Tag Archives: Extra Value Parking

The Piano Man

While staying recently at a Motorhome parking spot in Muriwai we met John who has a massive shed on his 150 acre farm up on the hills. We were parked on his farm.

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John with a 1870 organ made in Chicago

While we were getting set up, he invited me in for a look in his shed. John emigrated from the UK with his wife Jane, many years ago with degrees in both engineering and agriculture. In his words then, “They wanted people like me”! and looking at the stuff in his shed, he’s a really clever guy.

John showing me a Pianola that he had revived.

John and Jane started an Orchard in Kumeu and grew the business to three orchards over several years. He was once of the first, if not the first to export Figs and Feijoas amongst other things too.

John playing an 1896 Clark organ made in Chicago.

Now in “retirement mode” he just sticks to his specialty of fixing Organs and Piano’s! I thought to myself, that’s a long way from being an orchardist but he is an engineer too!

Another Piano key masterpiece.

Amongst many organs in his shed is an old rotary hoe with tubeless tyres with a new petrol motor on which he has rebuilt for a friend.

Looking around the organs, John showed me the latest late 1800’s one he was working on which was a real mess when it arrived but he is slowly restoring it.

Johns bits draw with very fancy organ valve handles 🙂

He’s also a keen woodturner making serving platters and bowls from native timbers and he’s made some really interesting decorations/sculptures out of old Piano keys!

A really interesting and clever guy and you can stay on his farm for just $10.

Parking at Dusk
Muriwai much later in the day.

Muriwai Sunset

It was the first long weekend after lockdowns and already the traffic was awful but we wanted a night out of the house… where to go without driving endlessly through traffic.

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Muriwai much later in the day.

Muriwai looked great and we picked a spot I’ve been looking forward to going to for months. John and Jane’s Charges Apply (CAP) parking spot high up in the hills overlooking Muriwai Beach.

We made the mistake of letting the GPS lead the way which was down an unsealed back road up to the road despite the GPS having “no unsealed roads please” loaded. We should have headed straight to Muriwai Beach and then headed up the hill.. still a little bit of unsealed road but only a 1k or so.

Our spot with Muriwai Beach behind

John met us at the electric gates and directed us up to a parking spot where we could get power too for an extra few dollars. Absolutely magic spot looking straight out towards Australia and north over the magnificent Muriwai Beach.

John’s cows with the best view in town.

We were both pretty knackered so just lazed around with some good Jazz on the stereo and I went for a wander around the paddocks to get some piccies.

Parking at Dusk

A lovely spot so close to town and fantastic hosts.

The Gannet Colony

On the way out the next morning, we stopped off for a quick look at the farmhouse Gannet Colony up on the rock on the southern end of the beach.

Rafe’s Tracker map ..The long route we took to John and Janes. – Armada GPS

The NZMCA Show Park and Stay

Seeing 600 plus Motorhomes and Caravans as your first view coming into the top of Mystery Creek is always a nice experience. And the first person I see at the bottom helping with the parking was Noel who I met at Tokoroa a year ago.

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What you see as you drive in.

When I was at last years Tokoroa Timber Town Romp last year and its coming up again this year at the end of this month, I helped with the parking. With Noel and a few others, we parked more than 400 vehicles and although it was a long day, it was a lot of fun.

The goings on in the parking area 🙂
Rafe in the park

Once I’d parked Rafe, who should come rocking past on his electric bike but Neal who was organising the parking both then and now.  He was saying that the team had parked nearly 800 vehicles in Hamilton so far.  Given  the  effect of people getting over lockdowns and everything else, that’s a great turnout and a job well done for the parking team.  This was just after lunch on Friday with two days to go!

Great show. Click on the image to enlarge.

They did a great job and everywhere you looked, just about completely surrounding the main Pavilion were Motorhomes and Caravans. A great sight. Nicely done Team Waikato !

Rafes Tracker map to Mystery Creek – Armada GPS

Paradise on the Beach

That’s Hahei! one of my favorite spots to stay but it has been a while since I’ve been here..

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The Beach

Arriving at Hahei and checking in with Cathy at the front desk was easy and she directed me to a great spot right behind the dunes by the beach. Cathy’s husband Grant is General Manager and it was really nice to chat to them both. With the Covid 19 lockdown, the NZMCA Camp Saver program has given them a welcome boost to their numbers.. You can only imagine the effect the lack of tourists would make to the bottom line for a big park like this so great that its working for them.

