Tag Archives: Nice Food

Swinging high at Arapuni

Slightly off the beaten track south of Karapiro but part of the Waikato River Trail is the little town of Arapuni. Its an amazing spot with a really impressive historical Swing Bridge and an old power station built into the side of a hill.

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Looking up to the Power Station

The Swing Bridge was built in the early 1920’s so that workers for the power station could get to work. The power station is the oldest and the largest in capacity and was opened in 1929. It is now under the protection of the Historic Places trust and signs at the site, show the effort that went into protecting it from possible Japanese bomb attack during the war by camouflaging it.

Leonies Motorhome parking

And just down the road from the bridge, Leonie runs a great Motorhome and caravan site in her back yard which is a flat paddock, where NZMCA’rs can stay for $10 with power, toilet and shower. There are modern 10 power points and its really easy parking. You might need levelling ramps in some areas but its all very easy with an honesty box and simple instructions.

Neat parking

The site is an easy walk to the bike trail and to the town and to the Swing Bridge which is spectacular. Its well worth the walk and is only 10-15 minutes away on foot, either along the road or via the bike trail just outside the park.

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I’m not one for heights now I’m getting a bit older and a bit more sensible, so it took me a couple of go’s before I went out in the middle of the bridge 🙂 .. but in my defence, there was a lot of wind 🙂
I’m pleased I did though.. check out the image below.

The Power Station from the bridge

On the way back to Rafe, I stopped in at the only shop on the main road which happily is a Cafe. I stopped for lunch on the way back to Rafe. The food is great and they do a great coffee too!

Leonie’s Motorhome Park is fantastic  and we’ll be back with the bikes to do the trails around here.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Murphy’s Law Motorhome Parking

Coming back from Pukekohe, and with the weather being really rough, we thought we’d hunker down at the Murhpy’s Law Motorhome Park.

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The NZMCA App suggested it was $25 for the night which is incorrect. It’s $38 a night for two minus a 10% discount for NZMCA’rs making it $34 and you get a discount of everything you eat or drink.

Toilet / Shower block

I initially thought it was a bit expensive for parking in what is essentially a carpark but after enjoying a hot shower in their newish facilities and an hour in the bar, decided its a good spot to base yourself for a night Or two in a good location.

Looking in from the outside.. the wire fence.

The parking is inside a secure high wire fence which you access with keypad access and a fob so it is very secure and with power and water on every site, its a great setup.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Fiona and I wandered into the bar to have a drink and order tea and it was a great atmosphere with a big open fire and plenty of people enjoying themselves.

A great use of what is probably a wasted space behind a pub. Close to the Motorway and with a dump station just around the corner making it a good spot to stay for a night and enjoy the banter at the Bar and not have to drive after.

Very English

The last time I was at this Pub was when it was the Jolly Farmer in the 80’s and they had their famous Wet T Shirt competitions 🙂 I was working as a photographer for the 8’O clock then which part of the Auckland Star and it was my job to cover the big Final at the time. A fun event 🙂 How times have changed.

Rafe’s Tracker Map to Murphy’s Law

Leigh Central Motorhome Park

We popped in here a year or so ago when Ian and his wife Heather had not long been at the helm of this neat little place.

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Looking across to the the parking

It also has quite a large Motel and Wedding reception area as part of it and since we were here last, they’ve added some some nice wee chalets which they call the Boathouses.

The Boathouses

The trees have grown, the loo and shower complex which they were installing last time are up and running and it is all looking really good.

Great view out across Omaha Bay

Being part of the NZMCA Camp saver program for off season parking is a bonus too.

Plenty of room

As we arrived, Ian and Heather were out wielding their tools adding baseboards to their accomodation at one end of the complex and although they were ovbiously busy, they couldn’t have more accomodating helping us to get setup.

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It’s nice to hear that they’ve been so busy as it really is a top place and very handy to a good Cafe and the pub is just around the corner.

The Reception area

The view out to Tawharanui Peninsular is spectacular.

View out to Tawaharanui

We really enjoyed coming back here and will be back more often. A lovely spot.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

The Pine trees on the beach

While we were at Fairlie, I met our neighbours Peter and Val who were heading to Amberley to see their daughter. She just happened to live near the Campground at Amberley Beach. This was to be our next destination too.

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Rafe in the Park

After leaving Fairlie, we checked with old friends Ray and Margaret who have settled now in Geraldine. We met them at Peskis and they later showed us around Lake McGregor when we were with them at Tekapo. We had lots of fun together and it was neat to catch up with them again and see their house.

From here it was a quick stop at Christchurch to get some chemicals for the loo and then off to Amberley Beach.

The Non Dog area

We arrived there about 4pm and the shadows were already starting to get long. The camp is split into two bits. On the right is an area for Dogs and on the left is an area without Dogs. We went to the left and signed up and put our money in the “wooden maiden”. The cost is $5pp plus $5 for power.. very good value with some new loos nearby and the beach just through the sandhills.

