Tag Archives: NZMCA parks

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.

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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
Upload: 23.48mbs
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!

With the Green things

We were heading north with no particular destination firmly set except we thought, maybe a night at Waipu and then a night the NZMCA park at Rainbow Falls if there was room.

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The traffic was unbelievable so we left the motorway at Silverdale and headed up Highway 16. I haven’t been up this was for a long time so it was a nice drive through. We stopped at the lookout spot looking out over the Kaipara Harbour just before Wellsford which was nice too.

Rafe at Caledonian park in Waipu

We arrived in Waipu and headed straight for our favorite spot at the Caledonian Park. There are only a couple of spots there where you can get a TV signal next to a power pole and we managed to snaffle one of them.

The next morning, the grounds people were up early to set up for the Scottish Games so we headed towards Kerikeri and after a cup of coffee at the Pear Tree Cafe by the Stone Store, we went to check in to the Rainbow Falls park.

This has to be one of the better parks being right next to a fantastic walking track with the Falls right behind.

Rainbow Falls park with the lighthouse

Just by chance, it happened that old friends Max and Jan were staying opposite us in their new Hobby Caravan so we joined them for a drink outside their caravan.

Max and Jan’s new Hobby with the wrap around sun glasses 🙂

The next day, we went for a walk down towards the Stone Store by the river but got half way down when we realised that we didn’t have a wallet between us for something at the other end so we turned around and headed back to Rafe.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

A fantastic walk with people fishing in the river, lots of people out enjoying the walk and people swimming under the falls. It is really nice to see so many people out enjoying this fantastic park.

Dusk

We had just got back when my old mate Grant rang and he Dani arrived ready for a cold drink. Max and Jan arrived back at the park not long after (Dani’s parents) and joined us as well. Lots of fun and laughs in Rafe in a nice park.

If you haven’t been to this park, it truly is fantastic having some great walks, the falls and public loos just over the fence as well. The park is now at a point where almost half of it now has gravel down with the grass growing through and it looks great.

Rafe’s Track to Rainbow Falls Park

Peace and quiet at Otorohanga

It’s been a while since I stopped in at Otorohanga but I was on a bit of a solo mission to get to New Plymouth to catch up with an old friend.

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I didn’t have time to get into town this time to check out the Kiwiana which this town is famous for but we’ll be through here again soon I’m sure.

Great space and check out the river

We first stopped in here a couple of years ago when the NZMCA park was only new. Its a pearler being right next to the Waipa river and with the trees being bare of leaves, there is a great view right across the river to farmland beyond. The perfect outlook while you enjoy that later afternoon glass of Rose 🙂

I pulled in later in the afternoon and there was plenty of room.  I was going to try the local campground but they had a policy of a minimum charge for two, even in the middle of winter so I decided to do  without the power and settle for a nice spot by the river.

A walkway too.
The view from my window

With some high winds and plenty of rain expected, it was nice to be in behind the trees by he bank of the river too.

Nice park, nice outlook with water and rubbish collection and its interesting to see there is a choice between gravel and grass here too! Well done to those who look after it.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the NZMCA park – Armada GPS

Back to Rafe

We arrived in Auckland about an hour earlier than planned around 10:30pm and immediately grabbed a cab and headed for the Hotel Ibis at the airport. Our son Alex was going to pick us up in our car around 7:30 in the morning but with the body clocks being as they were, we were awake and ready to go by 5:30am wondering what to do with ourselves 🙂

It was great to see Alex, Sarah and the boys at their home in Ardmore after a long time away.  Unfortunately, we had to press on and pick up Rafe from Dianne and Gary’s shed in Taupo otherwise we had no where to sleep !

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We left Ardmore around 9:30 and headed south stopping at Cambridge for lunch and then getting to Taupo about 1pm. Rafe’s COF had expired and it was booked in for 2pm which it flew through.

I hate the waiting and standing around with WOF’s or COF’s as you never know what is going to spring out of the woodwork but today was a good day 🙂

Lovely spot

We headed up to the National Equestrian Centre which is off the road north to Rotorua, just after the turnoff from Taupo. Its a magic spot and is $10 including power, showers and toilets.

Caravan Alley

With the jet lag the way it was, neither of us felt too good about driving north until we’d had a go at our body clocks and getting some sleep so we elected to stay here, despite the weather for the next 3 days and it just came down cats and dogs.

Toilets, Showers and rubbish right opposite

Although my front wheels were close to the gravel. There was quite a bit of churned up mud just in front so I was keeping an eye on that. The land around Taupo is a little top soil over pumice so it is really well draining and although there was a huge puddle behind and partly under us, when the rain stopped and we had to get out, I simply backed back from the mud and drove sideways around it and there was no slipping at all ! The water that was behind us had drained away really quickly.

You can see some of the neighbouring thermal activity here.

Its a great spot to park and the caretaker is really helpful and a really nice bloke.

After leaving there, we thought a night at the NZMCA park at Ngongotaha might be the ticket and then after that Auckland.

At Alex and Sarah’s  in Auckland

On the fourth day, we headed back to Auckland and stayed with Alex, Sarah and the boys in Ardmore.

Liam and Granny Fiona on the sideline.

The next day grandson Ayden was playing rugby at his rugby club around the corner so we all went around and watched that.

Ayden off for the Tryline. On the left, Grandad Paul, Granny Fiona and Grand Gran Mary all providing plenty of encouragement !

A great family occasion. Sarah’s parents Paul and Mary were there too. Ayden scored about 5 tries which was great so a lot of family excitement.

Ayden off again with the ball

Its lovely to be back in Rafe and we don’t realise how spoilt we are until we drive something a bit older. Its nice to be back.

Rafe’s track to the equestrian centre from Taupo