Tag Archives: Campgrounds

A Happy Place

Fiona’s cousin Iain has been coming here for years, every holiday break and he calls it his “Happy Place” and I heard somone else call it this too… and its all true 🙂

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A Happy Place

Kaiteriteri is just a magic place in the world and with an off season deal for NZMCA members at $98 a week, it truly is happy time sitting there amongst other nice NZMCA’rs looking at the beach literally in front of your front bumper!

Long termers in the middle rows

We’d just stopped and parked in front of the reception and I was walking in to check in when I met Selwyn and Lynda. This was before I’d even checked in ! They were off on a walk over to Little Kaiteriteri via a lookout on a track through the bush. They showed me how to get there so we could do it to. What a welcome !

Close to the water

The receptionist was amazing too. She insisted that if we weren’t happy with the site, I could shift which we did later.

Huge

Its a huge campground with muliple ammenties blocks. In winter, they cut costs by closing all but one block. There are more than 400 powered sites and several cottages. They even have their own small supermarket and nearby are several bars and restaurants to suit all tastes . A very well setup campground.

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After checking in on a brilliantly fine day, we went for a walk up to the lookout at one end of the beach and Fiona carried on to Little Kaiteriteri for more exercise. That afternoon, we sat around the beach and checked out the camp.

Fiona at the lookout

Later in the day, we met up again with Selwyn and Lynda who were only parked two away from us so we commandeered an empty barbeque table and enjoyed an hour of laughs and something cold with them. They hadn’t come that far as they lived in Motueka or “Mot” as its known locally. This to me gives you some idea of how good they think it is at Kaiteriteri when they could be anywhere.

Looking down from the lookout

The next day, we took off in Rafe over to the next bay around Marahau. It is a really bendy, twisty road and we averaged probably 30 k all the way there. Interesting though to see and it is another lovely bay. From here you can go right up into the Abel Tasman Park. We headed back on another easier road and stopped for a cup of tea at the charming coffee shop in Riwaka.

Looking across to Little Kaiteriteri

We have been here before a couple of years ago with Gary and Chris with their Fuso. But weren’t here long enough to have a good look around.

Lovely spot and a very Happy Place !

Rafes Track to Kaiteriteri

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

At the Beach

Nelson is one of my favorite places. Its waterfront with the houses built into the hill, the bars and eateries next to the water and over the water, it is special. Its also flat so makes it easy to get around on a bike.

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Looking out towards Kaiteriteri

We’ve stayed at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park before in Wee Rafe the caravan several years ago and thought we’d give it another go.

A flash back to when we were there last ..Wee Rafe at Tahuna

Its huge! 540 powered sites and it covers a huge area. What I like about it though is the area at the far end which they call the old area, under the trees which is right on the water.

Rafe parked in the beautiful CSC area with the beach
All that space

In winter, they have a deal where NZMCA’rs with CSC can park down the end for $10 pp on the basis that they use their own facilities. They give you access to water, Dump Station and Power only. This deal can only be used for 3 days per month max. Its a good arrangement but we’re staying on for a few more days in the new area for the full rate of $36 with the NZMCA discount which is still very good value.

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Down the other end in the new area, there are new facilities and hard standing parks. Its all very nice. There is a mini golf course, a Restaurant and Cafe and a jumping pillow if you feel like a bounce 🙂

The new parking area

I went for a walk around and the place is massive. You could easily get lost here and being right on the harbour, its a stunning location.

Looking over the fence

There is even a shaped Auditorium in the grass with a stage for summer events. There are also lots of motels and cabins and permanent caravans too but they’re all in a separate area.

After the first few days, we moved up to the new area with all the mod cons. All the services were bunched together on top of a small hill which was nice with a courtyard in between. Laundry, showers, toilets etc.

Rafe in the distance in the new area. Taken from the raised kitchen.

We went for a  walk across the estuary when the tide went out and over to a small forest opposite. Lots of things to see and do.

Fiona on the estuary.

A cool place to stay in a nice town.

Rafe’s track to Tahuna

 

Spring Creek

While we were on the ferry, I’d checked out a couple of places to stay on the apps and found a place called Spring Creek.

Driving towards Blenheim, its one of the first small towns you come across as you come out of the Picton hills.

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The weather forecast was evil with all sorts of nasties due with cold, thunder and all sorts so we were keen to get plugged in with some heat which meant a Motorcamp or a CAP.

Rafe ready for the Thunder on gravel

Spring Creek Motorcamp is now run by Christine and Andy who last november moved down and are doing it up. It was very run down and with their experience from running the Top 10 at Orere Point by Clevedon, they making really good strides forward.

Christine and Andy

The camp is huge and is lucky that it has huge mature trees all around it and with the stream running along one side of it is a great place to stay.

New concrete pads and Motels

They also have quite a few motel units here and a backpackers building.

Nice pool

Fiona and I were staying a week so arranged for a weekly off season rate but the normal nightly powered site for 2 cost is $35 which is really reasonable. The showers are superb and are $1 and there is a well equipped laundry and dump station plus they’re really nice people as well.

Fiona hanging out the washing

We spent the first two nights on a gravel park as the grass was a bit soft and the forecast was evil.

Fiona heading for the Chocolate

During our first day here, we went for a bike ride about 5 k’s down the road to check out the Makara Chocolate Factory. There was a 20 odd knot head wind all the way so there was a bit of effort involved. A good ride though and perfectly flat and we knew there were good rewards at the end 🙂

We’ve been here before when we bought our wee Rafe caravan down several years ago. The chocolates are amazing and we couldn’t leave without buying some.

