Archive for the ‘dump stations’ Category

When Sh*# happens

September 29, 2018

Sometimes you just wonder when will it ever end. This entry is all about the realities of living in a motorhome/RV so skip this one if you are of a delicate disposition.

We were in the sh#*. Literally! The valve that we open to empty the black tank had developed a leak, just a drip drip drip, but nevertheless a drip, and a smelly one at that because we are under no illusion that our crap does not stink!

Luckily we had a valve to replace the said leaky one, we’ve been carrying it around for years….just in case.

The new pieces, the black tank valve is 3 inch diameter valve (the picture shows the smaller grey tank valve).

This is where it all happens, inside the locker is the two handles to pull, one for the grey waste one for the black. By the time I took this picture we had managed to get the black valve out before the harrowing task of trying to get it all back together. How does it all work I hear you ask? You go to a dump station, place the evacuation hose into the dump station, pull the handle to open the valve and it all magically disappears down the pipes though the red hose you can see at the bottom left of the picture into the dump station, never to be seen. It is usually a no mess easy to perform task but not when there is a leak. Ewwww.

I researched how to replace the valve on YouTube, we watched the videos, it looked oh so simple, yeah right. Roy and I spent nearly a whole day trying to get the said goddam valve removed, it is in an awkward position and we had to both try to get our hands in there to undo nuts, wiggle around pipe work and other bits and generally become more and more frustrated with the whole process.

Roy contemplating the next move.

We finally got the valve removed but it was no easy task as two of the nuts and bolts were at the back of the locker behind the pipe work, almost flush against the rear of the locker. It did not help that also in this locker is the panel holding the outdoor shower and light panel which quite frankly was just a damn nuisance and got in the way.

In the end we gave up and waited for reinforcements.

Gary and Keith to the rescue. Not everyone would be ok dealing with someone else waste outlets, but in saying that we did make sure they were well and truly emptied and left empty for a couple of days to dry out.

Not only did they have to get the replacement valve in place, but it was critical that the two rubber washers were perfectly lined up so as not to create another leak and with little or no wiggle room to move the pipes apart, patience and determination were the key elements as you no sooner got the valve into position then one of the rubber washers would either fall out or be in the wrong position. Grrrrr.

three heads are better than one to nut out the problem, right? The easiest way it seems, was to also remove the grey waste valve giving a little more room to move and then replace the grey valve last as it is smaller and with less other pipe work around it. After a little while it was all done, great team work between the guys and it was time to test. I poured a bucket of water down the toilet to test for any leaks. Holding our breath we waited…..success, no leaks. Then the grey, hooray, it’s all working as it should, no leaks and all cleaned up.

all back together, handles labelled, pipes reinstated, we are now good to go.

A HUGE thank you to Gary and Keith for coming to our aid, it’s times like this that you get to know who your friends are!!!

Te Arai and Uretiti

August 1, 2015

Time to leave Shakespear, we do love this place and of course the people too but it won’t be long before December rolls around and we will be back to take up our role as summer camp hosts. We first headed to Hatfields Beach, probably best known in New Zealand as Rob Muldoon’s summer holiday retreat. Muldoon was Prime Minister from 1974 – 1982 and known as one of our most polarising PMs. To supporters he was the voice of ‘the ordinary bloke’; to critics he was a dictatorial bully. But we were here for a different reason, there is a new dump station here so we decided to check it out before heading north.imagethe new dump station at Hatfields Beach

From there is was another 75kms, with some of these kms over very twisty and dusty metal road, to Te Arai Point which is another Auckland Council managed park, with this one a very recently acquired managed park.  Here we are allowed to stay for just three nights in the Self Contained Area – for non motorhome people this means that your vehicle must have toilet and waste water contained to a certified level.

It is a lovely beach and we had only just parked up when we were on the beach with the kite out and hooks in the water.  We tried a couple more times over the next few days but all fish are safe and well somewhere out there in the ocean, not a one on our lines but never mind, it’s a lovely way to spend the day.

imageHere we are parked in the parking are along with Pat & Sue, the other motorhome is parked outside the gated area.

imageView of the vans and the beach from the point

We took took a sightseeing trip around the area including a visit to see friends eho live at Mangawhai Heads and will definitely come back here for another stay and hopefully better fishing too.

From Te Arai it was a short drive through to Uretiti DoC camp just south of Whangarei where we are for two weeks.  Ok, so one of those weeks has already passed and we have just one week left here until the van goes into hibernation mode as we head to Whakapirau to hosuesit for Jacky & Chris until the end of September.  The kites have been out a few times at Uretiti, but unfortunately nothing has been caught, apparently no one is catching anything much at the moment which is some consolation.

