On New Year’s Day we said goodbye to Steve and Rosemary. They were heading down towards Carterton.
Click on any Image to Enlarge
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Click on any Image to Enlarge
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.
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
The Dethleff Corner
Rosemary feeling the cold on New Year’s Eve.
Steve bat the Wine Bar
Rosemary and Fiona at the Wine Bar
Setlling down for lunch
The wine bar.. amazing place
We then went to the famous Masonic Hotel for a drink but after less than ½ 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 least an hour went by, maybe more 🙂 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 🙂
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.
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.
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.
Click on any image to enlarge.
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.
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! .. 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.
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.
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 🙂
Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged slide show.
The Pink Caravan
Nice seeing the sunshine again
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
Back in 2015
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.
The Ferry’s were chocker and the number of people we’d met while travelling that were having trouble getting bookings made me think, “I’d better make sure we’re in Picton in plenty of time for the ferry”!
Click on any Image to Enlarge
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.
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!
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 🙂
Just after 1:15 pm, they starting loading us on the ferry.
We’d booked a cabin so it was a rush for the shower 🙂 Then we were mostly up on the deck enjoying clear blue sky all the way over.
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.
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.
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.
In the morning I went for a look around and signed in and once I’d found the “fridge”!. 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.
A really nice park with plenty of room next to the Foxton Racecourse grandstand in a separate area.
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.
Click on any Image to Enlarge
We arrived in perfect weather having come through from Oxford bang on lunch time.
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!
We were still fizzing from the Stewart Island trip as we headed towards our next stop which was Te Anau.
Click on any Image to enlarge
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.
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.
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
Fiona at NZMCA park Te Anau
Lake of Mirrors
Cascade Creek walk
The boat we were on
Mitre Peak looking very majestic… Stunning
Cruising in Milford Sound
From our waterfront walk.
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.
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 !
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. The next stop after this was to see the Falls Creek Waterfall and then we went through the Homer Tunnel.
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.
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.
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 🙂
We were taken for a walk along the waterfront in Milford before getting back on the coach to head back to Te Anau.
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.
We arrived in Wellington from Turangi later in the day and parked in the fantastic Plimmerton NZMCA park which was pretty busy. While we were enjoying a nice glass of wine, more Motorhomes and Caravans rocked in until it was pretty much a full house!
Click on any image to enlarge
Our neighbours were doing fish and chips from the Plimmerton fish and chip shop so we joined them and later ate them together down at the Plimmerton beach. Very pleasant!
Fiona’s cousin Shona and her other half Mark live right opposite the Fish shop so we tried knocking on their door for a surprise visit. It was fantastic to see them and they were bowled over by our appearance at their door.
The next morning, we caught the train into Wellington Central from the Plimmerton station and one thing I’ve always liked about Wellington station is its amazing design.
After having a coffee at Fiona’s favourite French Café, we walked down towards the Macs bar by Te Papa for lunch. Very civilised I thought 🙂
On the way there, I couldn’t believe the dearth of people in central Wellington streets. Wellington is usually alive and kicking but not today ( mid monday morning in Covid red zone).. very sad for the retailers.
I did a shot down one of the main streets, Featherston street, and there were no people or cars for blocks. Hopefully this comes back after Covid settings ease.
The sky started to look a bit threatening and I didn’t have any wet weather gear with me so I started to head back to the train station leaving Fiona to come back later.
A fun day in Wellington. The next morning we were on the Bluebridge ferry.
Over the last few trips we’ve done to the South Island, there’s always been something getting in the way of us getting to Stewart Island. Last time, it was a stonking great tax bill that we weren’t expecting that made us change a few things. It later turned out to be incorrect.
Click on an Image to enlarge.
This time, we had our ducks in a row and all was looking good as we headed down Auckland’s southern motorway towards Turangi. It has been a few years now since our last attempt at the south island so we were looking forward to the month or so on the mainland.
The idea is to head straight to Stewart Island and tick it off before anything gets in the way 🙂 and then Milford sound on the boat and anything else we find along the way. Exciting times!!
We’d penciled in the new Turangi NZMCA park as it is years since we had a good look around Turangi.
Cruising in to Turangi, we had a quick look around the town before going to the park. Checking in at the park.. its a biggy with two levels of parking. Its like it is set up as the grand circle and the stalls but nicely done.
Being only 10 minutes walk from the township, its a great place for checking out Turangi.
Its also quiet and secure too. A great place to park on your way south (or north). Well done to the volunteers who set it up.