Tag Archives: Free Parking

Settling down at Lowburn

It has been a busy week with huge temperatures for Cromwell with us sitting amongst the trees at Lowburn.

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Our spot at Lowburn

Sunday finally arrived and this was the day Helen and her good friend Glenys were arriving in Queenstown, picking up a rental car and heading to Helen and Robs new house in Lowburn Valley.

The tenant had moved out and Helen was setting it up ready for Christmas.

Rafe in front of the house plugged in. The visitors area on the very left.

They have had a Barn built next to the house for their new Autotrail Tracker and bits and bobs, and on the side of that is a Motorhome Plug for their friends in their Motorhomes.. yippee, thats us !

Rafe in front of the new Barn

While we were waiting for Helen and Glenys to arrive, our friends in Cromwell, Ross and Karen who moved here 15 or so years ago, rang us earlier and said they’d pick us up from Lowburn Harbour to join them down at the Historic Precinct for a cup of coffee.  It was nice to see Ross and Karen at their home  and  after a short while, we walked down the road to the Precinct. It was nice to see all their friends, some we had met before and hadn’t seen for a while.

The Historic Precinct

After a couple of hours, Ross dropped us off back to Lowburn Harbour and while we were there, Helen and Glenys pulled up too ! A chance for Helen and Glenys to meet with Ross which was great.

The shops down at the Historic Precinct

We packed Rafe for a move and headed around to Helen and Robs new house in the valley only a few K’s away and settled Rafe down again. The guest area by the Barn area is still to be concreted so I set Rafe up with blocks to level up with.

Glenys and Fiona after a huge walk over on of the local hills
Helen glued to the phone organising furniture and things.

Over the next few days, we did a few trips around to check out Cromwell and Bannockburn including a trip with Fiona’s niece Jessa, who came over from Queenstown for the afternoon and we went wine tasting at Mt Difficulty. I knew the Mt Difficulty Chardonnay was amazing so just went for a glass rather than the tasting and I wasn’t disappointed!

One of the props at Mt Difficulty

After that we headed back to Lowburn for a late lunch.

Our special lunch after the wine tasting back at home with Jessa

Helen and Glenys only had four days here so on their last day after they had left and we’d said goodbye, Fiona and I decided to bike into Cromwell’s historic precinct from the Lowburn valley, about 18 k’s round trip. A bad call as the heat that day broke all the records and was 33C at 4pm. We were back by then but it was stinking hot!

Fiona on the bike ride on the way back to Lowburn alongside Lake Dunstan

We had a fun week with Helen, Glenys, Jessa and Ross and Karen and their friends. More to come.

The boat club down by the NZMCA park

It is Ross’s birthday at the end of the week and all our old boating friends that we used to spend Christmas with out in the Hauraki Gulf, over many years, are flying down to join in so it should be fun.

On the edge of the lake

There aren’t too many motorhomers who don’t know about Lowburn Reserve on the side of Lake Dunstan and how nice it is. It is just north of Cromwell on the main road through to Wanaka.

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Our View

Leaving Omakau, Fiona decided she hadn’t had enough riding so she started off on the bike towards Alexandra while I went to the Omakau dump station and did the filling and emptying and then headed off to Alex.

About an hour or so later, I met Fiona at the old Station carpark on the bike trail and we had lunch.

Jeff and Sheryl’s Bus
In front of Jeff and Sheryl

With the sun shining and the forecast for fine weather well into the distance, we thought Lowburn would get be a good spot to stay. We had about 3 days before Helen and Glenys arrived from Auckland to get Helen and Rob’s house ready for their retirement sometime late next year.

Nice !

On our first night here, I bumped into Jeff and Sheryl who I had met in Kaiteriteri who was waiting for the Hoedown to start at the racecourse.

Mountains behind

Every night we met someone new which was great. Mostly friendly South Islanders.

Rafe tucked in

We have stayed here years ago when we had our little caravan wee Rafe.

Clean loos too

Its a great spot and its free. A fantastic place to stay.

Rafe’s track to Lowburn

Lakeside

Pinders Pond would have to be one of the most beautiful parking spots in Central Otago. Its also free and is an easy 5k’s to Roxburgh by the most amazing bike trail right next to the Clutha river.

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Lots of space

After leaving the Gold Cottages campsite and saying goodbye to Lloyd and Kate, we headed down the road about 6k’s to Pinders Pond.

Is that a reflection ?

When we arrived, were a few Motorhomes and two Caravans there so we just plonked ourselves on the grass and had lunch.

