Tag Archives: History

Ye Olde Luxury Post Office

And it’s a B&B so you can stay there!

A true labour of love .. Dave and Maria bought the Post office building some years ago and have restored what was originally the Eltham Post Office with the Telegraph area upstairs, is now a luxury B&B.

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Dave is a retired Photojournalist and worked with me at the Herald in the late 1970’s. David has also provided some images to the Hospice Taranaki Auction happening on the 24th September.

Dave outside the B&B

I was in New Plymouth staying at Ninia Park over so it was an easy trip in Rafe to pop in to see Dave after 40 something years since we’ve seen each other. Unfortunately, Dave’s wife Maria was away in Sydney catching up with friends and family so I get to meet her.

Historical Neighbourhood

I found Dave water blasting some Mould of one of the sheltered walls at the back and we adjourned into the kitchen for a good catchup over a cup of tea.

The main Helena Suite

Later I got a tour of the building which is amazing. They’ve certainly been busy!

Lots of old period things add to the charm

The upstairs has been converted into their private flat but in a thorough Way 🙂 .. as you would expect from these two!

Dave outside the Post Office.

If you want to sample this beauty and have a night away from your Motorhome or Caravan in one of Taranaki’s small towns, check out their website here.

Rafe parked outside with the Post office behind
Lovely old Building

It was lovely to see Dave again after all these years. As I said to him, he still looks the same 🙂

House & Garden RV style!

Paeroa would have to get first prize in the Antique shops. A fantastic place if you like looking at old interesting stuff.

We’ve passed through here lots of times but only stayed here once before  and that was at the Paeroa RV centre.

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I hadn’t booked or anything and just rocked up and as I checked in, there was something vaguely familiar about the nice lady checking me in.

After I gave her my name, she looked at me strangely and and said, “I went to school with you at Takapuna Grammar School”, the penny dropped and everything fell into place. Jane was also was at school with Fiona at Vauxhall Primary School.. amazing memory.  We spent the next hour or so going though all the common friends that we have and strangely enough, have managed to keep in touch with.

Jane’s partner Steve is the caretaker and they have an amazing old Devonport Ferries red bus, a real slice of history.

Jane with her and Steve’s ex Devonport Ferries Bus

Paeroa RV Centre has changed over the years and now house s a lot of permanent people in bigger vehicles and they’ve developed a real community there. I found all of them very welcoming and very friendly and with the less than friendly winter weather that we’ve had lately, its a great spot to get comfortable.

Some of the appendages to their parks .. think decks and little garden areas are amazing. I very definitely felt very undecorated and certainly not anywhere in the hunt for a prize for my park 🙂 I did have some moss and a neighbour pots nearby though 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to check out the Gardens

Having met Steve and Jane, they talked me into staying a second night and I spent the next day walking into Paeroa, getting a haircut and buying some costume jewelry for Fiona.

Downtown Paeroa
There’s a plastic bottle now !

A fantastic place to stay, great people and I was really pleased to catch up with Jane again and meet Steve.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Paeroa – Armada GPS

Staying at the Racecourse

Another great weather day was there to greet us as we rose to leave Reefton to go to Richmond.

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The grand entrance

We were gagging for a coffee by the time we approached the Nelson area. There is a nice wee place at Kohatu called the Flat Rock Café where we’ve stopped several times before.

Easy parking for big vehicles and a good coffee so we stopped there for half an hour or so before we carried on towards the Nelson Racecourse in Richmond.

Rafe parked under the trees

At $20 a night with power, water, rubbish, toilets showers and laundry its very affordable and in a nice spot.

Relaxing in the sun

After parking, opening vents and settling down, we went for a 20 minute walk into Richmond to have a nosey around the shops and a coffee. Last time we were here, they had half the main street all ripped up and it was impossible to get anywhere. It was nice to see it all finished and it looks good too.

A happy James with his car

The next day, we met our neighbour James who was on his own in his Motorhome. We were keen to visit upper Moutere and when James found this out, he asked us if we could take him up to Woodstock so he could retrieve his car. He was getting it fitted with an A frame and going to tow it behind his Motorhome. There is no public transport or any other way for him to get his car.

We’ve never been to Woodstock and it wasn’t far out of our way so we were off with James to get his car.

We took a wrong turn and for a moment we weren’t sure that James knew where his car was as he wasn’t familiar with the area but after retracing our steps for a few k’s, James recognised where we were and we found his car. It’s so easy to get lost up there as we found when we tried to get from there to Upper Moutere without the GPS.

