Tag Archives: Campgrounds

The Hundertwasser Art Centre

I don’t know how many times I’ve photographed and driven past the loos at Kawakawa, but Fiona and I had both seen the publicity on the new Art centre in Whangarei and it was on the must do list πŸ™‚

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Nice easy parking

We arrived in Whangarei just after lunch after stopping in at Manganui for a piece of fish and a Scallop or two for morning tea πŸ™‚

Very styley 60’s πŸ™‚

With the weather looking decidedly dodgy with wind and rain, I decided on the Whangarei Central Holiday Park which is easy walking distance to anywhere in town. It’s also very reasonably priced with very nice people running it. Everything works and its handy!

After settling down Rafe, we set off with our umbrellas towards the new art centre, about 10 minutes’ walk. It’s amazing! The first thing to do while it was not raining was to check out the dome and the roof garden. There are some really rare trees from the islands there too with curled leaves… interesting but to think how quickly this has come together, it’s amazing and on the roof too.

Back downstairs on a wavy tiled floor, you feel almost like you’re on the water. Up one floor for the gallery on Hundertwasser are lots of examples of his art and design, and basically several rooms on how he did what he did and when. Really interesting artwork but with his unique style.

Fiona in the tower. The Marina in the background

He also had an amazing motor Sailer which I think he might have sailed out from Europe.

We spent an hour or so here and then went for a coffee at the Centre’s Cafe.

Some of the art

By the time we finished here it was time for tea. We found an arcade in the main street full of Restaurants and bars and eventually settled on an Indian Restaurant called Tumeric. It would have to be the best Indian meal we’ve both had for some time and was very reasonable. Amazing food.

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It was getting dark as left the restaurant and we ambled our way back to Rafe at the Park.

Outside our new favourite Indian Restaurant πŸ™‚

A really interesting day starting in Ahipara, Manganui for Fish, ticked off the Hundertwasser building and a great Indian meal… what a day:-)

Rafe’s tracker map to the Whangarei Central Holiday Park – Armada GPS

By the beach at Ahipara

After leaving Awanui, we were going to head to Ahipara. Fiona mentioned that she’d never been to Kaitaia so we were off to see Kaitaia which was on the way. We were going to stop for a coffee but couldn’t find any easy parking. After a visit to the Dump Station, we had a quick look around and decided to head on to Ahipara which is just short of 14k’s away.

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The road entrance to State highway 1 to Cape Reinga πŸ™‚
Looking back to Ahipara and the road around to the headland.

As we entered Ahipara there were two Cafe’s which were really busy… so we checked in at the Ahipara Holiday Park being the only place to stay.

Just in front of where we were parked.. huge parking area.

Although slightly on the expensive side, the parking spots were bigger and flatter than I’ve seen anywhere so that more than made up for it.Β  The Loos and Showers were really good too and there was also free Wi-Fi if we’d wanted it. It was only 10 minutes’ walk away to the beach. You generally get what you pay for these days πŸ™‚

Check out the room!

After setting up Rafe and opening vents, and plugging in, I took the camera for a walk down to the beach…. The bottom end of the 90 mile beach! I looked around for anything that looked anything like what I could remember from years ago with the beach buggy, but it all looks very different from what I remember… it was a long time ago though.

Looking north towards Cape Reinga!
People enjoying the water.

I went back to the camp and Fiona, and I took Rafe to the Cafe we saw coming in and had a really nice lunch and then went for a drive down to the bottom end of the beach along the foreshore road.

A local friendly Goat

It’s amazing looking up the beach, you can see the bend of the land going right up to the cape. There were a few people having a swim and enjoying what is probably the end of Summer. A great spot.

After an hour or so we motored back to the Holiday Park and blobbed for a bit.

Later in the day.

The wind had died down a bit later on and the sun was shining so it was nice with the stereo on and with all this space, no neighbours πŸ™‚

Rafe’s tracker map to the Ahipara Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Pukenui on the edge of the harbour!

