Our first night out of the house was spent at a friends Garage Forecourt in Devonport. Mark very kindly said we could stay the weekend but the first two nights away from the house were fantastic and with the remnants of a cylcone bearing down on us, it was nice to half tucked under his forecourt verandah.
We met our regular Friday night friends Alan, Grant and Robyn, just around the corner at a Bar and enjoyed some good nerve settling banter with them before joining them for a great Italian meal up by the Victoria Theatre in Devonport. Fantastic night.
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Waking up early on Saturday, Rafe’s grey tank said it was full (which it wasn’t) so a quick trip was made to the dump station at Albany and we did a complete dump and top up of fresh water so we were right for a few days. Fiona followed me in the car up to the lockup with some last minute leftovers from the Packers like vacuum cleaners and cleaning stuff to squeeze in the door 🙂 .. It is packed to the rafters literally !!
With the weather improving, we headed to Woddall Park in Narrow Neck, a well known freedom camping spot. Its interesting as one of the recent less than intelligent moments from our Council was a decision to ban Motorhomes staying at this park without any discussion. The locals however were outraged and promptly got them to reinstate the parking as the presence of Motorhomers meant the hoon element had completely dissapeared.
Fan bloody tastic ! .. A classic case of Council plonkers making arbitrary decisions and not listening.
My intermediate and High School years were spent not living very far from this beach so I know it pretty well.
Fiona lived on the beachfront reserve for a few years as it was Army housing as her dad was CO of Fort Cautley, so she was really familiar with it too.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
Yachts being setup
And theyre off
A lovely spot. The day we were there, there was a big day for small yacht racing out on the beach.
Its neat to watch the Dads all pitching in helping their kids rig their yachts and set them off racing.
Lovely to see them having a cuppa at the club house and waiting on the beach and helping them in too afterwards.
The pictures tell the story really but a fabulous spot for a night and great walks from here to Cheltenham and most of the way to Takapuna too.
There is also a bus stop to the ferry or to Takapuna right next to the park.
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After stopping at the Port Albert General Store to check out the amazing fish and chips, we doodled down the hill to check out the Wharf and domain.
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The area was settled in the 1880’s and was quite thriving settlement caller Albertland but they eventually all drifted away to Auckland and other bigger centres. There is a museum in Wellsford dedicated to this area which is well worth a look at.
Self contained Motorhomes can stay here for free for up to 2 days but need to vacate during the day.
There are good Toilets here and a huge gravel area which runs down to a boat ramp.
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Friendly camper enjoying the sun.
The Gravel parking area
Back to Rafe
Nice old boat in the harbour
Its a lovely spot and while we were there, there were three small vans ready to stop for the night.
Its only 8 k’s from Wellsford and the road runs down to Helensville and Kaukapapa so is not far for many things to see and do.
This is something every Kiwi should do.. fantastic trip done in late 2015 early one morning. Enjoy.
After a night of rockin and rollin with the wind( I thought that only happened on boats!), we were up a 6am to drive to the Spit to meet the tour bus. Nobody had really had any sleep since 3am when the big puffs came through but we were all looking forward to a great trip so it didn’t matter. The wind was blowing 30-40 knots creating a mini constant sand storm.
The bus picked us up from the carpark at 7am from a paddock next to some forestry equipment. This is set around the tide so we could get back safely. There were about 8 of us on the bus and off we went.
We headed down the beach. The trip is about 30ks to the end of the spit.
We stopped briefly to check out a tree which had been blown around from the bay around the end of the spit and washed up on the northern ocean side and got buried in the sand.
A tree washed out from Golden Bay
The dunes under the lighthouse
After crossing a creek and about 45 minutes, we arrived at the lighthouse and to have a cup of tea and muffin in the lighthouse keepers old house. This has been done up and maintained by the Eco tour operators and DOC and was in its original form as it was when the lighthouse keepers left in the early 80’s. Some of the lighthouse keepers families have donated pictures as they were at the light. The history and artefacts on display are amazing. I didn’t realise that the lights ran on kerosene, like a gas light with a mantle right up until the early 50’s in some if these lighthouses.
