Tag Archives: NZMCA parks

Bus Trip up Ninety Mile Beach – Cape Reinga

This was just such a treat and Fiona and I had been looking forward to it.. the highlight of the trip if you like. We met the bus I was later told; was a 400 HP beast that was once a Petrol tanker but was custom made for its current purpose of ferrying people like us up to the Cape on the sand.

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The driver picked us up outside the Awanui NZMCA park along with a neighbour in the park with his two grandsons and we were off.

Jason the driver and guide was a scream and very good with the flow of interesting information that went all day.

After turning off the main road north at Waipapakauri, we headed a few k’s towards the beach before we got to the sand. The weather for the trip was perfect and once Jason had changed into 4-wheel drive, we were off up the beach… all 56k’s of it apparently πŸ™‚ As Jason said on the commentary β€œ It’s the only state highway that gets a wash twice a day β€œ:-)

Getting out for a stretch

About half an hour or so of cruising up the beach, we stopped and got out for stretch and a look around. It’s an amazing beach with nothing really in either direction apart from the sandhills behind.

Looking South. the hole in the rock.

There was a rock of the beach with a hole in like the one off Cape Brett.

Jason running the Bus up the Te Paki stream for the sandboarding.

A bit further on, we were heading up the Te Paki stream beside the massive sand hills where we stopped to let to let those younger and more adventurous than us to boogie board down the sand hills. Jason gave them all a few safety lessons and they were off.

Jason doing the safety briefing.
Jason doing the safety briefing before they head up the dune.
Sandboarding !

They all seemed pretty happy with the occasion and about 45 minutes or so later, we set off again up the stream to rejoin the highway up to the Cape.

After Lunch

Next we were heading up to Tapotupotu Beach for lunch which Jason had stashed away. The road wasn’t for the faint hearted in a big vehicle and although there were a few Motorhomes there, it definitely wasn’t for me.

Looking towards Maris van Diemen

About an 1 hour later with a great lunch by the beach, we all headed back to the bus and Jason then took us all up to the Cape Reinga carpark to walk down to the lighthouse.

The oceans meeting

It’s about a 45-minute walk down to the lighthouse and back and quite steep in places but on a really nice track. As you go down on the left you can see Cape Maria van Diemen where the lighthouse used to be, Cape Reinga in front and the beach that we had lunch at off to the right with North Cape way off in the distance.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

The last time I was here, I think I was 13 years old or thereabouts. We were on a family trip with a 4-wheel drive with a beach buggy on an A frame. It was a trip for a photo shoot with a friend of my Dads who was a specialist Motor Racing photographer for a magazine article. The beach buggy got stuck on top of a sandhill… think all wheels off the ground so I got to learn how to drive it while we got it unstuck πŸ™‚

Back to the trip… it was fantastic to see it all again and all the improvements that have been made for easier access.

At the pub on the way home.

We were all back in the bus heading down the road for an ice cream stop and to the famous Waipapakauri where Fiona and I had a G & T to celebrate the end of a great day. We were only a few K’s north of the Awanui NZMCA park.

Back at Awanui.. great day !

A fantastic day and I’m really pleased we took the option of a guided bus trip. It wasn’t expensive given what was involved and a lot of fun and entertainment. Thanks, Jason, for the great commentary and a brilliant day out.

Rafe’s tracker map to the Awanui NZMCA park – Armada GPS

Awanui – almost the centre of Northland!

It is a really handy spot and this is where one of the most recently opened NZMCA parks is.

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Plenty of flat room

On one side is the main rd northwards to Pukenui and beyond up to Cape Reinga and the other side has a river winding its way past. It’s a lovely flat site.

Fantastic spot to park

I was intrigued by the sign in hut or cupboard as it really is. The face on profile looks like a significant small building but if you look at the side profile, its looks very different πŸ™‚ Very clever.

The front profile πŸ™‚
The side profile of the “shed”

We had spent the previous two nights up at Pukenui intending to drive up to Cape Reinga but after coming across a company based in Kaitaia only 7 k’s or so down the road, they suggested that we get ourselves here before 9am the next morning so they could pick us up before heading up the beach to Cape Reinga. They had a modified Truck which was a Petrol Tanker in a past life and modified it for use on the beach with 4-wheel drive and sand tyres. .. so here we are..

