Tag Archives: Campgrounds

A great park and it’s free!

After a great couple of nights in Martinborough we went into battle with the wind and the rain to get to Hawkes Bay.
The rain was horizontal and when the trees on the west turned into wire fence’s with us driving along at 90 odd k, the puffs were awful. There were a couple of times we were down to 60k just to rest the nerves. By Dannevirke, it had settled down a bit and the rest got easier as time went on.

Hiding in the bushes at Clifton
Hiding in the bushes at Clifton
Us hiding from the wind at Clifton
Us hiding from the wind at Clifton. The wind was coming from behind the big trees.

Late in the afternoon, we arrived in Hastings. The sun was shining and we were heading for Clifton Beach, a wonderful free parking area laid on by the Hastings Council. It comes complete with a modern toilet facility and rubbish collection right on the beach.

The Toilets at Clifton
The Toilets at Clifton

The wind was still blowing but it had dropped off considerably. We parked amongst some shrubs for protection from the wind and settled down for the night. It was just getting dark when 4 big truck and trailers rumbled in and headed down towards the eastern open area (without our beloved shrubs for wind protection). What neat looking wagons.

One of the vans at Clifton
One of the vans at Clifton
Interesting can at Clifton
Interesting bus at Clifton
Another interesting can at Clifton
Another interesting truck and trailer  at Clifton
Lifestyle at Clifton!
Lifestyle at Clifton!

We woke up at 4:45 to watch the Scottish rugby game against the Aussies! You had to feel for the poor Scots. Where were Craig Jouberts glasses when he needed them?

The next morning, we got the bikes ready and headed for Elephant Hill vineyard right over the road for a nice lunch and of course some wine tasting. It was well setup with a processing plant next to their retail outlet and restaurant and completely surrounded by vines with infinity pools, it was a nice setup.

Fiona enjoying a cider at Elephant Hill
Fiona enjoying a cider at Elephant Hill

We had a great lunch, beautiful food and the wine was stunning, I was pleased we’d done the right thing arriving by bike. We decided after that we needed some exercise so off we went in the other direction behind Haumoana.
The wind was getting up again so after half an hour or so of exploring in the bikes, we thought we’d retreat back to Rafe at Clifton Reserve. By then, more interesting vans. And where is it. We were the blue blob at the bottom.

Clifton Reserve
Clifton Reserve
Us on the foreshore for a cup of tea before we left
Us on the foreshore for a cup of tea before we left. Napier city in the distance.

What a great place to park!

Vineyards and Bikes

We left Rarangi about 10 on Wednesday and cruised up to Picton to catch the 2pm ferry to Wellington. The weather again was kind for a good crossing and by 5:45, we were cruising up Wellingtons main motorway heading for Fiona’s cousins in Raumati to join them for tea. After a great fun night with them, the next morning we left to head to the wine area around Greytown and Martinborough .

Remember clicking on the images will display them at hi resolution.

From the Rimutakas Summit looking towards Featherston
From the Rimutakas Summit looking towards Featherston

We spent the afternoon checking out the Greytown shops which must be one of the oldest done up towns around.

Fiona crossing towards the old Greytown Hotel
Fiona crossing towards the old Greytown Hotel
Rafe behaving in Greytown
Rafe behaving in Greytown
The original Masonic Lodge in Greytown, now a design furniture store
The original Masonic Lodge in Greytown, now a design furniture store

They’ve spent a lot if time and effort on doing old things up rather than knock them over and it looks great.
Later in the day we cruised over to Martinborough and checked into the Motorcamp.

Top 10 Martinborough
Top 10 Martinborough

The next day after breakfast and getting the bikes off the rack, we were off to check out the vineyards and Olive Oil. Martinborough is perfect for bikes as it is dead flat. Our only impediment was a stiff westerly wind but nothing our 10 speeders couldn’t deal with.

Getting the bikes ready
Getting the bikes ready
Martinborough Hotel
Martinborough Hotel

We found a boutique vineyard not too far from town called Margrains. After a great lunch in the sun, we checked out the cellar and due to people being on holiday, the owner was working the cellar. He was very knowledgable and a real character and was passionate about his business.

