There was nothing in my diary for a few days and Anniversary Weekend was coming up. Fiona had to work for three days so I was off. I thought if I could, I’d try and catch up with old friends Gary and Chris who were with Mark and Tina at Ruakaka.After checking that they were there, I was off.
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After arriving early in the afternoon, Mark and Gary arranged for a parking spot on Marks front lawn.
Mark and Tina are getting stuck into a house that they had bought that needs plenty of TLC and had some experts in the previous day to remove all their weather boards which had some asbestos in them. Mark and Gary were wrapping building paper all around the weatherboard less house to keep the weather out. I was just in time to help where I could but they’d pretty much done the worst of it by then.
Mark up top with Gary helping below
Gary pulling out more strapping
From the inside
On the lawn
It was Mark and Tina’s wedding Anniversay so we headed into McLeods Pizza Barn in Waipu for tea. The pizzas were fantastic and the McLeod beer is good too. The girls were knackered afterwards so the 3 of us headed into Rafe for some after dinner drinkies. Very pleasant and nice to catch up them all again.
Early the next day, the building inspector turned up and then a safety inspector. Both were happy with what was happening but I couldn’t get over the “dob in” factor of the neighbours. It’s great to be a concerned neighbour but I couldn’t help but feel that this was just trying to cause trouble. A needless waste of many peoples time.
Great to see their new house and that they’re really tearing into it.It’s just as well they’ve got a Motorhome they can stay in while they’re doing it up.
We were on our way back to Auckland and were looking for somewhere to stop for lunch on the way. Rob, Helen and Chloe were about 5 minutes behind us as we came down from the Brynderwyn Hills so the pressure was on.. finding somewhere!
Just before we came into Kaiwaka, Fiona spotted a nice little rest area off to the right. It was after the Motel complex but before the bridge into Kaiwaka. We were too far past it to turn so we went into Kaiwaka to turn around and went back to it.
Just as we were turning into it, we spotted the Tracker coming down the hill ahead of us so they knew where we were.
We settled down in a dry hard area and got ready for lunch.
There is a picnic table there and its all beside what looks like a tributary river to the Kaipara Harbour.
A nice wee spot and in a handy position. There is a bit of a hump at the entrance so for those with a big overhang, a diagonal crossing is wise. If you’re travelling north, Just after the bridge on the left before you get to the Motel complex.
There were thunderstorms predicted and the showers on the road from Kaiwaka to Mangawhai were pretty heavy. We were going to stay at Scandrett but decided, given the weather, we’d be better off plonking the 4 odd tons of Rafe on gravel or tarseal.
We looked at the Hakuru RSA on the way but as there was no one around decided we’d try the Mangawhai Pub which was an NZMCA Park over Property. Not my first choice on a Saturday night as we’d be sharing the park with pub patron cars. We thought we’d give it a go as there was a caravan who’d been there for a few nights who hadn’t had any trouble so we parked over in the corner as close to them as we could and headed in for a drink.
It’s a really nice old historic hotel right on the water. Everywhere you looked, it reeked with history and lots of character. As we settled down for our first drinks with a bowl of chips, a huge thunderstorm hit and lots of rain. I love a good thunderstorm, especially when you’re nicely tucked up inside out if the rain.
The rain didn’t last long so I went for a walk down to the beach in front and checked out the estuary for some piccies. I also did some more in the morning.
We settled down for tea and watched TV and about 11pm, we felt a few very gentle rolls of the van, like someone in the van had moved. Someone’s sense of humour as they were leaving the carpark! We ignored it and a second later it stopped and we heard more cars drive away. No harm done. A nice spot and really handy to town and it is free after all. Maybe not Friday or Saturday nights though!
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Parked in the corner
The main street of Mangahwai. Bennett’s chocolate factory on the right
A character building on the main street
The café at Bennett’s
Bennetts Chocolate Factory
Behind Bennetts Factory
The next morning we parked around behind Bennetts chocolate factory. I wasn’t aware but there is a huge large Motorhome friendly park behind the building.
After a cuppa at Bennetts chocolate factory café and some chocolate. we went for a wander around the shops in Mangawhai.
After the Covi Show, I picked up Fiona and we decided to head up north. Waipu sounded good and we with the weather looking good for the weekend, we knew we could probably stay at the Caledonian Park.
The trip was easy and we scooted up the motorway and up to Waipu arriving early in the afternoon. We were greeted with a No Camping sign which looked a bit flash but looked as though it might have been forgotten about and left out by accident.
It is such a nice place to stay that I thought it was worth a phone call to see what was up. The really nice chap on the other end said that it was because they had two weddings over the next two Saturdays and they didn’t want big motorhomes being in their faces just outside the window BUT ! .. if we were to park down the other end and and park end on, we were welcome to stay the night.. yippee !
$10 a night with power, just behind the main street in Waipu, fabulous spot and walking distance to everywhere.
Just after we got settled, a knock on the door from another motohomer asking about the sign. I gave him the number, explained about the weddings and he parked more into the trees than I was. Fiona wanted her TV signal so that prevented me from getting right underneath 🙂
Alan and Bev were English and had been here for most of summer and are retired camp ground owners and have been coming here to see their family. Nice couple and they’re currently trying to sell their motorhome to go back to the UK.
