Tag Archives: Boating

Heading North

The Ferry’s were chocker and the number of people we’d met while travelling that were having trouble getting bookings made me think, “I’d better make sure we’re in Picton in plenty of time for the ferry”!

Click on any Image to Enlarge

We left Richmond about 8:30am and headed straight for Havelock for morning tea. Our check in time was 1pm at Picton. We arrived in Havelock at 9:30am and had morning tea eventually getting to Picton just after 11 so making it with plenty of time.

We went the long way around the coast past Momorangi Bay where we’d stayed a few years ago in wee Rafe, our wee Caravan.

On arriving in Picton, we found a good park outside a Pub in Picton by the Railway Station. As we walked in, I received a text from Bluebridge saying that they had communication issues and they’re eftpos system was having a moment and could be have cash for anything we wanted on board.

I don’t do cash at all these days so we decided that we’d have lunch where we were at the Sports Bar. What a great decision too as the Seafood Chowder was something else. Washed down with a G&T as you do.. a perfect start for our trip on the ferry!

In the Queue

At 12:30, I thought we’d better head over and check in and although we were early, there were several rows of Motorhomes and Caravans already there.. good call I thought 🙂

Just after 1:15 pm, they starting loading us on the ferry.

Fiona on the Landing pad on the way out the Marlborough sounds

We’d booked a cabin so it was a rush for the shower 🙂 Then we were mostly up on the deck enjoying clear blue sky all the way over.

The Tory Channel
The Tory channel looking south

We arrived just after 6pm and started heading north. We’d decided between us that as the new transmission gulley motorway was open, we’d go as far as we could stopping for tea along the way and maybe get to the brand new NZMCA park at Foxton.

Rafe in the garage. Fiona ready to go!

What great park and although it was just 7:30pm, it was dark but there was plenty of room and keeping the parking simple with plenty of room around us made it easy.

The Foxton NZMCA park
Great parking

There were a few motorhomers parked together in the corner with a small contained fire to keep them warm which was nice, and there were others well spread out so that made it really easy to park.

Easy to see where you are.

In the morning I went for a look around and signed in and once I’d found the “fridge”!. Its a fantastic park and although I’m not sure that we’d do the drive after a ferry trip again, like we had all the way from Nelson, I’m sure its perfect option for Plimmerton with the new Motorway.

The crew in the corner

A really nice park with plenty of room next to the Foxton Racecourse grandstand in a separate area.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Fox / Upper Moutere – Armada GPS

Our Milford Sound Extravaganza

We were still fizzing from the Stewart Island trip as we headed towards our next stop which was Te Anau.

Click on any Image to enlarge

Lake Te Anau

On the ferry on the way back from Stewart Island, I booked a deal through the NZMCA with Fiordland Tours where they would pick us up from the club park in Te Anau in a small coach, and take us to Milford Sound. We would then get on a boat for a cruise through Milford Sound with guides all the way and back to Te Anau.

Te Anau NZMCA park

The weather was looking fantastic. With the disappointment of not doing the wings over Wanaka, our original reason for coming down to the South, I was a bit reluctant to book too far out in case something came up or the weather wasn’t looking good. It worked !! We had perfect weather.

Fiona at NZMCA park Te Anau

We arrived in Te Anau early in the afternoon and parked on the lakefront for half an hour or so for a look around. Fiona went for a quick look through some of the shops.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

We then rocked into the NZMCA park which is about 1k or so out of the town. Its a nice park with rural views.

At 8am the next morning, the coach turned up and we were off towards Milford Sound. It has been years since I was down here so I’d completely forgotten the lie of the land except I remembered this awful road so we were happy being driven by someone who knew the road and it wasn’t any where near as bad as I remembered.

Amazing Eglington Valley

Our first stop was in an amazing valley surrounded by mountains with a little bit of fog. A lovely spot. Don’t forget to click on these images to have a decent look at them!

We then headed off towards the mirrored lakes and had a stroll through the trees on a boardwalk looking at the reflections. Nice !

Cascade Creek walk

Back in the coach and then we stopped at a small walk down to another lake called Cascade Creek which backs onto Lake Gunn. A nice stroll and lovely place.  The next stop  after this was to see the Falls Creek Waterfall and then we went through the Homer Tunnel.

Lake Gunn

We arrived in Milford and boarded a really nice double decker party boat and set off fairly quickly towards Mitre Peak. You feel so small among these huge mountains all around.

We were lucky to see some rare Hector Dolphins just by Mitre peak which were the largest pod the skipper had every seen in Milford.

