Tag Archives: History

The Big Ride to the Horeke Pub

After a great night of catching up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica along with Dianne and Gary, it was time to get some sleep for the big 30k ride the next day.

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Getting the bikes ready

The next morning, Helen and the the girls set off to check out the Bay of Islands and we got organised and set off towards Horeke.

The top part of the Trail

We simply crossed the road and headed off down the trail. The first part of the trail is downhill..some of it so steep that you are advised to walk it! The first third is pretty much downhill but then it flattens out and its up and down the rest of the way through to Horeke but the trail is pretty easy and nicely set out.

Riding beside the stream

The middle part of the ride go’s through Snows Farm and past a Lily pond and the track is set in some really nice easy bush and along side a river. The scenery and countryside is amazing.

Dianne and Fiona

Eventually the track comes out to a road and then cross’s over to a huge wooden track built up over the Mangroves on the upper reaches of the Hokianga. From there it is only a few K’s to the pub.

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We were well and truly ready for a G&T and a sit down lunch and the lunch didn’t disappoint!  The Seafood Chowder was recommended to us by Noeline at the Rail Stay so 4 Seafood Chowders later, everyone was happy.

Peter the Publican came over to say Hi and it was interesting talking to him. He has owned the Horeke Tavern for more than 25 years so has seen some big changes.

Horeke Pub

Peter runs a shuttle for bikes and gave a us a ride back to the Rail Stay. Gary being a bit of sucker for some more punishment, decided to ride back on his electric bike and did it in really good time too, despite it being mostly uphill on the way back.

Back for a cold one with Rafe later.. Dianne, Jessica, Helen and Gary.

Amazing Museum

After leaving New Plymouth, we stopped in Stratford Countdown for some Milk and a few essentials and after breakfast and a look around, cruised on to the famous Tawhiti Museum.

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The Handsome Cab man

Started by a local very clever Artist, Nigel Ogle with his wife Teresa, they built this up using local friends and aquaintances to make their lifesized models faces and they look amazing. I love the expressions too.  In 1975, they bought the old Cheese factory where Nigel worked as a boy and this was the start of the Museum.

Looks like some I know 🙂

It is split into three Museums being the local history, the Traders and Whalers and the Bush railway.

The Accountant

Fiona and I elected to check out the Local History which took several hours. This could easily take the whole day if you elected to do all three.

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The parking opposite is fantastic with plenty of room for Motorhome parking with separate parking for the cars on the sides.

Great Parking

There is also a well stocked Cafe on site with great Coffee too. A neat spot.

Lovely spot

We’ve decided already we will have to revisit and check out the other bits we missed but an awesome display that really is a must see.

Muller park

We went from here to the Muller NZMCA park in Hawera where we recognised several other Motorhomers who were parked next to us at the Museum! Isn’t it funny how great minds think alike 🙂

Rafe’s Track to Tawhiti Museum and onto Muller Park. The Museum is the Green Dot on the right!

Origin at Otorohanga

We were staying in the reasonably newish Otorohanga NZMCA park which is only 800 metres to the Town centre.

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Otorohanga’s main street

One of the first shops we popped into was an Art Deco shop which had all sorts of stuff in it including quite a bit section on Steam Punk as well. Lots of Cloche hats and neat things.

Fiona with the poles outside the I site

A walk across the road and down through the Ed Hillary lane was a huge display of Kiwiana including a neatly displayed board of Kiwi slang and its American or English equivalent. Also there were old ads for wringer washing machines and reminders of the half pint of Milk at School. I was a milk monitor at the school I was at in Central Wellington so remember it well. Nice cold milk in winter for morning tea, Yum!

The Railway Station built in 1923 after the original burnt down

As you come out of the arcade at the other end is the railway station. We parked the bikes and went in for a couple of Latees. There we met Roger who owns the Origin coffee company that imports Coffee from their own farm in Malawi and brews it in the Railway Station. The coffee is fantastic. One of the best I’ve had for a while.

Fiona ordering coffees

Roger started Origin in 1999 and has gone from strength to strength since then. When you’re in the Station, don’t expect a big selection of food apart from Toasted Sammies and Cakes. The good news is, you’re welcome to bring you’re own food. Roger is keen to concentrate on the coffee 🙂

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After half an hour or so of chatting to Roger and enjoying the Coffee, as we were leaving, the Auckland to Wellington Train pulled in… this is a trip I want to do as well.. looks great !

The Railway station with the North Island train in.

We biked back to Rafe at the park to think about when we can do that Train trip 🙂

Schischka Park – Wenderholm

Part 2 of nice places to go this summer!

The last time we stayed at Wenderholm, we stayed in the public carpark by the beach. Although we had a great night and its a great spot,  compared to other Auckland CSC parks where Motorhomers were safely fenced off, this was somewhat of a disappointment.

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SchiskaAfter discussing this with our veteran Auckland parks motorhoming friends, Rob and Helen, they told us that the Schischka park was THE place to go so here we were and it was fabulous.

