Tag Archives: Nice Rest areas

Anzacs at Marton

After checking in at the Marton NZMCA parking area, I went for a wander around with the camera.

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Great Parking

Marton is probably the only NZMCA park with Loos and a shower which is nice and the check in room is huge and there is plenty of room to relax if there is bad weather and you want a break from your Motorhome.

Down in the corner

We last stayed here with friends Chris and Gary a couple of years ago but the improvements just keep coming.

The parks are now all nicely marked with plenty of nicely planted areas to enjoy.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Right next door to this park is one of Marton’s big reserves with a Monument to our fallen heroes and a rugby field next door. The gardens around are lovely with a nice grove of trees filtering the light as you enter the park.

Nice light next door

The crosses for our fallen soldiers were all in place and there were some amazing metallic Poppies around the trees and on the banks, just as a finishing touch.

Guarded by the Magpie

A great setup and with Fiona and I both coming from huge Army families, it was really nice to see the town was so well setup for Anzac Day.

The Netspeed Speedtest
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Ping: 55ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

 

Heading South

After two months at the Takapuna Motorcamp during some amazing weather, and driveways and friends places inbetween, it was time for a change of scene.

We had always planned to go to the South Island while we were “homeless” and with Devonport prices flat, there’s every chance they ‘ll get flatter during winter 🙂

The plan was to shoot a Photographic job for a really good client I’ve had for more than 25 years in the middle of may, and to catch up with friends in Cromwell and Gary and Dianne in Taupo on the way down and back.

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Close up inspection of Rafe

We spent our last night at Ardmore with Alex, Sarah and the grandsons parked next to the horses and early the next day, we set off to Taupo. It was an uneventful easy trip and we seemed to miss most of the Easter traffic too.

Parked in Taupo

Arriving in Taupo, I texted friends Gary and Di who were just arriving back from a holiday overseas that day to see if they were up to a drink and catchup and got an immediate reply to say they were now screaming through Tirau and would be here soon.

We had a great night catching up with them, hearing about their travels in Thailand and early the next day, we set off towards Marton.

A seaplane taking off on Lake Taupo

We stopped for lunch right in the middle of the Desert Rd  and I though out of curiosity, I’d try our Netspeed connection and I was gobsmacked to get around 50 plus Megabytes a second.. huge! .. miles from anywhere !

Ngaruahoe
Rafe and Ruapehu

After a pleasant trip through Waiouru and Taihape, we arrived at Marton and settled in for the night.

The Netspeed Speedtest
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Ping: 58 ms

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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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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
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Ping: 45ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

The Hundertwasser Town

Kawakawa is famous for its loos and the artwork of Frederich Hundertwasser. Some of the shops have now taken to this unique look as well and it looks great. We were on route to places North but stopped here for lunch.

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One of the shops

We parked down by the Railway Station at the other end of the town and as we walked through, we found that the Cafe’s were a bit light on the food.

The entrance to the Hundertwasser toilets

What we didn’t know was that there were a couple of cruise ships in at the bay of Islands just around the corner and they had bussed in passengers and literally cleaned out the Cafe’s of food!

The main street

We eventually found one at the other end that the busloads seem to miss so all was good.

Sharing the road

Kawakawa is one of the few places in NZ where the Train goes right through the centre of the main street in town but the locals take it all in their stride. It is a real sight.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Although most of us know Frederich Hundertwasser as the designer of the Kawakawa loos, he has also designed Railway Stations, Grain Silo’s and other well known buildings all over the world.

Bliss at Kaupokonui

Arriving here in the middle of the day, I was amazed at how busy it was and it was all Tents and some Caravans. Motorhomes again were the exception.

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The park

I’ve been here before a couple of years ago and although not much has changed, it is a great spot and the old style campground where its all about having fun.

Busy

The new Managers Sue and Laurence managed to fit us in right on the front row in a prime spot overlooking the Beach.

