Archive for March, 2016

Belated 2

March 28, 2016


Once again a catch up of photos and comments.


This photo is for you James, you should have approached Tui for sponsorship on recovering the billiard table at the Lodge!!

Before  leaving Lake Wairarapa Bernice and I took a train ride in to Wellington where we met up with Bernice’s niece Natalie & family.  Before doing so we went to the National War Memorial to see the extension to the exhibit we had previously seen.


The exhibition has been extended with the addition of a Gallipoli section.  This primarily consists of a time line from the landing through to the evacuation presented through a series of colourised original photographs.  These include New Zealand and Australian photographs in the main.  Each is presented within the context of the time and place of the action associated with the photograph.  There is also a roughly four metre square diorama of the action at Chunuk Bair.


The detailed work of colourisation has made those old black and white photos really come to life and add a depth to the experience which is significantly greater that that achieved through the original black and white photographs.

Meanwhile we moved from Lake Wairarapa to Ngawi.  So where is Ngawi?  It is about 5km from Cape Palliser which is the southern most point of the North Island. 


Parked up at a POP just a kilometre out of Ngawi.  Friends of Steve and Pat own the property.  Lovely spot close to the sea.


One of a pair of Highland cattle who are our neighbours.


Due west (where the sun is setting) is Seddon, on the South Island.  We have caught sight of the South Island from time to time.


This shot shows the reflected light, form the sunset above, on the dry hills immediately behind where we are camped


A cloud formation above the Aorangi Forest Park shaped like a feather.


The toilets which are positioned on the sea side of the road around this area are all well tied to the ground to avoid disappearing in the high winds. And yes, we have experienced a little of the strong winds.

We took a short trip from here to Cape Palliser.  This is the southern most point of the North Island.


Looking from the carpark up the steps to the Lighthouse.


Bernice part way up the stairs, taking in the view.


There is the top.  Not quite there but close.


And here is a shot of the original lighthouse keeper’s house at the bottom.


Steve and Pat waiting in the carpark for the mountaineers to return.


I think this sign may have been relocated from somewhere a little further south!!


A very happy little bach, or crib for those of you in the south.


This boat is being launched in Ngawi.  Note the very long drawbar between the cradle and the bulldozer.  Also the angled  connection is actually a ramp leading from the back of the bulldozer to the side of the cradle and the crewman driving the bulldozer can use this to go on board the boat.


Oops!!  Genuine seaside residence, with only a sight problem with the foundations.  Unobstructed sea views with direct access to the sea.


This is the view from the ridge track to the lookout at the Putangirua Pinnacles, a formation very similar to the clay cliffs outside Omarama.



Belated 1

March 28, 2016


Someone, who shall remain nameless, has been remiss with submitting blogs.  As a result it is now necessary to catch up and to post some of the pictures that have been taken over some past weeks/months.

So this blog starts when we were at Rangiwahia and goes through to about Wairarapa.  Some of these places and photos may be duplicated but most have not been seen before.

These first two are of the POP at Rangiwahia.  It is around the Hall with the parking on the left and the dump station on the right.

1The Hall


23POP and Dump station



This aeroplane on a stick is a monument to celebrate the first powered flight in the Wairarapa, it is not far from Gladstone.



These two were seen out and about at the Harvest Wine Festival


Then on to Lake Wairarapa where we spent time exploring the neighbourhood and relaxing.



4Early morning mist and a very still Lake

5Panoramic view of the same part of the lake.



A cloud formation over the Lake that strongly resembled the upper part of a Toetoe frond.


16And another great sunrise over the Lake.   One has to be early for these shots so they are also new to some members of the party. (Bernice here I’ll have you know that I watched quite a few sunrises over the Lake, from the comfort of my bed whilst waiting for my cup of tea to be delivered!!)


6A view of our camping site from further round the Lake.   This was on one of the busier days, but there was still plenty of room.  We saw a reasonable number of overnighters and very few stayed more than two nights.


7An interesting tree within the Camping Area.  It has obviously been there a long time as the trunk has completely filled the tractor tyre which had been placed around it to protect it when it was planted.  The root mass now starts at the top of the tractor tyre.  It will be interesting to come back and see how much it has stretched the tyre at some point in the future.


8Another glorious sunrise


5And finally a sunset over the Rimutaka Range

While we were at the Lake Wairarapa we took the opportunity to do some sight/site seeing and exploration of some of the remoter camping sites on the East Coast.  One of our trips took us out to Te Awaiti and Tora – the northern and southern ends of a remote part of the East Coast.


10The bridge at the north end of Te Awaiti.  The bridge is privately owned and provides access to the farm at the north end.  There is a gate across the far end of the bridge and nowhere to turn a large vehicle at the near end, a problem if you were to come here in a big vehicle.  It sometimes pays to explore first!


