Location: Gisborne, New Zealand
After yesterday's excitement, the drive to Gisborne was almost without incident, we visited Tikitiki, Ruatoria, Te Puia Springs and then Puaua, and Makarori Beach on the way into Gisborne. Filled up with fuel and got rid of the dump but no sooner had we finished this than the heavens opened up, the rain was so heavy and lasted a fair while that all the roads were flooded and we could only travel about 5km/hr.
It was good to catch up with Maurice and Lyn spent some time with Richard Bernstein , unfortunately Richard is going through Chemo for prostate cancer and his Daughter Aimee who lives in London has had to have a breast off and she too is having chemo.
That night the temp dropped and Maurice insisted we sleep inside, it was too cold to sleep outside.
Next day it was off to Napier and Perfume Point again for the night. It was a good trip down and we arrived to our usual pRk with no issues, a small shop, tea and the Lyn beat me at Crib and Rummyoh. Just proves you can teach some people too much!!!!!
Thursday morning off to Ormondville and the family. They had just got their first two calves and had to learn how to feed them, it was good being a bystander!!
Friday saw us off home 3800 km after we had set out.
It has been a great holiday and as usual we have seen lots of sights that we did not expect, but that's Caravnning.
Location: Hicks Bay, East Coast, New Zealand
The Mercury Bay Club was full to overflowing when we got there, they had reached the point in their membership draws when it had to go and at $2,000 it was very popular. It eventually went and the place just emptied out and we ended up watching the rugby almost on our own. What a great game, go the Canes.
Saturday saw us on the road to Tauranga with lots of Kodak stops on the way at some of the beautiful beaches. We eventually got to Bethlehem, visited Mrs Maddock (Lyn's old neighbour) and then after a few missed directed turns from our GPS we finally got to Colin & Robyn's place. We had an enjoyable evening with them, next morning it was off to Mass and then a visit with Sue & John McOviney, they have an enormous and very modern home at the Mount. It backs on to the Golf course and a swimming pool and a large spa pool looking out over the golf course.
It was then off to Ohope and Mike and Irene's for a quick lunch then on to Noel and Judy's (Lyn's favourite cousin). Noel was still working driving a truck taking Kiwi fruit from the orchard to the pack house, I had the pleasure of going with him, each load was about 46 ton. The harvesting and collecting vehicles were a real revelation. Finished about 6:30pm and then home for a few beers, lots of talk and tea.
Today it was on the way again going south around the East Cape. We have not done this since the kids were little when we lived in Gisborne.
We decided to go this way as the views of the different bays are said to be quite spectacular going South and they certainly were with deep blue water and special coves and bays. It must be mind blowing to do this in December/January when the Pohutakawa,s are in full flower.
We have decided to stop on the beach at Hicks Bay but not before getting stuck in loose sand but hey it's all part of the experience and no harm done in the end.
Tomorrow it is off to Gisborne and a visit with Maurice.
Location: Thames, New Zealand
Once again the morning started fine and warm and remained that way all Day. The drive through to Coromandel town was very slow as there were lots of road works and it is quite narrow but the views west toward Auckland were stunning which made up for the stop starts along the way.
We called into Coromandell town but parking with the van was non
Existent so we did a crawl through and headed off to Whitianga. We had a few Kodak stops on the way and arrived here about 11:00am. After setting up it was onto town, info centre, op shops and then back to the van for a quick lunch and then off to see Hahei and Hot Water Beach. They were lovely spots and the water at hot water beach had just started flowing when we got there and there were heaps of people with spades digging there own little spa pools. Some of the water coming out of the ground was too hot to stand in, however I managed to scrounge a spade and dig my own little bath!
After this it was back to the van, a quick tea and we intend heading off to the Mercury Bay club to watch rugby. Tomorrow it is off to Tauranga.
Location: Whangaparaoa, New Zealand
We had a good evening with the Kids and of course our bundle of joy, Christopher (CJ). We arranged the programme for Lyns 70th birthday and then off to bed in our van. Next day it was Happy Birthday to the 70 year old and then around to pick up CJ and into town on the bus and the main one was a double decker and he loved being up the front on top. We had a Maccas ice cream and then up Quenn street, boy it is noisy and busy. I managed to get my Vodafone acc sorted and then Lyn had a shop while CJ had a nap, then it was off to Burger King for lunch and stroll around the water front before Steven picked us all up and then off to home, get changed and out to the RSA for a nice family meal, then off to bed. Lyn had lots of phone calls and messages from family and friends including Auzzie and our Zimbabwean friends.
This morning it was on the road again and then off to Thames on the Coromandel for the night. We have a lovely spot overlooking the sea and waiting for the sunset another warm day.
