Tag Archives: Special events

Motorhomes and Ferrys

It doesn’t seem to matter how early and organised you are but taking a large Motorhome across the strait always seems to be stressful. I have to say though this was one of the easier crossings.

It was perfect weather for a crossing. No wind forecast and not a cloud in the sky.

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Parked in Picton

We lined up early and were boarded pretty quickly. Easy peasy turning around and lining up behind a huge truck in front of us.

The InterIsland left about 20 minutes before us and we basically followed that all the way over.

It was really nice to see Arapawa Island all lit up by the late afternoon sun. This is where the Perano Whaling family based our old Whale Chaser called Rorqual.

Arapawa Island. The whalechasers were kept in the bay in the middle.

They chased in threes and all worked to a larger Mother ship which was a steamer called the Tuatea. Unfortunately it was later destroyed by fire. Rorqual like its other chasers were all powered by 600HP V12 petrol engines.

Rorquals one was a Kermath Sea Raider but others had different varieties, some even having old aero engines. They could honk though.. most did around 35 knots plus which was going for a 12 metre boat.

The trip was nice but as we got closer to Wellington, the wind got up so when we arrived, it was actually quite cold.

Wellington

It was easy as ever getting off and we were headed up to Plimmerton NZMCA park where we were meeting Fiona’s cousins for a night of Fish and Chips, nice wine and lots of laughs. A great end to a nice day.

About to leave the ferry

The Pine trees on the beach

While we were at Fairlie, I met our neighbours Peter and Val who were heading to Amberley to see their daughter. She just happened to live near the Campground at Amberley Beach. This was to be our next destination too.

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Rafe in the Park

After leaving Fairlie, we checked with old friends Ray and Margaret who have settled now in Geraldine. We met them at Peskis and they later showed us around Lake McGregor when we were with them at Tekapo. We had lots of fun together and it was neat to catch up with them again and see their house.

From here it was a quick stop at Christchurch to get some chemicals for the loo and then off to Amberley Beach.

The Non Dog area

We arrived there about 4pm and the shadows were already starting to get long. The camp is split into two bits. On the right is an area for Dogs and on the left is an area without Dogs. We went to the left and signed up and put our money in the “wooden maiden”. The cost is $5pp plus $5 for power.. very good value with some new loos nearby and the beach just through the sandhills.

Crossing to the pines

We went for a walk down to the beach just for a look and it looks fantastic with Pines on the foreshore in the sandhills.

Fabulous beach

It reminded me of when I was growing up in Christchurch, we used to have family holidays somewhere up this coast and I remember the pine trees that you had to run through to get to the beach and there were lots of old Cribs.. ahh the good old days !

Late Colours

It looked a bit bleak this time but this was only because it was getting late.

In the morning we left there and headed through to Kaikoura. Coming down from Wellington poured with rain all the way so we didnt get to see much but this time it was brilliant sunshine.

Its amazing what has been done here by the roading and railway people fixing things up after the earthquake. We saw some of the brave abseiling workers fixing back wire barriers to stop rocks falling. Amazing

The Pier Hotel

Arriving at Kaikoura for lunch, our first stop was to the Pier Hotel where we’ve eaten before. Looking across from there its amazing to see all the rocks that have been pushed up by the earthquake.

Looking across Kaikoura with all the new Rocks

One of the things still noticeable is the state of the roads around the area but Kaikoura is looking great and its great to see the good folk of Kaikoura bouncing back after such massive damage.

The Netspeed Speedtest Amberley
Download : 42.05 mbps
Upload : 12.16 mbps
Ping : 50 ms

Rafe’s Track North

Fairlie, the home of great pies and Campground!

Our aim after leaving Lowburn was to stay at Fairlie after getting a freezer full of one of the best pies in the South Island. They’re known as “Fairlie good pies” around the south but I reckon they’re Fairlie Amazing pies. Pork Belly with crackling, Chicken and Salmon and some other amazing options.

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Taken under a light in the Rafe – Pork Belly with the Crackling all ready eaten 🙂

 

After stopping at Lake Pukaki for lunch we hurtled on to Fairlie.

The place to stay in Fairlie is the Fairlie Holiday Park which is also taking part in the NZMCA’s Camp Saver program.

Nice parking

$20 a night for a powered site with everything else available. There is a dump station, great Toilets and showers in several places and a huge council playground right next door for the little ones.
They also have Dogs on leashes.

