Tag Archives: Nice Food

Out with the Old, in with the New

It was New Year’s Eve. We left the Hawkes Bay Golf club reasonably early so we could find a good spot at Eriksen Park. It was busy but there were plenty of gaps.

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The Dethleff corner. Steve and Rosemary’s Esprit, Rafe and Ian and Erik’s Esprit.

We’d only driven about halfway into the park when we spotted an older Dethleffs Esprit with some big gaps alongside, so I parked alongside and Steve next to us. Easy.

Busy at Eriksen Park

After we’d opened vents and settled in, off came the bikes and the four of us set off to Napier for lunch. It was nice to see some of the old cars cruising the streets.

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We then went to the famous Masonic Hotel for a drink but after less than ½ hour, we were told they were closing so we moved to this amazing wine bar just down the road that Steve knew about, where we were entertained by really good German host who really looked after us.

At Napier shops about to have lunch. Steve, Fiona and Rosemary. Check out the car going past.
On the way back to Eriksen into the gale !

At least an hour went by, maybe more 🙂 and we set off back to Eriksen on our bikes along the waterfront. The easterly wind had really got up, so the electric assistance was cranked to the max 🙂

Ian, Rosemary, Steve, Fiona and Erik enjoying a New Years eve Happy Hour.

The owners of the older Esprit came back in their Toad, and we went over and met them. Nice guys from up by Kaitaia, Eric and Ian. They later came over and joined us for a New Year’s Eve drink.

Bliss

After tea, we sat outside while it got a bit cooler and waited for the fireworks.

A really good day on the bikes again with friends.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Eriksen Park – Armada – GPS

Sunshine, Biking and some new Vineyards

We woke up to another great day of sunshine and after cups of Tea and Coffee with Steve and Rosemary, we decided it would be better to move a little further down the road.

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At the Golf Club, Steve and Rosemary’s Esprit behind

We were heading to the Hawkes Bay Golf club so after a trip into Hastings to get some provisions and the dump station, we headed to the Golf Club.

Horse was the camp supervisor, and he very quickly had us sorted for a spot with some power. There were showers and Toilets too in the main building across the practice Tee.

We decided to keep it close today and not ride too far as it was predicted to get really hot. There were two vineyards close by that both had good ratings. Alpha Domus and Abbey rather than attempt the 25k’s odd the day before 🙂

From the parking area across to the Clubhouse and facilities

After leaving the golf club we headed for the closest one Abbey but before we got there, we bumped into some people biking away for some feedback and they said it was chocker being right on lunchtime, so we thought we’d head to Alpha Domus a bit further down the road.

At Alpha Domus about to enjoy some really nice Sparkling Rose.
Alpha Domus by the vines. Fiona Rosemary and Steve. – Iphone pic.

It was lovely there. Some nice trees in the carpark to chain the bikes to, a great sparkling Rose and some very helpful people. They didn’t have anything to eat so we settled for a couple of bags of chips. The Sparkling Beatrix Rose was a stunner, and it was very pleasant sitting in the shade on the edge of the vineyard.

At Abbey, Steve with his beer tasting.

After this we headed about 200 metres up the road to Abbey Vineyard and it was still pretty busy but what a great atmosphere. There was a band playing and it was alive and kicking 🙂

Steve did a beer tasting, Fiona had an upmarket Gin and Tonic and I settled for a Chardonnay and the platter we got between us was amazing.

Rosemary and Steve at Abbey
The Scene at Abbey

We spent a good hour or two here and then had a quiet ride back to the Motorhomes.

A perfect day in paradise… Steve and Rosemary joined us after tea in Rafe.  A fantastic day with good company.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Golf Club via Provisions – Armada – GPS

In the Wine Triangle

Leaving the Gentle Annie and arriving in Hastings, we arranged to stay at a Vineyard right in heart of the Bridge Pa wine triangle. There were Bike Trails almost to the front door of the Vineyard to any of the other Cellar Doors and Vineyards. We were in for a treat.

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Looking out from our parking spot across the Vineyard

The Vineyard was also the home of Double of Quits Vineyard or as we called it Ali’s Bikes. Ali and her husband owned the 4 acres of vines of several varieties and also ran the Bike hire business from a big Barn. Alongside the Barn were 4 powered sites for Motorhomes.

We were perfectly positioned for a great day biking around the vineyards. The weather forecast was great, we were right in the middle of the vineyards, a perfect situation 🙂

On the bike trail to Trinity Hill

Early the next morning, I got the bikes off the back of Rafe and we were off. We headed off to one of the roads up by Roy’s Hill as we had seen Trinity Hill as we drove in.

We bumped into a group of people biking in the opposite direction to us and we stopped for a chat and a recce as quite a few of the vineyards were closed.  They had just biked from Trinity Hill and confirmed it was open so destination confirmed!

Fiona crossing the road outside Trinity Hill
Arrived !

We hadn’t booked but they were able to squeeze us in for lunch which was great.

I’ve always been a bit of a Chardonnay fan and they had what had recently won the best Chardonnay in the world in the International Wine competition, the 125 Gimblett and it was the best!

