Tag Archives: Nice Food

Catching up at Cromwell

Our old friends Ross and Karen were always the people to visit here whenever we were in Cromwell, but they recently moved to a lovely home in Dunedin to be closer to their family. It was lovely to see them on the way down.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

The Historic Precinct

Gary and Dianne with Ian were in town in their Motorhomes so we were keen to catch up with them at the Cromwell Town and Country club where they had been staying. They had been in the South Island  together doing the Alps to Ocean bike trail, amongst other things so it was good to see them and hear their news.

Parked with our almost Lake view site at the Cromwell Town and Country Club. LtoR Rafe, Ian’s XLI and Gary and Dianne’s Niesmann and Bichoff

The Cromwell Heritage Precinct Farmers Market starts at 9am so it was an early rise at Creeksyde in Queenstown to get through the Kawerau Gorge (60k) and be settled to join them in Cromwell and walk down to the Market. Fiona LOVES markets so I knew things would be grim if I was late 🙂

The Historic Precinct

We got to Cromwell just in time with minutes to spare and we all headed off down to the Heritage area. After having a look around we settled down at the Tables by the lake to enjoy a coffee and a bun and who should rock it through the gate but old boatie friend Mark who was staying in Wanaka with Tina and his brother in law.. small world stuff.. nice to see him too.

The Crew, LtoR Ian, Fiona, Gary and Dianne

After walking back to the Motorhomes and later in the day, we set out in Gary and Dianne’s toad(car) and looked for somewhere nice to have a vineyard lunch but with Covid and everything we struggled to find somewhere to go. We ended up at a really nice place that we been to before on the edge of Lake Dunstan called the Stoaker Room .. fantastic ..nice food and I can’t remember which Chardonnay I had but I remember it was a goodie.. Fiona had a nice G&T.

Great Outlook

After a drink back at our Motorhomes at the Town and Country Club, we hit the hay. I’ve always enjoyed our time at Cromwell. Love the history and the atmosphere there.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cromwell – Armada GPS

Those lovely old buildings in Oamaru

This is a seriously amazing place. I just love the way the good folk of Oamaru have looked after and encouraged their heritage.

Click on an Image to Enlarge

The Historic area is just something else. It doesn’t matter how many times we come, there is always something new and different to see.

I especially liked the welcome to Orclanders post Covid on the back of an old truck.. just lovely.

Wonderful welcome
The other side of the Orclander truck 🙂

We stopped in for lunch one the way from Geraldine and Dunedin.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Its really interesting looking at the records of the Criterion Hotel which reveal that one of the past owners were the McLeod brothers who owned it for some time. Fiona’s Dad’s family came from Timaru and Geraldine. It would be interesting to see if there was a connection there.

The wharf

A great spot with plenty of great Cafe’s and things to see and do.

Those nice old buildings

Geraldine charm

This is one town that if I was going to leave Auckland, I’d go here. Its also Fiona’s dads family home and Fiona’s aunties old house is well known around town. Her Aunties car is also in the Geraldine Car Museum.

Click on any Image to enlarge

We would normally stay in Peski’s just out of town but we had planned to host some old Devonport friends who invite us to dinner every time we are here so we thought it’d be nice to shout them to a nice meal in the local Hotel.

Ollie and Pam

Ollie and Pam run a B&B just out of Temuka and he is a professional Chef so as they same in the game, it must be nice to occasionally have someone else cook up a nice feed for you.

Oodles of room
Nice new cabins

We checked in at the Geraldine Top 10 which was effortless and very hand to the Geraldine town centre and the pub!

The new Barkers setup

I remember last time we were here, there was a big house in the main street which was for sale and if my memory serves me right, they were asking only around $400k for it! I twitched a bit but it needed a lot of money spent on it. I see that Barkers bought it and have put their new shop and Café behind. The House has been superbly done up and is now used as a B&B. Nice!

