Tag Archives: Cafe

Dinner at the Door

This is one of those places that you will remember for being super slick.

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This site was originally developed a few years ago by a chap who was really into Jetsprinting and set up the whole back area with a lake with obstacles for his hobby. I think since then it has changed hands and the new owners have developed the campground and Cafe. The lake is still there behind the campground area which is nicely set out with toilets and showers at one side. Plenty of powered sites to service them all and hop, skip and jump to the Flat Hills Café right next door.

Where the Jetsprinting used to be

We pulled into the massive carpark just a few k’s north of Hunterville and checked in at the Café. The lady there couldn’t have been more obliging and gave us a map showing where everything was.

After we’d ordered a coffee each and bought something to snack on, she explained that if we ordered tea and paid for it then (it was about 3.30pm then), we could specify a delivery time to the Motorhome at tea time. The options were 5pm , 6pm or 7pm. Wow I thought, I haven’t ever come across this before.

Inside the Cafe

We quickly ordered a meal each and after our coffee’s and a look around went back to Rafe.

Friendly Donkey

Our meals arrived right on the dot of 6pm and they were nice and hot and good food. A knock on the door and in it came. We washed the dishes and returned them in the morning.

The campground is on State Highway 1 and directly over the main road is the main trunk line to Wellington so you do hear the odd train and truck going past but at $22 Campsaver prices, its still really good value.

Nice parking

Its a great place for kids being well fenced with a great playground and plenty of farm animals for them to see.

The play area

Nice people, great value and very easy access and parking.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Flat Hills Cafe – Armada GPS

Historic Greytown

Another one of those towns that we keep coming back to. The food and shopping is good, the real estate prices like everywhere else have skyrocketed but it is still a lovely little town.

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The Sun is out

We checked in at the local campground as we’ve stayed there a few times before and the manager Ken can’t do enough for you. It is also a Winter Campsaver site so that makes it very cost effective in the off season. Nice showers and toilets and nice flat sites with big high hedges to protect against the famous Wairarapa winds. There is also a swimming pool next door run by the council which you can use in the hot months.

Ken was very welcoming and basically is was park wherever you like. We settled Rafe and plugged in and went for a walk into town and started at the french Café for a coffee before moving on to the pub.

That night when we got back, we met our new neighbours Michelle and Patrick from Wanganui and other neighbours Karen and Ian who have recently sold their award winning Olive Grove. Juno Olives. Really nice people who we spent a lot of time with over the next few days.

Play Area

The next day, we took Rafe to Martinborough to have lunch at one of our favourite Vineyards, Margrains. The Chardonnay is fantastic as is the food.

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We started in the main square at a Café in the corner and from there walked around the square to check out the shops. Fiona took a shine to a dress shop there and ended up buying a nice black dress and a wooden necklace to go with it which looks good. We then moved on to Margrains and the slow cooked Pork Belly they do has never tasted better. Nice to wash it down with a great Chardy!

The Pub in town

We headed back to the Greytown Campground to catch up with our neighbours.

On our last day in Greytown we were going to bike up a trail 10 k’s or so to a historic railway station just out of town but we got to the other end of Greytown and it started to pour with rain so a change to plan B. ..

We spent the rest of the day walking through the shops and later had a fantastic communal meal in Michelle and Patrick’s awning with our neat neighbours.

Our Farewell dinner
LtoR Our farewell dinner. Patrick, Michelle, Karen and Ian.

A nice farewell to some super nice people and a great little town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Greytown Campground – Armada GPS

Norsewood

Since we’ve done our DNA, I’ve taken a great interest in things Scandinavian as it turns out that I’m pretty much all Scandinavian through my fathers line with an emphasis on Danish!… even though his Dad was from the Fens in the UK… real Viking country 🙂 it is really interesting.

So we couldn’t go past Norsewood without popping for a look and having lunch at the Café there. The food is amazing as is the coffee.

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The Cafe – ex Bank
The Food!
The Cafe

Norsewood was settled by many Scandinavian family’s who arrived in Napier in 1872 and it grew from there. You can feel it everywhere you look and the area is predominantly still populated by descendants of these original families.

Gas Station / General Store

There is history everywhere you look. The Café used to be the original Bank of NZ and has been used as a Barbers shop, the local Doctors rooms, Music teacher and lastly a Café.

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There is also a Viking Longboat in a glass encased shelter down in the reserve on the corner.

The Viking Longboat

After a walk around the town and a stop at the Norsewear Clothing shop to buy some shirts we got under way again. One of things at the Norsewear shop is that if you spend more than $10 there, they’ll give you a pair of nice wooly bedsocks in either black or white adorned with either Caravans or Motorhomes. Fiona went for the white Motorhome socks and they look very cosy.

The “Wooly Socks” shop

A neat town and there is a camping ground there too if you want to stay.  A neat wee town just oozing character and history.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Norsewood – Armada GPS

Easy biking from Eriksen

We popped into Eriksen NZMCA park for our last night in Napier before heading south.

