Tag Archives: Special events

The Hundertwasser Art Centre

I don’t know how many times I’ve photographed and driven past the loos at Kawakawa, but Fiona and I had both seen the publicity on the new Art centre in Whangarei and it was on the must do list πŸ™‚

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Nice easy parking

We arrived in Whangarei just after lunch after stopping in at Manganui for a piece of fish and a Scallop or two for morning tea πŸ™‚

Very styley 60’s πŸ™‚

With the weather looking decidedly dodgy with wind and rain, I decided on the Whangarei Central Holiday Park which is easy walking distance to anywhere in town. It’s also very reasonably priced with very nice people running it. Everything works and its handy!

After settling down Rafe, we set off with our umbrellas towards the new art centre, about 10 minutes’ walk. It’s amazing! The first thing to do while it was not raining was to check out the dome and the roof garden. There are some really rare trees from the islands there too with curled leaves… interesting but to think how quickly this has come together, it’s amazing and on the roof too.

Back downstairs on a wavy tiled floor, you feel almost like you’re on the water. Up one floor for the gallery on Hundertwasser are lots of examples of his art and design, and basically several rooms on how he did what he did and when. Really interesting artwork but with his unique style.

Fiona in the tower. The Marina in the background

He also had an amazing motor Sailer which I think he might have sailed out from Europe.

We spent an hour or so here and then went for a coffee at the Centre’s Cafe.

Some of the art

By the time we finished here it was time for tea. We found an arcade in the main street full of Restaurants and bars and eventually settled on an Indian Restaurant called Tumeric. It would have to be the best Indian meal we’ve both had for some time and was very reasonable. Amazing food.

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It was getting dark as left the restaurant and we ambled our way back to Rafe at the Park.

Outside our new favourite Indian Restaurant πŸ™‚

A really interesting day starting in Ahipara, Manganui for Fish, ticked off the Hundertwasser building and a great Indian meal… what a day:-)

Rafe’s tracker map to the Whangarei Central Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Bus Trip up Ninety Mile Beach – Cape Reinga

This was just such a treat and Fiona and I had been looking forward to it.. the highlight of the trip if you like. We met the bus I was later told; was a 400 HP beast that was once a Petrol tanker but was custom made for its current purpose of ferrying people like us up to the Cape on the sand.

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The driver picked us up outside the Awanui NZMCA park along with a neighbour in the park with his two grandsons and we were off.

Jason the driver and guide was a scream and very good with the flow of interesting information that went all day.

After turning off the main road north at Waipapakauri, we headed a few k’s towards the beach before we got to the sand. The weather for the trip was perfect and once Jason had changed into 4-wheel drive, we were off up the beach… all 56k’s of it apparently πŸ™‚ As Jason said on the commentary β€œ It’s the only state highway that gets a wash twice a day β€œ:-)

Getting out for a stretch

About half an hour or so of cruising up the beach, we stopped and got out for stretch and a look around. It’s an amazing beach with nothing really in either direction apart from the sandhills behind.

Looking South. the hole in the rock.

There was a rock of the beach with a hole in like the one off Cape Brett.

Jason running the Bus up the Te Paki stream for the sandboarding.

A bit further on, we were heading up the Te Paki stream beside the massive sand hills where we stopped to let to let those younger and more adventurous than us to boogie board down the sand hills. Jason gave them all a few safety lessons and they were off.

Jason doing the safety briefing.
Jason doing the safety briefing before they head up the dune.
Sandboarding !

They all seemed pretty happy with the occasion and about 45 minutes or so later, we set off again up the stream to rejoin the highway up to the Cape.

After Lunch

Next we were heading up to Tapotupotu Beach for lunch which Jason had stashed away. The road wasn’t for the faint hearted in a big vehicle and although there were a few Motorhomes there, it definitely wasn’t for me.

Looking towards Maris van Diemen

About an 1 hour later with a great lunch by the beach, we all headed back to the bus and Jason then took us all up to the Cape Reinga carpark to walk down to the lighthouse.

The oceans meeting

It’s about a 45-minute walk down to the lighthouse and back and quite steep in places but on a really nice track. As you go down on the left you can see Cape Maria van Diemen where the lighthouse used to be, Cape Reinga in front and the beach that we had lunch at off to the right with North Cape way off in the distance.

