot pools which they really enjoyed and it was good time to relax out of the car.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After that we headed back to Eat st to find something that we could all agree on to eat 🙂 We settled on some shared Pizza’s at the same Italian Restaurant Fiona and I had lunched at a few days before, and it actually worked out cheaper than if we had eaten that well known takeaway that starts with M and much nicer 🙂

Digging for hot water at the Lake’s edge
LtoR Ayden, Fiona(Granny), Alex (son) and Liam digging for hot water.

After that it was pretty much bedtime for the boys but in the morning, we headed down to the Lakefront with borrowed shovels for the boys to find hot water in the sand!  Its amazing how the temperatures vary from their location on the beach. Some holes only a metre apart were too hot to wade in or just comfortable.. amazing.

Close to Ohinemutu

We all said goodbye and saw them off to the Luge and we headed back to Auckland on checkout time. A neat weekend and nice to see everyone.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cozy Cottage – Armada GPS

Lunch in the carpark

Our friends from Christchurch, Rory and Henny were in town for the NZMCA AGM Rally with their friends from New Plymouth so it was a must for me to catch up with them as they had seen Fiona during a shopping trip, but I had missed them.

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Downtown Rotorua!

Rory and Henny and I met years ago when I was away on a blog hunting expedition on my own and we bumped into each other in Coromandel of all places. It turns out that Rory used to buy ice creams from my Grandfathers General Store in Diamond Harbour when he was a small boy.  Later we worked out that he also knows some of my other cousins in Christchurch too.. small world 🙂

The UCC on the left and Rory and Henny’s new Burstner on the right

While parked down by the waterfront in a carpark, I thought I saw Rory and Henny roaring round the corner next to me and when I rang a few minutes later, it turned out it was them. They were heading for the supermarket and we arranged to meet after that.

Rory decided that we’d head over the a bigger carpark where we could comfortably fit three Motorhomes in while we had lunch without upsetting the car parkers.

Nice view

Rory had a plan and setup his near new Burstner Lyseo with  Tony and Sheri from New Plymouth, with an area in between where could put out chairs and tables out for a bit a knees up for lunch.

It was really nice seeing them both again and also meeting their friends Tony and Sheri and their UCC Mercedes based Motorhome.

Lunch with a great view and there were lots of Motorhomes there, possibly having a break from the rally.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Carpark – Armada GPS

Redwood Forest Treewalk and Ride

This was the main reason why we wanted to come to Rotorua. We moved Rafe to Cozy Cottage Holiday Park as it’s a bit less to bike! We’ve stayed here before some time ago and as they were doing a deal and because I’m a sucker for Hot Pools which they have, yippee, we’re in!

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Walking through Redwood Forest

Its also closer to the Redwood Park area. As it was Easter, the park was chocker but mostly with tents and a few Caravans.

The Tree walk

After checking in, we got the bikes ready and headed off to the Redwoods Forest area. Although we had a brochure with a map on the back of the Trail to get there was as clear as mud and we found ourselves having to stop and get directions a few times but got there and its a great ride just getting there once you know where you’re going 🙂

Fiona checking in

I waited with the bikes and got some pictures around it while Fiona did the walk. It looks great with platforms on the bigger trees with suspension bridges between. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour. There is also a night time walk you can do with the trees all lit up which comes free with the daytime walk.

Into the forest

After Fiona got back, we got on the bikes and opted to do the “Mokopuna” trail which takes you around an easy route through the trees and about 2/3rds of the way around there is an exit chute from the forest where you can head back into town for lunch which is exactly what we did.

Magical

On the way back we rode past the Racecourse where there were 600 odd plus mostly white Motorhomes enjoying the NZMCA Annual AGM. An awesome sight seeing so many parked in one spot.

After the walk and onto the ride.

After lunch we headed back to the Park for a hot swim after our 16 odd K’s ride.

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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