Tag Archives: Small Towns

Happy New Year 2020

I hope everyone had a great New Year and enjoyed the sunshine. There was plenty of it !

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Cooks Beach

We spent the New Year with our Family (Sons and Daughters in law and Grandchildren) on the Coromandel Peninsula and it was fun. We also caught up with our Motorhome friends Bruce and Judy who have Rafes twin at their home near Whitianga.

Flaxmill bay
Interesting cliffs

We headed up the windy road to Cooks Beach and had a quick look around before heading to Bruce and Judy’s place. They had their friends Graham and Shirley coming for tea as well with their new Roller Team A class. We would be parked together on an empty section across the road which was really handy.

Rorqual (right) with Whitianga behind

Earlier while we were on Cooks beach, we spotted Rorqual now being looked after our son Andrew and Jenna. They were on another friends boat down an Cathedral Cove but would catch up later.

Looking down on Rorqual left and out to Cooks Beach.

We headed up the Shakespeare Hill reserve at the end of the beach to the lookout up the top and could see from Cooks Beach, all the way around to Simpsons Beach and beyond on the other side.

Looking across to Whitianga from the lookout

The track is pretty steep in parts but an easy walk to the top and well worth it for the view in all directions. Looking down from the lookout we could also see Rorqual anchored in Lonely Bay by Cooks Beach.

Rorqual

Back on the beach there were some amazing Rock formations.. very typical of this area..

Amazing rock formations

Andrew and Jenna were dropped off back to their boat and headed in to the beach in their tender and we met them on the beach and then walked back to Rafe.

Bruce and Judy’s Motorhome.. same as Rafe

It was neat catching up with Bruce and Judy again and meeting their friends. Shirley is a really amazing painter shirleycresswell.com so it was really interesting talking to her and Graham about where they’d been and what they had done.

Rafe in the spare section

Later Andrew and Jenna headed back to Rorqual before dark and we later headed back to Rafe. Nice to catch up with them too.

A fantastic warm up for New Years Eve !

Just a bit of housekeeping …
Now that we’re permanently in our new house in Devonport and I’m doing a bit more photographic work for clients, I’m finding it much harder getting content to publish posts as often as I was.
So this year, the posts will be mainly photos with captions and when there is something to publish

Happy New Year.

Cruising Ideas for Summer – South Island

This post has a lots more ideas for the Summer..

Otago Rail Trail

Click on this link to see a trip we did around South Island earlier this year late last year.

And we were down there last year too !

People enjoying a walk on the Trail

The latest posts will come out first so scroll to the bottom to get the chronological order πŸ™‚
Enjoy

Cruise ideas for the new year – Coromandel

Another idea for the Summer..

Click on this link to see a trip we did around Coromandel late last year.

Lovely Jubbly at Simpsons Beach

The latest posts will come out first so scroll to the bottom to get the chronological order πŸ™‚

Enjoy

Cruise ideas for the new year – Taranaki

Its that time of the year again. Where shall we go this time ?

If you click on this link.. you find a trip that we did a wee while ago around Taranaki.

Mt Egmont looking fantastic

The newest posts will start at the top so scroll down and work your way up if you want to see it chronologically πŸ™‚

Enjoy

Always fun at Pahi

Pahi is a lovely spot and my go to place for a real Blob out.

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The parking area with the old Hotel in the corner

It has a very reasonably priced community campground run by the locals and just recently they have invested in some gravel so can provide some all weather parking which is great. I’ve been here after some heavy rain in the past and it was very boggy so a great improvement.

Great outlook

I didn’t get the chaps name who served me in the office but very helpful and cheery.

Looking down from the road

After settling down Rafe, I went for a walk down to the Wharf where there was a local painting his boat. It was an older launch probably in the early 1920’s odd and he was doing a great job. I had a great chat to him while watching his roller dry πŸ™‚ He would have been happy chatting all day but thought I’d better cut it short so he could finish the job πŸ™‚

The new Gravel

Back at Rafe, I joined the neighbours who had two Caravans from both Dargaville and Whangarei for a natter.

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How to get here.., From the Brynderwyn turnoff. Head to Paparoa and turn left down the Pahi Peninsula until you can’t go any further. Its about 5 k’s from Paparoa.