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The last time I was here, I think I was 13 years old or thereabouts. We were on a family trip with a 4-wheel drive with a beach buggy on an A frame. It was a trip for a photo shoot with a friend of my Dads who was a specialist Motor Racing photographer for a magazine article. The beach buggy got stuck on top of a sandhill… think all wheels off the ground so I got to learn how to drive it while we got it unstuck πŸ™‚

Back to the trip… it was fantastic to see it all again and all the improvements that have been made for easier access.

At the pub on the way home.

We were all back in the bus heading down the road for an ice cream stop and to the famous Waipapakauri where Fiona and I had a G & T to celebrate the end of a great day. We were only a few K’s north of the Awanui NZMCA park.

Back at Awanui.. great day !

A fantastic day and I’m really pleased we took the option of a guided bus trip. It wasn’t expensive given what was involved and a lot of fun and entertainment. Thanks, Jason, for the great commentary and a brilliant day out.

Rafe’s tracker map to the Awanui NZMCA park – Armada GPS

The Treaty Grounds

After watching the Shakers with the Olives, we set off for the walk along the waterfront to the treaty grounds.Β  We’ve been here in the Bay of Islands so many times but haven’t really spent any quality time here at the Treaty grounds, so were well overdue for a visit.

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The Shakers getting the Olives off the trees.

At the entrance, we made our first priority a coffee and something to eat so headed towards the Cafe. We were really early for the guided tour so had plenty of time to kill.

Fiona on the new boardwalk up to the Treaty House

We decided to go on ahead anyway and walk up to the Treaty house and have a decent look, something I have never done and it’s really interesting. There is part of it at the back which is partly stripped to show how it was built as a kitset in Australia to be put together here. Really interesting.

Who knew there was a back courtyard!

I didn’t realise either that there was quite a big courtyard at the back of it which you never see.

Fiona decided to walk back down to the entrance to catch the guide for the walk back up. I walked over to the Meeting house just in time to catch the previous cultural show. They’re a fun bunch! Lots of humour but with a serious educational theme as well.

The very talented group doing the cultural shows.

There were about 30 people in the group and one person was volunteered to be the chief. He had to receive the challenge and then be accepted into the meeting house on behalf of all of us. He was Dutch and although his English was OK, he did really well as they had primed him to do a 5-minute speech which in the end was lucky if it was 30 seconds but all in jest but I’m sure he had some anxious moments thinking about it πŸ™‚

Our “chief” being welcomed onto the Whare

A great show and well worth doing and great performers.

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The show had just finished when Fiona turned up with her group, so I went into the show again with her πŸ™‚

We wandered back down through the grounds checking out a wonderful new Museum largely dedicated to the Maori Battalion and the contribution they made over the years. Both Fiona and I come from a strong Army background, so we found it really interesting. During the war, the Germans found the Maori Battalion to be fearsome warriors and extremely effective soldiers. It’s great to see them getting some recognition for their efforts.

People inside the whare after the show.

We checked out the other museum too which was more about the Treaty grounds and the early settlers. Really interesting and very well displayed with some great audio-visual displays as well.

Looking back on our walk back to the park.

It was back to Rafe at Jan’s Motorhome Park after that and a G&T to finish off the day.

Rafe’s tracker map to the Bay of Islands Holiday Park – Armada GPS

Covi Motorhome Show 2023

They never disappoint despite the fact that this was smaller than previous years. It was cancelled last year due to Covid too, so many were really looking forward to this one.

I arrived on the Wednesday afternoon to arrange the Dethleffs Owners group parking next in the Alexander Park carpark pretty much behind the scoreboard which was a primo spot.

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Dethleffs parking

There was a race meeting on the Friday night. Fiona came over after work in the car and we went out for tea at the Lone Star under one of the new Apartment buildings next to the grandstand. The front of the restaurant all opened up to the track so you could watch the racing which was amazing.

Alexander Park right next door.

When I was about 20 odd, one of my roles as a junior Herald Photographer was to do the night trots. It was a mission as the horses are largely black and the background is black too so a bit of chemical trickery was required to make it happen with the low light on film πŸ™‚Β  think 1970’s.

Our parking for the event

With all the storms we’ve had recently, Alexander Park raceway suffered some pretty awful damage to their track and had to relay the track. The pile of shells was our windbreak from the southerly wind if one was to eventuate πŸ™‚

On with the show ….Β  One of the highlights of the show for me was to see the new Kiwi Caravan made by ACM Motorhomes. It’s called the Romotow and is modelled on the principle of a Swiss army knife.

The Robotow is a polished looking beast. I’ll let the pictures below tell the story. The list price is $429k.

