Tag Archives: Nice Food

A Break in Greytown

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

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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.

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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.

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.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.

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.

Larnach’s Garden

I’ve been to Larnach’s Castle a few times before but never really noticed or appreciated the huge gardens.

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The castle was originally built by William Larnach for his family in 1874. The Barker family bought the Castle in 1967 after it had fallen into a state of disrepair and had basically been abandoned which is when they restored the Castle and then later the gardens.

Outside the ballroom

The Barkers have done an amazing job of creating a massive series of different gardens in and around the Castle. One of the features is a Pergola (the lead pic) which is huge and covered in trees creating a tunnel with a view of Dunedin and the end.

Dunedin through the Pergola

Other areas have small lookouts suspended over banks with amazing views of the harbour.

Fiona enjoying the Garden

We drove up the peninsula in Rafe and its an interesting road. The weather had closed in and it was quite dreary and drizzly, not conducive to nice bright piccies!

On the road to the castle looking towards Port Chalmers

We parked right up the top of the carpark and set off through the gardens.

Rafe tucked up in the top corner

Just the entrance from the carpark was spectacular with really bright flowers and nice trees. I’m not really up on all the names of plants and gardening but even I could see that this was special.

The entrance to the Garden

We came out onto the front lawn of the Castle and because we hadn’t read the instructions :-), we set off in the opposite direction to the intended tour but made it to all the areas of interest !

Larnach Castle

After an hour or so, we ended up in the Castle Ballroom and Cafe. Two open fires burning made it really warm and inviting and after another 30 minutes or so, we set off to head down the road to Portobello.

The Cafe / Ballroom

We had a quick look around Portobello and then headed back around the waterfront back to the city. It is quite a long way and is a slow road back. Its well worth doing and the Gardens and the Castle are a must do too.

More nice Garden
Round the back with the Alice in Wonderland area

The Gardens were $15 each which included parking.

Inhaling the History

The Historic Black Hotel in Ophir was a welcome sight for a late lunch cup of coffee. After an amazing Lemon Meringue Tart and a good look around the hotel, we set off for a good look around Ophir with the camera.

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The Post Office. Still in use today.

The original Post Office seems to be the hub of the History in the area and they’re doing a good job of promoting the old buildings. The Post Office still operates for 3 hours each day. Behind it is the original Jail Cell from Omakau.

Check out the Gallery below for a slideshow of Ophir

After an hour or so here, we went over the bridge to the Omakau Commercial Hotel where they have a great Motorhome and caravan parking setup behind. The parks are all on concrete pads and most have an optional ensuite with a shower and toilet area.

The parking with the ensuites

The parking is $15 a night with power and the ensuites are $10 pp per night. We opted to do our own thing and just use the power.

Parking with the Ensuites

After settling down Rafe, we went for a walk around the town through a new subdivision and its amazing how many new houses are being built here. The Rail Trail has really set things alight in the whole Central Otago region.

The front of the Hotel

We headed into the Hotel to pay for our park and have a drink and meet Stacy who gave us a great background on the pubs history.
It was originally built in 1898 as a Homestead on a 200 acre block, by the Leask family, one of the original settlers and his family. There are original stables out behind the Hotel which are used as a function centre.

The Function Centre

When Stacy and her husband took over the Hotel 11 years ago. The weeds were knee high and it desperately needed some tlc. Stacy’s dad was involved in helping to restore the pub and after they realised that Stacy’s grandmother was a house maid at the pub for years, Stacy’s Dad couldn’t bring himself to sand the top of the handrail but lacquered and painted everything else. The thought was his mother would have run her hands up and down it over many years.

Stacy with the banister

The rooms all look fantastic and all have a slightly different look so they’ve done a great job. The grounds are immaculate and it now looks well loved.

After having a few drinks down in the bar, we spent an hour or so back in Rafe and then came back for Tea. I had Pork Belly which was really reasonably priced and was stunning. Fiona had Blue Cod and that was good too.

Old farming gear along the driveway

A lovely place to stay and Stacy is about to put the hotel on the market so if you think this is you, give her a call at the Omakau Commercial Hotel.

