Tag Archives: Motorhome friendly parking

Catching up with Terry and Lisa

My old neighbours Terry and Lisa moved to Wangavegas (Wanganui) as he calls it, about 15 years ago and they love it. They’re really settled here with new friends and are currently building a new house out by the Golf course which is perfect for Terry as he loves his Golf.

Carolines Outback Bar and Restaurant

We arrived early in the day and checked in at Carolines Outback Holiday Park where I’ve stayed before. Its a great park and it is right behind Carolines Outback Bar and Restaurant which was perfect for us to have a meal with Terry and Lisa.

No Holes left

They popped in about 5pm and we had a couple of drinks in Rafe before checking in to the Restaurant at 6:30.

A fabulous meal as always and it was great to catch up and hear all about their new house and their family.

Terry with Lisa, Archie and Fiona

In the morning they popped around and we walked around the river across the bridges with their Dog Archie before checking out at 10am and heading North towards Auckland.

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Caroline’s Outback Holiday park is a great spot to stay and Bruce is always happy to help. Unfortunately it was a bit overcast and gloomy this time but check out the images from the last time I we were here and also see Bruces Truck.

The Tracker has popped its clogs so until its fixed or replaced there are no maps.. The Park is by the river about 1 k inland from the city on the Somme Parade.

Amazing Museum

After leaving New Plymouth, we stopped in Stratford Countdown for some Milk and a few essentials and after breakfast and a look around, cruised on to the famous Tawhiti Museum.

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The Handsome Cab man

Started by a local very clever Artist, Nigel Ogle with his wife Teresa, they built this up using local friends and aquaintances to make their lifesized models faces and they look amazing. I love the expressions too.  In 1975, they bought the old Cheese factory where Nigel worked as a boy and this was the start of the Museum.

Looks like some I know 🙂

It is split into three Museums being the local history, the Traders and Whalers and the Bush railway.

The Accountant

Fiona and I elected to check out the Local History which took several hours. This could easily take the whole day if you elected to do all three.

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The parking opposite is fantastic with plenty of room for Motorhome parking with separate parking for the cars on the sides.

Great Parking

There is also a well stocked Cafe on site with great Coffee too. A neat spot.

Lovely spot

We’ve decided already we will have to revisit and check out the other bits we missed but an awesome display that really is a must see.

Muller park

We went from here to the Muller NZMCA park in Hawera where we recognised several other Motorhomers who were parked next to us at the Museum! Isn’t it funny how great minds think alike 🙂

Rafe’s Track to Tawhiti Museum and onto Muller Park. The Museum is the Green Dot on the right!

Origin at Otorohanga

We were staying in the reasonably newish Otorohanga NZMCA park which is only 800 metres to the Town centre.

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Otorohanga’s main street

One of the first shops we popped into was an Art Deco shop which had all sorts of stuff in it including quite a bit section on Steam Punk as well. Lots of Cloche hats and neat things.

Fiona with the poles outside the I site

A walk across the road and down through the Ed Hillary lane was a huge display of Kiwiana including a neatly displayed board of Kiwi slang and its American or English equivalent. Also there were old ads for wringer washing machines and reminders of the half pint of Milk at School. I was a milk monitor at the school I was at in Central Wellington so remember it well. Nice cold milk in winter for morning tea, Yum!

The Railway Station built in 1923 after the original burnt down

As you come out of the arcade at the other end is the railway station. We parked the bikes and went in for a couple of Latees. There we met Roger who owns the Origin coffee company that imports Coffee from their own farm in Malawi and brews it in the Railway Station. The coffee is fantastic. One of the best I’ve had for a while.

Fiona ordering coffees

Roger started Origin in 1999 and has gone from strength to strength since then. When you’re in the Station, don’t expect a big selection of food apart from Toasted Sammies and Cakes. The good news is, you’re welcome to bring you’re own food. Roger is keen to concentrate on the coffee 🙂

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After half an hour or so of chatting to Roger and enjoying the Coffee, as we were leaving, the Auckland to Wellington Train pulled in… this is a trip I want to do as well.. looks great !

