Tag Archives: Biking

On the Point at Clarks Beach

One of the places I haven’t been to is Clarks Beach so it was time to go and check it out.

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Looking back at the Campground from the beach

The campground has been let go for a bit but has in the last two years been taken over by some nice South Islanders, Gavin and Suzzanne and their family. Gavin has a background in Education and Suzanne in Health and both were look for a lifestyle change and they’ve definitely done that!

Lots of nice Palms

Over the last few years, they’ve shifted and improved the Dump Station and made a lot of changes to the Laundry and Shower areas.

The view from a cabin

I rocked in and with the weather looking showery at best, although I was offered a spot with a magic view over the Manukau on Grass, I elected to stay on a gravel park further back. A bit of a novelty though was where I was parked was where the old dump station was so I had the privilege of having my grey water hose in there for the duration!

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Gavin popped in for a chat and was telling me about some of the things they had changed and some of the new things to come.

Down on the beach. Even the seagulls were feeling the wind

I went for a walk down to the beach right in front of the camp and had a look around.

The Beach

A great place in the right conditions for a Kayak or even a fish. There are Fish cleaning facilities there and it is also Dog friendly with a separate pet area and there is a Golf Course right next door.

A nice spot if you want to get away from it all and not too far from Auckland either.

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Rafe’s Tracker Map

Parked next to the 1st Hole

One of the great surprises from a wee jaunt around the Waikato has been the discovery of the Ngaruawahia Golf Club.

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A late player at dusk

I phoned Lyn from 50 odd k’s away to make sure that they had space and were open and was bowled over by Lynn’s happy voice on the other end of the phone. It couldn’t have been easier.

30 minutes or so later, I was being shown  a level patch of solid grass nicely protected by a few trees with 3 powered boxes (4 sockets on each) and a picnic table nicely positioned away from the general parking area. It was heavenly!..

At $15 a night per van with power, with the bar handy in the newish clubhouse with toilets and showers available during the day, its fantastic parking.

Nice new building

After settling Rafe down and plugging in, one of my first stops was upstairs to the bar where Lynn was helping out.

Lynn at the bar

I met a couple of really friendly locals there who had just finished 18 holes and were enjoying a couple of beers. They lived and worked in Hamilton which seems to be where a lot of the membership and bars patrons came from but what a nice crowd.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Lynn showed me where the walking / bike trail is to the Ngaruawahia township along the river which I later walked some of the way along. There is a huge brand new housing subdivision right next door with some amazing houses. I stopped halfway as it started raining and headed back to Rafe but what a lovely spot.

The historic old pub on the corner

A nice place to park with some friendly faces in a nice town.

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Rafe’s Tracker Map

Our first EBooks published!

Exciting… we’ve got our first ebooks away!

I’m really chuffed to get them away as it represents a huge amount of time to put them together.

It has been a lot of fun and a huge learning curve but having been involved in publishing some printed books for the Classic Yacht Association before, it was the next logical step.   I’m not expecting to get rich on them but if it covers a few bottles of Chardy and the odd tank of Diesel, then thats all good 🙂

The first two are now available on Amazon as of today and the others are coming. They are slightly  modified from the blog version so they don’t date so quickly and suit a book, and they’re in a fixed format horizontal format to show off the images to their best.

The first one is on our trip to Napier a year or so ago to the Art Deco festival. A great occasion and because its such a great event with some great images, it would be shame not to give these piccies another outing!

The other one is about our trip to the Pinnacles with friends via the Hawkes Bay last year. We were in several Motorhomes and it was a lot of fun. Some great adventures with some unusual places with a concert thrown in too for good measure.

These will both be available here by clicking on the covers above.

Ads will be appearing soon on the side of the Blog and you can keep up to date on this from the Books page.

Some time ago, I also did a blog about some older european images that I had posted for sale as prints etc. Again, I’m not expecting to get rich on them but some of you expressed an interest in getting some of them. They’re now available here.

A big occasion for me as a Blog person but there is more to come. .. Stay tuned 🙂

Party in Waihi

I love those weekends when you have nothing else to do but drive a short distance, enjoy your Motorhome for a couple of nights with a party in between and then go home to recover 🙂

Well .. this was one of those and it was fun!

