One of the amazing little hidden treasures in Miranda is this amazing Cafe and Gallery.
It is run and owned by Annie Wilson and her family. Annie has been here about 7 years with the Cafe with the Gallery coming together over that time. There is also a fantastic easy parking for Motorhomes right in front.
The easy way of getting here is like we did, from Miranda Holiday park on our bikes.
It is an easy 30 minute ride but there is a small hill so an ebike makes life a bit easier.
We left early on a Saturday morning from Miranda Holiday Park while we were at a Dethleffs get together and rode an easy trail along the foreshore until we got back to a bridge. Going right, you’re heading to Rays Rest and Kaiaua or if you go left and head to the corner and up the hill, you’ll come across the cafe.
We had a nice morning tea and something to eat and then walked next door to check out the Gallery.
The art is amazing and is from many well known artists as well as some locals.
The outside Toilet was designed by Annie and a friend and is something else with its beautiful stained glass window and also has a wooden toilet seat!
After a couple of hours here, we biked back to Miranda and were back in the Hot Pools.. a great morning.
And it was a goodie too.. Many arrived early on Friday afternoon and were well settled by the time Fiona and I arrived about 12:30!
The day before we found out about the Kaiaua Pub courtesy van. I knew we had about 12 interested so it was all last minute but after two trips of the van, they all managed to get to the table and it all went well.
It was still raining off and on so I was in the pool soon after arriving, my favourite part of Miranda 🙂
As the day went on, it was a great meet and greet. For many of the 46 Motorhomes that arrived, this was their first get together and for me, the biggest turnout of vans ever.
It was funny though as the numbers from the bookings were 46, if you walked around and looked, it didn’t seem too crowded.
As the day wore on. More and more people were making themselves known and introducing themselves to everyone and looking around the Motorhomes.
Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged slide show – Friday
Friday Happy hour
Friday Happy hour
Friday Happy Hour
John at Friday Happy hour
Noelina at Friday Happy hour
4pm came around and the BBQ area suddenly filled up with laughter and Wine bottles..
Day two was Bike ride day towards Kaiaua. Tony Coupe who put his hand up early encouraging riders to bring their bikes and had a plan to ride to a neat little Café and Gallery called Stray Dog Café. It was just up the hill off to the left on the way to Kaiaua. Fantastic place with an amazing Gallery Thanks Tony.. more on this in another post coming soon.
We arrived back at Miranda a couple of hours later. A great ride and it was time for a coffee and another swim in the pool.
At 3pm, we had Neil showing quite a few interested people the basics on Amp hours and how to calculate your battery needs. Very useful and many went away very happy. Great work.. thanks Neil.
Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow – Saturday
On the trail to Kaiaua
At the bridge where we split directions.
Neil during his talk. Pic by Mary Coupe
Getting ready for the bike ride
Lets go biking!
Neil and Michelle
John and Tony
Peter and Sue who we bumped into in Invercargill earlier this year.
At 4pm was time for a Team Photo but to make sure everyone was there, we started happy hour and then did the images. Photographer Grant who has the same camera as me, was keen to get me in the photo so we did a quick swap for a fun pic. Thanks Grant.
I was talking to one of the camp senior staff, Gay the next day and she was telling me they were watching us in the CCTV while we were getting organised and starting happy hour then suddenly we all vanished in a nano second.. “where did they go”! That must have been photo time 🙂
John Ogilvie had very kindly brought his amazing projector along for the rugby and with Michelle’s screen, were were all ready for the big game starting later.
At 6, the food started appearing on the Barbecue area and we all got stuck in. The food was unbelievable. Normally at a shared meal you end up with a lot of snacky stuff but this was top drawer dishes. Well done everyone. Stunning Stuff.
The tidying up and dishes were done in the well equipped kitchen and we were set for the Rugby.