Right across the road from here is Saint Clair Family Wines with a full wine tasting facility and restaurant. We met a nice young couple and their young son from Australia there who were doing the vineyards in their small rented Jucy van. She was a Kiwi who had come back to see her family in Hamilton. Most people tend to go for the Sav Blancs and sweeter wines but I’m a die hard Chardonnay person and she was too, so we were both tasting the same wines and comparing notes which was fun.

At the Saint Clair Vineyard

After an hour or so there, we jumped on the bikes and rode back with the wind to Spring Creek Camp just beating a shower 🙂 .. its a lot more fun screaming along with the wind!

Primo spot next to the creek.

The next day, we took Rafe to the local supermarket in Blenheim and later went to Wither Hills for lunch which was just amazing. More wine tasting and the most amazing Beef lunch which melted in your mouth, washed down with some really nice Chardonnay. It doesn’t get much better than this. Fiona had a really nice Lamb Pie and really enjoyed that. Nice people, nice Restaurant, superb food and easy Motorhome parking too.

Eddies home next to Rafe

When we returned to the Camp, Andy, the camp owner, suggested that the park by the stream on the grass might be solid enough to park on so with some sheets of ply to stick our driving wheels on just in case, we parked right by the stream. There is a pet Eel called Eddie and his friends who are fed every morning and come right up on the bank.

Rafe near the stream

A neat place to be and we’re having fun.

Rafe’s tracking map from Spring creek to Withers Hill

South Island, here we come.

After spending our last night in Auckland with eldest son Drew and his partner Jenna in Milford, we set off in the morning, bound for Taupo.

Rafe and Ian and Lynda’s XLI

We were heading for Dianne and Gary’s home in Taupo to meet other fulltimimg Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda, who arrived earlier in their Dethleffs XLI.

Dianne and Fiona made a spectacular curry for us all and we had a lot of laughs and lots of fun.

Dianne picking the girls up for a tiki tour around Taupo

In the morning, we all went to a local Cafe and then for a look around Taupo.  Another great night with everyone and lots more laughs and Fiona and I were off to Rafe for the night. In the morning we caught up  briefly with everyone for a cup of tea and then we were off, heading further south.

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We stopped at the Army Museum in Waiouru for lunch which was great and then carried on to Mangaweka.

Rafe at the Mangaweka Campground

We stayed at a neat wee Campground in Mangaweka last Christmas with Gary and Dianne and its a fantastic place right by the river. The same people own another more upmarket Campground with a bar and eating area right over the bridge.

Look at those cliffs!

There is also an old Power Station just along the road with an old dam. Apparently Mangaweka was one of the first to have its own streetlights and electricity in the country, all driven by this local dam.

Fiona at the old Power station

At $7 a night each with power with our NZMCA discount, it is spectacularly “reasonably priced” but I understand the price with soon be $9 per night with no discount. .. Still very good value in a lovely spot.

Rafes track to the Mangaweka Camp

Waterfront Mansion

Without wanting to annoy our old neighbours, we spent a couple of nights down by the Marina in front of my son Andrew’s house while we sorted out some Winter clothing for the South Island. It was nice to catch up with some of our old friends around the marina and such a nice place to stay.

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Beside the Marina

There were still two nights to go before we were catching up with our Devonport friends before our South Island trip so we thought we’d treat ourselves to Takapuna Motor Camp and check it out since we’d voted for it to stay.

The Tide is in and what a view.

At $47 a night for two on a waterfront site, it seemed to be to be on the pricey side but once you see the site on a good day, it is just magnificent and on our second morning, I received a text from good friend Alan asking if he could “come for a coffee at our Waterfront Mansion”.

Close to the water parking.

The Camping ground is great. It is only small so I could imagine it would be easily and often booked out on school holidays and Christmas Holidays.

You can rent these.

Standard Sites are  $42 and they also have chalets and caravans you can stay in. Loos and showers are free and are fantastic. The shower I had was one of the best ever with real pressure.

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We went for a walk one night into the Takapuna main street, Hurstmere Rd, for an ice cream, an easy 15 minute walk.

Rangitoto Island

I grew up about a block away and went to primary school about three blocks away so I’ve been keen to see what its like but living locally, I’ve never had a need to stay here but I can say its absolutely a primo spot. It is handy to everything and being right on the water with a view of Rangitoto like this, it doesn’t get much better.

Great Beach

There is also a really nice Café right next door and the coastal walk goes all the way around to Milford from right in front of the Campground.

Rafe’s track from the marina to Takapuna.

West Coast Beauty

We spent a nice couple of nights with the two Grandsons and their parents at Ardmore and then we headed off to Port Waikato for our last night away for the weekend.

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The Jandal Wall

The last time I came to Port Waikato in the middle of last year, the camp was run by a very helpful French chap who couldn’t do enough for you.

Last year in October, the camp was bought out by a Hapu of Tainui and the welcome we got from manager Mathew was unbelievable.

He’s a lovely guy and again was just so helpful. With the new management comes some enthusiasm to do a few deals to rev things up in winter. The deal we had was pay for one adult and get another one free for a powered site which was amazing. Where else do you get this with all the other facilities too 🙂

The Powered sites

After finding a nice spot for Rafe and settling down, Fiona and I decided to walk the 1k or so down to Sunset beach. A nice easy flat walk and the beach is amazing. There is something that is quite magical about our West Coast beaches.

We spent an hour so  taking it all in and then headed back to Rafe.

Sunset beach

As it was a holiday park and despite the cold weather, the park was reasonably busy with plenty of caravans and lots of Bach owners in their permanent chalets in the park.

Great decorating skills

Some have gone to some trouble to set them apart from the others.

Along the beach

The rain came down overnight which we expected and we enjoyed a leisurely run home with very little traffic.

On the Estuary

Its a great spot, the camp is well setup and with Mathew on the handlebars now, you’ll really enjoy your stay. Check it out.

Rafes Tracking map