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It was our old friend Angela’s 50th birthday and it was at Rob and Angelas small horse farm at Waihi.

Waihi Station

I’ve always loved Waihi and one of those character towns and a good place to stay.. the Railway Station. Now $15 a night with power or $10 without, it is very handy to everything and and its fun watching the trains come and go.

Train arriving in from Waikino
A couple of extra passengers

We’ve been here a few times, once with friends Rob and Helen and Gary and Dianne when we walked/biked through the Karangahake Gorge and Waikino. Lots of fun.

We arrived late on Saturday, parked, watched some TV and then hit the hay.

The park behind the station

Angela and Robs place is on the other side of Waihi and kickoff was midday. We did have a sudden mad moment when we thought about walking it but with bottles of wine etc, a taxi sounded like a much better idea.

Angela and Rob at the party

We met some really nice people and it was nice to see Angela and Rob in their rural home.

The birthday girl blowing out the candles

Its funny when you go to these places and meet people and they went to the same school as you or lived around the corner and you feel you should have met them earlier but didn’t. Thats how it was with several people .. amazing!

About 5pm it felt like it was our time to go… We rang the cab but no sign of her so we started walking back. Several more calls to the cab on the way. No response so half an hour later, we were back at the Railway Station.

People getting off

A neat day out in a lovely town.

The Station with the parking behind

My previous blogs on Wahi have much more on the town and the trip through the Gorge.

There is good Netspeed Internet available here but I forgot to do a speedtest.

Rafe’s track to Waihi

What was Hot in the South Island

Fiona and I had both taken 6 months off for a trip to Europe and to go around the South Island and we were really looking forward to it..

After getting back from Europe in early August and with our house still rented out, we immediately went to Taupo to pick up Rafe who was being cared for in Gary’s shed by Gary’s neighbour Chris… kind chaps that they are !

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Welding on the feet

We returned to Auckland to get a few things done like drop down steadies on Rafe and a couple of other things and then we were off.

Rafe and Ian and Lynda’s XLI

We left Auckland and first stop was Taupo with Gary and Dianne, who we’d been around Europe with and other Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda. A few nights there, a night in Mangaweka, then to Wellington to catch up with my son Alex who commutes from Auckland, then onto the ferry and the adventure began.

Dianne picking the girls up for a tiki tour around Taupo

The highlights:
Best Park over property (POP) –  Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.

Nice parking

Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂

The View

Best NZMCA park – probably a tie between Tekapo and Ranfurly. Tekapo is stunning amongst the pine trees right on the lake and Ranfurly, dead flat with a dump station next door, rubbish and water and right in the middle of town !

Amongst the pines with Ray and Margaret on the right

Best Long term rate campground – Kaiteriteri right on the beach. Just magnificent.

Close to the water

Best pub that we stayed at – Empire Hotel in Ross. Great roast meals, lovely town and great hosts.

The Empire

Also Omakau Hotel with a fully setup Motorhome park at the back.

Best Museum we saw – Bill Richardsons Truck Museum. Brilliantly done and with a huge collection of all sorts.. even lawnmowers and tools.

Henry Ford and some Bowsers

Best Bike ride – Otago rail trail. Omakau to Ida valley and back. Also Lowburn to Historic Precinct in Cromwell.

The first Viaduct

Best Bridge that we crossed in Rafe – Historic Ophir Bridge. I found myself doing some quick mental arithmetic to make sure it was safe 🙂

Rafe on the Ophir Bridge

Most amazing discovery – Brittens first Motorhome which we found in the Geraldine museum.

From the back. A nice stained glass window on the back. Note the opening wooden windows.

I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.

We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.

Fiona on the bike ride on the way back to Lowburn alongside lake Dunstan

The weather was superb. Fiona reckons we only had 1 wet day in the South Island! I reckon it was 3 but the weather really looked after us, if anything it was quite hot with a record breaking 33C in Cromwell on the day we decided to do a bike ride from Lowburn to the Historic Precinct and back !

