Tag Archives: Extra Value Parking

Back to Rafe

We arrived in Auckland about an hour earlier than planned around 10:30pm and immediately grabbed a cab and headed for the Hotel Ibis at the airport. Our son Alex was going to pick us up in our car around 7:30 in the morning but with the body clocks being as they were, we were awake and ready to go by 5:30am wondering what to do with ourselves 🙂

It was great to see Alex, Sarah and the boys at their home in Ardmore after a long time away.  Unfortunately, we had to press on and pick up Rafe from Dianne and Gary’s shed in Taupo otherwise we had no where to sleep !

Click on the images for Hi Res

We left Ardmore around 9:30 and headed south stopping at Cambridge for lunch and then getting to Taupo about 1pm. Rafe’s COF had expired and it was booked in for 2pm which it flew through.

I hate the waiting and standing around with WOF’s or COF’s as you never know what is going to spring out of the woodwork but today was a good day 🙂

Lovely spot

We headed up to the National Equestrian Centre which is off the road north to Rotorua, just after the turnoff from Taupo. Its a magic spot and is $10 including power, showers and toilets.

Caravan Alley

With the jet lag the way it was, neither of us felt too good about driving north until we’d had a go at our body clocks and getting some sleep so we elected to stay here, despite the weather for the next 3 days and it just came down cats and dogs.

Toilets, Showers and rubbish right opposite

Although my front wheels were close to the gravel. There was quite a bit of churned up mud just in front so I was keeping an eye on that. The land around Taupo is a little top soil over pumice so it is really well draining and although there was a huge puddle behind and partly under us, when the rain stopped and we had to get out, I simply backed back from the mud and drove sideways around it and there was no slipping at all ! The water that was behind us had drained away really quickly.

You can see some of the neighbouring thermal activity here.

Its a great spot to park and the caretaker is really helpful and a really nice bloke.

After leaving there, we thought a night at the NZMCA park at Ngongotaha might be the ticket and then after that Auckland.

At Alex and Sarah’s  in Auckland

On the fourth day, we headed back to Auckland and stayed with Alex, Sarah and the boys in Ardmore.

Liam and Granny Fiona on the sideline.

The next day grandson Ayden was playing rugby at his rugby club around the corner so we all went around and watched that.

Ayden off for the Tryline. On the left, Grandad Paul, Granny Fiona and Grand Gran Mary all providing plenty of encouragement !

A great family occasion. Sarah’s parents Paul and Mary were there too. Ayden scored about 5 tries which was great so a lot of family excitement.

Ayden off again with the ball

Its lovely to be back in Rafe and we don’t realise how spoilt we are until we drive something a bit older. Its nice to be back.

Rafe’s track to the equestrian centre from Taupo

Coffee by the Castle

Kitzingen is about 350 k’s from Prague and after stopping just inside the Czech Republic border to spend our last crowns on Diesel and lunch, we cruised on into Germany.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

Us before the rush

We arrived in Kitzingen about 2pm in the afternoon at a great Stellplatz by the river which was 9 Euros a night plus power at .5EU by kwh. It took two 50c coins to get through the night with just a fridge going and a couple of phones and a laptop charging.. pretty cheap. This works out about NZ$15 a night all up with  free toilets and dumping and it was a stones throw from the centre of a charming village with more of those lovely old buildings.

Gary looking relaxed with Harry and Ralph

We settled down and made a start on a 5 litre bottle of Estrella Wine which I’d bought for about NZ$9 in a Tesco store in Prague. I was assured from another shopper that it was ok to drink but we were a still bit worried about it. It was actually quite nice when you think what it cost 🙂

Fiona walking across the bridge on the right. Lovely old buildings

The next morning, Fiona was off early over the bridge to the baker to get some buns for us all for breakfast then we all went back for a look and a cup of coffee in the square.

Later in the day, the motorhomes started filling up the Stellplatz and parked where ever they could. The place was chocker.

Busy town

A park right by the river with barges to watch go by, close to town and nice and cheap.

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.

Click on an Image to enlarge

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

Dinner at the Door

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

Click on an Image to Enlarge

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.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

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.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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

Sun and Wine at Te Awanga

One of our favourite spots in the Hawkes Bay has to be Clifton Reserve. With Toilets and Rubbish recycling and right on the most amazing beach, it can’t be beaten and its a gold coin donation.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

Looking towards Napier

We’ve stayed here quite a few times and it is always fabulous. This time we were here so we could bike along to the Te Awanga Vineyard which was a few K’s down the road to have lunch. A perfect way to start a great day.

