Tag Archives: Hot pools

The big Wet

We started planning Queens Birthday quite a few weeks ago so we could book into the anticipated busy Miranda Holiday Park and get parks,  for both Rafe and our friends in their Tracker.

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Fun in the pool

Rob, Helen and Chloe were joining us for the weekend and we were really looking forward to catching up with them again.

Lonely yellow chair

The weekend forecast was not great but we figured that our old favorite spot would be pretty safe.

At last the sun came out briefly

We arrived around midday on Saturday to find that Rob, Helen and Chloe had already arrived and after getting Rafe level and some vents open and the power on, Fiona and I were off to the hot pool.

Chloe’s tent in between us

The rain hadn’t started yet but was forecast to arrive anytime. Later in the day, it was all on and overnight into Sunday, it just didn’t stop. It didn’t prevent us though from ducking in and out for a swim on both days.

Later on Saturday, Rob and Helen popped over for a cold one and some cheese and biccies. I was amazed that despite the forecast, Chloe was still keen to stay the night on an air bed in a small tent between the two vans!

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Sunday… It was all on, some Thunder, and LOTS of rain. The drainage ditch behind us was chocker and threatening to come into the park from the road. There was water everywhere.

swimming in the rain

Later in the day, the rain eased up and Rob and I went for a walk to have a look around. Many of the parks with Caravans and smaller vans were half under water. Most of the tent sites near us were submerged but despite all this, everyone seemed happy. The pool was busy everytime I went anywhere near it too!

The drain behind us was about to verflow

If you’re going to get stuck in a downpour, I couldn’t think of a better place to be really:-)

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Thunder and Lightning

While we were in Cromwell, we heard the odd crash of thunder in the distance and given that there were 5 days of storms in that region, we seem to miss it all 🙂

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Rafe with Brian and Rose’s Jayco

After leaving Weedons, were headed into Christchurch to get some more toilet chemicals and then started the trek north to Hanmer.

It is years since we were last at Hanmer and its a great place.

The Hanmer park

We headed into the NZMCA park which I’ve driven past numerous times but this was our first time in it. What a neat spot. We’d only just pulled up and I was levelling up Rafe when I met our next door neighbours Tony and Beryl from Motueka, who were heading south to catch up with family in Arrowtown. They had a nice little Bailey caravan and having lived in a bigger model earlier were seasoned caravanners so it was really interesting chatting to them.

John at happy hour!

We were joined by their caravan by John and his girlfriend from Australia who was a real character. He had been part of the television series Outback Truckers so it was great to catch up with them too.

The pools

The next morning, we took Rafe into Hanmer which is about 7 k’s from the park and had a swim and lunch in the hotpools. While were there, out rolled these huge black clouds and it was all on with the thunder and the lightning. Even in the daylight you could see the lightening.

Happy hour before the rain

We got back to the park quite late and a new van had come in while we were out. Brian and Rose from Motueka. We got talking to them too and it turned out that they lived only a few houses away from Tony and Beryl 🙂 A small world.

And the rain came down!

We all got together between Rafe and Brians Motorhome and enjoyed a cold drink and a laugh or two. The Thunder and lightening hadn’t finished yet but we all had umbrellas which I thought was very stoic !

Dusk at Hanmer NZMCA park

The Hanmer park doesn’t have any water, rubbish or any extras and as I said, its 7ks out of town but given that there is no freedom camping in the area, the options are very limited but its a great wee park all the same and comes it at the same great price as all the other NZMCA parks. 🙂

Rafe’s Track

Hunker down at Holdens

The weather was about to go downhill dramatically and as there was a deal going on the Campermate app at Holdens Bay Holiday park for $14 a night, it seemed sensible to take up the offer.

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Lots of room in winter
Lots of room in winter

A couple of nights plugged in with the heater on to clear some posts, sounded like a good idea. There were hot pools there too.

Rafe all settled in before the afternoon rush.

Its a big park with lots of rental apartments and plenty of powered parks and being a cold winters day and about to get colder, it had more motorhomes there than I expected.
Holdens  Bay is on the eastern side of Lake Rotorua just south of the airport. Its a little out of the way but apart from the odd plane, its a nice quiet spot with great facilities. You can also walk to the lake which is only 5 minutes away and there is a technology museum almost next door. With the deal and forecasted bad weather, a great spot to hunker down.

NZ is such a small place. I’d no sooner settled Rafe down when I heard a frantic tooting and looked around. There was some people that I’d met the night before in Taupo and put them onto Campermate.
A young Dutch graphic designer with his theatre nurse wife, Stephen and Angelique with their 3 year old son. A really nice couple who were into their third and last week of a NZ campervan tour. They had got  the same deal I had and were staying one night before pushing on towards Auckland. I also bumped into them a few days later at Miranda Holiday park, one of my recommendations for their last night. We’ll hopefully catch up with them in Rotterdam when we get there sometime next year.

HoldensFor those offshore, Campermate is a free cell phone app which shows where Campgrounds, dumpstations, free parking, petrol stations etc are on a map and use your location but also has deals. Well worth getting if you’re touring NZ.

Holdens bay towards Rotorua
Holdens bay towards Rotorua

Its such a neat place Rotorua with so much to do and has a calming atmosphere to it and of course all the Thermal stuff happening.