The Historic Precinct

The difference in Fuel prices between the different parts of NZ was quite noticeable with the highest I saw at $1.48 a litre for diesel around Hanmer and the lowest $1.19 in Cromwell. We filled up in Takanini before we left at $.98 a litre! As Fiona says though Hay Ho.. when in Rome !

Happy Hour at Peski’s

One of the things that really surprised me as we went around was how many people recognised us from this Blog and who made themselves known. It was fantastic to meet you and to hear your feedback. We’re fast approaching 400,000 views which is amazing in less than 2 years!

We’re back in Auckland with our feet up for a bit before we set off again.

The dusty track from Lauder

While we were in Tekapo with our neighbours, Ray and Margaret who have been living in their bus for the last 4 ½ years or so, we found out that we had probably missed the best part of the Rail Trail while we were in Ranfurly. We had a few days up our sleeve before catching up with Helen in Lowburn so we decided to spend another couple of nights at one of our favorite stops in Central Otago, the Omakau Hotel.

The Omakau Hotel is well setup for Motorhomes with a whole set of Ensuite cabins and concreted Motorhome parks out behind the Hotel. See my previous blog on this.

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We were travelling from the NZMCA park in Cromwell so it wasn’t that far.

Getting ready at Omakau behind the Hotel

We used the time to have a good tidy up. Vacuuming and washing Rafe inside and out! The only problem is that the fresh water in these parts has a high level of calcium which dries on as water spots.. ugly! At least it was clean 🙂

At Omakau

The next morning, we up early and set off on the bikes to Lauder on the bike trail. The first bit to Lauder was slightly uphill but barely noticeable. There were a couple of bridges but it was largely a dead straight track across open fields most of the way to Lauder.

Arriving at Lauder

We stopped briefly at Lauder for a couple of sandwiches which we took with us and a glass of water.. the last of the big spenders !

Viaduct 1

From here is was a slight uphill grind up to the hills until we came to a curved viaduct crossing a river which was amazing. We stopped here for a look then headed onto some amazing tunnels which had to be walked through.

Real lord of the rings type of landscape

Both tunnels were reasonably short. We continued a slight climb through a really rocky Central Otago landscape to cross the main Viaduct.

The first Tunnel

From here we were on the edge of the Ida Valley and could pretty much see right down towards Ranfurly.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

Amazing view. Apparently this Viaduct took three years to build and the workers lived up here in the hills in little shacks. It must have been pretty unpleasant. There are some great signboards which give you the history as you go along.

Viaduct 2 took three years to build.

It was sandwich time before heading back to Lauder. We’d done the bits we missed !

Viaduct 2 with the Ida valley behind

The ride was great and it was nice to see the Tunnels and Viaducts that we had missed. We worked out that we did approximately 36k’s there and back.

On the way back to Tunnel 2

This was the easy bit. Feet up downhill really all the way back to Omakau. We stopped in at Lauder for a cuppa and something else to eat before heading back to Omakau.

In the tunnel

While we were in Lauder having a cup of coffee, I received a phone call from my old neighbour, Terry. He was on the road on his way to Alexandra and was keen to catch up.

Fiona nearly back at Lauder

We arranged to meet at Omakau and we had not long been back when he arrived armed with a bottle of Chardonnay and some cheese and biccies.

On the way back to Omakau

It was really nice to see Terry and we ended up having Tea at the Omakau Hotel which was great.

Tea by Winchester

One of the things we wanted to do was catch up with old friends Pam and Campbell who we knew from our old days is Devonport. They have set up an amazing Farmstay B&B business just outside Temuka and had invited us for tea. Yippee.

The next issue was where to put Rafe as Google Earth showed their driveway impassable for Motorhomes and there wasn’t roadside parking either.

Plenty of room

There was an great camping ground a few K’s up the road at Winchester which was $18 a night with plenty of room to spread out so we headed there.

The campground is actually in the Showground’s so there are times of the year when it isn’t available. Nice showers which don’t require any money and a big kitchen common room which looks the business.

