Mackay & NZ- February 2016

Ooops missed doing a January Blog!  Bit of catching up to do!

Tui & Thong


The week before Christmas we had a great day at Steve & Dee’s. Steve said entry was to wear a Thong!  The one in the photo is what he meant!! LOL!





Christmas Day was the quietest were have ever had, just the two of us for Champagne Breakfast. Didn’t even drink much and still have a bottle of Bubbly in the fridge!! Lovely gifts from Tui and NZ with the kids writing a lovely letter. Ham & Salad for tea.

Kids Christmas LetterChristmas Cheers

Boxing Day, Tui finished putting the reconditioned Steering box in Tiki Tourer then it was off for a test run and to dump our tanks then onto our friends Dee & Steve’s. Dee had her work mates there and they were a fun bunch.  After introducing ourselves they all decided that Jude should be called One(y), as in One(y) & Tui.  A real laugh! Stayed in Tiki Tourer on the road frontage, nice to be away from our usual spot.  Ran out of LPG so no cuppa in the morning so we left pretty early.

Early in January we decided to “bite the bullet” and buy 2 new air con units.  We mentioned in previous blogs the Drama’s we had with trying to get 2nd hand ones after the original ones “gave up the ghost!”  So hot and humid here, it is bliss to have them. While Tiki Tourer was in the shed Tui decided to replace the lights around the outside as they were becoming brittle.  Another night away!  Whoop! Whoop! We had to get an electrician in to change the wiring from 110v to 240v.  Another expense!

Air con newAir Con off with old

In our December Blog we mentioned our awning was wrecked with a sudden down pour in November, well the saga continues!

Broken awning 2Broken awning

After ringing  Mackay Auto & Marine Trimming 3 times, they finally came out to measure up early January & said they couldn’t do it, rang Pacific RV and they came straight out to measure and said no problem it would be ready by the time we got back from our NZ trip (more about that later).  When we returned we went to see them.  We were first told that they had Internet problems and the quote hadn’t gone through to the Insurance Company. Got a phone call later in the day and were told that it was a specialised job and they couldn’t do it!!  They did however get another Company, Custom Unique Trimming, to contact us.  They have been and measured.  Apparently the awning was 50mm out, no wonder it never worked that well! We are now waiting to hear back.  Fingers crossed.

Tui had been doing a mix of working and finishing off the trailer, also getting geared up for our NZ trip. These photos were taken when Tui was taking it to the Mill to weigh it. Unfortunately he didn’t secure the battery so re-wiring required plus another battery.

Almost done 3Almost done Back & side

Jude went over to the house around 5.30am one morning to pay a visit to the ladies room and noticed Tui’s bag wasn’t in it’s normal place.  This was no ordinary bag!  It had his whole world in it!!  Wallet with credit cards and cash, all of his keys, expensive leather man, safety gear, USB sticks with all his music, charges, torches etc.etc. Someone had come in during the night and stolen it! With only a week and a half till we flew out to NZ it was panic stations to get new cards in time.  We changed the lock on Tiki Tourer and had to get another Car Key with re-programming ($355) Not happy!!

Flew out to NZ on Australia Day (26th January) getting to Auckland around midnight.  As we were getting in so late and picking up a Campervan the next morning, we decided to get a Motel.  Auckland Airport Lodge Motel, reasonably priced, clean nice rooms and friendly staff with a free shuttle from the Airport.  Arriving at 2.30am after a budget flight with no food we were starving.  Luckily there was a Service Station within walking distance, so got some chicken!

Mighty CamperUp fairly early next morning, left our baggage at the Motel and walked down to get our Mighty Camper! Bit of a rigmarole of paper work etc. but we were soon on our way.

Quite a bit smaller than we are used to but we went for the Budget model with Toilet & shower and soon got used to it.  After picking up our bags we went straight down to Jude’s sisters as she had some bits and pieces we could use instead of buying stuff.  We were going to head straight down to Taupo but were feeling a bit jaded so ended up staying there the night, leaving before Janine & Bob got up in the morning.

So many roads have changed since we were there last!  We missed the first turn off for the Hamilton Bypass so ended up getting some food from the bakery at Ngarawahia and sat by the Waikato River to eat it. For those of you who don’t know, the Waikato River is the longest river in New Zealand, running for 425 kilometres through the North Island. It rises in the eastern slopes of Mount Ruapehu, joining the Tongariro River system and emptying into Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest lake, then flows northwest, through the Waikato Plains. It empties into the Tasman Sea south of Auckland, at Port Waikato.