The main street

After going out for a look around and after being tipped off by the very friendly lady in the Hardware shop, we checked out the new Gin distillery in the main street where you can taste different Humdinger Gins fresh from their still.

The Museum
Crafty shops .. best cheese around

One of the noticeable things about our walk through the town is the lack of foot traffic and everyone was VERY appreciative of us spending in the town. The locals were still hiding from Covid so it seemed. A shame for the retailers.

Later in the day, we walked back to Rafe (about 5 minutes!) and got organised to meet Pam and Ollie at the Village Hotel. I had Roast Pork .. WOW.. amazing. And it was like a mini mountain of amazing food!

The top 10 is a great spot and so handy to the town.

A great town and nice to see Pam and Cam again.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Geraldine – Armada GPS

Donegal House Kaikoura

This fine establishment was created by Murray Boyd over the course of three years.

Click on an Image to enlarge

Murray at the Bar

Murray descends from a long line of early settlers of the area from Ireland and has done wonders with his creation from scratch of an early Irish Hotel, complete with the mud hut look. Its an amazing achievement and to top it off has also created a Motorhome and Caravan park along with some amazing gardens.

There’s a mountain range there somewhere

We popped in here on an earlier trip south and spent a couple of days here waiting out some very dreary Kaikoura weather but had fun here all the same.

The Gardens

The weather this time wasn’t much better but with a great Irish welcome from Murray, a nice Gin for Fiona and a Chardonnay for Moi, we were very happy.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Looking around with the family history on the walls, you really get a sense of what a huge job he’s done and its a great spot to stay. They also do a lot of events here.. great spot.

The main bar area with the History on the walls

The last time we were here, the weather was slightly nicer.. check it out here.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Kaikoura – Armada GPS

Sun and Sand at the Mount

After we left Cambridge, we both decided we weren’t ready to go home so we headed east and while driving decided on heading to Mount Maunganui. I’ve got several friends who have stayed at the campground at the beach and I’ve been wanting to give it a go.

Up and over the Kaimai’s and onto the mount was easy and we arrived not much after midday.

Click on an Image to enlarge

The reception people were fantastic and we were given #1 park which they said was a bit of a treat as it was a Sunday night. #1 park is right next to the surf club and as close as you can get to the beach… absolutely a primo spot.

The Campground

There was a beach volley ball competition right on the other side of the surf club which was a final of a competition and it was well set up with a big audience watching. A real buzz.

Beach Volleyball champs

There was an endless stream of people walking along the boardwalk, both up and down the Mount, only feet from our bumper. We were right in the thick of it!

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow/to enlarge

I went for a walk around to get the lie of the land and some images and had just posted one with my phone on Facebook when we got an immediate reply from Fiona’s cousin, Malcolm and Michelle who had just arrived at their apartment along the road. They had come  from Raumati beach.

An hour or so later and we were having tea with them in Rafe looking out at the beach in front of us.. magic.

Right on the Beach

We were going to check out the hot pools which are half price if you stay here but crashed instead.

The next morning, we had a coffee with Malcom and Michelle at their apartment and then headed home. Its a great place to stay and we were very fortunate and lucky to get on the front row so to speak but I think doing it again, a few rows back would be just fine for me.

A very well setup park with new ablution block and everything that opens and shuts..

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Mount – Armada GPS

The 2022 Dethleffs Karapiro Rally

The venue was the Mighty River Domain at Karapiro which was fantastic.  Given that the  last Dethleffs do a few years ago was here and was a big success and after talking to the camp manager Liz who couldn’t do enough to help me, it was a done deal!

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Just before kick off, we had nearly 50 people coming (limit of 100 red light) but by the weekend, we’d lost quite a few so that was a bit disappointing.  A couple caught Covid and others were hunkering down.  We’ll try for one next year. So we had about 25 people which worked well.

On the Friday everyone started arriving from the middle of the day onwards.

