Tag Archives: Small Towns

The Gravel pit

Another from the 2015 South Island trip – Collingwood  and more!

Collingwood Harbour
Collingwood Harbour

After leaving the comfort of the camping ground at Takaka, we headed towards Collingwood. A cup of tea was the order of the day and a whitebait sandwiches for $10.00 and it was delicious. Collingwood is a small settlement on the edge of an amazing harbour. We sat and admired the view before heading to our park for the night, the Gravel Pit south of Puponga.

Us parked at the Gravel pit
Us parked at the Gravel pit

The Gravel pit is a small area of flattened out gravel on the edge of the water with views for Africa and very popular but free!

Looking towards Farewell Spit from the Gravel pit
Looking towards Farewell Spit from the Gravel pit

It is about 10 minutes drive from Puponga which is at the beginning of the spit so a perfect spot if you’re doing the spit trip. When we arrived, there was brilliant sunshine and it was very pleasant.

The forecast 30 odd knots of wind which we thought we’d be sheltered from whistled straight in at 3am and we rocked and rolled until 6am when we got up for the spit trip.  Next posting !

Pauanui Never Fails!

  1. After several weeks of sanding, painting and repairing things and generally getting the house on the market, it was time for a well earned break.

Our friends Helen, Rob and Chloe were keen to head to one of our favourite spots at the Pauanui Club at Pauanui.

Mini Golf next to the parking at Pauanui.

To beat the holiday weekend traffic, Fiona and I decided that I would get Rafe stocked up.  I would then collect her from work at 6pm and we would head down to the motorway towards Ardmore and maybe spend the night there.  We would then go early the next day  to Coromandel to try to beat the worst of the traffic.

As we crossed the bridge, there was no traffic !  We got to Manukau, still no traffic until we hit Takanini where roadworks slowed it down to a crawl but after a 1k or so, we were away again !  We decided we’d keep going until we’d had enough and that ended up being Thames  🙂

I’ve never stayed at Rhodes park before but it is just on the left after Thames Airfield before you get into Thames. It is Free parking provided by the local council and  its a great place. A great big piece of flat gravel and you can park anywhere.

There were about 10 or so Caravans and Motorhomes and everyone had plenty of room.  There as a good Internet signal there too but I forgot to measure it!

We woke up in the morning around 7:30 to the phone ringing which Fiona answered and it was Rob saying that they were at Drury on the Southern Motorway stopped in traffic. We made a decision to get up and get going in case the traffic extended to the Coromandel road and got cracking.

Plenty of space

As it turned out, it only took us about 40 minutes to get to Pauanui and we were there shortly after 9am. Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived about an hour or so later.

One of the Hanger homes

The Club parking is superb and it is extremely good value. At $10 including power, toilets, a cold shower(if you have no option) and access to their bar and superb meals. It is also right next door to the Airfield with homes with built in hangers alongside the runway. There is always something to see and do. The town is an easy 5 minute walk away as well with some nice Cafe’s and a small supermarket. It is also right next door to a great Mini Golf park which was busy for most of the weekend.

There were 4 Motorhomes there when we arrived and there was plenty of room for more.

Rafe and the Tracker in the park

Some positive feedback for them. There is room for more Motorhomes there down one end but the 8 power sockets are on two poles where they could spread this over three poles and increase their turnover but its fantastic as it is!

Great Beach with Slipper Island behind

We went for a walk around to see our son Alex’s family about a 1k away who were staying in Sarah’s family bach. Grandsons Ayden and Liam were there too so we took them down to the beach about 100 metres away.

Pauanui is a great surf beach with the famous Slipper island just off shore.

Liam and Ayden digging in the sand. Chloe, Rob, Helen and Fiona further up the beach.

That night, Alex and Sarah and the boys came around and we all went to the Pauanui club for a few glasses of fizz and they had tea.

Ayden and Liam digging holes on the beach

The next day, they all walked around to the Pauanui Waterways and had a look at this amazing development. Rob, Helen and Chloe  climbed up to the top of Mt Pauanui which is a feat too!

Pauanui Waterways

All in all, over three days, it was nice to be in one spot for a period and just be able to blob and check out what was just around the corner.

Here is a previous post on this site too.

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Rafe’s Tracker Map

The Famous Martinborough Fair

We trekked back to Martinborough on the Saturday morning to a busy Martinborough rugby ground. There were Caravans and Motorhomes for Africa. It was the day of the Fair so people had come from far and wide.