Great view

After settling down Rafe and getting the bikes down, we were off and heading down some great bike tracks towards the vineyard. Their driveway would probably be nearly a k long through the vineyards but its very easy and a lovely ride.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Parking in a bike rack not far from where we would eat, we were given a table which looked out over the vineyard towards Cape Kidnappers which was great.

Great spot

We must have spent several hours here eating pizza, drinking Chardonnay and Cider before we headed back to Rafe at Clifton. A fantastic spot and very reasonably priced. There are two other vineyards there too which we’ve been to as well. Clearwater and Elephant Hill. All are very good with different levels of food and pricing.

Sheltered

Arriving back at Clifton, it was starting to fill up but there was plenty of room for all.

Nice evening
Sundown

A great day in Paradise.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Clifton – Armada GPS

Dick and Ellie’s Motorhome Parking

We last came here in early 2018 when we were on our way to Martinborough to see the Cruise Martinborough Festival. Have a look here to see it before the trees were removed.

I’d only just got to the top of the drive when out popped Dick to welcome us to his property and to show us where to park. He was just the same as I remembered him a few years ago. Big smiles and a happy guy.

The Trees have gone

When we were last here the place was a thriving Orchard with Apples. As Dick had retired some years ago, he had leased out the area for others to run it but for whatever reason it was not successful and the trees were removed so there is now lots of room for Caravans and Motorhomes.

After we settled down Rafe and opened vents and plugged in and whatnot, we set off on the bikes into Havelock shops about 7k’s away. We got there in time to enjoy a coffee at a cafe and Fiona had a quick squizz at the shops there before we headed back to Rafe. Neither of us are too thrilled about riding on 100k country roads with little or no bike space so we decided that we would not do that again.

Downtown Havelock

Fiona was keen to catch up with a long lost cousin who lives in Havelock so she rang Ann, her cousin who popped around with her husband Ian for an hour or so which was neat.

Fiona and I have both had our DNA done and this was a DNA match on Fiona’s side of the family who we hadn’t met so it was all clever stuff.

The Pavilion
Tennis anyone

Fiona showed her the family photo album which I had on my ipad. Great to meet the cousins especially from a part of the family you haven’t met and nice for Ann to see some of her cousins in the photo album.

Flat parking

A lovely park with a shower and toilet and very good value and handy to Havelock and many vineyards.. just watch that traffic if you’re on bikes.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Dick and Ellies Parking – Armada GPS

Lunch in the carpark

Our friends from Christchurch, Rory and Henny were in town for the NZMCA AGM Rally with their friends from New Plymouth so it was a must for me to catch up with them as they had seen Fiona during a shopping trip, but I had missed them.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

Downtown Rotorua!

Rory and Henny and I met years ago when I was away on a blog hunting expedition on my own and we bumped into each other in Coromandel of all places. It turns out that Rory used to buy ice creams from my Grandfathers General Store in Diamond Harbour when he was a small boy.  Later we worked out that he also knows some of my other cousins in Christchurch too.. small world 🙂

The UCC on the left and Rory and Henny’s new Burstner on the right

While parked down by the waterfront in a carpark, I thought I saw Rory and Henny roaring round the corner next to me and when I rang a few minutes later, it turned out it was them. They were heading for the supermarket and we arranged to meet after that.

Rory decided that we’d head over the a bigger carpark where we could comfortably fit three Motorhomes in while we had lunch without upsetting the car parkers.

Nice view

Rory had a plan and setup his near new Burstner Lyseo with  Tony and Sheri from New Plymouth, with an area in between where could put out chairs and tables out for a bit a knees up for lunch.

It was really nice seeing them both again and also meeting their friends Tony and Sheri and their UCC Mercedes based Motorhome.

Lunch with a great view and there were lots of Motorhomes there, possibly having a break from the rally.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Carpark – Armada GPS

The Covi Rally at Ellerslie Racecourse

Having helped park a couple of these Rallies, they are a BIG job for the volunteers who put these together and with this one, Neal and his parking team kept the bar high with their direction and parking skills.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

Chief parker Neal with his 3m stick

This year like last year, the parking costs were covered by Covi organisers along with a free bus service which ran in a cycle every half an hour or so… it worked beautifully. There was also a storage area at the Show where you could securely store any goodies purchased and pick them up on the way back on the bus… a great idea.

Plenty of white Motorhomes

I’m not sure how many people were at the Rally but a general estimate I would say it was at least 500 vehicles on the first day all beautifully parked by Neal and his team from the Waikato group with Counties pitching in too as a joint parking effort.. well done guys.

My little place in the world

The best part for me at these events was catching up with friends I haven’t seen for a while who have come for the show.

A great effort and well done to all those Volunteers.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the show Motorhome parking – Armada GPS