Click on the Gallery below for an Enlarged Slideshow of the Romotow!

ACM is owned by a very clever qualified boatbuilder, Chris Cunard and they repaired my floor in Rafe a few years ago when it started to misbehave. I now have one of the few motorhomes in the world where the vinyl now matches across all the hatches in the floor! Very tidy job and you can see more on ACM here.

The Morelo Palace

The other thing I was pleased to see was the Morelo Palace with a small Toyota half out of the rear garage. They’re an impressive motorhome and have everything that opens and shuts.

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The trend to smaller Motorhomes and Caravans still seems to be the way things are going.

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There was an interesting little teardrop there too at 28k too.

It was nice to see the fine crew on the NZMCA stand again with #1 Motorhome.

The smiley faces at the NZMCA stand
#1 NZMCA

The show was quite a bit smaller than previous years but just as interesting and with all the main players there.

RV Super Centre
Second Hand area outside.

A big thanks to David Culpan for helping us with the Dethleffs parking.

Rafe’s tracker map to our parking at Alexander Park. – Armada GPS

Dethleffs 2023 Cambridge Get together

These events are always fun to organise and fun to be at too. Organising this was made a lot easier by some useful tips from Brian who runs the Frankia group after they had a Rally here at Cambridge. Vicky who runs the event management at Cambridge was very helpful too along with Amy who works with her. Thanks heaps to those people for making it easy.

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Our park.

We all started arriving at the Racecourse around Midday and during the afternoon. As we were down in numbers from the Miranda do where we had 47 vans, we had 22 but I don’t think that we really had room for many more without splitting into two groups.Β  Apparently, there was more parking just along by the stables. It worked and was very easy. We had some big gaps between us which was great.

I was really pleased to see quite a few new people with new Motorhomes and first timers at an event like this. Nice to see you guys too.

We now have 322 members in this group. These rally’s give you a great opportunity to mix with other Dethleff Owners and pick to their brains, tips and tricks with storage, electrical stuff, all sorts.Β  So come and join us at the next one.

The Team .. click on this to enlarge.

As more people came in, there was lots of cruising around catching up with old friends and people checking on other Motorhomes. I even saw a few pairs of legs sticking out from under vehicles looking at things πŸ™‚

An Interesting wrapped Dethleffs Esprit

Fiona was not feeling well so she decided to sit this one out and I made the stupid mistake of leaving all my bike keys behind so I couldn’t get my bike off the rack when the time came.

Kirsty and John very kindly lent me Kirsty’s bike as she wasn’t riding .. Nice bike and it was fun but there was an operator error oops πŸ™‚ .. more on this later.

Lined up in the back row

That night, I had tea with my old friends, Walter and Nolina from Taupo who were parked right next door. The last time we caught up was at the Miranda do and it’s always nice to see them. They’re a lot of fun.

Happy hour
Happy Hour
Happy hour
Nolina at the Happy Hour

Then it was time to go the Clubhouse Bar to watch the Warriors game. I’m not sure why I think this, but I often think I’m going to see them lose but they played brilliantly and won. Fantastic. It was a really good game, and I might have to watch them more often like I used to.

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The next morning, I was surprised how many people were up early.

The cyclists amongst us were organising ourselves and getting ready to go. After a team photo, we were off!

The Bike group as we left

We were heading to the Velodrome and Tamahere. More on the Te Awa trail soon.

Arriving back at the Racecourse, it was almost time for that “Elbow Exercise” again. We started in earnest all sitting around our favourite tree until the heavens opened up with a brief downpour which surprised everyone!

There was quick retreat to the room which was available to us for wet weather at the bottom of the grandstand. Very civilised with a bit of an outlook to the track.

Dusk

Then it was time for Tea where simply had to lock up and head next door to the restaurant. Nice food, good service although they were struggling with one of their tills which wasn’t playing nicely but it was a great evening. Everyone seemed happy and most retreated back to entertain friends in or outside their vans.

Thanks everyone again for coming.

After the meal from the Restaurant

It all went really well. Our next major get together will be in Miranda sometime in August. It’s a popular place and easy to get to and a nice park.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cambridge Raceway – Armada GPS

Merry Christmas

Another year flashes by and we’re into Christmas again… fun times and sunshine.

We’re heading down towards Gisborne where we haven’t been for a while, so we’ll see where we end up!

Thanks to everyone for supporting the blog this year.

More Motorhoming while we can’t travel overseas.

Rafe looking Christmasy

Merry Christmas everyone and Fiona and I hope you have a great New Year… be careful on the roads and if you see us out there, please come and say hello.

Matakana Country Park Markets

They’re off to a great start too from just starting out early this year.

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There were about 40 plus stalls with another 10 or so arranged in a circular food court.

The Food Court
Food time

The nice thing about this and several stall holders raved about it was that it was well shaded by some fantastic trees.

I bought some Paua shell Earings for Fiona and some neat soft plastic kitchen utensils for cast pots.

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The way it was set out was nice to with an initial lane which branched out into two other areas, the food court area and the back to the carpark.

Hand made knives

Ivana the organiser was pleased with their progress and the numbers I saw there showed it was in good heart.

A neat addition to the facilities and things to do if you stay at the Motorhome parking area.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Matakana Country Park – Armada GPS

Frankia Owners Group meet at Coromandel

We set off early on the Friday morning thinking there might be a bit of early Labour weekend traffic, but it wasn’t to be, and we made it to Coromandel in pretty good time.

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Steve Gibson took this amazing shot with his drone. Coromandel shops are off to the left.

The Frankia Owners group organiser Brian Maginness, had invited me along to meet some of the group. Many of them were ex Dethleff owners so it was nice to see them again. They’re a good bunch and I’ve always admired the Frankia Motorhomes so we were really looking forward to it.

Brian had booked out the entire Park over property at Acres which is almost right in the middle of Coromandel town.Β  Run by Pauline and Ron as part of their property in a separate area complete with power and a bathroom, it is spectacular, and we’ll definitely be back to see them again.

Late on Friday afternoon, a few gathered outside Rafe and Happy Hour was on.

I met Russell and Lorraine who were originally from New Plymouth where I had just come from the photo Auction for Hospice.

It turns out that Russell spent a lot of his working life as a Linotype operator at the Daily News in New Plymouth so knew many of my press photographer friends who were involved in the Auction as they had also worked at the Daily News. Small world stuff.

It was really nice reminiscing about the old technology with the lead bars, slugs on the page (letters/paragraphs for the press) Great stuff.

Outside the gate

I also caught up with Peter and Heather who have adult children a similar age to our own and have lived close to us in Devonport for a long time. They’ve recently just got started with their near new Frankia Platin. Lovely to see them enjoying their new Motorhome.

My old friend from Devonport, Peter.

After the happy hour was finished, we all headed up to one of the restaurants in the main street of Coromandel about 5 minutes’ walk away. A great night and everyone had fun.

The next morning, it was each to their own. Some went bike riding, some walked up the back through the bush, we went for a walk through town and after lunch, walked back slowly to the camp to catch up with our neighbours in their Motorhomes.

Off for a Bike ride

Happy Hour rolled around and after this, I set up a team piccy and moved the group, so our Dethleffs was out of the background πŸ™‚

The Team

That night’s tea was at my favourite restaurant in Coromandel, The Star and Garter. The meal I had was massive and Peter who was sitting next to me, watched me struggle through it. It was so nice.
I wasn’t going to waste any of it. πŸ™‚ A nice meal as always and at a reasonable price. Another great night.

Star and Garter on the left looking up the main street.

We all ambled back to the park and crashed.

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The next day, many left. The rally was over but Fiona and I along with several others had enjoyed the park and the others company so much, we weren’t quite ready to go home πŸ™‚

a Happy hour getting started.

A fantastic gathering… Well organised Brian and thank you to you all for making us both welcome.

Rafe’s Tracker map – Armada GPS

Dethleffs Owners Group 2nd Soiree 2022

And it was a goodie too.. Many arrived early on Friday afternoon and were well settled by the time Fiona and I arrived about 12:30!

The day before we found out about the Kaiaua Pub courtesy van. I knew we had about 12 interested so it was all last minute but after two trips of the van, they all managed to get to the table and it all went well.

It was still raining off and on so I was in the pool soon after arriving, my favourite part of Miranda πŸ™‚

Electrical help

As the day went on, it was a great meet and greet. For many of the 46 Motorhomes that arrived, this was their first get together and for me, the biggest turnout of vans ever.

It was funny though as the numbers from the bookings were 46, if you walked around and looked, it didn’t seem too crowded.

As the day wore on. More and more people were making themselves known and introducing themselves to everyone and looking around the Motorhomes.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged slide show – Friday

4pm came around and the BBQ area suddenly filled up with laughter and Wine bottles..

Day two was Bike ride day towards Kaiaua. Tony Coupe who put his hand up early encouraging riders to bring their bikesΒ  and had a plan to ride to a neat little CafΓ© and Gallery called Stray Dog CafΓ©.Β  It was just up the hill off to the left on the way to Kaiaua. Fantastic place with an amazing GalleryΒ  Thanks Tony.. more on this in another post coming soon.

On the trail to Kaiaua

We arrived back at Miranda a couple of hours later. A great ride and it was time for a coffee and another swim in the pool.

Neil during his talk. Pic by Mary Coupe

At 3pm, we had Neil showing quite a few interested people the basics on Amp hours and how to calculate your battery needs. Very useful and many went away very happy. Great work.. thanks Neil.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow – Saturday

At 4pm was time for a Team Photo but to make sure everyone was there, we started happy hour and then did the images. Photographer Grant who has the same camera as me, was keen to get me in the photo so we did a quick swap for a fun pic. Thanks Grant.

I was talking to one of the camp senior staff, Gay the next day and she was telling me they were watching us in the CCTV while we were getting organised and starting happy hour then suddenly we all vanished in a nano second.. β€œwhere did they go”! That must have been photo time πŸ™‚

Click on this to enlarge for a better look.

John Ogilvie had very kindly brought his amazing projector along for the rugby and with Michelle’s screen, were were all ready for the big game starting later.

Everyone in
Tea time.
The leftovers of the shared meal.. I was too busy eating to get a before shot πŸ™‚

At 6, the food started appearing on the Barbecue area and we all got stuck in. The food was unbelievable. Normally at a shared meal you end up with a lot of snacky stuff but this was top drawer dishes. Well done everyone. Stunning Stuff.

The tidying up and dishes were done in the well equipped kitchen and we were set for the Rugby.

A great atmosphere and we had a few other campers join us on the fringes to watch as well. I found out after talking to Gay in the office that they had quite a few people who wanted to watch in the TV room but there is no drinking or food in there so they were suggesting joining us so that was good. There even some people on the other side of the screen in the BBQ area watching it backwards from the opposite side of the screen πŸ™‚

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Well done and thanks John (the projectionist) and thanks again Michelle for the use of your screen. Although the result wasn’t what we wanted, it was still a fun night.


All in all, a great weekend finished off with a farewell coffee/tea catchup before everyone went off in different directions.

Talking to Gay (Miranda Holiday Park) afterwards, she said it went well for them, no one got up their noses (not from our group anyway) and for them it was easy.

Thanks too to Paul McLuckie who put his drone up to get the amazing drone images.

Click on this image to enlarge.

Thanks everyone for coming, we had a lot of fun and it was nice to see everyone again. Some we haven’t seen for years.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

Wild in Papamoa

Glancing through my iPad recently, I came across a rather sad posting of a friend who had been battling a Melanoma for the last 10 years but finally lost the race. They had recently moved out of Auckland to Papamoa to enjoy their retirement by the sea.

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Hear those waves

When we found out the funeral was on and where, it was time to jump into Rafe and pop down to Papamoa to the funeral. Leaving Auckland early to beat the traffic, I found myself around the back of Hamilton by 9:20 in the morning. By 11:30 I was cruising into Papamoa after crossing the Kaimai’s. What a huge difference that new motorway makes by passing Hamilton.

Wild!

After checking into the Tasman Holiday Park in Papamoa, and settling Rafe down by the sea and after a cup of coffee, I called a Taxi to take me to the venue which was on the other side of Papamoa.

After the funeral, one of our old boating friends who also came down dropped me back at the entrance to the Holiday Park.

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The camp has a lot of permanent Caravans all with their laid out decks and additions and I’m sure the place absolutely pumps in summer. The area where I was next to the sea was about 1/3rd full but it was pretty windy, cold and miserable with waves crashing in. Very handy to the beach which was probably less than 50 metres away.

I took the camera for a walk and it was wild with the sea absolutely raging.

Fantastic Beach
Some of the new beachfront chalets.

The ablution block looked almost new and was spotless. For the shoppers, its really handy to downtown Papamoa with a huge shopping centre right across the road.

Dusk at Papamoa -cellphone pic

The forecast for the morning was evil with thunderstorms forecast and high winds. When I woke up at 7, I thought I’d get up and get going given it was pretty exposed on grass and the clouds over Tauranga looked positively evil. It rained but I think the worst of it went offshore.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Papamoa – Armada GPS