Tag Archives: Campgrounds

Ninia Park – Musical Heaven

It is in Bell Block and just 10 minutes from downtown New Plymouth so its handy too.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Handy to the Happy Hour Pavilion

Just as the first Covid lockdown came on last year, Kevin and Lynda’s Tamarillo crop and others like it, were devastated by a bug that badly damaged their crop.  A real tragedy.  They had several neighbours who also got struck by the same bad luck.

Not to be outdone and being clever Motor homers themselves, they turned their small farm into a lovely big Motorhome and Caravan Park over property and it is a huge success!

Kevin and Lynda
Getting Busy

Keeping the big shelter belts that surrounded their Tamarillos, they’ve added a nice new Happy Hour facility with an outside deck.

Holes in the Shelter Belt

While I was there, there were a few windy days but being surrounded by the shelter belts, you wouldn’t have known!!

I was originally only going to stay a night but there is such a great atmosphere and a sense of community that I ended up being there for 5 days!  There are 8 powered sites and some hard stand parking, but it is so sheltered.

Happy Chat

Kevin and Lynda are both very good musicians and several of the people who stay there regularly are too.

Suzy T
Kevin and Lynda
Close to the Music

On the day I arrived, they had a small concert for an hour or two with their semi-trailer in the next paddock, fantastic. Kevin has setup it up with a neat sound system and what looks like a bit of a “Green room” at the end of the stage. Suzy T as she’s known, was on the keyboards and vocals. She’s a great singer and was staying in her Caravan just across from me.

Between where I was parked next to the Happy Hour Pavilion and the Stage, there was a huge row of shelterbelt trees but in one corner, there was a neatly cut out doorway through the trees… very clever.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

Kevin also helped me sort out a small problem I had with a missing screw in my under-engine cover which was hanging down. All done in a few minutes!

On Guard

A fantastic group of people encouraged by great hosts. Thanks again for having me.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ninia Park over – Armada GPS

Bright Colours by the Beach

With one week to go until the Hospice Taranaki News Photo Auction, I set off to New Plymouth a bit early to have a nosey around the mountain. Mt Egmont.

Click on any Image to enlarge.As I got closer to Mokau, on the coast I thought I’d stop at the Seaview Holiday Park right on the beach which had views down to Mt Egmont.

Bright Colours!

It’s a typical west coast beach complete with Black Sand and the wild water. The ruggedness is what makes it though.

The Beach looking towards New Plymouth

I checked in and was given a park right behind the sandhill facing the beach but still protected from any wind that might come up. Great parking!

One of the many baches along the coast

It’s one of those real old original Kiwi family parks with nice bright colours on slightly older cabins.

One of the Ablution blocks

The ablution blocks are covered in murals… nicely done.

Looking through the campground
Rafe with the beach behind
Mt Egmont on the right

I went for a wander around the park and then along the beach. Lovely spot!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Mokau – Armada GPS

Dethleffs Owners Group 2nd Soiree 2022

And it was a goodie too.. Many arrived early on Friday afternoon and were well settled by the time Fiona and I arrived about 12:30!

The day before we found out about the Kaiaua Pub courtesy van. I knew we had about 12 interested so it was all last minute but after two trips of the van, they all managed to get to the table and it all went well.

It was still raining off and on so I was in the pool soon after arriving, my favourite part of Miranda 🙂

Electrical help

As the day went on, it was a great meet and greet. For many of the 46 Motorhomes that arrived, this was their first get together and for me, the biggest turnout of vans ever.

It was funny though as the numbers from the bookings were 46, if you walked around and looked, it didn’t seem too crowded.

As the day wore on. More and more people were making themselves known and introducing themselves to everyone and looking around the Motorhomes.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged slide show – Friday

4pm came around and the BBQ area suddenly filled up with laughter and Wine bottles..

Day two was Bike ride day towards Kaiaua. Tony Coupe who put his hand up early encouraging riders to bring their bikes  and had a plan to ride to a neat little Café and Gallery called Stray Dog Café.  It was just up the hill off to the left on the way to Kaiaua. Fantastic place with an amazing Gallery  Thanks Tony.. more on this in another post coming soon.

On the trail to Kaiaua

We arrived back at Miranda a couple of hours later. A great ride and it was time for a coffee and another swim in the pool.