Crossing to the pines

We went for a walk down to the beach just for a look and it looks fantastic with Pines on the foreshore in the sandhills.

Fabulous beach

It reminded me of when I was growing up in Christchurch, we used to have family holidays somewhere up this coast and I remember the pine trees that you had to run through to get to the beach and there were lots of old Cribs.. ahh the good old days !

Late Colours

It looked a bit bleak this time but this was only because it was getting late.

In the morning we left there and headed through to Kaikoura. Coming down from Wellington poured with rain all the way so we didnt get to see much but this time it was brilliant sunshine.

Its amazing what has been done here by the roading and railway people fixing things up after the earthquake. We saw some of the brave abseiling workers fixing back wire barriers to stop rocks falling. Amazing

The Pier Hotel

Arriving at Kaikoura for lunch, our first stop was to the Pier Hotel where we’ve eaten before. Looking across from there its amazing to see all the rocks that have been pushed up by the earthquake.

Looking across Kaikoura with all the new Rocks

One of the things still noticeable is the state of the roads around the area but Kaikoura is looking great and its great to see the good folk of Kaikoura bouncing back after such massive damage.

The Netspeed Speedtest Amberley
Download : 42.05 mbps
Upload : 12.16 mbps
Ping : 50 ms

Rafe’s Track North

Off to see the Red Shed

After parting ways with Rob at Alexandra, we set off towards Queenstown and then Glenorchy. Good old GPS took us right through the main shopping area of Queenstown. We were heading for the pedestrian mall at one stage 🙂

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On the way to Glenorchy

Once out of Queenstown, it was a fun drive. We stopped along the way at a lookout over Lake Whakatipu for lunch and then carried on. The road was up and down all the way to Glenorchy but amazing scenery.

The Glenorchy Hotel
The Motorhome parking at the Hotel

We checked in at the Glenorchy Hotel where they have CSC Motorhome parking for $12 with power which is great.

Amazing little town. The main street

After settling down Rafe, we set off to have a quick look around and of course ended up in the Pub in front of the fire.

Tourists on the wharf

In the morning, we used the Laundry here to get through the washing before the forecast rain came.

Looking up from the main street at Mt Larkins

Later, the weather was closing in and we had an amazing thunderstorm which went on for about three hours. Its amazing hearing the boom echo off the mountains and the ferocity of the lightning was something else too.

Looking westward towards the weather!

It was fun tucked up listening and watching 🙂

Looking across to Mount Bonpland

After breakfast, we set off for a walk down through the town as the wind got up, the sun came out and the mountains around us looked amazing.

The Famous Red Shed
Looking back at Mt Larkins from the wharf

Fiona went for a walk around the Glenorchy lagoon which she said was nice.

Its a nice wee town and interesting to see a few big back up generators around. They must have a few weather related power issues from time to time.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download : 65.17 mbps
Upload : 13.49 mbps
Ping : 89 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

You can stay in your Motorhome at this Historic Hotel

Having done the section of the Bike Trail all the way to Alexandra, we thought it best to move towards Clyde. The GPS was suggesting the road over the hill from the Ida Valley into Ophir and down from there.

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The Old Cottage at Ophir

There was an old Stone Cottage on the hill just as we came into Ophir so we had to stop and get a pic even though we know nothing about it 🙂

The Bacon Butty 🙂

We headed off to Chatto Creek to have a good look at the Pub and Historic Post Office. While we were there I had an amazing Bacon Butty and Fiona had a Seafood Chowder. Both fantastic, HUGE and under $20.. great meals!

Fiona’s Seafood Chowder

In the grounds of the Pub is the original Chatto Creek Post office which was in use up from 1892 up until 1975. After that it had a short stint where it was a sleep out in Alexandra but it was soon retrieved and reinstalled to its orginal spot. Fancy borrowing a historic Post Office !

The Post office

A really interesting spot that has had its moments, the Pub even completely losing its roof during a wind storm in the late 1990’s but it is looking great.

The pub as it is today
As it was some years ago – a picture on the wall.

They are happy for Self Contained Motorhomes to overnight in the carpark and there is plenty of room. The Otago Rail Trail passes just behind the pub so its handy if you’re doing the Trail and they have accommodation as well.

A nice pub in a good spot.

Rafe’s Tracker Map to Chatto Creek

Early Entrepreneurs

Ernest and his wife Hannah Hayes emigrated to NZ in the mid 1882 from England and settled in Oturehua. Intially working as a Millright in one of the flour mills here, Ernest’s real achievments began when he began inventing things to make life easier on their 150 acre farm.

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Hannah’s Cottage, now the cafe and the original home.

From windmills to rabbit bait cutters, the Hayes inventions quickly spread around the country and overseas. Perhaps his most well known tool is his refinement of J Reid’s fencing wire strainer, perfected in 1924, and is still used around the world today.