Rafes Track to Ophir

Let’s start with Wet Jacket

Fiona’s sister Sara had popped into Queenstown for 3 days to see her daughter Jessa. Sara lives on Waiheke Island which is now pretty much a suburb of Auckland which has a strong wine culture, so with her arriving in Queenstown, we were going wine tasting.

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Sara, Jessa and Fiona wine tasting at Wet Jacket

We were staying at Creeksyde Motor camp and first thing in the morning, Sara and Jessa arrived in Jessa’s car and we were off. The thought was to start at a really popular Vineyard by the Queenstown / Arrowtown turnoff and we went from there. They had a cheesery there too so we tasted that as well.

Nice Cheese at Wet Jacket

There was some wonderful Goats cheese and some nice Blue Cheese too. We bought a bit of each. The lady running the wine tasting was french and really knew her stuff.  Sara and I bought a couple of bottles between us and next we were heading for the Gibbston valley, to go the Chard Vineyard.

The road through the vineyard through the Kawarau Gorge

To get there we had to cross the bridge by the Kawerau Gorge bungy jump and then turn right up the hill and drive along a road that literally clung to the cliff. Amazing.

Great buildings at Chard Farm

They had a great Vineyard and after tasting, Sara and I bought more wine. We were doing well 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Next was Mt Rosa Vineyard where we had Edita showing us the wine and she knew her Onions too.

Mt Rosa’s vineyard in the Gibbston valley

Stunning wines and they had a pack of two bottles of Rose and some mulled wine syrup which made 3 bottles of mulled wine. I’ll get some other cheaper Rose rather than use their good stuff for Mulled Wine. We had a lot of fun there and Edita did well.

Jessa checking out a Pinot Gris at Mt Rosa

It was time for lunch so we headed back towards Queenstown slightly for the Gibbston Valley Tavern. The original old pub and is just a real charmer with several original outbuildings in Schist.

Lunch at the historic Gibbston Valley Tavern

We had some amazing pizza’s there and headed back to Rafe at Creeksyde to try some of our new wine and cheese. Fiona doesn’t drink wine so she drove which was just as well 🙂

Great history at the Gibbston Valley Tavern

A wonderful day with clear blue skies and nice people in some great places with great Wine.

Old things Transport , Collectables and Lawnmowers

One of the things I wanted to do when we got to Invercargill was go to Bill Richardson’s amazing truck Museum. We settled for the Coachmans Inn which is just down the road from the Museum and was $34 a night for two. The receptionist was ex Auckland and we had a great old chat about things Auckland and other things.

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The Coachmans Inn Motorhome Area

Its has a whole bunch of powered sites behind the Hotel surrounding the amenities block which while it was nice and clean, it did seem a little tired.

Amazing new building

We had a lie in with the sun coming in the windows and eventually walked down the road to the Museum. Fiona was walking into the city, another 1k down the road and was going to walk back and meet me in the cafe.

The Texaco Tanker
Early Fords

The Museum is a fantastic place. From first walking in, there is an amazing Texaco Tanker. I forgot to look at the details of what it was but what a mean looking machine. Then onto the early Fords.

Later Fords

It seemed like there was every single model of Ford from 1904 onwards into the 40’s and 50’s.

British Beddy

Every model of truck you could imagine and there were some early lawnmowers too. There was an interesting collection of tools for service stations and I was really interested to see an early tyre changing device.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

I worked in a service station in Glenfield when I was a teenager and had to use one of these beasts. Swinging on the end of a tyre lever with grease. Lots of fun. It brought back some old memories.

A Tyre Changer

Petrol Bowsers, Oils and some motors along with a GM 671 setup as a generator and a 171 too.

A Gm 671 set up as a Generator

My old boat Rorqual had a GM Turbocharged 671 in it so I was interested to see it setup as a generator and normally aspirated too. In all the *71 series motors, all the pistons, conrods and bearings, valves etc are the same so easy for parts.

A Bean!

Fiona rang and said that just about everything was shut (saturday afternoon) and she was heading back. I was just about finished so I headed for the Cafe where a few minutes later, Fiona wandered in.

Fiona in the café done up as a 50’s Kitchen. “That’s the oven we had in Waiouru”!

An amazing place and a must see if you’re in Invercargill.

Our track to Invercargill