The Moutere River at Woodstock
My chatty friends at Woodstock

After we dropped James off, I found a bridge that crossed the Motueka River that flows through the Woodstock valley. After parking in a gravel pit so I could get some pictures of the river from the bridge, there were two cyclists coming the other way and I got chatting to them. They were local Caravanners who regularly did 30 odd k’s every few days around the area. We must have chatted for about 20 minutes about all sorts.. lovely couple.

It was time to head to Upper Moutere for lunch. This is when we got lost !

One of the nice things about these small towns is its usually pretty easy to get a park.. there was one big park left when we got there and we sort of fitted in it 🙂 See the pic.

The main drag at Upper Moutere
The old Post Office

We headed for the old Post Office which now sells Fancy pickles and breads and also has a very talented Jeweler making some amazing stuff. She used to work in the UK but returned home to NZ after winning a bunch of awards for her work.

The Oldest pub in NZ

After this we headed for the oldest Pub in NZ, the Moutere Inn.  We came here a few years ago so we knew the food was good and it didn’t disappoint!

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

I had Nachos with Bacon and Cheese .. Wow and Fiona had a Seafood Chowder.. washed down with a local cider made less than a few paddocks away 🙂

Amazing Nacho lunch

After this we headed back to the Racecourse.

We were sitting in Rafe enjoying a cup of tea when there was knock on the door. It was James with a nice bottle of Scottish Gin he’d bought for us for taking up to Woodstock. We were bowled over as he had offered us money for diesel which we’d turned down.

If you’re reading this James.. a really nice surprise! a big thank you mate and it was lovely to meet you and be able to help you out.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Richmond – Armada GPS
Rafe’s Tracker map to Woodstock / Upper Moutere – Armada GPS

The first town in NZ to have electric Streetlights!

That’s Reefton and with its lovely old buildings, it’s all character.

Click on any Image to EnlargeAfter checking in at the campground next to the river which is very reasonable, we set off to check out the town. First stop was lunch at the Future Dough Company sitting on the pavement. I had a massive Nachos with Cream and cheese with bacon.. amazing!

Our spot in the campground

The last time we were here, we checked in with the bearded miners and although I checked in again, it was all closed up and there was no sign of them. We did find that Reefton now has its very own Gin Distillery!

Looking down the main street

We checked in to the Reefton Distilling Co in town to find it was the home of Little Biddy Gin. There were other flavours available to taste which was fun.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

After tasting a few, we ended up with one called Snow which we bought and then headed back to Rafe at the campground.

As the title suggests, Reefton was the first town in NZ to have electric streetlights powered by the river via two tunnels and a Flume in 1868. It was the first town in NZ to have a public power system.

The town reeks of the history with the amazing old buildings and the perfect place for us to stop on the way north.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Reefton – Armada GPS

Having fun in Hanmer

Hanmer is one of those old favourite spots as we have had some epic family reunions here. Add the hot pools and it doesn’t get any better so we were quite looking forward to popping in for a night on our way up to Nelson.

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Hanmer Hotel

We arrived in perfect weather having come through from Oxford bang on lunch time.

At the NZMCA park

We managed to get a park in the main street by the trees and set out for somewhere to eat. We settled on a Home made pie from a Kiosk on the corner. Yum!

The last time we were here was about 4 – 5 years ago and there seemed to be more shops and buildings than there was last time we were here. The place has grown!

Lovely space

We didn’t really have time for a swim this time and after an hour of checking out shops, we headed back to the NZMCA park by the river.

There was only two other vans there when we arrived but by 6, that had doubled. Its always nice having a few around you in a semi rural place.

and with a Petanque court

There is a dump station just up the road a few k’s and although Hanmer is 7 odd k’s away, its a fun place to be.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Hanmer – Armada GPS

The Rustic Pub in Oxford

A big chunk of my family came from Oxford so its probably no surprise that we like it here.

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We popped into the cemetery to check on my grandparents.

The last time we were here, we popped in at the Museum and there was a few notable relatives who were in some displays in the Museum.  They’ve done a wonderful job of expanding the Museum and adding to the collections.

Great pub

We called in a the Rustic Hotel at the end of the main st in Oxford. For $20 they provide powered parking behind the hotel. They also provide a nice meal to with it.

The Stairwell complete with the old phone

One of the chaps I was talking to who was a regular turned out to be a crane driver who did the lifting required for a cousins house not far down the road in Rangiora. Small world!

The Back parking area

We dropped in after parking Rafe and met some really interesting people at the bar and had a good look around. It was a fun afternoon and very reasonable parking.

An amazing old building with a very friendly helpful publican Ross, in a neat town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Oxford – Armada GPS

Lovely Arrowtown

In the morning we left left Gary, Dianne and Ian to continue their journey and headed off towards Arrowtown with the intention of possibly staying the night. When we arrived, we couldn’t raise anyone at the only campground in town so decided that after a look around, it was probably better to head back to Creeksyde in Queenstown which is closer to Arthurs Point where Fiona’s cousin lives.