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand
April Fools day began with church with our new Christchurch friends, Bev and Mark Taylor then after this it was off to visit our God Daughter Meagan and her family just out of town. They have a lovely location and a 1930's that will keep them busy for a long time. Their two Sons were really neat young adults and all in all a really great time before heading back for our Wellington group photo.
It was then a time for Lyn to browse the craft stalls and attempt to not buy too much, which she nearly achieved!
Happy hour was with our safari group which was a nice way to Finish as the departure and shocks at Kaikohe cast a damper on the end of the safari so it was nice to end on a happy note.
Then that evening it was a Vaudville Caberet act which was both entertaining and heaps of costume changes. The huge marquee cost $60,000 to hire.
Monday it was the closing ceremony and then breaking camp and bugging out about 2:00pm. In the mean time we had a really good catch up with Margaret and Ruffy, from Blenheim and Lyns school friend and we may end up going down to them in early August for some fishing which will be good. The meal and catch up with the cussys was really good and some family history was revisited!
Next morning it was off to Whangaparoa and our Auckland family.
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand
Well we were off early to go battery hunting, checked that what I wanted to do was feasible and then we discussed batteries. The one I wanted was $536 including discount, I let him know that this was too much for me and asked how much was the smaller one. He hummed and harried and said that he would not be happy with me getting the smaller one and then proceeded to see how cheap he could get the better battery down to, eventually he said how does $350.00 sound and I jumped at it. $186 discount, yeh. After that it was off to countdown and KMart for another shop. We got 3 jars of the hand cream we like as it is now not being stocked in PNth. Then it was 3 tea shirts for me for $13 total and a top for Lyn, a small shop and then back to the van. Happy hour was great with a really good catchup with rally friends from last year and beyond.
That night the entertainment was a BEEGEES band who were excellent and we stayed the whole night. We sat with our friends we met last year and that Lyn had gone to school with.
Location: Whangarei, New Zealand
Well the socialising was as good as it usually is after a little alcoholic lubrication, still very warm and extra muggy up here.
Friday morning it was a case of getting sorted and then attending the opening ceremony. This was followed by investigating the trade stalls hunting for a new battery for the van, unfortunately Battery Town decided not to front up and as a result I was tempted to buy a different type of battery. As luck would have it, as I was contemplating this Lyns cousin Des Ryan turned up on his bike and we arranged to meet him down the big hill at his place after lunch for a bike ride around the town basin. During these discussions Des said that a mate of his owned the local battery Town franchise, he rang him and arranged for us to see him on Saturday morning.
The bike ride was very interesting as both Des and his Wife April had electric bikes!!!!
The ride was really good and then it came to the subject of going up the long steep hill they suggested they would go on home at bout 20km/h up the hill and then come back and picked us up with the bike rack on the back of the car, what a relief!!
It was then a case of a cuppa and a chat before arranging to have a meal together on Monday along with Pauline and Ken.
The entertainment was a Country and Western duo who played for about 3 hours, however our bed called after about 2 hours, not that we are getting old mind you!!
Tomorrow it is battery shopping and generally sightseeing around town.
Location: Paihia , New Zealand
On the way here to Paihia we had a detour to Kerikeri which was nice, a stroll down the shopping area and a bit of a stock up at the supermarket, it was then on to Paihia, the camp ground was spacious and had very good facilities. We unpacked the bikes and went for a ride to the Treaty Grounds. This was perhaps the biggest disappointment so far as to just get on to the treaty grounds for a look, it would have cost Lyn and I $50 and if we were a foreign visitor it would have been $100.
We biked on up the the hill and walked down the boundary fence for a cheap look, all in all the feeling of a rip-off.
The next morning we had an easy start with a look around the town before lunch and then off to Kaikohe.
We set up at the local A, P & I show grounds and then I headed off for a game of golf. For the first time I actually played decent golf and went round in one under my handicap.
Then it was a catered dinner for a final night of the safari, all in all a great experience.
Today however "MURPHY" caught up with us with the whole safari being quarinteened due to some of the members going down with the dreaded lurgy.
We have been banned from the national rally until the test results are in and not allowed of this site. The fear is, is that it is a Noravirus infection. More to come.
After having been told at about10:15 that we were there to stay for 6 days minimum, everyone started to try and get used to the situation.
Thankfully at 11:00am we were told that the problem was bad water and if we emptied all our water supplies and filled up again in Whangarei we would be admitted to the National rally, yeehaa.
It was them a case of getting rid of the water and heading off, we arrived here about 2:00pm after having queued up to get new water, parking, setting up, registration and then off to do a grocery shop along the way running into Ken Hodren, Lyns cousin Pauline's husband who are up here for the rally. Upon our return the heavens opened up for about 1/12 hours, thankfully we were home and dry. Lyn then cooked a scrumptious mince dinner and we intend heading off to the main marque for socialising etc.