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New Tables and Chairs
Great Shelter

Eriksen is always easy to park in and is really easy to get into Napier from here. Fiona was keen to get some wool from a shop in Onekawa which is a bit off the beaten track from Eriksen to Napier but on Electric bikes, there were easy bike trails to get there.

Last time I was at Eriksen, they were building a shed for rainy happy hours which is now finished and the gardens just get better and better. The other new addition was pretty solid looking Tables and Chairs strategically placed around the park.

The new(to me) Shed
Parked in the Gardens

After signing in and opening vents, we got the bikes down and headed off to the Wool shop.

The Bike Trails here are just amazing and there was one that went most of the way through a reserve. Really nice and safe.

After this we headed into Napier City to have lunch and look at the shops and after a few hours headed back along the water front back to Eriksen Park.

A great day on the bikes having fun.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Eriksen NZMCA Park – Armada GPS

Historic Rawene

This is an amazing little town with some of it built out over the water.

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The supermarket !

This is where the car ferry leaves for Kohukohu on the northern shores of the Hokianga Harbour.

While the convoy was doing the tourist thing at Opononi, I headed off and got checked in at the Rawene Holiday park which is right up on the top of the hill. Its about a 20 minute walk down to the town and bit longer to get back 🙂

Parked with a great view

I got Rafe settled and headed off down to the township to have a look around. I found a café and sat down in the sun with a coffee while I waited for the “Convoy”. About 20 minutes or so later, they rolled in one by one.

Most of the crew.. L to R Grant, Paul, Pete(standing), Malcolm (crouched in front), Craig, Cathy and Bonnie.
and theyre off.

Its a fascinating town with the supermarket and several shops all built on piles over the water.

On the corner

As the mid day ferry arrived, they all boarded and were off.  After getting a few piccies around the town, I headed off back to the camp and had a quiet time listening to some music.

Amazing place and loaded with history.

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About 7pm, 3 Motorhomes turned up from the ferry and maneuvered their way around me to park in. It all seemed quite close but when I saw it in the morning, I could get out easily. It would have been awkward with any more. I think this is definitely a 7 metre limit camp unless there is no one else there.

The view
Some of the unusual cabins

A really nice helpful crew with some amazing quite unusual looking cabins and great view down the Hokianga from the parking area. The loos, showers and toilets are really good and close to the parking.

Rafe’s tracker map to Rawene

That West Coast feeling at Bayleys

What a great spot. The Bachs are slowly turning into great houses, the colours are just magic.

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Good Colours

The Bayley’s Beach Holiday Park is the perfect spot there to stop the night with Sharkies Fish & Chip shop (and bar) just up the road. It is also taking part in the Camp Saver program.

A little mud but pretty good really given the huge amount of rain.

Unfortunately with all the rain, it was a bit wet but there was no danger of getting stuck.

The loos with the best view

An easy 15 minute walk out of a back gate takes you down to the amazing beach which goes for miles in each direction. After parking Rafe, I went for a walk down to the beach and then onto Sharkies for tea.

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I was following some friends of mine who had all hired a Maui Motorhome for the 3 day special and were doing a frantic 800 k odd trip around Northland. I was going to catch up with them the next day in Dargaville and then follow them through Opononi and onto Russell.  They were heading further North and catching up later.. a fun trip but lots of driving.

The Campground
Good for the kids

It was actually quite windy down at the beach but the campground was well sheltered.

In the morning I headed back into Dargaville to wait for the Maui Convoy 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to Bayleys Beach

Paradise on the Beach

That’s Hahei! one of my favorite spots to stay but it has been a while since I’ve been here..

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The Beach

Arriving at Hahei and checking in with Cathy at the front desk was easy and she directed me to a great spot right behind the dunes by the beach. Cathy’s husband Grant is General Manager and it was really nice to chat to them both. With the Covid 19 lockdown, the NZMCA Camp Saver program has given them a welcome boost to their numbers.. You can only imagine the effect the lack of tourists would make to the bottom line for a big park like this so great that its working for them.

Grant and Cathy

The last time I was here was with friends from Taupo and Snells Beach but that was way back in 2017 according to Cathy’s records.. how time flies!

The weather was due to deteriorate but I had the day to check the place out and there is plenty of it.

Great Outlook

Just down the road is Cathedral Cove which you can walk to. Fiona and I did this a few years ago and its well worth doing.

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Since I was last here, there is a Spa pool available now right on the crest of the dunes next to the beach which looks out over the bay to the Islands beyond. What a nice idea and I bet its popular in the peak season. There is also a BBQ hut with shelter looking out over the bay too..

The spa

Its a huge park with some really nice Tourist flats at one end overlooking the beach. And just acres of parking spots.

The Tourist Flats

With more than 200 powered sites, there is lots of space with room between parks and easy access to them as well.