8Sue and Bernice preparing lunch carefully supervised/observed by Pat.  Whilst it looked not a bad place to stay we would never have got into the Camping area with our vehicle.  It was too narrow, too steep and impossible to turn into, so we crossed it off our list of possible coastal stays. 

On our way from Te Awaiti at the north end, to Tora at the south, we saw these fishing boats hauled out of the water.  They are launched using Tractors and bulldozers.  You will see more of these when we post about our stay at Ngawi. 




There is a free camping site at the beginning of the Tora Road.  Quite rudimentary it is between the bridge and the sea in fairly rough ground with some flatter spots.  There is a sign and rubbish bins at the entrance, but that is about all.


14Found this rather comfortable chair or lounger at the top of the beach on the road to Tora.  Obviously provided by some enterprising local.

On another day we went to see Stonehenge Aotearoa.  This is modelled on Stonehenge’s seen throughout the world, the most famous of which is probably the Stonehenge on Salisbury Plain, England.  Bernice and I had been to Stonehenge Aotearoa ten years ago which was not long after it first opened but Pat and Sue had not been so we all went and had a look.



The entrance or causeway to the henge.


Statue of Diana in the foreground and the Seven Sisters or Pleiades in the background.  Maori know these stars as Matariki and, for many tribes, the dawn rising of Matarki herald the beginning of the new year.  To the south-west of the Seven Sisters there is a marker stone.  Stand on this stone and the Sisters will show you where Matariki rises.



19Pat, Sue and Bernice listening to the enthralling tour provided by Richard Hall.   This site is a must see for everyone with a sense of wonder.


20And last but not least a view of the “ghost house” on the hill opposite the Stonehenge site

Easter in Ngawi

March 27, 2016

Just a quick update, we are currently enjoying the ever changing weather and scenes around Ngawi on the southernmost eastern corner of the North Island.  We are enjoying the company of Pat & Steve, along with POP (Park over Property) owners Malcom and Julie.  We have been along to Cape Palliser and explored along this rugged coastline as the weather has allowed, today is a brilliant day so it’s off exploring a little more.   

I will update more once I find some a) time, and b) decent wifi !! 

Lake Wairarapa

March 20, 2016

After a couple of nights in Masterton we headed down the road to Lake Wairarapa which has a nice parking area in the reserve by the Lake.  We based ourselves here whilst we explored the surrounding  area in the RAV.   

   With the sun setting behind us

We had a bit of an explore of the immediate area, doing a bit of off road 4WD driving through and across a river to see what was around.  We did come across some nice patches of blackberries which added to the freezer cache.  

  This is the view across the Lake to where we are parked. (Zoom in to see the vans)

First on our agenda was a visit Garrick & Marguerite who own Longwood, a beautiful historic country home just a couple of minutes away from where we are parked. We met Garrick & Marguerite nearly 20 years ago when we first bought Pen-y-bryn and over the following 13 years that we had the Lodge, we formed a good friendship which has continued.   Pat & Sue came with us and had to suffer a couple of hours of us regaling tales of the Lodge business and recalling the characters we encountered.  It was great to catch up and we look forward to meeting up again this week.  

The following day we packed a picnic for a drive out to the coast to check out Te Awaiti and Tora, both of which we had been told were good places to stay with good fishing.  We wound our way through the dry countryside, over some large hills and past more wind farms.

  Wind farm 

We arrived at the coastline, a rugged stone beach with lots of rocky outcrops.  We head first for the Te Awaiti reserve which is a free parking area, however, we are so pleased we took the car for the drive as the entrance to the reserve was too tight for our vans to get through and there was no turning area at the end of the road either.  We would have been in a right pickle!  We stopped here for our picnic lunch, with all of us deciding that this was defintely not on our must come and stay spot list!  

  Camping area down on the flat beside the river ( is apparently prone to flooding).
 Across the bridge (which is locked off to the general public)  is Te Awaiti station, a 16,000 acre farm that has been owned by the Riddiford family since 1843.  Coincidentally, Longwood was also once owned by the Riddiford family.   

 Next, we headed just a little further south along the coast to Tora where there are two parking places, both would be OK but we thought that the drive over the steep, windy and narrow road over the hills to get here was not on the top of our to do list. And you defintely would not want to be here on a windy day. 
 South Tora Reserve


March 18, 2016

We all went down the country lane
for blackberries, sweet blackberries 
And there we saw them wet with rain
Those blackberries, sweet blackberries
And oh my dear it was such fun
To see them glistening in the sun 
We ate them all, yes every one 
Those blackberries, sweet blackberries.

