Archive for the ‘parking’ Category

Tokerau Beach

September 13, 2016

We have been at a PoP (Park over Property for NZMCA Members) at Tokerau Beach for just over a week now, enjoying the lovely surrounds and friendly hosts as well as the close proximity to good beaches, perfect for fishing and relaxing.

Our parking position on the property looking down toward beach.

Looking onto the site from the gate.

We have been having a bit of a spring clean, tidying lockers, sorting out cupboards and general cleaning whilst the weather is reasonably settled.  The plan is to move back to Matai Bay later in the week, but knowing us, those plans could change in an instant.  Watch this space

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Bay of Plenty

May 9, 2016

The trip through the Waioeka Gorge was pleasant with some lovely scenery and interesting lay-bys.  They are well set up and very tidy 

Rest area

We didn’t travel too far, just into Opotiki where the NZMCA have a new park. Our first port of call in Opotiki was to the Two a Fish Cafe, which has delicious food and even better coffee. As this is a newly opened park, we were unsure of how long we could stay, on looking it up on their web site it said “temporary overnight parking”. Well, that’s helpful – not! What is that supposed to mean? After looking through the register, we decided that a couple of nights should be ok and that I would email the NZMCA for clarification.

We indeed received a response a few days later… For “temporary overnight” parking it comes down to a judgement call depending on the size of the site and current capacity at the time; however generally it means you are welcome to stay on a temporary basis, i.e. 2 or 3 nights per stay. At some parks, like Taupo Airport, it may be ok to stay for up to one week at a time. However if, for example, members were staying at a “temporary overnight” park for a month or more that would be in breach of the term “temporary” and then length of stay restrictions on that park may be introduced.  

We often define the length of stay provisions in the travel directory due to resource consent conditions, or Board policies due to on-going issues with park users. Where possible, we try to keep site restrictions as liberal as necessary to ensure members can enjoy parks without too many rules. Temporary overnight parking offers that flexibility.

I hope that has clarified it!!!

Whilst in Opotiki we heard that my nephew Stuart and family were in Whakatane at brother John’s place for the night, so we decided that an early start (eek!)the following morning meant we could head down to catch up with them and to meet the latest addition to their family, our great nephew Mack.

Emma, Stuart with Mack, Maggie & Toby in front
It was great to catch up with them and all their news.  After the visit, we were back in Opotiki for the afternoon

Parked up in Opotiki
After our two nights, we headed off to travel the huge distance of 10kms, to a reserve at Waiotahi, where we heard that there were pipi’s (shellfish) aplenty. We gathered a bucket of them and one of the touring party threw a line in the water to wet his bait!!

Early morning view from the bedroom window of Roy fishing
From here our next port of call was a further 30kms at Ohope at a reserve near a boat ramp.  We spent a couple of nights here relaxing and even tried another go at fishing

The fishing was not terribly successful, however, we did put out the net a couple of times and managed to get fish for dinner.

And the other view taken from the same spot looking back at the van

Time to leave here and head for Matata, just 40kms away.  We have been here many times, looking back through the diary it seems we have been here at about this time of the year every year since 2013.   You can read about those visits here, here, and here.   Uh oh, does this mean we are becoming creatures of habit?!

We are now at Matata where we shall stay for the next two weeks.  Brian & Marj leave us here as they continue on to Auckland, it’s been lovely having their company on our travels.  We shall no doubt meet up with them again in the north.  

Hawkes Bay

April 28, 2016

Our journey to the Hawkes Bay started with a bang – a very loud bang in fact, that startled us both.  Damn, another blown rear tyre, one of a pair that were not changed after the last blowouts, read about what happened here.  We were just 10km from Havelock North so we carefully drove into the dump station on the edge of town before ringing the men at Carters Tyres.  Sure, they said, bring the van in now and we’ll sort you out. To cut a long story short, they replaced the blown tyre with the spare and ordered us two new tyres to match the other two new ones on the other side, the tyres would be arriving early the following  week.  Yes, we decided not to tempt fate by replacing both of the rear tyres on the passengers side to match the two new ones on the drivers side.  That sorted we headed off to the lovely parking site at Te Awanga.


Parked right on the beach, with Cape Kidnappers in the background.

