Tag Archives: Great beachs

The Boulders

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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In the carpark

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!

Boulders

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.

The Criterion hotel

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 🙂

The man on his Penny farthing


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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.

The waterfront

Niagara Falls :-)

After stopping at the Otautau Dump station, we headed back into Invercargill to get some fuel and water. Fiona’s sister Sara had rung to say she was heading to Queenstown in 5 days so we had to get a wriggle on if we were going to see the Catlins.

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My new favorite phone app, Gaspy came to the rescue and where every service station in Invercargill was selling diesel for $1.36 a litre plus, Gaspy identified a truck stop that was selling diesel for a $1.09 in the back streets of Invercargill !

Plenty of room.

We headed off towards Curio bay and Niagara where the NZMCA park was. After having a quick look at the Curio bay beach, we headed to Niagara.

Fiona at Curio bay
Curio bay looking towards the campground

The park is all gravel with a shed for checking in. Just along the road are the Niagara Falls. Someone with a sense of humour named them after the American ones but they’re famous for whitebaiters rather than as a waterfall :-).

There was plenty of activity there with some friendly whitebaiters.

Niagara Falls

We headed back to Rafe as the promised rain was looking imminent and just after we got back, some new neighbours rocked in and parked beside us.

The NZMCA park

Stan and Sara were from Alexandra and Kawerau and were travelling together. We had a nice hour or so with them with a few cold ones. Nice people and I’m sure we’ll see them again somewhere.

Matai falls

It rained that night and there were some good puffs too.

We set off around mid morning towards Balclutha stopping at the Horsehoe and the Matai falls, and stopping at Owaka for lunch.

From Florence Hill lookout. Tatuku bay

Its a lovely part of the world.

Rafes Track to Niagara falls

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

A Happy Place

Fiona’s cousin Iain has been coming here for years, every holiday break and he calls it his “Happy Place” and I heard somone else call it this too… and its all true 🙂

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A Happy Place

Kaiteriteri is just a magic place in the world and with an off season deal for NZMCA members at $98 a week, it truly is happy time sitting there amongst other nice NZMCA’rs looking at the beach literally in front of your front bumper!

Long termers in the middle rows

We’d just stopped and parked in front of the reception and I was walking in to check in when I met Selwyn and Lynda. This was before I’d even checked in ! They were off on a walk over to Little Kaiteriteri via a lookout on a track through the bush. They showed me how to get there so we could do it to. What a welcome !

Close to the water

The receptionist was amazing too. She insisted that if we weren’t happy with the site, I could shift which we did later.

Huge

Its a huge campground with muliple ammenties blocks. In winter, they cut costs by closing all but one block. There are more than 400 powered sites and several cottages. They even have their own small supermarket and nearby are several bars and restaurants to suit all tastes . A very well setup campground.

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After checking in on a brilliantly fine day, we went for a walk up to the lookout at one end of the beach and Fiona carried on to Little Kaiteriteri for more exercise. That afternoon, we sat around the beach and checked out the camp.

Fiona at the lookout

Later in the day, we met up again with Selwyn and Lynda who were only parked two away from us so we commandeered an empty barbeque table and enjoyed an hour of laughs and something cold with them. They hadn’t come that far as they lived in Motueka or “Mot” as its known locally. This to me gives you some idea of how good they think it is at Kaiteriteri when they could be anywhere.

Looking down from the lookout

The next day, we took off in Rafe over to the next bay around Marahau. It is a really bendy, twisty road and we averaged probably 30 k all the way there. Interesting though to see and it is another lovely bay. From here you can go right up into the Abel Tasman Park. We headed back on another easier road and stopped for a cup of tea at the charming coffee shop in Riwaka.

Looking across to Little Kaiteriteri

We have been here before a couple of years ago with Gary and Chris with their Fuso. But weren’t here long enough to have a good look around.

Lovely spot and a very Happy Place !

Rafes Track to Kaiteriteri

At the Beach

Nelson is one of my favorite places. Its waterfront with the houses built into the hill, the bars and eateries next to the water and over the water, it is special. Its also flat so makes it easy to get around on a bike.

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Looking out towards Kaiteriteri

We’ve stayed at Tahuna Beach Holiday Park before in Wee Rafe the caravan several years ago and thought we’d give it another go.

A flash back to when we were there last ..Wee Rafe at Tahuna

Its huge! 540 powered sites and it covers a huge area. What I like about it though is the area at the far end which they call the old area, under the trees which is right on the water.

