Don’t forget to click on the Images to enlarge .. oldie repost
Yesterday morning, we met Jim, the custodian of the Westport NZMCA park. What a neat guy, the park is fantastic and it’s clear to see that he lives and breathes the park. We are fortunate to have people like him and other volunteers looking after our parks.
Earlier, we’d ridden the bikes into Westport town centre, about a 15 minute ride, Google reckons it 10 minutes 🙂 .. We must be slow buggers! It took us about 20 🙂
The girls found their Postie Plus and Gary was looking for a barber. We didn’t really do much but it was nice to get some exercise in the sun and check out the town. Once back at the park, we loaded our bikes, got ready to go and we headed in to get diesel, lpg and water from Caltex.
We were heading then for the Punakaiki pancake rocks and blowholes. I hadn’t seen these since I was about 10 yrs old so it was nice to see. Doc has done a really good job of the pathways and it’s a fantastic feature of our landscape.
After an hour their and lunch in the carpark, we moved on to Greymouth.
We are staying in a Motorhome park behind a service station 5 minutes walk from town. Great spot. We walked around to the Speights Ale house on the Quay for a meal. We’re moving on to Hokitika tomorrow to do the tree tops walk.
One of the things we wanted to do was catch up with old friends Pam and Campbell who we knew from our old days is Devonport. They have set up an amazing Farmstay B&B business just outside Temuka and had invited us for tea. Yippee.
The next issue was where to put Rafe as Google Earth showed their driveway impassable for Motorhomes and there wasn’t roadside parking either.
There was an great camping ground a few K’s up the road at Winchester which was $18 a night with plenty of room to spread out so we headed there.
The campground is actually in the Showground’s so there are times of the year when it isn’t available. Nice showers which don’t require any money and a big kitchen common room which looks the business.
After an afternoon of lazing in the 20 C plus sun, we got the bikes down and headed down the road to Pam and Campbells place. Drinks in the sun on the deck and amazing roast meal and it was really neat to see them after having not seen them for at least 20 odd years. They look really well and the House they have done up looks great and they’re now running it as Olivers Farm Stay Bed & Breakfast. Campbell is a Chef so the meals are stunning !
Campbell very kindly dropped us off at the campsite later, with the bikes on a bike rack on the back of his car as it was a bit dodgy in the dark on State Highway 1 ! Thanks very much guys and it was lovely to catch up again after all this time.
I can’t believe the great weather we have had in the South Island. Almost every day has had temperatures of around 17C plus and perfect blue sky. Today was no different as we left Dunedin.
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Our first stop was to check out the famous Moeraki boulders. Its interesting that the signposts for the boulders all point to a restaurant above the beach which provides a nicely made set of steps and track to get down to them. Clever marketing I thought!
We parked in the huge carpark and wandered down to the beach where there were already a good number of people with their iphones getting piccies of the boulders. These are amazing. Apparently they’re over 5.5 million years old and were made on the sea floor with mud!
Interesting shapes and they certainly drew a large crowd while we were there.
Next stop was Oamaru for lunch. We stopped down in a large carpark by the Historical Precinct and had a wander around through the old buildings and shops. We were only here a few years ago and it has changed quite a bit since then.
While I was standing in the middle of the road in the old precinct, a chap on a penny farthing came screaming around the corner! Later when I checked out my images, the best one was with his eyes shut looking really brave 🙂
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The Historic Precint
Limestone carver and second hand shop
The Historic Precint
The Oamaru Wharf
Its always a pleasure looking around Oamaru and I can see why my old friend Grant and his family moved here. Its got a lovely feel and atmosphere to it.
As I had driven past a few Fruit and Vege stalls as we came into Roxburgh, I could tell Fiona was getting edgy and one finally came with plenty of parking and warning 😀. As I drove slighly past it to get to let traffic past so I could reverse and drive in, another Motorhome came in behind me so after waiting for them to park, I drove in next to them.
Fiona recognised the them as old friends and there was an immediate reunion in the fruit stall carpark 😎
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We made arrangements to meet in town later at the Gold Cottage Campground across the river.
The camp is run by a lovely lady who has had it for 7 years but is making huge changes to it. The grounds, the amenities and the parks are absolutely top notch and all for $30 for two on a powered site.
There are also tracks out the back of the grounds which take you to Roxbough and lots of historical bits from the Gold mining days around with some great explanation boards.
Very easy and comfortable and it is all beautifully terraced so its easy to get a level parking spot.