SchiskaThere is a big electric gate with a digital keypad and after a 500 metre driveway it opens up to a massive grassed parking area by the water with brand new flush toilets in the middle. There are also some baches where you can stay if you don’t have your own accommodation.

We could only spend one night here but it is stunning. We went for a walk down a waterfront track to the beach and checked out the old Historic Couldrey House. There are new toilets there too. There are walks all over the hill there too so plenty to do and see.

The camp from the Estaury
The camp from the Estaury

A great place to stay and so handy to the big smoke of Auckland too.
One of Rafe’s tracking maps below.map

Bliss in Paradise

Just in time for the Silly Season .. Here’s the first of some preloved posts of  nice places to go this summer! .. Enjoy

With no jobs in the book and with the sun shining, it was time to hit the road.  I had just paid for a years Auckland City Parks pass so I thought I’d try Tauwharanui at the end of the Takatu peninsula, north of Kawau Island. 

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Stunning!
Stunning!

We stayed here more than a year or so go with friends, Gary, Chris and Rob, Helen and Chloe. We only had the one night here so exploring the area wasn’t really on the agenda that particular trip but it’s just a magic place.

At Dusk .. Little Barrier
At Dusk .. Little Barrier

When I first arrived, I think there was only 1 other person here and I bumped into him on the beach. He’d parked down in the tents only area but I assumed he knew 😀

TauwharanuiThe next day, I set out with the camera to have a nosy around. The beach is beautiful with Little Barrier just off it and Great Barrier further out. Compared to Auckland, you could almost reach out and touch them.

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The water is stunning with a clean deep blue merging into Turquoise, just like the tropics with beautiful white sand. As you walk further, the beach merges with two more, all part of Anchor Bay.. Just beautiful. I spent a couple of hours just sitting on a rock under a tree just admiring the colours.. sensational.

Beach from Heaven
Beach from Heaven

After getting some nice piccies, I wandered back to the track to find that I’d forgotten which of the many tracks took me back to Rafe. I ended up walking about 3ks just to find my way back 😎 I can hear Fiona saying something like good exercise !

The long road back after the "wrong turn"
The long road back after the “wrong turn”

At nearly 600 hectares of Regional park, it’s a huge place and there are plenty of interesting walks to go on. There are  information boards to guide the way with brochures available. No Dogs as its a pest proof and kiwi zone.

Just behind the sand dunes
Just behind the sand dunes

A fabulous place and not too far from the big smoke at Auckland. 

TauwharanuiI  can see myself spending lots of time here. 😎

And a screen grab from Rafe’s new tracker system to show its location.

And how we got here, from Rafe's Tracker system
And how we got here, from Rafe’s Tracker system

The Netspeed speed test here..given how isolated it is, this a great result.

Test Date: 3/11/2016 11:49 AM
Download: 15.38 Mbps
Upload: 2.76 Mbps
Ping: 46 ms

Getting Away

Its not far to go and its easy and its familiar.

Mangawhai Heads on the estuary is just lovely.

Lovely spot

Easy walks around to the beach and you can walk the other way for miles too.

Splash

We had escaped for the weekend to give our agent Lance a good crack at the first weekend of open homes without us or Rafe in the way and we weren’t quite ready to go home so it was Mangawhai.

Enjoying the water

I was here only a month or two before so knew that with the NZMCA mid winter rates and it being right next to the water, it was pretty good without travelling too far.

We’d been to the markets, had a coffee and a look at Bennetts chocolate factory and ready just to plug in and go for a walk along the foreshore.

Its a lovely area and as I think I said in my last post from here, it would be a good place to retire to being close to the families in the big smoke.. only 90 minutes or so away.

Windows

Karangahake Gorge is just amazing. We walked around here a year or two ago but didn’t quite get to the Windows walk for some reason. Well.. its wild.

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The Main suspension bridge over the Ohimemuri river

After parking Rafe in the carpark next to two other Motorhomes, I set off with the box brownie and headed across the suspension bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River.

The Power Station looking back to the carpark

The old Powerhouse used to be at the other end but all that can be seen now is the concrete base.

Looking back over the old PowerStation ruins to the carpark.

The walk is supposed to take an hour and is 2.5 kms. I headed off up the right hand side of the gorge along a pathway which had some mine entrances heading off into the hillside.

How is that track

As the walk went further on, the pathway was cut into the sheer cliff face and protected by barriers. Just stunning with the river below. Knowing that this was a loop walk back across the other side, I couldn’t see anywhere across the other side that looked like it could accommodate a track!

The second bridge up to the tunnels.

As I went further on, I came across another suspension bridge crossing the river and a track leading up some steps into a Tunnel. Just as well I brought my cell phone for some light although a torch would have been better .. note for next time!

The original tracks are still in there for the Gold Diggings train too.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow of the walk

As the Tunnel went on their were little exits (Windows) out across the river and eventually it came out to a well formed track.

The Spanish chaps ahead

I bumped into a couple of chaps from Spain enjoying the walk who were keen to do more walks. A family with small kids went through too so its suitable for all ages.

One of the old carts

Further along there was the ruins of the processing plants that occupied most of the hillside. Its not a big area so its amazing what they fitted in there at that time.

