Tag Archives: Small Towns

Geraldine charm

This is one town that if I was going to leave Auckland, I’d go here. Its also Fiona’s dads family home and Fiona’s aunties old house is well known around town. Her Aunties car is also in the Geraldine Car Museum.

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We would normally stay in Peski’s just out of town but we had planned to host some old Devonport friends who invite us to dinner every time we are here so we thought it’d be nice to shout them to a nice meal in the local Hotel.

Ollie and Pam

Ollie and Pam run a B&B just out of Temuka and he is a professional Chef so as they same in the game, it must be nice to occasionally have someone else cook up a nice feed for you.

Oodles of room
Nice new cabins

We checked in at the Geraldine Top 10 which was effortless and very hand to the Geraldine town centre and the pub!

The new Barkers setup

I remember last time we were here, there was a big house in the main street which was for sale and if my memory serves me right, they were asking only around $400k for it! I twitched a bit but it needed a lot of money spent on it. I see that Barkers bought it and have put their new shop and Café behind. The House has been superbly done up and is now used as a B&B. Nice!

The main street

After going out for a look around and after being tipped off by the very friendly lady in the Hardware shop, we checked out the new Gin distillery in the main street where you can taste different Humdinger Gins fresh from their still.

The Museum
Crafty shops .. best cheese around

One of the noticeable things about our walk through the town is the lack of foot traffic and everyone was VERY appreciative of us spending in the town. The locals were still hiding from Covid so it seemed. A shame for the retailers.

Later in the day, we walked back to Rafe (about 5 minutes!) and got organised to meet Pam and Ollie at the Village Hotel. I had Roast Pork .. WOW.. amazing. And it was like a mini mountain of amazing food!

The top 10 is a great spot and so handy to the town.

A great town and nice to see Pam and Cam again.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Geraldine – Armada GPS

Mighty River Campground – Karapiro

On the edge of the Waikato river at Karapiro is an amazing complex set up for our competitive rowers.  All the top rowing regattas are held here and most of our top Olympic and Commonwealth Games Rowers and Canoeists all train at this fantastic facility.

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Nice parking on the lower camping area
Down by the river

Attached to this is the Campground run by Liz and her assistants and it is HUGE. There are two campgrounds and they’re dead flat. The top one is set back a bit from the river but has a view through the trees and the bottom campground, right on the river.

The Dethleffs Rally on the top campground

We had arranged to host the 2022 Dethleffs Rally here tip toeing a bit around the Covid outbreak which was at its peak. We lost a few due to Covid and about 8 or so more wanting to keep their heads down.

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We spent some time at the Café here which is great too.. nice food and great coffee and an easy walk from the Motorhomes in either campground. Its a great spot for just watching the rowing too with a cuppa in hand.

It is 7 k’s odd from Cambridge and there is a bike trail all the way in so bring your bike. There is a no dogs policy but cats are ok.

All in all, a lovely spot.

Rafe’s Tracker Map – Armada GPS

The Runaway Keys

During the Dethleffs Rally at Karapiro, there was a group of cyclists who biked into Cambridge on the bike trail.

On the way there the keys to John and Kirstie’s Motorhome somehow managed to break free and were later found by a friendly Cambridge local.

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John on the phone

It was quickly established by the local who the group on bikes were and he set about getting the keys back to John and Kirsty by handing them to a couple of Police officers in a patrol car in Cambridge.

In the meantime back at Karapiro, John and Kirsty were locked out of their Motorhome with the spare set inside.

John Peats pic of Kirsty doing an impression of Spiderman!

A plan was hatched to get Kirsty (the smaller of the two) up onto the roof and to climb in through the hatch above their bedroom. John Peat was hand to get a magnificent picture of Kirsty’s legs in the air  half way into the hatch 🙂

The Keys arrive. Kirsty and John with the Police.

About an hour went by and a very kind couple of Police officers in the Police patrol car found time in their program and came to drop off the runaway keys. It was good to see the faces change from concern to smiles for everyone and it was by then time for a cold one.. very timely 🙂

Paradise at Ruakaka

I haven’t been able to get away recently so here is a post that was first published July last year.. fantastic campground which is also participating in the NZMCA Campsaver scheme.. enjoy.

From the moment I stepped out of Rafe at Ruakaka Holiday Park, everything about this place is HUGE. There are more than 260 powered sites and the camp is spread out over 13 hectares. The camp is divided into several regions each having their own ablution blocks.

The land that it sits on and its layout and the views are absolutely sensational.  Everywhere I looked I could see nice images.

