Tag Archives: History

Beautiful Awhitu

Yay .. its the end of lockdown.. we’re away again.. almost !   Here’s a couple more posts from early 2017 until we get away again.

After a good solid weekend of babysitting, we thought we’d escape for our last night before Fiona had to return to work.

The Brook Homestead Wharf
The Peninsula Campground at Awhitu

I wasn’t really in the mood for huge driving for one night so we figured that up the Awhitu peninsula might be quite nice. I called Auckland City and it seems that even in the height of the Summer silly season, you can still use your camping pass at Awhitu and other parks like it. 

Don’t forget to click on the Images for Hi res or a Slideshow

Peninsula Campground. Plenty of room.
Peninsula Campground. Plenty of room.

After booking in on the phone, we were off heading for Awhitu. We arrived around 1pm and settled Rafe down in the Peninsula Campground.

When you book with the Council, the choices are Self contained or not.  When you get to Awhitu, it is Brook Campground or the Peninsula campground. I was a bit confused as to where we were supposed to park as there is no mention of SCC and no signposts 🙂
It wasn’t until we had the downloaded map off the council website that we saw two Motorhome emblems on both the Peninsula and the Brook campgrounds with tags saying SCC camping that we were happy with where we had parked. 

The  Brook Campground which is behind the Brook Homestead and the Peninsula camp is beside the Homestead and closer to the water. Both have nice toilets and great rubbish collection points and both are an easy walk to the beach. 

The Cottage
The Cottage

After settling down and having a look around both Brook Homestead and the Cottage, which they used before the Homestead was built, we sat down for lunch and just blobbed in the sun.  A perfect spot for watching the planes coming in to Auckland Airport and they were far enough away not to be a nuisance with sound. A lovely spot.

In the morning, we went for a walk down to the beach and had a look around. The Ranger popped in and checked the park so it was then I knew for sure we were ok where we parked although we were on our own. There was no one else there which surprised me.

The Beach with the tide out. Pip gathers out on the mudflats
The Beach with the tide out. Pipi gathers out on the mudflats

The park is huge and there are lots of great walks which we’ll check out next time we’re here but it’s a great spot and not too far away from the big smoke.

AwhituWe only had a night to check this place out before having to head back but we have visited here before but not stayed. See the earlier post.  It is a magic spot with a nice beach and plenty of places to explore. We’ll be back for sure.

AwhituThere is good 4g internet here which surprised me, being where it is although it’s not fast but good enough for Netflix.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 5.84 Mbps
Upload: 1.55 Mbps
Ping: 54 ms

Rafes Tracker map to get here

awhitu

Karangahake History

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

On the way back from Waihi we stopped in for a look at the Karangahake gorge.

The two Batteries over the bridges. Karangahake at its best!
The two Batteries over the bridges. Power station in the middle. Karangahake at its best!

We are intending to do the bike trail but it’s all about gathering up more knowledge before we take this on. 

The remains of the first battery
The remains of the first battery
The first battery as it looked at the time
The first battery as it looked at the time

It’s a really interesting area with several short walks that are not part of the trail. We had a look at a couple of the old power stations and batteries while we were there which takes an hour according to the sign. The walking doesn’t take anything like that and it’s well worth a look. 

Click on the images to see them in hi res or slideshow

Karangahake was a small town which included all the things you’d expect to see in a town like Te Aroha or similar. 

We walked across the swing bridges and up the hill past the power station, the two batteries built down the hillsides. The ore was swung across the river from the tops of hills in a flying fox type of setup before processing with cyanide. It really was a huge setup. It’s not until you’re up there that you realise the scale of it all and looking at the remains, what it must have taken to build the buildings themselves and the infrastructure to go with it.

The base of the power station
The base of the power station

We walked all around and as the weather deteriorated, we worked our way closer to Rafe in the carpark. Another one of those feature areas that I’ve driven past lots of times and was really pleased we stopped for a look.

The Goldfields train

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

Isn’t just great having the NZMCA app now running on our iPads. Even though I’ve had the gps files installed in Rafes in dash gps, it’s really nice sitting in the deck chair with the iPad and figuring out where to next with the app.

Rafe behind the railway station
Rafe behind the railway station
The Motorhome parking behind the station
The Motorhome parking behind the station

We found in the iPad, a great spot in Waihi that sounded fantastic. It’s at the Goldfields railway station at Waihi. For $10 per night, there are 6 powered sites and more space for others as well. There is also access to water and the Rail Trail toilets as the Rail Trail ends at the railway station. About 15 minutes walk away is the centre of town.