Rahil with the wine from heaven.

I did a wine tasting of three of their better Chardy’s and we had a platter between the two of us… It was just magic and the education on the wines was great too. Rahil was our man of the day telling us all there was to know about the wines. Fantastic experience.

Amazing Platter

After leaving there we headed back to Rafe and our park and settled down in the sun with yes… a glass of Chardonnay 🙂

We hadn’t long been back when we received a call from friends, Rosemary and Steve from the Dethleffs Owners Group in their newish Esprit GT.

Great to see them and we sat outside and enjoyed what was left of the sunshine for the day.

Storage at Trinity Hill

A wonderful day and so nice to be in a good spot to be able to bike around the vineyards.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Vineyard showing Trinity Hill – Armada – GPS

A great place to stop – Tokoroa

What a pleasant surprise finding the Tokoroa Club parking area.

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Excellent parking

Nicely partitioned away from the normal parking area with 6 powered sites.

The Bowling club next door

It is extremely good value for $10 and they’re really friendly people too.

Massive carpark with the Motorhome parking behind.

Their carparks are huge but at the back of their main carpark are the Motorhome / Caravan parks.

We arrived early in the afternoon, plugged in, opened the vents and went into the bar for a nice cold Gin and Tonic and paid for the park at the same time.

There was a storm due!

They do meals as well but you do need to be a member of a Club to be able to use the indoor areas.

The Club

A great spot for an overnight break.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Tokoroa Club – Armada – GPS

Matakana Country Park Markets

They’re off to a great start too from just starting out early this year.

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There were about 40 plus stalls with another 10 or so arranged in a circular food court.

The Food Court
Food time

The nice thing about this and several stall holders raved about it was that it was well shaded by some fantastic trees.

I bought some Paua shell Earings for Fiona and some neat soft plastic kitchen utensils for cast pots.

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The way it was set out was nice to with an initial lane which branched out into two other areas, the food court area and the back to the carpark.

Hand made knives

Ivana the organiser was pleased with their progress and the numbers I saw there showed it was in good heart.

A neat addition to the facilities and things to do if you stay at the Motorhome parking area.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Matakana Country Park – Armada GPS

Frankia Owners Group meet at Coromandel

We set off early on the Friday morning thinking there might be a bit of early Labour weekend traffic, but it wasn’t to be, and we made it to Coromandel in pretty good time.

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Steve Gibson took this amazing shot with his drone. Coromandel shops are off to the left.

The Frankia Owners group organiser Brian Maginness, had invited me along to meet some of the group. Many of them were ex Dethleff owners so it was nice to see them again. They’re a good bunch and I’ve always admired the Frankia Motorhomes so we were really looking forward to it.

Brian had booked out the entire Park over property at Acres which is almost right in the middle of Coromandel town.  Run by Pauline and Ron as part of their property in a separate area complete with power and a bathroom, it is spectacular, and we’ll definitely be back to see them again.

Late on Friday afternoon, a few gathered outside Rafe and Happy Hour was on.

I met Russell and Lorraine who were originally from New Plymouth where I had just come from the photo Auction for Hospice.

It turns out that Russell spent a lot of his working life as a Linotype operator at the Daily News in New Plymouth so knew many of my press photographer friends who were involved in the Auction as they had also worked at the Daily News. Small world stuff.

It was really nice reminiscing about the old technology with the lead bars, slugs on the page (letters/paragraphs for the press) Great stuff.

Outside the gate

I also caught up with Peter and Heather who have adult children a similar age to our own and have lived close to us in Devonport for a long time. They’ve recently just got started with their near new Frankia Platin. Lovely to see them enjoying their new Motorhome.

My old friend from Devonport, Peter.

After the happy hour was finished, we all headed up to one of the restaurants in the main street of Coromandel about 5 minutes’ walk away. A great night and everyone had fun.

The next morning, it was each to their own. Some went bike riding, some walked up the back through the bush, we went for a walk through town and after lunch, walked back slowly to the camp to catch up with our neighbours in their Motorhomes.

Off for a Bike ride

Happy Hour rolled around and after this, I set up a team piccy and moved the group, so our Dethleffs was out of the background 🙂

The Team

That night’s tea was at my favourite restaurant in Coromandel, The Star and Garter. The meal I had was massive and Peter who was sitting next to me, watched me struggle through it. It was so nice.
I wasn’t going to waste any of it. 🙂 A nice meal as always and at a reasonable price. Another great night.

Star and Garter on the left looking up the main street.

We all ambled back to the park and crashed.

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The next day, many left. The rally was over but Fiona and I along with several others had enjoyed the park and the others company so much, we weren’t quite ready to go home 🙂

a Happy hour getting started.

A fantastic gathering… Well organised Brian and thank you to you all for making us both welcome.

Rafe’s Tracker map – Armada GPS

Ye Olde Luxury Post Office

And it’s a B&B so you can stay there!

