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.
After enjoying a great All Blacks win in the Raglan Holiday Park, we headed into town over the walk bridge to check out the shops. First stop was a Café for a coffee and then we walked about 1k across to the wharf and Silo area.
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We last visited this area years ago with friends Dianne and Gary from Taupo so check that post out for more photos of this area.
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The Beach by the camp
The Bridge to town
The Historic Raglan
The main street
The view out of the main street
The Raglan Wharf
Since then, one of the Silos has been converted into what looks to be some very nice rentable Apartments.
Its a busy area with a fantastic Fish and Chip shop on the outer end of the wharf along with some pottery and Leather shops. Fiona bought herself a new Leather Hand Bag where we enjoyed a really nice chat with the shopkeeper. I complimented her on her lovely London accent before she told me she was from Perth ! Oops .. but she did have a nice English Accent so no harm done 🙂
After a coffee in a new (to us) Café opposite the wharf, we headed back to the town and Rafe.
An amazing little town and not far from Auckland with the current Diesel prices as they are.
We’ve been trying to get into Waikite at all the wrong times it seems. At the end of the weekend, we managed to bag a spot in their camping ground for a night. There are only about 20 powered sites so that explains why a holiday weekend is probably going to awkward.. 🙂
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Waikite is about half an hour south of Rotorua and in its own little valley about 6 k’s from Waiotapu.
The campground does its best to be level but does have a little bit of a slope on it. Nothing that can’t be fixed with a wheel ramp or a block of wood 🙂
We arrived around midday and after setting things up in Rafe, plugging in and opening vents, I went for a walk with the camera. Its an amazing place with some of its history on the walls in the onsite café.
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The boiling spring at the back. The source!
View from the lookout
One of the bigger (and hotter) pools
There are 3 smaller scenic pools plus a big main pool in the middle. Attached to the side of the main pool are two small spa pool sized pools so plenty of choice. They are all different temperatures so you can chose your own comfort zone 🙂
A walk up the back behind the pools will take to the spring where the water is so hot, it is constantly bubbling out of the ground and running down a stream beside the pools.
On the track back to the pools is a lookout up the hill looking out all over the area. Both well worth checking out.
We spent hours in the pools off and on and ending up having a simple nice shared seafood platter from the café there.
The outside temperature got down to 5 degrees that night so we took advantage of the late 11am checkout for another early warm up swim before leaving.
Everybody we’ve met raves about this place and I can see why. Its like being in another world and you can’t beat those Hot Pools.
We were allocated a spot on one side not too far from everything.
We settled the van, plugged in, opened some hatches and after a cup of tea, headed off for the first of many swims in the pool. Its amazing who you get to meet in a hot pool.
The next morning we got an Uber into the Rotorua big barn shopping area. The Noel Leeming’s, Briscoes and had a nosey around, headed off to Fiona’s favourite find of the weekend, an authentic French café and its lovely. I had a Crepe with bacon and eggs and it was every bit as the good as the one I remember when we were in Arras, France.
After that it was time to walk off the lunch so we set off down to the lake front where they have recently finished a huge redevelopment of the foreshore. There is still more to come looking at the fenced off areas but what a big improvement. People everywhere so its good to see it being enjoyed by lots of young families.
We walked on towards Eat st and in there was a local Hot Rod / American Car display all down the middle of it. Some great old cars.. my favourite was an old Lincoln.
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With the covered walkway
Fiona found this french cafe
Fiona at the cafe and things French
Our walk in town
The development on the waterfront
As we headed back into the city, I managed to find a bus going right past the camp so we hopped on that and headed back to Rafe and then back to the pools.
There are four pools, one for families and 3 other smaller pools.. Not too hot so we literally spent hours in there off and on. What its all about!
The facilities are amazing, free showers, big kitchen area divided into sections so it can cater for several using it at once. Nice big lounge and huge dining room all connected..
And right over the road is Whakarewarewa and Te Puia which is always worth a visit.
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.
Hanmer is one of those old favourite spots as we have had some epic family reunions here. Add the hot pools and it doesn’t get any better so we were quite looking forward to popping in for a night on our way up to Nelson.
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We arrived in perfect weather having come through from Oxford bang on lunch time.
We managed to get a park in the main street by the trees and set out for somewhere to eat. We settled on a Home made pie from a Kiosk on the corner. Yum!
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.
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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.
We seem to get the short straw when it comes to getting great weather in Dunedin but we struck the jackpot this time. It was perfect.
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Before we left Geraldine, I rang our old friends from Devonport, Ross and Karen who have recently moved after a long time in Cromwell to Dunedin. We hadn’t seen them since Ross’s birthday party a few years ago so we were looking forward to catching up.
We made a beeline for Dunedin Holiday Park which was doing a off peak discounted deal and was right next to St Kilda beach. It was also not far to Ross and Karen in Dunedin South.
After settling down, Ross and Karen arrived with their son Cam, and we enjoyed a catchup reunion drink on the picnic table outside Rafe. Wonderful to see them all.
They had arranged for us to go to tea at a nice Beachfront Café in St Clair which is basically the other end of a long beach from where we were. After a couple of very nice pizzas, they took us around to show us their house. A nicely renovated villa with all the mod cons.. perfect for them. Their two adult kids and grandchildren live not far away.
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From the top of the sandhill between the camp and the beach.
Nice branding 🙂
Nice parking at Gore
The next day, we were heading to Gore and we decided to stay at the Town and Country club.
They have an amazing setup with a brick toilet, shower and laundry setup with separate secure parking with plenty of powered sites around the perimeter of a graveled all weather parking area… all for $20. If you are a Clubs NZ member, they also do meals and have a well setup bar area. Fantastic.
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.