Click on an Image to see Hi Res

Back at the Park

The park was an amazing place and having gone to virtually having it to ourselves a weekend before with the Cruise Martinborough event to it being as busy as it was was great.

Friends Gary and Dianne, and Ian and Lynda went to Ngawi while we were in Greytown and they arrived back the day before. We met John and Yvonne from Ruakaka in their Dethleffs Nomad Caravan and they were here again too. It was going to be a fun weekend.

Fiona checking out the Jade

We all walked into town and had a good cruise around the Market. Where there were Hot Rods and Classic cars a week before, there were stalls in every corner. It was amazing.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slide show

One of the things I really enjoy doing at these events is simply buying a lime thickshake and a bun and sitting in a street side cafe and watch the world go by. Its great fun.

The next door Neighbour.. Nice !

After a couple of hours of checking out every nook and cranny, we headed back to the park for something wet and cold. The wind finally dropped off a bit, but was bitterly cold. It allowed us to move out into the field where there was some raucous laughter amongst some dancing and singing along.

Out in the Middle
Cold !

A great day!

Rafe’s Track North from the park via the Dump Station

A Break in Greytown

Greytown is one of those lovely little towns that just oozes charm and is full of history.

Click on an Image to see Hi Res

With up to 35C heat, we thought a trip to the Greytown pool next door to the wonderful little Greytown Holiday Park, well it would be rude not too! The pool is free being provided by the kind citizens of Greytown and it must be slightly heated as it was about 28 C in the pool!

The Gypsy caravan which you can rent at Greytown Holiday Park

The Holiday Park is fabulous with Ken and Nina at the helm. Ken is a real character and couldn’t be more helpful. At $35 for 2 with the NZMCA discount with power, it is very good value. And of course the use of the pool next door !

Fiona checking out one of the oldest Greytown Cottages in the Museum

We were both keen to check out the Shoc Chocolate shop which is almost part of the local Museum.

Inside the Cottage

The Cobblestone Museum is amazing and has a collection of several of the oldest buildings in the area.

The original Cobblestones

There were also a few clever people in the area. One called Donald Donald who invented the wool press and got world wide patents for it. This is back in the late 80’s. He was also well know for inventing a wire fence strainer amongst other things.

Click on the Gallery below to see Hi Res

A local Church, Hospital, School House and others were well set out in an area where there was originally the Transport Hub for the area with the original cobbles still intact.

A very mod front entrance of the Museum

And afterwards.. the Shoc Chocolate shop was a great place to stop too.

The Roar in the Square

The big day for Cruise Martinborough is when all the cars start in Puruatanga park, where we were staying and then all roar into the town square and completely surround the main square.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

It is truly a magnificant sight. The park in the middle under the trees, gets covered in portable deck chairs from the car owners to shelter from the sun. The coffee and Ice Cream carts are doing a roaring trade. The Cafe’s are flat out and its just a neat scene of people everywhere wandering through the magnificent old Fords, Chevrolets and many others.

Grants Plymouth and Caravan
BBQ in a hurry!

The time and money that has gone into these cars is unbelievable and it is not until you get a close up look at some of them that you can appreciate the craftsmenship involved.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

We spent an hour or so having a good look around before settling for a good old fashioned lime thickshake from a milkshake bar in the square.

End of the day

An amazing scene with several retailers saying that they wished it happened more often 🙂  So do I !

Where we parked in relation to the square

What was Hot in the South Island

Fiona and I had both taken 6 months off for a trip to Europe and to go around the South Island and we were really looking forward to it..

After getting back from Europe in early August and with our house still rented out, we immediately went to Taupo to pick up Rafe who was being cared for in Gary’s shed by Gary’s neighbour Chris… kind chaps that they are !

Click on the Images for Hi Res

Welding on the feet

We returned to Auckland to get a few things done like drop down steadies on Rafe and a couple of other things and then we were off.

Rafe and Ian and Lynda’s XLI

We left Auckland and first stop was Taupo with Gary and Dianne, who we’d been around Europe with and other Motorhome friends Ian and Lynda. A few nights there, a night in Mangaweka, then to Wellington to catch up with my son Alex who commutes from Auckland, then onto the ferry and the adventure began.

Dianne picking the girls up for a tiki tour around Taupo

The highlights:
Best Park over property (POP) –  Peski’s in Geraldine where we spent nearly two weeks.

