Tag Archives: NZMCA parks

Staying with the Kiwis

One of the features of my around the Dargaville loop was coming across Kiwi North.

Run by a charitable trust, it includes the Whangarei Museum, a Kiwi house and much more, all part of a 25 hectare Heritage park.

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NZMCA’rs can also stay the night there with power for just $15 per night. This also gives you a discount to see the Kiwis and the Museum.

The Static Engine Club

I pulled in and parked in one of the two Motorhome parks out in the main carpark while checking in and met by a very helpful lady on the front desk who showed me where everything was and then gave me a brochure specially printed for NZMCA’rs who want to stay there. It also had a map showing what was there along with things to see and do.

The Kauri Railway Station

After parking Rafe in one of the 4 concrete parking pads setup for Motorhomes and plugging in and opening vents, I set off with the camera to have a look around.

Great parking for 4 on a concrete pad with power and toilets too.

One of the features of the park apart from the Kiwi House and Museum is the Grand old Clarke Homestead built in 1886. The Clarke family also had a Butchery, a Laundry, Dairy and Milking Parlour and has been occupied by three generations of the family up to 1972.

Clarke Homestead with the Jane Mander Study

Also next to the Clarke Homestead is the Jane Mander Study which was a turret that was once on top of the family home in Whangarei. Access was by a rooftop walkway. Jane’s Dad owned the Northern Advocate in the early days and Jane went on to be the Editor.

I found this really interesting as in my Newspaper days as a photographer, with the Herald and the Star, I had to work with the Advocate  guys during Waitangi day protests along with other jobs. They were a great crew to be with and always very helpful.

The Jane Mander Study

The other amazing thing here was the Oruati Chapel built from a single Kauri log in 1859 and was in Doubtless Bay in the north. It is still used today for Weddings and Christenings.

The Oruati Chapel

There are many of Whangarei’s Clubs based here in their own buildings like the Steam society, the Ham Radios club and many others. Its a very interesting place to just have a look around.

Inside the Oruati Chapel. Made from one Kauri log in 1859!

The old Kauri Railway Station along with a separate reduced scale railway along with Riponui Pah school built in 1898. All really good stuff.

Looking out over the Clarke Homestead to Whangarei

Down one end of the park is a Alexander Clarkes grave. He’s the chap that originally came out from the Uk and built the Clarke Homestead.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

A wonderful place to park, plenty to see and do and they really want you to visit them. I couldn’t believe how organised they are for Motorhomers, even having a brochure for NZMCA’rs on what to do and see and complete with the Wings on the cover !

Cultural Parking!

Well worth seeing and doing and great parking.. Go there, they need your support 🙂

The Netspeed Speedtest for here (old Router)
Download: 8.43 Mbps
Upload: 7.47 Mbps
Ping: 55 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

New Dargaville park with History

This was my first trip to the brand new Dargaville NZMCA park and its a cracker.

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Close to the water

It is right on the rivers edge with another smaller river on a side boundary and only a few minutes walk to the centre of town.

This was one of my first times of the new check in system and paying on the NZMCA App and it was easy. What a great system.

There are two old heritage buildings on the site with a couple of old jettys on the side of the river.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

After a wander around watching the river water flow from all the rain we’d had, it reminded me of when I was a nipper just mooching around the waters edge and sitting on old wharves on a quiet day.

2 minutes walk to the Rotunda and the town

I went for a walk into town over the bridge and what a neat atmosphere. The old band rotunda and some public loos are only a few minutes away and although the brown colour of the Wairoa River isn’t exactly beautiful, there is a real sense of history and a real charm about the place.

All weather and safe

We’re very lucky to have this network of NZMCA parks and once the word gets out, this new one is sure to be popular.

The Netspeed Speedtest here (Old Router)
Download: 7.64 Mbps
Upload: 21.01 Mbps
Ping: 44 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

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.

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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

Apples and Pears Parking

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been wanting to visit Martinborough while the Cruise Martinborough festival was on and this time, it was a happening thing. Nothing to get in the way!

