Tag Archives: History

What clever people can do with an old tip.

In 1986, some very clever people from Nelson had several problems to solve. Some old historical buildings had to be saved and to do this, they had to be moved to somewhere safe. The other problem was what to do with an old reclaimed tip area.  So the clever people fixed up the tip area to be reasonably presentable and stuck the buildings on it. A trust was formed backed by the council and the momentum to create the Founders Heritage Park was all on.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

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.

With help coming from all corners of the community and a lot of local businesses, this is a stunning collection of Heritage buildings and historical artefacts from in and around Nelson. Think of a smaller version of Auckland’s Museum of Transport and Technology.

Old Newmans and NAC buses

Some very nearly didn’t make it with some terrible stories of buildings nearly falling of trucks on the way to the museum.

One of Nelsons Fire Stations

We visited the park on a day when it was pouring with rain but it was really the only time we had left in Nelson to do it.

A section on the history of the Port complete with a manmade lake.

With 30 odd buildings from a church to Schools, a railway station and many local shops rescued from Trafalgar street in Nelson  as new buildings were built.

The Bristol Freighter

There was even a Bristol Freighter which was good to see as Fiona spent 3 years or so in Malaya at a British and New Zealand Military Camp. When she returned, she came back with her parents and younger brother and sister in a Bristol Freighter. As they are unpressurised, they could only fly at 300 feet and it took 3  days to get from Malaya to New Zealand via Darwin and Sydney, with frozen sandwiches as meals :-).

Fiona on the Bristol Freighter

This was Fiona’s first look inside one of these planes since that trip as an 8 year old so it was a bit special.

Fiona with the Bristol Freighter

I was amazed by how small it was inside. I used to watch them take off from Wellington Airport from my grandparents place up on the hill in Melrose, Wellington.  As a grasshopper, I always thought they were huge !

After having a good look around the plane, we checked out the rest of the village. One of the interesting things there was a replica of Sir Ernest Rutherford’s house as a child.

A replica of Sir Ernest Rutherfords house.

There is so much other stuff to see at the park, I’ll let the Gallery below do the talking.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

We took shelter from the rain after that and had a nice cup of coffee and a really nice cake and scone at the onsite café.

Part of a great Agricultural display

Its a fabulous place and well done to those involved in rescuing these lovely old buildings and finding somewhere great to put them.

Its only $7 per adult and there is great parking for motorhomes there too.  Next time you’re in Nelson, check it out.

Rafe’s Track to the Founders Heritage Park

Huge, Close to Auckland and very reasonable

This amazing campground started out as a picnic area in the early 1900’s. About 1949, all 34 acres of it was developed into a campground and run by the Rodney Council.  As time went on the council decided it wanted to divest of its interest in the Campground. The local bach owners got together and wisely formed a company with the bach owners as shareholders and the Pinewoods campground is run as part of this.

Click on the images for Hi res or a Slideshow

Looking towards Orewa. Baches on top of the cliff. Orewa in the distance.

There is a green with a stage and a big screen for movies and entertainment for kids in the summer. Plenty of neat play equipment and lots of lawn to run around on.

Some of the baches

Many of the current bach owners have been coming to Pinewoods all their lives with parents or even grandparents, and lots of children looks forward to the Christmas holidays when there is films, fishing contests, talent shows, beauty pageants, a sports day, and even tennis and golf tournaments (for the not so young).

It really is a well set out place and HUGE.

The new pads with new power boxes.

The Motorhome park I stayed on was one of ten new concrete pads with new power boxes and plenty of water taps and even grey water disposal every second or third site.

Baches forever.

Toilets and Showers were handy and and spotlessly clean.

With the NZMCA discount, I was charged $16 a night in the offseason which I thought was very reasonable.

From Jacobs Ladder looking towards Orewa

I went for a walk around when I first arrived as the weather was due to deteriorate. I ended up right at the top of the Camground where there is a very robust set of concrete steps down to a small private beach called Jacobs Ladder. Apparently it is very popular for fishing off the rocks.

From the bottom of Jacobs Ladder

Around further is access to the Red Beach Surf life saving area which the camp helped setup years ago. A neat sandy beach and safe for the littlies for swimming.  I’ll be back, a great spot with friendly staff too.

And down a short pathway, Red Beach looking stunning.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 10.99 Mbps
Upload: 5.33 Mbps
Ping: 34 ms
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-36.601961,174.705411

Rafe’s track to this magic spot

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.

The Market Town

Making our way slowly back to Calais across Northern France, we stopped in a small village called Boiry Notre Dame. The area around here is loaded with War cemetaries and references to both wars where the Germans absolutely hammered the place and often for no reason apart from to destroy the culture.

Fiona puts a poppy down at an unknown Soldiers grave on the way to Arras

Click on the Images for Hi res or a Slideshow

Hymer caravans coming in to the camp.

The camp we were staying at was on the edge of the village with a Maize growing area which went for miles on the other side. From there we could also see about 40 odd giant Wind Turbines grinding away and they were earning their keep as it was blowing. They had really bright LED lights at the centre and at night these change red and they all blinked at the same time. Quite a sight!

