Tag Archives: Extra Value Parking

Nice easy parking with power at Pauanui

One of our favourite places to stay is the Pauanui Club. For $8 a night including power and water and membership of the club for 24 hours, this is extremely good value. We had not long stopped and plugged in and paid for our stay when one of the Directors of the club, Robin, who is responsible for the development of the property popped over for a chat. A really nice guy. He was telling me that the plan over the next year is to add a laundry facility and Hot showers for Motorhomers. There are toilets here already but they’re also adding to those too. It’ll be sensational!

The bikes are ready to go
The bikes are ready to go
The Pauanui Club with the new Showers, Laundry and Toilets area to be in the building on the right

There are 6 powered very flat sites and all surrounded with trees for the wind.   We arrived here from Taupo for two nights to see the grandkids who were staying here. They were only an easy bike ride about 10 minutes away so it works well.
PauanuiJust next door is a full Golf course, a mini golf course which is fun and the legendary airfield with the hangered house alongside for the aviation enthusiasts.

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On our first day, my son Alex, Sarah and the boys came around on their bikes and we sat out in the sun by the mini golf course.
We took the boys through the mini golf the next day. Liam (3) insisted that the golf club had to be back to front and played it like hockey. Ayden (7) was saying that two or three hits were only one ! :-). They were having fun so to us it didn’t matter.
There is a dump station is just down the road and while there, we stopped for a few minutes to watch the locals out with their jet skis and beach toys.
PauanuiThe Pauanui club also has a full kitchen and bar so on our last night before heading back to Auckland, we were going to have a meal there but for some unknown reason it wasn’t possible so we walked to the nearby town centre and had a great meal there.
We’ve stayed here before. The previous blog can be seen here.

The Grape Escape and the birthday

We were off to Taupo to celebrate Fiona’s 60 something birthday with our friends Dianne and Gary. It was all a bit short notice but when Fiona finished work at 6, we were off heading down towards Hamilton and then Taupo.
I’d had a look through the NZMCA App and bible for possible places to stay and I found a place we hadn’t stopped at called the Grape Escape in Cambridge, just off the new motorway.

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A toilet right behind
A toilet right behind

It looks like it is part of a lifestyle farm own by Andrew and Karlene and they provide power, toilet and laundry facilities at a great rate.
Its $5 per person plus $5 for power and $2 if you want to do your washing. All very reasonable. They also have a couple of permanents down the back which is great.

The locals
Some of the neighbours

We rang to introduce ourselves and after stopping for tea at Hampton Downs, eventually arriving at Cambridge a little after 9pm, just as it got dark. Andrew was out there, helping us to park and handed me a power cord, all very easy and very nice people too.  A really handy spot to know about. The track from Rafes tracking unit is below.

Rafe's Track
Rafe’s Track

The next day, we headed off to Taupo and headed for Gary and Dianne’s place. We were parked in their driveway next to their garage and I’m pleased we were as it blew. This was the night Auckland got blown inside out with huge power outages.
It was nice to see them again and after a “Happy Hour” Glass of something, we headed into Taupo for me to buy some decent clobber to wear, and then to celebrate Fiona’s birthday at a Restaurant. I bought a shirt which I will call “my special occasion shirt”. Others call it many other things 🙂 but I like it.

Fiona (Birthday Girl), Me, Dianne and Gary
Fiona (Birthday Girl), Me, Dianne and Gary .. taken with phone

It was a great night and nice to see them again. After a slightly wobbly night with the wind, we set off northwards the next morning. As I said, if it wasn’t for being parked in Gary’s courtyard with the garage for protection, it would have been a really interesting night 🙂

New overnight parking at Hukerenui

On our way north by the Hukerenui Pub is the Jack Morgan Museum. I was interested in this as my old Whalechaser Rorqual was built by a Jack Morgan in Picton and although I was certain there was no connection given the distance, one never knows 🙂

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The Museum
The Museum

It turns out that the Hukerenui Jack Morgan was a real character and was a local identity an on retirement started his collection which now makes up the contents of the Museum. Some of the locals have done a great job of the gardens next door too.

His parents owned the pub next door which is where he was born.

The Parking, plenty of room
The Parking, plenty of room

A really interesting place and if you visit the Museum, you can stay for free on the grass behind. It is $6 a night otherwise. There are toilets there too.