Click on the images for hi res or slideshow

We arrived and plugged in, paid for the park and we’re just in time for the last train ride to Waikino and back. The perfect way to check out the bike trails before walking or biking the Karangahake gorge trails.

Waihi station with the parking behind
Waihi station with Rafe parked behind

The train stops for 15 minutes or so, just enough time for a beer, glass of wine or just a coffee or ice cream. A great way to spend a couple of hours and fun too.
There are 3 return trips each day from Waihi.

Cruising Ideas for Summer – South Island

This post has a lots more ideas for the Summer..

Otago Rail Trail

Click on this link to see a trip we did around South Island earlier this year late last year.

And we were down there last year too !

People enjoying a walk on the Trail

The latest posts will come out first so scroll to the bottom to get the chronological order 🙂
Enjoy

Swinging high at Arapuni

Slightly off the beaten track south of Karapiro but part of the Waikato River Trail is the little town of Arapuni. Its an amazing spot with a really impressive historical Swing Bridge and an old power station built into the side of a hill.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Looking up to the Power Station

The Swing Bridge was built in the early 1920’s so that workers for the power station could get to work. The power station is the oldest and the largest in capacity and was opened in 1929. It is now under the protection of the Historic Places trust and signs at the site, show the effort that went into protecting it from possible Japanese bomb attack during the war by camouflaging it.

Leonies Motorhome parking

And just down the road from the bridge, Leonie runs a great Motorhome and caravan site in her back yard which is a flat paddock, where NZMCA’rs can stay for $10 with power, toilet and shower. There are modern 10 power points and its really easy parking. You might need levelling ramps in some areas but its all very easy with an honesty box and simple instructions.

Neat parking

The site is an easy walk to the bike trail and to the town and to the Swing Bridge which is spectacular. Its well worth the walk and is only 10-15 minutes away on foot, either along the road or via the bike trail just outside the park.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I’m not one for heights now I’m getting a bit older and a bit more sensible, so it took me a couple of go’s before I went out in the middle of the bridge 🙂 .. but in my defence, there was a lot of wind 🙂
I’m pleased I did though.. check out the image below.

The Power Station from the bridge

On the way back to Rafe, I stopped in at the only shop on the main road which happily is a Cafe. I stopped for lunch on the way back to Rafe. The food is great and they do a great coffee too!

Leonie’s Motorhome Park is fantastic  and we’ll be back with the bikes to do the trails around here.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Steaming Gutters in Ohinemutu

We were in Rotorua with our Grandchildren Ayden and Liam and on our route was Ohinemutu.

Click on any Image for Hi Res

Walking through Ohinemutu

I think they were pretty taken by the steam coming out of the gutters and the lakefront.

Roadside steam

There was a huge crowd set up for a special event where the last remaing Maori Battalion member was being honoured on the Marae and was being presented with a medal by the Italians. A great occasion and there was a special Marque set up  with chairs everywhere you looked.

St Faiths Church over a steamy Lakefront

There was a small party from the NZ Army there too representing the NZ Armed Forces.

The Special team from the Army for the celebration of the Maori

We had a brief look around St Faiths Church on the lakefront and thought we’d make head into town but its a lovely tranquil spot and the steam and heat from the bores and water makes it a special place.

Ayden, Liam and Fiona heading down to the Church

There is free parking for Motorhomes just along from there towards the city so its an easy walk and well worth doing.

For a look at our last trip here and some interiors of the church go here.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There was a big fun fair entertainment thing happening in the domain so the boys had a ride on the small cars to finish off the morning before lunch.

St Faiths

Motorhomes and Ferrys

It doesn’t seem to matter how early and organised you are but taking a large Motorhome across the strait always seems to be stressful. I have to say though this was one of the easier crossings.

It was perfect weather for a crossing. No wind forecast and not a cloud in the sky.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

Parked in Picton

We lined up early and were boarded pretty quickly. Easy peasy turning around and lining up behind a huge truck in front of us.

The InterIsland left about 20 minutes before us and we basically followed that all the way over.

It was really nice to see Arapawa Island all lit up by the late afternoon sun. This is where the Perano Whaling family based our old Whale Chaser called Rorqual.

Arapawa Island. The whalechasers were kept in the bay in the middle.

