While we were at little Waihi, I received a text from old friends Gary and Dianne to say they were having a Birthday BBQ (Gary’s) at his place on the 4th so we slightly revised our plans to include a trip to Taupo which we were both really looking forward to.
Our Grandkids Ayden and Liam also needed baby sitting for a couple of nights while we were there so we arranged that their dad Alex, could bring them to Taupo, the day after the BBQ and we would move Rafe from the NZMCA park to De Brett’s. The boys were going to sleep outside Rafe in a tent while Alex slept in the drop down bed in Rafe.. It all worked perfectly!
After the tent had been setup, and the boys had been to the De Brett’s waterslides and pools, they came around and visited Gary and Dianne on the Taupo waterfront.
It was good for everyone to see each other and as it was a stinking hot day, the boys enjoyed a swim in their pool. Thanks Dianne and Gary for having us all… it’s always nice to see you guys.
Later in the day we all headed out for a takeaway and headed for the park.
De Brett’s is a fantastic campground.. always easy and there is a café on site and of course the hot pools which are discounted if you stay there.
The next morning we tidied up and headed up towards Coromandel where Alex was picking the boys up a couple of days later.
One of our new favourite places and it is very reasonably priced, even at this time of the year.
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We have been here before on the edge of winter which was probably a better time for Hot pools as it was stinking hot.. over 30C!. Having the big established trees around were a blessing with the heat and they didn’t seem to stop the nice cooling breezes wafting through.
We were in and were given a HUGE park right in the middle, handy to everything.
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Big Pools .. both Hot
Two huge pools with sun shades easy parking its a great spot and very close to the big smoke at Whakatane.
There were plenty of Motorhomes and Caravans there and some nice looking cabins too. Nice facilities and friendly people too.
Its the silly season and we were looking for somewhere to go.. many places jack up their prices in the hot spots, think $70-80 a night for two and good on them but we would rather go somewhere off the track than pay that and often its just as nice.
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We settled on Bledisloe Holiday Park at Little Waihi right on the water.. Just a magic spot and the prices were very reasonable .. 5 nights for just under $200 with power, beachfront parking, fantastic showers(free) and loos of course.
The camp was busy and slightly chaotic being New Year holiday period but what a spot!.
On our first day we took Rafe down the road to check out Papamoa. We were parked up on the hill in a Freedom camping spot looking over the beach next to the campground. Fiona was getting ready to go for a swim. I noticed some people all standing on the sand checking something out and there it was.. about a 3 metre shark swimming through the 2 nd breaker along the beach.
There was a woman with her 2 yr old toddler just in the water running to grab him.. she also went down the beach further to alert other swimmers and I’ve never seen them get out of the water so fast. Needless to say, Fiona never made it into the water.
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Peace and Quiet
The Seafood Basket.
Baches in Little Waihi
Kids playing in Estuary
After the excitement there, we headed to Maketu where the famous pies come from but the shop was shut. We headed for the Café on the water which does an amazing Seafood Basket for lunch looking along the beach towards the Mount.
After a great lunch we headed back to the camp and settled in for the next few days. We met some great people and I have to say, I really enjoyed the change for us of sitting in one spot for a few days and swimming, reading and just taking it all in.
A wonderful park in a superb spot. You can walk over the estuary at low tide to Pukehina Peninsular for somewhere else to explore.
Another one from a few3 years ago.. Bell Block NZM<CA park had not long been opened.. great fun biking into New Plymouth.
As we drove Rafe down from Awakino, I was quietly hoping that we would be able to squeeze in to the new NZMCA park in Bell Block, just outside New Plymouth.
I needn’t have worried as when we arrived there were only about 4 vehicles there and as the day went on, more popped in.
One of the best Dump stations I’ve seen
Merle and Alan
Some four legged neighbours
Its a HUGE park and really nicely set out with the 3 metre spacers in the ground so no room for arguments. There is one of the best Double sided Dump Stations there with Fresh water dotted all around the outside perimeter of the park. With nicely smoothed out Gravel all over the park, there is no worries if the heavens open up. It just couldn’t get any better.
We rode into the City via the Coastal Walkway and it is a 20k round trip and was easy on our Huff’n’Puff bikes!!
Another nice spot and the seat on the top of the bank is a nice touch too 🙂
The Netspeed Speedtest
While we’re still effectively in lockdown .. here’s a neat place we went to just out of Hawera a few years ago.. amazing place..
After leaving New Plymouth, we stopped in Stratford Countdown for some Milk and a few essentials and after breakfast and a look around, cruised on to the famous Tawhiti Museum.
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Started by a local very clever Artist, Nigel Ogle with his wife Teresa, they built this up using local friends and aquaintances to make their lifesized models faces and they look amazing. I love the expressions too. In 1975, they bought the old Cheese factory where Nigel worked as a boy and this was the start of the Museum.
It is split into three Museums being the local history, the Traders and Whalers and the Bush railway.
Fiona and I elected to check out the Local History which took several hours. This could easily take the whole day if you elected to do all three.
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The Motorhome Parking
Being helped down
At the shop
A sing song
Oops priceless expressions
In the tractor and farm museum area
Old Military trucks
That amazing Mountain
The parking opposite is fantastic with plenty of room for Motorhome parking with separate parking for the cars on the sides.
