Tag Archives: Small Towns

Like a Tooth Missing

We were heading up North for the weekend to catch up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica and also meet Gary and Dianne from Taupo. The plan was to meet Gary and Dianne at the Caledonian Park at Waipu for a night and then go on up North after that.

Click on any Image for Hi Res

The Neissmann and Rafe

We pulled into the park early in the afternoon and it was good to see a few others in there enjoying the park. There were several Caravans and a couple of Buses there. What wasn’t so good to see was the missing buidings from the recent fire.

You can the back of Rafe in the park next door

As Gary said later, it was like a Tooth was missing. The fire happened in late September and burnt 3 shops to the ground including Fiona’s favorite cafe which is temporarily trading in a building over the road. Having something like this happen in a small town like Waipu would be devastating and I’m sure was a real shock to the town.

Neat Town
That Gap from across the road.

The town rallied around to help those businesses and many worked through their Christmas Holidays to help get some temprorary accomodation for the Cafe.

Cafe Deli’s temporary accommodation.
Cafe Deli at the back

The next morning we went for a look through the town and had a coffee at the Cafe Deli over the road in their temporary building.

Good to see some others here.

Its good to see they’re rebuilding but what a huge hole.

Catching up with Terry and Lisa

My old neighbours Terry and Lisa moved to Wangavegas (Wanganui) as he calls it, about 15 years ago and they love it. They’re really settled here with new friends and are currently building a new house out by the Golf course which is perfect for Terry as he loves his Golf.

Carolines Outback Bar and Restaurant

We arrived early in the day and checked in at Carolines Outback Holiday Park where I’ve stayed before. Its a great park and it is right behind Carolines Outback Bar and Restaurant which was perfect for us to have a meal with Terry and Lisa.

No Holes left

They popped in about 5pm and we had a couple of drinks in Rafe before checking in to the Restaurant at 6:30.

A fabulous meal as always and it was great to catch up and hear all about their new house and their family.

Terry with Lisa, Archie and Fiona

In the morning they popped around and we walked around the river across the bridges with their Dog Archie before checking out at 10am and heading North towards Auckland.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Caroline’s Outback Holiday park is a great spot to stay and Bruce is always happy to help. Unfortunately it was a bit overcast and gloomy this time but check out the images from the last time I we were here and also see Bruces Truck.

The Tracker has popped its clogs so until its fixed or replaced there are no maps.. The Park is by the river about 1 k inland from the city on the Somme Parade.

Fulltimers finally land – Motorhome for Sale

Here’s from October last year

After 3 years or so off full time Motorhoming, Gary and Chris  are back in their Ruakaka bach after having it rented out while they were away. They’re still in their Motorhome outside though while they do a virtual rebuild along with huge changes and additions for their retirement.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Outside

Gary and Chris were old boatie mates and we used to spend most weekends and Christmas holidays in the Hauraki Gulf when we had our old Whalechaser Rorqual. They had a lovely old classic sedan called Nau Mai. There were many happy moments and we had a lot of fun.

After selling up in Devonport and spending 5 years or so in Ranfurly, for a change of scene and direction running a B&B, they then bought their first Motorhome, an ex CI Munro renter on a Mitzi Canter base. They later upgraded this to a newer Mitzi Fuso which is what they have now and now they’ve finished their Ruakaka rebuild, it is on the market!

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow of the House

The house is looking fantastic and is very different to how it was.

And from now…

So .. the Mitzi Motorhome.. here’s some facts and figures that Gary has sent me.

The kitchen area

Its a 2008 Mitsi Fuso Canter with a 3.9 Litre Turbo with a Manual 5 speed box.

It has Rego till December and a New COF and its  never failed a COF
There are 3000 RUC remaining.
The Speedo has 95088 km on it, and the Hubometer has 91220.
It is officially a  CI MUNRO ULTIMA 4 berth. Gary put 6.5 metres on it but I’ve parked next to it and its at least 7 metres long.
Rear wheel drive on duals.  Stove / oven / Dometic 3 way fridge freezer and a Diesel Heater. It has also had Netspeed installed and the Aerials are on the roof.

