Tag Archives: Campgrounds

Back to the Bay

The next morning, we got fuel, filled up an LPG bottle which ran out and we were off up through the gorge towards Opotiki. I was quite looking forward to the drive as it is years since we’ve done this. It is actually quite a good road despite the potholes.

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Just over 2 hours later, we found ourselves coming into Opotiki where we stopped for something to eat and then onto Island View Holiday Park. It’s called that but due to the weather building up, you simply couldn’t see White Island at all through the murk.

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We’ve been to this park before just prior to one of the Covid lockdowns and being off season, it was $20 for two (Campsaver). There was no one else here!

Wild !

With it being top of the silly season, almost all of the Campgrounds in the Bay had cranked their prices to make the most of the demand and this park was no exception. We saw it as a treat for a couple of days. We’d done well over the previous week or so all good!

The Pool

The weather was closing in with wind and rain warnings and we were only just behind the sand dunes. A few went for a swim in the wild waters down by the surf club, but most went for the safer option in the camp pool.

The vibe was amazing with everyone having fun. There is a bike trail along behind the dunes but peters out both ways which confused a few people.

Spoilt for choice

The camp is well setup with multiple toilet and shower blocks, but it was just nice sitting down on the sand watching the waves crash and in a funny way, quite therapeutic 🙂

We stayed a couple of nights to hunker down for the worst of the weather that wasn’t as bad as predicted.

Nice people, a nice setup but now that I’m a  pensioner, I might keep our next visit to off peak 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to Island view – Armada GPS

Gisborne, here we come.

On New Year’s Day we said goodbye to Steve and Rosemary. They were heading down towards Carterton.

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We were well overdue for a trip to Gisborne as it has been 7 years since our last visit!

We headed off via the coast up past Wairoa which seemed to go on forever. The forecast bad weather had arrived and was settling in.

We found a neat little Fish shop just by the turnoff to Mahia Peninsula which had the best Fish and Chips I’ve tasted for a long time then we headed off again up towards Gisborne.

The park

The new NZMCA park in Gisborne is a beauty right over the road from the beach. With the weather the way it was it was no real surprise to see a couple of cruise ships anchored off the coast.

Fiona checking out the cruise ships

The next day we spent the morning catching up with the Laundry, bedding and all. It was nice to have a everything clean again. After that we headed off to find a nice Cafe for some lunch and got some more groceries while we were right next to a 4 Square.

Waikanae Beach
Fiona on the beach

The new park is a cracker with the beach right over the road.
Well done to the local crew for the Garden Art, it looks great.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Gisborne – Armada GPS

 

Taihape’s Gumtree

One of the major strategies of this trip was to drive across the Gentle Annie Road from Taihape to Napier. Fiona spent several years as a youngster living in Waiouru and did several trips across this road with her family to see her Grandparents who lived in Ongonga. It was then a gravel road which took some 5 hours, and in a Triumph Herald, that would have been fun!

The first things we did when we arrived in Taihape was to stop at our favourite Cafe Brown Sugar Cafe.

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Plenty of space for their events. Toilets/showers on the left.

Fiona wanted to have a bit of a nosey around the town while took Rafe up the hill to the Gumtree Holiday Park which was an easy walk away.

Gumtree was originally setup as an area where Eve and her builder husband could have Eve’s Dance Studio, her husband’s workshop and room for their friends to stay. As time went on, they had some small events with their friends who bought Caravans, so they decided to go all out and set up the area for Motorhomes and caravans to stay. The end of the workshop houses a well setup Toilet and Shower facility and there.

Parked in the corner to get the breeze. The Taihape Airfield is just over the gully behind those big trees.

On arrival I was told to park anywhere on one of the 12 or so powered sites around the fence line and Eve would pop down and give me all the info I needed. Very easy.

It was really hot, so I chose to park in a corner where a nice breeze was coming across the gully nearby. I was the only one there at that time but by the end of the day there were 6 or so mostly Caravans popped in for the night.

Others came later

It’s a great spot and an easy walk down to the town.

Even though Taihape is only a small town, it is not blessed with lots of options for Motorhomes so it’s nice to know there was a nice camp with a reasonable tariff and friendly face within easy reach of the town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Gumtree Holiday Park – Armada – GPS

Matakana Country Park Village

Thats exactly what it is too!  Set out over 50 acres with Restaurants, A Wedding Venue, A Chapel, a Pub, an Art Gallery, A Gym… the list goes on.