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It’s always a great experience checking out St Faiths Church and Ohinemutu on the lakefront, when I’m in Rotorua.

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The chap in the window
The walk on water window

I can remember coming here when I was in short pants and it still looks as good now if not better.

Inside St Faiths
Inside St Faiths

It’s always quite serene and has an air about it which is nice. I think the thermal steam from the cracks in the road and everywhere probably helps this too.

There were quite a few people there too having a good look around so that’s great for the donation boxes there. OhinemutuA lovely peaceful spot and there’s a couple of overnight spots for motorhomers just around the corner by the boatramp.

By the pools parking

In Rotorua recently, I discovered by accident almost, the amazing new free overnight parking put in as part of the Motorhome Friendly towns scheme and by the Rotorua Council.

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Great Parking
Great Parking

What a great spot right in the middle of town really and in the Gardens area by the Polynesian Pools complex.

Although it’s essentially a modified carpark, it has been done really nicely with the sculpture garden next door and surrounded by pools.

The view from the park
The view from the park

Well done Rotorua Council and I bet it’ll be well used by Motorhomers.

Drinks and Food by the side of the Hot Pool !

I felt like spoiling myself and had heard about the new Top 10 Taupo’s new pool bar. A swim in a hot pool and be served a nice Chardonnay sounded like just the ticket to me.

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I arrived at the Top 10 around lunch time which was great after a great run across the Napier – Taupo rd. After spending two nights in the NZMCA Eriksen rd park, I was a little taken back by the Top 10 winter rates for a single person at $27.00. But then thought, everything is spic and span and the new multi million dollar pool complex and so on, it’s not that bad when you compare it to others and I was spoiling myself 🙂

People enjoying the Bar
People enjoying the Bar
One of the hotter pools
One of the hotter pools

After parking Rafe, it was time to do some laundry and check the place out out before having a swim. It’s nicely laid out with lots of green things (trees and stuff) between parks and the Toilets and Showers are absolutely immaculate and pretty new. There is also PĂ©tanque, Volleyball, Tennis, Trampolines, Basketball and something new called Neos.. There’s plenty for everyone.
The washing was finished so I was off for a swim.

There are no steps which makes it interesting for getting in and out. You sort of slide in and out over a concrete bank. The main hot pool is huge with other hotter and cooler pools and channels from it. There is a cave which is 4 metres deep at one end of the pool with a waterfall over the entrance. And the bar.. Fantastic. You can buy pizza’s, meals, drinks, what ever takes your fancy and there are partly submerged chairs to sit on too. There was a unique system when I checked in where they took my credit card number so all you have to do is give the bar person your site number and sign your name and it’s all done. The prices were very reasonable too .. $8.00 for a big glass of Chardy. Very pleasant.

Enjoying the Sun
Enjoying the Sun

There is also a huge TV screen over the pool which had the movie Shrek on when I first got in. Early in the evening, it had the league on which I thought was a bit of an atmosphere killer. It was better when it was switched off in between !.. Each to there own.

Kids watching Shrek
Kids watching Shrek

Although this is a commercial Top 10 site and the price is up there at $57 peak for 2 with power, it isn’t too bad when you see what’s there and you’re ready to treat yourself to something special.
TaupoIt’s a novel experience and a first for me here in NZ. This is the only one in NZ like this. Go and spoil yourself.

Keeping warm in the big Freeze

The forecast was definitely sorting out our location for us this weekend.. Parakai so we were plugged in for the heat and close to the pools.  Parts of the Hawkes Bay was without power and roads were closed everywhere with snow. Somewhere warm and close by was the order of the day.

The last time we were at Parakai, it was hosing down and there was mud everywhere. It was very much the same this time except we were lucky in that we got to see a lot more of the sun but jeepers it was cold!

Muddy bits roped off. All the grass was muddy
Muddy bits roped off. All the grass was muddy. Gary and Chris’s Fuso next to us. The latecomer with his wheels down next on the right.

One of our neighbours who arrived later in the night missed the concrete strips (easy to do) and his rear dual wheels were a good 4-6 inches down in the mud.

The pools were fantastic and it was nice to see our fulltiming friends, Gary and Chris again after their trip up North.

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I had just bought a new toy through the Noel Leeming / NZMCA discount scheme. It was a Philips Induction plate and what a little beauty. I’d just put enough frozen peas in the pot for four with some warm water. Then I hit the go button, wow, I wasn’t timing it but it wouldn’t have been much more than a minute and it was ready to eat. Then we did the steaks in a Staub pan while the girls were getting some chips from over the road. These took a lot longer and as its so easy to control the heat, better cooked and quicker than gas.   Well worth getting.

After a good feed, we blobbed for a while and then went for a swim. Later, Chris made some nice scones for tea and we had a couple of glasses of Italian red to finish the day.

the next morning, Fiona was keen to re visit the Antique shop at Helensville railway station so we went around there and quickly checked out the Railway Museum and café for a cuppa.

Chris and Gary (walking away) with their Fuso
Chris and Gary (walking away) with their Fuso

Gary and Chris headed off for Rays Rest and we headed home.
A nice weekend and despite the cold, Parakai definitely looks better when the sun is beating down.