Nice safe spot

The Caravanner next door had his two grandsons with him and was catching the same bus. The park is fantastic and makes life very easy to plan your way around Northland. Well done to the volunteers who set it up.

Rafe’s tracker map to the Awanui NZMCA park – Armada GPS

A break away from the chaos at Kaiaua

The new NZMCA park has been open for a few months now but what a spot.

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The Park

After several weeks of dreadful weather and with Rafe just sitting on the pad, it was time to bust out while the weather was good.

The pub in the background

We set off about lunchtime and headed down the Motorway and headed out towards Miranda with hardly any traffic on the roads at all. Arriving an hour or so later with the sun streaming down, we parked up at the Kaiaua Park. It’s a beauty! With the Bayview Hotel right next door with a track through to the pub and the famous Kaiaua fisheries next to them, there is definitely no excuse for being hungry or thirsty πŸ™‚

The Bayview Hotel next door

After a visit to the pub and finding them busy, we decided on Fish and Chips, and they were huge! I kept a piece of fish for the next day πŸ™‚

Kaiaua Fish and Chips!

After lunch at the Hotel, which was fantastic, we headed off to Rays Rest for an hour or two.Β 

Click on the Gallery below for a look at Rays Rest

We have not been there since it was redeveloped by a storm a few years ago but it still looks pretty good to me.

Seafood Galore!

We decided not to stay though and headed back to Kaiaua and settled for a G&T at the Hotel.

The Marina

A fantastic park with room for Africa and having the Pub and Fish and Chip shop handy is a Real bonus!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Kaiaua NZMCA Park – Armada GPS

Gisborne, here we come.

On New Year’s Day we said goodbye to Steve and Rosemary. They were heading down towards Carterton.

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We were well overdue for a trip to Gisborne as it has been 7 years since our last visit!

We headed off via the coast up past Wairoa which seemed to go on forever. The forecast bad weather had arrived and was settling in.

We found a neat little Fish shop just by the turnoff to Mahia Peninsula which had the best Fish and Chips I’ve tasted for a long time then we headed off again up towards Gisborne.

The park

The new NZMCA park in Gisborne is a beauty right over the road from the beach. With the weather the way it was it was no real surprise to see a couple of cruise ships anchored off the coast.

Fiona checking out the cruise ships

The next day we spent the morning catching up with the Laundry, bedding and all. It was nice to have a everything clean again. After that we headed off to find a nice Cafe for some lunch and got some more groceries while we were right next to a 4 Square.

Waikanae Beach
Fiona on the beach

The new park is a cracker with the beach right over the road.
Well done to the local crew for the Garden Art, it looks great.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Gisborne – Armada GPS

 

Out with the Old, in with the New

It was New Year’s Eve. We left the Hawkes Bay Golf club reasonably early so we could find a good spot at Eriksen Park. It was busy but there were plenty of gaps.

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The Dethleff corner. Steve and Rosemary’s Esprit, Rafe and Ian and Erik’s Esprit.

We’d only driven about halfway into the park when we spotted an older Dethleffs Esprit with some big gaps alongside, so I parked alongside and Steve next to us. Easy.

Busy at Eriksen Park

After we’d opened vents and settled in, off came the bikes and the four of us set off to Napier for lunch. It was nice to see some of the old cars cruising the streets.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow

We then went to the famous Masonic Hotel for a drink but after less than Β½ hour, we were told they were closing so we moved to this amazing wine bar just down the road that Steve knew about, where we were entertained by really good German host who really looked after us.

At Napier shops about to have lunch. Steve, Fiona and Rosemary. Check out the car going past.
On the way back to Eriksen into the gale !

At least an hour went by, maybe more πŸ™‚ and we set off back to Eriksen on our bikes along the waterfront. The easterly wind had really got up, so the electric assistance was cranked to the max πŸ™‚

Ian, Rosemary, Steve, Fiona and Erik enjoying a New Years eve Happy Hour.

The owners of the older Esprit came back in their Toad, and we went over and met them. Nice guys from up by Kaitaia, Eric and Ian. They later came over and joined us for a New Year’s Eve drink.

Bliss

After tea, we sat outside while it got a bit cooler and waited for the fireworks.

A really good day on the bikes again with friends.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Eriksen Park – Armada – GPS

A great place to stop – Tokoroa

What a pleasant surprise finding the Tokoroa Club parking area.

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Excellent parking

Nicely partitioned away from the normal parking area with 6 powered sites.

