Tag Archives: Cafe

Port Mapua

Checking in at Mapua Leisure Park in the rain was easy. Getting Rafe organised in the rain on these huge parks was another matter. The parks are generally 9m by 9m but are marked only by little signs in the grass. Fun to see in the rain 🙂

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Rabbit Island and the Nelson hills behind

After figuring out that the trees I’d parked in front of were in the way of a good TV signal, all was well.   It was all about knowing where North was 🙂 I was completely confused even though I was once a boy scout too!

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We were right on the waterfront. Just amazing looking back over Rabbit Island to the hills behind Nelson. A great spot.

The port and the shops

On our second day, we went for a bike ride around to the Mapua Port. In what used to some old cool stores have all been turned into a selection of specialty shops and food outlets. It was really interesting. The port is only about 10 minutes riding from the camping ground and is an easy walk too.

The Antique shop in the cool store.

After looking through an antique shop with Fiona I went back to the wharf and watched the boats with the amazing current with the outgoing tide. It must have been at least 5 knots! The boats on the moorings look like theyre under way and when a small boat came in against the current, it looked like it was barely making and headway. It must be a dangerous area if you broke down!

The ferry and looking  towards the camp on the left.

After having some great Fish and Chips at the fish shop, we headed back to the town for a cuppa at the bakery and then back to the camp.

The bakery at Mapua town.

The sun was shining, the wind was insignificant and it was just lovely by the water, watching boats come and go.

Rafe on the waterfront

With over 100 powered sites, a pool, a Cafe and some motels, its massive. A very pleasant place to stay and I gather it rocks during summer.

Rafe’s track to Mapua

Riding to beat the rain

We woke up to a stunning view across the water at Rabbit island. It was dead still and with lots of local dog walkers out exercising.

Dogs exercising their owners.

Who’d have thought that it was going to go pear shaped later in the day with a front forecaast to come over and drench the whole country !

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Bright Sunshine

We thought there would be a few hours where we could jump on our bikes and go into Nelson for a look around. Fiona was keen to get some wool and it was good to bike around the foreshore and check out all the neat houses tucked into the hillside.


The bike lanes are pretty narrow and close to the traffic so we ended up using the footpaths probably more than we should have but there were no pedestrians so Hey Ho!

The typical Nelson look

We parked our bikes in the centre of town and locked our bikes into the provided bike racks and set off on foot. On a mission for the wool shops 🙂

The main road through Nelson with the council clock.

We found a couple but not quite what was required it seems so a cup of coffee in a cafe was a nice break.

The River through Nelson

After looking around a bit more, we hopped back on the bikes and headed back the 4kms back to the campground. The weather was closing in and it all looked different with a grey sky but still nice and warm. After an 8K round trip, it was time for a cuppa by the sea.

The famous Restaurant over the water on the way back.

A great day out and although it was supposed to be raining by 2pm and we rode back looking at the threatening sky, it was still dry at 6pm!

The Wedding at the Fort

What a fun weekend. Our old friends Mark and Tina’s eldest daughter Alisha was getting married to Tom and they had chosen The Officers Mess at Fort Takapuna as the wedding venue.  A fantastic spot and where Fiona’s family had spent some years in the officers housing by Narrow Neck beach.

The roof of the old fort with the Officers Mess behind and the carpark.

Just as it says, The officers Mess has been converted into a Wedding Venue and Café and was the old Officers Mess for the Army and later used by the Navy as well.  Its a lovely old building which looks out over the harbour towards Rangitoto Island.

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Fiona’s dad Norm was CO of Fort Cautley which was then the HQ for the Army’s 3rd Battalion. There were officers and senior NCO houses from the current buildings all the way down to Narrow Neck Beach.

Narrow Neck beach. This grass is where all the officers housing was.

Fort Takapuna has a huge history. It was originally built to fend off the Russians in the 1860’s and later updated for the two world wars in case the Japanese or Germans got down here. It is now looked after by DOC and more information on it can be seen here.
Its well worth a look around and the carpark is huge, perfect for Motorhomes and Caravans.

The Old Fort

When Friday came around, Fiona and I decided we would make a weekend of it and stay in Devonport on Friday night. We earlier met our old friends Dani and Grant at the Esplanade Hotel for a few cold ones and afterwards tea at the wharf.

The next day was wedding day and I packed up Rafe and headed off to the venue where we had permission to stay overnight in the carpark as guests.

In the carpark

I spent the day having a really good look around the fort while Fiona was getting her hair done.  There was a soccer game on at the playing field there which was fun to watch. I have no idea who was playing but it was fun to watch and I really enjoyed shooting a few piccies of it. I haven’t photographed any soccer since my days on the Herald and the Auckland Star so it was fun. Soccer is one of the hardest games to photograph as so I was pleased that I got a couple or reasonable piccies from it being as rusty as I am.

