Tag Archives: Nice Food

You know you’re on the West Coast When..

You’ve got black sand between your toes and at the Kopua Raglan Motorcamp right on the beach, there is plenty of that.

Click on an image for hi Res

The Black Sand

We’ve stayed here a few times now and one of the things that I really noticed this time is the recently done up showers and toilets. The pressure in the showers is so good, you almost don’t need soap.. let the water do its thing.. amazing.

Chess anyone?

When you check in, you get a swipe card which you use for both the automatic gates and the facilities. A good system and it worked well. There is a $10 bond which you get back as you leave after returning the card.

Lots of stripes

The camp is on a peninsula of sand basically so it there were no worries with the awful forecast of heavy rain. We knew we’d be fine on the well drained sand. It is almost completely surrounded by water but there is a well lit footbridge connecting it to the town with an easy walk in to the cafes and shops.

The Bridge to Raglan

There are more than 200 powered sites with quite a few permanent caravans and they also have Cabins that can be rented too.

The Fish and Chip shop on the edge of the camp and apparently they’re pretty good.

I heard someone comment that they thought it was a bit expensive but at $86 for two nights for two nights with power and all the new facilities with the NZMCA discount, I thought that was very reasonable.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We spent a couple of really nice nights there. Yes it rained and it blew but nothing like the forecast said. Over the two days there with friends, Dianne and Gary from Taupo and Jonas and Irene from Auckland, we had several walks into town for a look around the shops and an great meal at one of their restaurants.

The Beach

Very easy accomodation, friendly people, great facilities and a really interesting town.

Rafe, The Niesmann and Jonas’s Trend

Before you ask, No Dogs but there is some free Wifi!

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 31.34mbs
Upload: 26.30mbs
Ping: 56ms

Rafe’s Tracker to the Camp

A Special little town called Raglan

After a few weeks of being housebound and itching to get away, our friend Dianne in Taupo arranged a get together in Raglan.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Jonas trying out a surfboard on a Mural

Raglan was deemed to be reasonably easy for everyone and a pleasant place to be. There were going to be three Motorhomes, Us in Rafe, Gary and Dianne in their Niesmann and Bichoff and Jonas and Irene with a Dethleffs Trend McRent Motorhome from their fleet.

One of the amazing shops

The weather forecast was a shocker with high winds and heavy rain forecast but when has that ever stopped us before 🙂 The Classic Yacht Association had already cancelled their annual Christmas hooley just based on the forecast a few days before !

At the campground

After staying a night with Alex and Sarah and the grandies, we set off early to the dump station at Papakura and then Raglan stopping briefly at the Countdown supermarket in Huntly for a few forgotten items.

We arrived at Raglan Kopua Holiday Park around lunch time and after parking Rafe, plugging in and opening some vents, we had a quick lunch and then set off to Raglan township across the bridge for a look around.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

At this stage we pretty much had a blue sky but the wind was blowing and it was threatening.

Raglan really is a seriously nice town full of very friendly people. The choice for cafe’s is fantastic and there seems to be a real Hippy/Surfy culture which you can see everywhere.

After an hour or so, we headed back over the foot bridge connecting the Motorcamp to the town and arrived back just in time to see Gary and Dianne arrive from Taupo.

The famous Hotel

The next morning we were joined by Jonas and Irene and had a another trip into the village for another look around and after an afternoon of chatting, cups of coffee, a few glasses of wine and lots of laughs, we headed back in for a meal in one of the towns fine restaurants.

Last time we were here a few years ago, we walked right around the foreshore to the wharf where there is an amazing fish and chip shop and some more great shopping.

One of the unusual shops

A fantastic town with an amazing atmosphere and I’m looking forward to going back sometime soon.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 31.34mbs
Upload: 26.30mbs
Ping: 56ms

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan

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 🙂

Click on any Image for Hi Res

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!

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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

They also have some overnight parking for customers Motorhomes so if you spend the day there, you can blob out straight into your Motorhome afterwards.

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.

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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

Right On The Water

They’ve had a lot of rain up here so the Sandspit Holiday Park crew suggested that we stick to one back from the water just to make sure we don’t sink!