Lloyd and Kate arrived later on and we enjoyed several hours of fun with a few drinks.
Lloyd was a bit of legend with the whitebait and cooked up some fritters that were sensational. It was a great night. They’re great fun and I’m sure we’ll catch up again soon.
They’re currently living and working up past Wanaka and having a ball with their new Carado Motorhome.
One of the things I wanted to do when we got to Invercargill was go to Bill Richardson’s amazing truck Museum. We settled for the Coachmans Inn which is just down the road from the Museum and was $34 a night for two. The receptionist was ex Auckland and we had a great old chat about things Auckland and other things.
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Its has a whole bunch of powered sites behind the Hotel surrounding the amenities block which while it was nice and clean, it did seem a little tired.
We had a lie in with the sun coming in the windows and eventually walked down the road to the Museum. Fiona was walking into the city, another 1k down the road and was going to walk back and meet me in the cafe.
The Museum is a fantastic place. From first walking in, there is an amazing Texaco Tanker. I forgot to look at the details of what it was but what a mean looking machine. Then onto the early Fords.
It seemed like there was every single model of Ford from 1904 onwards into the 40’s and 50’s.
Every model of truck you could imagine and there were some early lawnmowers too. There was an interesting collection of tools for service stations and I was really interested to see an early tyre changing device.
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One of the old Fords
A 36 Roadstar V8
Henry Ford and some Bowsers
Ye olde Ford
A Hybrid Volvo Electric/Diesel
Lots of Trucks
An old Lawnmower
These single cylinder Tractors were hugely popular in Germany. Bought out by John Deere.
A Shell Bowser and a Tyre Pressure repair station behind
A GM 1-71
I worked in a service station in Glenfield when I was a teenager and had to use one of these beasts. Swinging on the end of a tyre lever with grease. Lots of fun. It brought back some old memories.
Petrol Bowsers, Oils and some motors along with a GM 671 setup as a generator and a 171 too.
My old boat Rorqual had a GM Turbocharged 671 in it so I was interested to see it setup as a generator and normally aspirated too. In all the *71 series motors, all the pistons, conrods and bearings, valves etc are the same so easy for parts.
Fiona rang and said that just about everything was shut (saturday afternoon) and she was heading back. I was just about finished so I headed for the Cafe where a few minutes later, Fiona wandered in.
An amazing place and a must see if you’re in Invercargill.
We got a rental while we were in Prague so we could leave the motorhomes at the campsite and have a look around. One of the planned outings if you like, was to Cesky Kumlov which is 150k’s southwest of Prague.
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It is now a UNESCO protected World Heritage site.
We set off about 9am and after a stop or two along the way, we arrived at Cesky Kumlov. The town was established in the 1400’s and was then German. Most of the buildings in the town were built in the 1500’s due to a discovery of Gold by the castle.
Tourists enjoying the boats on the river
Amazing little shopping streets
Fiona and Dianne on the bridge watching people boating in the river.
The river. The restaurant on the right where we had lunch.
Part of the Castle
The Castle hovering over the village
The town is built on what is almost an island by the course of the fast flowing river that almost completely surrounds it. The castle was closed on the day we were there as it was Monday. I’m not quite sure how that works but never mind.
There were a few bus load of tourists there but nothing like other places we’ve been to. We had a great meal in a restaurant by the river and walked around the village.
A stunning wee town and if it wasn’t for the local knowledge of Gary and Dianne, we would never have known about it. A great day out. Thanks guys.
Thats the name of the Motor camp we stayed in in Hanover and is about 4 k’s south of the City.
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It is a huge area surrounding a lake of Chalets and parking areas for Motorhomes Caravans and tents and is fully equiped and even has its own restaurant.
In Germany, everything is priced separately including “Strom” which is power and is charged by the KWH but actually works out to be pretty reasonable.
Some caravanners just along from us seemed to spend quite a bit of time in the water and it looks nice.
Stepping back a wee bit … As we approached the border into Germany from Holland, the motorway suddenly became a parking lot and everyone was redirected off into a parking area and separated into lanes by the German Police.
We were selected for an extra look and presented our passports and our smiley faces. After answering a few basic questions of where we’d been and where we were going, the nice older Copper waved us through. I think he was more excited about seeing some NZ passports for a change 🙂
It seems they were quite stressed about the G20 summit that was on in Hamburg as he advised us not to go there as it was “difficult”!