A great atmosphere and we had a few other campers join us on the fringes to watch as well. I found out after talking to Gay in the office that they had quite a few people who wanted to watch in the TV room but there is no drinking or food in there so they were suggesting joining us so that was good. There even some people on the other side of the screen in the BBQ area watching it backwards from the opposite side of the screen 🙂
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Magic Drone pics from Paul
By Paul McLuckie
Well done and thanks John (the projectionist) and thanks again Michelle for the use of your screen. Although the result wasn’t what we wanted, it was still a fun night.
All in all, a great weekend finished off with a farewell coffee/tea catchup before everyone went off in different directions.
Talking to Gay (Miranda Holiday Park) afterwards, she said it went well for them, no one got up their noses (not from our group anyway) and for them it was easy.
Thanks too to Paul McLuckie who put his drone up to get the amazing drone images.
Thanks everyone for coming, we had a lot of fun and it was nice to see everyone again. Some we haven’t seen for years.
We had not long returned from a trip around the South Island where we got a crack in the windscreen, courtesy of an oncoming truck speeding through roadworks. Our 8 year old Habitation door fly screen also lost its string too so after fixing these up, we were ready to go again or at least I was.
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As Fiona was working, she suggested I go away for a few days so with the forecast looking not that flash, I thought Miranda wasn’t too far to go and with the hot pools, was the perfect place to be.
The weather was fantastic for the first of my three night stay and showery for the rest of the time so it was a case of dodging the showers from Rafe to the pool 🙂
I don’t think I’ve every seen the camp ground this quiet and this empty but this was my first midweek visit so hardly surprising but by the end of each day, the place seemed to fill up nicely.
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Outdoor eating area.
The camp has grown to now be more than 90 odd powered sites with BIG parks out the back and more doggy sites too. The dog sites is a great idea and is perfect for those who want to let their pets outside while keeping them close.
The new nearby ablutions block looks the business too and with some of the trees out by the road gone, there is more room for walks and bike riding.
Its a great go to place for those who don’t want to travel too far and have and easy few days away.
The Racecourse was quite handy as the Bike Trails all ran around where we were parked.
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We set off to ride into Nelson for lunch via the bike trail along around the waterfront. The whole Nelson area is spoilt for bike trails, they’re everywhere.
The first section runs right alongside the Richmond to Nelson motorway and goes around the back of the airport. Eventually it comes into the Tahunanui area and then onto the bike lanes following the traffic around the waterfront.. I rode on the footpath here as it felt heaps safer and there only a handful of pedestrians anyway.
Coming into Nelson via the Bike trail at Rutherford park, we found ourselves virtually in the main street next to an amazing, seen only in Nelson, two level bike park. Fantastic and after a few minutes of figuring it out how it all worked, we stuck our bikes in there and off we went for lunch.
Often when you’re biking it is sometimes hard to find somewhere to park your bikes safely and securely, this is the answer!
We found a Café which had an empty block right next to it, this might have once been a carpark or a commercial building, but they’ve decked it out on one side as a dining area and on the other side made it available to several specialist food vendors with caravans selling all sorts.
We opted for a Japanese fried chicken dish which was yum. There were lots of people there coming and going so it seemed to be well known around the town.
Fiona had a another look around and then we were off back to Richmond. The trip was a round trip of 36k’s so we felt like we’d done some exercise by the time we got back to Rafe.
After a couple of good nights at the NZMCA park in Te Anau, we set off towards Queenstown. By the time we got to Lumsden, it was time for a coffee and a walk to stretch the legs.
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We were last here a few years ago and the place looks fantastic. The Heritage Train Station project is looking really good and is now a full fledged parking spot for Motorhomers wanting to stop in for a night or two. The Train and carriages are covered over and its looking great.
We wandered down to a small Café just on the main rd. next to the Train area which carried on the rustic them but with really nice food and coffee.
Click on the Gallery below to see enlarged Slideshow of Lumsden
The Trains now all covered
After half an hour we set off towards Queenstown. One of my favourite drives around here is alongside the lake up to Jacks point alongside Lake Wakatipu.