Grant and Cathy

The last time I was here was with friends from Taupo and Snells Beach but that was way back in 2017 according to Cathy’s records.. how time flies!

The weather was due to deteriorate but I had the day to check the place out and there is plenty of it.

Great Outlook

Just down the road is Cathedral Cove which you can walk to. Fiona and I did this a few years ago and its well worth doing.

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Since I was last here, there is a Spa pool available now right on the crest of the dunes next to the beach which looks out over the bay to the Islands beyond. What a nice idea and I bet its popular in the peak season. There is also a BBQ hut with shelter looking out over the bay too..

The spa

Its a huge park with some really nice Tourist flats at one end overlooking the beach. And just acres of parking spots.

The Tourist Flats

With more than 200 powered sites, there is lots of space with room between parks and easy access to them as well.

Just a lovely atmosphere, a fantastic beach and its just over a couple of hours from Auckland.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Hahei

Birds, Trains and Motorhome parking

There is a bit of everything here and with Camp Saver Motorhome parking. Its called Mill Creek Animal and Bird Encounters and is about 3k’s off the main road just south of Whitianga.

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Nice parking

Unfortunately they had just had a big rain event and been flooded so the ride on train wasn’t running but all the animals and birds were there.

The Lorikeets

There is a walk in Aviary where you can go in amongst the Lorikeets which is neat and they’re super friendly as well.

Some Peacocks

There are over 400 birds here with Macaws and Cockatoos along with many farm animals all spread out. Everywhere you look there are peacocks roaming around and down by the Motorhome parking, there are Pigs, Goats, small horses, big horses Donkeys, you name it, its there. You can also get a coffee at the station cafe.

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As I arrived I was greeted by a large duck who chased me to the Farm Animal area 🙂

This Duck had plenty to say for itself

The nice flat parks are generous in size, about 8 metres square with small panels to separate each park. The showers and toilets look brand new as well so a great spot to stay.

Fun for the kids

Even though it was pretty cold and miserable, there were plenty of families there enjoying the park. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area and great for the kids.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Mill Creek

Paradise at Ruakaka

From the moment I stepped out of Rafe at Ruakaka Holiday Park, everything about this place is HUGE. There are more than 260 powered sites and the camp is spread out over 13 hectares. The camp is divided into several regions each having their own ablution blocks.

The land that it sits on and its layout and the views are absolutely sensational.  Everywhere I looked I could see nice images.

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My view

It also is a participant in the NZMCA’s Camp saver program and owner Anne-Marie says it is working well for them. They also do off peak weekly stays too.

On the waterfront

I was interested to see their information sheet included how to park within your site to ensure that everyone has 3 metres separation. I think this is good news as many Holiday Parks  parking is far to close for fire safety.

Great parking

I was a bit lucky to get one of the waterfront sites facing out to Marsden Point and Bream Head even though it was pretty exposed to the easterly nasties that came through, it was really nice to wake up to a great view when the weather played the game.

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The weather wasn’t that flash with an amazing thunder and lightning storm coming through with showers before and after but there was enough fine weather to get some nice images.

Old friends Mark, Tina, Gary and Chris all live around the corner in Ruakaka beach so it a good opportunity to pop in and see them too.

And just around the corner

This campground though has it all.. the views and the sites are spectacular with great facilities.

Ruakaka Beach is just down the road and there is a Bird Sanctuary to walk through too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ruakaka

Pakiri Beach

The last time I went to Pakiri, I was in my teens and it was at the time that we had carless days and huge petrol costs. Two of us went up to Pakiri in a ’62 pillarless Chev Impala and camped with the car and a small tent. Remember those days 🙂

Apart from the horrendous cost in getting there and back with a two stage auto and V8, I still remember it as being a fun weekend away.

Click on an Image to enlarge it.This was to be different and after all those years, the thing that struck me the most was how different it was from my memories from long ago. The office now includes a store for basic provisions and was closer to the beach than I remembered but it is still a magic spot to go to for a break.

Next to the river

When I arrived, I’d just come down a wet and windy Leigh road down the hill and Rafe was absolutely covered in mud.