Mitre Peak looking very majestic… Stunning

We then we headed out further through the sound towards the Tasman sea. The trip took about 90 minutes but was amazing. It is really nice to get to see and feel the size and scale of these huge mountains which you don’t appreciate from the postcards.

Looking back into Milford Sound from the Tasman sea
Mitre Peak

On the way back we spotted a seal having a snooze on a rock and others playing in the water and then came to a massive waterfall. The skipper put the nose of the boat into the falls for those interested in having a shower to get wet 🙂

A happy seal
Huge Waterfall

We were taken for a walk along the waterfront in Milford before getting back on the coach to head back to Te Anau.

The boat we were on

A great trip and well worth doing.. check out the Deals on the NZMCA web site.

An absolutely stunning trip and well worth doing with a great crew.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Te Anau – Armada GPS

Our Last Day in the UK

There was free parking provided in a carpark right next to the Chunnel entrance so we took advantage of that for our last night in France. We woke up early to see if we could get an earlier crossing in the Chunnel as our booking was for 10:55am. Gary and Dianne were ready early so we were off.

Free parking in Calais

When we checked in, we found that we could get on an 9:50 crossing so we were in.

The Chunnel train port

After checking underneath and see if any stowaways were hanging on as requested by the British border man, we headed off to Starbucks in the duty free pavilion until our time for boarding.

Driving onto the Train
Driving up to our spot Gary and Dianne in front

It was all really easy. After spending 20 minutes or so in the carriage inside Ralph, we were in Folkstone, UK and drove straight out onto the the motorway towards the Dartmouth Crossing.

A bit of traffic on the M25 around London slowed us down but by 2.30pm, we were in Milton Keynes picking up our suitcases from Ralphs home at Hireahymer.com.

The camp

After this, we followed the Gary’s  GPS settings to the Old Dairy Farm campground which is right by a canal. Just beautiful. A really small camp with about 15 powered sites on an old Farm.

Looking over towards Harry

We headed off in Ralph up to a pub about 3 k’s called the Three Locks Hotel which is as it says, right by 4 locks and by the canal.

A beautiful setting. We shouted Dianne and Gary  a meal out on our last night as a way of saying thank you for being in their hair for the previous month or so and being great tour guides, especially of their old home country of the Czech Republic. We wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it without you guys. Thanks heaps to you both.

We had a great night there. I think we were all pretty tired as starting out in France early and driving to where we were was all a bit hectic.

Water coming through the lock gates
Two narrow boats in the lock

It was a relatively early night but what a lovely spot to finish off the trip.

Through the hedge is the Canal

In the morning we were taking Ralph home and catching a coach to Heathrow Ibis for a night and then our flight home to NZ.

Shakespeare Country

While had the rental car we found that we weren’t really that far from Stratford on Avon so we’d do a trip up there for a look around.

Shops at Moreton on Marsh

On the way we stopped at a neat wee town called Moreton on Marsh and also had a walk around there.

Moreton  on marsh Hotel

We noticed one of the pubs there was doing specials around the Sky showing of the Lions V the All Blacks so we asked if we could watch the Americas Cup as a back up plan and they were very welcoming. We managed to get our Sky Go app and internet issues sorted so it wasn’t necessary but very kind of them.

Stratford on Avon was an amazing town. It was chocker with people having fun everywhere and again some more of those lovely old buildings. These looked even older but more Thatched roofs and from basic building practices.

The Canal was busy with a couple of Narrow boats set up as Ice cream shops doing a great trade. There were canal boats parked on the river and moving in all directions along with tour boats and a larger restaurant barge left while we were there.

We had a good wander up through the shopping streets to look at some of the old buildings.

The Oldest House

There is one house there that is said to the oldest house still lived in. Part of it has been turned into a museum. It is just great seeing all these towns and they’re all different.

A day out on the water

The Americas Cup was on and the stars all lined up for eldest son Drew  and Jenna to take us out on our old boat Rorqual. It was also Fiona’s birthday so it was a big day.

Click on an Image to see it enlarged

The good ship Rorqual

Other son Alex and wife Sarah, along with the grandsons Liam and Ayden were meeting us there too.

Alex and Ayden on the foredeck as we go under the bridge leaving Milford Creek.

We all boarded at Milford Marina and set off under the bridge down to the course off North Head.

Nice big boats from far off places.

After finding a hole amongst the huge spectator fleet and getting the anchor to settle we waited for the race to start.

Lots of people on boats with their flags.

There were boats everywhere and most had plenty of people on board too.

The Grandstand as far as the eye can see.

After a couple of start delays they were off. Its great being part of it but I’ve always thought from many years of covering these events from my old newspaper days, unless you’re on a boat following them down the course, you don’t tend to see very much of them as they’re usually so far away. As I say though, great to be part of it and nice to be out there soaking it all in.

