Tag Archives: Campgrounds

A Hidden Sanctuary in Paradise

We woke up to another stunning day at Tekapo NZMCA park by the lake. Ray and Margaret next door in their bus were up and about. Fiona had an idea that she’d like to take Rafe out and check out some of the lakes nearby.

As soon as I stepped out to see Ray, they were doing exactly that and did we want to come with them in their Toad (Suzuki). Then came the rustling around for thermos flasks and cooly bags. A better idea said I, why don’t we take Rafe and we’ll have fridge and cup of tea / butter etc facilities. We were off.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

Ray and Margaret have been on the road in their bus for 4 ½ years so there aren’t many places in the South Island that they don’t know about. One of their little Gems was a neat place called McGregor Lake and Lake Alexandrina.

Looking across lake McGregor to Tekapo

Its about 12k’s from Tekapo and is run as a campsite by a Community Committee. It is in a fantastic spot on the side of a river between the two lakes. Just spectacular.

Stunning Spot

You can stay their for $10 a night per person. There are Toilets and Showers and rubbish along with an outdoor kitchen.

Our first stop was the Dump Station at Tekapo to fill and empty and then the local 4 Square shop for some fresh bits for lunch, then we were off.

We headed along the road to Mt St John and then a short gravel road and we were there.

Across Lake McGregor

We met a chap who had been there a while in his caravan and was keenly following the antics of the local Paradise Ducks. He directed us further down a track to the other area where there more than 50 Caravans and a whole bunch of Baches up on the hill.

Ray on the left walking to lake Alexandrina

As we walked along the river, Ray told us about a time when he was here earlier when he saw Salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The small river was just chocker with Salmon. It would have been quite sight !

Great camping

With the caravans on both sides of the river, its just an idylic spot to stay. No shops and no pubs but if you’ve got a kayak or just want to blob, what a sensational spot.

Lake Alexandrina

After a good look around, we retired to Rafe for lunch with cups of tea and plenty of laughs.

The images say it all.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After lunch we tidied up and headed back to Tekapo Club camp and organised ourselves for the next event of the day, Happy Hour!

Our neighbours Jim and Lynley back at the NZMCA park

As the afternoon wore on, more and more neighbouring Motorhomers and Caravanners came over to join us. Its really interesting meeting people from all walks of life and where they come from. Lots are retired but many still work and its interesting hearing their stories.

Happy Hour with all our visitors at Tekapo. Cell pic

Another fantastic day in the Sunny South Island.

Rafe’s Track to the camping area.

Botanical Parking

All the way around the South Island when we have talked to other Motorhomers and Caravanners, we’ve had the comment, “ when you’re in Geraldine, you HAVE to stay at Peskis!”.

Nice parking

Geraldine, Pleasant Point and all around this area is Fiona’s families old stamping ground, and there is lots of McLeod family history in this area so we were always going to be stopping here for some time!

Rafe tucked in for the first couple of nights

Peski’s was our destination and what an amazing place it is. Now run by Sue and David Fisher and their dog Tui. The best way to describe it is its like the Botanical Gardens which you can park your Motorhome or Caravan in.

The gardens

It is available to all NZMCA members and it is $15 for a powered site and $5 pp for a grass patch. $2 for the washine machine and $2 for the shower. There is also a cassette only Dump Station too which is also $2  and fresh water.

Down the driveway

We’d just come in the drive in early November, when we were welcomed by David who showed us where everything was and directed us to a powered site at the bottom of the Garden.

The place was reasonably busy but not fill by a long shot but everybody here was happy to be here and the atmosphere is something else.

Happy Hour

David works locally and the Park over property is officially Sue’s baby and it is easy to see they just love it here. They moved from the other side of Geraldine last November when the previous owners wanted to sell and its a stunning place to stay.

No wonder everyone raves about it. Whenever I turn around, I see one or both of them doing something in the grounds and they look fabulous.

Parking up

We decided to stay a week here as its handy to everything around here and every day we catch up with new neighbours and of course our very kind hosts, David and Sue.

They have just had a good friend of theirs make them a new letterbox which is a caravan with the wings on it with their street number.

