Tag Archives: NZMCA parks

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

Breaking the cabin fever – Coromandel

We’ve had a month or so of being housebound mostly due to Rafe’s Bumper project and also a full annual service. Getting it back meant we could escape !

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Rafe in the park with newly painted bumper!

Coromandel is somewhere we both thought would be great for a few days before Fiona had to return to work. We only had 4 days so we figured somewhere not too far and where we haven’t been for a while!

NZMCA park

The Thames Coromandel District Council are making some great improvements on the coast rd from Thames. Every time I come up here its different. This time they’ve widened the road north of Waiomu.. there are still plenty of narrow bits but I saw they’re dealing with some of those too.

Star and Garter pub

We arrived in Coromandel early in the afternoon on a Sunday so many of the shops were shut. The important ones like the bars and one of our favorite ones, the Star and Garter was open and they had a special on Gourmet pizza’s $10.. that was us for a late lunch!

After a walk around the town, we returned back to Rafe in the NZMCA park.

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You never get sick of Coromandel, the charm of the shops, even though most were shut as it was a Sunday, there were people wandering around and all of them very friendly. It has a great atmosphere with all the old buildings and everyone seems happy to have a bit of a natter.

We called in to an Metal Art shop which backed on to the NZMCA park and bought an amazing sculpture of leaves made using recycled parts of copper hot water cylinders. Clever use of old materials.

Where i was introduced to my first Husband Waiting chair 🙂

Later, it time to go down to get Fish and Chips for tea and we headed back to Rafe for the night.

A great Day in Coromandel town,  it never disappoints !

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

Easy biking from Eriksen

We popped into Eriksen NZMCA park for our last night in Napier before heading south.

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New Tables and Chairs
Great Shelter

Eriksen is always easy to park in and is really easy to get into Napier from here. Fiona was keen to get some wool from a shop in Onekawa which is a bit off the beaten track from Eriksen to Napier but on Electric bikes, there were easy bike trails to get there.

Last time I was at Eriksen, they were building a shed for rainy happy hours which is now finished and the gardens just get better and better. The other new addition was pretty solid looking Tables and Chairs strategically placed around the park.

The new(to me) Shed
Parked in the Gardens

After signing in and opening vents, we got the bikes down and headed off to the Wool shop.

The Bike Trails here are just amazing and there was one that went most of the way through a reserve. Really nice and safe.

After this we headed into Napier City to have lunch and look at the shops and after a few hours headed back along the water front back to Eriksen Park.

A great day on the bikes having fun.

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

Checking out the Kiwis

Kiwi North which is about 5k’s out of Whangarei on the road from Dargaville is also the home of the Whangarei Museum and many of the local clubs with an amazing collection of things that clubs have.. Stationery Engines, Medical Museum, Radio operators, Cars and Tractors, Railway enthusiasts and the list goes on.

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One of the Kiwis  – pic supplied

The big attraction though is the Kiwi house where you can get up close with them. This is the first time Fiona and I had ever seen one this close and with one of the volunteers close by telling us all about them was amazing.

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They are actively involved with a Kiwi breeding program to try and stop the decline in their numbers and their modern Kiwi House makes it so easy to see them right up close. We were inches away from them!

A Nugget in the museum found in Hukerenui

The park is also currently refurbishing the Clark Homestead along with an amazing Octagonal shaped Chapel and other outbuildings.

See images inside the house from my last visit.

Clark Homestead being done up

There is the old Kauri Train station and the old Whangarei Woman’s Gaol there too.

Whangarei Woman’s Gaol

To make it easier for NZMCA’rs who would like to check it out, they also have parking for up to 4 vans with power, toilets and showers for just $15. There is also a discount for access to the Kiwis and the Museum for NZMCA’rs too!

The parking for Motorhomes

I’ve popped in here before but this was Fiona’s first time and its a great place with plenty to see and do.

Every Kiwi should do this and with international visitors being hard to come by due to Covid, make sure you pop in next time you’re up that way 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to Kiwi North – Armada GPS

The Lookout Bench at Dargaville

There is something really special about the Dargaville NZMCA park and apart from it being an easy walk into downtown Dargaville, it has these neat old historic buildings on it as well.

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The Dargaville Park

We popped in on our way to Poutu after being delayed by Auckland holiday traffic.

There were only about 5 other motorhomes or caravans there and few came and went for water so there was no danger of overcrowding 🙂

After arriving later in the day, we went for a walk into town for some fish and chips and a look around.

View to the town

The next day, we were up early to check out the bench seat out on the point of the park which overlooks the harbour. Its a lovely spot which you wouldn’t know was there and a very pleasant spot to spend half an hour so while drinking your coffee which is exactly what we did.

As we returned to Rafe, we had to walk past a couple of other motorhomes and one of them was Rob who I knew from our time years ago when we had our old boat Rorqual at Bayswater Marina. Rob used to run a charter boat company from there and Fiona has since met his wife Helen.

A lovely couple who came and joined us in Rafe with a coffee for an hour or so chatting about all sorts.. It has been a while since I’ve seen Rob so it was nice to see them both.

Looking back into the park

It has been a while since I was last at this park but it never disappoints and with it being so close to town as well is a real bonus.

Coromandel NZMCA park

It has been a few years since I was last in Coromandel town and that is partly due to meeting an oncoming logging truck on a blind bend a few years ago. He was going for it and how we didn’t connect or me disappearing into the tide, I still to this day do not know! Scary… Thankfully it looks as though they have done quite a bit of upgrading work to the coast road and it looks heaps better.