MorganIts well worth a look through with all sorts of knick nacks from years gone by and there is a café next door in the pub to finish off with a cup of tea.

Behind the Top Pub

We were out having a walk towards the upper end of Coromandel, trying to walk off a great tea that we’d enjoyed the night before:-)

Nicely set out grounds
Nicely set out grounds

As we passed the Coromandel Hotel, I remembered being told about some parking for Motorhomes that was available behind the pub. It is not marked on any of the apps and doesn’t appear in the bible so it was time to check it out.

The Hotel
The Hotel

Walking down the side street, beside the Hotel is a backpackers and then what they call the Kampa parking. What a neat place. There are 16 powered sites available on grass for $20 a night per van with 2 people. Apparently the pub puts on some nice meals too and you’re not too far from a bar 🙂

The Backpackers and a dump station
The Backpackers and a dump station


I’ll be trying it next time we’re there.  It looks nice.

By the pools parking

In Rotorua recently, I discovered by accident almost, the amazing new free overnight parking put in as part of the Motorhome Friendly towns scheme and by the Rotorua Council.

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Great Parking
Great Parking

What a great spot right in the middle of town really and in the Gardens area by the Polynesian Pools complex.

Although it’s essentially a modified carpark, it has been done really nicely with the sculpture garden next door and surrounded by pools.

The view from the park
The view from the park

Well done Rotorua Council and I bet it’ll be well used by Motorhomers.

The Sports Club

It doesn’t get much better than this. In a great spot, perfectly flat parking, Power, Water,  a very handy bar if you need one and cooked dinner next to a Golf course and Mini Golf.. where?  At the Pauanui Club.  And only $8 a day for parking with the power and access to the loos.

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Rafe plugged in, Club in the background

I was on my last night after doing the round trip from Thames via Coromandel and Whitianga meeting heaps of neat new people and catching up with some old friends too.  A great few days.

So its nice to kick back, plug in and make it easy. The grass is really well drained and is solid so I have no worries about the rain or it getting muddy.

Plenty of Room
Plenty of Room

We’ve stayed here before earlier this year when it was warmer and I’ve also done a blog on it. Its worth having a look at the last blog as it was done in summer and there were a few more people around.

Pauanui beach
Pauanui beach.. from the earlier blog in Summer

Since my last visit, the water has been finished off at the parking spots and it’s all looking good.

The club is a magic spot, they’re friendly helpful people and with a bike, from here it’s not far to anywhere.

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Watch where you put your feet

As I left Coromandel, I popped down to the NZMCA park to say goodbye to several friends in different Motorhomes and Caravans.

I had a plan to go around to the eastern side and head down towards Pauanui  or Whitianga. As I checked out with my new friends from Christchurch, Rory and Henny, they were heading that way too and were happy for me to tag along so we were off to Whitianga.

I had made a loose arrangement to catch up with a new Dethleffs White Magic owner Paul and his wife Judith. The White Magic is the new version of the Globe 4 like ours but with a few different options and I was keen to see both them and their new van.

After a windblown crossing of the hills above Coromandel I stopped at The Esplanade at Whitianga for a cup of coffee and Paul and Judith arrived not long after.

Looking down to the end of the spit at Simpson Beach

I had another cup of coffee with them and after lots of swapping notes, they went for a walk into town, so I headed back to Simpsons Beach Camp where I was going meet up with the Rory, Henny, Dave and Karen in their caravans.

Rafe, Rory and Henny and Dave and Karen's caravan
Rafe, Rory and Henny and Dave and Karen’s caravan

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This camp is owned by an elderly couple, the Simpsons, who donate the $10 charge they make per night to a charity of their choice every year and it is just a fantastic spot right on a great beach. There is fresh rain water available and a black water only dump station. Its just a magic spot and a great swimming beach in summer. .. or winter if you’re brave!

We were sharing the area with a lot of Sheep, so the only thing we had to watch for between Motorhomes and Caravans was sheep poo and there was plenty of it !

Simpsons Beach
Simpsons Beach

Paul and Judith popped in to see Simpsons Beach to check it out for a future stay and agreed, it was a lovely spot but they were committed to carry on to Matarangi for the night.  It was great to see them.

