Tag Archives: Campgrounds

Great parking at the Coromandel Hotel

This is one of those real gems. We’ve stayed here a few times now and it although the facilities are a bit rustic, they’re clean, they work, its a reasonable price and they’re nice people.

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The parking out the back.. early morning

We checked in at the hotel and after parking Rafe, we were pleasantly surprised to see it was pretty dry given the rain the area had been getting. The secret was that there is a good layer of scoria under the grass where you park. There was a couple of ruts from earlier people but they were easily avoided and it was easy peasy.

After having a look at the Coromandel Mining Museum up the road a wee bit, we went for another walk into Coromandel town for a look around for an hour or so and then wandered back. The shops were open yippee! The Mining Museum is run by volunteers and it is well worth a look at it.. really interesting with a lot of images of early Coromandel. I even found a list of the rules of being a Teacher in the 1870’s… quite funny looking at it now but they were deadly serious.

Coromandel Hotel

After getting back to the Hotel, we went for a drink in the Hotel and later had a meal there.

The Ablutions

The food is something else.. We both had Pork Belly and it was amazing. I even sent a happy snap off my phone to a mate in Taupo and he agreed by long distance.

The Pork Belly Yummmm!

Great hospitality, the food is fantastic and its an easy walk to town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Coromandel Hotel – Armada GPS

Long Bay – Great walks and right beside the water.

This can only be Long Bay about 3 k’s north of Coromandel town and an easy walk.

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It is also part of the Camp Saver scheme and although I’ve been here before on my own, it was Fiona’s first time here.

After checking in with Leanne, the camp manager, she advised us that as they had huge amounts of rain, they still had some sites we could use but most of it was roped off due to mud and slush. This is normally a magnificent part of Coromandel and to see it like this was a real shame for them… its only water and will dry out but with the Covid thing and everything else, they needed that like a hole in the head.

I was given the option of two waterfront dryish sites to park on and we easily got in without skidding but the mud was out there 🙂

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Once we’d plugged in and settled Rafe, we set off for a walk around the headland towards Tucks Bay. You can also camp around there as well. Its an easy 15 minute walk each way and is well worth doing. There is also the Kauri grove as well up behind the camp which is well worth checking out too but we didn’t get to do that this time.

The track back to Long Bay from Tucks Bay
Tucks Bay

With the clouds blowing away later in the day, it was just amazing sitting on the side of the beach doing absolutely nothing but taking it all in.

Great sunset

A great destination with plenty to see and do… stick this one on your to do list.!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Long Bay – Armada GPS

The Real Oil

Its amazing who you end up meeting in campgrounds! After our first night in the Greytown Motor Camp, we moved to a sunnier site with more room next to Karen and Ian who were staying in their new Eldiss Caravan while they have their house built in Masterton.

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Ian and Karen with their Caravan

I popped my head in the door and introduced myself. Later in the day we got chatting and I discovered that they too were an Army family along with hearing about their huge success in the Olive industry.

They started their Olive business around 2001 by planting their first 1200 trees and later added more in 7 different varieties to bring the total trees up to approximately 1900. Over the course of the last 10 years, they have won numerous awards for the quality and flavours of their oil.

The Eldiss

Last year they sold their business, Juno Olives, bought a caravan, are building a new house in Masterton and retiring!  A busy year… All going well the house will be ready in July.

The caravan is a brand new Eldiss Explor with a rear bathroom and Karen’s favorite part, the HUGE shower. Downsizing from their house to their first experience in a caravan, they found the awning an absolute necessity along with the motor movers for shuffling it around at campsites.

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Ian spent 20 odd years as an officer in the NZ Army specialising in Ammunition’s and Ballistics. He later spent many years in project management before the Olive industry beckoned. Karen was an Editor with TVNZ for years and later became a Technical Writer after doing a degree.

Its fascinating talking to people with these different backgrounds and working out how they both got from there to growing Olives 🙂

I’ve always liked the Eldiss caravans and their one is very comfortable with plenty of room. A lovely couple enjoying their caravan.