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This motorcamp up until about 6 years ago was part of the Top Ten network but closed. Mary Jane and her partner Dutchie have taken it from there and it looks fantastic.

Kitchen and Laundry

It is also only 5 minutes walk into the main shopping area one way and is next to a lovely huge river on the other side.

Looking through to the playground

Being able to park for the night in sites like this on the Camp Saver program is just fabulous and long may it continue and grow.

Yum Yum at Olivers

About a hundred years ago, Fiona trained to be a nurse with Pam.  We became good friends with Pam and husband Ollie, and as they also lived in Devonport we kept in touch.

Cutting a long story short, after their children grew up, they eventually went for a change of lifestyle and bought their farm just out of Temuka and did up the farm house.

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Ollie and Pam

It was a massive restoration which included lifting it up and spinning it around to face the sun.

The Farmhouse

Ollie is a trained chef and along with his cooking skills and having Pam at his side, they’ve setup and run Olivers Farm Stay’s B&B.

We had just arrived at Winchester Domain Camping ground which is about 500 metres up the road from their B&B just as we did a couple of years ago.

Fiona looked a picture as she had just washed her hair and one side of her head all done up in curlers.. think Ena Sharples 🙂 .. Ollie and Pam pull up and pop their heads in the door.. 🙂

After a cup of tea in Rafe, they took us up the road to their local cafe in Winchester.

Several hours went by here and then we went straight to Ollie and Pams home for tea.

It was great to catch up on all the news about their family and where they were up to.

While we had a glass or two of nice wine, Ollie prepared the feast and it was just stunning. No wonder their overseas customers keep coming coming back when there is this standard of hospitality.

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The time ticked by unoticed as it does when you’re having fun but what a magic night and lovely to catch up with them both again.

Roasted Kumara !

If you’re in the area or know someone who wants to be spoiled with great food, in a comfortable place with some great humour thrown in. Check out http://www.oliversfarmstay.co.nz

Anzac Day at Oxford

After a great night in Springfield, we headed back to Oxford as an old stamping ground for my family and to be there for the Anzac service.

Oxford was settled by large parts of my family, the Vincents and the Millers. The local cemetary tells the story and they’re also well represented in the Museum and on the local War Memorial Obelisk.

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In the Town Hall during the service

The next morning was the Anzac service so we walked around to the Town Hall where it was standing room only. It was an amazing turn out for such a little town.

In the Main Street

After the service, the returned Soldiers and other services like St John and current Soldiers, formed up for the march to be led down the road a bit to the Cenotaph.

The Cenotaph

Following a lone piper, the parade occupied most of the main street before it turned in to the Cenotaph. .. Very impressive..!

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Two of my great uncles Ashley and Ray Vincent were killed in action about 20 years old and were both on the Cenotaph and had seperate crosses.

The Obelisk

A really impressive setup and the parade went like clockwork. It was also nice to see several armed police turn up just to ensure everyones safety.. thanks Guys.

Pork Pie Run

Arriving in Wellington, we headed to our favourite spot at Plimmerton at the NZMCA park.

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Plimmerton NZMCA park

The weather forecast for the next few days was awful with torrential rain forecast so we were in for an early start in the morning to drive into Wellington for the 8am Bluebridge sailing.

Rafe with the Mini’s

We were first in line arriving at 0630, half an hour before check in. Not long after we checked in, we were joined by some of the 60 odd Minis doing the Kidscan Charity run from Kaitaia to Invercargill over 6 days. Most were dressed up for the occasion with long hair and bright clothing.. a lot of fun.

This is the 6th running of this event in homage to the Kiwi Classic movie, Goodbye Pork Pie.

The view from the deck through the rain

Once we were on the ferry, they were marshalled in behind us and it looked like it would have been a fun trip.

In the Truck deck as we arrived in Picton

Driving through Kaikoura, we also saw some passing us and stopped in various places along the way.

Minis on the car deck

To donate to the cause or to find out more, see kidscan.org.nz

Tons of Minis

De Molen Windmill

We’ve passed through Foxton several times and every time have said, we should have stopped to check out that Windmill.. well, this time we did and what an amazing project.

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The Windmill

It is modelled on a 17th century Dutch Windmill with some modern changes to meet NZ building codes.