Back to the bus and we were off to have a wander in a sand dunes. The wind was howling by this stage so the sand was flying.
After a trip to Fossil point to look at some fossils of shells. ( I found Gary 🙂 ). After that we were dropped off back at Rafe in the paddock.
A must do trip for every Kiwi, I thoroughly recommend it.
Another from the 2015 South Island trip – Collingwood and more!
After leaving the comfort of the camping ground at Takaka, we headed towards Collingwood. A cup of tea was the order of the day and a whitebait sandwiches for $10.00 and it was delicious. Collingwood is a small settlement on the edge of an amazing harbour. We sat and admired the view before heading to our park for the night, the Gravel Pit south of Puponga.
The Gravel pit is a small area of flattened out gravel on the edge of the water with views for Africa and very popular but free!
It is about 10 minutes drive from Puponga which is at the beginning of the spit so a perfect spot if you’re doing the spit trip. When we arrived, there was brilliant sunshine and it was very pleasant.
The forecast 30 odd knots of wind which we thought we’d be sheltered from whistled straight in at 3am and we rocked and rolled until 6am when we got up for the spit trip. Next posting !
We had just arrived at the Brett and Bronwen’s Park over property when Bronwen walked out to welcome us with a huge smile. Brett followed soon after. We very quickly felt welcome and they showed us where everything was.
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After spotting some power points off to the side next to a beautifully bulldozed flat platform, I asked if we could we use them? They were $10 a night so we were in heaven getting ready for a great New Years eve.
Brett and Bronwen have owned the property for 6 years and have made it available as a POP for just on 3 years but they missed the last NZMCA Bible but what a fantastic place to stay. They are planning to build their dream home up above the site in years to come. A lovely spot.
Brett was telling me that they’ve just installed a new Maytag washing machine ($4), a new toilet and a dump station too, all a quick walk from Tokerau Beach.
We were going to stay 1 night but feeling really comfortable and it being New Years eve, it would be rude not to stay for at least 3 nights 🙂
We went for a drive around to have a look around. Karikari Estate is just around the corner. The beach is amazing and goes for miles.
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Easy parking at Karikari Estate
Probably the best view for a dump station in NZ!
Bronwen and Brett on their property.
A great place to stay in the Far North with some lovely hosts.
Fiona and I had both taken 6 months off for a trip to Europe and to go around the South Island and we were really looking forward to it..
After getting back from Europe in early August and with our house still rented out, we immediately went to Taupo to pick up Rafe who was being cared for in Gary’s shed by Gary’s neighbour Chris… kind chaps that they are !
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We returned to Auckland to get a few things done like drop down steadies on Rafe and a couple of other things and then we were off.
We left Auckland and first stop was Taupo with Gary and Dianne, who we’d been around Europe with and other Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda. A few nights there, a night in Mangaweka, then to Wellington to catch up with my son Alex who commutes from Auckland, then onto the ferry and the adventure began.
Best Park over property (POP) – Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.
Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂
I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip. Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.
Rafe at the Mangaweka Campground
Entering the Tory Channel. North Island behind
Rafe with the handbrake on with people getting off at Picton.
Looking across towards Nelson with the snow on the tops of the hills
Some extras with the daffodils
Dogs exercising their owners.
I can feel a drink coming on
The famous Restaurant over the water.
Looking down the main street with the Old St Peters Church and the Windmill behind. The Windmill was in the main street of Nelson for many years.
Fiona on the Bristol Freighter
The Bristol Freighter
The port and the shops
Late afternoon in the sun
Looking down from the lookout
A Happy Place
The Moutere Inn
Dusk looking down Reeftons main street with the old lights lighting the street.
The Bearded Miners. Gavin, Peter and Mark
People collecting Driftwood down by the Greymouth Breakwater
ith rafe outside that famous Hotel
The Jetty down at Lake Mahinapua
The Bar. Amazing working cash register
Fiona with the fire at the Empire
Up in the Historic Gold area
The Franz Josef Glacier. See if you can spot a Helicopter
Rafe at Hawea
The amazing dump station with the grates in the ground at Queenstown
Queenstown with Jacks Point on the right
Fiona and Jessa at Q’town
Fiona checking out the Fairlight Railway Station
A Train at the Station
Inside the carriage – Lumsden
The Texaco Tanker Invercargill
Fiona in the café done up as a 50’s Kitchen
Curio bay looking towards the campground
The park setup – Lawrence
One of the Roxburgh pubs
A sluicing lake behind the park _ Roxburgh.
