While we’re selling our house and we’re stuck indoors, I thought I’d rerun some of the better posts from our 2015 trip to the South Island with friends Gary and Chris. It was our first trip south with Rafe which was then very new.
It’s easy to see why Kaiteriteri Motorcamp was voted one of the top tourist spots in the country.
After driving through Nelson from Pelorus Bridge, we stopped at Richmond for lunch as Madam had booked into a hair salon there for a haircut. I had one too while we were there. After lunch we met up again with Gary and Chris at Rabbit Island where they had spent most of the day. It was getting late in the day so we decided to make our way to the amazing Kaiteriteri beach camp.
Right on the beachfront, you can see why it would be popular. There is a restaurant, potable water everywhere you look and it’s nice water too, and a dump station. There are several large amenities blocks including reasonably priced laundries.
In summer, they have up to 1600 campers/caravanners/Motorhomes. It must be mayhem but apparently iris not. The size of a small town! I’ve only seen a handful of people here so we were pretty lucky to have the place pretty much to ourselves.
In between showers we set up a barbecue lunch under the two awnings.
Tomorrow we head to Takaka over the famous Takaka hill road, to head towards Farewell spit.
After several weeks of sanding, painting and repairing things and generally getting the house on the market, it was time for a well earned break.
Our friends Helen, Rob and Chloe were keen to head to one of our favourite spots at the Pauanui Club at Pauanui.
To beat the holiday weekend traffic, Fiona and I decided that I would get Rafe stocked up. I would then collect her from work at 6pm and we would head down to the motorway towards Ardmore and maybe spend the night there. We would then go early the next day to Coromandel to try to beat the worst of the traffic.
As we crossed the bridge, there was no traffic ! We got to Manukau, still no traffic until we hit Takanini where roadworks slowed it down to a crawl but after a 1k or so, we were away again ! We decided we’d keep going until we’d had enough and that ended up being Thames 🙂
I’ve never stayed at Rhodes park before but it is just on the left after Thames Airfield before you get into Thames. It is Free parking provided by the local council and its a great place. A great big piece of flat gravel and you can park anywhere.
There were about 10 or so Caravans and Motorhomes and everyone had plenty of room. There as a good Internet signal there too but I forgot to measure it!
We woke up in the morning around 7:30 to the phone ringing which Fiona answered and it was Rob saying that they were at Drury on the Southern Motorway stopped in traffic. We made a decision to get up and get going in case the traffic extended to the Coromandel road and got cracking.
As it turned out, it only took us about 40 minutes to get to Pauanui and we were there shortly after 9am. Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived about an hour or so later.
The Club parking is superb and it is extremely good value. At $10 including power, toilets, a cold shower(if you have no option) and access to their bar and superb meals. It is also right next door to the Airfield with homes with built in hangers alongside the runway. There is always something to see and do. The town is an easy 5 minute walk away as well with some nice Cafe’s and a small supermarket. It is also right next door to a great Mini Golf park which was busy for most of the weekend.
There were 4 Motorhomes there when we arrived and there was plenty of room for more.
Some positive feedback for them. There is room for more Motorhomes there down one end but the 8 power sockets are on two poles where they could spread this over three poles and increase their turnover but its fantastic as it is!
We went for a walk around to see our son Alex’s family about a 1k away who were staying in Sarah’s family bach. Grandsons Ayden and Liam were there too so we took them down to the beach about 100 metres away.
Pauanui is a great surf beach with the famous Slipper island just off shore.
That night, Alex and Sarah and the boys came around and we all went to the Pauanui club for a few glasses of fizz and they had tea.
The next day, they all walked around to the Pauanui Waterways and had a look at this amazing development. Rob, Helen and Chloe climbed up to the top of Mt Pauanui which is a feat too!
All in all, over three days, it was nice to be in one spot for a period and just be able to blob and check out what was just around the corner.
We last caught up with friends Rob and Helen before we went to the South Island last year but saw Helen in Lowburn so it was good to see them with Chloe as well.