A true labour of love .. Dave and Maria bought the Post office building some years ago and have restored what was originally the Eltham Post Office with the Telegraph area upstairs, is now a luxury B&B.

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Dave is a retired Photojournalist and worked with me at the Herald in the late 1970’s. David has also provided some images to the Hospice Taranaki Auction happening on the 24th September.

Dave outside the B&B

I was in New Plymouth staying at Ninia Park over so it was an easy trip in Rafe to pop in to see Dave after 40 something years since we’ve seen each other. Unfortunately, Dave’s wife Maria was away in Sydney catching up with friends and family so I get to meet her.

Historical Neighbourhood

I found Dave water blasting some Mould of one of the sheltered walls at the back and we adjourned into the kitchen for a good catchup over a cup of tea.

The main Helena Suite

Later I got a tour of the building which is amazing. They’ve certainly been busy!

Lots of old period things add to the charm

The upstairs has been converted into their private flat but in a thorough Way 🙂 .. as you would expect from these two!

Dave outside the Post Office.

If you want to sample this beauty and have a night away from your Motorhome or Caravan in one of Taranaki’s small towns, check out their website here.

Rafe parked outside with the Post office behind
Lovely old Building

It was lovely to see Dave again after all these years. As I said to him, he still looks the same 🙂

The Picturesque and Amazing Raglan.

After enjoying a great All Blacks win  in the Raglan Holiday Park, we headed into town over the walk bridge to check out the shops. First stop was a Café for a coffee and then we walked about 1k across to the wharf and Silo area.

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Raglan personified
The Historic Raglan
Neat shops

We last visited this area years ago with friends Dianne and Gary from Taupo so check that post out for more photos of this area.

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Since then, one of the Silos has been converted into what looks to be some very nice rentable Apartments.

The Silos

Its a busy area with a fantastic Fish and Chip shop on the outer end of the wharf along with some pottery and Leather shops. Fiona bought herself a new Leather Hand Bag where we enjoyed a really nice chat with the shopkeeper. I complimented her on her lovely London accent before she told me she was from Perth ! Oops .. but she did have a nice English Accent so no harm done 🙂

The Raglan Wharf
Cafe opposite Raglan Wharf

After a coffee in a new (to us) Café opposite the wharf, we headed back to the town and Rafe.

Sundown

An amazing little town and not far from Auckland with the current Diesel prices as they are.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan – Armada GPS

Peace and Quiet at Raglan

The weather was good, there was a beach only a few yards away and the town was only 10 minutes walk.

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Rafe at Raglan

We were looking to get out of the traffic but not too far away.. Raglan won the day. It has been a while since we were last here but it has an atmosphere all of its own. Very like Waiheke Island with some of the similar arty but down to earth shops.

Kids enjoying Badminton
Our neighbours from Hamilton and Tauranga enjoying the sun.

When my son Drew found out we were heading to Raglan, he said we had to go to Orca so I booked in online and its a magic spot. We went for lunch and the food was fantastic and it was very reasonable with a great view too.

The view out of the main street
The Historic Raglan Pub

After lunch we headed back to Rafe at the Raglan Holiday Park and then later onto the beach.

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There was a family from Hamilton with their youngest doing hand stands and flips on the sand while they enjoyed a glass of wine and watched the sun go down. Just magic.

Amazing Sunset

We were looking forward to the next day, Watching the rugby and then checking out the town.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan – Armada GPS

Sunny Nelson by Bike

The Racecourse was quite handy as the Bike Trails all ran around where we were parked.

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The Richmond Motorway

We set off to ride into Nelson for lunch via the bike trail along around the waterfront. The whole Nelson area is spoilt for bike trails, they’re everywhere.

Riding along the Tahunanui

The first section runs right alongside the Richmond to Nelson motorway and goes around the back of the airport. Eventually it comes into the Tahunanui area and then onto the bike lanes following the traffic around the waterfront.. I rode on the footpath here as it felt heaps safer and there only a handful of pedestrians anyway.

Rutherford Park
Nelson main st
The city council building

Coming into Nelson via the Bike trail at Rutherford park, we found ourselves virtually in the main street next to an amazing, seen only in Nelson, two level bike park. Fantastic and after a few minutes of figuring it out how it all worked, we stuck our bikes in there and off we went for lunch.

Amazing secure bike rack

Often when you’re biking it is sometimes hard to find somewhere to park your bikes safely and securely, this is the answer!

Nelson at lunch time

We found a Café which had an empty block right next to it, this might have once been a carpark or a commercial building, but they’ve decked it out on one side as a dining area and on the other side made it available to several specialist food vendors with caravans selling all sorts.

The Caravan Vendors
The Caravan vendors
People enjoying lunch

We opted for a Japanese fried chicken dish which was yum. There were lots of people there coming and going so it seemed to be well known around the town.

Fiona had a another look around and then we were off back to Richmond. The trip was a round trip of 36k’s so we felt like we’d done some exercise by the time we got back to Rafe.

Riding outside the Tahuna Campground. Fiona out in front.
The view out from Tahuna

A nice day out in sunny Nelson.