My GPS sent us to cross the Dam but when I got there, there were limits on both weight and length due to the curve in the dam. We were at the front of the one way queue but managed to back out of the way when the light went green. There was one hardy Dethleffs soul who went across anyway.. he was later presented the bravery award !

Later in the day, Jonas and Irene arrived.. (Mr and Mrs Dethleff of NZ) and Jonas started to cut up a whole lot of meat he’d got from the Pokeno Butchery for everyone.. one of the best around. Just about everyone provided a salad .. a great communal effort and the variety was amazing.

Irene and Jonas with the meat.

I was a bit reluctant to take on this fantastic quality meat and burn it or undercook it so Jonas took on the cooking role which he did to perfection helped by John O on his BBQ.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow/Enlarge images

After tea, the campfire seating plan was retained for a social session and later outside various Motorhomes.

The next day, those who brought their bikes hit the bike trail into Cambridge to a café which was about 7 k’s away.

Fiona and I were joined by a few at the park Café overlooking the lake for a couple of hours until the cyclists returned.

The afternoon was spent with everyone sussing out each others Motorhomes and a good catchup.

For many this was their first Rally or Motorhome get together and the feedback was fantastic.. “when is the next one?” was a common question!

Later we reassembled the circle of chairs and all enjoyed a meal and a few drinks together and more fun times outside some ones Motorhome.

One the following morning, we all caught up at the Café and a group pic to celebrate the occasion.

The Team pic

A good result. Although I’ve been involved in helping previous Dethleffs and NZMCA rallies with parking (one with over 400 motorhomes!) this was something quite different.. especially with the germ floating around.

Rafe’s Tracker Map – Armada GPS

Birthdays and Babysitting

While we were at little Waihi, I received a text from old friends Gary and Dianne to say they were having a Birthday BBQ (Gary’s) at his place on the 4th so we slightly revised our plans to include a trip to Taupo which we were both really looking forward to.

Our spot with the trees.

Our Grandkids Ayden and Liam also needed baby sitting for a couple of nights while we were there so we arranged that their dad Alex, could bring them to Taupo, the day after the BBQ and we would move Rafe from the NZMCA park to De Brett’s. The boys were going to sleep outside Rafe in a tent while Alex slept in the drop down bed in Rafe.. It all worked perfectly!

Assembling the tent. Alex, Ayden, Liam on ground and Granny Fiona.
Tent assembly

After the tent had been setup, and the boys had been to the De Brett’s waterslides and pools, they came around and visited Gary and Dianne on the Taupo waterfront.

It was good for everyone to see each other and as it was a stinking hot day, the boys enjoyed a swim in their pool. Thanks Dianne and Gary for having us all… it’s always nice to see you guys.

Later in the day we all headed out for a takeaway and headed for the park.

Cabins at De Bretts

De Brett’s is a fantastic campground.. always easy and there is a café on site and of course the hot pools which are discounted if you stay there.

Ayden sitting on the edge of the playground

The next morning we tidied up and headed up towards Coromandel where Alex was picking the boys up a couple of days later.

Rafe’s tracker map to De Brett’s – Armada GPS

Berry’s for everyone !

As we drove into Whakatane from Awakere to get some provisions from Countdown, Fiona spotted Julian’s Berry Farm and Café on the way. A perfect stop off for us on the way back for lunch.

Click on any Image to enlarge

Outside eating
The Berries

Its a huge farm on many acres doing all the berries under the sun. At the moment they’re just about out of Strawberries but there was plenty of everything else 🙂

Under the Pergola

The café is great and they’ve got the Berry Ice creams too.

Parking was easy with a big parking area for Motorhomes and Caravans so easy there too.

Easy parking

It was stinking hot so we chose to sit outside under the shady pergola and the food was perfect.