Here’s some piccies when he first bought it….

Click on the Gallery for  Slideshow

Thats about all I can add or remember so call Gary for more info on 027 778 8557.

All I can add is that Gary being an engineer, he has looked after it and it is in really good Nick.. Someone is going to be buying  a really nice Motorhome.

You know you’re on the West Coast When..

You’ve got black sand between your toes and at the Kopua Raglan Motorcamp right on the beach, there is plenty of that.

Click on an image for hi Res

The Black Sand

We’ve stayed here a few times now and one of the things that I really noticed this time is the recently done up showers and toilets. The pressure in the showers is so good, you almost don’t need soap.. let the water do its thing.. amazing.

Chess anyone?

When you check in, you get a swipe card which you use for both the automatic gates and the facilities. A good system and it worked well. There is a $10 bond which you get back as you leave after returning the card.

Lots of stripes

The camp is on a peninsula of sand basically so it there were no worries with the awful forecast of heavy rain. We knew we’d be fine on the well drained sand. It is almost completely surrounded by water but there is a well lit footbridge connecting it to the town with an easy walk in to the cafes and shops.

The Bridge to Raglan

There are more than 200 powered sites with quite a few permanent caravans and they also have Cabins that can be rented too.

The Fish and Chip shop on the edge of the camp and apparently they’re pretty good.

I heard someone comment that they thought it was a bit expensive but at $86 for two nights for two nights with power and all the new facilities with the NZMCA discount, I thought that was very reasonable.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We spent a couple of really nice nights there. Yes it rained and it blew but nothing like the forecast said. Over the two days there with friends, Dianne and Gary from Taupo and Jonas and Irene from Auckland, we had several walks into town for a look around the shops and an great meal at one of their restaurants.

The Beach

Very easy accomodation, friendly people, great facilities and a really interesting town.

Rafe, The Niesmann and Jonas’s Trend

Before you ask, No Dogs but there is some free Wifi!

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 31.34mbs
Upload: 26.30mbs
Ping: 56ms

Rafe’s Tracker to the Camp

A Special little town called Raglan

After a few weeks of being housebound and itching to get away, our friend Dianne in Taupo arranged a get together in Raglan.

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Jonas trying out a surfboard on a Mural

Raglan was deemed to be reasonably easy for everyone and a pleasant place to be. There were going to be three Motorhomes, Us in Rafe, Gary and Dianne in their Niesmann and Bichoff and Jonas and Irene with a Dethleffs Trend McRent Motorhome from their fleet.

One of the amazing shops

The weather forecast was a shocker with high winds and heavy rain forecast but when has that ever stopped us before 🙂 The Classic Yacht Association had already cancelled their annual Christmas hooley just based on the forecast a few days before !

At the campground

After staying a night with Alex and Sarah and the grandies, we set off early to the dump station at Papakura and then Raglan stopping briefly at the Countdown supermarket in Huntly for a few forgotten items.

We arrived at Raglan Kopua Holiday Park around lunch time and after parking Rafe, plugging in and opening some vents, we had a quick lunch and then set off to Raglan township across the bridge for a look around.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

At this stage we pretty much had a blue sky but the wind was blowing and it was threatening.

Raglan really is a seriously nice town full of very friendly people. The choice for cafe’s is fantastic and there seems to be a real Hippy/Surfy culture which you can see everywhere.

After an hour or so, we headed back over the foot bridge connecting the Motorcamp to the town and arrived back just in time to see Gary and Dianne arrive from Taupo.

The famous Hotel

The next morning we were joined by Jonas and Irene and had a another trip into the village for another look around and after an afternoon of chatting, cups of coffee, a few glasses of wine and lots of laughs, we headed back in for a meal in one of the towns fine restaurants.