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Arrowtown never disappoints and its one of the few towns around that really knows how to welcome Motorhomes with its amazing parking down behind the town.

Great parking for Motorhomes
The River behind

We arrived mid morning and the sun was shining and it looked fantastic. It was time to do shopping so Fiona was in heaven. After a couple of hours of cruising up and down the main street, we stopped in at a Café for lunch.

Can’t get enough of these buildings!

Arrowtown has a fantastic Museum which is well worth a look and is one of the few towns in NZ that still has a cobbled kerb. The main street also still has the proportions designed for the old horse and cart days so it really shouts out its Heritage and History. The buildings also make great images and they’ve done a great job of keeping it well maintained and making it work as a Tourist destination. I still think though that this is definitely one of the towns that is missing visitor numbers due to Covid which is a real shame.

We set off early mid afternoon to check back into Creeksyde in Queenstown.

Cobbled Kerb

Fiona got in touch with her cousin Jan and she came down to pick us up for drinks at their lovely home in Arthurs point for drinks. It was really nice seeing Rob and Jan as we haven’t seen them for a while. After a few hours, Jan dropped us back at Creeksyde.. a great day out!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Arrowtown and to Creeksyde – Armada GPS

Catching up at Cromwell

Our old friends Ross and Karen were always the people to visit here whenever we were in Cromwell, but they recently moved to a lovely home in Dunedin to be closer to their family. It was lovely to see them on the way down.

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The Historic Precinct

Gary and Dianne with Ian were in town in their Motorhomes so we were keen to catch up with them at the Cromwell Town and Country club where they had been staying. They had been in the South Island  together doing the Alps to Ocean bike trail, amongst other things so it was good to see them and hear their news.

Parked with our almost Lake view site at the Cromwell Town and Country Club. LtoR Rafe, Ian’s XLI and Gary and Dianne’s Niesmann and Bichoff

The Cromwell Heritage Precinct Farmers Market starts at 9am so it was an early rise at Creeksyde in Queenstown to get through the Kawerau Gorge (60k) and be settled to join them in Cromwell and walk down to the Market. Fiona LOVES markets so I knew things would be grim if I was late 🙂

The Historic Precinct

We got to Cromwell just in time with minutes to spare and we all headed off down to the Heritage area. After having a look around we settled down at the Tables by the lake to enjoy a coffee and a bun and who should rock it through the gate but old boatie friend Mark who was staying in Wanaka with Tina and his brother in law.. small world stuff.. nice to see him too.

The Crew, LtoR Ian, Fiona, Gary and Dianne

After walking back to the Motorhomes and later in the day, we set out in Gary and Dianne’s toad(car) and looked for somewhere nice to have a vineyard lunch but with Covid and everything we struggled to find somewhere to go. We ended up at a really nice place that we been to before on the edge of Lake Dunstan called the Stoaker Room .. fantastic ..nice food and I can’t remember which Chardonnay I had but I remember it was a goodie.. Fiona had a nice G&T.

Great Outlook

After a drink back at our Motorhomes at the Town and Country Club, we hit the hay. I’ve always enjoyed our time at Cromwell. Love the history and the atmosphere there.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cromwell – Armada GPS

Sunny Queenstown

After a couple of good nights at the NZMCA park in Te Anau, we set off towards Queenstown. By the time we got to Lumsden, it was time for a coffee and a walk to stretch the legs.

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Lumsden – Great parking

We were last here a few years ago and the place looks fantastic. The Heritage Train Station project is looking really good and is now a full fledged parking spot for Motorhomers wanting to stop in for a night or two. The Train and carriages are covered over and its looking great.

Carriage done

We wandered down to a small Café just on the main rd. next to the Train area which carried on the rustic them but with really nice food and coffee.

Click on the Gallery below to see  enlarged Slideshow of Lumsden

After half an hour we set off towards Queenstown. One of my favourite drives around here is alongside the lake up to Jacks point alongside Lake Wakatipu.

Enjoying the beach at Queenstown

We arrived at Creeksyde Motorcamp right on lunchtime. The first thing we did was give Rafe a wash  and a general spruce up and what a difference, it changed colour!

A clean Rafe at Creeksyde
The Gardens

Queenstown was having one of those partly overcast / cloudy days which improved as the day went on. We decided after the last few days at a hectic pace we’d blob out a bit and spend a few days here so Fiona could catch up with her cousins Heather, Jan and Jan’s other half Rob.