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Great view from the top.

It’s a great run up the coast and getting up to stop at the top lookout just before Manaia is always a treat for the eyes.

The Coromandel NZMCA park was famous for being wet and everybody crowding onto a small sealed area. Well.. no more. The whole area is gravel and it looks fantastic.

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One of the nice things about this park is its location right in the middle of town. With the Coromandel Smokehouse right in front and a couple of pubs and the shops within easy walking distance.. what a spot!

Look at all that Gravel

Those lovely old Buildings

There is something about Dargaville

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The famous bridge behind the band rotunda

It has a special feel to it. Maybe the old houses and the history but it definitely has a vibe all of its own.

Plenty of room

Having a great NZMCA park here so close to town is great too and it is full of character just like the town with the old buildings.

The main street of Dargaville

I was last here just after it was first opened and I think I commented then what a special place it was.

Now there is fresh water and I noticed from around by the band rotunda that there is a seat out on the point off the end of the park.

The special NZMCA seat on the point

A great effort from those involved in putting this park together as it is definitely one that stands out!

This has grown !

Whakatane River

Whakatane .. its great to be here..

It’s been a wee while  since either of us have been in this part of the country so I was really looking forward to checking it out.

Click on any Image to enlarge it.

The Awakeri Campground was great with the pool too but we were leaving that behind.. we arrived in Whakatane later in the morning and checked in and settled down.

Biking past the campground

This was a very different camp from Awakeri where the sites were a lot smaller but it was only $20 a night with power and had everything you would ever want in a fantastic location.

Easy Parking

Whakatane Holiday Park is pretty much right in the centre of town on the edge of the river, protected by a raised stop bank with a walking track on top which the locals seem to really enjoy.

Close by the town
The walking track around to the town

The track goes right into town and it is only 5 minutes away.  All the White Island boat services and Tourist area is based on the edge of the river just along from the park. There is also the Gardens and a model train and playground set up there too.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We enjoyed a good look through the shops and a cuppa in one of the coffee shops and then headed back to Rafe.

Dusk with the walkers

Later in the day, we met David and Michelle who were visiting in their near new Dethleffs Trend motorhome. This is their first motorhome and they were really enjoying it. Nice people and they popped over later for a drink. It was really nice to see them.

Rafe’s Tracker trail to the camp at Whakatane

Nice spot and really handy and great value with the Camp saver.

Left right, left right, attention !

This was first posted in Feb 2016 .. a special repost for lockdown!

What a great weekend! The weather was great and we had things to do.

After Fiona had finished work, we headed out to one of our favorite spots, the NZMCA park at Ardmore, a hop skip and a jump from Alex, Sarah and the Grandkids.

As always, remember to click on the images to see Hi Res.

Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe
Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe

Our friends, Rob & Helen and their daughter Chloe were heading off for a week or so to Napier and Gisborne so it was great we could pop in to Ardmore to see them off. When we arrived at about 7:30pm, they were off on a walk so they were a bit surprised to see us there when they returned as we hadn’t confirmed that we would be there.

Alex, Sarah and the boys came over after their tea and we all caught up in Rafe. Lots of fun.

The Ardmore NZMCA park is in an airfield precinct so a little noise comes with the territory, usually small planes and sometimes Helicopters.

Ardmore Park with Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe next door. The Cadet hall behind.
Ardmore Park with Rob & Helens Autotrail and Rafe next door. The Cadet hall behind.

That morning, things were different. At 8am, we heard the repetitive bark of a Sergeant Major type next door in the cadet parade ground teaching St John Juniors how to march. It was quite interesting to watch too as some didn’t know the left from the right so there were some interesting moves happening.
They were all togged up in their black uniforms and looked good, some even wearing their medals. There was one trainer who forgot his black clobber and was doing it all in his Red shorts.

St Johns Juniors marching
St Johns Juniors marching

As Fiona said, good on him for volunteering his time on a Saturday morning but it did sort of spoil the overall look.

About 9:30, we said goodbye to Rob, Helen and Chloe and they headed off to Taupo for their trip to Hawkes Bay and beyond. We left as well and went around to Alex, Sarahs and the Grandkids for the morning and around lunchtime, headed towards one of our other favorite places, Rays Rest at Miranda.  We were  catching up our friends Gary and Chris who were helping other friends Mark and Tina with their first trip out in their new, second hand Motorhome.
Rays Rest is a great spot and the weather was behaving as well.

Rays Rest
Rays Rest

After arriving early in the afternoon, we caught up for cups of tea and later a couple of drinks and then  headed off in Gary’s van down to get the fish and chips for tea from the famous Kaiaua fish and chips shop.  Gary wasn’t drinking so that worked well.  It was nice to see how much progress Mark had made on his motorhome as when he got it, it leaked and had quite a lot of dampness in its linings. .. now all gone.  More on this in another post soon.

We had a great night together and called it quits and hit the hay.

At Rays Rest
At Rays Rest

The next morning was nice in diffused sunshine with little wind. We sat on the foreshore watching people fish and just soaked up the atmosphere.

At Rays Rest, Gary, Fiona, Tina, Chris and Mark
At Rays Rest, Gary, Fiona, Tina, Chris and Mark

Gary, Chris, Tina and Mark were going to carry on to Thames and Coromandel so after lunch, we left them and headed home. A nice weekend.