We set off from Ardmore early and by mid afternoon, we found ourselves half way along the Napier Taupo road heading for Hastings. Fiona had tracked down a long lost family friend in Havelock North and we were determined to catch up with her. Annie was a very close friend of Fiona’s late father Norm and she is just a lovely lovely lady. She also did the flowers and helped Fiona at our wedding a hundred years ago. By getting here in one day meant that we had a day to catch up with Annie before we caught up with other friends also going to Martinborough.

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Rafe with our neighbours and the Apple trees

We checked in at an Orchard Parking spot in Hastings. As I drove in, I was welcomed by Rose the Manager, who cheerfully showed me where everything was and helped me get the power sorted ($15 a night) and left us to settle down Rafe. It was almost 5 pm and our neighbours, Sharon and Allan in a 5th wheeler were getting their chairs ready for happy hour amongst the apple trees so we joined them with some other friends of theirs. Lots of fun and nice people. The sun was shining and we were having fun.

Amongst the Apples

Early the next morning, there was a knock on the door and it was Dick Spiekerman bearing gifts. A bag of Walnuts and a bag of Oranges along with a big smile and happily showed me around the property. A lovely guy who clearly is passionate about the property and its amenities for Motorhomers.

Dick on the Tennis Court

They’ve had the Orchard for about 30 years but the parking area has been running for about 8 years. Dick and Elly Spiekerman have had several caravans and 5th Wheelers and still get away from time to time. Now retired he has leased out the business and the Parking area is his new passion.

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A tennis court with a Happy Hour pavilion, a toilet and a shower along with a cold weather happy hour room and only 10 minutes drive to Hastings. What more could you want.
They also do long term parking.

Looking towards Napier from Clifton beach
At Clifton beach

We caught up with Annie and her daughter and grandaughter, at her home in Havelock, and then later joined up with friends at Clifton Beach ready for the trip to Martinborough.

Rafe’s Track to Dick’s POP

A Blast Northwards

After a couple of nice days at Richmond, we decided we would cross the strait early and head back to Auckland. We headed to our favourite Blenheim Motorcamp, Spring Creek  for a night before catching the ferry on a perfect day to cross to Wellington.

Lots of Motorhomes on the deck

It was nice to see the owners Christine and Andy and the campground was looking good. I gave Rafe a good wash to tidy up a bit while Fiona got some washing done as well.

Primo spot next to the creek.

The next morning, we were off early and with perfect weather, the crossing was fantastic. We arrived in the middle of the day so we thought Plimmerton NZMCA park would be good for the night and then we would head to Taupo to stay with friends Gary and Dianne. They had arranged for some other friends Ian and Lynda with their Dethleffs XLI to join us for four nights as well. We were really looking forward to seeing them all again.

A panorama of the Plimmerton when we arrived.

After an early departure from Plimmerton, we left and made good time getting to Waiouru at lunchtime after stopping at the Woolshed café in Sanson for a cuppa and some fuel.  $1.19 a litre at the Sanson Caltex Truck stop for diesel.. amazing.
We had paid up to $1.45 a litre in the South Island.

Mt Ruapehu at Waiouru

We cruised in to Taupo about 3.30pm and as it was nearly 30C – hot!, we were with Gary and Dianne in their pool to cool off.  It was nice to see them both again.

Rafe parked at Gary and Diannes

Ian and Lynda were arriving the following day.

Ian and Lynda’s Dethleff XLI

The next day, Gary took one look at Rafe and while I washed Rafe, he made it clear that he thought, Rafe needed a bit more TLC.

Ian and Gary with all the polishing toys!

Within a few minutes, he was out with his cut and polish kit and got straight into all of Rafe’s blue bits. The bonnet and the doors and the the decals down the side.

Look at that reflection in the bonnet!

A light cut, a polish and buffing and it looked like a different vehicle.

Ian and Gary with Rafe.. look at the Tyres!

When Ian arrived the next day, they were both at it but what a huge difference! Even the wheels got some silicone treatment!

We went down to Repco to get some Turtle Wax so I could wax it when I got back to Auckland (Which I’ve now done).

