Archive for the ‘Karapiro’ Category

We have the power

July 4, 2020

It was a leisurely start to the day, besides, it was freezing cold so the option to stay rugged up in bed was the best choice. However, once the sun came up we were ready to leave AJ’s Park at Horahora and make our way back to Hamilton. But first a visit to the dump station in Cambridge to empty the tanks and what an easy dump station to access it was with plenty of room for us to turn around with the car hitched on the back as well.

It was only another 30minute drive through to Hamilton. Again we spent the night at the Classics museum before the van went into Wayne at Motorhome Solar to get some extra solar put on the roof and new batteries. Our batteries are just over 9 years old and although still doing a fine job, we know that they will probably need to be replaced, and it’s not a cheap exercise either. But as most people only get 3-5 years of use out of a set of batteries, then 9 years of continual use is pretty damn impressive so we cannot complain. We have looked after them and we are not huge users of power although over the summer months we do go through a lot more use when we offer the charging facility to campers at Shakespear.

We arrived at Motorhome Solar just after 8am which was after we scraped the ice off the car and the van as well as running the engines to warm things up a little. Brrrr, we are not used to this sort of cold. A discussion took place about what we are after and the best way to achieve this then we left the van in Wayne’s good care and headed off to find somewhere nice for breakfast. A quick google search and we found a place called Cinnamon not too far away. We had just arrived ready for a good breakfast when Wayne messaged to say that our batteries are fine and in great condition so there is no need to replace them. Woohoo.

Back to breakfast, we perused the menu and made our choices.

Eggs Benedict with crispy bacon for Bernice

Liver and bacon for Roy

They were both utterly delicious and our timing was perfect as we had just received our breakfast when the power went off. So no more coffees although some breakfasts could still be cooked as they had gas hobs. The power was only out for about 15minutes before normality resumed. After our leisurely breakfast it was off to the shops and laundromat to attend to domestic duties before we got the call to say the van was finished. Oh and if you are looking for a laundromat in Hamilton then we can recommend Crystal laundromat in Avalon drive, everything was constantly being cleaned and scrubbed, it was spotless.

Previously we had done quite well with our solar panels, we had a 95W panel which was on the van when we bought it, and then we had put on a further two 135W panels. Now all of those panels were coming off and four 200W panels were being put on.

The old panels being removed

I didn’t get a picture of the new panels in situ when we picked up the van as we were keen to get on the road, and I haven’t persuaded Roy to climb up on the roof as yet. With no new batteries required, Wayne did upgrade our MPPT controller, which we only had put in late last year however he generously gave us a good credit. We also had our Electric Warrant of Fitness renewed as that had expired. We can highly recommend Wayne and his great friendly team at Motorhome Solar, they do a great job, they don’t feed you any ¥§€$#* and they do a very neat and tidy job all at a reasonable cost. And what we really like is the fact that you are kept up with the play with messages letting you know what is happening.

We left Hamilton just on 3pm, and what should have been a comfortable 50min trip took us just over 2hours. School holidays have started and lots of people seemed to be trying to get away for the weekend, compound that with road works continually along the route and it became a very slow trip. However, we arrived safely and in daylight (just) which is one of our “rules” I.e. always arrive at your destination well before the sun goes down.

We are here at AJs for a night or two before heading off again on our travels, meanwhile the power is pouring into the batteries even though it’s a very overcast and dull day. We are happy customers.

On the road again

June 28, 2020

Before we left Ardmore, my brother John and his partner Jude called in to say hi. We had a good couple of hours catching up with all their news before they had to continue on their journey home to Waiotahi. Friend Janet also called in to see us as she dropped off some goodies for us. We had spent a recent afternoon playing cards with Ron & Janet at their place in Ararimu. It was a blissful afternoon and evening spent with them as we all love playing cards. Ron & Janet are just one of the few people that we know who enjoy playing Samba so we always love having the opportunity to play. A wonderful afternoon and evening quickly went by before we returned to the van at Ardmore.

We saw a vehicle with a car parked up at Ardmore which we thought was Chris & Debbie so we rock up and knocked on the door. Oops, we were looking for Chris & Debbie we explain, and it’s obviously not you. The delightful gentleman, Steve, replied “we can be Chris & Debbie if you like!” After chatting at the door for a while, we were invited in and spent the next hour pleasantly chatting with Steve & Marianne (I hope I’ve spelt your name correctly). So, cheers Debbie & Chris, you inadvertently introduced us to more nice folk!