Click on an Image for Hi res

Nice parking

My old boating friend Alan and I were in need of some time out of the house so we decided a few days before to check out the Sandspit Holiday Park and do a trip to Kawau on the ferry. Sounded like a plan thought I so off we went early on the Friday afternoon. It is only 42k’s from Auckland and with little traffic, we were there at 3.30pm.

Its a lovely little park with a lot of permanent Baches and Caravans but what a neat spot.

With an NZMCA discount, it was $23 each a night. With their very new Showers and Kitchens, its a delight to stay at. There are a whole bunch of older interesting buildings there too and Horace the Morris is a feature as well.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We stayed two nights with a ferry trip to Kawau in between. Lucky with the weather, after getting back from Kawau, we walked along to the newly setup restaurant on the top floor of the Sandspit Yacht Club and caught up with Motorhome friends Rob and Helen who live not far away from there.

The ferry a few minutes walk away.

The last time we were here, unbeknown to me, they had some issues with the drainage system for the bathrooms which used to be a real problem apparently in the height of summer.

The new Drainage system

This has all been upgraded and put up the hill out of the way and hasn’t been an issue since.  Nice friendly hosts who were happy to help with anything. ..

A shot from the ferry. You can see Rafe in the middle.

A great spot and handy to the Kawau ferry and the new Marina at Sandspit.

The Netspeed Speedtest for here.
Download: 7.34 Mbps
Upload: 2.10 Mbps
Ping: 23 ms
I think the tower was playing up a bit as we had some difficulty with the connection over the two nights.

Rafes Tracker Map

 

Our first EBooks published!

Exciting… we’ve got our first ebooks away!

I’m really chuffed to get them away as it represents a huge amount of time to put them together.

It has been a lot of fun and a huge learning curve but having been involved in publishing some printed books for the Classic Yacht Association before, it was the next logical step.   I’m not expecting to get rich on them but if it covers a few bottles of Chardy and the odd tank of Diesel, then thats all good 🙂

The first two are now available on Amazon as of today and the others are coming. They are slightly  modified from the blog version so they don’t date so quickly and suit a book, and they’re in a fixed format horizontal format to show off the images to their best.

The first one is on our trip to Napier a year or so ago to the Art Deco festival. A great occasion and because its such a great event with some great images, it would be shame not to give these piccies another outing!

The other one is about our trip to the Pinnacles with friends via the Hawkes Bay last year. We were in several Motorhomes and it was a lot of fun. Some great adventures with some unusual places with a concert thrown in too for good measure.

These will both be available here by clicking on the covers above.

Ads will be appearing soon on the side of the Blog and you can keep up to date on this from the Books page.

Some time ago, I also did a blog about some older european images that I had posted for sale as prints etc. Again, I’m not expecting to get rich on them but some of you expressed an interest in getting some of them. They’re now available here.

A big occasion for me as a Blog person but there is more to come. .. Stay tuned 🙂

Pauanui Never Fails!

  1. After several weeks of sanding, painting and repairing things and generally getting the house on the market, it was time for a well earned break.

Our friends Helen, Rob and Chloe were keen to head to one of our favourite spots at the Pauanui Club at Pauanui.

Mini Golf next to the parking at Pauanui.

To beat the holiday weekend traffic, Fiona and I decided that I would get Rafe stocked up.  I would then collect her from work at 6pm and we would head down to the motorway towards Ardmore and maybe spend the night there.  We would then go early the next day  to Coromandel to try to beat the worst of the traffic.

As we crossed the bridge, there was no traffic !  We got to Manukau, still no traffic until we hit Takanini where roadworks slowed it down to a crawl but after a 1k or so, we were away again !  We decided we’d keep going until we’d had enough and that ended up being Thames  🙂

I’ve never stayed at Rhodes park before but it is just on the left after Thames Airfield before you get into Thames. It is Free parking provided by the local council and  its a great place. A great big piece of flat gravel and you can park anywhere.

There were about 10 or so Caravans and Motorhomes and everyone had plenty of room.  There as a good Internet signal there too but I forgot to measure it!

