New Zealand in 2015 and 2016

Anzac Bay    

While we are away from New Zealand we store our MH at the RV Centre in Paeroa, which is about 1 1/2 hour drive to the east of the airport. 

After collecting it we spent a couple of nights at Anzac Bay a few kilometres away.  Sadly, now only available for camping on restricted dates.

Hot Water Beach Top 10

On to Hot Water Beach motor camp.  This is certainly the best campground we have visited, probably anywhere worldwide!  The facilities are excellent and this year, even include a European style dump !! Woo hoo I hear you say.  Well, we certainly do as it's something we've been shouting about here for a few years.  We like to think that we had a part in influencing this innovation.  I forgot to take a photo of it but you'll probably be pleased about that.  Here are the new tent accommodation units at the campground, bookable through the Kiwi Experience I think.

309 bushwalk

Our friends Jan and Kev laid on a very special day for us.  We began with a trip along the 309 road.  That's a narrow and twisty 30-odd kilometers of mud and gravel.  Kev has a 4x4, we wouldn't take our camper through there, though some do.  There's a short bush walk to some 600 year-old kauri trees. 
kauri      600 year old kauri_tree

Centre above, a tiny orchid growing near the huge trees.  Below, Coromandel landscape though not many of the roads are this straight.

Coromandel skyline

The wharf                 kahawai

Fishing from this wharf I caught my first fish, a kahawai.  It was carefully returned to the water in accordance with Maori tradition.  I can keep and eat the next one I catch!


So, OK we couldn't wait for the next one and went to the chip shop.  2 chunks of hoki with chips for $9.20.  Delicious!  Note the Watties tomato sauce.  It's quite different to Heinz, it has cloves in it I think.  We love it.  Decent mayo seems to be imported from Canada would you believe!

Miranda Hot Pool   Miranda Hot Pool

Having a soak at the naturally hot mineral pools at Miranda.  That big pool is like a beautiful warm bath.  On the right is the HOT one!  The dark shadow is a bench to sit and simmer, 20 mins maximum and no children allowed in it, they'd cook I fear.

Wenntworth Road   Karangahake Gorge

Driving in New Zealand is lovely even if you do have the odd surprises.  On the left that's the river crossing the road in the Wentworth Valley.  Right, the Karangahake Gorge where the speed limit is 80kph if you dare.


The Auckland Highway Patrol cars are fairly easy to spot, but these bikers didn't. 
We have just discovered that our camper is limited to 90kph because of a new weight ruling.  Need to be careful out there. 
These pictures were taken by our dash-cam btw.

Up north to Whangarei, we were lucky enough to grab a spot at the Harbour.  Here we are next to a giant camper.  It's German built and has been driven here through Europe, Mongolia and Australia.  If we meet them again I'd like to find out more about their journey.

The Fernery Whangarei   Florence  

We revisited the Fernery in the town where we found Florence enthusiastically tending the fabulous displays.  It's well worth a visit if you are passing through Whangarei.  You'll find it on First Avenue, there's free parking and free entry.


Outside, there's a rose garden, shady trees and a stream.
Quarry Gardens Whangarei     

and the volunteer-run Quarry Gardens on the edge of town.  There's a new cafe which was so popular we couldn't get a table!

   Puya alpestris  

One of the volunteers showed us this Puya alpestris (left above).  It's hidden in a corner and you'd miss it without being shown.  It's about 4 ft high and such an amazing colour.


Kerikeri waterfall and bush at Lake Manuwai.  Lots of tree ferns growing wild!  There's a cave behind the waterfall btw.


Here's a fabulous spot which we had to ourselves for 2 nights!        Enjoying the song of the skylarks 

The flowers were a gift from Dave Wilkinson xx                Whatever is this beautiful tree?


Christmas next ...  very quiet (mostly), with our daughter Deb and the family; we ate a bit of ham (that's 11.26 kg), and on the right, meet Meatball (the cat) in the garden.  Meatball was named by grandson Daniel.  Good name, it's something furry that you might find on the floor - well, yes you would, wouldn't you?

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