Tag Archives: Nice Rest areas

The Scout Den

Just after arriving in Lawrence, we found the motorcamp was closed frm April until November! Its just as well there are other options in Lawrence πŸ™‚ .

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At the Scout Den. With Mary beside us.

Over an old bridge from the main road and on the left is the Lawrence Scout Den. It has a nice big hard flat lawn in front of it with room for a few. When we arrived there was one other in there so we lined up with plenty of space and settled rafe down for the night.

The park setup

I had a quick look around the area and next to where were parked was a display of old Gold mining equipment and it looked great. A small picnic table surrounded with all things Gold and its history from the area. Neat. Fiona went for a walk into town which was just over the bridge and had a wee nosey around too.

I went over to the box to pay the $6 donation and there in the book was Mary’s name from NZ Motorhome Friends. I went over and knocked on her door and invited her over for a cup of tea.

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I’ve seen a lot of her pictures and comments on facebook so it was nice to finally meet her. Mary is from Hamilton but is cruising around NZ and doing in style in her Swift Motorhome.

We had an early night after that and in the morning drove into Lawrence to have a bit of look around.

Contrast of buildings
A traffic jam in Lawrence πŸ™‚

There are some amazing old buildings here and like most other Central Otago towns are making the most of their history and it looks great.

Rafe’s track to Lawrence

NZ’s Longest Wooden Suspension Bridge

We were heading for Tuatapere and then onto Clifden Suspension Bridge. Apparently it is the longest wooden suspension bridge in NZ and was built late last century.

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The Bridge

The river had a lot more water going down then before the Manapouri Power system chopped back the flow of water. It is also a free overnight spot provided by Southland Council.

The largest Wooden Suspension bridge in NZ

We spent an hour or so having a good look around here. A lovely spot.

The Free Overnight parking area.

Nice spot but next we were heading to a place Fiona’s grandparents spent some time at Otautau which had an interesting overnight parking place on the side of the towns football field.

On the side of the footie field.

Its a neat spot and comes with power, inludes hot showers, washings facilities and a small kitchen with two ovens. It $10pp plus $5 for power.

Fiona hanging out the washing.

A neat spot not far from the centre of town and run by some people who live not far from the park who were very helpful.

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Fiona decided she’d wash our linen and as she entered the kitchen/washouse found that someone had left one of the Ovens on!Β  No damage done but who knows how long that had been left on.. thinking power bills :-/

Looking out at footie field.

Great spot and we’re planning to check out the local museum tomorrow and head for the Catlins.

Rafe’s track to Otautau

Warm, Bright and Sunny in Southland

One suggestion that we got from a local in Invercargill was to check out Riverton so after checking out Bluff and having Fish and Chips for lunch there, we headed towards Riverton and Colac Bay where we were to stay.

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Colac Bay

Colac Bay is an amazing place and with an 18 degree afternoon with bright sunshine forecast for the next two days, we thought we were in heaven. So close to the water and nice and quiet.

The parking at Colac bay

We didn’t count on the fact that the road past us went to a well known Paua place around the corner so there was the odd local heading off for a feed later when the tide went out but only a few went through.

Rafe at Colac Bay looking towards Invercargill

It was a great night and really clear and warm.

Rafe not far from the loos

We woke up late and after breakfast and cleaning up, as we left we saw the Fisheries patrol there. They very cheerily waved us through their roadblock knowing we weren’t Paua people.πŸ€“

Interestingly I saw two cars go past us out of the area just before the Patrol arrived πŸ™‚

Rafe’s track to Colac Bay

Its a lovely spot and there are well maintained loos there too.

After leaving Colac Bay, we stopped off about 15 k’s on at Monkey Island Reserve which is another bigger free camping area right on the beach. Just a stunner.

Lovely looking over to the Ridge Mountains from Monkey Island Reserve
Fiona on the beach at Monkey Island Reserve

We stopped there for lunch. I was keen to stay the night but Fiona was keen to move on.

Plenty of room at Monkey Island reserve

A beautiful place to stay and there quite a few in tents and a few Motorhomers there too.

Rafe’s track to Monkey Bay

Heading down to Railway Country

After saying goodbye to Jessa, we had an appointment at the local Fiat dealer in Queenstown to plug in to Rafe’s computer and reset the Service reminders that had been driving me nuts since Greymouth !

Queenstown with Jacks Point on the right

Central Otago Motor Group are just along the road from where we were staying and they were so obliging and helpful with the southern hospitality, I was completely bowled over. John the Service Manager, was the man in charge of the electronic tools and while I was waiting for him, the service receptionist came out and offered me a Muffin. Apparently someone was leaving. Unbelievable welcome!

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John was fantastic and within a few minutes of plugging in, the messages had gone away.Β  If you want something done and you have a Fiat based Motorhome and you’re in their area.. don’t go anywhere else πŸ™‚

Fairlight Railway Station

After that, with a big smile on my face, we were off towards Invercargill alongside Lake Wakatipu. I don’t think I’ve ever driven down this road but its awesome. We stopped along the way to get have a cup of coffee and get some piccies of Queenstown.