That Mountain 🙂

This really is a lovely spot down in a valley just along from Manaia on the South Taranaki Coast. It wouldn’t be more than 6 k’s or so from Manaia where the Yarrow Bread factory is so make sure you stop on the way!

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After plugging in and opening some vents, we were off for a look around. There are two levels to the valley, the upper level where the campground is and the lower level where there is a public park and a footbridge connecting with the Sand hills and the beach beyond.

Between the two levels are two massive slides. Lots of fun for the wee ones.

The Slide

After crossing the bridge and walking down to the beach, Fiona decided to do one her long walks almost the length off the beach.

It was New Years Eve and there were Fireworks on the beach and everyone came out to watch.

A lovely spot.

The Coastal Walkway

It was going to be a scorcher so we got the bikes sorted and headed from the Bell Block park down towards the Waterfront to join up to the Walkway.

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Fiona screaming down the hill to the walkway.

From the Bell Block park to the Wind Wand is about 20k’s round trip so its a good ride and you know you’ve used some muscles when you return 🙂

Coming up to the Te Rewa Rewa bridge
The Te Rewarewa ridge

The trip is mostly downhill to the Te Rewa Rewa bridge but its a fantastic pathway. Some of its boardwalk but most of it is a wide concrete path which eventually goes through the side of the Fitzroy Holiday Park. We stopped at the Kiosk for a cuppa and something to eat and then rode on to the Wind Wand. Great fun.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There we left the waterfront to have a quick look at some shops and then headed back along one of the shopping streets and back down to rejoin the Waterfront.

Fitzroy beach

Just fantastic. A great outlook and apart from the uphill bit at the end going up through the houses was pretty easy. .. Well worth doing!!

Heading home

A couple of glasses of wine later with some neighbours in the park and that was us for the day 🙂

Getting Away

Its not far to go and its easy and its familiar.

Mangawhai Heads on the estuary is just lovely.

Lovely spot

Easy walks around to the beach and you can walk the other way for miles too.

Splash

We had escaped for the weekend to give our agent Lance a good crack at the first weekend of open homes without us or Rafe in the way and we weren’t quite ready to go home so it was Mangawhai.

Enjoying the water

I was here only a month or two before so knew that with the NZMCA mid winter rates and it being right next to the water, it was pretty good without travelling too far.

We’d been to the markets, had a coffee and a look at Bennetts chocolate factory and ready just to plug in and go for a walk along the foreshore.

Its a lovely area and as I think I said in my last post from here, it would be a good place to retire to being close to the families in the big smoke.. only 90 minutes or so away.

Windows

Karangahake Gorge is just amazing. We walked around here a year or two ago but didn’t quite get to the Windows walk for some reason. Well.. its wild.

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The Main suspension bridge over the Ohimemuri river

After parking Rafe in the carpark next to two other Motorhomes, I set off with the box brownie and headed across the suspension bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River.

The Power Station looking back to the carpark

The old Powerhouse used to be at the other end but all that can be seen now is the concrete base.

Looking back over the old PowerStation ruins to the carpark.

The walk is supposed to take an hour and is 2.5 kms. I headed off up the right hand side of the gorge along a pathway which had some mine entrances heading off into the hillside.

How is that track

As the walk went further on, the pathway was cut into the sheer cliff face and protected by barriers. Just stunning with the river below. Knowing that this was a loop walk back across the other side, I couldn’t see anywhere across the other side that looked like it could accommodate a track!

The second bridge up to the tunnels.

As I went further on, I came across another suspension bridge crossing the river and a track leading up some steps into a Tunnel. Just as well I brought my cell phone for some light although a torch would have been better .. note for next time!

The original tracks are still in there for the Gold Diggings train too.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow of the walk

As the Tunnel went on their were little exits (Windows) out across the river and eventually it came out to a well formed track.