The Railway station with the North Island train in.

We biked back to Rafe at the park to think about when we can do that Train trip 🙂

The Lost Spring in Whitianga

This is as good as it gets without going to a tropical island and includes all the nice things that go with it.

Fiona and I first came here about 8 years or so ago when there was an accommodation deal with an apartment block next door where we could walk through a hole in the fence. It was just magic and we have often talked about when we could go again.

The swing bridge

There is something seriously nice about sitting in the pool having cocktails and beautiful sea food chowder while you’re enjoying the heat from the thermal waters.

In December this year, they’re celebrating their 10th Anniversary so we might have to pop back in then too 🙂

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Just over 10 years or so ago, longtime Whitianga entrepreneur Alan found out he had some thermal water under his property but it was just a case of finding it.  After sinking 4 bores down at huge expense, he struck gold and the Lost Spring was found. Over the course of a few years, he then set out to create what we see now as the Lost Spring Hot Pools and Restaurant.

A Cave that you can swim into

The detail in the Caves and Volcanos with waterfalls and the Gardens are amazing and its something else to swim in and out of them.

You’ve probably gathered by now that I’m a real sucker for some nice Hot Pools but these really do take the cake!

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Alan now runs it with his daughter Allana and it just gets better and better with the addition of a Day Spa and some elevated Massage Therapy  rooms overlooking the pools.

Allana and Alan

One of the neat things here is the old Whitianga Schoolhouse was moved and restored and is now the Restaurant, Reception  and changing room area.

Enjoying the Heat

The whole experience is a real treat and trust me, you will feel very spoiled!

One of the New Elevated Massage therapy rooms.

If you’re in the area, this is an experience you won’t forget and remember you can park your Motorhome there if you’ve had a swim.

Update 1/1/2019:  Motorhome overnight parking is no longer available.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Port Albert Wharf

After stopping at the Port Albert General Store to check out the amazing fish and chips, we doodled down the hill to check out the Wharf and domain.

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Amazing wharf

The area was settled in the 1880’s and was quite thriving settlement caller Albertland but they eventually all drifted away to Auckland and other bigger centres. There is a museum in Wellsford dedicated to this area which is well worth a look at.

A Plaque telling the story of the Albert Landers

Self contained Motorhomes can stay here for free for up to 2 days but need to vacate during the day.

There are good Toilets here and a huge gravel area which runs down to a boat ramp.

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Its a lovely spot and while we were there, there were three small vans ready to stop for the night.

The Gravel area.

Its only 8 k’s from Wellsford and the road runs down to Helensville and Kaukapapa so is not far for many things to see and do.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Boiling Mud and Geysers

Grandsons, Ayden and Liam were both really looking forward to seeing some boiling mud for the first time and if we could, the famous Pohutu Geyser.

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Fiona, Ayden and Liam on the way to the Geysers

We left early and walked about 100 metres to Te Puia all well connected by tunnels under the roadway. The family pass which was normally $150 odd seemed appropriate and because there was a NZ special discount, we were able to show our drivers licenses and get nearly $50 off !  A big saving.

The base of the Geysers

There  just enough time to get the boys an ice cream and us a coffee before the next tour was due to head off with Guide Kiri.

Kiri with the Tour group

She was fantastic and as the Geysers were still building up a head of steam, after teaching the group of about 60 in the tour how to pronounce the full name of Whakarewarewa(and a lot more), she took us first to see the craft academy. Whakarewarewa is the abbreviated form !

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I didn’t realise but they have a full Academy for training craftsmen from Bone or Stone carving to Wood Carving, Jewellery and many other skills. They work on show for the tourists behind and below a walkway and you finally end up in a Gallery where the work is available to buy. The trainees have uniforms and have a full apprenticeship/graduation ceremony. It is an amazing setup. Very entrepreneurial and all done very nicely. I was impressed.

The base of the Geysers

The steam was building up so Kiri took us down to the Mud Pools then onto the Geysers. Unfortunately there was a grey sky and the steam and the clouds all merged so it was impossible to really see the water let alone photograph it. The boys enjoyed it and also got to sit on some warm concrete which was nice as it was only 10C!

