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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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!
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.
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!
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Some of the cabins
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.
I went for a walk down to the beach right in front of the camp and had a look around.
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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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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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.
After settling Rafe down and plugging in, one of my first stops was upstairs to the bar where Lynn was helping out.
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.
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The riverfront housing next to the Golf course with the walkway.
Looking towards the town
Fantastic Parking with plenty of power points
Showing the main carpark from the motorhome parking
Ngaruawahia’s main street
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.
A nice place to park with some friendly faces in a nice town.
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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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
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.
We met some really nice people and it was nice to see Angela and Rob in their rural home.
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.
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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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.
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.
Best Park over property (POP) – Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.
Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂
I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip. Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.
Rafe at the Mangaweka Campground
Entering the Tory Channel. North Island behind
Rafe with the handbrake on with people getting off at Picton.
Looking across towards Nelson with the snow on the tops of the hills
Some extras with the daffodils
Dogs exercising their owners.
I can feel a drink coming on
The famous Restaurant over the water.
Looking down the main street with the Old St Peters Church and the Windmill behind. The Windmill was in the main street of Nelson for many years.
Fiona on the Bristol Freighter
The Bristol Freighter
The port and the shops
Late afternoon in the sun
Looking down from the lookout
A Happy Place
The Moutere Inn
Dusk looking down Reeftons main street with the old lights lighting the street.
The Bearded Miners. Gavin, Peter and Mark
People collecting Driftwood down by the Greymouth Breakwater
ith rafe outside that famous Hotel
The Jetty down at Lake Mahinapua
The Bar. Amazing working cash register
Fiona with the fire at the Empire
Up in the Historic Gold area
The Franz Josef Glacier. See if you can spot a Helicopter
Rafe at Hawea
The amazing dump station with the grates in the ground at Queenstown
Queenstown with Jacks Point on the right
Fiona and Jessa at Q’town
Fiona checking out the Fairlight Railway Station
A Train at the Station
Inside the carriage – Lumsden
The Texaco Tanker Invercargill
Fiona in the café done up as a 50’s Kitchen
Curio bay looking towards the campground
The park setup – Lawrence
One of the Roxburgh pubs
A sluicing lake behind the park _ Roxburgh.
Close to the bike trail – Roxburgh
Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
A view over Clyde
The old Hotel
The road through the vineyard through the Kawarau Gorge
The kawerau River from the road
Jessa checking out a Pinot Gris at Mt Rosa
Lunch at the historic Gibbston Valley Tavern
The Ophir Bridge
The Function Centre – Omakau
The front of the Hotel
Starting off at Ranfurly Railway Station
Fiona arriving at Wedderburn
Once the tea rooms, now a museum.
The Dunedin Railway Station
Along the Platform
The Taieri train
In the Railway Station
The Pergola with a peep of Dunedin at the end.
Outside the ballroom
The main street at Rush hour 😉 Waimate
The Oamaru Wharf
Plenty of room
Sue (Peskis) with her new Letterbox
The gardens at Peskis
Fiona checking out the Hats
Cheers at Geraldine
One of the performing groups
Fiona with her great auntie Jeannie’s Morris
The interior of Johns truck
Fiona with the Cadburys Chocolate
Lake Tekapo late on our first day
Love the different layers in the colour
The Stone Church with the tourists
Happy Hour with all our visitors at Tekapo. Cell pic
A bridge across the river
Across Lake McGregor
Our neighbours Jim and Lynley back at the NZMCA park
The first Tunnel
On the way back to Omakau
A Miners hut
On the way to the Stamper Battery
Fiona gold panning
Under the mountains
Rafe in front of the house plugged in. The visitors area on the very left.
The boat club down by the NZMCA park
Parked behind the Gate in Cromwell
Ross is a great character.. the birthday boy.
The pools at Hamner
Fiona enjoying the heat.
Look at all that water.
Fiona at the market – Nelson
The Church cafe – Richmond
The bar at the cellar Door
Lots of Motorhomes on the deck
Ian and Gary with all the polishing toys!
We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.
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 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 !
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.
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.
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 🙂
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.
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 !
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.
Both tunnels were reasonably short. We continued a slight climb through a really rocky Central Otago landscape to cross the main Viaduct.
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
The road to Lauder
Glass of water and a cake and we’re off again
The first Viaduct
Off the first bridge
On the way back to Tunnel 2
Crossing the second Viaduct
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.
It was sandwich time before heading back to Lauder. We’d done the bits we missed !
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was really nice to see Terry and we ended up having Tea at the Omakau Hotel which was great.
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.
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.
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 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.
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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Stunning weather and a lovely town.
The people are really friendly and the buildings are amazing.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
The NZMCA Park. Dave and Therese’s caravan on the left. Rafe on the right.
Bins, checkpoint Charlie and the water.
In the grounds of the railway station
The Railway Station
The famous Ranfurly pub
Railway station and Rail Trail
Vintage Tractor Museum
The Tea rooms.. great building
Rafe with the awning out in the heat of Ranfurly
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.
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 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.
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.
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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After leaving the Gold Cottages campsite and saying goodbye to Lloyd and Kate, we headed down the road about 6k’s to Pinders Pond.
When we arrived, were a few Motorhomes and two Caravans there so we just plonked ourselves on the grass and had lunch.
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
Lots of space
Clutha river from the Trail
On the way to Roxburgh
Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
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.
A lovely spot. Thanks to several people for recommending it.
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.
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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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.
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!
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 🙂
We found a couple but not quite what was required it seems so a cup of coffee in a cafe was a nice break.
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.
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!