We popped into Juno Olives later.

Dinner at the Door

This is one of those places that you will remember for being super slick.

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This site was originally developed a few years ago by a chap who was really into Jetsprinting and set up the whole back area with a lake with obstacles for his hobby. I think since then it has changed hands and the new owners have developed the campground and Cafe. The lake is still there behind the campground area which is nicely set out with toilets and showers at one side. Plenty of powered sites to service them all and hop, skip and jump to the Flat Hills Café right next door.

Where the Jetsprinting used to be

We pulled into the massive carpark just a few k’s north of Hunterville and checked in at the Café. The lady there couldn’t have been more obliging and gave us a map showing where everything was.

After we’d ordered a coffee each and bought something to snack on, she explained that if we ordered tea and paid for it then (it was about 3.30pm then), we could specify a delivery time to the Motorhome at tea time. The options were 5pm , 6pm or 7pm. Wow I thought, I haven’t ever come across this before.

Inside the Cafe

We quickly ordered a meal each and after our coffee’s and a look around went back to Rafe.

Friendly Donkey

Our meals arrived right on the dot of 6pm and they were nice and hot and good food. A knock on the door and in it came. We washed the dishes and returned them in the morning.

The campground is on State Highway 1 and directly over the main road is the main trunk line to Wellington so you do hear the odd train and truck going past but at $22 Campsaver prices, its still really good value.

Nice parking

Its a great place for kids being well fenced with a great playground and plenty of farm animals for them to see.

The play area

Nice people, great value and very easy access and parking.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Flat Hills Cafe – Armada GPS

Sunny Wellington

Yep it was really sunny. I was a bit anxious coming into Wellington as the city is not famous for its abundance of parking for Motorhomes at a sensible price.

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Plenty of Room

As we came over the Rimutaka’s, I thought we’d give the Petone Workingman Clubs parking a shot and see if we could fluke a powered site. When we arrived, we were in luck!

Flags at Half mast for the Duke

They have recently increased the price to $20 with or without power but with power, I think that is pretty reasonable and the food and facilities are just the best. The parking area is quite big with room for about 15-20 off Caravans and Motorhomes with a gap. There are only 4 powered sites all bunched together around a corner fence. You have to be quick to get a powered site 🙂

I went to sign in and we went in to have a drink and some tea. We’re members of a club in the south island so were able to use that for the bar.  Great food at great prices.  Nice to see the dancing on the floor too while people waited for their dinner.

Fiona at the Bar
Dancing in the club

The next day we walked around to the Ava train station and caught a train into Wellington.

In the city
Nice waterfront

The train system in Wellington is so slick. Why can Wellington do this and Auckland can’t!

The Ava Railway station

15 minutes or so from Petone and we’re in the center of Wellington enjoying lunch at a French café not far from the railway station. We walked downtown to the waterfront area which is really nicely done with cafes everywhere and plenty of seating and relaxing space for the office workers. Lots of runners and people exercising in their lunch breaks, its great to see.

Fiona indicated shopping was on the agenda so it was time for me to slowly walk back to the train and head back to Rafe. Fiona arrived about an hour later and it was time to head back into the club for dinner.

The next morning, Fiona wanted to catch up with an old friend from Devonport now living in Upper Hutt so she caught the train up there and I went for a walk around Petone, just a block away.

Its a neat place Wellington and it was nice that over the 3 nights we were there, we didn’t have anything but sunshine and sometimes a little cloud.

I love what the clubs are doing with them making their parking available to us to stay and its a great place to have a meal or a drink too and at great prices.

Historic Greytown

Another one of those towns that we keep coming back to. The food and shopping is good, the real estate prices like everywhere else have skyrocketed but it is still a lovely little town.