Manager Rachel couldn’t have been nicer in showing me where to park and although I was given an option of having a view of the river behind some pines, I chose to park a little further away in preference of getting a good TV signal and some winter sun.

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Being a participant in the NZMCA’s Camp saver program, Rachel said it was working well for them. With power and access to their great facilities, it makes it really worth doing even if it is the middle of winter. Its a really nice place to be and away from all the hustle and bustle and only an hour or so from Auckland 🙂

Outdoor eating

I’d only been there a few minutes when two people from Wellington rocked in with their rented Maui Campervan. They had taken advantage of the Maui discount after lockdown and were out around the North Island. That’s them in the piccy below.

Late in the day

I went for a wander down to the beach to see what was where.. There was a film crew down there doing a fashion shoot for some ads, a great spot for that.

Close to the beach

The park is right on the river and estuary and an easy walk to the beach. The park is probably three quarters occupied by annual semi permanent caravans and cabins but there is plenty of easy parking for motorhomes and casual overnight stays.

I thought he was waving at me but I’m sure I was too far away.

A lovely spot, nice facilities and a helpful crew, well worth the trip and it brought back some great memories.  I’ll be going back again but this time on the sealed road from Wellsford:-)

Rafe’s tracker map out of Pakiri

Elton’s Farewell

We were on a mission to see the last tour of Elton John and almost all of his original Musicians that he started out with 50 odd years ago. They’re all in their 70’s now and looking and sounding really good too.

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The afternoon view

We were staying at the Taradale Club as we did last year for the Phil Collins concert which worked out really well being just a 15 minute walk from the Mission Estate Concert venue. Just over the road, The NZMCA had a Motorhome parking area for members so that was handy too. They did this for the Phil Collins concert too.

The Niessman and Rafe.

Friends Gary and Dianne had bought the tickets for us and arranged the Taradale Club for us, so all we had to do was front up and enjoy it 🙂

The NZMCA park over the road.

The Club put on a BBQ tea for the first night and a Breakfast the next morning (Extra !) which made life easy. We basically loafed about in the sun until it was time to gather our stuff together and head off round the corner to the venue.

The Neissman and Rafe

There were hundreds of people but it was all very organised and we easily found a spot on the bank to settle down and watch the show.

Gary, Dianne and Fiona at the concert.

There were a few very inebriated people there which annoyed a few but the concert was fantastic. The sound was great and given that they’re all in their 70’s, I thought it was great. I have to admit to not really being a concert person but I’m pleased I went to this one. Unlike the Phil Collins concert the weather behaved itself and was fantastic.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We set off down the hill when it all finished back to Rafe and Gary and Diannes Neissman for a quite Pinot to finish off with 🙂

Great Crowd
Eletons original Drummer Nigel Ohlsson in his suit.
Elton..

A lot of fun and I’m pleased I went and we didn’t get wet in the process either 🙂

Rafe’s track

Planes and Sunshine

The Pauanui Club parking is just the best. Even when its busy.

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The park

Our Grandchildren’s other Grandparents have had a bach down here for a long time so Alex and Sarah head here with the kids when they can. Its a lovely spot too just up from the beach and easy bike riding from the Pauanui Club for us.

Lots to do

We also caught up with an old school friend of Fiona’s who have a house down here too. Evan and Janette bring their family down here too and it was nice to spend an eveing with them as well.

Parked in Pauanui

The parking area was as busy as it has ever been with several regulars commenting on how busy it was. At one stage there were 3 vans who couldn’t get near a power plug, and for those that did have power, the main circuit breaker popped in the mornings when all the toasters and jugs went on. All in all though it is fantastic value and theyre just the best to deal with.

One of the old timers
up up and away

Next door all the holiday makers with vintage planes had bought them over from Auckland for the Whitianga air show so it was neat to see them doing their thing.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We went for a walk into the shops which are only minutes away via a tunnel and it was amazing to bump into so many people we knew… a bit scary 🙂

The Township

A great few days in a nice place and the nice thing is you can bike everywhere !

Rafe’s track to Pauanui

Cruising Ideas for Summer – South Island

This post has a lots more ideas for the Summer..

Otago Rail Trail

Click on this link to see a trip we did around South Island earlier this year late last year.

And we were down there last year too !

People enjoying a walk on the Trail

The latest posts will come out first so scroll to the bottom to get the chronological order 🙂
Enjoy