This is a nursery rhyme from my childhood (I think I have recalled it reasonably accurately) which every year at about this time comes to mind especially when we find blackberries growing. And this year we found a nice couple of places where we have managed to find them growing in abundance. The first patch of blackberries we found were not too far from Gladstone where we were parked last week, so Roy and I went off to pick a few. 
  growing wild
Roy in gathering mode
On one of our trips out and about with Pat & Sue we found a lovely apple trees growing on the side of a road, of course we stopped and picked a bag each of some very good cooking apples. We are not sure what variety they are but they are very tart, and when cooked fluff up beautifully. The perfect combination – blackberries and apples.  

A bag of apples and a bowl of blackberries
It didn’t take too long to get the first lot of Blackbrry Chutney in a pan cooking away. This is a recipe that I developed a few years ago whilst at the Lodge when I was looking for a chutney to accompany a specific cheese and after trying a few recipes, I worked at developing my own recipe very carefully noting all the quantities and methodology along the way.

  Chutney in the making

  Chutney at the front and the start of Blackberry & Apple Jelly cooking at the rear.

Chutney was made, Jelly bottled, then apples cooked up and portioned into bags and put in the freezer along with a few small bags of blackberries. Blackberry & Apple tarts were also made,  individual ones made in muffin tins and these have provided us all with a treat at the end of dinner.  A few pears have also been foraged and added to the larder and a few more blackberries were added to the freezer after we moved to park at the reserve by Lake Wairarapa where we found another irresistible patch to raid.  These will be used at some stage over the next few months to remind us of warmer times.

Wedding Anniversary

March 15, 2016

These days, birthdays and anniversaries seem to roll around with regular monotony with Sunday 13 March being our 34th wedding anniversary.  We don’t usually go overboard on the whole celebration thing for our anniversary, but we do like to mark the occasion.  And this year we could share the day with our good friends & fellow motorhome buddies Pat & Sue by starting the day off with brunch.   


A long leisurely brunch was accompanied with bubbly and finished with hot cross buns and coffee, we didn’t need to eat for the rest of the day as we were all so full after our lovely brunch.  

Whilst chatting, we reminisced over what we remembered of our wedding day.  Bernice remembers sitting in all her finery at her parents home in front of the TV with a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other (well, we almost all smoked back then didn’t we?)  watching the cricket.  NZ opening batsman Bruce Edgar was on 99 and I was waiting for him to score his century before going off to get married, but then rain stopped play for the day. I was only 5 or 10 minutes late I am sure!!  Meanwhile Roy was at the Putaruru Club being ‘well looked after’ or so I am told, by my brother John and friends including Kevin.  He can’t have been late because he was there when I got to the ceremony.     I must add that our ceremony was conducted by a friend of ours who was not only one of the first celebrants but also one of the first female celebrants, and it took place in a lovely garden setting.  

So here we are 34 years later, although it is really more like 38 years as we did live together for 4 years before tying the knot, and what an adventure it has been so far.  We have lived all around the country, travelled a few miles off shore and are still traveling. Here’s to many many more. 

Wairarapa Harvest Wine & Food Festival

March 13, 2016

It came as somewhat of a shock but we are just not used to it.  We are of course talking about the weather!  On Friday night the temperature dropped which meant we had to find some warmer clothes, dig out the slippers from their summer hiding place and get out the quilt to throw over the bed covers.  We are just not used to this, temperatures dropped overnight to 10C, I mean, we have become accustomed to overnight temperatures dropping to the early 20’s but this sudden change meant that we turned on the heating for a quick blast of warmth.  So when we woke on Sarturday morning with the temperature rising very slowly and with a cool breeze, we all rugged up ready for a cool day at the festival.

We drove the 6km to the venue where we were directed to park in a large paddock and then board one of the numerous buses running shuttles to the venue on the banks of the Raumahunga River.  Once we had gained entry we were given our wine glass which came with holder and handy cord to hang around our necks along with a very good programme which also included a list of each eatery with a menu of their offerings for the day,  a great idea.  In between cooking demonstrations there was great entertainment on offer and got the crowd to their feet.

  The crowd waiting for the entertainment to start
We met up with Ali & Ian (their motorhome is called Alian!) as we discovered we were in the same region.  We first met Ali & Ian in 2012 at the Pakawau Old school Cafe, read here, and then again in 2013 which you can read here so it was lovely to be able to meet up again.   They were parked in the motorhome parking area at the venue whereas we had decided to stay where we were after doing a recce of the venue and parking area last Thursday and on being told that 150-200 motorhomes were expected to arrive, we  decided to stay at Gladstone Reserve away from the throng.  However, once we got to the festival and checked everything out, there would have only been 40-50 vans there, but never mind, we were happy and comfortable where we were.     Sue, Ali and Bernice

It wasn’t too long before the sun came out and the layers of warm clothing removed.   The bands started playing and the crowds got to their feet to sing and dance  along with them.