The Milling gear in the Windmill

De Molen was setup by two Dutch immigrants Jan Langen and Cor Slobbe and opened in 2003. It was established as a monument to all the Dutch immigrants that came to New Zealand and bring tourism and create some employment for the town.

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There is easy Motorhome parking behind the Public Library right next door on grass. Admission is $2 for a self guided tour and from the top, you can right out to Foxton beach and also a great view over the town.

Looking out to Foxton Beach

Its well worth doing and Fiona and I also saw the Rembrandt paintings on at the Library right next door. A really interesting hour or so,k

Rafe’s track to the Windmill

Hamlet

While we were at the rally, we noticed that the Pop up Globe was open and Hamlet was on.

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The Theatre

Having had hearing aids for most of my adult life since meningitis as a teenager, I have always avoided these types of shows as usually I can’t hear anything and the whole exercise is just a bore but armed with brand new technology hearing aids, I thought I’d give this one a go.

The Theatre

After starting with a glass of wine in the bar area, we wandered into the pre seating area under the trees and into the theatre.

Fiona enjoying a cider with the Artwork

There was a lot that I couldn’t hear as the stage is almost surrounded with the audience on three sides  so they talk in all directions. This means the lip reading function is unavailable largely but I could still make out enough of what was going on and it was just fun being there and taking it all in. These are good hearing aids too!

The cast during a moment of silence for Christchurch before the show

For some reason I seemed be able to hear more in the second half but put that down to more mayhem and shouting 🙂 …a Great show!

The King getting close to the audience.

Its an amazing venue and being just “popped up” in different locations, they take it pretty seriously with a nice bar and seated area under some trees. The artwork and the décor was something special too along with the Minstrels wandering around with their costumes playing their instruments.

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Good seating and nice people directing you around. Its a great setup. Well worth doing and only 5 minutes walk to our Motorhome afterwards 🙂

Back at with Rafe 5 minutes walk away 🙂

#1 NZMCA

And that would be the newly restored 1928 Reo Speedwagon, once owned by the founders of the NZMCA, Andy and Gladys Anderson.

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4 of the volunteers that could come up with #1, L to R, John, Alan, Brian and Fergus

Once used as passenger and freight bus in Te Karaka, it later went on to be a bus for the Gisborne freezing works.

#1 sporting its new Headlights

Andy Anderson bought the old bus in Gisborne and converted it to his Motorhome and then started the NZMCA as #1 !

Looking forward

Fast forward to June 2016, it was collected from the Eastland Museum of Transport and Technology and taken to a workshop at Hallright Plumbing.  It spent the next 2 and a half years here being restored by a small army of 34 volunteers.

Looking back over the Galley

It was completely stripped down and rebuilt bolt by bolt and the result is stunning.

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Seeing it on the NZMCA stand at the 2019 Covi show, it was a joy to behold. The attention to detail from the volunteers is amazing. Ferg Mckenzie along with 3 other volunteers came up to the Covi show to look after and show off their work.

Storage on the back

Well done too to the board for supporting the restoration. A great part of the associations history.

People queing to see it on the stand

Covi Show 2019

What I took from this years Covi show was the slow move away from ground floor beds in Motorhomes, mostly in the smaller models to drop down or other options. There were lots of new knick knacks too.

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Morelo area

There is a new Dethleffs XLI on its way which wasn’t available for the show but comes with a rear lounge instead of beds. The bedding comes as various versions of either a Luton type or different drop down setups. New also to the Dethleffs range is the Pulse GT.

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Burstner has a new 7 something metre van option with a rear lounge with a door, and a drop down bed with another drop down bed further forward. A nice option too.

One of the things I really liked was the trailer mounted fold out camper priced at just $32000 with all the extras. I  forgot to get the name of it, but a lot of kit and good comfortable camping without spending a fortune.

Its like a friend of mine once said in the boating world, those who spend less on their boat than the million dollar boaties, still have just as much fun 🙂

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There was lots to see in the accessories area too with several options available in the Generator area and there was also a drop on bach on display too.

A Mark 1 Zephyr with matching Lilliput. I had one of these during my misspent youth 🙂

No show is ever complete without the Lillput Caravans and their beautifully done up tow cars (Tugs).

Great Caravans
The lovely Lilliputs

A good day with lots of walking. Fiona looked at her phone at the end of the show on the bus back to Ellerslie and we did just over 9000 steps 🙂 .. plenty of exercise for the day.