Close to the bike trail – Roxburgh
Fiona nearly at Roxburgh
A view over Clyde
The old Hotel
The road through the vineyard through the Kawarau Gorge
The kawerau River from the road
Jessa checking out a Pinot Gris at Mt Rosa
Lunch at the historic Gibbston Valley Tavern
The Ophir Bridge
The Function Centre – Omakau
The front of the Hotel
Starting off at Ranfurly Railway Station
Fiona arriving at Wedderburn
Once the tea rooms, now a museum.
The Dunedin Railway Station
Along the Platform
The Taieri train
In the Railway Station
The Pergola with a peep of Dunedin at the end.
Outside the ballroom
The main street at Rush hour 😉 Waimate
The Oamaru Wharf
Plenty of room
Sue (Peskis) with her new Letterbox
The gardens at Peskis
Fiona checking out the Hats
Cheers at Geraldine
One of the performing groups
Fiona with her great auntie Jeannie’s Morris
The interior of Johns truck
Fiona with the Cadburys Chocolate
Lake Tekapo late on our first day
Love the different layers in the colour
The Stone Church with the tourists
Happy Hour with all our visitors at Tekapo. Cell pic
A bridge across the river
Across Lake McGregor
Our neighbours Jim and Lynley back at the NZMCA park
The first Tunnel
On the way back to Omakau
A Miners hut
On the way to the Stamper Battery
Fiona gold panning
Under the mountains
Rafe in front of the house plugged in. The visitors area on the very left.
The boat club down by the NZMCA park
Parked behind the Gate in Cromwell
Ross is a great character.. the birthday boy.
The pools at Hamner
Fiona enjoying the heat.
Look at all that water.
Fiona at the market – Nelson
The Church cafe – Richmond
The bar at the cellar Door
Lots of Motorhomes on the deck
Ian and Gary with all the polishing toys!
We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.
The weather was superb. Fiona reckons we only had 1 wet day in the South Island! I reckon it was 3 but the weather really looked after us, if anything it was quite hot with a record breaking 33C in Cromwell on the day we decided to do a bike ride from Lowburn to the Historic Precinct and back !
The difference in Fuel prices between the different parts of NZ was quite noticeable with the highest I saw at $1.48 a litre for diesel around Hanmer and the lowest $1.19 in Cromwell. We filled up in Takanini before we left at $.98 a litre! As Fiona says though Hay Ho.. when in Rome !
One of the things that really surprised me as we went around was how many people recognised us from this Blog and who made themselves known. It was fantastic to meet you and to hear your feedback. We’re fast approaching 400,000 views which is amazing in less than 2 years!
We’re back in Auckland with our feet up for a bit before we set off again.
As we said our goodbyes to the good folk at Hamner, Roses’s parting words were “ Make sure you stop at Maruia Falls and take your camera!”
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So I was under orders. About 20k’s or so after Springs Junction where the West Coast road, The Lewis pass road and the Nelson road meet, there is a small carpark on the side of the road which has tracks down to these amazing falls on the river.
These are the falls Rose was talking about and there is a 5 minute walking track down to the river where you can get the real view from the waters edge. Its an impressive sight and the volume of water that gets through here is just huge.
You can also park overnight in your motorhome in the carpark if you want to.
We spent an hour or so here and its well worth checking this out and its not a big long walk either 🙂
It has been a busy week with huge temperatures for Cromwell with us sitting amongst the trees at Lowburn.
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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.
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 !
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.
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.
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.
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!
After that we headed back to Lowburn for a late lunch.
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!
We had a fun week with Helen, Glenys, Jessa and Ross and Karen and their friends. More to come.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
Every night we met someone new which was great. Mostly friendly South Islanders.