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The Sun is out

We checked in at the local campground as we’ve stayed there a few times before and the manager Ken can’t do enough for you. It is also a Winter Campsaver site so that makes it very cost effective in the off season. Nice showers and toilets and nice flat sites with big high hedges to protect against the famous Wairarapa winds. There is also a swimming pool next door run by the council which you can use in the hot months.

Ken was very welcoming and basically is was park wherever you like. We settled Rafe and plugged in and went for a walk into town and started at the french Café for a coffee before moving on to the pub.

That night when we got back, we met our new neighbours Michelle and Patrick from Wanganui and other neighbours Karen and Ian who have recently sold their award winning Olive Grove. Juno Olives. Really nice people who we spent a lot of time with over the next few days.

Play Area

The next day, we took Rafe to Martinborough to have lunch at one of our favourite Vineyards, Margrains. The Chardonnay is fantastic as is the food.

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We started in the main square at a Café in the corner and from there walked around the square to check out the shops. Fiona took a shine to a dress shop there and ended up buying a nice black dress and a wooden necklace to go with it which looks good. We then moved on to Margrains and the slow cooked Pork Belly they do has never tasted better. Nice to wash it down with a great Chardy!

The Pub in town

We headed back to the Greytown Campground to catch up with our neighbours.

On our last day in Greytown we were going to bike up a trail 10 k’s or so to a historic railway station just out of town but we got to the other end of Greytown and it started to pour with rain so a change to plan B. ..

We spent the rest of the day walking through the shops and later had a fantastic communal meal in Michelle and Patrick’s awning with our neat neighbours.

Our Farewell dinner
LtoR Our farewell dinner. Patrick, Michelle, Karen and Ian.

A nice farewell to some super nice people and a great little town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Greytown Campground – Armada GPS

Small town camping

One of the nice things I find about getting out is finding all the little out of the way places you can stay for not a lot…. in other words very good value. They may not be perfectly flat or lacking in something but they make up for it in spades with their charm and beauty.

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Ekatahuna is one of those camping grounds. Great showers, toilets and with power and a well equipped kitchen for those who want them, it is surrounded on three sides by river and is just a stunner.

There is a Heritage walk to the town which is only 5 minutes away.

We arrived in the mid afternoon and checked in and we simply just parked in the middle of the grass. Fiona and I settled opened up some vent, plugged in and we were off to check out the walk around the camp by the river.

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The remains of one of the end supports of an old swing bridge that went across the river as a short cut to town is buried in the trees and can still be seen.

The River surrounding the park

There is a cabin there too which you can stay at and its all very casual and relaxed.

A great place to stop over and quiet too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ekatahuna Campground – Armada GPS

The boys are back in town

My son Alex and his two sons, Liam and Ayden were on there way down to join us from their Easter break at Pauanui.

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Plenty of tents

We were staying at the  Cozy Cottage Holiday park where I had arranged a Cabin for them to stay in. We brought the boys here a year or so ago for a weekend so we thought they might remember bits of it.

Good parking

We had just finished lunch with friends in the carpark on the Rotorua waterfront when we found out that they had arrived and checked in so we were off to catch up with them back at the park.

Play area

Apparently, the boys recognised the park and youngest Liam, said “Don’t worry Dad, I know where everything is so I’ll show you.”! He even remembered where we were parked the last time we bought them down and they stayed in the drop down bed in Rafe. .. they don’t miss a trick 🙂

Ayden waiting by Rafe at the camp

After they were settled, we got in Alex’s car and went around the Subway so they could get something to eat and then we went to Kuirau Park to show them the Thermal area.

Kuirau Park
Kuirau Park
Kuirau Park

They boys were fascinated and after it was evident that they were still getting over the drive down we headed back to the Cozy Cottage Park for a swim in the hot pools which they really enjoyed and it was good time to relax out of the car.

