Tag Archives: Great walks

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

 

South Island, here we come.

After spending our last night in Auckland with eldest son Drew and his partner Jenna in Milford, we set off in the morning, bound for Taupo.

Rafe and Ian and Lynda’s XLI

We were heading for Dianne and Gary’s home in Taupo to meet other fulltimimg Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda, who arrived earlier in their Dethleffs XLI.

Dianne and Fiona made a spectacular curry for us all and we had a lot of laughs and lots of fun.

Dianne picking the girls up for a tiki tour around Taupo

In the morning, we all went to a local Cafe and then for a look around Taupo.  Another great night with everyone and lots more laughs and Fiona and I were off to Rafe for the night. In the morning we caught up  briefly with everyone for a cup of tea and then we were off, heading further south.

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We stopped at the Army Museum in Waiouru for lunch which was great and then carried on to Mangaweka.

Rafe at the Mangaweka Campground

We stayed at a neat wee Campground in Mangaweka last Christmas with Gary and Dianne and its a fantastic place right by the river. The same people own another more upmarket Campground with a bar and eating area right over the bridge.

Look at those cliffs!

There is also an old Power Station just along the road with an old dam. Apparently Mangaweka was one of the first to have its own streetlights and electricity in the country, all driven by this local dam.

Fiona at the old Power station

At $7 a night each with power with our NZMCA discount, it is spectacularly “reasonably priced” but I understand the price with soon be $9 per night with no discount. .. Still very good value in a lovely spot.

Rafes track to the Mangaweka Camp

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

What was Hot!

It was all pretty Hot really.

Gary and Dianne did a great job as tour guides and we really appreciated their great company and the effort they went to so we could see a bit of Europe from a Motorhome.

Dianne and Gary in their old stamping ground, Prague. They were on the Charles Bridge here with the Prague Castle behind on the hill.

The original idea was to try for Estonia and back from the UK but once we got to Brugge from Calais, we decided it was going to be far too much driving and we simply wouldn’t see anything in 5 weeks for driving so we opted for a shorter course through Holland, Germany, a week in Prague, (Gary and Dianne lived here for 3 years) back to Germany to check out the Niesmann and Bichoff factory, Luxembourg, Northern France and back to the UK.

Gary and Dianne’s new Arto 88

It was all good but from a picture perspective, probably Stow on the Wold and some of older Architecture in Prague and Germany. The villages in Northern France were amazing too.

A happy Dianne in the living area while Fiona inspects 🙂

After seeing Gary and Dianne’s new Arto 88 Niesmann and Bichoff, Gary was able to organise a tour through the factory which was fantastic as they are all built by hand with minimal automation.
The factory is in Polch, Germany which wasn’t far out of our way from the Czech Republic to France. In the end we decided to go through Luxembourg as well and have a look there too.

A happy wee Ralph at Hanover

Ralph was fun but after 3000 odd km’s, I was starting to pine for something like Rafe as Ralph was hard yakka by comparison. I didn’t realise too when we hired it that it was flat out at 90 odd k so it slowed Gary and Dianne down too which was a bit of a let down but we had fun and everything worked. Its a classic case of if I was to do it again, I’d do it differently.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow of the Hot images..
click the x at the top right hand corner to close.

The whole trip was over nearly 2 months and cost a total of about $16000 NZ so was a cheap holiday given that we saw and did so much. Ralph was NZ$7000 of that for 5 weeks so it was pretty good really.

I picked up a bug in the last few weeks which I’m still trying to shake which was a bit of a bugger but still it didn’t slow us down 🙂

Singapore was fantastic.

One the way to Marina Sands

We always seem to be flying through here so it was nice to actually stop for a few days and see all the changes. Its a great city and we both really enjoyed seeing Chinatown, cruising up the harbour and all the new buildings. The Marina Sands area was amazing too.

Fiona at Marina Sands. The shopping centre on the left.

Over the whole trip though, I can’t say enough about Gary and Dianne and their patience with us as they really were fantastic and we had a huge amount of laughs and fun with them.

Gary and Dianne on the Mosul  River

Thanks heaps to you both again for everything and also storing Rafe in your XLI/Nibi shed while we were all away. We’re both looking forward to catching up with you both when you get settled with Nibi in NZ, or whatever you end up calling the new beast.

Our Last Day in the UK

There was free parking provided in a carpark right next to the Chunnel entrance so we took advantage of that for our last night in France. We woke up early to see if we could get an earlier crossing in the Chunnel as our booking was for 10:55am. Gary and Dianne were ready early so we were off.

Free parking in Calais

When we checked in, we found that we could get on an 9:50 crossing so we were in.

The Chunnel train port

After checking underneath and see if any stowaways were hanging on, as requested by the British border man, we headed off to Starbucks in the duty free pavilion until our time for boarding.

Driving onto the Train
Driving up to our spot Gary and Dianne in front

It was all really easy. After spending 20 minutes or so in the carriage inside Ralph, we were in Folkstone, UK and drove straight out onto the the motorway towards the Dartmouth Crossing.

A bit of traffic on the M25 around London slowed us down but we by 2.30pm, we were in Milton Keynes picking up our suitcases from Ralphs home at Hireahymer.com.

The camp

After this, we followed the Gary’s  GPS settings to the Old Dairy Farm campground which is right by a canal. Just beautiful. A really small camp with about 15 powered sites on an old Farm.

Looking over towards Harry

We headed off in Ralph up to a pub about 3 k’s called the Three Locks Hotel which is as it says, right by 4 locks and by the canal.

A beautiful setting. We went with Dianne and Gary and shouted them  a meal out on our last night as a way of saying thank you for being in their hair for the previous month or so and being great tour guides, especially of their old home country of the Czech Republic. We wouldn’t have had the confidence to do it without you guys. Thanks heaps to you both.

We had a great night there. I think we were all pretty tired as starting out in France early and driving to where we were was all a bit hectic.

Water coming through the lock gates
Two narrow boats in the lock

It was a relatively early night but what a lovely spot to finish off the trip.

Through the hedge is the Canal

In the morning we were taking Ralph home and catching a coach to Heathrow Ibis for a night and then our flight home to NZ.