We bade a fond farewell to Antony and thanked him for his wonderful hospitality over the past week as it’s time for us to finally hit the road. We enjoyed our time spent with Ants, he is so easy going, welcoming and he always makes us laugh.

We have had a bit of an issue with our solar power since having the roof sorted so we are off to Hamilton to get the power issue looked at. We are already booked in at the end of next week to have more solar put on the roof and possibly new batteries but we need to get things checked out first as the solar doesn’t appear to be working properly.

Just over an hours drive, 98km or 60miles

We left Ardmore mid morning and arrived in Hamilton after a very pleasant drive along the new-to-us Expressway. A new section of the road has been completed since we were last down this way and it’s a dream to drive straight through from Auckland now, bypassing Huntly and Taupiri with some lovely new scenery along the way to keep things interesting.

Parked at Classics Museum

We parked up at the Classic Museum for the night, we were due to take the van around to Wayne Hunt at Motorhome Solar the following morning. However, we were just driving out of the parking area in the car to go get our grocery shopping done when we did a quick u turn. I spotted Wayne driving in, he just so happened to be coming in to see one of the caravans parked up. We quickly said hi, and he said he’d come and see us after he had finished with his other client.

Wayne had a quick look at our system, then he hopped up onto the roof to check out our existing panels, and what do you know? One of the panels wasn’t hooked up! That explains why the solar input was so dismal. The connection hadn’t been clicked together fully after the panels were put back on when the roof was recoated.

With the power issue sorted we headed off to get our shopping done as we were due to visit friends Wade & Lindsay. We spent a lovely afternoon and evening catching up with all their family news, reminiscing and laughing over old times, remembering places and people from our younger days living in Tokoroa and generally setting the world to rights. It certainly is wonderful to have such long lasting friendships which we can pick up again no matter how long it is between meetings.

Without having the need to take the van into see Wayne the following morning, we could have a leisurely start to the day before the drive to our next destination. But first, I took a picture of a sign at the car museum for campers, outlining the rules ….with one line in particular making me do a double take, giving me a good laugh. Can you spot what it may be?

Camp rules

Here’s a close up of the wording


Yes indeed, clothing must be worn at all times. This makes me wonder what incident or incidents necessitated the inclusion of this in the rules. The mind boggles! Before any rule breakers could be spotted, we were off!

Our next destination is AJ’s Park next to the Horahora Domain just 40minutes south of Hamilton.

Nice to be back parked on grass with a bit of space around us

We are staying here until we go back to Hamilton for the solar upgrade, catching up with friends and family who live in the area with a quick side trip to Tauranga and Hamilton airport in between.

Oh, and we’ve had a bit of rain in the past couple of days to test out the roof…….no leaks so far. Fingers crossed it’s all fixed.


March 28, 2019

We spent a glorious week at Horahora at AJ’s Park for Self Contained vehicles.

Horahora is just south of Cambridge on Lake Karapiro, one of the many hydro lakes formed along the Waikato River.

The privately owned Park is right next door to the Domain which is also a parking area, the only difference is that the Domain is free and AJ’s has a nominal fee of $5 and has a few facilities. There is a ski club on the boundary of the Park between the two parking areas with a boat ramp at the Domain which makes for busy weekends and provides much entertainment for us to watch.

With Lake front parking and views, you can see why we went from our original plans of staying a couple of nights, to staying over a week.

the view through the front windscreen.

Particularly over the weekends there is plenty of activity, with water skiing through slaloms, there is ski jumping, barefoot skiing and as well lots of families out enjoying themselves with kids being towed behind boats on various items. As well, there were rowing teams being put through their paces going up and down the lake.

We did a little bit of exploring, however this region was my childhood stomping ground so I know the area reasonably well, and Roy is no stranger to these parts either having spent 20 years in Tokoroa. We did check out a few other potential parking areas but with dodgy phone reception we decided to give them a miss.

Lake Karapiro is formed between two hydro electric dams, Karapiro and Arapuni. The formation of the Lake in 1947 at the completion of the building of the Karapiro dam submerged the Horahora Dam – the country’s first large-scale hydro plant built in 1913. Horahora was a privately owned power station with Arapuni the first government built station being finally commissioned to generate power in 1929.

Dams on the river

Karapiro Dam (photo borrowed from the internet)

Probably the most memorable thing about Arapuni Dam is the swing bridge that crosses the river. I have vivid memories of my mean older brothers jumping up and down on it, making it swing and lurch, not a nice thing to do to their much younger sister!

the swing bridge

We spent just over a week at Horahora, a quick trip into Cambridge one day for groceries, and into Putaruru other days to spend time with Sue & Jeff. We will definitely be returning here.