We waited and waited for an offshore breeze so we could launch the kite but no luck there and as we are only allowed two nights here, we did not have a lot of opportunity. We watched lots of other surf casting off the beach, no one was having any luck but on our last night there, a neighbouring group launched a torpedo.  We watched them retrieve their line and they had one very good sized snapper, three small sharks and one stingray.  

Of course this is the Hawkes Bay, and I was really looking forward to going to the Farmers Market on Sunday morning as its one of the best markets around.  We also checked out the smaller Napier market on Saturday morning.   

We were up and off early on Sunday morning to wander the stalls before coming back to the van to move to our next destination.  Needless to say that two very large bags of goodies came back with us from our foray, but more on what I did with all those veg in a later blog.

We were soon packed up and leading the way to our next destination.  Roy and I had done a bit of a recce of other possible parking places as with two of us with large rigs, we need to make sure that there is ample room for us both.   Just as well we had as one of the potential sites was not suitable on size but also not suitable on location, as it was below sea level behind large stony banks.  It was off to the Evers- Swindell Reserve in Clive for us, with a juice outlook over the river with the cycle/walkways right beside us.  

We had just arrived and were setting up when this sight unfolded in front of us A waka (Maori canoe), with a group of tourists learning the techniques and protocols


It looked like a great way to spend an afternoon. 

 We were at Clive for a couple of nights before we went to the NZMCA park in Napier.  Unfortunately I neglected to get the camera out to take a picture of us parked up here, we were there for a week catching up with many tasks, including getting the new tyres fitted, going out to celebrate Roy’s Birthday at Bistronomy, checking out a few wineries and of course going back to the Farmers Market.

Anzac Day was on Monday, Roy attended dawn service at the soundshell on the Napier foreshore, he will elucidate later when he gets round to catching up with his view of the world.  

Al in all a lovely time spent in and around the Hawkes Bay, we were reluctant to leave but we are on a bit of a schedule as Brian & Marj have to be back in Auckland by mid May and there is the East Cape to explore.   Little did we know that our plans were to change again…..but more on that later.

Belated 2

March 28, 2016

 

Once again a catch up of photos and comments.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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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.

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Looking from the carpark up the steps to the Lighthouse.

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

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There is the top.  Not quite there but close.

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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

 

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

 

2

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.

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4Early morning mist and a very still Lake

5Panoramic view of the same part of the lake.

 

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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. 

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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.

 

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The entrance or causeway to the henge.

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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.

From http://www.stonehenge-aotearoa.co.nz/About+Us.html

 

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

Living full time in a motorhome

January 2, 2016

We are often asked what it is like living in a motorhome and when are we going to finish traveling and get a “real” house.  The following is an attempt to answer some of those questions  (with some ideas and inspiration from the latest NZ American RV newsletter).

1. This is not Camping

Our version of full-time RV’ing is not camping… it’s living. In other words, we don’t consider our lives to be one big camping trip. We don’t eat at Maccas or RSA’s every night, nor do we eat dehydrated instant packet food, nor do we sit around the picnic table playing boardgames by lantern/torchlight. Yes, we stay in a camp ground occasionally, but for the most part we are not camping.


2. We do Laundry

When I lived in a house, I felt like I was always doing laundry. A load of towels, whites the next, clothing separated into dark and light for more loads.  It was a never ending cycle that I couldn’t seem to break. That is, until I moved into an RV with a small washing machine on board. Now I do laundry a couple of times a week. And it doesn’t take long.  I sometimes even use a laundromat, or utilise friends and family large washing machine for when I have big stuff to do (thanks!).  And I have finally given up ironing everything in sight, yes folks, you read it here first, I no longer iron my sheets or tea towels!!! 

3.  I will choose my tiny house, over your guest bedroom

When we visit or park in your driveway (which we appreciate greatly by the way) chances are we’ll say thanks but no thanks when you offer up your guest room. You see, the thing is that we like our tiny house with our cosy bed, favourite pillow, all our clothes within reach and the bathroom a few steps away from our bed. We travel in a motorhome because we enjoy the convenience of always having our house with us. So it’s not that we don’t appreciate the offer, but we really would prefer to sleep in our own bed. However, I will take you up on that offer to use your shower though!
4.  This is not a permanent holiday

This is a hard one for non full-timers to grasp. So you live in an RV and you get to travel to any cool place you want, yet you don’t consider yourself to be on holiday? Nope, not at all.  I think you can only function in ‘holiday’ mode for so long. At some point you have to create a normal routine with down time and off days. For us full time RV’ing is a lifestyle choice, not a permanent holiday, we choose where we want to go and when and what we want to do.