Neil during his talk. Pic by Mary Coupe

At 3pm, we had Neil showing quite a few interested people the basics on Amp hours and how to calculate your battery needs. Very useful and many went away very happy. Great work.. thanks Neil.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow – Saturday

At 4pm was time for a Team Photo but to make sure everyone was there, we started happy hour and then did the images. Photographer Grant who has the same camera as me, was keen to get me in the photo so we did a quick swap for a fun pic. Thanks Grant.

I was talking to one of the camp senior staff, Gay the next day and she was telling me they were watching us in the CCTV while we were getting organised and starting happy hour then suddenly we all vanished in a nano second.. “where did they go”! That must have been photo time 🙂

Click on this to enlarge for a better look.

John Ogilvie had very kindly brought his amazing projector along for the rugby and with Michelle’s screen, were were all ready for the big game starting later.

Everyone in
Tea time.
The leftovers of the shared meal.. I was too busy eating to get a before shot 🙂

At 6, the food started appearing on the Barbecue area and we all got stuck in. The food was unbelievable. Normally at a shared meal you end up with a lot of snacky stuff but this was top drawer dishes. Well done everyone. Stunning Stuff.

The tidying up and dishes were done in the well equipped kitchen and we were set for the Rugby.

A great atmosphere and we had a few other campers join us on the fringes to watch as well. I found out after talking to Gay in the office that they had quite a few people who wanted to watch in the TV room but there is no drinking or food in there so they were suggesting joining us so that was good. There even some people on the other side of the screen in the BBQ area watching it backwards from the opposite side of the screen 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to Enlarge

Well done and thanks John (the projectionist) and thanks again Michelle for the use of your screen. Although the result wasn’t what we wanted, it was still a fun night.


All in all, a great weekend finished off with a farewell coffee/tea catchup before everyone went off in different directions.

Talking to Gay (Miranda Holiday Park) afterwards, she said it went well for them, no one got up their noses (not from our group anyway) and for them it was easy.

Thanks too to Paul McLuckie who put his drone up to get the amazing drone images.

Click on this image to enlarge.

Thanks everyone for coming, we had a lot of fun and it was nice to see everyone again. Some we haven’t seen for years.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

Peace and Quiet at Raglan

The weather was good, there was a beach only a few yards away and the town was only 10 minutes walk.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Rafe at Raglan

We were looking to get out of the traffic but not too far away.. Raglan won the day. It has been a while since we were last here but it has an atmosphere all of its own. Very like Waiheke Island with some of the similar arty but down to earth shops.

Kids enjoying Badminton
Our neighbours from Hamilton and Tauranga enjoying the sun.

When my son Drew found out we were heading to Raglan, he said we had to go to Orca so I booked in online and its a magic spot. We went for lunch and the food was fantastic and it was very reasonable with a great view too.

The view out of the main street
The Historic Raglan Pub

After lunch we headed back to Rafe at the Raglan Holiday Park and then later onto the beach.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

There was a family from Hamilton with their youngest doing hand stands and flips on the sand while they enjoyed a glass of wine and watched the sun go down. Just magic.

Amazing Sunset

We were looking forward to the next day, Watching the rugby and then checking out the town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan – Armada GPS

House & Garden RV style!

Paeroa would have to get first prize in the Antique shops. A fantastic place if you like looking at old interesting stuff.

We’ve passed through here lots of times but only stayed here once before  and that was at the Paeroa RV centre.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

I hadn’t booked or anything and just rocked up and as I checked in, there was something vaguely familiar about the nice lady checking me in.

After I gave her my name, she looked at me strangely and and said, “I went to school with you at Takapuna Grammar School”, the penny dropped and everything fell into place. Jane was also was at school with Fiona at Vauxhall Primary School.. amazing memory.  We spent the next hour or so going though all the common friends that we have and strangely enough, have managed to keep in touch with.

Jane’s partner Steve is the caretaker and they have an amazing old Devonport Ferries red bus, a real slice of history.

Jane with her and Steve’s ex Devonport Ferries Bus

Paeroa RV Centre has changed over the years and now house s a lot of permanent people in bigger vehicles and they’ve developed a real community there. I found all of them very welcoming and very friendly and with the less than friendly winter weather that we’ve had lately, its a great spot to get comfortable.