Down behind the parking area are tracks into the bush and to the river which runs behind the property. David has set up a seat with bark and punga so you can relax down there with the river and solve the worlds problems 🙂

This is the second seat as the first one got washed away but Fiona and I spent a very pleasant ½ hour so as it was so hot and there was a nice breeze coming off the river.

The River
Fiona by the river

A great spot with fantastic hosts who are just amazing.

Running water at the river

We’ll be back here too. A lovely spot!

Rafe’s Track to Peski’s

Tea by Winchester

One of the things we wanted to do was catch up with old friends Pam and Campbell who we knew from our old days is Devonport. They have set up an amazing Farmstay B&B business just outside Temuka and had invited us for tea. Yippee.

The next issue was where to put Rafe as Google Earth showed their driveway impassable for Motorhomes and there wasn’t roadside parking either.

Plenty of room

There was an great camping ground a few K’s up the road at Winchester which was $18 a night with plenty of room to spread out so we headed there.

The campground is actually in the Showground’s so there are times of the year when it isn’t available. Nice showers which don’t require any money and a big kitchen common room which looks the business.

Lots of space
Showers and Toilets

After an afternoon of lazing in the 20 C plus sun, we got the bikes down and headed down the road to Pam and Campbells place. Drinks in the sun on the deck and amazing roast meal and it was really neat to see them after having not seen them for at least 20 odd years. They look really well and the House they have done up looks great and they’re now running it as Olivers  Farm Stay  Bed & Breakfast. Campbell is a Chef so the meals are stunning !

Campbell and Pam

Campbell very kindly dropped us off at the campsite later, with the bikes on a bike rack on the back of his car as it was a bit dodgy in the dark on State Highway 1 ! Thanks very much guys and it was lovely to catch up again after all this time.

Inhaling the History

The Historic Black Hotel in Ophir was a welcome sight for a late lunch cup of coffee. After an amazing Lemon Meringue Tart and a good look around the hotel, we set off for a good look around Ophir with the camera.

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The Post Office. Still in use today.

The original Post Office seems to be the hub of the History in the area and they’re doing a good job of promoting the old buildings. The Post Office still operates for 3 hours each day. Behind it is the original Jail Cell from Omakau.

Check out the Gallery below for a slideshow of Ophir

After an hour or so here, we went over the bridge to the Omakau Commercial Hotel where they have a great Motorhome and caravan parking setup behind. The parks are all on concrete pads and most have an optional ensuite with a shower and toilet area.

The parking with the ensuites

The parking is $15 a night with power and the ensuites are $10 pp per night. We opted to do our own thing and just use the power.

Parking with the Ensuites

After settling down Rafe, we went for a walk around the town through a new subdivision and its amazing how many new houses are being built here. The Rail Trail has really set things alight in the whole Central Otago region.

The front of the Hotel

We headed into the Hotel to pay for our park and have a drink and meet Stacy who gave us a great background on the pubs history.
It was originally built in 1898 as a Homestead on a 200 acre block, by the Leask family, one of the original settlers and his family. There are original stables out behind the Hotel which are used as a function centre.

The Function Centre

When Stacy and her husband took over the Hotel 11 years ago. The weeds were knee high and it desperately needed some tlc. Stacy’s dad was involved in helping to restore the pub and after they realised that Stacy’s grandmother was a house maid at the pub for years, Stacy’s Dad couldn’t bring himself to sand the top of the handrail but lacquered and painted everything else. The thought was his mother would have run her hands up and down it over many years.

Stacy with the banister

The rooms all look fantastic and all have a slightly different look so they’ve done a great job. The grounds are immaculate and it now looks well loved.

After having a few drinks down in the bar, we spent an hour or so back in Rafe and then came back for Tea. I had Pork Belly which was really reasonably priced and was stunning. Fiona had Blue Cod and that was good too.

Old farming gear along the driveway

A lovely place to stay and Stacy is about to put the hotel on the market so if you think this is you, give her a call at the Omakau Commercial Hotel.