5.  I Sometimes Forget That I’m Not “Normal”.

I sometimes forget that our lifestyle is considered out of the ordinary. Especially if we’ve been spending time with other full time RV’ers who view living in a tiny house on wheels as commonplace. It usually takes an encounter with the “normal” folks to remind me that how we live is fascinating and envy-worthy.
6. I Have No Idea When I Will “Be Done”.

We get asked this a lot and I’m always tempted to reply, done with what? Done with a lifestyle that brings me joy? Done with expanding my horizons and becoming a more well rounded person? Done with meeting incredible people and making lifelong connections and friendships? Why would I want to be done with all that? The short answer is that I have no idea when I will be done, and I enjoy not knowing. There is something very appealing about a future that is open to endless possibilities. I’m confident that when we get the urge to settle in one spot, we will know when the time is right. But for now we will continue to roll down the road with no plans to “be done” any time soon 
7.  We will never see everything

We could travel around in this beautiful country of ours for many more years and still not see everything. In the beginning we enjoyed keeping track of where we had visited and making sure we checked off all the major attractions along the way. At some point we realised that it didn’t matter how many things were checked off the list, we would always be adding more. And I love that! I love discovering more things to do, see, and explore than I could possibly hope to accomplish in any amount of time. I love that our country is incredibly diverse and filled with such an array of landscapes, communities, and people that even if I travelled for decades, I could never see everything.  Besides, life isn’t about checking off lists…….. is it?

8.  Technology

Yes, we have the technology!  Not only do we have satellite TV (actually two Tv’s – one in the living area and one in the bedroom), we have a wireless router that connects us to the Internet – note to Telco’s; give us better, more and cheaper data!  We have PC’s as well as iPads, we have a large extensive library of books and movies (mostly in electronic format), we listen to podcasts on MP3 players with headphones,  we run a business from our home which has an office and yes we even have a full printer/copier/scanner.  We generate our own power from solar panels with a back up generator for when the sun doesn’t shine. We have a large bank of batteries to store all our power which we run through an inverter to give us 230v.

9.  We have a chefs kitchen!

You name it, we have it…full oven, fridge and freezer, cake mixer, blender, stick blender, wok, casserole dishes, risotto pan, brûlée torch, baking tins of all shapes and sizes, dariole molds, thermometers, meat slicer, vacuum sealer, banettons, microplanes, and a myriad of other essential gadgets like a spurtle (to stir porridge), and a special cutter to take the top off a boiled egg,  as well as knives, knives and more knives of every shape and size imaginable,   I mean, who else has two ham knives! We have a cold smoker and a hot smoker, we make our own; bacon and pastrami, sourdough bread, jams preserves and pickles, baking, and anything else you can think of.  

10.  If we won lotto…

We  get asked this often as well,”if you won Lotto, what would you do to live your dream?”  Our response is; we are living our  dream, what are you waiting for?  Sure,  a bit more cash would be very nice, but our basic lifestyle would not change much at all. Now let us just win Lotto and we’ll test out this theory!!!

So that’s it in nutshell, I hope that has answered any questions you may have had, if not, feel free to ask!

Around Tauranga

June 30, 2015

We spent a couple of nights in Tauranga at Sulphur Point which is at the boat launching ramp, however, we have since discovered that there is a much better parking place at the end of Sulphur Point at the Marina  where the outlook is much nicer and its further away from the railway that seems to constantly be on the move all evening.  The Bay of Plenty councils have made it very easy for us to know where to park with each designated area well signposted with clear instructions.  

  Tauranga City blue information sign
After a couple of nights in Tauranga  we had done all our jobs, restocked the pantry, and caught up with people and appointments so it was time for us to move on as we had spent our allocated 2 night stay in this park.  Our next point of call was not too far away at Omokoroa.  

A similar  information sign from the Western Bay of Plenty Council (green) , this one is for the Huharua Regional Park near Omokoroa. 
The parking area at Huharua Reserve, Omokoroa.  