Paul and Judiths Dethleffs White Magic
Paul and Judiths Dethleffs White Magic

As this blog had just hit the 100, 000 hits mark at 5.00am that morning, I was keen to crack open a nice Italian red and celebrate with them.  At around 4:30, we had a few drinks in Rafe as the showers rolled through.

A couple of hours later, I cooked up a lovely steak before Rory summoned be by phone from next door, so they could teach me a new game of cards they all played.  I cant quite remember the name of it.. 10 something but it doesn’t have suites and is a little like snap without the snap 🙂  A great game and they were great company.

The next morning was time for lots of cups of coffee  and walking.

Rafe at Simpsons Beach
Rafe at Simpsons Beach

It is such a great spot. Rory, Henny along with Dave and Karen were heading to Hot Water beach and invited me to go too, but with only one night left before Fiona came home, I thought I’d head to Pauanui for the night as it was  that little bit closer to home and its nice to plug in as well.

Its not the first time I’ve stayed here before in summer and it never disappoints.

Arts N Tartan

Some weeks ago, our friend Helen had organised our tickets for the Arts and Tartan show at Waipu and we were really looking forward to it. Waipu is a neat wee town and we’ve parked in the Caledonian park before and its a great spot and great value.

Motorhome friends, Helen, Rob and daughter Chloe had got away early and called us to say that they had just arrived in Waipu as I was just picking up Fiona from work in Takapuna at 6pm.

The parking was going to be a bit of a battle as the grounds where we would normally park under the trees was sodden and we were going to have to stay in the carpark with 1000’s of others.  I get very nervous when peeps park too close to Rafe as they do when parking is tight but its such a nice spot, it was worth a shot.

The pictures below were taken in earlier in the year in summer so you can see how nice it is.

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A great park and at $10 including power is just fantastic and they're great people too.
A great park and at $10 including power is just fantastic and they’re great people too. The carpark is behind the white railing in the distance.
At the Caledonian Reserve
At the Caledonian Reserve in the carpark… another wet day earlier in the year.

We were underway. Fiona had bought some salads to have for tea so we stopped at the BP station off the motorway by Silverdale to eat them. It was pouring down and was forecast to pour pretty much all the way.

We arrived in Waipu around 8:30pm and the carpark was chocker so we parked around by the RSA and watched some TV until the carpark emptied out at 10pm which was easy, even though it was still pouring with rain.

A Juggler twurling some flames. The parking can be seen behind him. You can see how wet it was.
A Juggler twurling some flames. The parking can be seen behind him. You can see how wet it was.

On the Saturday, the sun was shining so I parked Rafe a little more tidily and we replugged in to the power and went for a walk with Rob, Helen and Chloe to check out the Waipu shops.

What we didn’t know at that stage was there was a Rugby Club do as well so the carpark was more under pressure than ever.

As it got closer to the 2pm session which we were going to, more and more cars piled in. There were cars everywhere. All down both sides of the main street and some streets away.

The usherettes ready to go
The usherettes ready to go

Off we went to the show at the Celtic Barn which was right next door and it was a fantastic show. Great lighting, amazing sound and an all round slick performance by all.

I wasn’t allowed to take pictures but the local Photographer charged with getting piccies, Peter Grant, has very kindly sent me some images to share some of what it was all about.  Thanks again Peter.

To see a slideshow of Peter’s images, click on an image below.

Done mostly by locals and local talent, it was stunning and I recommend anyone who is thinking about seeing it to do so next year. Its really worth seeing and is a lot of fun.

After the show we had tea with Rob, Helen and Chloe in the Tracker which was fun and later in the evening, the Rugby club returned. Well .. it was looking like it was going to be a wild night in the carpark so at about 10:30, we made a decision to leave and head for a park just around the corner by the river which was fine.

Returning the next day and seeing the beer bottles strewn around, it looks as though we did the right thing.  It was a mess. By all accounts they had some fun.

Its a great park but when its wet, you can’t get across to park under the trees due to mud.  The carpark with two events like that is really just too dodgy for expensive motorhomes with their sides exposed. Maybe we were a bit optimistic parking there given the pressure on the carpark.

Despite all this, a lot of fun.

