Tag Archives: Motorhome friendly parking

Heading down to Railway Country

After saying goodbye to Jessa, we had an appointment at the local Fiat dealer in Queenstown to plug in to Rafe’s computer and reset the Service reminders that had been driving me nuts since Greymouth !

Queenstown with Jacks Point on the right

Central Otago Motor Group are just along the road from where we were staying and they were so obliging and helpful with the southern hospitality, I was completely bowled over. John the Service Manager, was the man in charge of the electronic tools and while I was waiting for him, the service receptionist came out and offered me a Muffin. Apparently someone was leaving. Unbelievable welcome!

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John was fantastic and within a few minutes of plugging in, the messages had gone away.  If you want something done and you have a Fiat based Motorhome and you’re in their area.. don’t go anywhere else 🙂

Fairlight Railway Station

After that, with a big smile on my face, we were off towards Invercargill alongside Lake Wakatipu. I don’t think I’ve ever driven down this road but its awesome. We stopped along the way to get have a cup of coffee and get some piccies of Queenstown.

Rafe looking for Adventure

After stopping at the famous Fairlight Station, we next stopped at Lumsden where they have a huge restoration project happening to restore what they call the Lumsden Railway Precinct Project along with a carriage and some other rolling stock. It looks great. About 30 local businesses and volunteers have come together to make this happen.

Lumsden Railway Station
Inside the carriage

There is also an old gaol with the original stocks outside with a couple of signs on it. They both refer to Dogs and people not picking up after them so I’m assuming that’s what happens if you don’t 🙂

Where you end up if you don’t pick up your Doggie do’s 🙂

There is also a very easy to use dump station and water there if you’re looking for one.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

It looks like a progressive wee town and the Railway Precinct is definitely going to make a difference when its finished.

The Famous Cheese Pub

We couldn’t leave Greymouth without going down to the Breakwater to check out the entrance to the port. I’ve see pictures of some of the fishing boats coming in over the bar and it is not for the faint hearted. These guys are amazing with this harbour.

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People collecting Driftwood down by the Greymouth Breakwater

Today the water was very settled and there were a few people out gathering driftwood with the Mountains behind bathed in sunshine. You could tell from the water how ugly it could be though on a bad day.

Looking back to Greymouth from the Breakwater
Looking back at Greymouth

As we travelled south, we had to stop at the Mahinapua Hotel and get some piccies there before checking out the Lake.

Looking back at the Mountains in the sunshine over Lake Mahinapua

There is a Doc park right opposite the Hotel where you can stay which has a kitchen and toilets right next to the lake. Its a lovely spot.

The Coal Trolley in front of the Mahinapua Hotel

Back out of the main road, there is a reminder of the history of the area with a coal trolley from a mine in front of the Hotel.

Fiona outside the Famous Mahinapua Hotel

The lakefront park is a neat spot to stop for a cup of tea or lunch.

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.

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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

The Vines Village

This is a great place to stop with specially marked Motorhome parking. There is a great Café which does a great Bacon and Eggs breakfast and the coffee is good too.

There own pond .. nice outlook

There are several specialty Wine shops, a Cellar / Wine tasting shop, an amazing Quilting shop, a specialty Merino clothing place which is nice and out the back, there are places for the kids to stretch their legs too.

A nice bright Quilt
Fiona checking out some local spirits

The morning we were there, there were local rugby people giving the visiting kids a good workout with rugby balls and running races. There was also a Boules court and a giant chess set to play with as well.

Click on an Image for Hi Res or on the gallery below for a Slideshow

We stopped in for a cup of coffee and a scone and had a good look around. Everything in the specialty Wine shop is made in NZ including Gin and Whisky and its well worth a look.

Looking across towards Nelson with the snow on the tops of the hills

If you’re in the area, a great place to stop. Its on the road out to Nelson at Raupara. There is something there for everyone 🙂

Spring Creek

While we were on the ferry, I’d checked out a couple of places to stay on the apps and found a place called Spring Creek.

Driving towards Blenheim, its one of the first small towns you come across as you come out of the Picton hills.

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The weather forecast was evil with all sorts of nasties due with cold, thunder and all sorts so we were keen to get plugged in with some heat which meant a Motorcamp or a CAP.

Rafe ready for the Thunder on gravel

Spring Creek Motorcamp is now run by Christine and Andy who last november moved down and are doing it up. It was very run down and with their experience from running the Top 10 at Orere Point by Clevedon, they making really good strides forward.

Christine and Andy

The camp is huge and is lucky that it has huge mature trees all around it and with the stream running along one side of it is a great place to stay.

New concrete pads and Motels

They also have quite a few motel units here and a backpackers building.