Last time we were here a few years ago, we walked right around the foreshore to the wharf where there is an amazing fish and chip shop and some more great shopping.

One of the unusual shops

A fantastic town with an amazing atmosphere and I’m looking forward to going back sometime soon.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 31.34mbs
Upload: 26.30mbs
Ping: 56ms

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan

Simpsons Beach

A few k’s north of Whitianga is the famous Simpsons Beach.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

It is one of my all time favorite spots to stay being right on the beach and with pretty much all weather parking on grass and its huge.

It has been a while since we’ve been here so I never miss an opportunity. It is $10 per van per night.

A stunning part of the world

There is a cassette only dump station which is connected to a Septic tank which I’ve never used but plenty do and there is potable water too. I waited until I went back through Whitianga and used that Dump Station.

How good is this!

I rocked up to the “Office” door and Margaret popped her head around the door with the usual smiley face she has. A really nice lady and its amazing that she pretty much runs this now on her own now.

well drained sandy grass

All the proceeds from Camping are sent to the Charity of the moment. Last time we were here it was St Johns in Whitianga.

I met Dave and Helen who were in their Caravan from Whangamata who were with their friends who were next to us. Dave is a Self Containment officer so it was really interesting talking to him about Motorhome and Caravan things.

There was also a really nice guy from Nelson staying there called Bim who is travelling around the North Island with his friend in his Motorhome with a boat. With the wind blowing Dogs off Chains that day, neither Dave or Bim were keen to battle the elements out in the bay in their boats.

Whitianga around the headland in the distance

I went for a couple of walks along the beach and got some updated images.. Its a sensational place to stay and its a place you never get sick of.

See Rafe’s tracker map below for the location.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 32.60 mbs
Upload: 14.33 mbs
Ping: 41ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

A Reunion of sorts

Friends Gary and Dianne have just spent 3 months Motorhoming around France and a Mediterranean Cruise so it was good to be able to catch up with them and hear all their news. We last saw them  well over 6 months or so. We arranged to meet “half way” between Taupo and Auckland and that was Waihi Beach 🙂

Click on an image for Hi Res

Rafe at Waihi beach NZMCA after we arrived.

Several weekends ago, the grandsons Ayden and Liam came to stay the night with us. Liam left his comfy Bunbun (soft toy rabbit) behind so we needed to stop in at their place in Ardmore on the way and drop them off. We haven’t seen son and daughter in law Alex and Sarah much lately so it was nice to see them for the night.

We set off for Waihi Beach NZMCA park early the next morning and stopped at Ngatea for a Latte, as you do and while sitting in the sun, I received a call from Tracey to say she would highly likely have an offer for our house by the following morning… WOW .. after the best part of a year in trying to sell it.

So with that start to the day, we were off fizzing through the Karangahake Gorge and into Waihi Beach.

Must be Dethleffs corner!

I expected the NZMCA park to pretty full but there was only a hand full of caravans and Motorhomes scattered around the outside when we arrived. The weather was stunning so we sat outside and had cups of tea until Gary and Dianne arrived in the Neismann & Bischoff.

Cups of Coffee with the sun beating down

More phone calls arrived and with confirmation that an offer was coming and what it was, we knew we had something to celebrate 🙂 .. and celebrate we did. Fiona even had two bottles of cider !!
It was really nice to hear some of the highlights of Gary and Diannes trip and some of the places they stayed at in France and good to catch up too.

Dusk at the Waihi Beach NZMCA park

In the morning, we spent most of the morning with phone calls and sending and receiving documents and by late afternoon, it was in the bag! A great day..SOLD .. cash unconditional too!

Gary, Fiona and Dianne about to head back to our bikes from the shops.

The next day.. more fine weather and we set off on the bikes into Waihi Beach shops to get some groceries from the 4 square which is about 1 k away. An easy flat ride.