Our park out of town

In the morning, we caught a cab into Arras which was about 17 odd k’s (30 euros in the cab) and headed for the main square where there was a huge market on. Arras has three big squares all linked together and there are stalls everywhere you looked.

Lovely Crepe lunch

We sat down and enjoyed a Crepe lunch which the area is famous for in the main square. The square is dominated by an amazing old building which is the town hall, which has been rebuilt after the Germans dealt to it during the war.

The Town Hall

The main square is called Place de Heros which gives you an idea of where the locals stand with the history.

Fiona, Gary and Dianne getting into the shopping

After checking out more shoe and dress shops, we worked our way towards an old Cathedral around the back of the old square.

There are photographs and the story behind the cathedral is posted to the railings of the Cathedral which the Germans destroyed during the war. The Cathedral like many others has been rebuilt and looks fantastic.

At The Markets

We were going to check out the Wellington Tunnels but the people who run would only let us go in at a time that was too late for us so unfortunately we couldn’t do it. The Wellington Caves are a series of Tunnels dug by Kiwi Soldiers during the war under the town to surprise the Germans. Now part of the towns history and named after the soldiers who dug it out who came from Wellington, NZ.

Great atmosphere

We caught a cab back to the camp and sat outside for a while before tea.

A great day out in Provincial France.

On the Border

Right on the river border between Germany and Luxembourg is a fantastic MotorCamp in a town called Echternach.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

Gary and Dianne walking through 500 odd campsites to our site..

The camp is huge with more than 500 sites, most of them powered and quite a few are permanent. We managed to get two spots near the river and they were huge and included a couple of trees between us.

Ralph and Harry at Echternach

In the morning we walked over the bridge into Luxembourg and caught the bus into Luxembourg city with all day passes each for 4 euros.

The bus in the narrow back streets

Luxembourg has one of the highest earning ratio by GDP anywhere in the world but despite this, we didn’t find it that expensive.

Luxembourg City is like the Czech Republic where it didn’t suffer from bombing during the war like the rest of Europe so many of the old buildings are still in good shape.

Gary Dianne and Fiona walking through the shops..

After lunch in a quiet Cafe, we had a good look through the town. After running out of more shoe shops to look at :-), we walked down to have a look at the Notre Dame Cathedral. What an amazing building. You can feel the history.

Outside Notre Dame
Notre Dame

We headed back to Echternach on the bus and stopped off in a bar for a drink and then a walk through town. Again, more lovely old buildings and all of them in good shape.

In the Echternach Village

In the main square on the wall, there was a picture of the square taken in 1899. I did one of the same angle and there is very little change between the two.

Echternach in 1899 (Before)
Echternach now (After)

We had a great day and enjoyed checking out Luxembourg. Nice people who mostly speak English so its easy everywhere and plenty of interesting stuff to see.

Overlooked by History

This is probably the best campsite that we’ve stayed at the whole time we’ve been away for both position and facilities. It was however probably the most expensive camp but as Fiona would say “Hey ho!”.

Click on the Images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

Ralph and Harry

There were probably over 200 sites and it is on the side of the river at Koblenz, overlooked from the other side on the hill by an old castle. You can reach the castle by Gondola’s which run most of the day and are reasonably priced with access to the castle for only 12 Euros.

Harry holding up the washing

We weren’t sure about whether we would get in to the campsite and when Gary rang the night before, we opted for the “comfort sites” rather than standard which would have added to the price but the sites were great as well as huge 🙂

On the ferry about to head to Koblenz in the background

On our first morning, we set off to the edge of the camp where a small ferry would take us over to the Old Town and from there we could catch the Gondola up to the Castle. The Castle dates back to Roman times and with its attached fort has seen battles all the way through to WW2.

From the Gondola looking down on Koblenz

After an hour or so of having a good look around and checking out the view, we had lunch up there and made our way back down to the Old Town. The views from up there are stunning.

A Panorama from the Castle

Walking through the Old Town was really interesting although much of it has been rebuilt after being bombed during the war. It is still a very charming and interesting town with lots of history.

Koblenz square

After an Ice cream in the square, we made our way back to the ferry and to the camp.

William the 1st Monument in Koblenz

We were sitting down outside Ralph having a cold drink when some new neighbours arrived. They were Danish and really nice people. After they’d spent 15 minutes or so discussing where they would pitch their huge tent, they started spreading it out and standing it up with what seemed to be hundreds of pegs. It was a thing of beauty and well set up.

About an hour went by when we noticed that they had set it up about 2 metres into the next park which was only quite small but given the sterling effort that had been made,  no one wanted to break the bad news to them.

About another ½ hour went by and the Danish Chap came around our side and started pulling the hundred or so pegs out saying that they’d sat down for a beer and realised what they’d done.
After they’d pulled all the pegs out, we worked out a way if we gave them a hand, where all of us could drag it a meter or so along the ground without them completely starting from scratch so they were pretty happy at that.

A zoom in piccie of the campground from the castle

A fantastic park in a great position in a lovely town. Although pricey but well worth doing for its position and a nice setup.