One of my first selfies ever at Margrains
One of my first selfies ever at Margrains
Fiona outside Margraines of Martinborough
Fiona outside Margraines of Martinborough

The Pinot Rose, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris were all amazing wines all with less sugar. The Pinot Gris was much drier as a result and was a superb and very drinkable wine:-) I ended up buying a mixed dozen of different wines which we’ll collect tomorrow with the van. A lot of fun and he wasn’t going to let me go until I’d tasted all 9 of his great wines. I was well and truly ready for a bike ride !
We headed from there about 4ks towards an Olive place so Fiona could grab and taste some Olive oil. So after 20 minutes or so of riding out if town, we came across our Olive place with a closed sign.. Bugger!

Fiona outside the closed Olive place
Fiona outside the closed Olive place

We rode back into town for a cup of tea, a visit to the 4 square shop and then made our way back to the van. A good day, nice weather and I’m looking forward to trying one if those wines over the next few days.

Oddities and Colour

The view out of the front window at our site in Akaroa.
The view out of the front window at our site in Akaroa.

We woke up to the alarm at 4:30am to watch the France v Ireland Rwc game, Ireland won! Great game too.

After falling asleep, we woke again at 9am to see another great day of sunshine. The forecast was awful with north west gales and rain on the way so we thought we’d head from our North West facing perch for somewhere a bit more sheltered.
We decided to head to Christchurch and leave our wonderful view over Akaroa, and catch up with some relatives.

The colourful boatsheds at Duvachelle
The colourful boatsheds at Duvachelle

On the way, we went through Duvachelle harbour where there is an amazing rows of boatsheds. I thought maybe they have to paint them these colours for resource consent reasons but surely not! There is a huge Motorcamp right on the water there which looks quite good.

Moving on from there was the Duvachelle Hotel, which has a for sale sign if anyone us keen. Over the road is an amazing row of colonial cabins? .. Or rooms, I’m not sure what but an interesting building.

The cottage at Duvachelle
The cottage at Duvachelle

A kilometre or so down the road we were at the Barry’s Bay cheese factory where we bought some beautiful cheese and of course a bottle of Chardonnay to go with it. The cheese is made on site and there is a huge window from the retail are which looks through so you can see the cheese actually being made.
We stopped over the hill at Little River for lunch. Interesting little place full of history and with some corrugated iron silos, turned into holiday accomodation.

The Holiday Silos at Little River
The Holiday Silos at Little River
Little River Railway Station
Little River Railway Station

We stopped along the way to get a piccie of Lake Ellesmere. I kicked myself a bit here as on the way to Akaroa, it was sparkly blue sky and water with a cyclist riding through. It would have made a much nicer piccie.. Oh well!

Lake Ellesmere from the Little River road
Lake Ellesmere from the Little River road

After a trip to Burnsco and Papanui Countdown and we were safely tucked up for the blow in Christchurch.

Vineyards and swing bridges

Wellington harbour
Wellington harbour
Early morning Wellington from the ferry
Early morning Wellington from the ferry

With an early start on Tuesday morning from Evans Bay, we followed Chris and Gary around a very still Wellington waterfront to the Bluebridge ferry terminal. The hour wait in the queue that we expected didn’t eventuate so we were on Bluebridges newest ferry Strait Feronia and in comfy chairs looking out at Wellington city in no time at all.
The trip across was magic, little or no wind and pretty flat given it was Cook Strait.
Cook Strait is the  water between the North and the South Island of NZ for those offshore.

Coming into Picton
Coming into Picton

After arriving in Picton, we’d decided to find somewhere for lunch around Blenheim and then head to Pelorus Bridge for the night.. About 60 odd k’s.

Allan Scotts vineyard
Allan Scotts vineyard

Driving through the world famous Marlborough vineyards, we came across the Cloudy Bay and Allan Scott vineyards right over the road from each other. Allan Scotts looked easier for parking two 7m plus motor homes and we found an open gate leading right next to the vines so rather than upset their car park with two motor homes we parked there.
After lunch in our van amongst the vines, we went in to gain some wine knowledge and a quick tasting.
I bought a nice Chardonnay and a Reisling. Gary came away with a nice Pinot Noir. We had a brief visit to a chocolate factory as well and the girls came away with their wallets slightly lighter 😊

Our park at Pelorus Bridge
Our park at Pelorus Bridge
Pelorus suspension bridge
Pelorus suspension bridge
Pelorus River
Pelorus River

Half an hour or thereabouts easy driving got us to Pelorus Bridge DOC camp. With both Gary and I having annual DOC passes, we found this camp didn’t accept them but it was only $12 each for the night in a nicely manicured bush area with power, toilets and an amazing hot shower!
After plugging in and settling down, we set off for a walk along the river to a massive suspension bridge over the Pelorus river. It only took an hour so an easy walk.

