Tag Archives: Cafe

The Bike ride to Miranda Cafe

One of the amazing little hidden treasures in Miranda is this amazing Cafe and Gallery.

Annie with some of the Art

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.

Bikes outside

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.

The Team
On the trail to Kaiaua

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.

Fiona with the some of the selection.. Photo by Mary

We had a nice morning tea and something to eat and then walked next door to check out the Gallery.

A sculpture outside the Gallery
Mary and Fiona in the Gallery
A pitchfork sculpture

The art is amazing and is from many well known artists as well as some locals.

That stained glass window

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!

Fiona and Mary ready for the road

After a couple of hours here, we biked back to Miranda and were back in the Hot Pools.. a great morning.

Tony and Mary back at their Motorhome

Dethleffs Owners Group 2nd Soiree 2022

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 🙂

Electrical help

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

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.

On the trail to Kaiaua

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.

Neil during his talk. Pic by Mary Coupe

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

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 🙂

Click on this to enlarge for a better look.

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.

Everyone in
Tea time.
The leftovers of the shared meal.. I was too busy eating to get a before shot 🙂

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 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to Enlarge

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.

Click on this image to enlarge.

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.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

The Picturesque and Amazing Raglan.

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.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

Raglan personified
The Historic Raglan
Neat shops

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.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

Since then, one of the Silos has been converted into what looks to be some very nice rentable Apartments.

The Silos

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 🙂

The Raglan Wharf
Cafe opposite Raglan Wharf

After a coffee in a new (to us) Café opposite the wharf, we headed back to the town and Rafe.

Sundown

An amazing little town and not far from Auckland with the current Diesel prices as they are.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan – Armada GPS

Wonderful Waikite

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.. 🙂

Click on any Image to enlarge

The campground at Waikiti

Waikite is about half an hour south of Rotorua and in its own little valley about 6 k’s from Waiotapu.

Our park at Waikiti

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 🙂

Pool with a view

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.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

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 🙂

View from the lookout

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.

The boiling spring at the back. The source!

On the track back to the pools is a lookout up the hill looking out all over the area. Both well worth checking out.

Lovely pools

We spent hours in the pools off and on and ending up having a simple nice shared seafood platter from the café there.

One of the bigger (and hotter) pools

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.

Spa pools on the side

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.

Rafe’s tracker map to Waikite – Armada GPS

A long weekend in Hot Pools

And this meant Rotorua.. one of our favourite places in winter.

Click on any Image to enlarge

Amazing covered walkways to get to the Ablutions

We left early on Friday morning to try and beat some of the motorway traffic and it worked. By 9am we were in Pokeno topping up with some tax free fuel 🙂

Check out the walkways

We arrived at Rotorua about midday and had a quick look around but finally checking into Rotorua Thermal Holiday park down by Whakarewarewa.

We’ve stayed here before with our Grandkids and its a well setup park with a covered walkway system to the ablutions which is quite neat. Great in winter!!

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.

A Café but it was closed

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.

Fiona found this french cafe
The Crepe from heaven

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.

The development on the waterfront
The Lincoln and other cars at Eat St.

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a enlarged Slideshow

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.

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..

The famous bridge where the kids used to dive for coins.
Whakarewarewa

And right over the road is Whakarewarewa and Te Puia which is always worth a visit.

Rafe’s tracker map to Rotorua Thermal Park – Armada GPS

Sunny Nelson by Bike

The Racecourse was quite handy as the Bike Trails all ran around where we were parked.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

The Richmond Motorway

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.

Riding along the Tahunanui

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.

Rutherford Park
Nelson main st
The city council building

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.

Amazing secure bike rack

Often when you’re biking it is sometimes hard to find somewhere to park your bikes safely and securely, this is the answer!

Nelson at lunch time

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.

The Caravan Vendors
The Caravan vendors
People enjoying lunch

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.

Riding outside the Tahuna Campground. Fiona out in front.
The view out from Tahuna

A nice day out in sunny Nelson.

Having fun in Hanmer

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.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Hanmer Hotel

We arrived in perfect weather having come through from Oxford bang on lunch time.

At the NZMCA park

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!

The last time we were here was about 4 – 5 years ago and there seemed to be more shops and buildings than there was last time we were here. The place has grown!

Lovely space

We didn’t really have time for a swim this time and after an hour of checking out shops, we headed back to the NZMCA park by the river.

There was only two other vans there when we arrived but by 6, that had doubled. Its always nice having a few around you in a semi rural place.

and with a Petanque court

There is a dump station just up the road a few k’s and although Hanmer is 7 odd k’s away, its a fun place to be.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Hanmer – Armada GPS

Sunny Queenstown

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.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Lumsden – Great parking

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.

Carriage done

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

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.

Enjoying the beach at Queenstown

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!

A clean Rafe at Creeksyde
The Gardens

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

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.

Looking out towards the Remarkables
Queenstown

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.

The Boatshed Cafe
The view from the deck at the Boatshed Cafe

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!

The Dump station st Creeksyde

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.

The loos at Creeksyde

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.

Rafe’s tracker map to Queenstown – Armada GPS

A day in the sun in Dunedin

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.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

Ross, Fiona and Karen at St Clair for tea.

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.

Nice parking

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.

From the top of the sandhill between the camp and the beach. City in background left.

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.

Looking down to St Clair

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slide show

The next day, we were heading to Gore and we decided to stay at the Town and Country club.

Early morning at Gore

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.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Dunedin- Armada GPS

Mighty River Campground – Karapiro

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.

Click on any Image to enlarge

Nice parking on the lower camping area
Down by the river

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.

The Dethleffs Rally on the top campground

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow/to enlarge

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.

All in all, a lovely spot.

Rafe’s Tracker Map – Armada GPS