Some of the appendages to their parks .. think decks and little garden areas are amazing. I very definitely felt very undecorated and certainly not anywhere in the hunt for a prize for my park 🙂 I did have some moss and a neighbour pots nearby though 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to check out the Gardens

Having met Steve and Jane, they talked me into staying a second night and I spent the next day walking into Paeroa, getting a haircut and buying some costume jewelry for Fiona.

Downtown Paeroa
There’s a plastic bottle now !

A fantastic place to stay, great people and I was really pleased to catch up with Jane again and meet Steve.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Paeroa – Armada GPS

Wild in Papamoa

Glancing through my iPad recently, I came across a rather sad posting of a friend who had been battling a Melanoma for the last 10 years but finally lost the race. They had recently moved out of Auckland to Papamoa to enjoy their retirement by the sea.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Hear those waves

When we found out the funeral was on and where, it was time to jump into Rafe and pop down to Papamoa to the funeral. Leaving Auckland early to beat the traffic, I found myself around the back of Hamilton by 9:20 in the morning. By 11:30 I was cruising into Papamoa after crossing the Kaimai’s. What a huge difference that new motorway makes by passing Hamilton.

Wild!

After checking into the Tasman Holiday Park in Papamoa, and settling Rafe down by the sea and after a cup of coffee, I called a Taxi to take me to the venue which was on the other side of Papamoa.

After the funeral, one of our old boating friends who also came down dropped me back at the entrance to the Holiday Park.

Click on the Gallery below to see an enlarged slide show

The camp has a lot of permanent Caravans all with their laid out decks and additions and I’m sure the place absolutely pumps in summer. The area where I was next to the sea was about 1/3rd full but it was pretty windy, cold and miserable with waves crashing in. Very handy to the beach which was probably less than 50 metres away.

I took the camera for a walk and it was wild with the sea absolutely raging.

Fantastic Beach
Some of the new beachfront chalets.

The ablution block looked almost new and was spotless. For the shoppers, its really handy to downtown Papamoa with a huge shopping centre right across the road.

Dusk at Papamoa -cellphone pic

The forecast for the morning was evil with thunderstorms forecast and high winds. When I woke up at 7, I thought I’d get up and get going given it was pretty exposed on grass and the clouds over Tauranga looked positively evil. It rained but I think the worst of it went offshore.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Papamoa – Armada GPS

Wonderful Waikite

We’ve been trying to get into Waikite at all the wrong times it seems. At the end of the weekend, we managed to bag a spot in their camping ground for a night. There are only about 20 powered sites so that explains why a holiday weekend is probably going to awkward.. 🙂

Click on any Image to enlarge

The campground at Waikiti

Waikite is about half an hour south of Rotorua and in its own little valley about 6 k’s from Waiotapu.

Our park at Waikiti

The campground does its best to be level but does have a little bit of a slope on it. Nothing that can’t be fixed with a wheel ramp or a block of wood 🙂

Pool with a view

We arrived around midday and after setting things up in Rafe, plugging in and opening vents, I went for a walk with the camera. Its an amazing place with some of its history on the walls in the onsite café.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

There are 3 smaller scenic pools plus a big main pool in the middle. Attached to the side of the main pool are two small spa pool sized pools so plenty of choice. They are all different temperatures so you can chose your own comfort zone 🙂

View from the lookout

A walk up the back behind the pools will take to the spring where the water is so hot, it is constantly bubbling out of the ground and running down a stream beside the pools.

The boiling spring at the back. The source!

On the track back to the pools is a lookout up the hill looking out all over the area. Both well worth checking out.

Lovely pools

We spent hours in the pools off and on and ending up having a simple nice shared seafood platter from the café there.

One of the bigger (and hotter) pools

The outside temperature got down to 5 degrees that night so we took advantage of the late 11am checkout for another early warm up swim before leaving.

Spa pools on the side

Everybody we’ve met raves about this place and I can see why. Its like being in another world and you can’t beat those Hot Pools.

Rafe’s tracker map to Waikite – Armada GPS

A long weekend in Hot Pools

And this meant Rotorua.. one of our favourite places in winter.

Click on any Image to enlarge

Amazing covered walkways to get to the Ablutions

We left early on Friday morning to try and beat some of the motorway traffic and it worked. By 9am we were in Pokeno topping up with some tax free fuel 🙂

Check out the walkways

We arrived at Rotorua about midday and had a quick look around but finally checking into Rotorua Thermal Holiday park down by Whakarewarewa.

We’ve stayed here before with our Grandkids and its a well setup park with a covered walkway system to the ablutions which is quite neat. Great in winter!!

