Tag Archives: Small Towns

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.


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.

Launch of the Books – Free Download!

Wow.. what a week ..

The last 2 of our Bugger it We Are Off series books were launched last week.  All four are now on Amazon as Kindles EBooks.

To celebrate this, I’ve got the Napier Art deco book available for free for the next 4 days from today (US time) – Tomorrow NZ Time

From 1st August (US time), this book will be available for free for 5 days.  …..Click here

I’ve got them available in the Epub format as well for Ipads but haven’t got a Mac which you need to upload to the iTunes store.. I’ll find a way!

These publications are all based on this Blog.
I’m not expecting them to be best sellers but if someone out there finds a couple of things of interest in there, it was worth doing.

The blurb below is copied from the OUR Books page.

As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 20, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.

Bugger it we are off to the Pinnacles in a convoy is about meeting Motorhome friends in Taupo NZ (central North Island) and heading in our three Motorhomes down to the Pinnacles at the bottom of the North Island.

We travel through the Hawkes Bay wine region on the way, go to a UB40 concert, survive a raging storm and enjoy a great meal in an old style Country Lodge. Lots of fun and some great images.

Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer Motorhome and then following our Motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks explore central Europe with bikes.

There were lots of adventures and lots of laughs. A truly memorable experience.

Bugger it we are off to the South Island of NZ is about our three month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.

We met lots of neat people, caught up with some friends and relatives, stayed in some amazing places and had a great time.

To see more about these books and links to buy, see our Book Page

A & P Parking at Pukekohe

A new addition to the NZMCA clubs network is the Franklin A&P society in Pukekohe.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Plenty of room

I popped in and their parking is tucked in behind the Saleyards not far from the Racetrack.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

On arrival I popped in to the office where I met a very friendly Jannine who showed me where everything was. There are toilets, they allow Dogs on leads and there is oodles of parking with about 10 powered sites. The powered sites are $12 a night and are tucked in with the partial cover of some trees and protected behind some gates.

Smiling Jannine by the parking

It is all very secure and a neat place to stay.

Rafe in a park. Its probably better diagonally

Jannine is doing a deal for the V8’s and being right next door is the perfect location for the event. Its also a few minutes walk into Pukekohe’s main village.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Parked next to the 1st Hole

One of the great surprises from a wee jaunt around the Waikato has been the discovery of the Ngaruawahia Golf Club.

Click on an Image for Hi res

A late player at dusk

I phoned Lyn from 50 odd k’s away to make sure that they had space and were open and was bowled over by Lynn’s happy voice on the other end of the phone. It couldn’t have been easier.

30 minutes or so later, I was being shown  a level patch of solid grass nicely protected by a few trees with 3 powered boxes (4 sockets on each) and a picnic table nicely positioned away from the general parking area. It was heavenly!..

At $15 a night per van with power, with the bar handy in the newish clubhouse with toilets and showers available during the day, its fantastic parking.

Nice new building

After settling Rafe down and plugging in, one of my first stops was upstairs to the bar where Lynn was helping out.

Lynn at the bar

I met a couple of really friendly locals there who had just finished 18 holes and were enjoying a couple of beers. They lived and worked in Hamilton which seems to be where a lot of the membership and bars patrons came from but what a nice crowd.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Lynn showed me where the walking / bike trail is to the Ngaruawahia township along the river which I later walked some of the way along. There is a huge brand new housing subdivision right next door with some amazing houses. I stopped halfway as it started raining and headed back to Rafe but what a lovely spot.

The historic old pub on the corner

A nice place to park with some friendly faces in a nice town.

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Rafe’s Tracker Map

Our first EBooks published!

Exciting… we’ve got our first ebooks away!

I’m really chuffed to get them away as it represents a huge amount of time to put them together.

It has been a lot of fun and a huge learning curve but having been involved in publishing some printed books for the Classic Yacht Association before, it was the next logical step.   I’m not expecting to get rich on them but if it covers a few bottles of Chardy and the odd tank of Diesel, then thats all good 🙂

The first two are now available on Amazon as of today and the others are coming. They are slightly  modified from the blog version so they don’t date so quickly and suit a book, and they’re in a fixed format horizontal format to show off the images to their best.

The first one is on our trip to Napier a year or so ago to the Art Deco festival. A great occasion and because its such a great event with some great images, it would be shame not to give these piccies another outing!

The other one is about our trip to the Pinnacles with friends via the Hawkes Bay last year. We were in several Motorhomes and it was a lot of fun. Some great adventures with some unusual places with a concert thrown in too for good measure.

These will both be available here by clicking on the covers above.

Ads will be appearing soon on the side of the Blog and you can keep up to date on this from the Books page.

Some time ago, I also did a blog about some older european images that I had posted for sale as prints etc. Again, I’m not expecting to get rich on them but some of you expressed an interest in getting some of them. They’re now available here.

A big occasion for me as a Blog person but there is more to come. .. Stay tuned 🙂

Fun in the Sun

The Port Hills and Akaroa.. a neat place!

The view as you come over the hill
The view as you come over the hill

I’d forgotten what a windy old road it is to get to Akaroa but after Arthur’s Pass, it was easy. There were a lot of camper vans coming out of Akaroa so I’m pleased we didn’t do it at night.

Remember, you can click on any of these images to see the higher res version

Lunch with a view
Lunch with a view
Enjoying the view
Enjoying the view
Fun in the water
Fun in the water
Eager Seagulls hanging about for scraps
Eager Seagulls hanging about for scraps

The weather continues to be kind to us with another great day. Water like glass and the cafes and eateries were chocker. Parking was awkward but we parked in trailer parking by the boat ramp as you first enter Akaroa. I believe this is also a place where you can overnight for free.
People were just our there enjoying themselves. It was neat to see and the locals seem very genuine with their wish to help you. Very like the west coasters.

French colour
French colour
The Bistro
The Bistro

We checked into the Top Ten campground up on the hill with a park overlooking Akaroa .. Possibly French Bay vineyards and cheese places on the way back to  Christchurch.

Rust N Dust

This is before Pohara was an NZMCA park. We stayed at the Murchison Park which is fantastic too.  Another oldie. Enjoy

Pohara Beack looking towards the boat club and Abel Tasman National Park
Pohara Beack looking towards the boat club and Abel Tasman National Park

After a more settled night at a free camping site by the Waitapu river, we left Takaka via the magnificent Pohara Beach and checked out the Pohara boating club. The rock formations right above the road were amazing. There were a few Motorhomes , a bus and a 5th wheeler parked at the boat club which is parking by donation, and looked as though they had been there the night and were right on the waters edge. They must have been hammered by the wind as we got some big puffs by the river and we were behind big trees and sheltered!

The rocks by Pohara boat club
The rocks by Pohara boat club.

We left there to go over the Takaka hill road which is impressive. Sadly, no where to stop for pictures but some great views. We headed into Motueka and the onto Mapua for lunch. After lunch, we left to go through upper Moutere which is supposed to be loaded with craft shops, cheese places and vineyards. Someone must have forgotten to tell the gps where they were as Madam was a bit dark when we got to the other side without seeing any:-/

NZMCA park in Murchison
NZMCA park in Murchison

We arrived at the NZMCA park in Murchison at about 4pm. The park is well set up and is huge. It has a dump station, water and is beautifully flat with all weather gravel. Well done and a big Thank you from us to those people who put this together.

The grocers shop
The grocers shop
Murchison Hotel
Murchison Hotel

There is an amazing old shop in the old stables right next door to the park selling second hand bits and bobs called Rust N Dust!

Rust n Dust in Murchison
Rust n Dust in Murchison
Odds and sods
Odds and sods
Bits and bobs
Bits and bobs
Madam with some glassware
Madam with some glassware

Most if it you would never see in another shop. It was almost like a museum as the stock was so rare. Parts of an Austin dashboard, 1950’s high chairs, old telephones.. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

More bits and bobs
More bits and bobs

We had a quick walk around Murchison Main Street when Gary and Chris arrived from Takaka.
As it was well after 5pm, we thought it would be rude not to have a wee glass of something to celebrate our arrival in Murchison. Gary also did a plan for us for the rest of the trip which looks really good. Westport tomorrow.