Close to the bike trail

About an hour later, the place literally cleaned out and the Motorhomes all left and we moved back to a flatter spot closer to the Caravans.

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There is a bike trail which goes right up to the Roxburgh bridge and beyond one way and I think it goes to Millers Flat and beyond the other way. It is very easy riding and we were off. It took us about 20 minutes or so to get to Roxburgh so we celebrated with a cup of coffee in one of the cafe’s there before riding back.

Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
Roxburgh bridge

A lovely spot. Thanks to several people for recommending it.

Rafes Track to Pinders Pond

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.

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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

Warm, Bright and Sunny in Southland

One suggestion that we got from a local in Invercargill was to check out Riverton so after checking out Bluff and having Fish and Chips for lunch there, we headed towards Riverton and Colac Bay where we were to stay.

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Colac Bay

Colac Bay is an amazing place and with an 18 degree afternoon with bright sunshine forecast for the next two days, we thought we were in heaven. So close to the water and nice and quiet.

The parking at Colac bay

We didn’t count on the fact that the road past us went to a well known Paua place around the corner so there was the odd local heading off for a feed later when the tide went out but only a few went through.

Rafe at Colac Bay looking towards Invercargill

It was a great night and really clear and warm.

Rafe not far from the loos

We woke up late and after breakfast and cleaning up, as we left we saw the Fisheries patrol there. They very cheerily waved us through their roadblock knowing we weren’t Paua people.🤓

Interestingly I saw two cars go past us out of the area just before the Patrol arrived 🙂

Rafe’s track to Colac Bay

Its a lovely spot and there are well maintained loos there too.

After leaving Colac Bay, we stopped off about 15 k’s on at Monkey Island Reserve which is another bigger free camping area right on the beach. Just a stunner.

Lovely looking over to the Ridge Mountains from Monkey Island Reserve
Fiona on the beach at Monkey Island Reserve

We stopped there for lunch. I was keen to stay the night but Fiona was keen to move on.

Plenty of room at Monkey Island reserve

A beautiful place to stay and there quite a few in tents and a few Motorhomers there too.

Rafe’s track to Monkey Bay

Great Parking at the Bascule Bridge

You have to hand it to the Whangarei Council. They really have pulled out all the stops at the Bascule Bridge Parking area.

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Very civilised parking

There are white vertical strips on the fence to mark the parks with a number in the middle of each park. The parks are wide enough to get a decent sized 8 plus metres vehicle in and still be able to create a 3 metre or close gap between each Motorhome.

The opening bridge

I haven’t see this recently so was pleasantly surprised to see how well it was setup. I immediately went to a Hot Dog cart that was there and celebrated with a Hot Dog on a stick and some chips for lunch 🙂

Brightly painted loos

The Hot Dog man was telling me how the Rally was setup over the road and they were starting from the bridge that night with a special stage on the other side of the bridge.  The cars were due to line up on the bridge by 5pm and then set off at 7pm.

The walkway into town

I thought I’d hang about and watch the action.

The rally cars on the bridge. This was as far as I could get without paying!

By 4:30pm, the car park was chocker but it was all very gentlemanly and apart from the rally cars noise until around 9pm, it was all good. I went for a walk down to the foreshore around 8pm and met a local couple with their young kids. They had just come down for a look.

The Rally start on the bridge

A great place to park for free and there are some nicely painted up new toilets too. You can also walk or bike into town along the pathways along the waterfront.

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Rafes Track to the bridge

Bascule bridge

The Coroglen Tavern

We were on our way to Whitianga and were told about the magic Mussel Fritters that come from the Coroglen Tavern.

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Jed and Michelle outside their Hotel

3 years ago, Landlady (In the traditional Coro St fashion) Michelle and her other half Jed, bought the pub from Michelles parents and are redeveloping it as they can.

As responsible hosts, they are providing an area for Motorhomers to spend the night after enjoying their hospitality. As Michelle said, “They haven’t finished here yet”.

The Motorhome parking area. Plenty of room.

The Coroglen Tavern is the local for a wide area of Coromandel and is a well known Saturday night music hotspot.

We timed it beautifully with our arrival bang on lunchtime and it was very hard to go past the Seafood Basket and of course the amazing Mussel Fritters. YUM. This is a serious must do!

Mussel Fritters .. YUM!
The Seafood basket

There is parking around the back or we just parked Rafe in front.

Rafe parked outside

Jed and Michelle and their staff were very helpful and as I said, the food was something out of this world. Try it 🙂