We were allocated a spot on one side not too far from everything.

We settled the van, plugged in, opened some hatches and after a cup of tea, headed off for the first of many swims in the pool. Its amazing who you get to meet in a hot pool.

A Café but it was closed

The next morning we got an Uber into the Rotorua big barn shopping area. The Noel Leeming’s, Briscoes  and had a nosey around, headed off to Fiona’s favourite find of the weekend, an authentic French café and its lovely. I had a Crepe with bacon and eggs and it was every bit as the good as the one I remember when we were in Arras, France.

Fiona found this french cafe
The Crepe from heaven

After that it was time to walk off the lunch so we set off down to the lake front where they have recently finished a huge redevelopment of the foreshore. There is still more to come looking at the fenced off areas but what a big improvement. People everywhere so its good to see it being enjoyed by lots of young families.

The development on the waterfront
The Lincoln and other cars at Eat St.

We walked on towards Eat st and in there was a local Hot Rod / American Car display all down the middle of it. Some great old cars.. my favourite was an old Lincoln.

Click on the Gallery below for a enlarged Slideshow

As we headed back into the city, I managed to find a bus going right past the camp so we hopped on that and headed back to Rafe and then back to the pools.

The pools

There are four pools, one for families and 3 other smaller pools.. Not too hot so we literally spent hours in there off and on. What its all about!

The facilities are amazing, free showers, big kitchen area divided into sections so it can cater for several using it at once. Nice big lounge and huge dining room all connected..

The famous bridge where the kids used to dive for coins.
Whakarewarewa

And right over the road is Whakarewarewa and Te Puia which is always worth a visit.

Rafe’s tracker map to Rotorua Thermal Park – Armada GPS

Near a Hot Pool in naff weather!

We had not long returned from a trip around the South Island where we got a crack in the windscreen, courtesy of an oncoming truck speeding through roadworks. Our 8 year old Habitation door fly screen also lost its string too so after fixing these up, we were ready to go again or at least I was.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

It doesn’t often look like this.. early in the day.

As Fiona was working, she suggested I go away for a few days so with the forecast looking not that flash, I thought Miranda wasn’t too far to go and with the hot pools, was the perfect place to be.

The last time we came here was when we were baby sitting our grand sons Ayden and Liam and while it was wet, we had fun.

The weather was fantastic for the first of my three night stay and showery for the rest of the time so it was a case of dodging the showers from Rafe to the pool 🙂

I don’t think I’ve every seen the camp ground this quiet and this empty but this was my first midweek visit so hardly surprising but by the end of each day, the place seemed to fill up nicely.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

The camp has grown to now be more than 90 odd powered sites with BIG parks out the back and more doggy sites too. The dog sites is a great idea and is perfect for those who want to let their pets outside while keeping them close.

A doggy site.
The new Ablutions block out the back

The new nearby ablutions block looks the business too and with some of the trees out by the road gone, there is more room for walks and bike riding.

The new Children’s pool.

Its a great go to place for those who don’t want to travel too far and have and easy few days away.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

Bliss at Pakiri Beach

Its a wee bit off the beaten track but being here is just magic. The weather was perfect too.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Bream Head in the distance

It was the middle of the week and with Fiona at work, I thought somewhere nice in the sun would be nice. I last came here several years ago and post Covid, the only real thing that has changed is the trees have grown but I gather there are some big changes coming.

Chatting to one of the managers, they have a massive amount of unpowered sites which people don’t seem to want as much so they are powering a large bunch of them up. Some of the cabins are apparently well past their use by date but they seemed ok to me.

Great view from these Caravans

The camp is dominated a bit by long term Caravans but there is plenty of room for Motorhomes and more with the new powered upgrades to sites.

Some tenters popped in.
The view from one of the Units

The kitchen and lounge facilities are really good and there are several ablutions blocks.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

The feature though is that amazing beach.

I went out there not long after I arrived and the sense of peace and quiet is just amazing. I sat out there for an hour or so before heading back as I’d forgotten to take a hat but its just beautiful.

I did the same the next day with a hat 🙂 and its glorious.

Looking back to the camp from the beach

The nights were starting to get colder so there was only me and a couple of others in the campground so there was room for Africa. I bet it gets busy in the summer though.

Dusk

Next time, I’ll bring Fiona too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Pakiri – Armada GPS