We arrived at Creeksyde Motorcamp right on lunchtime. The first thing we did was give Rafe a wash and a general spruce up and what a difference, it changed colour!
Queenstown was having one of those partly overcast / cloudy days which improved as the day went on. We decided after the last few days at a hectic pace we’d blob out a bit and spend a few days here so Fiona could catch up with her cousins Heather, Jan and Jan’s other half Rob.
Fiona was also keen to have a Fergberger which we did for lunch after we’d settled Rafe after his wash and opened vents etc.
Click on the Gallery below enlarged Slideshow of Queenstown
The Earnslwa on the lake
The bow of the Earnslaw
On the bike ride to Frankton
Looking out twoards the Remarkables
One of the outdoor areas at Creeksyde
Outdoor area at Creeksyde
The loos at Creeksyde
So I got the bike down, Fiona wanted to walk and I met her down at the wharf and later outside the Fergberger shop ion the main St. The burgers are everything the ad says, they are fantastic.
After that we headed off towards the gardens and had a coffee outside the beachfront Café and watched all the goings on.
The next day, we woke to a fantastic clear blue sky but still no snow on those mountains. Fiona got in touch with cousin Heather who popped around and we met in a café over the road and then came over to see us in Rafe in the campground. Its always neat to see Heather, she is always on the go.
After that, we decided it was a good day to do a bike ride through Queenstown, around the gardens on the point and right down to Frankton. Its about 15k’s for the round trip and is an easy ride through some of the best scenery.
We stopped in at The Boatshed Café which is close to the Frankton Marina and partly overlooks it. Their front deck over looks the water and looks out to the Remarkables and the food and service is amazing. There are heaps of bike racks there so you can secure your bike while you eat.
A great day out after which we headed back to Rafe and blobbed out with a nice G&T!
We’ve stayed at Creeksyde quite a few times over the years. Its quite a quirky place with the plumbing decorations and the artwork.. one of the best dump stations around and well decorated too.
They were doing a deal that if you stayed three nights, the tariff dropped to $49 a night down from $55 for two. Given that it is an easy walk to Queenstown shops and is well appointed with the best loos and showers around, I think its pretty reasonable and they’re always friendly and helpful.
After we left Cambridge, we both decided we weren’t ready to go home so we headed east and while driving decided on heading to Mount Maunganui. I’ve got several friends who have stayed at the campground at the beach and I’ve been wanting to give it a go.
Up and over the Kaimai’s and onto the mount was easy and we arrived not much after midday.
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The reception people were fantastic and we were given #1 park which they said was a bit of a treat as it was a Sunday night. #1 park is right next to the surf club and as close as you can get to the beach… absolutely a primo spot.
There was a beach volley ball competition right on the other side of the surf club which was a final of a competition and it was well set up with a big audience watching. A real buzz.
There was an endless stream of people walking along the boardwalk, both up and down the Mount, only feet from our bumper. We were right in the thick of it!
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The Boardwalk and Volleyball setup
Beach Volleyball champs
Walking the Boardwalk
Cabins with a view
I went for a walk around to get the lie of the land and some images and had just posted one with my phone on Facebook when we got an immediate reply from Fiona’s cousin, Malcolm and Michelle who had just arrived at their apartment along the road. They had come from Raumati beach.
An hour or so later and we were having tea with them in Rafe looking out at the beach in front of us.. magic.
We were going to check out the hot pools which are half price if you stay here but crashed instead.
The next morning, we had a coffee with Malcom and Michelle at their apartment and then headed home. Its a great place to stay and we were very fortunate and lucky to get on the front row so to speak but I think doing it again, a few rows back would be just fine for me.
A very well setup park with new ablution block and everything that opens and shuts..
On the edge of the Waikato river at Karapiro is an amazing complex set up for our competitive rowers. All the top rowing regattas are held here and most of our top Olympic and Commonwealth Games Rowers and Canoeists all train at this fantastic facility.