  The band and crowd enjoying the atmosphere

Soon it was time to board our bus back to the carpark and then into the car to return home.  Funnily enough as we settled down for an evening drink outside we could hear the band on its last set of the day as although we had to travel 12km to the event in a circuitous route, as the crow flies it was just a few hundred metres away from our spot on the side of the river. 

A lovely day spent with great friends, good food and wine and entertainment – the weather was great too. 

The long and winding road

March 11, 2016

By Wednesday morning the gales had subsided and we were soon on the road heading toward Gladstone which is just out of Masterton in the Wairarapa, to meet up with Pat & Sue as we are off to the Wairarapa Harvest Wine & Food Festival this weekend.  We set off from Feilding taking just a small detour to the dump station before we were tootling along quite nicely enjoying the ever changing landscape. We caught glimpses of the Apiti Wind Farm peeping out from cloud covered hills.

 Apiti wind farm under the clouds

It wasn’t too long before we came to the Manawatu Gorge, we had heard a lot about this road through the gorge, its reputation preceded it so it was with some trepidation we approached the route.   Yes, it is a winding, narrow road but with all traffic travelling at a sensible, appropriate speed and it was not long before we came out of the other side.


  Manawatu gorge
Before long we passed through many small rural towns including Woodville, Pahiatua and Eketahuna not to forget Mangatainoka – the home of Tui Beer.

      Tui Brewery

Our GPS took us through one very convoluted bypass around Masterton to arrive at Gladstone Scenic Reserve where Pat & Sue were waiting, having just recently arrived.

  All parked up!


March 8, 2016

We are becoming used to changing our plans, in fact, it’s getting to the stage that we should not even bother to make plans. We arrived in Feilding Monday afternoon and found Timona Park, a huge complex of large open spaces, rugby fields, soccer/football pitches, athletics tracks, pony club fields and much more all surrounded by a network of roads with large parking areas for self contained motorhomes around the edges with a river on the boundary.

  Parked up in amongst the trees
The plan was to stay the night and then head off Tuesday morning to meet up with Pat & Sue in Alfredton where we would stay for a night or two before heading down toward Masterton for the Wairarapa Harvest Wine Festival this weekend.  Well, you know what is coming don’t you? Yep, plans changed again!  We woke on Tuesday morning to gale force winds rocking us around and on checking with Pat & Sue they too had terrible winds which is not conducive weather for travelling.  

So we stay anther night here at Timona Park and…..dare I say it?…..plan to move on tomorrow, but this time to a park just out of Masterton, close to where the Wine festival is being held.  Meanwhile we have a good look around Fielding as its been a very long time since we have been through here and I must say it is a very tidy prosperous looking small town.  

So let’s hope this wind abates and we can get back on track.

Destination Rangiwahia……..perhaps!

March 7, 2016

Where is Rangiwahia you may ask? just as we did when we decided to head for it.  But first, a bit of backtracking.

Saturday afternoon we spent at Antony’s place doing a bit of cooking to fill up his freezer as well as cooking dinner for us all as Ron & Janet were coming round to join us. We spent a lovely evening quietly catching up on everyone’s news and generally putting the world to rights.

We made the decision to leave Auckland on Sunday and head straight down the middle of the country to Taupo.  After saying hooray to Antony with fingers crossed that he has no more serious painful events, we left Ardmore mid morning heading south with neither of us daring to say anything about leaving the bright lights.  We arrived in Taupo in the late afternoon heading straight to the NZMCA park at the airport.  Barry & Sandra live at the airport so it was a good opportunity to meet up with them and share news.

Monday morning we were up and off, climbing up onto the Central Plateau where we noticed a considerable drop in temperatures.  The mountains were covered in a cloak of cloud and I was so mesmerised by watching the landscape in front of me that I forgot to take any pictures!!!  A stop at the Waiouru Army Museum for a welcome cuppa was in order.  Whilst we were there we made enquiries regarding centennial commemorations of the battles of Paschendaele next year as this was where Roy’s father was injured in 1917.  Gathering the information we sought it as time to get back on the road.  We had programmed the ever helpful GPS to talk us to Rangiwahia, off the beaten track a little and somewhere we had never previously been.

   Rangiwahia is where the red pin is.  

After travelling along State Highway One for some time, the turn off soon appeared.  The road quickly became very narrow, winding and started to steeply climb through some amazing country.  Although the drop off over the edge was, in places, a little breathtakingly too sheer for me to look and Roy was intently concentrating on the road ahead.


We soon arrived at Rangiwahia,obviously a thriving village at some stage but now there is little remaining part from a hall, a playground and a couple of houses.

  The Hall and the parking area.

As we had made reasonable time, we made the decision to continue moving on, we had come up with a few options of where to go, but in the end we ended up at Timona Park in Fielding.  The park is huge with plenty of room for parking and is very pleasant.  I will post pictures in the next entry as it is a little too dark to venture out now .