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Nice parking

On our way to see friends on the Takaka Peninsula, we’ve driven past here a few times to it was time to try it out and see the markets on the Sunday which is Fiona’s favourite thing to do.

I booked two nights as I thought Fiona was coming too but at the 11th hour, she came down with a germ and told me not to stay around. It turned out that I came down with it anyway a few days later!

At the ride on train station
The ride on Train

I arrived early in the morning on the Saturday and after getting settled in, I walked the 300 metres odd to the Cafe and central area. I was in the queue in the Cafe when good friends Mark and his wife Dinah arrived with Dinah’s brother Wayne.

The Cafe

I haven’t seen Wayne for years, so it was really nice to see them all. After a cup of coffee and something to eat, they headed off to a working bee at their place nearby.

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After that, I went for a walk back to Rafe just as new neighbours were arriving.

I later went over to the pub to check it all out and it seemed there was a wedding on. Lots of people glammed up and had popped through from the adjoining wedding reception area.

The Gallery

I later met the General Manager Peter who was telling me that they had been absolutely dealt to by the rain and had all sorts of plans to upgrade the parking for the Motorhomes and add some new sites.

The Action Ninja World for kids

After a quiet drink with my neighbours, I packed it in for the night looking forward to the Markets the next morning 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to Matakana Country Park – Armada GPS

Idyllic Sandspit

This is one of those places that you’ll keep coming back to. It is just magic and there’s a ferry to Kawau too.

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Just Bliss

I arrived early in the afternoon and got myself setup in a corner spot but then realised that under some huge trees, there would be no TV signal.

First thing on the waterfront
Looking over towards the ferry wharf

It’s a fairly casual arrangement, “Park wherever you like except the waterfront spots which are booked for a whole bunch of Ozzies in their Britz vans”. I was only 10 steps away anyway so that was fine:-)

The Ozzies on the water

It was warm, there were people out kayaking in the camps free Kayaks and people out swimming.

The Ozzies catching up
Kayaking fun

I went for a walk across to the Sandpit Yacht club later for tea and sat out on the deck with a nice glass of chardonnay. Very civilised I thought but such a nice spot and the food was fantastic too.

At the Yacht club

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Later it was time to head back for a shower in the fantastic newish ablutions block.

Some of the history

There used to be a whole bunch of pretend historic shops around the office area which all seem to have gone which is a shame.. one of the features of this camp but still a great spot to stay all the same.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Sandspit – Armada GPS

New Parking at Red Beach

It has been a wee while since we’ve been here at what used to be called Pinewoods. We used to come here quite often as it was close and a nice break away without driving too far. With the cost of diesel being what it is, I thought it was time for a visit!

The weather wasn’t perfect as a whole week of unsettled weather was due a few days away, but it was stinking hot.

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The new parking area looking out towards the beach.

I checked in at the office and found that the old parking area with the very clean and tidy but basically in a bachy style building was not the first-choice area. They’ve now got a new very swish new parking area in an area that used to be a paddock you walked through to get to the beach.

It is set out with a big wide concrete driveway in a half circle arrangement with concrete parking bays running off that. A neat setup as it doesn’t matter where you’re parked, there is an easy angle to back in.

This also comes with a swish new facilities block, a kitchen, along with several showers and toilets.

The entrance

The kids a play area has been souped up too with the addition of a flying fox and other gear too.

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I always remembered this place for its big concrete table tennis table. Easily one of the best around.

The amazing table tennis table.

Once I had Rafe settled, I walked over the park for a look around. The bachs all dotted over the hill and as I understand it are still all managed by a collective board. At the top there is also the famous Jacobs Ladder which is a set of steps going down the cliff although there is a sign saying you shouldn’t go down due to the erosion on the cliff.

The original camping area.

Funny who you meet in strange places.  After I took the photo of the new area and posted it on my own Facebook page, a friend Adele was saying what a nice motorhome her friend Gordon had in the foreground, so I went over to meet him.  Having been the owner of several Dethleffs, I’m certain we’ve met before, but it was nice to meet him again.