Just a lovely atmosphere, a fantastic beach and its just over a couple of hours from Auckland.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Hahei

Birds, Trains and Motorhome parking

There is a bit of everything here and with Camp Saver Motorhome parking. Its called Mill Creek Animal and Bird Encounters and is about 3k’s off the main road just south of Whitianga.

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Nice parking

Unfortunately they had just had a big rain event and been flooded so the ride on train wasn’t running but all the animals and birds were there.

The Lorikeets

There is a walk in Aviary where you can go in amongst the Lorikeets which is neat and they’re super friendly as well.

Some Peacocks

There are over 400 birds here with Macaws and Cockatoos along with many farm animals all spread out. Everywhere you look there are peacocks roaming around and down by the Motorhome parking, there are Pigs, Goats, small horses, big horses Donkeys, you name it, its there. You can also get a coffee at the station cafe.

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As I arrived I was greeted by a large duck who chased me to the Farm Animal area 🙂

This Duck had plenty to say for itself

The nice flat parks are generous in size, about 8 metres square with small panels to separate each park. The showers and toilets look brand new as well so a great spot to stay.

Fun for the kids

Even though it was pretty cold and miserable, there were plenty of families there enjoying the park. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area and great for the kids.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Mill Creek

Lounging at the Lion – Piha

One of the trips I’ve been wanting to do for ages but I haven’t been able to get Fiona interested in is a trip to Piha. One of Aucklands better west coast beaches, it is dominated by Lion Rock in the middle and is one of the few North Island beaches to have two surf clubs.

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Lion Rock looking fantastic

Over the years the road has improved massively but it is still very windy(curvy) in places and there is no direct route. There are several ways of getting there but the best one I think is via Henderson Valley. Check the map below.

Its a slow 30k odd from the centre of Auckland but well worth it when you get here and its a nice drive.

Lion Rock

The Holiday park is a leased site off the council as part of the Domain but privately run and is on black sand. Its a big park with plenty of room and is only 5 minutes walk to the beach via a bridge over the lagoon.

All that space

At the time of this post, it was $22 per adult with power with new showers and loos close by. There is a cafe right over the road and a General Store next door for anything you may have forgotten.

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The beach is spectacular. I popped down here at dusk  to find a dozen or so amateur photographers wandering around in a group waiting to get the sunset.

The Amateur photographers doing their dusk pix.

Its funny as I remember when I was working at The Auckland Star, we used to get called on to judge various photographic awards for these Camera Clubs. The people were always very friendly and it was interesting to see what they were up to.  Generally it was a PR thing from the Star’s point of view and we tried to help with ideas where we could. I remember judging at the North Shore Society awards a couple of times but can’t remember any of the others.

Finished for the day

I met one of the members and gave him a few ideas while we were wandering around Lion Rock on the black sand. It was great to see them out there having some fun.

Sunset

After that, I wandered back to Rafe through the black sand and had a drink with my neighbours. A great night.

One of my neighbours Jo doing massages !

Lovely spot, close to Auckland and reasonably priced with a great Beach.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Piha

Good value Motohome parking with Pools.

After a great lunch at a Cafe in Ngongotaha shopping centre (the one closest to the NZMCA park) we had to start thinking about where we were going to stay for the night. It was 36C and I was sweaty already. It was also time to wash the linen.

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Rafe between the Hedgerows

Rotorua Family Holiday Park came up on the NZMCA app as being reasonably priced and they also had a laundry and a pool!  Perfection at $34 a night with a powered site and they were just around the corner in Ngongotaha.

Kids Playground

Motorhomers Reece and Diane, have been working on this park for the last 13 years and it looks fantastic. I was really impressed with the Motorhome sites being big, between hedgerows and easy to get in and out off.

The Tourist Flats .. neat

After buying their new Motorhome about 18 months ago, their only regret was having been too busy to get away in it.. the downside of self employment but they’ve done an excellent job of doing up the park and I’m sure they’ll get time to get away eventually !

Art Deco Loos

The Tourist flats and Toilets are in an Art Deco style and have all been done up and they look great.

How are those Flats

They’ve just finished doing up the Kitchen, Laundry and BBQ area and it looks good.

The Barbeque area.. neat and tidy

Fiona stripped the bed and headed off to the Laundry while I walked around and got some piccies. After that, we both headed straight for the pool and were there most of the afternoon. It was heavenly. We did have momentary thoughts about biking in on the trail to Rotorua which is literally just outside the gate but it was just too hot!

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We hadn’t long been in the pool when we met some German tourists who lived in southern Germany near Isny where the Dethleffs Motorhomes are made. Nice people and they were really interesting to talk to given Brexit and other things that are happening at the moment.

Nicely setup

It was nice to find a really nice clean campground, with great hosts at a really sensible price, in what is normally quite an expensive place to stay.

Rafe’s Tracker Map