Another view along the Pelorus river edge.
Another view along the Pelorus river edge.

Arriving back to the camp, I had to try the shower. What a treat. Plenty of hot water, great pressure in a well setup hut with no tops to the walls so you’re in the bush. Great experience.
We finished a great day with a glass of something cold in Rafe.
We’re off to Nelson tomorrow.

Raglan at its best

 

After the rugby
The bridge to Raglan

We were up early to be joined by Dianne and Gary to watch the All Blacks play Namibia.. What a great first half and great that Namibia scored a try. The second half. Well !

Breakfast time

A walk up to Raglan town across the foot bridge was next on the agenda so we crossed the footbridge from the campground to the town and checked in a one of the cafes for breakfast. A tour around the crafty shops and although I’m not a great shopper, I was on my best behaviour😜

The wharf
The perfect house
Repairing a fishing boat

Raglan has an amazing wharf area with a great fish shop. There is also what Madam thinks is the best pottery and jewellery shop around. We stopped for a cup of tea and watched some fishermen repairing their nets.

There is an old silo there which has been turned into flats.

The fish shop
Repairing nets
Fiona and Dianne enjoying the view

We set a course for home and Gary and I had a crack at getting the NZMCA kml tikes into his Gps.

After an anxious hour or so after the Nav software wouldn’t play the game on Gary’s Mac, I remembered where the files went and we managed to set the path and install the files manually… We hadn’t buggered it up after all.😀

We celebrated with some great fish and chips in the new XLI with a glass or two of something cold😎

Back to the vans

Today we’re off to Marton to meet Gary and Chris for the trip to Wellington.

Designer dirt

Rafe on the farm
Rafe on the farm

It’s great to be on the road.. As I suspected might happen… Forgetting something important…, we got as far as the city and had to return to  Devonport to send out my September invoices ..😗… That set us back half an hour for doing a job on the way for a Wellington customer,…on a farm at Glen Murray. ..it didn’t really matter at the end of the day..we’re on the road and away .. Yay.

Madam reading up on the wind farm
Madam reading up on the wind farm
The wind farm at Te Uku
The wind farm at Te Uku

We arrived 40 minutes later and got some nice images .. Rafes first visit to a farm and getting the designer dirt treatment😀

The Gps then had a moment where it took us the back windy way from there to Raglan where we caught up with our friends from Taupo, Dianne and Gary in their new Dethleffs XLI. Great to see them again.

Raglan Main st
Raglan Main st
Raglan Hotel
Raglan Hotel

Dianne had arranged for us to stay at the Raglan Motorcamp which is on a peninsula virtually surrounded by water with a footbridge into town so we’re looking forward to checking that out later… More on this tomorrow.

Dawn at the camp
Dawn at the camp
Dusk at the camp before the Rugby
Dusk at the camp before the Rugby

 

Lunch at Shakespeare

Mike & Wendy with their Rapido
Mike & Wendy with their Rapido, Madam in the background ready for lunch.

After leaving Rob & Helens at Snells Beach after a morning cuppa, we met Mike & Wendy with their new French A class Rapido at Shakespeare Bay, Whangaparoa. I went to school with Mike last century and Fiona met Wendy at Tech not long after 🙂

The Rapido is based on a Fiat Ducato, with a centre island bed with a HUGE garage across the back. Very comfortable and very similar to the Dethleffs Esprit 
Mike likes his knick knacks so its great for him to have this amazing amount of storage 🙂

We’ve been trying to get together with them for some time so it was nice to finally have lunch together. They had spent the night at Shakespeare Park and ready to toodle back to Devonport.

