Tag Archives: Campgrounds

Lounging at the Lion – Piha

One of the trips I’ve been wanting to do for ages but I haven’t been able to get Fiona interested in is a trip to Piha. One of Aucklands better west coast beaches, it is dominated by Lion Rock in the middle and is one of the few North Island beaches to have two surf clubs.

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Lion Rock looking fantastic

Over the years the road has improved massively but it is still very windy(curvy) in places and there is no direct route. There are several ways of getting there but the best one I think is via Henderson Valley. Check the map below.

Its a slow 30k odd from the centre of Auckland but well worth it when you get here and its a nice drive.

Lion Rock

The Holiday park is a leased site off the council as part of the Domain but privately run and is on black sand. Its a big park with plenty of room and is only 5 minutes walk to the beach via a bridge over the lagoon.

All that space

At the time of this post, it was $22 per adult with power with new showers and loos close by. There is a cafe right over the road and a General Store next door for anything you may have forgotten.

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The beach is spectacular. I popped down here at dusk  to find a dozen or so amateur photographers wandering around in a group waiting to get the sunset.

The Amateur photographers doing their dusk pix.

Its funny as I remember when I was working at The Auckland Star, we used to get called on to judge various photographic awards for these Camera Clubs. The people were always very friendly and it was interesting to see what they were up to.  Generally it was a PR thing from the Star’s point of view and we tried to help with ideas where we could. I remember judging at the North Shore Society awards a couple of times but can’t remember any of the others.

Finished for the day

I met one of the members and gave him a few ideas while we were wandering around Lion Rock on the black sand. It was great to see them out there having some fun.

Sunset

After that, I wandered back to Rafe through the black sand and had a drink with my neighbours. A great night.

One of my neighbours Jo doing massages !

Lovely spot, close to Auckland and reasonably priced with a great Beach.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Piha

Good value Motohome parking with Pools.

After a great lunch at a Cafe in Ngongotaha shopping centre (the one closest to the NZMCA park) we had to start thinking about where we were going to stay for the night. It was 36C and I was sweaty already. It was also time to wash the linen.

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Rafe between the Hedgerows

Rotorua Family Holiday Park came up on the NZMCA app as being reasonably priced and they also had a laundry and a pool!  Perfection at $34 a night with a powered site and they were just around the corner in Ngongotaha.

Kids Playground

Motorhomers Reece and Diane, have been working on this park for the last 13 years and it looks fantastic. I was really impressed with the Motorhome sites being big, between hedgerows and easy to get in and out off.

The Tourist Flats .. neat

After buying their new Motorhome about 18 months ago, their only regret was having been too busy to get away in it.. the downside of self employment but they’ve done an excellent job of doing up the park and I’m sure they’ll get time to get away eventually !

Art Deco Loos

The Tourist flats and Toilets are in an Art Deco style and have all been done up and they look great.

How are those Flats

They’ve just finished doing up the Kitchen, Laundry and BBQ area and it looks good.

The Barbeque area.. neat and tidy

Fiona stripped the bed and headed off to the Laundry while I walked around and got some piccies. After that, we both headed straight for the pool and were there most of the afternoon. It was heavenly. We did have momentary thoughts about biking in on the trail to Rotorua which is literally just outside the gate but it was just too hot!

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We hadn’t long been in the pool when we met some German tourists who lived in southern Germany near Isny where the Dethleffs Motorhomes are made. Nice people and they were really interesting to talk to given Brexit and other things that are happening at the moment.

Nicely setup

It was nice to find a really nice clean campground, with great hosts at a really sensible price, in what is normally quite an expensive place to stay.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Planes and Sunshine

The Pauanui Club parking is just the best. Even when its busy.

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The park

Our Grandchildren’s other Grandparents have had a bach down here for a long time so Alex and Sarah head here with the kids when they can. Its a lovely spot too just up from the beach and easy bike riding from the Pauanui Club for us.

Lots to do

We also caught up with an old school friend of Fiona’s who have a house down here too. Evan and Janette bring their family down here too and it was nice to spend an eveing with them as well.

Parked in Pauanui

The parking area was as busy as it has ever been with several regulars commenting on how busy it was. At one stage there were 3 vans who couldn’t get near a power plug, and for those that did have power, the main circuit breaker popped in the mornings when all the toasters and jugs went on. All in all though it is fantastic value and theyre just the best to deal with.

One of the old timers
up up and away

Next door all the holiday makers with vintage planes had bought them over from Auckland for the Whitianga air show so it was neat to see them doing their thing.

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We went for a walk into the shops which are only minutes away via a tunnel and it was amazing to bump into so many people we knew… a bit scary 🙂

The Township

A great few days in a nice place and the nice thing is you can bike everywhere !

Rafe’s track to Pauanui

Cruising Ideas for Summer – South Island

This post has a lots more ideas for the Summer..

