Tag Archives: Campgrounds

Fun in the sun at Pauanui

With the Covid scare stopping our Anniversary weekend trip dead in its tracks, we headed off to Pauanui for the weekend to catch up with family and friends with our bikes on the back.

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Fantastic Beach

Its a great place for bikes as its all pretty flat and as most of the locals there use bikes to get around, they seem pretty tolerant and used to seeing them on the road.

We checked in at our favourite place for parking there, the Pauanui Sports Club. The Pauanui Club have been offering parking for NZMCA’rs for a few years now and doing a great job of it.

Looking good

The first day we were there, there was a knock at the door in the morning and it was our grandson Ayden who had biked around to say hello. We were later joined by his Dad, Alex and brother Liam.

Alex teeing off

The mini golf course next door was the place to be which was also busy with the long weekend. Granny Fiona went along too. 8 yr old Liam found a water trap within a few strokes of his club. As it was quite hot, he was in no hurry to get out either 🙂

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We had been invited out to tea with one of Fiona’s old school friends Janette and her husband Evan. Always nice to see them so we were off on our bikes to their place for a great night.

Busy busy

The next day we spent meeting the neighbours. Paul and Ruth on one side from Auckland and Peter and Wendy from Tauranga on the other. Small world stuff too. It turns out I’d met one of Peter and Wendy’s good friends involved with the Motorhome industry who we met again later in the weekend. I also used to work with Paul’s brother in Auckland 30 plus years or so ago in the newspaper industry..

We took the boys to the village to get some lunch.

We finished off here by having fish and chips with the grandkids around at their place. A nice weekend.

I’ve been a great supporter of the Pauanui Club. They’ve been great supporters of the NZMCA and its members and provide a great facility.  It is run with little human intervention meaning, no booking, no sites are marked out.

Due to its popularity now, I think time has come for the sites to be marked out and a limit placed on the numbers like the NZMCA sites.

Over the weekend, we ended up having 14 vans in there with only half having some reasonable fire gaps between them.

An extra one out by the Airfield

The general thought here was that it would be a good idea that the club put some “below lawn mower height” pegs in to define some sites and make sure that everyone is kept safe. Cheap and easy and it can continue to be run as it is.

Busy busy busy

Its a fantastic place to stay with great people and long may it continue.

Nice to get away for the long weekend and catch up with everyone at a great spot.

Rafe’s Tracker map – Armada GPS

Poutu Marine Hall Campground

This is a trip I’ve been looking forward to for several years but have been put off by the roughly 25k’s of unsealed road and I needn’t have worried as its better than most metal roads around NZ and it is being sealed as we speak.

Pouto Marine Hall Campground as its called is beautifully run by husband and wife volunteers John and Janine, who live opposite and is run for the community that own the campground.

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The campground

Its is a fantastic site set up on a hill looking out across the Kaipara eastwards towards Tapora and has easy access to two great beaches.

The hall (villa) was the original Custom House built in the early 1800’s and used to clear the vessels cargo as it came into the wharf that was just down off the beach. The wharf is being rebuilt along with the sealing of the road.

Rafe by the Historic Hall

The Hall houses the Kitchen, Shower and Toilet facilities that are provided for the Campground.

Tent town

The campground is also a participant in the NZMCA Campsaver scheme as well.

The front of the old Custom House

We were lucky to get a park right up next to the Hall plugged in.. lucky as the campground was chocker mostly with families in tents and with only 8 powered sites, it didn’t take much to fill !

The view from the Campground across the Kaipara

On our second night here, we were sitting in Rafe having a glass of something when walking alongside Rafe was an old friend I hadn’t seen for years. I jumped outside and called his name, he was as shocked as I was that we were both is such a small place and that we both knew someone 🙂

The Lounge inside

It turns out that they lived in a Bach they have had there for over 20 years and built themselves (with hand tools!) and were right opposite the camp ground. Our sons used to be at school together and were great mates.

Janine and John couldn’t have been more helpful and with John running a quad bike trip out to the historic lighthouse 7 k’s away, this was one of the reasons we were here.

A neat campground with super nice people in a great spot.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Poutu – Armada GPS

Blobbing out in the Hot Pools

Our first visit to Athenree Holiday park was in the middle of winter in 2016 when we were presented with the 20000th peppermints! .. being the 20000th visitor to their Holiday Park.

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Rafe looking out over the Estuary

Arriving early in the afternoon after babysitting our Grandkids at Ardmore, we were looking forward to blobbing out for a couple of nights with the pools and generally doing very little.