Rafes Track to Ophir

Small World

As I had driven past a few Fruit and Vege stalls as we came into Roxburgh, I could tell Fiona was getting edgy and one finally came with plenty of parking and warning 😀. As I drove slighly past it to get to let traffic past so I could reverse and drive in, another Motorhome came in behind me so after waiting for them to park, I drove in next to them.

Fiona recognised the them as old friends  and there was an immediate reunion in the fruit stall carpark 😎

Click on the Images for Hi res

We made arrangements to meet in town later at the Gold Cottage Campground across the river.

Nice!

The camp is run by a lovely lady who has had it for 7 years but is making huge changes to it. The grounds, the amenities and the parks are absolutely top notch and all for $30 for two on a powered site.

A sluicing lake behind the park.
Pipe seats

There are also tracks out the back of the grounds which take you to Roxbough and lots of historical bits from the Gold mining days around with some great explanation boards.
Very easy and comfortable and it is all beautifully terraced so its easy to get a level parking spot.

A relic of the area.
At the campground

Lloyd and Kate arrived later on and we enjoyed several hours of fun with a few drinks.

Rafe with Lloyd and Kates Carado next to us

Lloyd was a bit of legend with the whitebait and cooked up some fritters that were sensational. It was a great night. They’re great fun and I’m sure we’ll catch up again soon.

Some of the Gold Cottages
Playground

They’re currently living and working up past Wanaka and having a ball with their new Carado Motorhome.

Rafe’s track to Roxburgh

NZ’s Longest Wooden Suspension Bridge

We were heading for Tuatapere and then onto Clifden Suspension Bridge. Apparently it is the longest wooden suspension bridge in NZ and was built late last century.

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The Bridge

The river had a lot more water going down then before the Manapouri Power system chopped back the flow of water. It is also a free overnight spot provided by Southland Council.

The largest Wooden Suspension bridge in NZ

We spent an hour or so having a good look around here. A lovely spot.

The Free Overnight parking area.

Nice spot but next we were heading to a place Fiona’s grandparents spent some time at Otautau which had an interesting overnight parking place on the side of the towns football field.

On the side of the footie field.

Its a neat spot and comes with power, inludes hot showers, washings facilities and a small kitchen with two ovens. It $10pp plus $5 for power.

Fiona hanging out the washing.

A neat spot not far from the centre of town and run by some people who live not far from the park who were very helpful.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Fiona decided she’d wash our linen and as she entered the kitchen/washouse found that someone had left one of the Ovens on!  No damage done but who knows how long that had been left on.. thinking power bills :-/

Looking out at footie field.

Great spot and we’re planning to check out the local museum tomorrow and head for the Catlins.

Rafe’s track to Otautau

Alive and Hopping

That is Queenstown ! Its a busy town and seems to be going 100 miles an hour everywhere you look.

The options for camping here are limited to MotorCamps really and we were happy to stay at an old familiar spot which used to be a Top 10, The Creeksyde Holiday Park. We’ve stayed here both in Rafe, a renter Mercedes and our old caravan Wee Rafe. Its a lovely spot but like all the Campgrounds in Queenstown comes with a premium price. As a treat and as it was close for Jessa, it was worth it. On the way there, we stopped at Pak N save in Frankton and did a big shop for a week or more and wow, that placed has sure changed. Its like a whole new town there now.

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Our park in Queenstown

After settling down Rafe in his little spot, Fiona walked into town and I unhooked my bike and biked down for a look see. I headed down to the ferry wharf to watch the goings on and Fiona went to some Art and Clothes shops.

The waterfront
Queenstown waterfront

We met down at the waterfront and enjoyed a cuppa watching the tourists getting on and off boats and generally people watched for a while. Lots of fun in the sun.

A reminder of where you are !

We eventually headed back to Rafe and got organised for tea.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Jessa popped in about 6pm and it was a fun night catching with one of “our favourite Nieces”!

Fiona and Jessa

It was great to see Jessa Jean and we’re looking forward to catching up again in a few weeks when Fiona’s sister Sara (Jessa’s Mum) comes down for a holiday.

Rafe’s track through to Queenstown