While were cruising north, we stopped in to the Pukenui Holiday Park to find they had some room and at a reasonable rate. The wind was blowing, and the rain was threatening so power was a must. A nice park spread out over two levels with little plateaus of space for both Caravans and Motorhomes. There are also some cabins too.

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Neat Paint job

They also had some very tame small ponies and sheep helping with the grass and entertaining small children. Jo the owner has been here for 20 years or so and with Tania, they were both very helpful.

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A really interesting park with handy access to the harbour and lots of places for walking.

Down by the water

5 minutes walks down the road is a nice cafe, 4 square and Bottle store and a bit further on is the jetty overlooking the Houhora harbour. Very popular fishing spot and they tell me that a Kingi can be caught in minutes πŸ™‚

Great Cafe, 4 Square and Liquor shop a few minutes walk
Great big parks

A nice park but while we were there, I got on to a company in Kaitaia that did 4-wheel drive bus trips up to Cape Reinga with a guide and went up the beach. Thats us we thought but we had to get back to Awanui (The NZMCA park) where they could pick us up on route.Β  .. Fantastic!

Rafe’s tracker map to the Pukenui Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Lunch at the Duke of Marlborough from Paihia

From our spot in Kaikohe, we rang ahead and booked a spot for a couple of nights at the Bay of Island campervan park which is nestled in between Olive trees on the main road into Paihia. Its a perfect spot for walking to Paihia and to the Treaty grounds, both only 15 minutes away and it is very reasonably priced too.

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Paihia Wharf

The first day we were there we walked about 15 minutes into Paihia to catch a ferry over to Russell. The ferries were flat out so there were three ferries shuttling people across but there was plenty of room and it’s only a 15-minute trip across.

Leaving Paihia

We had booked into the Duke of Marlborough for lunch but were a bit early so walked around the waterfront, ate ice creams and drank coffee and eventually went to the Duke for a G&T. The β€œDuke” as it’s known apparently is NZ’s oldest licensed pub. There are several others that claim this title but as Russell was NZ’s first capital and one of its first settlements, they’re probably right πŸ™‚

Fiona ready for lunch πŸ™‚
My Snapper and Chips
The Group across the road enjoying their lunch

Fiona and I came to a wedding here several years ago and they’re slick operators where the food and Beveridge’s are concerned. There was a table setup for a group of about 10 across the road at the top of the beach having their meal out on the edge of the water… lovely!

The Duke of Marlborough behind the trees.
The Russell Ferry that was sunk after a collision with a boat a few days later. The boat in the background is a Classic called Wild Duck. It used to be a Flying boat tender in Mechanics Bay.

As the time crept on, we crossed to the road to the jetty and caught the ferry back to Paihia.

The ferry we caught back was being skippered by a lovely guy who also collected the tickets was the ferry that was sunk a few days later, by an alleged helmless 600hp go fast boat that hit the port side. He was badly injured and airlifted to Auckland in a critical condition. A terrible situation and from my past boating background, being hit on the port side means the ferry had right of way. Witnesses say there was no one at the helm. I hope after the investigation that the transgressor has the book thrown at them.

Leaving Russell

After getting back to the camp, I had a great chat to Jan who owns the camp and previously ran another bigger camp at Haruru Falls. It turns out that Jan is the big sister of an old Auckland Star colleague of mine who was a subeditor and used to lay out my photos on the fashion pages… Small world πŸ™‚ She was ex media too but in Televison!

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow of the Park

The camp is a little pearler with very tidy loos and showers and some apartments, some of which go up the hill. The camp sites are separated by Olive trees which is nice and the next morning, we were entertained by the β€œShakers” shaking out the Olives from the trees. The Oil is bottled along with the Olives and donated to charity.

The crew get stuck in.
The Shakers in action

A great park in a lovely spot and so handy!

Rafe’s tracker map to the Bay of Islands Holiday Park – Armada GPS

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 πŸ™‚

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 aΒ  pensioner, I might keep our next visit to off peak πŸ™‚

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!Β  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 πŸ™‚

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, β€œPark 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.Β  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.Β  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.Β  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.Β  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