Tag Archives: Small Towns

Opal Springs Hot Pools

As I’ve got older I’ve noticed how I can’t do the big marathon drives I used to do but I suppose some of this has to do with the fact that I’m now driving a 4 plus ton Motorhome, not a Mini or something.

Click on an Image to enlarge it

Some of their Caravans in the fog!

Coming back for our last night away from our post Covid few days away from Whakatane, I decided I’d had enough just as I descended down the Tauranga Kaimai road and that Coffee lounge in Matamata never looked better 🙂  We sat down to a lovely all day Eggs Benny and it was just lovely washed down with some great coffee.

Cabins at the back, motorhome parking and pools down below.. in the fog!

After that, it was off to a place I’ve been to once before just out of town called Opal Springs.

Amazing Fog

They have plenty of powered and non powered sites along with some cabins and they also do a discount for NZMCA’rs.

That pesky Fog

We stopped in and were met by Vanessa who remembered me from a couple of years ago and pointed us in the right direction. Its a great setup with the powered sites all up on a plateau overlooking the pools down below.

It wasn’t long after we arrived, we were off down to the pools where we met a couple from Orewa who were having a Covid breakaway too.

There are several pools with a really hot Private Pool and a Spa as well.  Nice spot, nice people, nice and quiet with great facilities and a really reasonable price.

Rafe’s Track to Opal Springs

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.

Karangahake History

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

On the way back from Waihi we stopped in for a look at the Karangahake gorge.

The two Batteries over the bridges. Karangahake at its best!
The two Batteries over the bridges. Power station in the middle. Karangahake at its best!

We are intending to do the bike trail but it’s all about gathering up more knowledge before we take this on. 

The remains of the first battery
The remains of the first battery
The first battery as it looked at the time
The first battery as it looked at the time

It’s a really interesting area with several short walks that are not part of the trail. We had a look at a couple of the old power stations and batteries while we were there which takes an hour according to the sign. The walking doesn’t take anything like that and it’s well worth a look. 

Click on the images to see them in hi res or slideshow

Karangahake was a small town which included all the things you’d expect to see in a town like Te Aroha or similar. 

We walked across the swing bridges and up the hill past the power station, the two batteries built down the hillsides. The ore was swung across the river from the tops of hills in a flying fox type of setup before processing with cyanide. It really was a huge setup. It’s not until you’re up there that you realise the scale of it all and looking at the remains, what it must have taken to build the buildings themselves and the infrastructure to go with it.

The base of the power station
The base of the power station

We walked all around and as the weather deteriorated, we worked our way closer to Rafe in the carpark. Another one of those feature areas that I’ve driven past lots of times and was really pleased we stopped for a look.

The Goldfields train

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

Isn’t just great having the NZMCA app now running on our iPads. Even though I’ve had the gps files installed in Rafes in dash gps, it’s really nice sitting in the deck chair with the iPad and figuring out where to next with the app.

Rafe behind the railway station
Rafe behind the railway station
The Motorhome parking behind the station
The Motorhome parking behind the station

We found in the iPad, a great spot in Waihi that sounded fantastic. It’s at the Goldfields railway station at Waihi. For $10 per night, there are 6 powered sites and more space for others as well. There is also access to water and the Rail Trail toilets as the Rail Trail ends at the railway station. About 15 minutes walk away is the centre of town.

Click on the images for hi res or slideshow

We arrived and plugged in, paid for the park and we’re just in time for the last train ride to Waikino and back. The perfect way to check out the bike trails before walking or biking the Karangahake gorge trails.

Waihi station with the parking behind
Waihi station with Rafe parked behind

The train stops for 15 minutes or so, just enough time for a beer, glass of wine or just a coffee or ice cream. A great way to spend a couple of hours and fun too.
There are 3 return trips each day from Waihi.

The Show must go on

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

After the torrential rain on Saturday morning, the organisers of the Rotoiti Classic boats decided to postpone it until Sunday.

For the last few years, Alan and I have jumped into Rafe and come down to see the great spectacle that is the Rotoiti Classic Boats Parade. For the last few years, we have also provided images to the society for their annual calendar. They’re a really friendly bunch and we’ve made some really good friendships with quite a few of them.

We left the camp early and after a quick breakfast, we took Rafe around to the top of the “viewing platform” which is a park and parking area just along the road from Okere Falls Store.

Rotoiti
Rafe overseeing things

We were welcomed by commodore Grant and past commodore Fraser down by the water and offered several options for possies to help with pictures and they couldn’t have been more helpful.

The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right
The crowd enjoying the Parade. Commentary boat on the right

Alan took his from the back of the commentary boat while I set up in my nice comfy deck chair on the grass and sat right by the waters edge and shot from there.

Rotoiti
During the parade.. Alan on the back of the boat on the right.

Several hundred people materialised from everywhere quite quickly and made themselves comfortable on the grass.

Rotoiti

At 10:30, the whistle sounded and the first boats started the parade. From Rowing boats right through to big launches. All meticulously maintained and most with oodles of history.

As always, click on the images to see them in hi res and the slideshow below. 

A great spectacle. A nice weekend with some great people.

After the parade finished, the boats all headed over to the other side of the lake and enjoyed their annual picnic on the beach.
We headed for home after stopping briefly at Tirau for lunch.

Happy New Year 2020

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

Click on an Image for Hi Res

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 🙂
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 🙂

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 🙂

Enjoy

Always fun at Pahi

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

Click on any Image for Hi Res

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 🙂 He would have been happy chatting all day but thought I’d better cut it short so he could finish the job 🙂

The new Gravel

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

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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