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After that we headed back to Eat st to find something that we could all agree on to eat 🙂 We settled on some shared Pizza’s at the same Italian Restaurant Fiona and I had lunched at a few days before, and it actually worked out cheaper than if we had eaten that well known takeaway that starts with M and much nicer 🙂

Digging for hot water at the Lake’s edge
LtoR Ayden, Fiona(Granny), Alex (son) and Liam digging for hot water.

After that it was pretty much bedtime for the boys but in the morning, we headed down to the Lakefront with borrowed shovels for the boys to find hot water in the sand!  Its amazing how the temperatures vary from their location on the beach. Some holes only a metre apart were too hot to wade in or just comfortable.. amazing.

Close to Ohinemutu

We all said goodbye and saw them off to the Luge and we headed back to Auckland on checkout time. A neat weekend and nice to see everyone.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cozy Cottage – Armada GPS

Art Deco by the lake

Fiona and I popped in to this Camp Saver park a few years ago and it is in a magic spot. Right on the end of the Ngongotaha bike trail to Rotorua.

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The Cabins look awesome

The bike trail into town is just over the road and at the end of a very short road is the lake with a public ramp and a jetty.  Ngongotaha shops are an easy walk up the road.

Reece and Dianne have been running this camp for a few years now and although they’re Motorhomers themselves, there hasn’t really been much time for them to get away.

The Childrens play area

Every time I looked outside Rafe, there was Reece chopping a tree back or getting a planned maintenance chore out of the way.

Classic shower block

The newly done up Art Deco shower and Toilet blocks are just the bees knees and the cabins are in the same style.

Down the road from the camp

The last time we were here it was so hot, we spent the best part of an afternoon in their swimming pool. There is also a well appointed play area for the little ones too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Rotorua Family Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Fun in the sun at Pauanui

With the Covid scare stopping our Anniversary weekend trip dead in its tracks, we headed off to Pauanui for the weekend to catch up with family and friends with our bikes on the back.

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Fantastic Beach

Its a great place for bikes as its all pretty flat and as most of the locals there use bikes to get around, they seem pretty tolerant and used to seeing them on the road.

We checked in at our favourite place for parking there, the Pauanui Sports Club. The Pauanui Club have been offering parking for NZMCA’rs for a few years now and doing a great job of it.

Looking good

The first day we were there, there was a knock at the door in the morning and it was our grandson Ayden who had biked around to say hello. We were later joined by his Dad, Alex and brother Liam.

Alex teeing off

The mini golf course next door was the place to be which was also busy with the long weekend. Granny Fiona went along too. 8 yr old Liam found a water trap within a few strokes of his club. As it was quite hot, he was in no hurry to get out either 🙂

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We had been invited out to tea with one of Fiona’s old school friends Janette and her husband Evan. Always nice to see them so we were off on our bikes to their place for a great night.

Busy busy

The next day we spent meeting the neighbours. Paul and Ruth on one side from Auckland and Peter and Wendy from Tauranga on the other. Small world stuff too. It turns out I’d met one of Peter and Wendy’s good friends involved with the Motorhome industry who we met again later in the weekend. I also used to work with Paul’s brother in Auckland 30 plus years or so ago in the newspaper industry..

We took the boys to the village to get some lunch.

We finished off here by having fish and chips with the grandkids around at their place. A nice weekend.

I’ve been a great supporter of the Pauanui Club. They’ve been great supporters of the NZMCA and its members and provide a great facility.  It is run with little human intervention meaning, no booking, no sites are marked out.

Due to its popularity now, I think time has come for the sites to be marked out and a limit placed on the numbers like the NZMCA sites.

Over the weekend, we ended up having 14 vans in there with only half having some reasonable fire gaps between them.

An extra one out by the Airfield

The general thought here was that it would be a good idea that the club put some “below lawn mower height” pegs in to define some sites and make sure that everyone is kept safe. Cheap and easy and it can continue to be run as it is.

Busy busy busy

Its a fantastic place to stay with great people and long may it continue.

Nice to get away for the long weekend and catch up with everyone at a great spot.

Rafe’s Tracker map – Armada GPS