The Spanish chaps ahead

I bumped into a couple of chaps from Spain enjoying the walk who were keen to do more walks. A family with small kids went through too so its suitable for all ages.

One of the old carts

Further along there was the ruins of the processing plants that occupied most of the hillside. Its not a big area so its amazing what they fitted in there at that time.

The foundations of one of the big factories

After a chat with my Spanish friends at the end of the track, I headed back across the main swing bridge to the carpark where there was originally a whole township. An amazing spot! .. I’ll definitely have to come back here again.!

Rafe’s Track to the Windows walks

Launch of the Books – Free Download!

Wow.. what a week ..

The last 2 of our Bugger it We Are Off series books were launched last week.  All four are now on Amazon as Kindles EBooks.

To celebrate this, I’ve got the Napier Art deco book available for free for the next 4 days from today (US time) – Tomorrow NZ Time

From 1st August (US time), this book will be available for free for 5 days.  …..Click here

I’ve got them available in the Epub format as well for Ipads but haven’t got a Mac which you need to upload to the iTunes store.. I’ll find a way!

These publications are all based on this Blog.
I’m not expecting them to be best sellers but if someone out there finds a couple of things of interest in there, it was worth doing.

The blurb below is copied from the OUR Books page.

As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 20, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.

Bugger it we are off to the Pinnacles in a convoy is about meeting Motorhome friends in Taupo NZ (central North Island) and heading in our three Motorhomes down to the Pinnacles at the bottom of the North Island.

We travel through the Hawkes Bay wine region on the way, go to a UB40 concert, survive a raging storm and enjoy a great meal in an old style Country Lodge. Lots of fun and some great images.

Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer Motorhome and then following our Motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks explore central Europe with bikes.

There were lots of adventures and lots of laughs. A truly memorable experience.

Bugger it we are off to the South Island of NZ is about our three month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.

We met lots of neat people, caught up with some friends and relatives, stayed in some amazing places and had a great time.

To see more about these books and links to buy, see our Book Page

Everyone has a Jetty

Over our boating years, both Alan and I have had some amazing moments in both Bon Accord harbour at Kawau and around Kawau so being  driven around on the ferry so we could have a good look with a commentary was a real treat.

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Lidgards and Kawau Yacht club

Alan does one of the biggest, if not the biggest Wooden Boating Blogs around called Waitematawoodys.com and was on the Classic Yacht Association committee with me for several years.  We have been known to sneak away in Rafe for the odd boys trip which are always fun!

We left Rafe about 9:30 from the Sandspit Holiday Park and wandered along the road to the wharf to get our tickets and check in.  So after having a cuppa at the café on the wharf we set off about 10:30 for Kawau.

Mansion House

Being an Island and only accessible by boat, Kawau Island has only a handful of roads and a handful of vehicles.

His and Hers

Almost all the houses only have water only access and the way they’ve been built either on top of a hill with their own chairlifts (think electric Wheely Bin on a rail 🙂 ) with a jetty at the bottom or on the water. Some of them are amazing but I suspect most would be either baches, occupied by retired folk or who don’t have to commute.

Kawau Yacht Club

We were on the Royal Mail boat which started at Vivian Bay in the north and worked its way around to Bon Accord Harbour and Mansion House Bay and then down to South Cove where there was mail to be dropped off. On the way back to Mansion House Bay for lunch, we passed the Old Copper Mine.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Kawau was huge source of copper in the mid 1800’s with a community of around 300 related to the Mine and its output at its peak. By the 1800’s it all fizzled out and most of the miners moved on to the Gold Fields.

The remains of the Copper Mine

After a walk around the Mansion House and the coffee shop, we eventually made our way back to the ferry. It was nice barrelling along at 15 knots in the sun with a glass of Pinot Gris in hand.

Alan getting off the Ferry
Friendly Peacocks on the lawn

We walked back to Rafe in the Sandspit Holiday Park and prepared ourselves for a meal at Sandspit Yacht Club.

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