The Beach

Back to the campground.  Across the new campground is a locked bridge behind the surf club to cross the creek to the beach The creek surrounds the campground on three sides.  It’s nice to be parked so close to the beach and not far from the big smoke for fuel!

A nice park with very friendly people.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Red Beach – Armada – GPS

Ninia Park – Musical Heaven

It is in Bell Block and just 10 minutes from downtown New Plymouth so its handy too.

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Handy to the Happy Hour Pavilion

Just as the first Covid lockdown came on last year, Kevin and Lynda’s Tamarillo crop and others like it, were devastated by a bug that badly damaged their crop.  A real tragedy.  They had several neighbours who also got struck by the same bad luck.

Not to be outdone and being clever Motor homers themselves, they turned their small farm into a lovely big Motorhome and Caravan Park over property and it is a huge success!

Kevin and Lynda
Getting Busy

Keeping the big shelter belts that surrounded their Tamarillos, they’ve added a nice new Happy Hour facility with an outside deck.

Holes in the Shelter Belt

While I was there, there were a few windy days but being surrounded by the shelter belts, you wouldn’t have known!!

I was originally only going to stay a night but there is such a great atmosphere and a sense of community that I ended up being there for 5 days!  There are 8 powered sites and some hard stand parking, but it is so sheltered.

Happy Chat

Kevin and Lynda are both very good musicians and several of the people who stay there regularly are too.

Suzy T
Kevin and Lynda
Close to the Music

On the day I arrived, they had a small concert for an hour or two with their semi-trailer in the next paddock, fantastic. Kevin has setup it up with a neat sound system and what looks like a bit of a “Green room” at the end of the stage. Suzy T as she’s known, was on the keyboards and vocals. She’s a great singer and was staying in her Caravan just across from me.

Between where I was parked next to the Happy Hour Pavilion and the Stage, there was a huge row of shelterbelt trees but in one corner, there was a neatly cut out doorway through the trees… very clever.

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Kevin also helped me sort out a small problem I had with a missing screw in my under-engine cover which was hanging down. All done in a few minutes!

On Guard

A fantastic group of people encouraged by great hosts. Thanks again for having me.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ninia Park over – Armada GPS

Bright Colours by the Beach

With one week to go until the Hospice Taranaki News Photo Auction, I set off to New Plymouth a bit early to have a nosey around the mountain. Mt Egmont.

Click on any Image to enlarge.As I got closer to Mokau, on the coast I thought I’d stop at the Seaview Holiday Park right on the beach which had views down to Mt Egmont.

Bright Colours!

It’s a typical west coast beach complete with Black Sand and the wild water. The ruggedness is what makes it though.

The Beach looking towards New Plymouth

I checked in and was given a park right behind the sandhill facing the beach but still protected from any wind that might come up. Great parking!

One of the many baches along the coast

It’s one of those real old original Kiwi family parks with nice bright colours on slightly older cabins.

One of the Ablution blocks

The ablution blocks are covered in murals… nicely done.

Looking through the campground
Rafe with the beach behind
Mt Egmont on the right

I went for a wander around the park and then along the beach. Lovely spot!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Mokau – Armada GPS

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.

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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 🙂

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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 🙂

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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.

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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

Peace and Quiet at Raglan

The weather was good, there was a beach only a few yards away and the town was only 10 minutes walk.

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Rafe at Raglan

We were looking to get out of the traffic but not too far away.. Raglan won the day. It has been a while since we were last here but it has an atmosphere all of its own. Very like Waiheke Island with some of the similar arty but down to earth shops.

Kids enjoying Badminton
Our neighbours from Hamilton and Tauranga enjoying the sun.

When my son Drew found out we were heading to Raglan, he said we had to go to Orca so I booked in online and its a magic spot. We went for lunch and the food was fantastic and it was very reasonable with a great view too.

The view out of the main street
The Historic Raglan Pub

After lunch we headed back to Rafe at the Raglan Holiday Park and then later onto the beach.

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There was a family from Hamilton with their youngest doing hand stands and flips on the sand while they enjoyed a glass of wine and watched the sun go down. Just magic.

Amazing Sunset

We were looking forward to the next day, Watching the rugby and then checking out the town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan – Armada GPS