The Girls whipped up some Lunch
The Girls whipped up some Lunch
Rafe & the Rapido at Shakespeare Park
Rafe & the Rapido at Shakespeare Park

After a nice lunch and swapping notes, it was great for each of us to come away having learnt something about our vans. Mike being a Certified Gasfitter and Plumber, has done some really clever things with both the gas and the water. .. Auto changing gas bottles and outside shower and other things too!

It was nice to see them enjoying their new Motorhome.

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kai Iwi Rally and Trounson Kauris

We are  still waiting for a tenant for the house but it has only been just over a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.

We’re really looking forward to heading south in a couple of weeks time.  Here’s another great recent trip in the meantime.

All the Vans at the Lakes
All the Vans at the Lakes
At Kaiwi Lakes Rally
At Kaiwi Lakes Rally

Late in July, we arranged to meet friends at a NZMCA rally being held at kai Iwi lakes .. somewhere I’ve have never been to before north of Dargaville on the coast. We left Auckland on a Saturday morning and arrived there just after midday.. its a good 2.5 – 3 hr run.

There were a lot of vans and a lot more of them were European Motorhomes than the traditional bus conversions that we’ve seen at these events.  A really interesting place and another well organised event by the Northland NZMCA crew. Along with meeting our friends from Snells Beach, we met many Dethleffs van owners, some who have travelled quite some distance to be part of the fun.
Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.

One of the biggest in the park
One of the biggest in the park
Ferns
Lots of Ferns

There aren’t many DOC camps around the Auckland region and on the way home, we were keen to try the Trounson Kauri park which is just up the road (15k’s or so) towards Waipoua Forest . .. somewhere else we’d never been to.

All parked up
All parked up

After plugging in to the power and settling down, we were off to explore the park. It is really nicely set up  .. a boardwalk stretches through the whole  length of the  forest.  Amazing huge Kauri Trees mixed with new growth.. It’s very clean and an easy 1/2 hour walk through the whole park.  Well worth doing.

And I took one of her :-)
And I took one of her 🙂
Just to prove that I did the walk, Fiona took this cell phone picky.
Just to prove that I did the walk, Fiona took this cell phone piccy

We got back to the van  and settled down in front of the heater to warm up with a glass of something cold .. This must be one of the few DOC parks with power. Several vans of nice French tourists arrived just before dark which was good.
There is also a building with a hot shower and kitchen facilities and nice clean toilets.
The walk was fantastic and its a great spot for a night in your Motorhome.

During the walk
During the walk

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The Ardmore haircut & Te Aroha

Saturday was a big day… starting with launching my old ex Whalechaser now being looked after by my sons after they’ve literally repainted the whole thing.
Click on the photos to enlarge

Rorqual being launched
Rorqual being launched

After parking her in the berth, we were off in Rafe to the Grandkids in Ardmore to babysit. I’m always very careful going up their 1/2 k odd long driveway as the trees and shrubs at the gateway lining it grow like weeds and reach out to try and scratch Rafe. Alex and Sarah had given them a good haircut so all good.

Our spot in the corner
Our spot in the corner
The Tree Haircut
The Tree Haircut

After a good night parked in the corner,  we woke up to the family tradition on Fathers Day of chocolate fish.. yum first thing in the morning 🙂
After a cup of coffee and breakfast,  we both felt that a hot swim might be the order of the day and neither of us being ready to go home,  so we thought a decent drive, Te Aroha hot pools, 120 odd K away.

Rather than go the way we always go, via Maugataroto, we thought we’d try down State Highway 1 on the motorway and turn off at Ohinewai through to Tahuna. What a great run too apart from taking a wrong turn and adding 15 minutes or so to the trip.. no harm done.
Checking in to the Te Aroha Holiday Park, just on the South Side of the Town itself was easy. $34 for the two of us with the NZMCA discount.. what a classic place. All the cabins are ex workingmens huts. In really good nick too.

Click on the photos to Enlarge


Reading through Rankers and Wikicamps, some of the comments are awful and the place didn’t deserve the bad rap that it had. One of the comments was that the hot pools didn’t have any water in them, .. my first question when I checked in .. after that it was all good.
There was a really nice pool complex too. The pools weren’t ready until after 6 and it was dark by then so no photos.
Huge parking spaces and nicely separated off by hedges and plants. Well placed and easy to get to Dump Station too. A nice place to stay.