Improvments have been made, a new trace rack for holding all the hooks has been made and a new trolley has been purchased for carting all the gear to the beach….photos of those to follow in another blog post.

imageFishing off Uretiti beach, look carefully and you can see the kite and skyhook in the sky, with the flag and bottle in the surf.

imageRoy and Pat baiting the hooks whilst Sue holds the dropper line.


April 2, 2014

Thank you to all of you who have commented on our blog or emailed us to encourage us to continue blogging, we knew we had a reasonable number of people reading the blog from our stats but it is nice to put names to faceless numbers. So onwards, and upwards.

I returned to Auckland last week after my trip to Oamaru. Roy and the van were parked up at Ambury as it is very handy to the city as well as the airport. We moved across to Ardmore on Friday, we had to pack up and move as the van was due for its 6monthly COF (certificate of fitness), we thought it was an opportune time to continue on, fuel up, fill up with water and empty the waste tanks and with all that available at our favourite dump station at Bruce Pullman Park which is very close to Ardmore. With that all achieved, Friday afternoon we headed over to Torbay to have dinner with, and spend the night with, Steve and Les, to have a bit of a debrief of the last weeks happenings and time to chill out and relax. As well, Steve and Leslie got a new kitten on Friday, her name is Lola and it was hilarious watching Lola and their 5 month old kitten Lucy size each other up. There was much hissing, stand offs, back arching and general eyeing each other from a respectable distance. The kittens provided welcome entertainment for the evening.

Then it was back to Ardmore for a night before we headed off down to Waharau where we knew Pat & Sue were parked. This time however, we were to park in a different part of the park, not at Blackberry Flat camp area this time but at the Tainui camp which is near the main park entrance.

20140402-163238.jpg matching pair parked up in the sun.

This camp area is rather special, and I am not sure whether we should tell you about it as if too many people may find out about it we would not be able to have it to ourselves, but if you promise not to tell, shhhhh ………………..It has flush toilets, hot running water, powered sites, showers, dish washing sinks and food prep area! John will be delighted to know that we even took our washing machine out of the van to hook up to the running water and the waste!!! And yes, Pat & Sue are also now proud owners of the same type of washing machine.

20140402-163824.jpg Another matching pair

Once settled in, my first job was to bottle the beetroot that Steve had kindly given us fresh from his garden, then it was time to make and bottle up a Passata or Italian style tomato pasta sauce with the beautiful beefsteak tomatoes we purchased from a market garden in Mangere. The recipe used was one Steve gave me, and it has proved to be a real winner. We now have plenty of preserves to keep us going over the winter months, although I did go out yesterday foraging along fence lines looking for blackberries. But it has been far too dry up here for blackberries, they were dry, wizened up excuses for blackberries so we gave up on that idea. Hopefully we may be able to find some nice ones somewhere along our travels over the next week or two.

Next week we will head over to Whangamata as it will be our son Antony’s 30th birthday and we will be helping him and a few friends celebrate over the weekend. Although it is hard for us to believe that he will be 30, where did those years fly by?;


September 8, 2013

After a couple of weeks at Maitai Bay it was time to move.  First a quick stop at the Top 10 at Whatuwhiwhi to dump and then off to Ramp Road, just a short 18kms down the road.  Here we set up 10 metres from the beach (Tokerau Beach in Doubtless Bay).

So as a different blog, here is a collection of sights seen at Maitai and around the Karikari Peninsular.

It is almost as if the local sheep are aware of Halal and are practicing before they go to slaughter.

1kneeling 2kneeling

and the Pohutukawa all struggle to cling to the smallest advantage to hang onto the shore.   Some set a large number of props into the sand to ensure that they do not fall into the sea.

3clinging  5clinging

This one even managed to grow in the crack in a rock.


The sun rising out from Maitai Bay


Over the hill from Maitai Bay is Karikari Beach, a short walk from the car park takes you down onto the beach.  Photos below; looking East and then West on Karikari Bay

11karikari 12karikari

The long white sand in Karikari Bay


A meeting of the one legged seagull society


And a couple of foreigners meet their end!!


Oops! the demise of the washing machine. Obviously she was overworked and underpaid.


A long shot from the opposite side of Maitai Bay


A mathematical snail playing in the sand creating an infinity symbol


A Swallow and Black Back gull sitting in the sun.