Rafe looking for Adventure

After stopping at the famous Fairlight Station, we next stopped at Lumsden where they have a huge restoration project happening to restore what they call the Lumsden Railway Precinct Project along with a carriage and some other rolling stock. It looks great. About 30 local businesses and volunteers have come together to make this happen.

Lumsden Railway Station
Inside the carriage

There is also an old gaol with the original stocks outside with a couple of signs on it. They both refer to Dogs and people not picking up after them so I’m assuming that’s what happens if you don’t πŸ™‚

Where you end up if you don’t pick up your Doggie do’s πŸ™‚

There is also a very easy to use dump station and water there if you’re looking for one.

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It looks like a progressive wee town and the Railway Precinct is definitely going to make a difference when its finished.

Alive and Hopping

That is Queenstown ! Its a busy town and seems to be going 100 miles an hour everywhere you look.

The options for camping here are limited to MotorCamps really and we were happy to stay at an old familiar spot which used to be a Top 10, The Creeksyde Holiday Park. We’ve stayed here both in Rafe, a renter Mercedes and our old caravan Wee Rafe. Its a lovely spot but like all the Campgrounds in Queenstown comes with a premium price. As a treat and as it was close for Jessa, it was worth it. On the way there, we stopped at Pak N save in Frankton and did a big shop for a week or more and wow, that placed has sure changed. Its like a whole new town there now.

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Our park in Queenstown

After settling down Rafe in his little spot, Fiona walked into town and I unhooked my bike and biked down for a look see. I headed down to the ferry wharf to watch the goings on and Fiona went to some Art and Clothes shops.

The waterfront
Queenstown waterfront

We met down at the waterfront and enjoyed a cuppa watching the tourists getting on and off boats and generally people watched for a while. Lots of fun in the sun.

A reminder of where you are !

We eventually headed back to Rafe and got organised for tea.

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Jessa popped in about 6pm and it was a fun night catching with one of β€œour favourite Nieces”!

Fiona and Jessa

It was great to see Jessa Jean and we’re looking forward to catching up again in a few weeks when Fiona’s sister Sara (Jessa’s Mum) comes down for a holiday.

Rafe’s track through to Queenstown

The Pass

We woke up at Franz Josef to find we had no power left. A combination of too much TV, no sunshine on the panels and sitting in one spot for too long. The electronic controller in Rafe turns things off if it looks like it’ll damage the batteries so nothing died!Β  So lesson.. less power consumption unless we can generate more by moving or some sunshine. This is our first time in a winter South Island so its all about learning that the sun doesn’t work as well on solar panels in winter.Β  πŸ™‚

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After using the superb dump station and topping up with water, we set off for Haast and the pass. It was just drizzling when we left but by the time we got to Haast, it was pouring. After having lunch in Rafe with some locally sourced fresh bread, we set off through the Haast. It looks great and as many said, its an easy drive, even when its raining!

The walk to Thunder Creek

We stopped briefly to have a look at the Thunder Creek Falls which look amazing. The 5 minute bush walk to get to the falls is stunning.

Thunder Creek falls

There was one guy there who thought by hopping on rocks he’d get a better shot. The problem was his kids followed him! The shot would’ve been the same from the side of the river πŸ™‚
We left there and a little bit further on, we stopped off at another called the Fantail Falls where various visitors to the falls had made little stacks of river stones by the falls.

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Another nice spot and easy parking but it was still raining !

Fantail falls

The plan was originally to stop at the Makarora Tourist centre but when we got there, it all looked a bit farm paddock like and Rafe being quite low is a bit allergic to lumpy paddocks to park in so we kept going and decided on Lake Hawea Holiday park by the lake and give Rafe’s batteries a good tweak.

Rafe in the trees at Hawea. Nice park

Its a neat Campground and they’re very welcoming. We parked down by the lake despite the fact that there was a good wind coming off the lake but it was due to drop off. We also managed to fluke a TV signal first pop through the trees which pleased Fiona πŸ™‚

Lake Hawea when we arrived.. a bit windy

I went for a walk along the lake and had a good look around. Nice bathrooms and a Laundry and a good sized Kitchen too.

Lake Hawea in the morning

We’re looking at going back there in a few weeks.

Rafe’s track through to Hawea

The Famous Cheese Pub

We couldn’t leave Greymouth without going down to the Breakwater to check out the entrance to the port. I’ve see pictures of some of the fishing boats coming in over the bar and it is not for the faint hearted. These guys are amazing with this harbour.

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People collecting Driftwood down by the Greymouth Breakwater

Today the water was very settled and there were a few people out gathering driftwood with the Mountains behind bathed in sunshine. You could tell from the water how ugly it could be though on a bad day.

Looking back to Greymouth from the Breakwater
Looking back at Greymouth

As we travelled south, we had to stop at the Mahinapua Hotel and get some piccies there before checking out the Lake.

Looking back at the Mountains in the sunshine over Lake Mahinapua

There is a Doc park right opposite the Hotel where you can stay which has a kitchen and toilets right next to the lake. Its a lovely spot.

The Coal Trolley in front of the Mahinapua Hotel

Back out of the main road, there is a reminder of the history of the area with a coal trolley from a mine in front of the Hotel.

Fiona outside the Famous Mahinapua Hotel

The lakefront park is a neat spot to stop for a cup of tea or lunch.