Tag Archives: Campgrounds

A night in a VW

The iconic shape of the VW Combi and the bright colours were hard to miss.

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Tania with the VW’s

The happy voice of Bowentown Holiday Park, Tania  was only to pleased to show me through the amazing Combi cabins. With the bright Green and Orange exterior paintjob they almost glow in the dark!

What can you say !

They’re about 4 years old and were originally made in Auckland and are fully insulated, complete with heating and set up very comfortably.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

New owners of the Park, Mike and Bec are planning to plant some gardens around them and restore the colours to that of the original VW’s.

For those who want to stay with Motorhome or Caravan friends, this is the next best thing and in the off season, they’re just $85 a night.

A great sight to see and a fun way to spend the weekend away!

Its all about that Beach

The Bowentown Holiday Park is in one of the best locations with one of the best Beachs !

With a friendly crew and with the NZMCA off season deal of pay for two nights,  and get two thrown in, it was just too tempting! Their normal tariff at $23pp powered I thought was very reasonable anyway, given the facilities provided.

With Tania’s cheery voice on the phone  and confirming there was a space for Rafe, I was underway.

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On the way, I stopped off at Karangahake Gorge to do the Windows walk. Well worth doing, and after that, I stopped to check out the new NZMCA park at Waihi Beach.

Another great addition to the parks network.

Nice outlook

The Bowentown Holiday Park is at the end of a long  peninsula right on the beach. It is well setup up with a newish Amenities block with TV room, Games room, huge Kitchen and an amazing space age looking Laundry. There is also a spa pool area there too.
I was offered a park right up against the hill overlooking the beach and the rest of the park. It was a breeze getting in and settling Rafe and I was off for a look around and down to the beach. A magic spot.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The park has just changed hands after 30 something years, with new owners Mike and Bec settling in and only just 4 weeks in, have already got a plan of attack for new improvements. Two of the cabins are well into a full refurbishment with more to come!

New owners Mike and Bec

The beach here though is the feature of course and being right next to it, it just doesn’t get any better. Even in Winter!

A nice park, nice people and I’ll be back soon.

The Netspeed Speed test
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Ping 157ms

Rafe’s Track

Launch of the Books – Free Download!

Wow.. what a week ..

The last 2 of our Bugger it We Are Off series books were launched last week.  All four are now on Amazon as Kindles EBooks.

To celebrate this, I’ve got the Napier Art deco book available for free for the next 4 days from today (US time) – Tomorrow NZ Time

From 1st August (US time), this book will be available for free for 5 days.  …..Click here

I’ve got them available in the Epub format as well for Ipads but haven’t got a Mac which you need to upload to the iTunes store.. I’ll find a way!

These publications are all based on this Blog.
I’m not expecting them to be best sellers but if someone out there finds a couple of things of interest in there, it was worth doing.

The blurb below is copied from the OUR Books page.

As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 20, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.

Bugger it we are off to the Pinnacles in a convoy is about meeting Motorhome friends in Taupo NZ (central North Island) and heading in our three Motorhomes down to the Pinnacles at the bottom of the North Island.

We travel through the Hawkes Bay wine region on the way, go to a UB40 concert, survive a raging storm and enjoy a great meal in an old style Country Lodge. Lots of fun and some great images.

Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer Motorhome and then following our Motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks explore central Europe with bikes.

There were lots of adventures and lots of laughs. A truly memorable experience.

Bugger it we are off to the South Island of NZ is about our three month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.

We met lots of neat people, caught up with some friends and relatives, stayed in some amazing places and had a great time.

To see more about these books and links to buy, see our Book Page

The Promised trip to Rotorua

Some time ago we promised the Grandsons Ayden and Liam that we would take them to Rotorua for a few days and see the boiling mud and swim in a hot pool.

The boys have never been to Rotorua so were looking forward to it after a false start a few months ago, when one of them got sick and we couldn’t go.

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Ayden and Liam playing in the Playground.

We were also meeting our friends Rob, Helen and daughter Chloe who were on their way to the South Island.

After picking up Fiona from work in Takapuna and then collecting the boys at Ardmore, we were off to Rotovegas! We didn’t leave until late so we weren’t expecting to be in Rotorua much before about 7pm.

As it was cold and there was some pretty rough weather due to arrive, we decided on staying at the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park which looked pretty good with the hot pools.

When its cold outside and there is an Internet signal!

It is a well setup place and comes with several thermal pools and a playground for the kids. It was also perfectly located  for us as we were just around the corner from Te Puia and Whakarewarewa.

The Tracker and Rafe by the flash amenities building.

Helen had made a nice tea for us and after settling down Rafe, we moved into an amazingly well setup new kitchen and dining Room. It was all connected to our parks with a covered walkway which I thought was pretty cleverly done.

Great setup

After a great night of catching up with Rob, Helen and Chloe, we setup the drop down bed for the boys and all turned in for the night.