Boiling Mud

We spent about 4 hours there all up and we decided it was time to head back to Rafe and go and warm up in the Hot Pool.

Pohutu Geyser is in there somewhere

As I say, I was very impressed with the way it was all setup. Paths and bridges are a long way from what I remember from the old Whaka village with them all being well engineered and maintained.
A fun day for young and old 🙂

What was Hot in the South Island

Fiona and I had both taken 6 months off for a trip to Europe and to go around the South Island and we were really looking forward to it..

After getting back from Europe in early August and with our house still rented out, we immediately went to Taupo to pick up Rafe who was being cared for in Gary’s shed by Gary’s neighbour Chris… kind chaps that they are !

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Welding on the feet

We returned to Auckland to get a few things done like drop down steadies on Rafe and a couple of other things and then we were off.

Rafe and Ian and Lynda’s XLI

We left Auckland and first stop was Taupo with Gary and Dianne, who we’d been around Europe with and other Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda. A few nights there, a night in Mangaweka, then to Wellington to catch up with my son Alex who commutes from Auckland, then onto the ferry and the adventure began.

Dianne picking the girls up for a tiki tour around Taupo

The highlights:
Best Park over property (POP) –  Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.

Nice parking

Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂

The View

Best NZMCA park – probably a tie between Tekapo and Ranfurly. Tekapo is stunning amongst the pine trees right on the lake and Ranfurly, dead flat with a dump station next door, rubbish and water and right in the middle of town !

Amongst the pines with Ray and Margaret on the right

Best Long term rate campground – Kaiteriteri right on the beach. Just magnificent.

Close to the water

Best pub that we stayed at – Empire Hotel in Ross. Great roast meals, lovely town and great hosts.

The Empire

Also Omakau Hotel with a fully setup Motorhome park at the back.

Best Museum we saw – Bill Richardsons Truck Museum. Brilliantly done and with a huge collection of all sorts.. even lawnmowers and tools.

Henry Ford and some Bowsers

Best Bike ride – Otago rail trail. Omakau to Ida valley and back. Also Lowburn to Historic Precinct in Cromwell.

The first Viaduct

Best Bridge that we crossed in Rafe – Historic Ophir Bridge. I found myself doing some quick mental arithmetic to make sure it was safe 🙂

Rafe on the Ophir Bridge

Most amazing discovery – Brittens first Motorhome which we found in the Geraldine museum.

From the back. A nice stained glass window on the back. Note the opening wooden windows.

I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip.
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We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.

Fiona on the bike ride on the way back to Lowburn alongside lake Dunstan

The weather was superb. Fiona reckons we only had 1 wet day in the South Island! I reckon it was 3 but the weather really looked after us, if anything it was quite hot with a record breaking 33C in Cromwell on the day we decided to do a bike ride from Lowburn to the Historic Precinct and back !

The Historic Precinct

The difference in Fuel prices between the different parts of NZ was quite noticeable with the highest I saw at $1.48 a litre for diesel around Hanmer and the lowest $1.19 in Cromwell. We filled up in Takanini before we left at $.98 a litre! As Fiona says though Hay Ho.. when in Rome !

Happy Hour at Peski’s

One of the things that really surprised me as we went around was how many people recognised us from this Blog and who made themselves known. It was fantastic to meet you and to hear your feedback. We’re fast approaching 400,000 views which is amazing in less than 2 years!

We’re back in Auckland with our feet up for a bit before we set off again.

Great parking

We arrived in Richmond pretty knackered and late in the day but as soon as we drove in, I saw Nick and Karen’s tag axle Autotrail Commanche behind where we were about to park.

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Nick and Karen’s Commanche

We first met them at a Paeroa Motorhome Friends catchup so it was really nice to see them.

They’re a great couple and have been fulltiming in the Commanche now for nearly 2 years and loving the lifestyle.