We spent one afternoon doing a bit of a recce of a number of the parking areas available around the region, a must as some places are limited in the available area and also incredibly tight for us to be able to turn around.  The parking in Huharua area is on the left where our car is parked. 

 And here we are parked up.  

This was a particularly nice place to stay as just along the side of our vehicles were a line of mandarin and orange trees which we were free to take as many as we wished.  On the other side of the park (on the right hand side in the first picture) were a grove of very large avocado trees and some lovely grapefruit trees.  Score!  We only took what we could eat over the next few days, but every day there was a steady stream of people coming to collect fruit and walk their dogs.  We tried putting out the net as well in the hope of getting some flounder but apart from a pile of weed, nothing was caught.

Time to move on after our 3 night stay with the next stop to be Tuapiro Reserve at Katikati. Yes, I know, we travel huge distances when we move – NOT!  I think this move was a whole 28km!

  Here we are parked at Tuapiro

  

  The view from the door.  Oh and what’s that on the beach in the distance??

This is what it was, a couple to Clydedales towing a sled along the beach, not a sight you see everyday.  And don’t you just love the seat for the passengers? – a hay bale!   And yes, we have tried putting out the net here as well but without any luck, a move to the other side of the peninsular will be tried later today.

Over the past week I (Bernice), came down with a nasty cold which subsequently has developed into bronchitis, not particularly nice but all that means really is that apart form the usual symptoms I have no energy, and of course I am not up to eating much.  So the other day when I felt like some soup and a toasted sandwich, we got out our trusty old fashioned toasted sandwich maker which is usually used over an open fire, however after John made us toasted sandwiches one day using his toastie iron over the gas element, we thought this was a great idea.  We set up our portable gas stove outside in front of the van and it was no too long before we had delicious toasted sandwiches.  However, in a bit of a brain fade, we forgot to put the stove away once we had finished, and wouldn’t  you know it? Some #^*>{# stole it over night!

  This is the case sitting on the pole in front of the van where the stove was set up, so I have put the case back in situ with a note attached for the culprit.

 hopefully they will return and see this!!
 

The Kaiaua Coast 

May 21, 2015

The clouds were rolling in and darkening the skies as we arrived at Waharau late in the afternoon. Much discussion was entered into about where we were going to park, anyone would have thought that a) we had never been here before and/or b) there were lots of people here. Neither of which are true. We settled into the corner – we haven’t actually parked in this particular location before – and just as we had finished putting out the awning, the rain started. It did not let up until late Friday night and wow, did it ever rain, it was consistent and torrential all day on Friday but it did start to diminish Friday night with Saturday dawning a gloriously fine day.

  Parked up 
We have been to Waharau many times before and have extolled its virtues to many, however, unless we are here with friends, it is very rarely that we find ourselves with any company. Not that we mind, in fact we love it and long may it last.  

Of course I made the most of having both power and hot water with the washing machine getting a good work out. As well, we have been making chutneys and relishes again, it is handy to have a prep bench to work on, I can cook up the pickles on our portable gas cooker so that the cooking aromas are not filling the van.  

We had a few days by ourselves before Bill & Estelle arrived for a couple of nights. Roy & Bill set the net in the hope of some nice flounder, no flounder but they did come back with 16 good sized Kahawai. They were shared between us, we smoked all ours and I made it into smoked fish pies, smoked fish pate, a lovely salad of smoked kahawai, fennel and pear. The remainder was frozen. Now we hope to get some flounder as some of us are heartily sick of smoked fish!

 16 fish to be filleted

Bill & Estelle had only just left (as in 20mins had elapsed) when Jim & Judy arrived.   

 Roy & Jim did go fishing and set the net but no flounder was harmed in this process, instead they came back with 8 Kahawai. This time we gave most of the kahawai to Jim as we had more than enough, instead we turned our portion into bait! 

  8 kahawai

We had a couple of days of torrential rain and although we were snug warm and dry, some parts of the country did not fare so well and were flooded. However, I do have to admit my red bands did not afford me dry feet in all the mud!! 

 Wet and muddy feet

Red Bands are a Kiwi Icon, they are a brand of gumboot aka Wellington boots for those of you in the northern hemisphere. Traditionally gumboots have always come up to just below the knee. However in 1958 staff at Marathon Rubber Footwear – the forerunner to Skellerup – decided to create a shorter boot and on 21st October the first pair of Red Band gumboots rolled off the production line and became an instant hit around the country.