The foundations of one of the big factories

After a chat with my Spanish friends at the end of the track, I headed back across the main swing bridge to the carpark where there was originally a whole township. An amazing spot! .. I’ll definitely have to come back here again.!

Rafe’s Track to the Windows walks

Boiling Mud and Geysers

Grandsons, Ayden and Liam were both really looking forward to seeing some boiling mud for the first time and if we could, the famous Pohutu Geyser.

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Fiona, Ayden and Liam on the way to the Geysers

We left early and walked about 100 metres to Te Puia all well connected by tunnels under the roadway. The family pass which was normally $150 odd seemed appropriate and because there was a NZ special discount, we were able to show our drivers licenses and get nearly $50 off !  A big saving.

The base of the Geysers

There  just enough time to get the boys an ice cream and us a coffee before the next tour was due to head off with Guide Kiri.

Kiri with the Tour group

She was fantastic and as the Geysers were still building up a head of steam, after teaching the group of about 60 in the tour how to pronounce the full name of Whakarewarewa(and a lot more), she took us first to see the craft academy. Whakarewarewa is the abbreviated form !

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I didn’t realise but they have a full Academy for training craftsmen from Bone or Stone carving to Wood Carving, Jewellery and many other skills. They work on show for the tourists behind and below a walkway and you finally end up in a Gallery where the work is available to buy. The trainees have uniforms and have a full apprenticeship/graduation ceremony. It is an amazing setup. Very entrepreneurial and all done very nicely. I was impressed.

The base of the Geysers

The steam was building up so Kiri took us down to the Mud Pools then onto the Geysers. Unfortunately there was a grey sky and the steam and the clouds all merged so it was impossible to really see the water let alone photograph it. The boys enjoyed it and also got to sit on some warm concrete which was nice as it was only 10C!

Boiling Mud

We spent about 4 hours there all up and we decided it was time to head back to Rafe and go and warm up in the Hot Pool.

Pohutu Geyser is in there somewhere

As I say, I was very impressed with the way it was all setup. Paths and bridges are a long way from what I remember from the old Whaka village with them all being well engineered and maintained.
A fun day for young and old 🙂

Launch of the Books – Free Download!

Wow.. what a week ..

The last 2 of our Bugger it We Are Off series books were launched last week.  All four are now on Amazon as Kindles EBooks.

To celebrate this, I’ve got the Napier Art deco book available for free for the next 4 days from today (US time) – Tomorrow NZ Time

From 1st August (US time), this book will be available for free for 5 days.  …..Click here

I’ve got them available in the Epub format as well for Ipads but haven’t got a Mac which you need to upload to the iTunes store.. I’ll find a way!

These publications are all based on this Blog.
I’m not expecting them to be best sellers but if someone out there finds a couple of things of interest in there, it was worth doing.

The blurb below is copied from the OUR Books page.

As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 20, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.

Bugger it we are off to the Pinnacles in a convoy is about meeting Motorhome friends in Taupo NZ (central North Island) and heading in our three Motorhomes down to the Pinnacles at the bottom of the North Island.

We travel through the Hawkes Bay wine region on the way, go to a UB40 concert, survive a raging storm and enjoy a great meal in an old style Country Lodge. Lots of fun and some great images.

Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer Motorhome and then following our Motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks explore central Europe with bikes.

There were lots of adventures and lots of laughs. A truly memorable experience.

Bugger it we are off to the South Island of NZ is about our three month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.

We met lots of neat people, caught up with some friends and relatives, stayed in some amazing places and had a great time.

To see more about these books and links to buy, see our Book Page

David’s Treasure Trove

Rafe is nearly 4 years old and it seems everything is expiring. One of those items is the Electrical Certificate and that was due to expire next month but while I’m doing inspections, oil changes and stuff, I thought I’d get on with it.

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Sunbeam

After making a time with David Allbon who was listed on the NZMCA website, I rocked up to his house in Glenfield with Rafe and David put Rafe through his electrical paces. I was impressed with how thorough it was. He tested all the 240v power points and devices and checked the RCD tripped off in the allotted times allowed. The lead was checked too. We passed with flying colours.

David with a new bike he is working on.

David then led me to do the paperwork on his desk in his garage which just happened to be the boot lid of his Triumph Stag. His Garage was amazing. There was a 1929 Sunbeam, a 1926 Douglas Motorbike, a lovely convertible MG which was covered in his Motorhome bits. He is also working on another lovely old bike which I forgot to ask what it was but a real treasure trove.

The MG

David was telling me that most of the cars he has owned for a “long time” which suggested 40 years or more in some cases.

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Looking at the Sunbeam engine bay with its 6 cylinder, 2 litre motor, you could eat your lunch off it ! Its lovely to see these old vehicles being looked after and loved to this level.

The 6 cylinder 2 litre Sunbeam motor

David and his wife Barbara also have a Nissan Motorhome which was away having some repairs done to it after it was damaged by a falling tree.

If you’re looking for an Electrical Certificate, David is your man..!