Another nice day in the sun. Later that day Robin and Linda who recently sold their house in Waihi and bought a Morelo that they’re now living in, popped in to say hi and later joined us for a drink. Really nice to see them too.

L to R, Gary, Fiona, Dianne, Linda and Robin with the N&B, Morelo and Rafe behind.

After they went, Gary and I walked down the road to the local Fish and Chip shop to hunt and forage for tea and the girls were very happy with the result.. complete with Oysters and Scallops 🙂

The NZMCA park is a great addition to the park network and is very hand to the beach, shops and there is a Cafe right next door too, and don’t forget the Fish and Chips!

A neat weekend and great to see everyone.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 23.64mbs
Upload: 11.33mbs
Ping: 59ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

A Park with a view.

Kevin and Melissa Wallace escaped from Auckland about 15 years ago and bought their piece of paradise in Port Albert not long after.

Looking over towards Port Albert

The house along with a huge orchard sit on the top of a ridge overlooking the back of Port Albert and there’s a peek of the Kaipara too.

Great parking

Fiona and I arrived in Rafe and keen to check it all out, were there when Kevin popped in and was very happy to show us around and we were invited to check out the orchard on the other side of the house.

Fruit for Africa

After plugging Rafe in and opening some vents, I went for a wander to see what was what.

Part of the Orchard

There is a fantastic shower with a loo, a dump station and UV treated water. It was all there.

We had a great night there and all for $20 for us both.

In the morning, Kevin popped in with some Avocados and a Lemon which was great. Fantastic hosts sharing their lovely place by the Kaipara.

If you’re heading to Port Albert and go about 4k’s past the turnoff, you’ll find it on your left or on the App.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 19.13 Mbps
Upload: 13.52 Mbps
Ping: 62 ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

Fulltimers finally land.

After 3 years or so off full time Motorhoming, Gary and Chris  are back in their Ruakaka bach after having it rented out while they were away. They’re still in their Motorhome outside though while they do a virtual rebuild along with huge changes and additions for their retirement.

Click on the images for Hi Res

Outside

Gary and Chris were old boatie mates and we used to spend most weekends and Christmas holidays in the Hauraki Gulf when we had our old Whalechaser Rorqual. They had a lovely old classic sedan called Nau Mai. There were many happy moments and we had a lot of fun.

Gary on the nailgun

After selling up in Devonport and spending 5 years or so in Ranfurly, for a change of scene and direction running a B&B, they then bought their first Motorhome, an ex CI Munro renter on a Mitzi Canter base. They later upgraded this to a newer 6 berth on a Mitzi Fuso which is what they have now.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The house is looking fantastic and is very different to how it was.

We popped up a week or so ago to see how theyre going and theyre nearly up to gibbing after huge changes and the place looks fantastic. New Aluminium Joinery and newly cladded and with a very different layout, its looking very sharp. We’re going up to help them do some painting soon.

Chris with the plans of the Kitchen

Looking Good Guys and looking forward to catching up soon with brushes..!

The Control Gates at Aratiatia

On the way to the National Equestrian centre where we were to stay for the night, there is a bridge and dam that is crossed which crosses the Aratiatia Control Gates.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Waiting for the start with the gates behind

Every now and then, they open the gates to let the water head down the Waikato river. It is spectacular and there are always good crowds there to see it happen.

Before

The rush of water is amazing and the area below the bridge transforms from empty to full with millions of litres of water in minutes.

Nearly full

There is good parking there for Motorhomes and Caravans and while we were there, there was a visit from the Huka Falls Jetboat.

The Huka Falls jet above the gates

We quietly queued up and waited for the sirens and then the rush of water.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow of the stages

An amazing spectacle and you can check with the Taupo visitors centre for opening times.

After the action, we moved on up to the Equestrian Centre for the night.. another favorite place.

Toilets, Showers and rubbish right opposite

The prices have changed and are now $5 per person plus $5 for power. This includes access to a toilet and shower. A good place to stop for a night.