Painting the boat
Lovely beach

Another great hideaway on the Kaipara harbour and great parking at a great price.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Pahi

Swinging high at Arapuni

Slightly off the beaten track south of Karapiro but part of the Waikato River Trail is the little town of Arapuni. Its an amazing spot with a really impressive historical Swing Bridge and an old power station built into the side of a hill.

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Looking up to the Power Station

The Swing Bridge was built in the early 1920’s so that workers for the power station could get to work. The power station is the oldest and the largest in capacity and was opened in 1929. It is now under the protection of the Historic Places trust and signs at the site, show the effort that went into protecting it from possible Japanese bomb attack during the war by camouflaging it.

Leonies Motorhome parking

And just down the road from the bridge, Leonie runs a great Motorhome and caravan site in her back yard which is a flat paddock, where NZMCA’rs can stay for $10 with power, toilet and shower. There are modern 10 power points and its really easy parking. You might need levelling ramps in some areas but its all very easy with an honesty box and simple instructions.

Neat parking

The site is an easy walk to the bike trail and to the town and to the Swing Bridge which is spectacular. Its well worth the walk and is only 10-15 minutes away on foot, either along the road or via the bike trail just outside the park.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I’m not one for heights now I’m getting a bit older and a bit more sensible, so it took me a couple of go’s before I went out in the middle of the bridge πŸ™‚ .. but in my defence, there was a lot of wind πŸ™‚
I’m pleased I did though.. check out the image below.

The Power Station from the bridge

On the way back to Rafe, I stopped in at the only shop on the main road which happily is a Cafe. I stopped for lunch on the way back to Rafe. The food is great and they do a great coffee too!

Leonie’s Motorhome Park is fantasticΒ  and we’ll be back with the bikes to do the trails around here.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Timber Town Romp – Let there be Music!

The morning started a bit later with I suspect a few sore heads after the NZ-UK Rugby game and there was lots of chatter about the game. To console myself, I kept telling myself that it is only a game after all… not quite that simple but it helped πŸ™‚

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Roger and Diane’s Fifth Wheeler opposite Rafe

I spent the morning reading, listening to some music and generally just blobbed for a few hours. The weather was amazing with a clear blue sky and as the day went on, it got much warmer after a fairly cold start.

Its Knitting time

Today was a real Music Day with a band called Tuned out Larry, Jenny and Band which was a three piece band from Tokerau. A nice sound. After that, there was the usual 4pm Happy Hour. This was the last one for the event so it was well attended πŸ™‚

Time to dance

I went back to Rafe and had tea but was looking forward to theΒ  next band.Β  Over in the main Hall wasΒ  theΒ  Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. A very slick performance by some very talented people!

The crowd enjoying the Hamilton Bluegrass band
The two originals, Alan and Paul
Pam with the fantastic Voice

I’ve heard them several times before and although they’ve now got a different line up, the two original 5th formers from Fairfield High school who started the band, Alan and Paul, are still there and sounding as good as ever. Pauls ex wife Colleen was the original Fiddler and sadly she has moved on but one of their sons is the very talented Bass player and their Daughter in Law is the new Fiddle player.Β  The Mandolin player who is also an instrument repairer and Potter from Coromandel and Pam the singer and Guitar player complete the lineup.Β  Pams voice is something else… a great sound and I was there right to the end πŸ™‚

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A very successful event run by a very switched on team.

Piccy time

A great Weekend.

Timber Town Romp – Let the Games Begin

I was up pretty early for me at 7:30! It was cold even though the sun was out for the first time for days.

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People getting ready for the games

Today was to be a big day with the Highland Games and it was fun. There were extra points if you wore some Tartan and many made a real effort with some great costumes.

On the bank

The first event was The Hamilton Pipe Band. There’s something about Bagpipes that just get me going.. I love it! A wonderful sound.

Boom Boom

One of the NZMCA Waikato organiser Neal was dressed up in Tartan, and had a set of bagpipes made of electrical Conduit pipes. He had a recording on his cell phone for the sound effects. A great sight. It was funny to see.

Neal with his Bagpipes

He also managed to momentarily slot himself on the end of the line with the Hamilton Pipers playing. Lots of fun.