One of the better soccer piccies 🙂

The forecast rain held off so the ceremony was held outside looking out on the harbor. It was a bit of a catchup with old friends for us as Gary, Chris, Mark and Tina are all old Boatie mates along with Geoff and Bev who were also there.  We were all put on Table 4! Our friends Gary and Chris were joint MC’s and they did a great job. It was nice to catch up with the extended families and old friends too, many of them had come over from Aussie for the occasion.

The Wedding Service with a view

The wedding went well, the food was great and it was a fun night. We finished the night in Rafe with “Table 4” friends for a nightcap and cups of tea.

Rafe’s Track map

The way home from Fort Takapuna

New overnight parking at Hukerenui

On our way north by the Hukerenui Pub is the Jack Morgan Museum. I was interested in this as my old Whalechaser Rorqual was built by a Jack Morgan in Picton and although I was certain there was no connection given the distance, one never knows 🙂

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The Museum
The Museum

It turns out that the Hukerenui Jack Morgan was a real character and was a local identity an on retirement started his collection which now makes up the contents of the Museum. Some of the locals have done a great job of the gardens next door too.

His parents owned the pub next door which is where he was born.

The Parking, plenty of room
The Parking, plenty of room

A really interesting place and if you visit the Museum, you can stay for free on the grass behind. It is $6 a night otherwise. There are toilets there too.

MorganIts well worth a look through with all sorts of knick nacks from years gone by and there is a café next door in the pub to finish off with a cup of tea.

Treats at Makana

As you come into Kerikeri on the left, there is a new complex of buildings set up as a Chocolate Factory and Café.

Rafe parked up safely
Rafe parked up safely

A great place to spoil yourself as well as rest your legs and get something sweet.  It is also very easy to park Motorhomes in the car park as long as you pick one of the end parks on each row. There is also bus parking around the back for caravans and longer vehicles.

We visited a Chocolate factory on the outskirts of Blenheim, last year and that was their South Is store.

MakanaEasy parking, lots of nice sweet things and great Coffee.

The Woolshed

As you’re coming North on State Highway 1 is a new Cafe called the Woolshed. It’s about 200 metres south of Sanson on the left. It was built from the foundations and flooring of a huge house.

The Huge carpark
The Huge carpark

The building looks like it has been there forever but it is brand new.
Fiona and I were on route from Wanganui to Palmerston North so she could catch a flight back to Auckland so we diverted to try out this new cafe.
It has a massive carpark so it’s very easy to park even the biggest vehicles and their toads! While we were there, a caravanning couple popped in.

It’s full of character and you would put money on it being a do up rather than a new build and has plenty of sheep and wool paraphernalia scattered around the room. There is even a couple of model full sized sheep just inside the door and a full wool press in a corner.

The inside of the cafe
The inside of the cafe

Out the back there are sliding doors for full on BBQ sessions and a playhouse and other extras for the kids/grandkids.
WoolshedNice coffee and although I forgot to get a piccy of it, Fiona and I went halves in a very nice and filling shepherds pie for under $10.
Looks out for it as you get close or drive through Sanson. About 200 metres south of Sanson on the left going north.

The Old Senior NCO’s Mess

One of the trips I’ve always wanted to do while in Wellington was to drive from Lyall Bay all the way around the outside past Seatoun and Worser Bay. The buildings into the cliffs and the rustic charms of the way the houses are all set into the cliffs is amazing. It’s like a different world.

The view
The view

When you come out the other end towards Miramar, there is the old Air Force Base and workshops. These days they’re mostly occupied by Artists and a few tradespeople. The old Senior NCO’s mess is now used by a cafe called The Chocolate Fish BBQ cafe.

At the front door
At the front door
Plenty of good easy parking
Plenty of good easy parking

The building has a Historic classification which prevents them from poking holes in it for vents etc so they’ve carefully added a clip on lean to for the kitchen which seems to work quite well for them. The rest of the building is just as it was as a mess building with a few mods for convenience.

My Pork Sandwich
My Pork Sandwich

One of the staff was quite a talented artist and has painted all the seats and backs of the chairs with different images which really brightens the place.

The food is sensational and very reasonably priced and is very sandwich based but they’re a good hearty size! .. Outside, the views of the city are fantastic, there are plenty of things for kids or grandchildren to play with and best of all, really easy Motorhome friendly parking.

The view
The view

The place oozes history and we found ourselves easily enjoying a couple of hours taking it all in.