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We headed up to a neat wee campground in Leigh called Leigh Central. With the weather being off and on sunny and the odd shower but lots of easterly wind, we knew we were in for a few good puffs.
We’d only been there about half an hour when Rob turned up with their Tracker and Helen and Chloe arrived later.
Its a small campground which is part of a Motel complex right in the heart of Leigh.
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Outdoor area for Happy times
A monster being weighed
We’d just arrived when the owner Ian popped out to welcome us in. Ian and his wife along with another couple own the complex and have been progressively upgrading it and it looks great. It is run on an honesty system at $20 per van per night, great value and with a view out over the water to Tawharanui Peninsula. There are plans to add Toilets and Shower which are there now but not hooked up and there is a full kitchen and lounge area with a big open fire which would be great in winter.
It was really nice to see Rob, Helen and Chloe again and we had a great night updating each other with all the news.
The next day, after a big sleep and lie in :-), we walked around to the Leigh School where there was a weigh in for a big Fishing competetion that had been on. There was a huge Marque and lots of stalls for food and it looked set for a big night with live music too.
We walked around the road to the well known Sawmill Cafe and had a beer and a nibble before coming back to the campground and enjoying some great Fish and Chips from the shop next door to the campground.
As we left, we drove down to the Leigh Wharf area which is really interesting. An easy walk from the campground too. Mathesons Bay is just around the corner and we checked that out as well.
A great place to stay, nice hosts and not far from anywhere. We’ll be back.
The Netspeed Speedtest.
Download: 30.55 Mbps
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Ping: 26 m
It was really nice to be back in Auckland after a nice trip around the South Island and to see our families and friends again. We’ve been away now for over 6 months so we had lots of catching up to do.
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Fiona was asked to step in at her old job in Takapuna for a few days so we thought we’d treat ourselves with a park on the waterfront at Takapuna Motorcamp. Friends Gary and Dianne with their new Niesmann and Bischoff and Ian and Lynda with their Dethleffs XLI joined us too.
On one of the mornings after Fiona left to walk to work, I set off to walk around the coast to Milford. It is an easy 30 minutes or so mostly along paths but with a little rock hopping right at the beginning.
Some of the houses are amazing. It is a great walk and it seems like the world is out there enjoying it. Its just nice sucking in the early morning fresh air and stopping now and then just to take it all in.
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Takapuna beach café opposite the campground
Yachties practising in the wind
The track to Milford
Walking along the old pipes
Thornes bay on the way to Milford
Castor Bay near Milfrod
Heading for Takapuna
I eventually ended up in Milford and went to check out our old family boat Rorqual which was happily sitting in the sun in the marina.
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.
I can’t believe the great weather we have had in the South Island. Almost every day has had temperatures of around 17C plus and perfect blue sky. Today was no different as we left Dunedin.
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Our first stop was to check out the famous Moeraki boulders. Its interesting that the signposts for the boulders all point to a restaurant above the beach which provides a nicely made set of steps and track to get down to them. Clever marketing I thought!
We parked in the huge carpark and wandered down to the beach where there were already a good number of people with their iphones getting piccies of the boulders. These are amazing. Apparently they’re over 5.5 million years old and were made on the sea floor with mud!
Interesting shapes and they certainly drew a large crowd while we were there.
Next stop was Oamaru for lunch. We stopped down in a large carpark by the Historical Precinct and had a wander around through the old buildings and shops. We were only here a few years ago and it has changed quite a bit since then.
While I was standing in the middle of the road in the old precinct, a chap on a penny farthing came screaming around the corner! Later when I checked out my images, the best one was with his eyes shut looking really brave 🙂
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
The Historic Precint
Limestone carver and second hand shop
The Historic Precint
The Oamaru Wharf
Its always a pleasure looking around Oamaru and I can see why my old friend Grant and his family moved here. Its got a lovely feel and atmosphere to it.