In the morning, Rob and Helen were taking Chloe up the Gondolas and headed for Ngongotaha while we went outside with the boys and took them to Te Puia which was just over the road.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I had a good look around the camp in the early afternoon and it is huge. There are 164 powered sites and nearly 30 odd cabins and units and while we were there, the housemovers were setting up some more !

Something for everyone. At 10C I’m not sure this is me !

After spending the day in the thermal area, we arrived back just as it started to rain and headed for a hot swim where we caught up with Rob, Helen and Chloe.

After Happy hour and a few glasses of Chardy in the Tracker, we hit the sack for the night.

Smaller hot hot pools

A great spot to stay for the Hot Pools, for the thermal attractions and the amenities are superb.

The Netspeed Speedtest here..  not too flash!
Download: 6.46 Mbps
Upload: 1.79 Mbps
Ping: 47 ms

Rafes Tracker Map to the Thermal Holiday park

New Dargaville park with History

This was my first trip to the brand new Dargaville NZMCA park and its a cracker.

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Close to the water

It is right on the rivers edge with another smaller river on a side boundary and only a few minutes walk to the centre of town.

This was one of my first times of the new check in system and paying on the NZMCA App and it was easy. What a great system.

There are two old heritage buildings on the site with a couple of old jettys on the side of the river.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

After a wander around watching the river water flow from all the rain we’d had, it reminded me of when I was a nipper just mooching around the waters edge and sitting on old wharves on a quiet day.

2 minutes walk to the Rotunda and the town

I went for a walk into town over the bridge and what a neat atmosphere. The old band rotunda and some public loos are only a few minutes away and although the brown colour of the Wairoa River isn’t exactly beautiful, there is a real sense of history and a real charm about the place.

All weather and safe

We’re very lucky to have this network of NZMCA parks and once the word gets out, this new one is sure to be popular.

The Netspeed Speedtest here (Old Router)
Download: 7.64 Mbps
Upload: 21.01 Mbps
Ping: 44 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Views of the Kaipara

Matakohe is a neat little spot with oodles of history. The Kauri Museum is a great way to soak up more than 200 years of what went on in the Northland Gum industry and in the local area. You can actually stay here with your self contained Motorhome but it is on pretty sloping ground.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

Just along the road is the Matakohe Holiday Park which has had a bit of makeover since we were last there a year or so ago. There seems to be a bit more gravel, and some new playground bits and pieces. The view on a nice day is just sensational and is a great way to wake up.
When I arrived, the forecast was evil. There were gusts of 40-50 knots expected with thunderstorms and even some hail predicted so I checked in at Matakohe to hunker down.

The view

At $20 a night less the NZMCA discount, I virtually had the place to myself on a midweek, winter night.

Even space for a dog

And true to form, only the thunder didn’t arrive but it rained and rained. Although there’s a good view over the harbour, it is still very sheltered and I was pleased to be on a solid gravel ground.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The dump station is easy, the fresh water is easy and although I didn’t use the shower, from our last visit, it all works and looks the business.

I was pleased to be able to get some nice images with some blue sky.

Kitchen, Laundry, Toilets and showers

Nice hosts in a great location on the Kauri Coast road through to Dargaville and beyond, and the view of the northern Kaipara is lovely.

The Netspeed Speedtest here (Old Router)
Download: 17.79 Mbps
Upload: 3.80 Mbps
Ping: 52 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

On the Estuary.. Stunning

One of my all time favorite places in the world is Mangawhai. We’ve even (I have anyway 🙂 ) thought about buying here for later years 🙂 I’m not winning that one though… so far.

Click on the Images for Hi Res


Heading up this way midweek with some fairly dubious and cold weather forecasts, it was the first on my list of places to check out.

Great Spot

Noela was very helpful in the Mangawhai Holiday Park office and showed me where everything was. There are two parts to the camp with the office in the midde. I was given a spot on the northern end right on the waters edge which was just magic.

Nice and Quiet

With just a small hop over the rail and a trot down the beach, you can actually go for miles. There are a couple of good walkways too around to the surf beach (10 mins) and a walk up into the hills which takes you further along by the Mangawhai Heads surf beach.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The cost for a powered site for 1 was $20 with really nice toilets and showers. Water was right on the park.

Looking back to Mangawhai

There’s something about Mangawhai which I really like. Maybe its just the laid back atmosphere. The Museum is amazing too and is just up the road.

Looking back

I spent the night there before catching up with some old friends Les and Liz who have a sizeable lifestyle block up here with an amazing old villa. They escaped the rat race of Auckland some 13 years ago and just love it here.

Tides Out

A really nice spot and I bet it is busy in Summer.

The Netspeed Speed test here ..with the old router.
Download: 7.25 Mbps
Upload: 0.68 Mbps
Ping: 75 ms

Rafe’s Tracker map