Liam(with sausage), dad Alex behind and big brother Ayden.

There was one big boat behind us that were sitting out on their outside deck with the G&T’s watching it on a huge TV as well as seeing it from the boat.. the best of both worlds.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slideshow

Drew had set up his Ipad so we could get a reception on the boat and keep up with the play so that was really good too.

Spectator fleet

Lots of people were cooling off in the water off the back of their boats too. A real carnival atmosphere.

Cooling off

We had to catch the tide back at Milford and a restaurant in Milford was waiting for the birthday girl so we left early to head back but a great afternoon out soaking it all in.

Britannia leading the race

A great day out with all the family.

A Great Day Out

It was Classic Boat Riverhead Pub day and as it turned out a Reunion of sorts with lots of old friends I haven’t seen for a while. We were going up on Alan’s 28 ft Lanes Classic boat, Raindance.

Click on an Image to enlarge it.

Alan’s boat Raindance ready to go

Alan and I are both ex Launch Captains of the  Classic Yacht Association  so we had both done this trip many times before as part of that role and it was always a fun day out.

Alan picked me up from home about 8:30 and we were down at Bayswater Marina ready to go just before 9. The forecast was for showers and very little wind so the 13 or so other boats coming would be able to deal with this easily.

Off up to the pub

As Alan had organised this, I’d had a bit of a heads up on who was coming so I was looking forward to see some of the original people involved with the rebirth of the Classic Launches in Auckland.

Trinidad leading the charge behind us

We left in the sunshine to head under the harbour bridge and headed up a little beyond the Greenhithe Bridge where we were to meet up with all the other boats and at 10:15, we headed up in single file to the Pub. The departure time was crucial to give us the maximum eating / drinking / social time before the river lost its water with the tide.

Jason catching up. He led the way from here.
Jason and his crew at Herald Island

Jason  in his newly restored boat called My Girl caught up with us off Beachaven and we followed him up to the meeting point just past Herald Island. The other boats all seemed to arrive together and soon we were off to the pub.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I can remember a trip Alan and I did with the CYA where we had 30 plus boats and we had to leave room for the ferry.. there were boats everywhere.. This was going to be much easier with just 13 boats and there was no ferry to worry about.

From up by the pub.

Everybody anchored and tied up without any drama and it was up to the Marque to catchup with old friends. A few people I talked to asked me questions about Motorhomes ! .. seems we might have a few more ex boaties coming our way 🙂

Raindance in front with My girl behind

A great day but all good things have to come to an end and with the tide on its way out, it was time to dodge the showers back to Bayswater.

Alan driving on the way back.

It was an easy trip back with the chop building a little on the way and a few showers.

Back in the Marina

Check out Alans Blog at www.waitematawoodys.com

Everyone has a Jetty

Another one from 2018..

Over our boating years, both Alan and I have had some amazing moments in both Bon Accord harbour at Kawau and around Kawau so being  driven around on the ferry so we could have a good look with a commentary was a real treat.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Lidgards and Kawau Yacht club

Alan does one of the biggest, if not the biggest Wooden Boating Blogs around called Waitematawoodys.com and was on the Classic Yacht Association committee with me for several years.  We have been known to sneak away in Rafe for the odd boys trip which are always fun!

We left Rafe about 9:30 from the Sandspit Holiday Park and wandered along the road to the wharf to get our tickets and check in.  So after having a cuppa at the café on the wharf we set off about 10:30 for Kawau.

Mansion House

Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.

His and Hers

Almost all the houses only have water only access and the way they’ve been built either on top of a hill with their own chairlifts (think electric Wheely Bin on a rail 🙂 ) with a jetty at the bottom or on the water. Some of them are amazing but I suspect most would be either baches, occupied by retired folk or who don’t have to commute.

Kawau Yacht Club

We were on the Royal Mail boat which started at Vivian Bay in the north and worked its way around to Bon Accord Harbour and Mansion House Bay and then down to South Cove where there was mail to be dropped off. On the way back to Mansion House Bay for lunch, we passed the Old Copper Mine.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Kawau was huge source of copper in the mid 1800’s with a community of around 300 related to the Mine and its output at its peak. By the 1800’s it all fizzled out and most of the miners moved on to the Gold Fields.

The remains of the Copper Mine

After a walk around the Mansion House and the coffee shop, we eventually made our way back to the ferry. It was nice barrelling along at 15 knots in the sun with a glass of Pinot Gris in hand.

Alan getting off the Ferry
Friendly Peacocks on the lawn

We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Right On The Water

Here’s another one from 2018… enjoy

They’ve had a lot of rain up here so the Sandspit Holiday Park crew suggested that we stick to one back from the water just to make sure we don’t sink!