They chased in threes and all worked to a larger Mother ship which was a steamer called the Tuatea. Unfortunately it was later destroyed by fire. Rorqual like its other chasers were all powered by 600HP V12 petrol engines.

Rorquals one was a Kermath Sea Raider but others had different varieties, some even having old aero engines. They could honk though.. most did around 35 knots plus which was going for a 12 metre boat.

The trip was nice but as we got closer to Wellington, the wind got up so when we arrived, it was actually quite cold.

Wellington

It was easy as ever getting off and we were headed up to Plimmerton NZMCA park where we were meeting Fiona’s cousins for a night of Fish and Chips, nice wine and lots of laughs. A great end to a nice day.

About to leave the ferry

Fairlie, the home of great pies and Campground!

Our aim after leaving Lowburn was to stay at Fairlie after getting a freezer full of one of the best pies in the South Island. They’re known as “Fairlie good pies” around the south but I reckon they’re Fairlie Amazing pies. Pork Belly with crackling, Chicken and Salmon and some other amazing options.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Taken under a light in the Rafe – Pork Belly with the Crackling all ready eaten 🙂

 

After stopping at Lake Pukaki for lunch we hurtled on to Fairlie.

The place to stay in Fairlie is the Fairlie Holiday Park which is also taking part in the NZMCA’s Camp Saver program.

Nice parking

$20 a night for a powered site with everything else available. There is a dump station, great Toilets and showers in several places and a huge council playground right next door for the little ones.
They also have Dogs on leashes.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

This motorcamp up until about 6 years ago was part of the Top Ten network but closed. Mary Jane and her partner Dutchie have taken it from there and it looks fantastic.

Kitchen and Laundry

It is also only 5 minutes walk into the main shopping area one way and is next to a lovely huge river on the other side.

Looking through to the playground

Being able to park for the night in sites like this on the Camp Saver program is just fabulous and long may it continue and grow.

The Mackenzie Country Treasure Trove

Driving past this for about the 6th time without getting some piccies was not an option 🙂

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The Service Station

The Three Creeks Trading is created from over 25 years of collecting memorabilia by Dave Taylor and it is all for sale !

Everthing you could imagine

With all sorts of Bric a Brac from days gone by, old washing machines, beautifully made Macrocarpa outdoor furniture, you name it, Dave’s got it.

Great Radio

Although most of what you see here has been brought together by Dave, more and more has been added from the Us over the last 10 years. You can easily forget the time and get lost in it. Its a wonderful spot.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

They also have an on site Coffee Caravan if you simply just want a break for Coffee.

Yes, you can buy Coffee here

Burkes Pass is half way between Geraldine and Tekapo and is well worth checking out. There is easy Motorhome parking in front too.

An airstreamy Motorhome

Off to see the Red Shed

After parting ways with Rob at Alexandra, we set off towards Queenstown and then Glenorchy. Good old GPS took us right through the main shopping area of Queenstown. We were heading for the pedestrian mall at one stage 🙂

Click on an Image to see Hi Res

On the way to Glenorchy

Once out of Queenstown, it was a fun drive. We stopped along the way at a lookout over Lake Whakatipu for lunch and then carried on. The road was up and down all the way to Glenorchy but amazing scenery.

The Glenorchy Hotel
The Motorhome parking at the Hotel

We checked in at the Glenorchy Hotel where they have CSC Motorhome parking for $12 with power which is great.

Amazing little town. The main street

After settling down Rafe, we set off to have a quick look around and of course ended up in the Pub in front of the fire.

Tourists on the wharf

In the morning, we used the Laundry here to get through the washing before the forecast rain came.

Looking up from the main street at Mt Larkins

Later, the weather was closing in and we had an amazing thunderstorm which went on for about three hours. Its amazing hearing the boom echo off the mountains and the ferocity of the lightning was something else too.

Looking westward towards the weather!

It was fun tucked up listening and watching 🙂

Looking across to Mount Bonpland

After breakfast, we set off for a walk down through the town as the wind got up, the sun came out and the mountains around us looked amazing.

The Famous Red Shed
Looking back at Mt Larkins from the wharf

Fiona went for a walk around the Glenorchy lagoon which she said was nice.

Its a nice wee town and interesting to see a few big back up generators around. They must have a few weather related power issues from time to time.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download : 65.17 mbps
Upload : 13.49 mbps
Ping : 89 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map