Nice pool

Fiona and I were staying a week so arranged for a weekly off season rate but the normal nightly powered site for 2 cost is $35 which is really reasonable. The showers are superb and are $1 and there is a well equipped laundry and dump station plus they’re really nice people as well.

Fiona hanging out the washing

We spent the first two nights on a gravel park as the grass was a bit soft and the forecast was evil.

Fiona heading for the Chocolate

During our first day here, we went for a bike ride about 5 k’s down the road to check out the Makara Chocolate Factory. There was a 20 odd knot head wind all the way so there was a bit of effort involved. A good ride though and perfectly flat and we knew there were good rewards at the end 🙂

We’ve been here before when we bought our wee Rafe caravan down several years ago. The chocolates are amazing and we couldn’t leave without buying some.

Right across the road from here is Saint Clair Family Wines with a full wine tasting facility and restaurant. We met a nice young couple and their young son from Australia there who were doing the vineyards in their small rented Jucy van. She was a Kiwi who had come back to see her family in Hamilton. Most people tend to go for the Sav Blancs and sweeter wines but I’m a die hard Chardonnay person and she was too, so we were both tasting the same wines and comparing notes which was fun.

At the Saint Clair Vineyard

After an hour or so there, we jumped on the bikes and rode back with the wind to Spring Creek Camp just beating a shower 🙂 .. its a lot more fun screaming along with the wind!

Primo spot next to the creek.

The next day, we took Rafe to the local supermarket in Blenheim and later went to Wither Hills for lunch which was just amazing. More wine tasting and the most amazing Beef lunch which melted in your mouth, washed down with some really nice Chardonnay. It doesn’t get much better than this. Fiona had a really nice Lamb Pie and really enjoyed that. Nice people, nice Restaurant, superb food and easy Motorhome parking too.

Eddies home next to Rafe

When we returned to the Camp, Andy, the camp owner, suggested that the park by the stream on the grass might be solid enough to park on so with some sheets of ply to stick our driving wheels on just in case, we parked right by the stream. There is a pet Eel called Eddie and his friends who are fed every morning and come right up on the bank.

Rafe near the stream

A neat place to be and we’re having fun.

Rafe’s tracking map from Spring creek to Withers Hill

Getting Close to the Ferry

For our last night in Wellington before the ferry, we thought it would be sensible to get a bit closer to avoid the weekday traffic with our early check in being 7am at the Bluebridge terminal.

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The NZMCA App screamed out the Petone  Club as a good place to be and we cruised in the late morning to this massive park.

Petone Club

There’s plenty of room to park and they’re very obliging and helpful. They have a Buffet going for lunch and dinner and you’re very welcome in the bar. Just remember to take your NZMCA card with you.

Our parking.

The parking area is huge and all sealed. The power  is a bit awkward as it is all in a bunch of 4 plugs right next to the entrance to the Motorhome parking area so its throw your leads over the fence.

The entrance to the parking area. The power is on the gatepost outside.

Our lead was just long enough to reach but it all works and for $10 a night, a fantastic place to stop. There are also toilets and a shower that can be used too.

We went for walk down to the local Pak N Save for some basics, which is about 20 minutes walk away.

Later in the day, we invited our next door neighbours over for a drink. John and Margaret hail from Masterton and were staying in Wellington.  After a pleasant hour with them, we went into the Petone club for a spectacular tea for $9.50 each and a Sticky Date pudding.. Yum!  All washed down with a huge $7 glass of chardy.. also Yum!

Rafes Track to Petone

A nice spot. Onto the ferry next.

One the Czech Republics Hidden Gems

We got a rental while we were in Prague so we could leave the motorhomes at the campsite and have a look around. One of the planned outings if you like, was to Cesky Kumlov which is 150k’s southwest of Prague.

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One of the Squares. Gary, Fiona and Dianne on the right

It is now a UNESCO protected World Heritage site.

A weary traveller having a rest.. Gary in the blue on the right

We set off about 9am and after a stop or two along the way, we arrived at Cesky Kumlov. The town was established in the 1400’s and was then German. Most of the buildings in the town were built in the 1500’s due to a discovery of Gold by the castle.

The town is built on what is almost an island by the course of the fast flowing river that almost completely surrounds it. The castle was closed on the day we were there as it was Monday. I’m not quite sure how that works but never mind.

The Castle above the town

There were a few bus load of tourists there but nothing like other places we’ve been to. We had a great meal in a restaurant by the river and walked around the village.

A stunning wee town and if it wasn’t for the local knowledge of Gary and Dianne, we would never have known about it.  A great day out. Thanks guys.