 21swallow 22sittingitout

And common sights around the camp site are Yellow Hammers and Fantails


Views from a track that leads up to the top of the hills between the camp and the headland of the peninsular.  The beach and our motorhome partially hidden in the left.

103beach 106back

The entrance to Maitai Bay from the track

 111entrance 112entrance

Looking east along Karikari Bay to the white sand bar in front of Punaheke.

113karikari 114karikari

The flowers of the Manuka are well and truly out and the bees are making the most of it to produce Manuka Honey

115teatree 116bee 117bee 118bee

And finally here we are at Ramp Road on the shore of Tokerau Bay.


Back at Ambury

July 24, 2013

Wednesday morning and we are due back at Auckland Coach Builders to have a few things tweaked after we have had the van back for a few days and discovered a couple of items that were not quite right. We left our comfortable park in Drury and first made our way to the excellent dump station in Wiri Station Road where we emptied all the waste tanks and filled up with fresh water.

On to the repair shop where the first item was an easy fix, the igniter on the oven was not working, but a quick check and reattach a wire and all done. Another job was a cupboard door screws which had become loose, another job was….well, there were many more similar tasks, so you see, nothing major but all needed to be done. But in the usual Vannini manner, we found more items that needed attention, and in fact they found a couple of things too, but all is now done and hopefully we will not have to go back again. Chris had also made a nice board from the sink cut out and he had that waiting for us ready to go.

Once all the jobs were completed, it was off to Ambury Park and back to familiar surroundings, and it turns out to be very familiar as the two other vehicles parked there are two people that we have come to know quite well over our time at Ambury. We could not park in quite the same spot as usual as that particular parking bay has a tree that hangs over and we did not want to risk any scratching of the newly sealed roof. After a little “discussion”, we were safely parked and settled.


April 28, 2013

The van NOT the occupants are classed as Heavyweight vehicles, and this last weekend there was a rally held at Little Waihi so we thought we would pop long and find out what it is all about.

Before we left Otamarakau, on Thursday night we had Keith & Deb round for a very enjoyable evening and dinner.  Although there are eels in the creek, we left them where they are and instead settled on T- Bone steak for dinner.

 eelsand to prove it, here are the eels still swimming in the creek.

barnacleFound this example of a Goose Barnacle attached to a piece of pumice.  Based on the length of the barnacle shell the piece of pumice must have been floating in the sea for some five years.

Friday morning we headed off to Little Waihi which is further along the Bay of Plenty coast toward Tauranga, not far from Maketu.   It sits on a small peninsular on the inland side of the estuary, with  Pukehina on the ocean side of the peninsular.  We got a great view of the motorhomes all lined up from the hill coming down into Little Waihi.

waihi 1Motorhomes lined up in the centre of the picture. Pukehina is the collection of houses on the ocean side at the top of the photo.

As we had a few errands to run, we headed off into Tauranga once the van was all parked up and settled and before the weekend activities began.

little waihiA close up view…oh, and that is our van parked facing forward in the centre front of the picture.

We arrived back from Tauranga only a little late for Happy Hour, the shopping was quickly put away, poured ourselves a drink, grabbed our chairs and headed over to the marquee to meet some new people and find out what lay ahead of us for the weekend.  We arrived in time for the final two quick fire raffles of the day, and guess what? We won both of them!!  The first was a breakfast pack consisting of bacon, eggs, sausages and pancake mix, the second was a meat pack.   Score!


Saturday; morning tea, meeting new folk, checking out other vehicles, fishing competition, silly games afternoon, and a surprise visit from John who was passing on his way home from Rotorua.  A quick catch up before he left and it was time for Happy Hour.  Bernice remained in the van to watch the netball whilst Roy headed off to be sociable, it was not long before he returned with… yes, you guessed it, another meat raffle win! The freezer is now very full.

As an aside, we have been pouring over the latest editions of both the Cuisine and Dish magazines, both of which have a focus on all things Italian.  We have picked out a number of dishes to try and had stocked up on our Friday shop with items required to make a selection of menu items.  Saturday evening we enjoyed from Dish; Lemon & Oregano crumbed Lamb Cutlets with Potato rosti and salad – divine.

Lemon and Oregano Crumbed Lamb CutletsDinner


sunrise 1Early Sunday morning looking across the river estuary to the Little Waihi settlement. sunrise Sunrise on Sunday morning

litle waihi 3Some of the 47 Heavyweights lined up.