Location: Matauri Bay, New Zealand
The road to this Bay was pretty challenging to say the least with lots of stop-goes and very steep winding roads. The location made up for it, it is a picturesque motor camp right on the beach. For an extra 8 dollars we had power and were able to charge all our appliances up. The water was beautiful with nice breakers, I could not resist it had a swim, the water was warm and it was good to get back in the sea again. The only down side was having to leave the following morning.
You can stay here on power during the off season for &175 a week which is really cheap.
Location: Whangaroa, New Zealand
The drive to the vintage car museum was fairly straight forward with no more holes in the road, the parking was somewhat of a challenge as the owner of the museum had not realised how much room 65 vans needed!!
Once we had set up it was off to golf, WELL, this would be the hardest, hilliest golf course I have ever been on. On at least 2 occasions I had to tell the others that I could not carry on putting until I had got my breath back under control and to top it off one of the holes had a sky tow rope to help you up! What was surprising was that the green fee included a roast dinner and desert although my score did not deserve any reward!
Back to the van fairly exhausted and make ready for the trip to Matauri Bay.
Location: Cape Reinga, New Zealand
The hole in the road was still there so we used a forest logging truck road to get to the ninety mile beach. It just happened that the annual Snapper fishing competition was on that weekend and there were a thousand hopeful fishermen and woman scatterd along the beach for about 10 miles with some really fancy set ups and some pretty basic ones. Unfortunately the weather was not cooperating and we went through a lot of mist and rain which of course affected the views. We then headed inland to the massive sand dunes for some sightseeing and some dune tobogganing. His lordship tried it out and managed to end up not at the bottom of the dune but in the middle of the stream much to everyone amusement.
Next it was lunch at a DOC reserve on the beach, then off to the cape. Once again the weather affected the views and scenery but that is one thing that no one has control over. We chose to take the adventurist route to the lighthouse and as a result we were the last back to the bus and we received a hearty welcome when we got on. It was then on to another couple of bays and back to the camp via long logging truck roads as the road north/south had not been repaired.
Location: Houhora., New Zealand
Well the rain continued for most of the night and it was still raining in the morning, first thing it was off to the Ahipara golf course for golf. This course runs along the seaside of the ninety mile beach and unfortunately due to the rain golf was cancelled. We journeyed on to Kaitaia for lunch at Subway and some retail therapy and then it was off to Houhora. The rain did not let up and the grass area at the Tennis and Bowling club was very wet, this was the least of our worries as the storm blew out a 30 X 30 metre hole in the road just after 2 of our vans had gone through, wow this became a local tourist attraction!!!
Location: Broadwood., New Zealand
We started a little later today as the ferry could only take about 6 vans/motor homes at a time and with 50 of us wanting to cross it was better for all concerned to just chill out and relax around the town. There were quaint little shops and the weather was pleasant. After this we stopped at a little town called Kohukohu for lunch and a visit to a local art shop which Lyn was facinated by but did not purchase anything, phew!!! It was then onto Broadwood for the night, they had had a lot of rain and the grounds around the local rugby field were rather soft to say the least. We were treated to a Hangi meal that night by the local rugby league club and it was yummy and it amazed me that there were people on our Safari that had never seen a hangi prepared or eaten a hangi meal! Before the evening ended it had started to rain and it was going to be interesting to see how all the vans would get out in the morning.
Location: Rawene, New Zealand
Today was one of the highlights of the safari. Driving through the miles of untouched native bush in the Waipoua forest and then seeing the massive Kauri trees was mind blowing, mind you it was almost van blowing!!! We went in to the Waipoua forest info centre, 8 K's in on a dirt road and very very narrow and as luck would have it we met another van going in the reverse direction at the narrowist point, we had bout 1 inch between us and one inch between us and the cliff face and the had the same between them and the drop!!! We could not go back and neither could they, a very close call with minor scrapes for us both and to top it off the journey in was a waste of time.
There were 2 walks into the 2nd largest kauri and the largest one called Tane Mahuta. This was massive in all respects and well worth the walks.
Later on we passed through Opononi where I actually learned to swim 63 years before when Opo the dolphin was still alive. The next day we will catch the ferry to the other side of the Hokianga harbour.
Location: Aranga, New Zealand
Well we are 6 days behind with this story as we have been in and out of cell range all the time. SORRY!!!
We headed off early to make sure we were not late for the golf at the Northern Wairoa Golf Course, with the way I played we should have slept in!!! To say that I played poorly would be an understatement, but that is sport. We then headed off to a town called Aranga where we had a pot- luck tea and entertainment from the local country and western group. This was all held in the local woodshed and was a great night.