Popular Mini Golf
Fun and Games

We had these amazing strawberry sundaes. They were $9 something each but just the best, we even came back the next day to do it all again.. 🙂

The ice cream sundae

A must do if you’re in the area.. on the way to Whakatane on the Tauranga side on the main road in, about 3 k’s before the Hub in Whakatane on the left.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Berry Farm and Cafe. – Armada GPS

A Break in Greytown

Greytown is one of those lovely little towns that just oozes charm and is full of history.

Click on an Image to see Hi Res

With up to 35C heat, we thought a trip to the Greytown pool next door to the wonderful little Greytown Holiday Park, well it would be rude not too! The pool is free being provided by the kind citizens of Greytown and it must be slightly heated as it was about 28 C in the pool!

The Gypsy caravan which you can rent at Greytown Holiday Park

The Holiday Park is fabulous with Ken and Nina at the helm. Ken is a real character and couldn’t be more helpful. At $35 for 2 with the NZMCA discount with power, it is very good value. And of course the use of the pool next door !

Fiona checking out one of the oldest Greytown Cottages in the Museum

We were both keen to check out the Shoc Chocolate shop which is almost part of the local Museum.

Inside the Cottage

The Cobblestone Museum is amazing and has a collection of several of the oldest buildings in the area.

The original Cobblestones

There were also a few clever people in the area. One called Donald Donald who invented the wool press and got world wide patents for it. This is back in the late 80’s. He was also well know for inventing a wire fence strainer amongst other things.

Click on the Gallery below to see Hi Res

A local Church, Hospital, School House and others were well set out in an area where there was originally the Transport Hub for the area with the original cobbles still intact.

A very mod front entrance of the Museum

And afterwards.. the Shoc Chocolate shop was a great place to stop too.

Taking the Boys to Miranda

Our son Alex had a trip arranged to meet some people in the South Island for a few days so Fiona and I were on deck to look after the Grandies, Ayden and Liam.

Click on any Image to Enlarge

Parking in the street.. with auto wooden levelling blocks:-)

We parked Rafe over the road in a car park space in Papakura and I’d taken a couple of blocks of wood to level up Rafe with the camber which worked perfectly.

The boys were at School during the days so when Saturday morning came, we all went around to watch Ayden play rugby for his team at Ardmore. They were playing the top team in the competition so I think they would have been pleasantly surprised if they would win. The boys played really well, Ayden scored one of the two tries and they had a great game. The end result was 19-12 and after hearing the opposing coach saying afterwards say that Ayden’s team had improved vastly since the last time they played together, and it was a great game for both teams was really nice to hear.

Ayden in his half back role
On the charge

After the game, we went back to the house and then set off for the treat trip to Miranda Holiday Park in Rafe. Fiona and I used to go there quite often but haven’t been for several years so there were quite a few changes.

Checking in was a breeze and we were given one of our favourite parking spots against what used to be the hedge beside the driveway except its all gone ! .. Shock horror but I have to say it does look good the way it has been done and it lets a lot of light and sun into the place.

It had been raining for most of the day off and on so there was quite a bit of water around.

We hadn’t been there long when the boys went off for a bit of an explore and very quickly found that the office had ice creams and lollies 🙂

The Miranda Office

It was time for a swim where we discovered the other new feature, which is the addition of a smaller toddlers pool next to the main pool.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The last time we were here was with our friends Bruce and Judy with Rafe’s twin and Dianne and Gary from Taupo. This was when we discovered the Dog friendly campsites out the back. They’re obviously a hit as there are quite a few more there now.. what a great idea. A bigger pitch with room around your motorhome for the dogs to roam while still being fenced in from the rest of the Campground.. fantastic.

The Dog Parks

Its always a great spot to stay and always clean and tidy.

Later we took the boys up to the Kaiaua Fish and Chip shop for tea followed by another swim in the pool. It was then time to watch the first All Blacks Aussie game in the TV room before we all crashed for the day.

It was wet

In the morning, we managed to sneak in a quick swim before we checked out and hit the road home. A great few days. The boys really enjoyed it and so did we!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS