Tag Archives: worth doing

Rotating Tyres

During my travels through the last NZMCA Motorhome show in Auckland, I bumped into Phil Jackson at Carters. He made a point of reminding me to make sure I rotated my tyres to get the best out of them but at that stage they had only done 5000k’s odd, but now that they’ve done 10000 k’s, I thought I’d better get on with it ๐Ÿ™‚

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All ready at Carters

So I duly made an appointment with Carters Tyres in Highbrook, where I had my tyres fitted and they were happy to rotate them for me. Carters are a big supporter of the NZMCA and if you’re looking for tyres, they give NZMCA members a pretty good discount. They saved me a fortune.

The Tyre Technician for the day was Mohit who was ready to get stuck in as I rolled in.

On the way up

One of the traps with the Dethleffs wheel covers is they have some Alun nuts as a decoration and a couple that are actually functional. Sometimes its a bit of a mission to pick the real ones. The plastic ones have to glued back on if you get them by accident !

Spot the decorations

Mohit successfully navigated his way around that and whipped all the wheels off one at a time and rebalanced the wheels for the front as he refitted them.

Off with the first tyre
All done !

While they were off, its amazing seeing them side by side to see the wear. On their own it was hard to see but definitely the wear can be seen next to each other. In the pictures, the front tyre is on the left.

Mohit with a front (left) and rear tyre (right) .. not a lot of difference

As Rafe is a front wheel drive vehicle, the back wheels are just being dragged along behind for the ride so there is minimal wear until they’re on the front so tyre rotation is really important if you want to get even wear from your tyres.

Front tyres being balanced

An hour later, we all ready to go again. .. for another 10 k’s until the next rotation ๐Ÿ™‚

Ready to go for another 10k

Steaming Gutters in Ohinemutu

We were in Rotorua with our Grandchildren Ayden and Liam and on our route was Ohinemutu.

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Walking through Ohinemutu

I think they were pretty taken by the steam coming out of the gutters and the lakefront.

Roadside steam

There was a huge crowd set up for a special event where the last remaing Maori Battalion member was being honoured on the Marae and was being presented with a medal by the Italians. A great occasion and there was a special Marque set upย  with chairs everywhere you looked.

St Faiths Church over a steamy Lakefront

There was a small party from the NZ Army there too representing the NZ Armed Forces.

The Special team from the Army for the celebration of the Maori

We had a brief look around St Faiths Church on the lakefront and thought we’d make head into town but its a lovely tranquil spot and the steam and heat from the bores and water makes it a special place.

Ayden, Liam and Fiona heading down to the Church

There is free parking for Motorhomes just along from there towards the city so its an easy walk and well worth doing.

For a look at our last trip here and some interiors of the church go here.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There was a big fun fair entertainment thing happening in the domain so the boys had a ride on the small cars to finish off the morning before lunch.

St Faiths

Grandchildren and Rotorua

Every now and then its time to grab the Grandkids and take them away in Rafe for a weekend and give Mum and Dad a night or two off.

Rotorua is the popular spot as they love the hot pools and the things to see and do there so we were off.

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Ayden and Liam on the swings during a Cup of Tea break at Gordonton

We stopped off at Gordonton to give the Boys a break and they very quickly found a play area and set off to give it a workout while Fiona and I watched with a cup of coffee.

Cruising on we eventually arrived in Tirau and the boys spotted a Subway so that was lunch sorted ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Rotorua was always a favourite place to go when I was in short pants. We used to stay in Motels opposite Kurau park where there used to be a miniature steam train that you could ride on. Sadly that’s gone now but its still a magic place.

We arrived in Rotorua around the middle of the day and decided to check in at Cozy Cottage Holiday Park which is right on the lakefront and has its own hot pools. We’ve stayed here a couple of times before when we first got Rafe, 5 or so years ago so we knew it was easy.

Rotorua Lakefront

After settling down, plugging in and opening some vents, we set off for a look around to see what was where. Ayden and Liam are 10 and 6 and the first thing they found was the playground and they were pretty happy with that and soon made some new friends.

Fiona and Liam in one of the pools

Not long after that, we were all in the pool.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The next day, we decided that we would walk into Rotorua and have a look at Ohinemutu, the waterfront and find some lunch.

The boys were hanging out for McDonalds so after a walk there and a look around, we caught the bus back to the park.

The boys digging with Mokoia Island behind

One of the features of this Motorhome park is its proximity to the lakefront and they have a track that takes you directly to the beach where you can dig holes with a shovel and make your own hot pools. The boys were keen to give this a go soย after another hot pools swim, we headed down to the lakefront to find some hot water ๐Ÿ™‚

Ayden had first pop with the shovel and he got straight into digging some holes. Within 5 minutes or so he had created a new pool with the only problem being that it was just too hot to put your feet in. Just two feet down right by the water and steam was coming out !

The boys on the Lakefront digging for water!

Cozy Cottage was $22 for each adult and $10 for each Grandie per night. With the hot pools and the facilities and being an easy walk to Rotorua, I thought this was pretty reasonable.

Aydens pool.

There are Cabins and Motel Units there too for friends without Motorhomes or Caravans.

Rafe in his spot

A fun weekend.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

 

The Gas Gadget

And this is a beauty! People who know me will tell you how I love a good gadget that can do something useful.. This is one of those.

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The Kit with the two sensors, the rubber base rings and the gauge.

I bumped into Duncan from Apollo as I left the NZMCA Motorhome show and he was telling me about this new Gas remote fuel gauge. It is called a Mopeka.

The sensors all connected to the phone app

It works by having two sealed sensors which are each magnetically attached to the bottom of your Gas bottles that send a signal to a remote LED gauge telling you how much Gas you have left in your bottles.

My new Gas bottles ready for the sensors
A sensor on the bottom of a bottle
The Gauge for inside somewhere

It also has a phone app and it will work with that too but you have to make sure that you tell it your bottle size and that you’re in NZ. It defaults to a weird bottle size in the US ๐Ÿ™‚

All ready to be put in the Gas locker. Note the rubber ring on the base.

I thought I’d give one a run and see how they went. The whole process from start to finish took me about ten minutes and once I’d set it up for two 9kg bottles in NZ, it looked like the perfect solution to prevent middle of the night alarms from the fridge, when a bottle has run out, usually in the rain  ๐Ÿ™‚

Ready to go

Rafe is in storage at the moment until his new concrete pad has settled so isn’t parked at the optimum angle. I think once it is level, this device will have half a chance but given that the bottles are both swappa bottles that only ever have about 70% gas in them anyway, I’d say its pretty accurate.

Not really a good test for it!

A really clever device retailing about $300 from Apollo Entertainment.

With the phone app

Great Parking right in the town

A couple of years ago, I popped into the Pukekohe A & P to see how their Motorhome Parking was going as they had just started it and it looked great. Since then they have had some big groups of Motorhome parties through and most nights, there is somebody there.

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Looking back to the Motorhome Parking area across the Kart track

At only $20 a night including power with access to their brand new ablutions block with showers and toilets, it is ceratinly great value. The only downside over the last year or so has been the wet weather.

Rafe on the hard with the new ablutions block.

Fiona and I stopped in to stay a night and have a look around. After talking to Gina, who runs the office, she introduced me to Ian, the volunteer Camp organiser who was telling meย  that the wet weather issue is about to be solved with the addition of rolled out gravel to all of the sites in stages.

Volunteer Parking Organiser/Creator Ian, at the parking area

I could tell while talking to Ian that he was really excited by the way the Motorhome Parking has developed and where it was going. He has done a wonderful job and I’m looking forward to seeing it when we come back in a few months.

A break in the rain

As the rain was almost horizontal and the wind with it, we decided to stay on the gravel by the new loos.

This must be the judges box

The site is huge with more than 50 acres odd to walk around. Dogs are welcome on leads and it is only a stones throw from the centre of Pukekohe so good for shopping too.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The train station is only 500 metres away and although the trains didn’t worry us, Ian tells me that it has been a problem for some. I love the sound of those big Diesels pulling a couple of hundred metres of train!

Pukekohe station

The next morning, we dodged the showers and went for a walk through the own to check out the shops and have lunch. Just over the road and along from the camp is a huge Mall with a Warehouse and all the shops you’d ever want. Very handy.

Fiona with a Statue of Possum Bourne in the main street
One of the Malls just around the corner

I used to have to come out to the Pukekohe races when I was a wee fella in short pants (about 5-6 ) as my Dad was involved with Shell Racing, and I remember Pukekohe then as a small village with big racetrack. It has definitely changed from those days.

I’m looking forward to going back soon to check out the new all weather parking setup. Well done Ian and team for a great setup.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Pukekohe. You can see we missed the turnoff ๐Ÿ™‚

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 โ€œFairlie good piesโ€ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

 

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.