Neal “Playing along”
Watching the fun

The Games started straight after that. There was Hammer throwing (into a bucket), Caber throwing, Gumboot throwing which was fun to watch. And later there was egg throwing and they weren’t hard boiled either πŸ™‚ Brian Stanley seemed to do pretty well here πŸ™‚

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The Forest View High School provided a Sausage Sizzle with Steak Sandwiches and other niceties. They did so well that the queue created meant that the events later had to put back while everyone had a feed.

I’m really pleased for the kids at the school as they really put themselves out to make this happen and with at least 150 odd people out of approximately 600 that attended, their sports trip had every chance of being a well funded one πŸ™‚

Marching off

The Haggis was piped in by the Hamilton Pipe band and later another big Happy Hour in the Events Centre. Lots of people this time and after that, there was a performance by Tim Armstrong and his band. Unfortunately, he was competing against the NZ Rugby world cup semi final.

I was lucky to be able to watch it with Rodger and Diane next door with a nice Pinot to finish off the day. Despite the Rugby result, it was a great day in Paradise with some really nice people.

Happy Hour outside

Timber Town Romp – Getting Settled

Yes, it was at Tokoroa. Tokeroa is not somewhere I’ve spent any time at and after a walk around, its quite a neat wee town. Everything is handy and the locals all seemed super friendly.

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Rafe in his spot surrounded by vans

I was heading to the latest NZMCA Rally being the Timber Town Romp which was looking like being a real hoot.Β  Hosted by the good folk from the Waikato area of the NZMCA, it was held at the recently setup South Waikato Events centre which was a fantastic venue.

Everywhere you look

Having done parking at a Dethleffs event a few years before, I quickly volunteered to help with the parking and all was good.

After registering inside the centre, I met Des and Cathy who were manning the desk along with some others clocking everyone in. A big job.

All those white things

That night I bumped into lots of people I knew which was fantastic, including Rodger and Diane who were parked right next door. I knew Rodger from his time as Custodian at the Ardmore Park. A great guy who most will know from the park and has been involved in several of the Covi shows parking at Ellerslie.

Tokoroa’s main street is undergoing some major road works so the original plan of opening the gates at 11am was quickly found to be impractical as the Motorhomes and Caravans starting queing earlier than planned.Β  In the interests of safety and not cloggging up the main street, the decision was made to open early and get everyone safely parked.

I was in the main carpark making sure Motorhomes and Caravanners took a wide track so they could line up correctly for the entrance.

That carpark filled up around 11:30 so we started the other paddock. While another friend who I was pleased to see, Alan marked out several rows of new parking sites, I stood in the entrance way and directed them in. Others were parking them as they came onto the field. Everyone pitched in and we covered each other for cups of tea and lunch breaks etc..

The second park with the first in the distance behind…

It was a fun day and there were no disasters either which was a bonus πŸ™‚ So after starting about 9am, most of us had finished about 4pm, we think we parked about 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans !Β  Fortunately it got warmer as the day went on starting out around 5 degrees !

Raffle winner

It was time for the first Happy Hour of the event and that was held in the Events Centre main hall which is HUGE! One of the biggest Happy Hours I’ve ever been to.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

At 7pm there was a show from a solo performer Ebonivory Neville Ormsby where many got up onto the dance floor. Very slick too from a one man show. And this was just Day One!

Dancing
Rafe’s Tracker map to the Event.

Steaming Gutters in Ohinemutu

We were in Rotorua with our Grandchildren Ayden and Liam and on our route was Ohinemutu.

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Walking through Ohinemutu

I think they were pretty taken by the steam coming out of the gutters and the lakefront.

Roadside steam

There was a huge crowd set up for a special event where the last remaing Maori Battalion member was being honoured on the Marae and was being presented with a medal by the Italians. A great occasion and there was a special Marque set upΒ  with chairs everywhere you looked.

St Faiths Church over a steamy Lakefront

There was a small party from the NZ Army there too representing the NZ Armed Forces.

The Special team from the Army for the celebration of the Maori

We had a brief look around St Faiths Church on the lakefront and thought we’d make head into town but its a lovely tranquil spot and the steam and heat from the bores and water makes it a special place.

Ayden, Liam and Fiona heading down to the Church

There is free parking for Motorhomes just along from there towards the city so its an easy walk and well worth doing.

For a look at our last trip here and some interiors of the church go here.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There was a big fun fair entertainment thing happening in the domain so the boys had a ride on the small cars to finish off the morning before lunch.

St Faiths