Thanks guys, you made such a difference and Rafe now looks a picture!

Shiny 🙂

After 4 great days with the crew in Taupo, we headed back to Alex and Sara’s in Ardmore in Auckland (Son and Daughter in law) and the Grandkids Ayden and Liam. It was nice to see them again and with that, the South Island trip came to a close.

Christmas was on the doorstep and we were looking forward to catching up with friends and family. Many we hadn’t seen since we left for Europe over 6 months ago.

Rafe’s track to Auckland

Thunder and Lightning

While we were in Cromwell, we heard the odd crash of thunder in the distance and given that there were 5 days of storms in that region, we seem to miss it all 🙂

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Rafe with Brian and Rose’s Jayco

After leaving Weedons, were headed into Christchurch to get some more toilet chemicals and then started the trek north to Hanmer.

It is years since we were last at Hanmer and its a great place.

The Hanmer park

We headed into the NZMCA park which I’ve driven past numerous times but this was our first time in it. What a neat spot. We’d only just pulled up and I was levelling up Rafe when I met our next door neighbours Tony and Beryl from Motueka, who were heading south to catch up with family in Arrowtown. They had a nice little Bailey caravan and having lived in a bigger model earlier were seasoned caravanners so it was really interesting chatting to them.

John at happy hour!

We were joined by their caravan by John and his girlfriend from Australia who was a real character. He had been part of the television series Outback Truckers so it was great to catch up with them too.

The pools

The next morning, we took Rafe into Hanmer which is about 7 k’s from the park and had a swim and lunch in the hotpools. While were there, out rolled these huge black clouds and it was all on with the thunder and the lightning. Even in the daylight you could see the lightening.

Happy hour before the rain

We got back to the park quite late and a new van had come in while we were out. Brian and Rose from Motueka. We got talking to them too and it turned out that they lived only a few houses away from Tony and Beryl 🙂 A small world.

And the rain came down!

We all got together between Rafe and Brians Motorhome and enjoyed a cold drink and a laugh or two. The Thunder and lightening hadn’t finished yet but we all had umbrellas which I thought was very stoic !

Dusk at Hanmer NZMCA park

The Hanmer park doesn’t have any water, rubbish or any extras and as I said, its 7ks out of town but given that there is no freedom camping in the area, the options are very limited but its a great wee park all the same and comes it at the same great price as all the other NZMCA parks. 🙂

Rafe’s Track

Heading North

The day of Ross’s party came around and with permission from the Hotel, we parked Rafe behind the Gate where Ross’s party was. It was a great do and I reckon there must have been a few sore heads the next day.

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Parked behind the Gate in Cromwell

Ross was in his element and was having a great time. I really enjoyed catching up with Ross and his family and some of our old boating friends who flew down for the occasion.

Ross is a great character.. the birthday boy.

The next day we joined the crew down at the Precinct again for a cup of Coffee and then headed back to Rob and Helen’s place at Lowburn for our last night before heading north.

At Helen’s for the last night

In the morning, we went to the recycling centre to drop off the rubbish and while we were there, I asked the nice chap in the little building if he could tell me what Rafe weighed. I had no idea.
With a Tare weight of 3499kg and a GVM of 4400kg, I was hoping it would be somewhere in between. It was 4080kg with full fuel and water and two of us onboard with plenty of food and wine 🙂 Yippee.. After a post on facebook, several suggested I should be carrying more wine !  A nice idea 🙂

We headed up the side of Lake Dunstan towards Geraldine where we were to stop for the night with Sue and David Fisher at Peski’s. We ended up staying for two nights and from there headed on up to Weedons NZMCA park.

The Weedons Park

It has been a few years since we were last here and it has changed quite a bit. It was nice to bump into our old friends Murray and Faye and to see that they now custodians of Weedons.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Its a huge park with storage fenced off at the back. There is a dump station there for cassettes only (septic tank) but there’s also a good dump station just down the road.

Rafe in line

A nice park and handy to know its there as there aren’t too many options in this area.

Rafes Track North