We decided we’d walk down to the McLeod Pizza barn where the pizzas are fantastic. Thin bases with heaps on them and very good value. I had been suffering from hayfever so was feeling pretty knackered so after that, we headed back to Rafe and crashed.
The next morning, the sun was out and it was market day. Every Sunday, they have a market at the hall in the main street. Great vibes with local people doing their thing.
At the Markets
Fiona bouight some Peaches from here . Yum
As the day went on, Bev and Alan left to go down the coast and several new people came in with their vans. It really is a great spot in fine weather. The grass is solid but I’m not sure I’d want to be there after or during a heavy all day rain. Their is some gravel parking with power around the other side for that but being under the trees in the sun was very pleasant.
Later in the day, our water pump started making some funny noises like louder and a bit whiney. I texted Jonas the importer and he suggested we get it looked at as we passed the repairers at Silverdale. On the way home the following day, we stopped of at Vantage RV to get it checked out. Johan turned the galley tap on and looked at me with a “yuk” type face. “We won’t waste any time with this” as he left and went and got another pump and installed it there and then. The submersible pump showed signs of being on its last legs, with water creeping up the wire into the pump motor and Johan reckoned it was not far off seizing. It must have been a duff one from the start. The whole process took less than an hour and we were off back to Milford.
Hats off to Jonas (Dethleffs NZ) and Johan and the team at Vantage RV for very prompt service.
The whines from the pump were bad, imagine the whine from Fiona if she had no water 🙂
After a few last minute things to do to get the house ready for the tenants saw a couple of quick trips between Milford and Devonport but the tenants are in and it all looks good.
I celebrated with my first night away by catching up with long term friends Alan and Grant for a few cold ones and stayed the night at a reserve in Torpedo Bay in Devonport.
There were a few jobs to be done this week so we were in Milford until Saturday morning and now the fridge is pretty much sorted, we’re off.
The forecast was evil. Thunder and lightning was due and it was blowing a cross wind for most of the way north. We stopped for brunch at the Cider Shed just north of Warkworth. We’ve been there a few times before and they’re always good for a nice feed. There is a nice big level carpark making it easy to park large Motorhomes.
After a good break, we headed further north to Wellsford and then finally Waipu. Checking out the new NZMCA bible, we found the Caledonian park behind the shops. What an amazing place to stay. With power too, all for $10 a night.
We walked down to the McLeod Pizza Barn so Fiona felt right at home(she’s a McLeod) after an hour or two there we walked back to Rafe at the Caledonian Park.
By midnight it was raining pretty steadily and about 3am it was all in thunder and lightning. With the huge roof vent above our bed, it was fun watching the fun and games above. By the sounds of it, nothing like what they had back in Auckland.
On Sunday, we thought we’d head up to Whangarei and have a nosey around. We parked in the Motorhome parking in the Town centre while we had brunch. Whangarei is very Motorhome friendly with plenty of parking for bigger vehicles and several dump stations. The town centre is a fantastic place where it seems half of Whangarei meets, lunches and enjoys the ambience.
The walk to the town centre
Fiona waiting for brunch at the town centre
The town centre Marina
One of our neighbours at Pohe bridge
At the Pohe bridge
On our bike ride. The town centre from the Riverside bridge.
After a few hours of taking it all in, we set off to try a new park we heard about on the NZMCA Northland Facebook page called Pohe Bridge. A big carpark next to a new bridge. There is a cycle way / walkway which goes all around the harbour from the bridge and back again. Off came the bikes and we were heading back into the town centre again. Across a foot bridge, through the town centre and back along the northern side and back to Rafe.
We opted not to stay there, only because the sun was shining and we fancied getting some mileage out of our Doc pass which we’ve hardly used, and thought Uretiti beach seemed like a nicer spot with the beach.
A walk and sit on the beach for a while and we settled down for the night.
It was this time a year ago that we went to our first ever NZMCA rally in Northland. A really nice bunch of people and there were in excess of 90 Motorhomes in attendance, quite a few of them from Auckland.
One row back !
Under the Tree
Early Morning at Balnd Bay
The prizegiving on Sunday morning
At Russell with the Sutherlands
With The Sutherlands at Russell the next day
A magic spot just south of the Bay of Islands right on the water. It was only our 5th or 6th trip away in a relatively new machine so we were still very much finding our way so when the North Easterly gusts of 30-40 knots odd rolled in around 11pm and the van started rocking, it was a bit interesting 🙂
We arrived around 2pm on the Saturday afternoon. Many of them had arrived the previous day so all the primo waterfront spots were all taken.. that was before we found out about the wind, then we were quite relieved to be a row back!
The Games started soon after we arrived.. lots of fun and good to see everyone having a good laugh.
We met Rob & Helen who have become good friends since and we spent the the next night with them in the Russell RSA carpark. The following night we spent at Uretiti Doc park another magic place in the world.
If I remember correctly, that was the first time we used the awning and the BBQ gas jack.. funny what you remember.. a great weekend away.
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