Nice parking

Best free Parking – Lowburn on the lake front.. a week of perfect weather helped here 🙂

The View

Best NZMCA park – probably a tie between Tekapo and Ranfurly. Tekapo is stunning amongst the pine trees right on the lake and Ranfurly, dead flat with a dump station next door, rubbish and water and right in the middle of town !

Amongst the pines with Ray and Margaret on the right

Best Long term rate campground – Kaiteriteri right on the beach. Just magnificent.

Close to the water

Best pub that we stayed at – Empire Hotel in Ross. Great roast meals, lovely town and great hosts.

The Empire

Also Omakau Hotel with a fully setup Motorhome park at the back.

Best Museum we saw – Bill Richardsons Truck Museum. Brilliantly done and with a huge collection of all sorts.. even lawnmowers and tools.

Henry Ford and some Bowsers

Best Bike ride – Otago rail trail. Omakau to Ida valley and back. Also Lowburn to Historic Precinct in Cromwell.

The first Viaduct

Best Bridge that we crossed in Rafe – Historic Ophir Bridge. I found myself doing some quick mental arithmetic to make sure it was safe 🙂

Rafe on the Ophir Bridge

Most amazing discovery – Brittens first Motorhome which we found in the Geraldine museum.

From the back. A nice stained glass window on the back. Note the opening wooden windows.

I’ll let the Image Gallery below tell the story of the trip.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow.

We met some wonderful people along the way and had some nice 5pm catchups in some fantastic places.

Fiona on the bike ride on the way back to Lowburn alongside lake Dunstan

The weather was superb. Fiona reckons we only had 1 wet day in the South Island! I reckon it was 3 but the weather really looked after us, if anything it was quite hot with a record breaking 33C in Cromwell on the day we decided to do a bike ride from Lowburn to the Historic Precinct and back !

The Historic Precinct

The difference in Fuel prices between the different parts of NZ was quite noticeable with the highest I saw at $1.48 a litre for diesel around Hanmer and the lowest $1.19 in Cromwell. We filled up in Takanini before we left at $.98 a litre! As Fiona says though Hay Ho.. when in Rome !

Happy Hour at Peski’s

One of the things that really surprised me as we went around was how many people recognised us from this Blog and who made themselves known. It was fantastic to meet you and to hear your feedback. We’re fast approaching 400,000 views which is amazing in less than 2 years!

We’re back in Auckland with our feet up for a bit before we set off again.

Lakeside with the Pines

The storm was a bit of a non event at Geraldine. There was a bit of wind in the afternoon but not enough to upset our 5pm meeting 🙂 Overnight there was a little rain but not enough to keep us awake at all so when we woke up to bright sunshine, it was like we’d missed something 🙂

Click on an Image for Hi Res

We were leaving Peski’s today after more than a week with Sue and David’s wonderful hospitality and with our neighbours, Ray and Margaret, decided we’d meet up at the NZMCA’s superb park on the lakes edge in Tekapo.

Tekapo NZMCA park with Ray and Margaret’s Bus on the right

I’ve never been here before but its a stunning spot. It was a bit grey and gloomy when we first arrived and just as we were leaving for a walk to the church along the track to town, Ray and Margaret arrived.

Love the different layers in the colour
A tribute to Border Collies

The wind was howling from the west but as we got closer to the Church, more blue sky appeared and the wind dropped off slowly.

On our walk back from town

By the time we returned less than an hour later, we had sunshine and lots of it.

Lake Tekapo late on our first day

The next day, Ray and Margaret went for a bike ride to the pools and I rode while Fiona walked into the township. The track goes right down the side of the NZMCA park and finishes at the old stone Church. I couldn’t believe all the tourists going nuts at the church with their point and shoot cameras. All good for the countries tourist dollars!

The Stone Church with the tourists

The last time I was here, there were only a few houses and a few bars. Now its a fully fledged town.

From the new Footbridge looking down on the Lake

After lunch, we headed to the supermarket and I headed back to the NZMCA park on my bike with the veges for the fridge and Fiona had a look around the shops and walked back.

The park though is fantastic. Its a bit lumpy and uneven but I see that a roped off area further down has had some remedial work on levelling it out but we found places we could park in without any problem.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

A nice park and there are some public loos just along the track a bit from the park. (5 minutes walk) There is also a dump station just across the road.

On our ride in the next day

The look of the lake never ceases to amaze me with the different light. The water is almost turquoise and when the mountains have some sun on them with no clouds around, the lake is stunning. A lovely place to stay.

Rafe’s track to Tekapo