We were well entertained by the bird life at Waharau, there was the Tui that came every day to dance around the trees getting the last of the berries and entertaining us with its birdsong.  It definitely wasn’t shy and quite happily sat in the tree just a few feet away from us.  

   Tui filling up on berries

Then there was the Fantatil (Piwakawaka) who decided that we had a very friendly fantail in one of the wing mirrors. It came visiting daily and spent hours dancing, prancing and pecking away at its reflection in the mirror, wondering why it’s amorous advances were not reciprocated.  The mirror required a good clean by the time we were ready to leave.

 Fantail and ‘friend’

Soon enough our time at Waharau was up and it was time to move on. We had planned to go just down the road to the Kaiaua Boat Club, however, the ground there was so wet and boggy that most of the available parking area had been roped off, so plan B was instigated and we meandered further down the road to Ray’s Rest, a very popular spot for motorhomes to park. 

 And indeed it is lovely when the weather is fine, but you sure get battered and sand blasted if the wind is blowing, as it indeed was on our first night there. We were already to pack up and move on when later in the afternoon, the wind had abated, the sun came out and it was indeed glorious.  A double rainbow 
   And then the sun shone
Where else can you safely park this close to the sea?

The wind was favourable enough to allow Roy & Jim to put out their kites and set out a long line which resulted in a much more successful haul with 4 good sized snapper and 4 kahawai on the first evenings catch. The following day only one more snapper was added to the tally and all of our share of the snapper was cooked and eaten fresh. And oh my goodness, it was delicious, there is nothing like freshly caught and cooked fish. 

There is a two day parking limit at Rays Rest so Wednesday morning we packed up, said our farewells and headed off in opposite directions. We were not sure where we were heading to but quickly decided to go to Anzac Bay, Bowentown which is not too far from Tauranga. We have not been here before and so we were pleasantly surprised to find a lovely grassy parking area reserved for motorhomes, with a three night limit. 

  Parked at Anzac Bay

And why are we heading back in the Bay of Plenty? Because we are eventually ending up at John & Jude’s in Whakatane as they have asked us to housesit for them for a week whilst they are off celebrating  John’s admission into the realm of the advanced years, old farts, gold card carrying pensioner club! 

Kerikeri & Whangarei

October 17, 2014

Phew, four blog posts and another couple to come.  Hope you are not bored yet!

Time to move on again, this time we were off to Kerikeri for a couple of nights primarily to meet up with Roy’s cousin Stuart to discuss genealogy.  We said farewell to Brian & Marj as well as Gail who were staying on at Maitai Bay and finally Reg & Rima who were returning to Auckland.

During the drive down Bernice received a text suggesting a stop for coffee on the way south.  As we were having difficulty getting consistent  communications we finally got Reg and Rima to join us at Kerikeri for morning tea.  This we did at the stopover in front of the RSA. We were joined by Jim & Judy when they arrived some little time later.  Suffice to say Reg & Rima took little persuasion to stay for the night and join us in dinner at the RSA, so their trip home was again postponed for a further day. 

It was whilst we were having a cuppa that Bernice received a phone call  asking if she remembered entering a competition a couple of weeks prior through a neck tag on a wine bottle.  Yes, she did, and yes she still had the neck tag.  Guess what?  She had won a trip for two to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne! a quick scurry and a hunt through the rubbish bin uncovered the said wine tag – phew!  So now we have to plan a trip to Oz sometime in the next year.

While dining at the RSA Roy went off to the toilet and failed to return for some time.   It transpired that he had met up with Fairfax Williams a school friend he had not seen since 1966.  They had a discussion about various people and places and agreed to keep in touch.  So now there is another reason to overnight at Kerikeri.

Roy had arranged to see Stuart after lunch the next day so having said farewell  (finally?, well at least for now) to Reg & Rima, off he went. 

The main thing discussed was the latest information Stuart had uncovered through communication with a Swiss genealogist.  Finally the origin of Cosmo Damiano Vannini, Roy’s great-grandfather, has been found.  He was born in Mendrisio, Canton Ticino, Switzerland  on the 2nd of April 1836.  At this time he was named Damiano Santino Vanini.  Also identified were his parents and his grandparents so now we are back to his grandfather Guiseppe Vanini’s birthdate of 1743. (NB A change in spelling of surname). 