Sunday and after friendly farewells, we headed off to Tauranga. This time to Fergusson Park where we had been told was good free parking right on the waters edge.  After first visiting the dump station near Tauranga Airport, we settled into our very nice parking spot before Jenna came for a quick visit.  After more netball watching, time for another delicious dinner, this time an item chosen from Cuisine,

photoan Italian Sausage Ragu with Polenta.

Auckland, Ambury, and Alex

February 7, 2013

There is a dearth of photos in this entry due to the fact that the camera battery was flat, we had ‘lost’ the battery charger for the camera although Roy was sure that we had left it behind during our housesitting duties. We shall pick it up once we get to Auckland.

The trip from Matata northwards was uneventful. Our first stop was in Tauranga to empty the waste tanks and fill up with water as we knew that there was a very good and accessible dump station near Tauranga airport and it was not too far out of our way. Our next brief stop was in the Karangahake Gorge where we found a good spot to stop on the side of the road next to the river for our lunch. By mid afternoon we were at our destination for the evening which was the shell bank at Kaiaua where motorhomes line the shore, and the sea laps just a few feet from the door. A stunning spot that is generally peaceful and quiet with great views.

Saturday and we were ready to head off by mid morning and again an uneventful drive through to Ambury Park near Mangere Bridge. Ambury is one of Auckland Regional Council’s 26 public parks and this is a particulary lovely one as it is close to the city, near the airport, and is a hidden gem which many locals do not know of its existence. It is nestled on the shore of the Manukau Harbour and is a working farm as well as a education centre. The farm has goats, sheep, cows, chickens, pheasants, pigs, horses, turkeys, rabbits as well as a gazillion Pukekos plus numerous other birds of all varieties. The park is not only popular with school and kindergarten groups but also for many families to spend a day or two with large picnic and BBQ areas as well as camping areas. Over the weekend there were many family groups out enjoying the amazing weather as well as the facilities on offer with a number of them camping and obviously enjoying themselves, all of this is only 15kms from downtown Auckland.

We quietly and quickily settled ourselves in, and spent the rest of the day sorting out a few bits and pieces, one of which was to move the bike rack from the back of the RAV4 to the Motorhome as we thought this would be a better position for it…….more on this later!

Sunday and we had a visit from Ron & Janet and we spent a lovely afternoon chatting over tea and scones which Janet had kindly brought out with her. Later Glennis & Robin arrived and spent the evening with us catching up. Their visits included much discussion regarding scones, as i admit that I would have to be one of the worst scone makers around, unfortunately one skill my mother could not impart. She made the most amazing scones in the blink of an eye, and Roy’s Mum was an equally fantastic scone maker. We have followed their recipes, made them alongside them, and mine still come out like rock cakes!!! So the next challenge is that Roy and I are having a scone-off!!

Monday and we headed into town and caught up with Jacky & Chris, and picked up the camera battery charger! as well as doing the washing and a few other chores before heading back to the van. It wasn’t long before we were off again, this time to the airport to meet up with Antony, forming a welcoming party for Alex who was arriving early evening from London.

We did not have to wait too long before she was through Customs and warmly greeted by us all. It is lovely to see her again as it is just over a year since she and Bernice were in Singapore and Bali, and nearly two years since we last saw her in London. We all headed back to the van, before Antony left us and we settled in for an early night as Alex had been traveling for nearly 37hrs and deserved an early night. Unfortunately the amazing weather we had been enjoying deserted us for a couple of days, I am sure Alex thought that we had been inventing tales of hot summer days!

Tuesday and we headed into town to say a quick hi to Jacky before we dropped Alex off in town to catch up with her friend Claire. Roy and I headed off down to the waterfront for a bit of lunch and a wander around the fish market and the waterfront. We arranged to pick up Alex then headed off over to the North Shore as we were due to go to Steve & Les’ for dinner but first we headed to Albany Mall to take care of a little shopping. We also met up with Antony and Neil before we all headed off for dinner. Steve was away in Melbourne, but Leslie had invited two of her daughters and her grandchildren along. Sarah was there with her three gorgeous boys Ben, Ash and Finn, and Fran was there with her daughter Beatrix, born just 2 weeks ago.

Alex with Beatrix.
We had a great evening with everyone, before heading back to Ambury and the van. Alex had an early flight Wednesday morning as she is heading south for a week. Once she was safely delivered to the airport, we packed up and headed off to our next destination for the next few days which is Awhitu, another Regional Park.

And the story with the bike rack? Well, that is for the next installment!!!