Tag Archives: Nice Food

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.

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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

De Molen Windmill

We’ve passed through Foxton several times and every time have said, we should have stopped to check out that Windmill.. well, this time we did and what an amazing project.

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The Windmill

It is modelled on a 17th century Dutch Windmill with some modern changes to meet NZ building codes.

The Milling gear in the Windmill

De Molen was setup by two Dutch immigrants Jan Langen and Cor Slobbe and opened in 2003. It was established as a monument to all the Dutch immigrants that came to New Zealand and bring tourism and create some employment for the town.

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There is easy Motorhome parking behind the Public Library right next door on grass. Admission is $2 for a self guided tour and from the top, you can right out to Foxton beach and also a great view over the town.

Looking out to Foxton Beach

Its well worth doing and Fiona and I also saw the Rembrandt paintings on at the Library right next door. A really interesting hour or so,k

Rafe’s track to the Windmill

Luxury Location

We’re in our 4 th day of sitting on the waters edge at Takapuna Beach Holiday Park after moving from our house and its just the best location.

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Premo Spot

Fiona works in Takapuna 3 days a week so can walk to work from here which is great.

When you take into account the costs of owning a house with rates, Insurance and Maintenance and everything else, doing this for 3 – 4 days a week is pretty cost efficient. Its also handy to the Devonport market while we look for another house.

Takapuna Holiday Park has had some interesting moments recently. Being in a prime spot, it has been under pressure by others for its space.

Lovely tropical atmosphere

A couple of years ago, there was a bit of a stoush when the council had thoughts of giving some or all of the campground land for development of young sailors but they didn’t count on the locals wanting to keep the park as is.  Its my understanding that the land occupied by the Holiday Park was gifted on the condition it was used as a Campground or similar.

Looking over the park from the office

Anyway, despite our helicoptered in MP at the time, baracking for the Yachties, the locals won the day and the Campground stays.

Colourful, Caravans

Early in April all the old Caravans are going and they’re going to be replaced with a whole lot of new Powered sites so that will make a difference and make it available to more Motorhomes and Caravanners.

Will be all powered sites soon

This will make a huge difference as many of the Caravans are well past their use by date and the park will do well with the extra space for powered sites.

Takapuna Beach behind

Its a lovely spot and we’ve been here a few times over the last few years and is a great bolthole.

Bliss looking out at Rangitoto

The waterfront parks are 7 metres so I have to park Rafe on an angle but the parks are wide enough to do this.

Rental caravans
10 steps away for a swim

Toilets and Showers, Kitchen and Laundry are all in good shape. They’re beautifully clean and everything works so you can’t ask for more than this.

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We’re probably going to be here three days a week for the next month or so as we’re still looking for another house and for Fiona’s work but I can’t think of a nicer place to be.

Right on the best beach in Auckland and with some great walks along the waterfont right up to Milford and beyond, and south to Narrow Neck. The shops are great and close by and there is a licensed Cafe just on the edge of the campground serving great Coffee overlooking the boatramp. Great entertainment at low tide !!

See our previous visits to Takapuna here and the walk to Milford here.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 64.36 mbps
Upload: 23.76 mbps
Ping: 45ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

The Phil Collins Concert

We’ve been to quite a few Mission Concerts now and they never seem to fail to entertain.

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Earlier in the day

This year, we had Phil Collins along with a couple of local bands which warmed up the crowd.

The day started with breakfast at the Taradale Club which was supposed to include a shuttle ride around to the venue too but when the time cam for the shuttle, the driver went AWOL 🙂 so we walked and it wasn’t far and it was fun.

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Breakfast was great and at $10 each was very good value. By the time we had finished breakfast, it was pretty much lunchtime so at 2pm, after a bit of a snack, we headed off around the corner to the Mission Estate.

Fiona, Dianne and Gary all rugged up.

The weather was supposed to shower in the morning and improve as the day went on but the weather was late.. so the showering happened during the early bands. By the time Phil came on, everyone was damp, it was cold but it had pretty much stopped drizzling so as the night went on, we dried out and it was quite pleasant.

Phil had had some back surgery and had a duff leg so was aided by a walking stick and sat on a stool at the front of the stage but as a drummer, he is very used to singing sitting down and it sounded as good as it ever does.

His 17 year old son Nicholas is now the drummer and is very very good. One of the early songs they played had a huge quite complicated drum solo in it and he did a great job. He’s also a good piano player as well and you could tell that Dad was very proud of him.

Phil with Nicholas playing the Piano (Cell phone pic)

All in all a great concert which I’m pleased we went to despite the timeing with packing our house with moving just a week or so away. A good trip..

We headed back to Auckland after a nice night at the NZMCA park at Taupo.

On Stage .. cell pic

Taradale Club parking for Phil

Late last year, I received an email from our Taupo Motorhome friends Gary and Dianne asking if we wanted to go to the Phil Collins concert.. yes please says I so Gary bought them online. I’m not sure exactly where he was at the time but I suspect it was somewhere in the UK.

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On the way.. Taupo

All I had to do was arrange for some parking at Napier for our two Motorhomes. Just as that was happening, I received a very timely email from mary at the Taradale club saying they had limited Motorhome parking for $25 a night.. thats us I thought so I immediately booked us for two nights for both of us.

Happy parking

Fast forward 6 months or so and despite moving out of our house in less than two weeks, we’re on our way for a few days to Napier.

Arriving at Taradale, I met Mary who was happy to change Gary and Dianne’s park so they were next to us and not long after we arrived, in rocked Gary and Dianne in the Niesmann.