There is also a well stocked Cafe on site with great Coffee too. A neat spot.
We’ve decided already we will have to revisit and check out the other bits we missed but an awesome display that really is a must see.
We went from here to the Muller NZMCA park in Hawera where we recognised several other Motorhomers who were parked next to us at the Museum! Isn’t it funny how great minds think alike 🙂
Greytown is one of those lovely little towns that just oozes charm and is full of history.
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With up to 35C heat, we thought a trip to the Greytown pool next door to the wonderful little Greytown Holiday Park, well it would be rude not too! The pool is free being provided by the kind citizens of Greytown and it must be slightly heated as it was about 28 C in the pool!
The Holiday Park is fabulous with Ken and Nina at the helm. Ken is a real character and couldn’t be more helpful. At $35 for 2 with the NZMCA discount with power, it is very good value. And of course the use of the pool next door !
We were both keen to check out the Shoc Chocolate shop which is almost part of the local Museum.
The Cobblestone Museum is amazing and has a collection of several of the oldest buildings in the area.
There were also a few clever people in the area. One called Donald Donald who invented the wool press and got world wide patents for it. This is back in the late 80’s. He was also well know for inventing a wire fence strainer amongst other things.
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Inside the school house
The inside of the Church
A Church in the Museum
Donald Donalds barn at the Museum
Rafe in the Greytown Holiday Park
A local Church, Hospital, School House and others were well set out in an area where there was originally the Transport Hub for the area with the original cobbles still intact.
And afterwards.. the Shoc Chocolate shop was a great place to stop too.
We had arrived in Rafe along with Ian and Lynda with their XLI, and Gary and Dianne with their Niesmann and Bichoff Arto at the NZMCA parking area at the Rugby Ground at Martinborough.
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The official Motorhome and caravan parking was at Puruatanga Park. In previous years this has been called Cruise Central but this year it was simply a registration area.
We arrived mid afternoon on the first day and were directed to park around the end of a fence which was just perfect.
Early one morning.. it was probably after 9am 🙂 you could hear the dulcit tones of many Ford and Chev V8’s arriving for registration before they headed off to the Drag strip at Masterton for a day of action!
More and more cars kept coming to the point that I thought I should shift Rafe out of the way but there was plenty of room.
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A V8 Hillman with a Home made Tear Drop
Many of the Woman dressed up really nicely in Polka Dot dresses and Parasols but the chaps seemed happy in their cut off jeans and T shirts which seemed a bit of a let down 🙂 .. whatever spins your wheels I suppose !
Some amazing vehicles and it was nice being able to walk amongst them and talk to the people involved with them.
An hour so so later, they were leaving for Masterton for the Drag Strip. A real spectacle and good to see so many cars so nicely looked after.
I discovered that an old friend who I used to work with many years ago was not so well, so I thought I’d try and cheer him up by popping in to see him in New Plymouth.
This post is really about the wild piccies!
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I checked into Belt Rd campground in New Plymouth, where I met Nadine who was holding the fort. She very kindly checked me in to a waterfront site with a view which I was a bit apprehensive about due to a wind and rain warning for that night. Very nice of her to offer me that site though 🙂
I trundled off to the first of two sites she gave me to look at … the first I checked out on foot to make sure it was solid as it was grass at the top of the cliff looking out over the port. Very nice spot but I was concerned about the grass and the water with Rafe’s 4.4 tons odd. I tried parking on it and went to move back again and I basically wheel spun to get back to the tar seal road behind.. scary stuff.
So a compromise was called on where I backed in a park further down the campground and kept my front wheels on the road. I could still reach the power box so all was well.
Needless to say, I was a bit stressed after that and went to see my friend for the afternoon and it was really nice to see him.
After an hour or so, he had some other visitors so I came back to Rafe and settled down to watch the weather. Fantastic views but it was blowing dogs off chains!
When I returned after hearing from my friend who is a long term local was telling me that it never rains there.. Yeah right thought I!
I went for a walk to get some piccies and to have a look around. A spectacular spot though with great views everywhere you look and not that far from the centre of New Plymouth shopping centre.
That night I woke up about three times to some huge puffs of wind buffeting Rafe around and I immediately thought of a motorhome and caravanner up on the edge of the cliff where I was supposed to go… it blew and it rained and it rocked and rolled.. amazing.
In the morning I got up early to get back to Auckland as it was in a full lockdown!! I did have plans to check in on an old mate in Eltham, next time!
I didn’t have time to get into town this time to check out the Kiwiana which this town is famous for but we’ll be through here again soon I’m sure.
We first stopped in here a couple of years ago when the NZMCA park was only new. Its a pearler being right next to the Waipa river and with the trees being bare of leaves, there is a great view right across the river to farmland beyond. The perfect outlook while you enjoy that later afternoon glass of Rose 🙂
I pulled in later in the afternoon and there was plenty of room. I was going to try the local campground but they had a policy of a minimum charge for two, even in the middle of winter so I decided to do without the power and settle for a nice spot by the river.
With some high winds and plenty of rain expected, it was nice to be in behind the trees by he bank of the river too.
Nice park, nice outlook with water and rubbish collection and its interesting to see there is a choice between gravel and grass here too! Well done to those who look after it.