Otago Rail Trail

Click on this link to see a trip we did around South Island earlier this year late last year.

And we were down there last year too !

People enjoying a walk on the Trail

The latest posts will come out first so scroll to the bottom to get the chronological order 🙂
Enjoy

Always fun at Pahi

Pahi is a lovely spot and my go to place for a real Blob out.

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The parking area with the old Hotel in the corner

It has a very reasonably priced community campground run by the locals and just recently they have invested in some gravel so can provide some all weather parking which is great. I’ve been here after some heavy rain in the past and it was very boggy so a great improvement.

Great outlook

I didn’t get the chaps name who served me in the office but very helpful and cheery.

Looking down from the road

After settling down Rafe, I went for a walk down to the Wharf where there was a local painting his boat. It was an older launch probably in the early 1920’s odd and he was doing a great job. I had a great chat to him while watching his roller dry 🙂 He would have been happy chatting all day but thought I’d better cut it short so he could finish the job 🙂

The new Gravel

Back at Rafe, I joined the neighbours who had two Caravans from both Dargaville and Whangarei for a natter.

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How to get here.., From the Brynderwyn turnoff. Head to Paparoa and turn left down the Pahi Peninsula until you can’t go any further. Its about 5 k’s from Paparoa.

Painting the boat
Lovely beach

Another great hideaway on the Kaipara harbour and great parking at a great price.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Pahi

Bliss at Tinopai

Turning left at the Bryndrwyn’s is the Kauri Coast road which heads all the way to Dargaville and beyond to the Hokianga Harbour. About 27k’s along is the little settlement of Matakohe where the Kauri Museum is and about another 20 k’s off to the left is the lovely little settlement of Tinopai.

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Its down the end of this peninsular that juts down into the Kairapa Harbour where you’ll find the Tinopai Campground, right on the waters edge.

The Campground

With Fiona at work and this being somewhere I’ve wanted to come and see, this was me for a couple of nights. At $10 a night with power right on the waterfront, it doesn’t get much better.
There are Toilets and $1 showers along with a small Laundry.

I was parked in Chris’s Parade.. yahoo

After settling in Rafe and putting some chocks under the front wheels, I went for a wander. Right next door is the Marina.. VERY tidal with all of the boats sitting in the mud at low tide.

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I’d only been there an hour or so when a local on a quad bike came around giving away fish. I didn’t have any filleting gear so politely declined but what a fantastic atmosphere. Later that day, Sue the campground lady popped around giving away fruit off a tree..

The following day Lillian and Lester arrived with their Dethleffs Esprit and parked right next door and we enjoyed a couple of cold ones out of the wind later in front of Rafe.

Neat spot

Tinopai used to have a service station which sadly has closed so you do need to be aware that there are no shops or services here. Its very remote but you can get an Internet signal if you have Netspeed or WN.

A lovely spot to come and get away from it all and very reasonably priced.

Rafes track to Tinopai

Swinging high at Arapuni

Slightly off the beaten track south of Karapiro but part of the Waikato River Trail is the little town of Arapuni. Its an amazing spot with a really impressive historical Swing Bridge and an old power station built into the side of a hill.

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Looking up to the Power Station

The Swing Bridge was built in the early 1920’s so that workers for the power station could get to work. The power station is the oldest and the largest in capacity and was opened in 1929. It is now under the protection of the Historic Places trust and signs at the site, show the effort that went into protecting it from possible Japanese bomb attack during the war by camouflaging it.

Leonies Motorhome parking

And just down the road from the bridge, Leonie runs a great Motorhome and caravan site in her back yard which is a flat paddock, where NZMCA’rs can stay for $10 with power, toilet and shower. There are modern 10 power points and its really easy parking. You might need levelling ramps in some areas but its all very easy with an honesty box and simple instructions.

Neat parking

The site is an easy walk to the bike trail and to the town and to the Swing Bridge which is spectacular. Its well worth the walk and is only 10-15 minutes away on foot, either along the road or via the bike trail just outside the park.

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I’m not one for heights now I’m getting a bit older and a bit more sensible, so it took me a couple of go’s before I went out in the middle of the bridge 🙂 .. but in my defence, there was a lot of wind 🙂
I’m pleased I did though.. check out the image below.

The Power Station from the bridge

On the way back to Rafe, I stopped in at the only shop on the main road which happily is a Cafe. I stopped for lunch on the way back to Rafe. The food is great and they do a great coffee too!

Leonie’s Motorhome Park is fantastic  and we’ll be back with the bikes to do the trails around here.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Grandchildren and Rotorua

Every now and then its time to grab the Grandkids and take them away in Rafe for a weekend and give Mum and Dad a night or two off.

Rotorua is the popular spot as they love the hot pools and the things to see and do there so we were off.