Kids enjoying the pool

I met Peter at the office who couldn’t have been more welcoming and he very efficiently showed me where everything was and after parking Rafe and getting settled down, we very quickly went for our first swim.

And the hottest pool

Peter and Belinda who have owned this for the last 5 months have also joined up with the NZMCA’s Campsaver Winter program so that makes it really affordable as well. The app shows them having 77 powered sites along with several Motels and Cabins. A well setup park.

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We were last here with our friends Rob and Helen a few years ago, when they first picked up their brand new Autotrail after its arrival from Britain via Tauranga.  A great place to meet on their “maiden voyage” home 🙂

Athenree is a fantastic spot right on the estuary and with the hot pools on site, it makes it very easy to find excuses for doing absolutely nothing 🙂 .. that was us this weekend! .. And it’s not that far from Auckland in the scheme of things.

Neat Murals

One of the things I really liked was the murals around the pools which are absolutely amazing. There is also a fantastic painting which is a really accurate take of the pool area.

The pool with the Murals

I posted a pic of us parked on the grass on Facebook which was spotted by our friends Ian and Lee who have a Bach in Waihi Beach so we got a call to pop round to see them for a cup of tea which was nice. Great to see them as we haven’t seen them for a few months.

Sunset

A lovely Motorcamp run by some neat people and being a sucker for some nice hot pools, I’ll be back for lots more of this.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Athenree – Armada GPS

Rugby, Hot Pools and a nice place to stay.

The sky was a bit murky and we had a day left before having to head home so it was Rotorua for the night, and the search was on for a hot pool.

The Bledisloe Cup game was on that afternoon so we had a choice of finding a pub or staying somewhere with the rugby and Fiona likes to be near some shops 🙂 The Top 10 was the answer plus it had some hot pools.. a big bonus.

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The entrance to Rotorua Top 10

As we drove in, I met Caroline who couldn’t have been more helpful. We were very fortunate to get a park right next to the pools and close to the showers and loos and not far from the rugby 🙂

Plenty of room

They have two thermal pools and a swimming pool. The two thermal pools run at 38C and 40C, plenty hot enough for us…

Proper thermal water.!

It was interesting looking at the comments on the app which said the pools weren’t hot enough and the parks were squeezed in. All the parks I saw allowed for an easy 3m gap. Most had a table set between each park.(much more than 3m!) .. and the pools were great.

The Thermal pools

After a quick splash in the pools, were set off into the Rotorua shopping area, about 10 minutes walk. We had a packed program 🙂 Lunch, a quick look around the shops and then the Rugby at 4!

Downtown Rotovegas

After the rugby we met some people who had hired 5 Dethleffs Trend Motorhomes and were on route to the Hawkes Bay, just staying one night. They were having a ball.

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We had another swim when we got back and met some people also from Auckland with a small caravan not unlike our Wee Rafe that we started with. They were looking for a Motorhome so it was interesting talking to them.

The Dethleffs Trends off to the Hawkes Bay

The sky was strange.. one minute it was and quite threatening and then clear and then back to overcast again…

Rafe near the big pillow

A nice spot in Rotorua and once of the better campgrounds I’ve stayed in.  It is also within walking distance from pretty much everywhere and with the facilities, its a winner. I’ve got it marked down as a GPS favorite for our next visit.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Top 10 in Rotorua – Armada GPS

What a fantastic place to stay

There are few places in the world that you can stay at in a Motorhome that would beat Long Bay Holiday park.

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The Beach

In the off season, this is a camp saver park too. Leanne is the very friendly camp manager and also runs the well stocked shop. Everything is very easy and laid back.

Just lovely

I was lucky to have 2 out of my three nights here with just brilliant sunshine and made the most of it by walking around to the next beach called Tucks Bay.  Its an easy 10 minute walk around a coastal track which is well worth doing. There is also a gigantic Kauri tree and Kauri glade which is worth a look too.

Tucks Bay
Coming back from Tucks Bay

But its just a neat spot. You can also hire boats or kayaks and go for a paddle around. There are 65 powered sites and three onsite caravans as well.

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I went for a walk and met some of the neighbours. It is within walking distance rom Coromandel town (about 3 k’s) but probably a better bike ride.

A must do if you in the area. I’ll be back soon 🙂

Motorhoming by the river

Nicely positioned on the edge of the Tapu river coming out of the hills in Coromandel is Tapu Creek Motorhome Park. Unless you knew about it, you would never find it !

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It is in an absolute idyllic position right next to the river.