After tea they joined us for a cup of coffee and a biscuit in Rafe. As Fiona says, they were the inspiration for us to try fulltiming so it was good to catch up with them and see how they were going.

The Richmond Motorhome park is part of the A&P grounds in Richmond and is extremely good value with powered sites for just $15. There are toilets, several washing machines and recyling and rubbish collection.

The park

We left the next morning for the day to go into Nelson to see Monty’s market in the middle of town.

Fiona at the market

Interesting seeing people out having fun in the sun looking for the bargains.

Cellar Door cafe

After this we went to find somewhere nice for lunch and came across a group of three cafes all on the one site on the way to Motueka, about 2k’s from Richmond.

The La Capilla next door

We initially thought they were owned by the same person but they are separate and competing businesses. We stopped in at the Waimea Cellar Door Cafe which was quite quirky and rustic with its décor. There is another cafe in a Church next door called la Capilla and also a burger bar called Abbey Road.
Interesting places.

The La Capilla cafe

They had a deal on for a cup of coffee and a scone for $7 so we did that and then had a cider and a glass of the Waimea Chardonnay. Very nice it was too and a generous pour as well!

One of the quirky windows

They all look like nice places with plenty of easy Motorhome parking around the back.

The Kawerau Gorge Gold Diggings

We’ve always wanted to check out the Gold Diggings Museum on the side of the Kawerau Gorge.

Rafe in the carpark in Kawerau Gorge

After parking Rafe in their huge carpark, Fiona and I crossed their bridge across the Kawerau river and checked in for a guided tour of the Gold mining area there.

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The bank

The whole gorge was a really intensive gold mining area. The cost is $25 per person whether you go guided or unguided. Why would you not take the tour thought I for the same price ?

One of the old traction engines in the field

The tour guide Bruce was great. A fantastic sense of humour and knew everything there was to know about the area and Goldmining. There were 8 on our tour and after explaining the history and some interesting facts on the geology and seeing some nice pieces of Gold, we were off.

On the way to the Stamper Battery

The first thing we were to see was a full working water powered stamper battery. Amazing that water has that much power and these were put togthether with some pretty rudimentary tools.

The Water powered Stamper Battery

Bruce also showed us the sluicer in action again from gravity fed water. Amazing the power and pressure.

Bruce showing us the sluicer

After this, we could have a go at panning for Gold. No nuggets were found by us this day 🙂 but it was fun having a go !

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After this, we headed off on the track to look at the Chinese mining village up on the hill. Amazing that they lived in these conditions for months at a time and it must have been cold in winter.

Chinese miners huts

We also saw some tunnels, some mines and a water powered air compressor for breaking up rocks.

The Chinese village

As we walked back down towards the carpark we saw a building all set up as a bank for the Goldminers.

A great setup and we really enjoyed learning about the Gold and the history of the area.

Rafe’s track to the Gold Diggings

The Boulders

I can’t believe the great weather we have had in the South Island. Almost every day has had temperatures of around 17C plus and perfect blue sky. Today was no different as we left Dunedin.

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In the carpark

Our first stop was to check out the famous Moeraki boulders. Its interesting that the signposts for the boulders all point to a restaurant above the beach which provides a nicely made set of steps and track to get down to them. Clever marketing I thought!

Boulders

We parked in the huge carpark and wandered down to the beach where there were already a good number of people with their iphones getting piccies of the boulders. These are amazing. Apparently they’re over 5.5 million years old and were made on the sea floor with mud!

Interesting shapes and they certainly drew a large crowd while we were there.

Next stop was Oamaru for lunch. We stopped down in a large carpark by the Historical Precinct and had a wander around through the old buildings and shops. We were only here a few years ago and it has changed quite a bit since then.

The Criterion hotel

While I was standing in the middle of the road in the old precinct, a chap on a penny farthing came screaming around the corner! Later when I checked out my images, the best one was with his eyes shut looking really brave 🙂

The man on his Penny farthing


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Its always a pleasure looking around Oamaru and I can see why my old friend Grant and his family moved here. Its got a lovely feel and atmosphere to it.

The waterfront