Rafe parked in the beautiful CSC area with the beach
All that space

In winter, they have a deal where NZMCA’rs with CSC can park down the end for $10 pp on the basis that they use their own facilities. They give you access to water, Dump Station and Power only. This deal can only be used for 3 days per month max. Its a good arrangement but we’re staying on for a few more days in the new area for the full rate of $36 with the NZMCA discount which is still very good value.

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Down the other end in the new area, there are new facilities and hard standing parks. Its all very nice. There is a mini golf course, a Restaurant and Cafe and a jumping pillow if you feel like a bounce 🙂

The new parking area

I went for a walk around and the place is massive. You could easily get lost here and being right on the harbour, its a stunning location.

Looking over the fence

There is even a shaped Auditorium in the grass with a stage for summer events. There are also lots of motels and cabins and permanent caravans too but they’re all in a separate area.

After the first few days, we moved up to the new area with all the mod cons. All the services were bunched together on top of a small hill which was nice with a courtyard in between. Laundry, showers, toilets etc.

Rafe in the distance in the new area. Taken from the raised kitchen.

We went for a  walk across the estuary when the tide went out and over to a small forest opposite. Lots of things to see and do.

Fiona on the estuary.

A cool place to stay in a nice town.

Rafe’s track to Tahuna

 

Waterfront Mansion

Without wanting to annoy our old neighbours, we spent a couple of nights down by the Marina in front of my son Andrew’s house while we sorted out some Winter clothing for the South Island. It was nice to catch up with some of our old friends around the marina and such a nice place to stay.

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Beside the Marina

There were still two nights to go before we were catching up with our Devonport friends before our South Island trip so we thought we’d treat ourselves to Takapuna Motor Camp and check it out since we’d voted for it to stay.

The Tide is in and what a view.

At $47 a night for two on a waterfront site, it seemed to be to be on the pricey side but once you see the site on a good day, it is just magnificent and on our second morning, I received a text from good friend Alan asking if he could “come for a coffee at our Waterfront Mansion”.

Close to the water parking.

The Camping ground is great. It is only small so I could imagine it would be easily and often booked out on school holidays and Christmas Holidays.

You can rent these.

Standard Sites are  $42 and they also have chalets and caravans you can stay in. Loos and showers are free and are fantastic. The shower I had was one of the best ever with real pressure.

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We went for a walk one night into the Takapuna main street, Hurstmere Rd, for an ice cream, an easy 15 minute walk.

Rangitoto Island

I grew up about a block away and went to primary school about three blocks away so I’ve been keen to see what its like but living locally, I’ve never had a need to stay here but I can say its absolutely a primo spot. It is handy to everything and being right on the water with a view of Rangitoto like this, it doesn’t get much better.

Great Beach

There is also a really nice Café right next door and the coastal walk goes all the way around to Milford from right in front of the Campground.

Rafe’s track from the marina to Takapuna.

West Coast Beauty

We spent a nice couple of nights with the two Grandsons and their parents at Ardmore and then we headed off to Port Waikato for our last night away for the weekend.

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The Jandal Wall

The last time I came to Port Waikato in the middle of last year, the camp was run by a very helpful French chap who couldn’t do enough for you.

Last year in October, the camp was bought out by a Hapu of Tainui and the welcome we got from manager Mathew was unbelievable.

He’s a lovely guy and again was just so helpful. With the new management comes some enthusiasm to do a few deals to rev things up in winter. The deal we had was pay for one adult and get another one free for a powered site which was amazing. Where else do you get this with all the other facilities too 🙂

The Powered sites

After finding a nice spot for Rafe and settling down, Fiona and I decided to walk the 1k or so down to Sunset beach. A nice easy flat walk and the beach is amazing. There is something that is quite magical about our West Coast beaches.

We spent an hour so  taking it all in and then headed back to Rafe.

Sunset beach

As it was a holiday park and despite the cold weather, the park was reasonably busy with plenty of caravans and lots of Bach owners in their permanent chalets in the park.

Great decorating skills

Some have gone to some trouble to set them apart from the others.

Along the beach

The rain came down overnight which we expected and we enjoyed a leisurely run home with very little traffic.

On the Estuary

Its a great spot, the camp is well setup and with Mathew on the handlebars now, you’ll really enjoy your stay. Check it out.

Rafes Tracking map