Needless to say, we were relieved to be sitting down under Gary and Diannes awning having our first glass of wine that afternoon in a very nice Camping Ground 🙂
And it is Amsterdam. Dianne found a great camping ground just on the edge of town surrounded by Canals. The campground sold 3 day tickets where you could swipe on or off the tram as much as you liked. This worked really well.
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The first night we went in to have a bit of look around and ended up having tea in the town and checking out the red light area.
Day two we got up early and headed in so Fiona could check out the Art in Rijksmuseum.
A Famous walk bridge
One of the oldest foot bridges over a canal
The car accident on the bridge
A Dethleffs in the campground 🙂
Lots of young people in tents in our campground.
Gary, Fiona and Dianne at a cafe
On the way there was a car accident on one of the bridges so that was as far as the Tram could go. One of the downsides of Trams of course is they can’t go around the obstruction so we walked the rest of the way.
While Fiona was at the Art Museum, Gary, Dianne and I got on a Hop on Hop off round and Round open roof ferry. For 19 Euros, we could go right around the city by Canal with an audio commentary which was fantastic. Not great for taking piccies as you could only shoot out of the sides.
One of comments which came across was that the canals are 3 metres deep. One metre of Water, One Metre of Mud and another Metre of bicycles 🙂
On our third day there, Fiona and Dianne were keen to check out a Diamond Factory. I didn’t think I’d like it but I found it quite interesting. It was quite tourist tatty and the free coffee was awful but great to see.
One of the curious things I found with Amsterdam is Bikes have right of way over EVERYTHING!
The Bike lanes are everywhere and they go like the clappers and they simply ring the bell if you get in their way. It is quite intimidating. Also in the bike lanes are scooters and small cars and they go even faster. Often there is only a few inches between the edge of the footpath and a scooter doing 30-40kph! .. Its not uncommon to see people speeding along on bikes on their cell phone with a child strapped on somewhere.
So much history.. most of the buildings are centuries old and some have a lean either forward or sideways 🙂
Amsterdam is a really interesting city. Next were moving on to Germany.
I rocked in to the Dargaville Campervan Park and Cabins and was immediately greeted by Donna leaping out of her live in caravan with a big welcome. She was fantastic. She and her husband Vic have been managing the Park for some time now and love it.
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Being the only Motorhome in the park in the middle of the week, she suggested I could park anywhere. Unique to this park are a couple of the parks that have an ensuite cabin for Motorhomes where you can park next door and have exclusive use of your own private shower and bathroom for the duration of your stay. The cost of my parking was $18 for the night on my own but on gravel and the bathroom facilities are amazing. There is also a dump station available.
Around the outside of the Motorhome parking are about 10 “cabins” which are actually ex NZ Railways Good wagons converted to accomodation and done really well. With decks attached, small kitchenettes and full bathrooms, they’re fantatsic.
Inside a train: The Bathroom
The sleeping area with the Kitchenette
The bedding area
Looking down Dargaville’s shopping area
The park is right in the centre of town and with Countdown and the Warehouse at the end of the road, makes it very handy to everything.
You can’t beat the welcome from Donna and its a very comfortable place to stay in the centre of a neat town.
About 20 k’s South west of Dargaville is the small settlement of Glinks Gully. There are lots of Baches and homes there with a fabulous beach. See Rafe’s Tracker map at the bottom for directions.
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I arrived around lunchtime with the intention of staying the night but given the state of the campground and how long and low Rafe is, I decided not to stay but its a neat spot if you’ve got a smaller and higher ground clearance Motorhome.
The views are stunning straight down to the beach. There is an honesty box in the roundhouse like kitchen and the cost to stay with the NZMCA discount would have been $10 for me on my own.
I parked Rafe thankfully without scraping on anything underneath and then went for a look around. I wandered down to the beach to check it out and once you get to the edge of the water, you can look in both directions and it is endless. The sun was shining and it was a great day so it was perfect for checking it all out.
The view walking down the road
A novel way to use an old watertank
On the beach looking south
The playground by the beach
Rafes park on the hill
I walked back to the camp up the hill and decided that I wouldn’t relax worrying about getting Rafe out in the morning so decided to head out again. I ended up having a 10-15 minute conversation with one of the local farmers parked in the middle of the road. The locals are really friendly and he was encouraging me to head down to Poutu to check out the lighthouse at the bottom of the peninsula. Another time..
A great place to stay but I would recommend only for Motorhomes less than 7 metres and with plenty of ground clearance.