The Big Mine

Macraes is famous for its size and as it was on the way to Middlemarch, we stopped at the lookout for a look at this amazing mine. Friends of ours had shown us this several years ago but it looked even bigger this time than I remember it.

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The BIG Hole – To the left of the car on the road you’ll see the diggers in the pic below
Looking down in the BIG Hole

From the top the diggers and trucks were just little specks and you really have to look hard to see them doing their thing in the mine. Its massive!

The mine was opened in 1990 and since then has produced more than 5.7 tonnes of Gold.

The Boot Makers

After this we checked out the town ship which was basically the pub and a few historic old buildings.

The Pub at Macraes

Its amazing seeing all these places and this was one town that I had never seen.

Rafe’s Tracker Map to Macraes

The Big Ride to the Horeke Pub

After a great night of catching up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica along with Dianne and Gary, it was time to get some sleep for the big 30k ride the next day.

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Getting the bikes ready

The next morning, Helen and the the girls set off to check out the Bay of Islands and we got organised and set off towards Horeke.

The top part of the Trail

We simply crossed the road and headed off down the trail. The first part of the trail is downhill..some of it so steep that you are advised to walk it! The first third is pretty much downhill but then it flattens out and its up and down the rest of the way through to Horeke but the trail is pretty easy and nicely set out.

Riding beside the stream

The middle part of the ride go’s through Snows Farm and past a Lily pond and the track is set in some really nice easy bush and along side a river. The scenery and countryside is amazing.

Dianne and Fiona

Eventually the track comes out to a road and then cross’s over to a huge wooden track built up over the Mangroves on the upper reaches of the Hokianga. From there it is only a few K’s to the pub.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We were well and truly ready for a G&T and a sit down lunch and the lunch didn’t disappoint!ย  The Seafood Chowder was recommended to us by Noeline at the Rail Stay so 4 Seafood Chowders later, everyone was happy.

Peter the Publican came over to say Hi and it was interesting talking to him. He has owned the Horeke Tavern for more than 25 years so has seen some big changes.

Horeke Pub

Peter runs a shuttle for bikes and gave a us a ride back to the Rail Stay. Gary being a bit of sucker for some more punishment, decided to ride back on his electric bike and did it in really good time too, despite it being mostly uphill on the way back.

Back for a cold one with Rafe later.. Dianne, Jessica, Helen and Gary.

The Coastal Walkway

It was going to be a scorcher so we got the bikes sorted and headed from the Bell Block park down towards the Waterfront to join up to the Walkway.

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Fiona screaming down the hill to the walkway.

From the Bell Block park to the Wind Wand is about 20k’s round trip so its a good ride and you know you’ve used some muscles when you return ๐Ÿ™‚

Coming up to the Te Rewa Rewa bridge
The Te Rewarewa ridge

The trip is mostly downhill to the Te Rewa Rewa bridge but its a fantastic pathway. Some of its boardwalk but most of it is a wide concrete path which eventually goes through the side of the Fitzroy Holiday Park. We stopped at the Kiosk for a cuppa and something to eat and then rode on to the Wind Wand. Great fun.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There we left the waterfront to have a quick look at some shops and then headed back along one of the shopping streets and back down to rejoin the Waterfront.

Fitzroy beach

Just fantastic. A great outlook and apart from the uphill bit at the end going up through the houses was pretty easy. .. Well worth doing!!

Heading home

A couple of glasses of wine later with some neighbours in the park and that was us for the day ๐Ÿ™‚

Cricket on the mudflats

Another nice contender for Summer 2018

Fiona had left Bland Bay and was heading back to town to do other things .. and work so she suggested that I spend another night out on the way back. We stopped in Waipu and had lunch and then Fiona went on to Auckland.

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The cricket pitch with the campground behind
The cricket pitch with the campground behind

I rang the good folk at one of my favorite spots when the weathers good, Whangateau by Matakana. A great campground run by Auckland City.

In the Grandstand
In the Grandstand

Today was a bit different as when I arrived, the tide was out and there was a friendly game of cricket with two families involved. One was from Whangaparoa and the other from the UK visiting. They were having a ball. I had to get some piccies.

It is a fascinating place to watch as the tide comes in really quickly covering hundreds of metres of exposed mud in just under an hour… Amazing to watch.

The water is coming in
The water is coming in

A nice campground if you’re looking for somewhere not to far from Auckland. See my earlier Whangateau post here.

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Rafes Track to Whangateau Holiday park

Rafes Tracker Map
Rafes Tracker Map