Tag Archives: Campgrounds

You know you’re on the West Coast When..

You’ve got black sand between your toes and at the Kopua Raglan Motorcamp right on the beach, there is plenty of that.

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The Black Sand

We’ve stayed here a few times now and one of the things that I really noticed this time is the recently done up showers and toilets. The pressure in the showers is so good, you almost don’t need soap.. let the water do its thing.. amazing.

Chess anyone?

When you check in, you get a swipe card which you use for both the automatic gates and the facilities. A good system and it worked well. There is a $10 bond which you get back as you leave after returning the card.

Lots of stripes

The camp is on a peninsula of sand basically so it there were no worries with the awful forecast of heavy rain. We knew we’d be fine on the well drained sand. It is almost completely surrounded by water but there is a well lit footbridge connecting it to the town with an easy walk in to the cafes and shops.

The Bridge to Raglan

There are more than 200 powered sites with quite a few permanent caravans and they also have Cabins that can be rented too.

The Fish and Chip shop on the edge of the camp and apparently they’re pretty good.

I heard someone comment that they thought it was a bit expensive but at $86 for two nights for two nights with power and all the new facilities with the NZMCA discount, I thought that was very reasonable.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We spent a couple of really nice nights there. Yes it rained and it blew but nothing like the forecast said. Over the two days there with friends, Dianne and Gary from Taupo and Jonas and Irene from Auckland, we had several walks into town for a look around the shops and an great meal at one of their restaurants.

The Beach

Very easy accomodation, friendly people, great facilities and a really interesting town.

Rafe, The Niesmann and Jonas’s Trend

Before you ask, No Dogs but there is some free Wifi!

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 31.34mbs
Upload: 26.30mbs
Ping: 56ms

Rafe’s Tracker to the Camp

Simpsons Beach

A few k’s north of Whitianga is the famous Simpsons Beach.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

It is one of my all time favorite spots to stay being right on the beach and with pretty much all weather parking on grass and its huge.

It has been a while since we’ve been here so I never miss an opportunity. It is $10 per van per night.

A stunning part of the world

There is a cassette only dump station which is connected to a Septic tank which I’ve never used but plenty do and there is potable water too. I waited until I went back through Whitianga and used that Dump Station.

How good is this!

I rocked up to the “Office” door and Margaret popped her head around the door with the usual smiley face she has. A really nice lady and its amazing that she pretty much runs this now on her own now.

well drained sandy grass

All the proceeds from Camping are sent to the Charity of the moment. Last time we were here it was St Johns in Whitianga.

I met Dave and Helen who were in their Caravan from Whangamata who were with their friends who were next to us. Dave is a Self Containment officer so it was really interesting talking to him about Motorhome and Caravan things.

There was also a really nice guy from Nelson staying there called Bim who is travelling around the North Island with his friend in his Motorhome with a boat. With the wind blowing Dogs off Chains that day, neither Dave or Bim were keen to battle the elements out in the bay in their boats.

Whitianga around the headland in the distance

I went for a couple of walks along the beach and got some updated images.. Its a sensational place to stay and its a place you never get sick of.

See Rafe’s tracker map below for the location.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 32.60 mbs
Upload: 14.33 mbs
Ping: 41ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

Back to Nature at RiverGlen

With a river flowing around it and easy to walk through bush, this really is a lovely spot to stay.

Click on an image for Hi Res

The River

I dropped in out of the blue and with my NZMCA card was charged $10 with power which I thought was amazing. This included some Wifi, access to Toilets, Showers and a well set up Kitchen.

Plenty of space

After settling down with Rafe, opening some vents and plugging in, I set off to have a look around.

Nice Bush

I was blown away by the beauty of the bush and the river. There are quite few permanent Caravans attached to buildings set up as Baches but not many of them were occupied.

Perfect spot

Although I could get some wifi via my Netspeed connection, it was a bit ropey and the cell phone service was erratic too. Even text messages were tough going but it is all about enjoying talking to each other and enjoying the scenery.

Great river

Only 3k’s from the Coroglen pub on a nicely formed gravel road, it is easy to get to.

Click on the Gallery to see a Slideshow

I spent a very pleasant couple of hours chatting to a couple of 20 something year old Danish Soldiers who had recently been in Afghanistan which was really interesting as my youngest son was there in NZ’s first rotation when he was 17 about 2001.  They’re both travelling around NZ together in a small van.

A really nice spot, nice hosts and really good value.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Glenview Club Parking

I’ve been wanting to park here for a while but haven’t really had a reason to come out this way until today  🙂

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Room for big and small

One of the things I’m really allergic to is parking in Pub/Club carparks overnight and the Glenview club is not one of these. I has a completely separate Motorhome and Caravan parking area away from the main carpark for bar patrons.

There are 38 parks without power and another 12 parks with power all on well drained grass.

There is an honesty box but they’re there almost every day after 2pm. Its $15 a night without power and $20 a night with power. There is a shower and Toilets and there are meals later in the week during the evenings. There is also fresh water, a dump station with rubbish and recycling.

A grand entrance way

On a week day before a big show it was really busy. Its amazingly quiet and in a great spot right on the Waikato river opposite the Hamilton Gardens.

Click on the Gallery below for a slide show

I met several people in Caravans who had sold homes locally and were staying there due to work or to be close to family so there are quite a few who almost reside there longterm.

A really nice location, friendly hosts and a really quiet spot to stay.

The Netspeed Speedtest from this location
Download 15.29mbs
Upload 1.19mbs
Ping  82ms

Rafes Track to Glenview Club

Getting Away

Its not far to go and its easy and its familiar.

Mangawhai Heads on the estuary is just lovely.

Lovely spot

Easy walks around to the beach and you can walk the other way for miles too.

Splash

We had escaped for the weekend to give our agent Lance a good crack at the first weekend of open homes without us or Rafe in the way and we weren’t quite ready to go home so it was Mangawhai.

Enjoying the water

I was here only a month or two before so knew that with the NZMCA mid winter rates and it being right next to the water, it was pretty good without travelling too far.

We’d been to the markets, had a coffee and a look at Bennetts chocolate factory and ready just to plug in and go for a walk along the foreshore.

Its a lovely area and as I think I said in my last post from here, it would be a good place to retire to being close to the families in the big smoke.. only 90 minutes or so away.

Yay, the Hot Pools

It was miserable in Tauranga and due to get worse so I headed over the hills to the Opal Hot Springs Holiday Park just outside Matamata.

As I pulled up, I met Vanessa and Carrilline at the front desk, both very friendly and ready to show me where everything was..

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Happy faces, Vanessa and Carrilline

Carrilline and her husband, Brian own the business and after 3 years here, they are making some big changes. I showed her a picture on the NZMCA app of the camp and it looks completely different with all the parks now being all weather.

The steam rising from the pools

The pools are being painted later this year. The place is looking really good.

The all weather parking

I parked Rafe at one end of the new all weather parks and headed off for a walk around the park while the sun was out. The pool complex is massive with an almost Olympic sized heated pool and several others.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

There are 70 powered sites, 10 non powered and a dozen or so Motels and Cabins.

More Parking

Its in a lovely position just outside Matamata heading towards the Kaimais.  A great place to blob out with some heat.

The Kaimais

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 4.51 Mbps
Upload: 2.85 Mbps
Ping: 125 ms

Rafe’s Track

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
Download 12.79mbs
Upload 3.12mbs
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