34 Degrees C! .. not much talking happening here 🙂

The Taradale club was doing a BBQ tea for $20 a head and a $10 cooked breakfast so we clocked oursleves in for those too!

Every nook and Cranny was used.

The parking was great and with the temperatures hovering around the early 30’s it was stinking hot. The club’s bar with its air conditioning was a great spot to hang out and the drinks were reasonably priced too.

It was one of these !

There were probably about 30 odd Motorhomes there with most taking up the option for the meal and the breakfast.

Everyone was happy to chat to each other in the parking area and it was a very friendly spot.

Over the road, The NZMCA had leased a paddock fromn a local farmer and there was parking there too and that would have helped that Clubs turnover too!

Acroos the road at the NZMCA parking

Mary did a gfreat job making sure everyone was where they wanted to be and organising the meals. A neat spot to stay and very close to the concert venue as well.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 29.41mbs
Upload: 7.43mbs
Ping: 47ms

Rafe’s Tracking map north showing where the club is.

Like a Tooth Missing

We were heading up North for the weekend to catch up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica and also meet Gary and Dianne from Taupo. The plan was to meet Gary and Dianne at the Caledonian Park at Waipu for a night and then go on up North after that.

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The Neissmann and Rafe

We pulled into the park early in the afternoon and it was good to see a few others in there enjoying the park. There were several Caravans and a couple of Buses there. What wasn’t so good to see was the missing buidings from the recent fire.

You can the back of Rafe in the park next door

As Gary said later, it was like a Tooth was missing. The fire happened in late September and burnt 3 shops to the ground including Fiona’s favorite cafe which is temporarily trading in a building over the road. Having something like this happen in a small town like Waipu would be devastating and I’m sure was a real shock to the town.

Neat Town
That Gap from across the road.

The town rallied around to help those businesses and many worked through their Christmas Holidays to help get some temprorary accomodation for the Cafe.

Cafe Deli’s temporary accommodation.
Cafe Deli at the back

The next morning we went for a look through the town and had a coffee at the Cafe Deli over the road in their temporary building.

Good to see some others here.

Its good to see they’re rebuilding but what a huge hole.

Catching up with Terry and Lisa

My old neighbours Terry and Lisa moved to Wangavegas (Wanganui) as he calls it, about 15 years ago and they love it. They’re really settled here with new friends and are currently building a new house out by the Golf course which is perfect for Terry as he loves his Golf.

Carolines Outback Bar and Restaurant

We arrived early in the day and checked in at Carolines Outback Holiday Park where I’ve stayed before. Its a great park and it is right behind Carolines Outback Bar and Restaurant which was perfect for us to have a meal with Terry and Lisa.

No Holes left

They popped in about 5pm and we had a couple of drinks in Rafe before checking in to the Restaurant at 6:30.

A fabulous meal as always and it was great to catch up and hear all about their new house and their family.

Terry with Lisa, Archie and Fiona

In the morning they popped around and we walked around the river across the bridges with their Dog Archie before checking out at 10am and heading North towards Auckland.

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Caroline’s Outback Holiday park is a great spot to stay and Bruce is always happy to help. Unfortunately it was a bit overcast and gloomy this time but check out the images from the last time I we were here and also see Bruces Truck.

The Tracker has popped its clogs so until its fixed or replaced there are no maps.. The Park is by the river about 1 k inland from the city on the Somme Parade.

A Happy Place

Another nice place to consider for summer!

Fiona’s cousin Iain has been coming here for years, every holiday break and he calls it his “Happy Place” and I heard somone else call it this too… and its all true 🙂

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A Happy Place

Kaiteriteri is just a magic place in the world and with an off season deal for NZMCA members at $98 a week, it truly is happy time sitting there amongst other nice NZMCA’rs looking at the beach literally in front of your front bumper!

Long termers in the middle rows

We’d just stopped and parked in front of the reception and I was walking in to check in when I met Selwyn and Lynda. This was before I’d even checked in ! They were off on a walk over to Little Kaiteriteri via a lookout on a track through the bush. They showed me how to get there so we could do it to. What a welcome !

Close to the water

The receptionist was amazing too. She insisted that if we weren’t happy with the site, I could shift which we did later.

Huge

Its a huge campground with muliple ammenties blocks. In winter, they cut costs by closing all but one block. There are more than 400 powered sites and several cottages. They even have their own small supermarket and nearby are several bars and restaurants to suit all tastes . A very well setup campground.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After checking in on a brilliantly fine day, we went for a walk up to the lookout at one end of the beach and Fiona carried on to Little Kaiteriteri for more exercise. That afternoon, we sat around the beach and checked out the camp.

Fiona at the lookout

Later in the day, we met up again with Selwyn and Lynda who were only parked two away from us so we commandeered an empty barbeque table and enjoyed an hour of laughs and something cold with them. They hadn’t come that far as they lived in Motueka or “Mot” as its known locally. This to me gives you some idea of how good they think it is at Kaiteriteri when they could be anywhere.

Looking down from the lookout

The next day, we took off in Rafe over to the next bay around Marahau. It is a really bendy, twisty road and we averaged probably 30 k all the way there. Interesting though to see and it is another lovely bay. From here you can go right up into the Abel Tasman Park. We headed back on another easier road and stopped for a cup of tea at the charming coffee shop in Riwaka.

Looking across to Little Kaiteriteri

We have been here before a couple of years ago with Gary and Chris with their Fuso. But weren’t here long enough to have a good look around.

Lovely spot and a very Happy Place !

Rafes Track to Kaiteriteri