With quite few powered sites and hot showers and good facilities, it is also quite interesting with its slightly alternative decorations. . Really nicely done too.

At $15 with power in the off peak, it is very good value and the scenery can’t be beaten.

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As you come into Tapu travelling north from Thames, it is about 5 k’s along the sealed Tapu Creek road into the hills.

BBQ hut

If you want somewhere nice a quiet and very good value, this is hard to beat.

Dickson’s Gold Mine

One of the only holiday parks close to Thames is the riverside Dickson’s Holiday Park and you do actually get to park right next to an amazing river.

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Just behind where I was parked.. Nice spot

I cruised in on my way up to Coromandel and was welcomed by the owner Neil who with his wife Cindy have owned it for 4 years. Dickson’s was set up in the early 1950’s by one of the Thames district councilors and was once a Gold Mine.

Neil and Cindy

Neil was saying that where the toilets, showers and kitchen on the top of the hill are was the stamping battery and it was powered by a huge waterwheel that was alongside and fed from the river. Where the pool is now was access to the mine itself. Amazing history.

The Ablution block that was a stamper Battery. The huge waterwheel was beside it.

I was parked right next to the river where you can walk down to a grassed area with seats. Quite therapeutic just sitting there watching and listening to the water run past.

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A lovely spot to park with easy access and big flat spaces and with 28 powered sites. There are some cabins and onsite caravans for those without a motorhome or caravan.

I found this quite a magical spot and will be back with Fiona.

Neat Caravans

The park is about 8 k’s north of Thames on the right in Tararu.

Work in Wellington

Wellington beckoned with some photographic work for some ads and a manual for a client I’ve worked with for nearly 20 years. The plan was to drive down in Rafe, take my gear and photograph some people in and around Wellington doing their thing.

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Plenty of room

So off we went checking in with our old friends Dianne and Gary along the way in Taupo, and the next day, checking in to the Wellington Top 10 in Petone.

Lots of space

They were doing an off season deal where if we stayed for more than 5 days, we’d get an extra two nights for free. That worked perfectly for us as the work was finished in 5 days and we’d get to catch up with some of Fiona’s cousins for the last days.

One of the best games / entertainment spaces I’ve seen in a Holiday Park.

The client also arranged for a small rental car so I could get around to all their sites and get the piccies done which was magic.

Fiona up on Mt Victoria

Once the work was done, we had a half day where we could have a bit of a look around with the car to see my old school in Clifton Terrace in the city in Wellington. Its now called a model school. I’m not sure what that means but it was two classrooms and went from the primers all the way to standard 6.  I was about standard 2 or thereabouts and occasionally used to catch the Cable Car to school 🙂

The house we lived in then has now gone and is roughly where the motorway is by the Aurora Tce bridge.

One of the old Cable car trams

We checked our old house in Eastbourne and later, my grandparents old house in Melrose over the hill from the Zoo. The house was huge with a massive garden up the hill behind which was almost vertical.

My grandparents house in Melrose.. my room was the top floor on the left. The workshop was the row of windows by the terrace above the garages.

I remember watching the old Bristol Freighters taking off from Wellington Airport across the other side of Lyall Bay.  My bedroom when we stayed there (we were living in Christchurch then) was on the top floor and used to get the lighthouse flicking through the window every now and then on the wall… amazing.

He also had an amazing workshop and showed me how to make string puppets and a lot of other things. All sorts of things came out of that small workshop. He made some trolleys for us  (younger brother and sisters) to play with on the terrace outside above the garages.

He was a really clever guy and I could never work out why my mothers nick name for him was foolie 🙂
A house with lots of memories.

Te Papa was closed

After returning the rental car, we caught the bus into the city with the idea that we would visit Te Papa and see what had been updated but that was first day of lockdown and it was closed,  so we settled for a nice lunch at Mac’s with a glass of wine.. very civilised !

Fiona about to tuck in a meal at Mac’s

We’ve stayed at the Top 10 before and it is really the only Motorcamp in Wellington for bigger vehicles. It is well equipped with everything and being quiet, we pretty much had a whole section of 6 parks to ourselves for the first part of the week.

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I had to photograph some people (formal business portraits) using a portable studio and they were very obliging in letting me use a corner of their conference room for an hour.

More of that amazing games room

They are about to install a heated pool which sounds huge. That will be great as it is a little bit removed from anywhere but the bus stop to the city is only a 10 minute walk away.

The new pool goes here..

They have the best TV / Games room I’ve ever seen in a campground and everything else is tip top. A nice park with everything you would expect from a Top 10 park.