Lots of space
Showers and Toilets

After an afternoon of lazing in the 20 C plus sun, we got the bikes down and headed down the road to Pam and Campbells place. Drinks in the sun on the deck and amazing roast meal and it was really neat to see them after having not seen them for at least 20 odd years. They look really well and the House they have done up looks great and they’re now running it as Olivers  Farm Stay  Bed & Breakfast. Campbell is a Chef so the meals are stunning !

Campbell and Pam

Campbell very kindly dropped us off at the campsite later, with the bikes on a bike rack on the back of his car as it was a bit dodgy in the dark on State Highway 1 ! Thanks very much guys and it was lovely to catch up again after all this time.

Art Deco on the Rail Trail

I used to joke with my old friend Gary who lived here, about Rantartica but over the 4 days we spent in the new NZMCA park here in Ranfurly, the temperature ranged during the day between 24 and 26 degrees every day. Beautiful blue skies with only one morning with a bit of drizzle.

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The NZMCA Park in Ranfurly

Stunning weather and a lovely town.

Rafe with the awning out in the heat of Ranfurly

The people are really friendly and the buildings are amazing.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Around the time of the war, the town was struck badly by a string of suspicious fires where a significant number of iconic buildings were burnt to the ground.

Once the tea rooms, now a museum.

At the time, money was scarce and the cheapest and quickest way to replace them was to do the Art Deco style. The town is blessed with these lovely old buildings with some real class.

The famous Ranfurly pub

The drizzly day we had was when the town had its market day at the railway station and it was just great to see the whole town come out to play, even in the dreary weather. It was only shortlived and an hour two later, there was brilliant sunshine again.

The entrance to the park

We were originally only going to stay for two nights but its such a great place to stay so we stayed for four! The NZMCA park is right in the middle of town and is huge.

Looking down the road to Dunedin towards the St Bathans mountains

We’ll definitely be staying here again.

Rafe’s track to Ranfurly

Lakeside

Pinders Pond would have to be one of the most beautiful parking spots in Central Otago. Its also free and is an easy 5k’s to Roxburgh by the most amazing bike trail right next to the Clutha river.

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Lots of space

After leaving the Gold Cottages campsite and saying goodbye to Lloyd and Kate, we headed down the road about 6k’s to Pinders Pond.

Is that a reflection ?

When we arrived, were a few Motorhomes and two Caravans there so we just plonked ourselves on the grass and had lunch.

Close to the bike trail

About an hour later, the place literally cleaned out and the Motorhomes all left and we moved back to a flatter spot closer to the Caravans.

Click on the gallery below for a Slideshow

There is a bike trail which goes right up to the Roxburgh bridge and beyond one way and I think it goes to Millers Flat and beyond the other way. It is very easy riding and we were off. It took us about 20 minutes or so to get to Roxburgh so we celebrated with a cup of coffee in one of the cafe’s there before riding back.

Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
Roxburgh bridge

A lovely spot. Thanks to several people for recommending it.

Rafes Track to Pinders Pond

Riding to beat the rain

We woke up to a stunning view across the water at Rabbit island. It was dead still and with lots of local dog walkers out exercising.

Dogs exercising their owners.

Who’d have thought that it was going to go pear shaped later in the day with a front forecaast to come over and drench the whole country !

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Bright Sunshine

We thought there would be a few hours where we could jump on our bikes and go into Nelson for a look around. Fiona was keen to get some wool and it was good to bike around the foreshore and check out all the neat houses tucked into the hillside.

Wow

The bike lanes are pretty narrow and close to the traffic so we ended up using the footpaths probably more than we should have but there were no pedestrians so Hey Ho!

The typical Nelson look

We parked our bikes in the centre of town and locked our bikes into the provided bike racks and set off on foot. On a mission for the wool shops 🙂

The main road through Nelson with the council clock.

We found a couple but not quite what was required it seems so a cup of coffee in a cafe was a nice break.

The River through Nelson

After looking around a bit more, we hopped back on the bikes and headed back the 4kms back to the campground. The weather was closing in and it all looked different with a grey sky but still nice and warm. After an 8K round trip, it was time for a cuppa by the sea.

The famous Restaurant over the water on the way back.

A great day out and although it was supposed to be raining by 2pm and we rode back looking at the threatening sky, it was still dry at 6pm!