Wire winders

As the business grew, so did their family and although they had nine children, Hannah became one of NZ’s first travelling saleswoman biking all over the Maniatoto, and McKenzie areas selling their products.

Part of the workshops

Their factory on the farm was powered by Windmill and Pelton Wheel from water running down the hill and after initially living in a mud hut, later they built a large villa which they also powered from their factory.

Part of the workshop.. click on this to see Hi Res!

The Hayes engineeing works has been maintained by the family and is still in really good shape.

The workshop..

The various buildings for Dairy, Laundry, the workshops and the original Mud Cottage that they lived in is now Hannahs Cafe.

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Fiona and I walked along the road about 1 k from our spot in Oturehua and checked it all out. It is also right on the bike trail as you come into Oturehua.

The Hayes Homestead

A magic place and its really nice to see how they lived and where one of New Zealands great inventers and his saleswoman wife lived and worked.

Rafe’s Tracker map showing where this is in relation to the town.

Winchester’s favorite Cafe

About 3.5 years ago, Australian friends and business partners, John and Bruce bought a beautiful huge Mansion on the main road in Winchester, just a few k’s north of Temuka. It is called MiaFlora and is just amazing. It is open from Thursdays through to Sundays.

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Miaflora

The idea was to restore the house, landscape the gardens using unusual and larger items of Garden furniture and accessories and have a plant nursery around the back with everything that you can think of.

Unusual garden sculptre

Meanwhile inside the house and on the other side beside the house, John the talented Pastry Chef with his staff run the Cafe. The food is something else and the coffee superb, and of course it is all beautifully landscaped with Bruce’s directions.

The Cafe area inside

We caught up with old friends Ollie and Pam and they bought us to the Cafe. They also introduced us to Bruce and we enjoyed a fun ½ hour or so chatting about all sorts. He’s a real character and when you see the setup, very talented with things Green and Floral 🙂

Just remembering that Ollie is a Chef and he and Pam are pretty fussy with food and things Hospitality, MiaFlora is their bolthole when they want a break somewhere nice.

Fiona, Ollie and Pam

Directly over the road is the local masonic Lodge with a huge easy access and flat carpark that could be used for Motorhome parking.

One of the yummy cakes we had there

Definitely worth checking out next time you’re in the area.. MiaFlora

Yum Yum at Olivers

About a hundred years ago, Fiona trained to be a nurse with Pam.  We became good friends with Pam and husband Ollie, and as they also lived in Devonport we kept in touch.

Cutting a long story short, after their children grew up, they eventually went for a change of lifestyle and bought their farm just out of Temuka and did up the farm house.

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Ollie and Pam

It was a massive restoration which included lifting it up and spinning it around to face the sun.

The Farmhouse

Ollie is a trained chef and along with his cooking skills and having Pam at his side, they’ve setup and run Olivers Farm Stay’s B&B.

We had just arrived at Winchester Domain Camping ground which is about 500 metres up the road from their B&B just as we did a couple of years ago.

Fiona looked a picture as she had just washed her hair and one side of her head all done up in curlers.. think Ena Sharples 🙂 .. Ollie and Pam pull up and pop their heads in the door.. 🙂

After a cup of tea in Rafe, they took us up the road to their local cafe in Winchester.

Several hours went by here and then we went straight to Ollie and Pams home for tea.

It was great to catch up on all the news about their family and where they were up to.

While we had a glass or two of nice wine, Ollie prepared the feast and it was just stunning. No wonder their overseas customers keep coming coming back when there is this standard of hospitality.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The time ticked by unoticed as it does when you’re having fun but what a magic night and lovely to catch up with them both again.

Roasted Kumara !

If you’re in the area or know someone who wants to be spoiled with great food, in a comfortable place with some great humour thrown in. Check out http://www.oliversfarmstay.co.nz

Donegal House

What a find.. Owned and run by the Boyd family on what was once the family farm, this is a superb setup and has to be one the better Park over properties sites I’ve come across.

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It is set in the grounds of Donegal House Irish Pub about 7 k’s from Kaikoura. Its only downside is it is not walking distance to kaikoura but more than makes up for it with the facilities.

What you see on postcards

We’d only been in the South Island a day and the weather was the pits with it raining non stop so we thought we’d wait it out in front of the open fire at Donegal House 🙂

Inside the Pub

We spent two nights there waiting for the weather to improve before heading further south.

Great Fire

Powered sites are $20 per van per night and non powered is free in a separate area. There are heaps of powered sites all nicely setup up in little fenced areas with Irish names on each!

This is a place with huge family history and they’re very proud of it. Their family tree is up on a board with lots of photos in side of how it was with their relatives.

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The Gardens are amazing too and well cared for. A stunning spot.

The Netspeed Speedtest… Awful! .. I suspect there was an issue with the local tower as it did improve before we left.
Download:  1.48 mbps
Upload:  0.24 mbps
Ping: 76ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map