Tag Archives: NZMCA parks

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!  .. 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 🙂

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, “I’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 🙂

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 🙂 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 “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.

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.  The next stop  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 🙂

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

Cruising to Picton

We left Plimmerton really early as we had heard that both ferry companies were under the pump.

Arriving almost 45 minutes early, the queues were already established so everyone else had the same idea 🙂 Just as well Bluebridge were letting people in early.

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In the queue

I sort of look forward to the ferry crossing but always with some nervousness of getting Rafe on and getting across to Picton without damage but so far, there’s never been an issue.

Getting a cabin was an exceptional idea as as soon as we got on board and got our cabin, we were off to a shower and a tidy up before getting something to eat and drink.

About to leave Wellington

The weather was looking good and we were looking forward to an easy sailing.

Oriental Bay

We spent quite a bit of time up on deck taking it all in. I was amazed by the number of windmills on the hills along the coast.

Coming into the sounds, The Interislander
Rafe in the garage below

We arrived in Picton on time and headed for a Road Café just south of Blenheim for a cuppa and something to eat before we cruised on to Kaikoura.  A very pleasant crossing.

Plimmerton to the big smoke

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!

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The Plimmerton NZMCA park

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.

Wellington Railway station

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.

Amazing building – Wellington Railway Station

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 🙂

Wellington Railway station

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.

Where is everyone

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.

Down by the water in Wellington

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.

the Marina in Wellington

A fun day in Wellington. The next morning we were on the Bluebridge ferry.

Stewart Island, here we come!

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.

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The new NZMCA park at Turangi.

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!!

A Nice park like setting.

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.

Rafe’s tracker map to Turangi – Armada GPS

Peace and Quiet at Waharau

I’ve always wanted to find out about a POP that was reputed to be really popular on the Waharau coast and thought maybe now is the time.

Just north of Kaiaua and the famous Rays Rest, it is the perfect place to spend a few days if you wanted some of the nice things like power and a toilet.

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Lots of parking spots

I rang Andrew, the owner of the Pop and asked if they were open .It was all good so off I went.  I spent two days there and it was just bliss.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Andrew’s parents purchased the 200 acres of scrub in the 60’s and then had to turn it into a farm.

Rod, the campground manager’s office is in the truck

There is a small Kauri forest on the back of the farm which you can walk up to. The bigger Kauris have all been milled decades ago but its a nice reminder of what was once there.

The camp is a classic with a small stream running most of the way around one side. There are 4 powered, graveled sites, all on different levels plus some unpowered on grass sites.

The levels of parking

The loo is a classic recycled corrugated iron shed but it all works. One of the most popular items here is an old copper for heating the water for showers. With plenty of firewood on hand, you light the fire, heat the water, put in a 20 litre container (provided) and there is a winch for winding it up a tree. That’s the shower mixer with some cold water to get the right temperature. You can also use the hot water in a private shower over a bath setup if you’d prefer. A great setup! and apparently it is really popular.

Almost directly across the road is a beach on the edge of the Firth of Thames looking straight out to the Coromandel Peninsular.. just bliss.

The Seal on the rock

After parking Rafe and checking out the Camp area and being followed everywhere by a very friendly chook, I went for a walk down to the beach.

Dusk at the beach

While I was just watching the antics of the Shags sitting on the rocks, there was some movement in the water nearby. It was a Seal who climbed up on the rock ruining the Shag’s day 🙂 He was now King of the Castle.. Andrew told me later that he’s been coming to the beach for years every year since he was a pup.

There aren’t too many places left in this world where you can get a powered site for 2 for $12 and with a big welcoming smile. A lovely spot, great hosts and a fantastic place to go if you just want to do very little.

Rafe’s tracker map to Kauri View Farm – Armada GPS

 

Wow what a Park.

Another one from a few3 years ago.. Bell Block NZM<CA park had not long been opened.. great fun biking into New Plymouth.

As we drove Rafe down from Awakino, I was quietly hoping that we would be able to squeeze in to the new NZMCA park in Bell Block, just outside New Plymouth.

A panorama from the top

I needn’t have worried as when we arrived there were only about 4 vehicles there and as the day went on, more popped in.

Its a HUGE park and really nicely set out with the 3 metre spacers in the ground so no room for arguments. There is one of the best Double sided Dump Stations there with Fresh water dotted all around the outside perimeter of the park. With nicely smoothed out Gravel all over the park, there is no worries if the heavens open up. It just couldn’t get any better.

The view from the top

We rode into the City via the Coastal Walkway and it is a 20k round trip and was easy on our Huff’n’Puff bikes!!

Checking out the seat
Mt Egmont at Dusk

Another nice spot and the seat on the top of the bank is a nice touch too 🙂

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 16.55mbs
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Ping: 49ms

Rafe’s map to the NZMCA park

Amazing Museum

While we’re still effectively in lockdown  .. here’s a neat place we went to just out of Hawera a few years ago.. amazing place..

After leaving New Plymouth, we stopped in Stratford Countdown for some Milk and a few essentials and after breakfast and a look around, cruised on to the famous Tawhiti Museum.

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The Handsome Cab man

Started by a local very clever Artist, Nigel Ogle with his wife Teresa, they built this up using local friends and aquaintances to make their lifesized models faces and they look amazing. I love the expressions too.  In 1975, they bought the old Cheese factory where Nigel worked as a boy and this was the start of the Museum.

Looks like some I know 🙂

It is split into three Museums being the local history, the Traders and Whalers and the Bush railway.

The Accountant

Fiona and I elected to check out the Local History which took several hours. This could easily take the whole day if you elected to do all three.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The parking opposite is fantastic with plenty of room for Motorhome parking with separate parking for the cars on the sides.

Great Parking

There is also a well stocked Cafe on site with great Coffee too. A neat spot.

Lovely spot

We’ve decided already we will have to revisit and check out the other bits we missed but an awesome display that really is a must see.

Muller park

We went from here to the Muller NZMCA park in Hawera where we recognised several other Motorhomers who were parked next to us at the Museum! Isn’t it funny how great minds think alike 🙂

Rafe’s Track to Tawhiti Museum and onto Muller Park. The Museum is the Green Dot on the right!