3k’s or so outside of Matamata is the Firth Tower Museum.
Its an amazing collection of original buildings in the grounds of what used to be a farm for the Firth family in Auckland to feed the flour mill. It later became the base for a well known Waikato family to farm.
The original farmhouse was built with the tower in the later 1800’s but the farmhouse burnt down in 1902 and was replaced then by the current house. It was then owned by the McCaw family. Don’t forget you can click on the images to enlarge them
Firth Tower Museum Historical man cave
Milking .. love the old radio
Each building had its own collection
Out with the washing
Love the stick with the fork
Where we parked for the night, that’s the back of the van with the arrow. From the top of the tower shot through the glass.
Madam checking out the Phone box
The House with Tower
The Schoolhouse, Post office and Church
Madam all dressed for the occasion
In each of the buildings there is a theme of history, Agriculture, Transport, Medical, local war involvement, and there is even two carriages with the History of the Kaimai tunnel as well.
The volunteers who staff it were all wearing historical gear to add to the feel of the place. When we visited, there was school trip of local primary school kids and they all got dressed up in historical clothing to add to the occasion.
For $10 you can stay the night with power or free parking without power. One of the nice things about being on the road is discovering new places to stay and how nice they can be and often it is the least expensive that are the nicest places to stay… this was one of those times. A great way to spend the day and it really is a well setup museum.
As the posts here are a bit infrequent at the moment, if you click Follow at the bottom, you’ll be notified of a new post to save you checking in. 🙂
After Te Aroha, we headed to Matamata to see the Firth Tower Museum complex and Madam was keen for some retail therapy.
Usually, I’m passing through Matamata and only really stop at the KFC shop on the way to Rotorua or a cup of tea on the way back so it was nice to actually stop and check it out properly.
Its an amazing little town. We arrived early around 10am and went for a walk through the town, stopping for a cuppa in an Italian coffee shop as you do in Matamata!
Getting to the end of the main strip, there was this amazing I site, all done up as one of the Lord of the Ring buildings, complete with a thatched roof. Now that we’ve been in and got all the brochures, we both decided that we would save the tour to the Film set for another time. Click on the images to enlarge
Madam looking happy about some retail therapy
Main street of Matamata
The I site.. easy to see we are in Lord of the Rings territory
After getting some food for tea from various shops, we decided to head for the Firth Tower Museum, where we would probably stay the night.. More on that tomorrow.
Saturday was a big day… starting with launching my old ex Whalechaser now being looked after by my sons after they’ve literally repainted the whole thing. Click on the photos to enlarge
After parking her in the berth, we were off in Rafe to the Grandkids in Ardmore to babysit. I’m always very careful going up their 1/2 k odd long driveway as the trees and shrubs at the gateway lining it grow like weeds and reach out to try and scratch Rafe. Alex and Sarah had given them a good haircut so all good.
After a good night parked in the corner, we woke up to the family tradition on Fathers Day of chocolate fish.. yum first thing in the morning 🙂
After a cup of coffee and breakfast, we both felt that a hot swim might be the order of the day and neither of us being ready to go home, so we thought a decent drive, Te Aroha hot pools, 120 odd K away.
Rather than go the way we always go, via Maugataroto, we thought we’d try down State Highway 1 on the motorway and turn off at Ohinewai through to Tahuna. What a great run too apart from taking a wrong turn and adding 15 minutes or so to the trip.. no harm done.
Checking in to the Te Aroha Holiday Park, just on the South Side of the Town itself was easy. $34 for the two of us with the NZMCA discount.. what a classic place. All the cabins are ex workingmens huts. In really good nick too.
Click on the photos to Enlarge
Nice big parks
The kids adventure playground. Working phone and Kitchen/Laundry
Cabins and Adventure playgound
Amazing 50’s working mans huts as cabins
Our first use of the new Clothesline
Mt Te Aroha behind
Reading through Rankers and Wikicamps, some of the comments are awful and the place didn’t deserve the bad rap that it had. One of the comments was that the hot pools didn’t have any water in them, .. my first question when I checked in .. after that it was all good.
There was a really nice pool complex too. The pools weren’t ready until after 6 and it was dark by then so no photos.
Huge parking spaces and nicely separated off by hedges and plants. Well placed and easy to get to Dump Station too. A nice place to stay.
It was this time a year ago that we went to our first ever NZMCA rally in Northland. A really nice bunch of people and there were in excess of 90 Motorhomes in attendance, quite a few of them from Auckland.
One row back !
Under the Tree
Early Morning at Balnd Bay
The prizegiving on Sunday morning
At Russell with the Sutherlands
With The Sutherlands at Russell the next day
A magic spot just south of the Bay of Islands right on the water. It was only our 5th or 6th trip away in a relatively new machine so we were still very much finding our way so when the North Easterly gusts of 30-40 knots odd rolled in around 11pm and the van started rocking, it was a bit interesting 🙂
We arrived around 2pm on the Saturday afternoon. Many of them had arrived the previous day so all the primo waterfront spots were all taken.. that was before we found out about the wind, then we were quite relieved to be a row back!
The Games started soon after we arrived.. lots of fun and good to see everyone having a good laugh.
We met Rob & Helen who have become good friends since and we spent the the next night with them in the Russell RSA carpark. The following night we spent at Uretiti Doc park another magic place in the world.
If I remember correctly, that was the first time we used the awning and the BBQ gas jack.. funny what you remember.. a great weekend away.
I’ve been following Eric and Shazza’s adventures via their blog for more than a year now and they’ve been an inspiration for this blog and for fulltiming here in NZ. Eric writes most of the blog and takes the pictures and is a real character.
They’ve got an 9m odd Autotrail Commanche which is very comfortable and have had some interesting moments with small streets… well worth a read.
Today I installed a clever Fiamma clothesline that integrates with the bike rack we had installed a week or so ago. The nice part about it is it stays on the back, whether you’ve got bikes or not. It simply unfolds.
Perfect for the towels after a shower or the tea towels and flips out in seconds.
We had the property manager today to list the house for renting. I’ve been busy painting trellis by brush ! .. The spray gun started to paint things I didn’t want painting so it ended up in the big green bin……
Why are we doing all this ? … To hit the road fulltime.. so Bugger it, We are off
We’ve done the sums and by renting the house out, along with some other income, we can live very happily on the road….