By Peter Grant
And the last word to those magnificent men in their flying machines. Pic by Peter Grant

We came and we saw the  Wearable Arts and they were absolutely fantastic.  Don’t miss it,  but from our experience, if its wet, park your motorhomes around the corner 🙂

Rustic Parking

After a weekend of babysitting our grandsons, we spent a night at a place we’ve never really parked at before at Gulf Harbour.

Having seen Gulf Harbour one weekend at its worst where everyone was parked between inches of each other. No 3 metre gaps at all, that was the end for me for parking there overnight.

On the way back from Ardmore, I dropped Fiona off in the city as she had missed the train from Papakura to meet her sister from Waiheke, for a girlie lunch and fun in the shops.

fairwaybayHeading north, I went straight for Fairway Bay thinking its either going to be chocker block in which case I’d go to Shakespeare park or it’ll be great. There are only 6 parks there but at $10 with power its a great spot with the parking on a shell base over clay.

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Today was going to be a great day. There was heaps of room and only a 5th wheeler there. It turns out it was his first night out with it and he was a very happy chap.

fairwaybayI went for a walk around to where the Hobbs Bay Market is held every week just behind the parking. There is a Restaurant / Bar there too and lots of big boats.

Later getting back to Rafe, I got a phone call from Fiona to say that she had seen her sister and was catching the Gulf Harbour Ferry up to join me.  While that was happening, Kim and Ali from Motueka parked up in their Nissan Civilian bus. They have taken a year off and are touring the country and having some fun.

Rafe with the wee communal area in the middle.
Rafe with the wee communal area in the middle.

Not long after they had arrived, Kim had decided to check his Oil and water and as he checked the water, he dropped his radiator cap down into his engine. It was sitting on a ledge in the bottom of the radiator but you couldn’t see it, feel it or reach down there to get it.
Stressful !  I found a couple of tools in my kit and after half an hour or so of going no where, it was time to ring the AA man.

From the carpark. Nicely fenced off.
From the carpark. Nicely fenced off.

I went and picked up Fiona from the ferry on the other side of the harbour and returned to our park. Ali and Kim came over for a cold one or three. The AA man arrived about 15 minutes later and after putting a magnet down to where he thought it would be, he fished it out within minutes of his arrival. Isn’t it great to have an expert on hand when you need them 🙂

With the stress gone, it was time for one more to celebrate. A great night in a nice spot right next to the water. Great value and the chap that runs the marina parking is great to deal with too.

A very happy Kim ready for Northland
A very happy Kim ready for Northland

Ali and Kim are heading up north today while we came home to do our GST and do some washing !!

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Looking over lake Waikare

After a couple of nights catching up with our grandchildren in Ardmore, it was time to head off and check out some places we haven’t stopped at before but seen in the NZMCA bible. We did a quick visit to the Papakura dump station to empty the tanks and as we arrived, there was a mattress vanner, on his knees at the dump station washing his dishes under the tap! I’ve seen it all. Unbelievable! 

Look at that view
Look at that view

 With that, we headed of down the motorway south. We turned off at Te Kawhata and slowly made our way to the Te Kawahata domain where there are two big fields and a huge carpark with power points for Motorhomers dotted around the outside. You have the choice of staying on grass or asphalt. There is power, toilets, a dump station and fresh water as well, all for a donation of $5! 

We pulled up at the edge of one field close to a power point where we were looking over Lake Waikare. The lake is massive and unless you’ve had a good look at the map, driving past through Rangiriri, you’d never know it was there.

One of the many mattress vans there.
One of the many mattress vans there.

There were two or three other vans there, all mattress vans but a Britz Motorhome turned up a bit later. 

Fiona and I went for a walk into the township, only two blocks away to check it all out. Being Sunday, most things were shut so it was very quiet. An Indian takeaway, a pub, a 4 square. All the things a good Motorhomer needs 😎. 

Te Kauwhata's main street
Te Kauwhata’s main street

We headed back to Rafe and watched some TV and later, crashed. The only noise in the night was the siren for the volunteer fire brigade. A nice quiet night and although we found skid marks in the middle of the field the next day, it did feel safe. In the morning we went for a drive around lake Waikare to check it out, it’s huge.

Lake Waikare from further up the road
Lake Waikare from further up the road

Another one of those places that we tend to drive last and not give a thought about but a nice easy place to stay and at the best price!