Fiona was also keen to have a Fergberger which we did for lunch after we’d settled Rafe after his wash and opened vents etc.

Click on the Gallery below enlarged Slideshow of Queenstown

So I got the bike down, Fiona wanted to walk and I met her down at the wharf and later outside the Fergberger shop ion the main St. The burgers are everything the ad says, they are fantastic.

After that we headed off towards the gardens and had a coffee outside the beachfront Café and watched all the goings on.

Looking out towards the Remarkables
Queenstown

The next day, we woke to a fantastic clear blue sky but still no snow on those mountains. Fiona got in touch with cousin Heather who popped around and we met in a café over the road and then came over to see us in Rafe in the campground. Its always neat to see Heather, she is always on the go.

The Boatshed Cafe
The view from the deck at the Boatshed Cafe

After that, we decided it was a good day to do a bike ride through Queenstown, around the gardens on the point and right down to Frankton. Its about 15k’s for the round trip and is an easy ride through some of the best scenery.

We stopped in at The Boatshed Café which is close to the Frankton Marina and partly overlooks it. Their front deck over looks the water and looks out to the Remarkables and the food and service is amazing. There are heaps of bike racks there so you can secure your bike while you eat.

A great day out after which we headed back to Rafe and blobbed out with a nice G&T!

The Dump station st Creeksyde

We’ve stayed at Creeksyde quite a few times over the years. Its quite a quirky place with the plumbing decorations and the artwork.. one of the best dump stations around and well decorated too.

The loos at Creeksyde

They were doing a deal that if you stayed three nights, the tariff dropped to $49 a night down from $55 for two. Given that it is an easy walk to Queenstown shops and is well appointed with the best loos and showers around, I think its pretty reasonable and they’re always friendly and helpful.

Rafe’s tracker map to Queenstown – Armada GPS

Our Milford Sound Extravaganza

We were still fizzing from the Stewart Island trip as we headed towards our next stop which was Te Anau.

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Lake Te Anau

On the ferry on the way back from Stewart Island, I booked a deal through the NZMCA with Fiordland Tours where they would pick us up from the club park in Te Anau in a small coach, and take us to Milford Sound. We would then get on a boat for a cruise through Milford Sound with guides all the way and back to Te Anau.

Te Anau NZMCA park

The weather was looking fantastic. With the disappointment of not doing the wings over Wanaka, our original reason for coming down to the South, I was a bit reluctant to book too far out in case something came up or the weather wasn’t looking good. It worked !! We had perfect weather.

Fiona at NZMCA park Te Anau

We arrived in Te Anau early in the afternoon and parked on the lakefront for half an hour or so for a look around. Fiona went for a quick look through some of the shops.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

We then rocked into the NZMCA park which is about 1k or so out of the town. Its a nice park with rural views.

At 8am the next morning, the coach turned up and we were off towards Milford Sound. It has been years since I was down here so I’d completely forgotten the lie of the land except I remembered this awful road so we were happy being driven by someone who knew the road and it wasn’t any where near as bad as I remembered.

Amazing Eglington Valley

Our first stop was in an amazing valley surrounded by mountains with a little bit of fog. A lovely spot. Don’t forget to click on these images to have a decent look at them!

We then headed off towards the mirrored lakes and had a stroll through the trees on a boardwalk looking at the reflections. Nice !

Cascade Creek walk

Back in the coach and then we stopped at a small walk down to another lake called Cascade Creek which backs onto Lake Gunn. A nice stroll and lovely place.  The next stop  after this was to see the Falls Creek Waterfall and then we went through the Homer Tunnel.

Lake Gunn

We arrived in Milford and boarded a really nice double decker party boat and set off fairly quickly towards Mitre Peak. You feel so small among these huge mountains all around.

We were lucky to see some rare Hector Dolphins just by Mitre peak which were the largest pod the skipper had every seen in Milford.

Mitre Peak looking very majestic… Stunning

We then we headed out further through the sound towards the Tasman sea. The trip took about 90 minutes but was amazing. It is really nice to get to see and feel the size and scale of these huge mountains which you don’t appreciate from the postcards.

Looking back into Milford Sound from the Tasman sea
Mitre Peak

On the way back we spotted a seal having a snooze on a rock and others playing in the water and then came to a massive waterfall. The skipper put the nose of the boat into the falls for those interested in having a shower to get wet 🙂

A happy seal
Huge Waterfall

We were taken for a walk along the waterfront in Milford before getting back on the coach to head back to Te Anau.

The boat we were on

A great trip and well worth doing.. check out the Deals on the NZMCA web site.

An absolutely stunning trip and well worth doing with a great crew.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Te Anau – Armada GPS