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Attached to this is the Campground run by Liz and her assistants and it is HUGE. There are two campgrounds and they’re dead flat. The top one is set back a bit from the river but has a view through the trees and the bottom campground, right on the river.
We had arranged to host the 2022 Dethleffs Rally here tip toeing a bit around the Covid outbreak which was at its peak. We lost a few due to Covid and about 8 or so more wanting to keep their heads down.
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Rowers finishing for the day
Rowers watching other races.
We spent some time at the Café here which is great too.. nice food and great coffee and an easy walk from the Motorhomes in either campground. Its a great spot for just watching the rowing too with a cuppa in hand.
It is 7 k’s odd from Cambridge and there is a bike trail all the way in so bring your bike. There is a no dogs policy but cats are ok.
During the Dethleffs Rally at Karapiro, there was a group of cyclists who biked into Cambridge on the bike trail.
On the way there the keys to John and Kirstie’s Motorhome somehow managed to break free and were later found by a friendly Cambridge local.
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It was quickly established by the local who the group on bikes were and he set about getting the keys back to John and Kirsty by handing them to a couple of Police officers in a patrol car in Cambridge.
In the meantime back at Karapiro, John and Kirsty were locked out of their Motorhome with the spare set inside.
A plan was hatched to get Kirsty (the smaller of the two) up onto the roof and to climb in through the hatch above their bedroom. John Peat was hand to get a magnificent picture of Kirsty’s legs in the air half way into the hatch 🙂
About an hour went by and a very kind couple of Police officers in the Police patrol car found time in their program and came to drop off the runaway keys. It was good to see the faces change from concern to smiles for everyone and it was by then time for a cold one.. very timely 🙂
Heading for our next stop in Waihi with Ayden and Liam in the back, we stopped just out of Tokoroa when someone spotted a Subway store, the boys favourite 🙂
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From here we cruised on up to the Waihi Goldfields Railway. A great place to stay and they’ve really tidied it up since we were last here.
Its the perfect stop as we could take the boys on the Train to Waikino and then later meet their Dad Alex at Ngatea where he would take them to Pauanui.
I was a wee bit concerned as it was getting late in the day and you can’t really book parks here but there was plenty of room.
The next morning, we went over to the station and got our tickets and were ready for the ride to Waikino. The boys were quite excited and had a lot of fun encouraging the drivers alongside the railway to toot their horns.
When we got back to Rafe, we realised how much progress Alex was making from Auckland so we needed to get cracking ! After a quick look at the big Waihi Mine hole, we set off towards Ngatea.
The Goldfields Railway parking has improved dramatically. They seemed to have levelled it slightly and clearly labelled the parking but generally, it all looks great and for $15 a powered site per vehicle, it can’t be beaten.
It was going to be a scorcher so we got the bikes sorted and headed from the Bell Block park down towards the Waterfront to join up to the Walkway.
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From the Bell Block park to the Wind Wand is about 20k’s round trip so its a good ride and you know you’ve used some muscles when you return 🙂
The trip is mostly downhill to the Te Rewa Rewa bridge but its a fantastic pathway. Some of its boardwalk but most of it is a wide concrete path which eventually goes through the side of the Fitzroy Holiday Park. We stopped at the Kiosk for a cuppa and something to eat and then rode on to the Wind Wand. Great fun.
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The view from the bridge
Fiona on the bridge
Looking back at the bridge
Coming into Fitzroy camp
The Kiosk at Fitzroy
Looking towards the port
A train going under the path by the Wind Wand
There we left the waterfront to have a quick look at some shops and then headed back along one of the shopping streets and back down to rejoin the Waterfront.
Just fantastic. A great outlook and apart from the uphill bit at the end going up through the houses was pretty easy. .. Well worth doing!!
A couple of glasses of wine later with some neighbours in the park and that was us for the day 🙂