Hopefully we will be able to find more details regarding the family in Mendrisio.  The information that we have at present names Damiano’s brothers and sisters and his uncles and aunties on his father’s side of the family.

After having spent time with Stuart we went to have a look at the new NZMCA parking area in Kerikeri.  They have now erected the building for registration.  It takes the form of a lighthouse which is the area’s badge.   A unique building in a very presentable, but very wet, new parking area.

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The next morning we went to the Kerikeri Farmer’s Market to stock up on fruit, vegetables and cheese and then we were off to Whangarei

On the way we passed the area where the main road had collapsed in the rain storm which we experienced when we were at Whananaki.  Repairs have ben made by creating parallel road alongside the old part of the road.  This was the reason we had to go through Dargaville on our way north.

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Finally we arrived at Whangarei and instead of staying at the town basin or at Uretiti this time we stayed at an area alongside the Hatea Bridge.  The Bridge is officially called Te Matau a Pohe – translated as ‘The fishhook of Pohe’ the Maori chief who welcomed the first English settlers to Whangarei.  Pohe  was very skilled in manufacturing fish hooks using traditional materials and styles. His hooks were so practical, many of the settlers used his hooks in preference to the standard English hooks made of steel. He was also instrumental in building bridges between the two cultures during the first years of English settlement amongst Maori. Pohe used his ranking to protect many of the first settlers from being killed.

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The bridge is raised by hydraulic rams under the bridge.  These roll back the toward the counterweights which raise the road.  The shots below showing the bridge raised to allow yachts to enter the town basin.

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This shows the cogged trackway that the counterbalances follow as they fall and raise the bridge.

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And here we are at the western end of the bridge alongside Jim & Judy.

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At night the bridge is illuminated and presents a striking sight.

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There is a walking path from the parking area that crosses the bridge goes up to the town basin and then back down to the bridge.  Along the way there are a number of boat sheds, old wharves, boats, information boards and sculptures.

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This striking sculpture of a canoe and waves is only one of many interesting pieces.

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And of course we have the mandatory bird photos

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It is always very difficult to get photos of Welcome Swallows but these two were resting in the right place at the right time.

Whilst the ducks below just sailed away.

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MMMMMMmmmmmatai Bay

August 19, 2014

Before I get onto the delights of Matai Bay, I must apologise for my last post, particularly to all whose eyes glazed over and yawned at my boring explanations of the joys of voice activation of an iPad. Mind you, a few people have actually tried it – and it worked!

Normal transmission now resumes.

We arrived at Matai Bay last week, it must be one of our favourite places to stay. Athough this time we are not parked in (my) favourite part of the site as the ground was a bit boggy in places. Never mind, we have a great spot with views straight out over the bay.

IMG_0016.JPGwho could complain of this view from our bedroom window?

Jim & Judy joined us after a few days, and it wasn’t too long before Jim, being the ever keen fisherman, had dragged Roy off to set the net in the bay to try out their luck. They set the net the first day, here they are down on the beach debating when to pick up the net.

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All that was caught (apart from a bit of weed) was one grey mullet.

IMG_0009.JPG Jim with the catch of the day.

Another day and Jim tried out his kites for kite fishing. There were the different types of kites that he had with him, and differing lines, hooks and set up so much time was spent trialling the different methods. However, the end result was no fish. Another day and Jim went off to see some other fishermen who were sending out a torpedo. After spending much of the day with them learning the ins and outs of this type of fishing, he came back with a snapper for his efforts and a promise to go out with them again tomorrow.

IMG_0015.JPG sending out the torpedo.

We have had our awning out and the windbreaks up, which provided us with a lovely space to sit out of the breeze. Then the wind direction changed and for the first time since we got the windbreaks, we set it up at the opposite end of the awning toward the rear of the van. We can report that it all works well, although another hole had to be drilled into the awning roll to accommodate the end strengthening pole for the set up at this end of the van.

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Whilst sitting in the sun yesterday, a visitor came into the camp whom I recognised as Angela, a fellow full time motor homer whose blog is here. Angela is just visiting the north for a bit of a break, her bus is in Christchurch. We enjoyed meeting Angela and enjoyed swapping information and tales

IMG_0017.JPGAngela visiting, we look forward to meeting you again on the road soon.