Earlier in the week, we checked in with Fiona’s Cousins, Shona and Bruce and their partners in Plimmerton.

After stopping at their local supermarket which has the best parking for Motorhomes I’ve ever seen, we stayed in Fiona’s other cousin Malcolm and Michelle’s  driveway before heading back up to Taupo.

Outside the New World at Paraparaumu Beach.. great motorhome parking !

It’s always nice to catch up with Dianne and Gary in Taupo. Their house is on the market so it might be our last night at their old house. We enjoyed a fun night with a glass of wine or two and lots of laughs.

Parked with power at Gary and Di’s in Taupo for the last time (Probably)

A week of fun in Wellington with a bit of work thrown in but lots of great memories and nice to catch up with people we haven’t seen for a while too.

Just leaving Waiouru on the Desert Rd.

Convoy in Russell

Leaving Rawene early, I headed out through quite thick fog towards Russell. “The Maui Convoy” was due back today from a quick 24 hr excursion through Manganui, staying overnight at the Hihi Holiday Park which they all raved about so I must do a trip up there sometime soon.

The guys on the ferry did a great job on trying to get Rafe over to Russell without scraping the back but getting off was a big long scraping metal sound…. horrible but there was no damage.. just a cleaning of some dirt off the chassis.

My sideways park up the top

Once I was happy there was no harm done, I set off to Russell and checked in at the Top 10 who are doing quite a good off season rate if you give them a few days notice.

Great view.. taken the next morning.

The parks are a bit smaller but they found one that suited Rafe’s nearly 8 metres and the view was spectacular. All the parks have a grey water waste gully trap and everything is absolutely in tip top order.

I plugged in, opened some hatches for some fresh air and set off into the town which is just a few minutes walk. Its a special place here with the History and the old buildings.

Looking across towards Paihia

I wasn’t long down there when one in the convoy Grant rang to announce his arrival and was on his way down to set up a tennis game. All those in the convoy are members of the Ngataringa Tennis Club in Devonport.

Grant .. all concentration

So we sat in the plastic chairs (the Grandstand) on the court for a Wimbledon experience 🙂

The fans In the Grandstand

I didn’t catch who the winners were but we were then off to the Duke of Marlborough to watch the rugby being played at Eden Park. Great game..

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One of the drivers Malcolm who was travelling with his wife Bonny is a real gem on the piano. They live in Whitianga. Malcolm found a grand piano in the bar and off he went. Everybody was hugely impressed and with a few glasses of wine behind us, it was a whole lot of fun !

We were all starting to get a bit hungry and there was no food left at the Duke so we adjourned to the Sportfishing club next door where they whipped up some fantastic meals for us.

The Duke !

This was the last day of the Convoy. All the vans had to be handed in at 2;30pm in Mangere the next day!

Grant off for a shower

A bit of pool playing and then we walked back to the Holiday Park.

A great day and a lovely town. Coming here for just one day as we did is not a very clever idea, I’ll have to come back for more 🙂

Rafe’s tracker map to Russell

Historic Rawene

This is an amazing little town with some of it built out over the water.

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The supermarket !

This is where the car ferry leaves for Kohukohu on the northern shores of the Hokianga Harbour.

While the convoy was doing the tourist thing at Opononi, I headed off and got checked in at the Rawene Holiday park which is right up on the top of the hill. Its about a 20 minute walk down to the town and bit longer to get back 🙂

Parked with a great view

I got Rafe settled and headed off down to the township to have a look around. I found a café and sat down in the sun with a coffee while I waited for the “Convoy”. About 20 minutes or so later, they rolled in one by one.

Most of the crew.. L to R Grant, Paul, Pete(standing), Malcolm (crouched in front), Craig, Cathy and Bonnie.
and theyre off.

Its a fascinating town with the supermarket and several shops all built on piles over the water.

On the corner

As the mid day ferry arrived, they all boarded and were off.  After getting a few piccies around the town, I headed off back to the camp and had a quiet time listening to some music.

Amazing place and loaded with history.

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About 7pm, 3 Motorhomes turned up from the ferry and maneuvered their way around me to park in. It all seemed quite close but when I saw it in the morning, I could get out easily. It would have been awkward with any more. I think this is definitely a 7 metre limit camp unless there is no one else there.

The view
Some of the unusual cabins

A really nice helpful crew with some amazing quite unusual looking cabins and great view down the Hokianga from the parking area. The loos, showers and toilets are really good and close to the parking.

Rafe’s tracker map to Rawene