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Ayden and Liam on the swings during a Cup of Tea break at Gordonton

We stopped off at Gordonton to give the Boys a break and they very quickly found a play area and set off to give it a workout while Fiona and I watched with a cup of coffee.

Cruising on we eventually arrived in Tirau and the boys spotted a Subway so that was lunch sorted 😃

Rotorua was always a favourite place to go when I was in short pants. We used to stay in Motels opposite Kurau park where there used to be a miniature steam train that you could ride on. Sadly that’s gone now but its still a magic place.

We arrived in Rotorua around the middle of the day and decided to check in at Cozy Cottage Holiday Park which is right on the lakefront and has its own hot pools. We’ve stayed here a couple of times before when we first got Rafe, 5 or so years ago so we knew it was easy.

Rotorua Lakefront

After settling down, plugging in and opening some vents, we set off for a look around to see what was where. Ayden and Liam are 10 and 6 and the first thing they found was the playground and they were pretty happy with that and soon made some new friends.

Fiona and Liam in one of the pools

Not long after that, we were all in the pool.

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The next day, we decided that we would walk into Rotorua and have a look at Ohinemutu, the waterfront and find some lunch.

The boys were hanging out for McDonalds so after a walk there and a look around, we caught the bus back to the park.

The boys digging with Mokoia Island behind

One of the features of this Motorhome park is its proximity to the lakefront and they have a track that takes you directly to the beach where you can dig holes with a shovel and make your own hot pools. The boys were keen to give this a go so after another hot pools swim, we headed down to the lakefront to find some hot water 🙂

Ayden had first pop with the shovel and he got straight into digging some holes. Within 5 minutes or so he had created a new pool with the only problem being that it was just too hot to put your feet in. Just two feet down right by the water and steam was coming out !

The boys on the Lakefront digging for water!

Cozy Cottage was $22 for each adult and $10 for each Grandie per night. With the hot pools and the facilities and being an easy walk to Rotorua, I thought this was pretty reasonable.

Aydens pool.

There are Cabins and Motel Units there too for friends without Motorhomes or Caravans.

Rafe in his spot

A fun weekend.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

 

On the banks of the mighty Waikato

Just past Tuakau is a lovely new Campground on the banks of the river.

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Glorious spot

It is run by the good folk at the Tuakau Hotel on land that used to be where the sand was loaded up and shipped off and its in a beautiful spot.

All weather parking

The campground has been constructed from scratch with about 8 dead flat gravelled sites with power and a barbeque table overlooking the river. It couldn’t be in a better spot and well thought out.

Perfect seating

We popped in to the Tuakau Hotel which is just a few k’s away and spoke to Tash at the Hotels Accomodation office where we were given the full rundown on what was where and in case we forgot, there was also a sheet of everything we needed to know along with a key for the water and the codes for the automated gate and shower block. The cost is $20 per site for two with power which I reckon is extremely good value.

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After settling down and opening some vents, I went for a bit of a look around.

Looking down the river

There are three quite large self contained cabins too which can be rented which look out over the river too.

Looking across from the cabins

In the morning I went for a walk along the rivers edge to see the whitebaiters in full swing where I met Anthony who drives down here from Mt Wellington to do his whitebaiting. He was doing well and showed me piccies of his catch from the day before.

Whitebaiter Anthony from Mt Wellington

A lovely spot not far from the Tuakau Bridge on the way to Port Waikato.

The Netspeed Speedtest (Not great here)
Download : 2.68 mbps
Upload : 0.85 mbps
Ping : 48 ms

Rafes Tracker Map

Murphy’s Law Motorhome Parking

Coming back from Pukekohe, and with the weather being really rough, we thought we’d hunker down at the Murhpy’s Law Motorhome Park.

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The NZMCA App suggested it was $25 for the night which is incorrect. It’s $38 a night for two minus a 10% discount for NZMCA’rs making it $34 and you get a discount of everything you eat or drink.

Toilet / Shower block

I initially thought it was a bit expensive for parking in what is essentially a carpark but after enjoying a hot shower in their newish facilities and an hour in the bar, decided its a good spot to base yourself for a night Or two in a good location.

Looking in from the outside.. the wire fence.

The parking is inside a secure high wire fence which you access with keypad access and a fob so it is very secure and with power and water on every site, its a great setup.

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Fiona and I wandered into the bar to have a drink and order tea and it was a great atmosphere with a big open fire and plenty of people enjoying themselves.

A great use of what is probably a wasted space behind a pub. Close to the Motorway and with a dump station just around the corner making it a good spot to stay for a night and enjoy the banter at the Bar and not have to drive after.

Very English

The last time I was at this Pub was when it was the Jolly Farmer in the 80’s and they had their famous Wet T Shirt competitions 🙂 I was working as a photographer for the 8’O clock then which part of the Auckland Star and it was my job to cover the big Final at the time. A fun event 🙂 How times have changed.

Rafe’s Tracker Map to Murphy’s Law