We woke up in the morning around 7:30 to the phone ringing which Fiona answered and it was Rob saying that they were at Drury on the Southern Motorway stopped in traffic. We made a decision to get up and get going in case the traffic extended to the Coromandel road and got cracking.

Plenty of space

As it turned out, it only took us about 40 minutes to get to Pauanui and we were there shortly after 9am. Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived about an hour or so later.

One of the Hanger homes

The Club parking is superb and it is extremely good value. At $10 including power, toilets, a cold shower(if you have no option) and access to their bar and superb meals. It is also right next door to the Airfield with homes with built in hangers alongside the runway. There is always something to see and do. The town is an easy 5 minute walk away as well with some nice Cafe’s and a small supermarket. It is also right next door to a great Mini Golf park which was busy for most of the weekend.

There were 4 Motorhomes there when we arrived and there was plenty of room for more.

Rafe and the Tracker in the park

Some positive feedback for them. There is room for more Motorhomes there down one end but the 8 power sockets are on two poles where they could spread this over three poles and increase their turnover but its fantastic as it is!

Great Beach with Slipper Island behind

We went for a walk around to see our son Alex’s family about a 1k away who were staying in Sarah’s family bach. Grandsons Ayden and Liam were there too so we took them down to the beach about 100 metres away.

Pauanui is a great surf beach with the famous Slipper island just off shore.

Liam and Ayden digging in the sand. Chloe, Rob, Helen and Fiona further up the beach.

That night, Alex and Sarah and the boys came around and we all went to the Pauanui club for a few glasses of fizz and they had tea.

Ayden and Liam digging holes on the beach

The next day, they all walked around to the Pauanui Waterways and had a look at this amazing development. Rob, Helen and Chloe  climbed up to the top of Mt Pauanui which is a feat too!

Pauanui Waterways

All in all, over three days, it was nice to be in one spot for a period and just be able to blob and check out what was just around the corner.

Here is a previous post on this site too.

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 26.55 Mbps
Upload: 31.46 Mbps
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-37.020966,175.860385

Rafe’s Tracker Map

In the Fresh Air

We last caught up with friends Rob and Helen before we went to the South Island last year but saw Helen in Lowburn so it was good to see them with Chloe as well.

Click on any image for Hi Res

The Tracker and Rafe in the Campground

We headed up to a neat wee campground in Leigh called Leigh Central. With the weather being off and on sunny and the odd shower but lots of easterly wind, we knew we were in for a few good puffs.

The view across to Tawharanui

We’d only been there about half an hour when Rob turned up with their Tracker and Helen and Chloe arrived later.

Its a small campground which is part of a Motel complex right in the heart of Leigh.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We’d just arrived when the owner Ian popped out to welcome us in. Ian and his wife along with another couple own the complex and have been progressively upgrading it and it looks great. It is run on an honesty system at $20 per van per night, great value and with a view out over the water to Tawharanui Peninsula. There are plans to add Toilets and Shower which are there now but not hooked up and there is a full kitchen and lounge area with a big open fire which would be great in winter.

Nice lounge for winter

It was really nice to see Rob, Helen and Chloe again and we had a great night updating each other with all the news.

The next day, after a big sleep and lie in :-), we walked around to the Leigh School where there was a weigh in for a big Fishing competetion that had been on. There was a huge Marque and lots of stalls for food and it looked set for a big night with live music too.

We walked around the road to the well known Sawmill Cafe and had a beer and a nibble before coming back to the campground and enjoying some great Fish and Chips from the shop next door to the campground.

Mathesons Bay.. check out the wave

As we left, we drove down to the Leigh Wharf area which is really interesting. An easy walk from the campground too. Mathesons Bay is just around the corner and we checked that out as well.

Mathesons Bay Beach

A great place to stay, nice hosts and not far from anywhere. We’ll be back.

The Netspeed Speedtest.
Download: 30.55 Mbps
Upload: 16.33 Mbps
Ping: 26 m

Rafe’s track to Leigh

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.

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 !

Click on the Images for Hi Res

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.