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My view

It also is a participant in the NZMCA’s Camp saver program and owner Anne-Marie says it is working well for them. They also do off peak weekly stays too.

On the waterfront

I was interested to see their information sheet included how to park within your site to ensure that everyone has 3 metres separation. I think this is good news as many Holiday Parks  parking is far to close for fire safety.

Great parking

I was a bit lucky to get one of the waterfront sites facing out to Marsden Point and Bream Head even though it was pretty exposed to the easterly nasties that came through, it was really nice to wake up to a great view when the weather played the game.

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The weather wasn’t that flash with an amazing thunder and lightning storm coming through with showers before and after but there was enough fine weather to get some nice images.

And just around the corner

This campground though has it all.. the views and the sites are spectacular with great facilities.

Ruakaka Beach is just down the road and there is a Bird Sanctuary to walk through too.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Ruakaka

Happy New Year

Where ever you are, I hope you’re having a great time (now that we’re allowed to) !

We’re in Little Waihi enjoying the water and doing very little 😃.

That’s Pukehina in the distance.

Happy New Year all and enjoy the time away.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Peace and quiet at Otorohanga

It’s been a while since I stopped in at Otorohanga but I was on a bit of a solo mission to get to New Plymouth to catch up with an old friend.

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I didn’t have time to get into town this time to check out the Kiwiana which this town is famous for but we’ll be through here again soon I’m sure.

Great space and check out the river

We first stopped in here a couple of years ago when the NZMCA park was only new. Its a pearler being right next to the Waipa river and with the trees being bare of leaves, there is a great view right across the river to farmland beyond. The perfect outlook while you enjoy that later afternoon glass of Rose 🙂

I pulled in later in the afternoon and there was plenty of room.  I was going to try the local campground but they had a policy of a minimum charge for two, even in the middle of winter so I decided to do  without the power and settle for a nice spot by the river.

A walkway too.

The view from my window

With some high winds and plenty of rain expected, it was nice to be in behind the trees by he bank of the river too.

Nice park, nice outlook with water and rubbish collection and its interesting to see there is a choice between gravel and grass here too! Well done to those who look after it.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the NZMCA park – Armada GPS

The Village Bike Run

One of the things that we’d decided to do when we left Luxembourg was to find a spot we could stay in that gave us close access to some french villages.

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Ralph can be seen slightly behind the small tree in the middle

Dianne found a lovely community run campground in a little village area about 20 k’s west of Reims called Courmelois. There were two other villages close by within 10 minutes of biking and the fee at the camp was very reasonable. It was 20 euros for both of us with EHU (power or electric hook up) and nice showers, toilets and dumping facilities.

Harry and Ralph

It was all very relaxed and they basically gestured us to two power boxes and said we could park anywhere between them which gave us heaps of room. There were no sites marked out.

Pastries and Free Wifi. Dianne, Gary and Fiona.

We settled down on the first night and made loose plans to do the bike thing around the local villages.

The Village and the Campground. Canal along the bottom.

The next morning came around and it was time to get organised. I couldn’t find the key for the lock on the bikes. After an hour or so of stewing and turning the place upside down for the said key, we turned to plan B. I won’t say how we got the bikes down except to say it involved a toolbox and and the lock was useless afterwards but as Gary does, he had a spare 🙂 We could use it to secure the bikes until we got back to the UK. Fantastic!!

Gary checking the map on his phone by the Pastry shop – Thuisy

We set off and within 10 minutes or so, we were in a lovely little village called Thuisy and there was one shop only there.. a Bread and pastry shop. Just what we were looking for so after a few minutes, we were off again to another village called Wez. As we came in to the village, we found a neat wee Pub on a corner and popped in for a cup of Coffee.

Gary, Dianne and Fiona outside a closed champagne place in Wez around the corner from the Pub.

They had a nice attached Restaurant so we decided to go for a ride and come back for lunch and it was amazing. We ended up staying here for several hours.

Gary giving Fiona encouragement to get up the hill!

Stopping at the canal to watch someone going through the lock

Leaving there, Gary found another village a little further away by the canal so we headed off down there but the village was deserted. Lots of lovely homes but no action at all and no sign of any people apart from the odd farmer. This was on a weekday too.

Gary following Fiona up the canal tow path

With it all being quiet, we decided to head back to the camp and had an early tea with the stuff we got from the pastry shop. Yum .. A nice day out biking in the fresh air dodging showers. 🙂

Our route around the villages