Click on an Image for Hi res

Nice parking

My old boating friend Alan and I were in need of some time out of the house so we decided a few days before to check out the Sandspit Holiday Park and do a trip to Kawau on the ferry. Sounded like a plan thought I so off we went early on the Friday afternoon. It is only 42k’s from Auckland and with little traffic, we were there at 3.30pm.

Its a lovely little park with a lot of permanent Baches and Caravans but what a neat spot.

With an NZMCA discount, it was $23 each a night. With their very new Showers and Kitchens, its a delight to stay at. There are a whole bunch of older interesting buildings there too and Horace the Morris is a feature as well.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We stayed two nights with a ferry trip to Kawau in between. Lucky with the weather, after getting back from Kawau, we walked along to the newly setup restaurant on the top floor of the Sandspit Yacht Club and caught up with Motorhome friends Rob and Helen who live not far away from there.

The ferry a few minutes walk away.

The last time we were here, unbeknown to me, they had some issues with the drainage system for the bathrooms which used to be a real problem apparently in the height of summer.

The new Drainage system

This has all been upgraded and put up the hill out of the way and hasn’t been an issue since.  Nice friendly hosts who were happy to help with anything. ..

A shot from the ferry. You can see Rafe in the middle.

A great spot and handy to the Kawau ferry and the new Marina at Sandspit.

The Netspeed Speedtest for here.
Download: 7.34 Mbps
Upload: 2.10 Mbps
Ping: 23 ms
I think the tower was playing up a bit as we had some difficulty with the connection over the two nights.

Rafes Tracker Map

 

The Show must go on

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

After the torrential rain on Saturday morning, the organisers of the Rotoiti Classic boats decided to postpone it until Sunday.

For the last few years, Alan and I have jumped into Rafe and come down to see the great spectacle that is the Rotoiti Classic Boats Parade. For the last few years, we have also provided images to the society for their annual calendar. They’re a really friendly bunch and we’ve made some really good friendships with quite a few of them.

We left the camp early and after a quick breakfast, we took Rafe around to the top of the “viewing platform” which is a park and parking area just along the road from Okere Falls Store.

Rotoiti
Rafe overseeing things

We were welcomed by commodore Grant and past commodore Fraser down by the water and offered several options for possies to help with pictures and they couldn’t have been more helpful.

The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right
The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right

Alan took his from the back of the commentary boat while I set up in my nice comfy deck chair on the grass and sat right by the waters edge and shot from there.

Rotoiti
During the parade.. Alan on the back of the boat on the right.

Several hundred people materialised from everywhere quite quickly and made themselves comfortable on the grass.

Rotoiti

At 10:30, the whistle sounded and the first boats started the parade. From Rowing boats right through to big launches. All meticulously maintained and most with oodles of history.

As always, click on the images to see them in hi res and the slideshow below. 

A great spectacle. A nice weekend with some great people.

After the parade finished, the boats all headed over to the other side of the lake and enjoyed their annual picnic on the beach.
We headed for home after stopping briefly at Tirau for lunch.

Classic Cars and Boats

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. had to repost it for lockdown!

The weather dealt to the Rotoiti Classic Boats parade today. It has been postponed until Sunday so this morning, we arranged to stay here another day.
Our friends Shawn and Kathy from Taupo arrived late yesterday from Taupo with their two children and despite the rain, people came out from under cover to admire their 1960 Dodge with their new Retro Chris Craft.

Shaun's replica Chris Craft
Shaun’s replica Chris Craft
Shawn and Kathys Dodge with onlookers in the rain
Shawn and Kathys Dodge with onlookers in the rain

Not long after that Tim and Pam arrived with their 2 door pillar less Chev Bel Air coupe with their custom made Miss Bel Air speed boat.

The 56 Chev with Miss BelAir
The 56 Chev with Miss BelAir

Russell Ward also arrived late with Steam Boat Romany and spent the morning getting her ready for the parade while kids were doing antics around with bikes in the rain.

The 56 Chev and the 1960 Dodge
The 56 Chev and the 1960 Dodge

This morning we were invited around to check out a boat Kereru that’s for sale so we went around in convoy in the Dodge and Chev and later to the Orere Point Store for lunch.

The store has a really nice outdoor area complete with a stage and has a great selection of food and wines.
One of the nice things about Lake Rotoiti and the boating setup here is their lakeside covered docks where they are used as vehicles to get about in. Backing out their boats just like the rest of us do with our cars. Fantastic.

The covered docks
The covered docks

The boat parade is on today so we are looking forward to that.