The Bowling club next door

It is extremely good value for $10 and they’re really friendly people too.

Massive carpark with the Motorhome parking behind.

Their carparks are huge but at the back of their main carpark are the Motorhome / Caravan parks.

We arrived early in the afternoon, plugged in, opened the vents and went into the bar for a nice cold Gin and Tonic and paid for the park at the same time.

There was a storm due!

They do meals as well but you do need to be a member of a Club to be able to use the indoor areas.

The Club

A great spot for an overnight break.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Tokoroa Club – Armada – GPS

Ardmore’s Flash new paint work

Ardmore NZMCA park is one of our better parks so it we were looking forward to a break from the house and the grotty weather for a week of sunshine watching the world go by.

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Our youngest 9 yr old Grandson Liam goes to school in Ardmore where they used to live until last year and Dad Alex, had a week in Canberra for business so Liam needed someone to get him to school and feed him for the week. We live in Devonport so the easy way was to take Rafe out and stay at the park and walk him to his old bus stop not far from the entrance of Ardmore.

For the first couple of days Fiona was working so it was time for some walks during the day, take some piccies and read Newspapers. The sun was out, it was warm in the sun but was cold in the shadows but generally a big improvement on a few weeks ago.

Ardmore park

I met the custodian and Grant and Liz who honestly made me feel exhausted just watching them work on the park. It was almost non stop!Β  .. and they’re really nice people who were so helpful.

On the Wednesday morning Fiona drove out in the car which was good as we could get around and leave Rafe in the park so we got to get a few things and go out for lunch and check out some shops while Liam was at school.

Eye on the line

On the Friday morning, our last day, Grant popped his head in the door and said we had to vacate temporarily so the road markers could come in and give the park a flash new paint job on the parking areas.

The new paint with everyone on the grass behind.

There were about 10 or so Caravans and Motorhomes and one by one we shifted into the slightly damp grass paddock next door. We were a bit lucky having only one Caravan behind a light van losing traction which we pushed out. No harm done and everyone was still smiling πŸ™‚

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged slide show.

The painters were only there for a couple of hours and made it look easy while we all watched on. There were a few jokes about wobbly lines and late nights but they did an amazing job.

A Flashback to 2015.. Click on the Gallery to view

From coming here when the park first opened, Ardmore park is looking really good and is a credit to all those volunteers who have pitched in over the years.

We left on the Friday and headed home.

Rafe’s Tracker map home from Ardmore NZMCA Park – Armada GPS

Heading North

The Ferry’s were chocker and the number of people we’d met while travelling that were having trouble getting bookings made me think, β€œI’d better make sure we’re in Picton in plenty of time for the ferry”!

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We left Richmond about 8:30am and headed straight for Havelock for morning tea. Our check in time was 1pm at Picton. We arrived in Havelock at 9:30am and had morning tea eventually getting to Picton just after 11 so making it with plenty of time.

We went the long way around the coast past Momorangi Bay where we’d stayed a few years ago in wee Rafe, our wee Caravan.

On arriving in Picton, we found a good park outside a Pub in Picton by the Railway Station. As we walked in, I received a text from Bluebridge saying that they had communication issues and they’re eftpos system was having a moment and could be have cash for anything we wanted on board.

I don’t do cash at all these days so we decided that we’d have lunch where we were at the Sports Bar. What a great decision too as the Seafood Chowder was something else. Washed down with a G&T as you do.. a perfect start for our trip on the ferry!

In the Queue

At 12:30, I thought we’d better head over and check in and although we were early, there were several rows of Motorhomes and Caravans already there.. good call I thought πŸ™‚

Just after 1:15 pm, they starting loading us on the ferry.

Fiona on the Landing pad on the way out the Marlborough sounds

We’d booked a cabin so it was a rush for the shower πŸ™‚ Then we were mostly up on the deck enjoying clear blue sky all the way over.

The Tory Channel
The Tory channel looking south

We arrived just after 6pm and started heading north. We’d decided between us that as the new transmission gulley motorway was open, we’d go as far as we could stopping for tea along the way and maybe get to the brand new NZMCA park at Foxton.

Rafe in the garage. Fiona ready to go!

What great park and although it was just 7:30pm, it was dark but there was plenty of room and keeping the parking simple with plenty of room around us made it easy.

The Foxton NZMCA park
Great parking

There were a few motorhomers parked together in the corner with a small contained fire to keep them warm which was nice, and there were others well spread out so that made it really easy to park.

Easy to see where you are.

In the morning I went for a look around and signed in and once I’d found the β€œfridge”!. Its a fantastic park and although I’m not sure that we’d do the drive after a ferry trip again, like we had all the way from Nelson, I’m sure its perfect option for Plimmerton with the new Motorway.

The crew in the corner

A really nice park with plenty of room next to the Foxton Racecourse grandstand in a separate area.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Fox / Upper Moutere – Armada GPS

Having fun in Hanmer

Hanmer is one of those old favourite spots as we have had some epic family reunions here. Add the hot pools and it doesn’t get any better so we were quite looking forward to popping in for a night on our way up to Nelson.

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Hanmer Hotel

We arrived in perfect weather having come through from Oxford bang on lunch time.

At the NZMCA park

We managed to get a park in the main street by the trees and set out for somewhere to eat. We settled on a Home made pie from a Kiosk on the corner. Yum!

The last time we were here was about 4 – 5 years ago and there seemed to be more shops and buildings than there was last time we were here. The place has grown!

Lovely space

We didn’t really have time for a swim this time and after an hour of checking out shops, we headed back to the NZMCA park by the river.

There was only two other vans there when we arrived but by 6, that had doubled. Its always nice having a few around you in a semi rural place.

and with a Petanque court

There is a dump station just up the road a few k’s and although Hanmer is 7 odd k’s away, its a fun place to be.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Hanmer – Armada GPS

Our Milford Sound Extravaganza

We were still fizzing from the Stewart Island trip as we headed towards our next stop which was Te Anau.

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Lake Te Anau

On the ferry on the way back from Stewart Island, I booked a deal through the NZMCA with Fiordland Tours where they would pick us up from the club park in Te Anau in a small coach, and take us to Milford Sound. We would then get on a boat for a cruise through Milford Sound with guides all the way and back to Te Anau.

Te Anau NZMCA park

The weather was looking fantastic. With the disappointment of not doing the wings over Wanaka, our original reason for coming down to the South, I was a bit reluctant to book too far out in case something came up or the weather wasn’t looking good. It worked !! We had perfect weather.

Fiona at NZMCA park Te Anau

We arrived in Te Anau early in the afternoon and parked on the lakefront for half an hour or so for a look around. Fiona went for a quick look through some of the shops.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

We then rocked into the NZMCA park which is about 1k or so out of the town. Its a nice park with rural views.

At 8am the next morning, the coach turned up and we were off towards Milford Sound. It has been years since I was down here so I’d completely forgotten the lie of the land except I remembered this awful road so we were happy being driven by someone who knew the road and it wasn’t any where near as bad as I remembered.

Amazing Eglington Valley

Our first stop was in an amazing valley surrounded by mountains with a little bit of fog. A lovely spot. Don’t forget to click on these images to have a decent look at them!

We then headed off towards the mirrored lakes and had a stroll through the trees on a boardwalk looking at the reflections. Nice !

Cascade Creek walk

Back in the coach and then we stopped at a small walk down to another lake called Cascade Creek which backs onto Lake Gunn. A nice stroll and lovely place.Β  The next stopΒ  after this was to see the Falls Creek Waterfall and then we went through the Homer Tunnel.

Lake Gunn

We arrived in Milford and boarded a really nice double decker party boat and set off fairly quickly towards Mitre Peak. You feel so small among these huge mountains all around.

We were lucky to see some rare Hector Dolphins just by Mitre peak which were the largest pod the skipper had every seen in Milford.

Mitre Peak looking very majestic… Stunning

We then we headed out further through the sound towards the Tasman sea. The trip took about 90 minutes but was amazing. It is really nice to get to see and feel the size and scale of these huge mountains which you don’t appreciate from the postcards.

Looking back into Milford Sound from the Tasman sea
Mitre Peak

On the way back we spotted a seal having a snooze on a rock and others playing in the water and then came to a massive waterfall. The skipper put the nose of the boat into the falls for those interested in having a shower to get wet πŸ™‚

A happy seal
Huge Waterfall

We were taken for a walk along the waterfront in Milford before getting back on the coach to head back to Te Anau.

The boat we were on

A great trip and well worth doing.. check out the Deals on the NZMCA web site.

An absolutely stunning trip and well worth doing with a great crew.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Te Anau – Armada GPS