Breakfast by Waikato River Ngarawahia 2Our Camper

We decided to do a bit of a Tiki Tour on the way to Taupo.  First stop was Lake Karapiro at Cambridge.  Lake Karapiro is an artificial reservoir lake on the Waikato River, 30 kilometres  south-east of the city of Hamilton. The lake was formed in 1947 by damming the Waikato River to store water for the 96-megawatt Karapiro hydroelectric power station.

Lake Karapiro 2Lake Karapiro

The lake, regarded as one of New Zealand’s best rowing venues, hosted the World Rowing Championships in 1978 and 2010, as well as the rowing events for the 1950 British Empire Games.

Instead of driving down the main highway we drove along side the Waikato River, then onto the Old Taupo Road, rejoining the main road at Tokoroa. Arrived at Taupo to sort out Tui’s Hire Suit for the wedding then off to buy Black shoes, very lucky as we managed a great bargain for the shoes, now donated to Bob as Tui reckons he won’t wear them again.  After a night in the Camper Tui decided to buy a Duvet (Dooner) to put underneath us for a bit more padding! Worked pretty good. Now donated to Brian & Trish! We parked up at a Free camp right on the edge of the Lake and headed to the “Pub & Grub” for a very late lunch.

Lake Taupo 2Lake Taupo

Taupo was extremely busy, long weekend with lots of events on.  Spent quite a few hours trying to set up an adapter for power for the Camper to plug into a normal power point as it only had a connection for Caravan Parks.  A mission but Tui was on the Job!  Another item donated to Bob!!

Off to see Tui’s daughter and Grand Children, Jax & Aleigha.


Friday already and off we went to Turangi.  Parked up the Camper just 1km from where the wedding was being held the next day, at Shaun & Shontelle’s Mum’s place. Two Pop top Caravans, a regular caravan and our Camper.  Lovely spot!

Dinner at the Turangi Tavern with the Bride & Groom to be, plus a few others.  Jude had Venison Salad & it was beautiful, just melted in your mouth. Next day it was all hands on deck to set up at the River Vineyard & Restaurant for the wedding. Back to the Camper to get ready, just got back to the venue and it started to rain.

Us 2The Boys

Shaun rang Nicole and said to wait another 10mins.  By the time she got there it had stopped raining.  Perfect!!  Lovely wedding, small, intimate and beautiful food! Danced the night away!

Shaun & NicoleHenare Shonie & Jax

The happy couple!



Tui’s daughter, Shonie, Henare & Jax



Next day the other campers left for home and we helped pack up the Pop Top Caravans etc. then all went to the Lake, a couple of kms down the road.  Determined to have a swim,  it was a bit chilly for us.  Lake Taupo has a perimeter of approximately 193 kilometres and a deepest point of 186 metres. Shaun was very creative and made a raft for the kids.

Swimmimg Lake TaupoShaun making raft

Monday it was back to Taupo to return Tui’s Hire Suit and meet Shaun & Nicole for lunch and to say goodbye to Shonie & kids. We decided to head around the Western Access of the Lake to Taumarunui and catch up with Tui’s Mum and some friends.

Kinloch Lake Taupo coldCalled into Kinloch and Tui had another swim.  We thought Jude’s niece, Annette, who lives there, would be at work so didn’t find out her address.  We found out later she was home! Buggar.

Unfortunately some of our friends weren’t home in Taumarunui and time was running out to see everyone.  Spent the night at Tui’s Mum’s and his sister came around, didn’t get to bed until 2am.

Did a bit of reminiscing in Taumarunui next day, pretty tired, so late in the day we headed to Te Kuiti just on an hours drive away and stayed at Mangaokewa Gorge Scenic Reserve, a free camp, right by a river.

Beautiful spot! It was great just to chill out. Tui had a plunge in the river.

Free Camp Te KuitiFree Camp Te Kuiti 2

Also time to do a spot of washing as Jude was running out of clothes.

Washing DayFree Camp Te Awamutu

Then onto Te Awamutu to empty tanks and chill out at Lake Ngaroto.  Only problem, Blue Algae, so no swimming. Chooks and a Rooster to feed!! Lake Ngaroto, home to a range of water-loving plants and animals, is one of the best places in the Waikato to experience natural wetland. A 90-minute walk around the lake includes regular signs with information and illustrations about the local ecology. However we opted to just relax. Duck shooting season operates in May and June and we could clearly see hunters maimais doted around the waters edge. A couple of yachts & rowers practicing early morning.

The plan was to head to Pukekawa to visit Jude’s son, daughter in law and Grandkids.  However that didn’t work out so as Janine & Bob (Jude’s sister) were going to Free camp at Kaiaua in their Bus we decided to join them.  As kids, Jude & her family used to go there all the time and there are photos of her at 2 years old playing in the Garden Bar of the Pub.  Seabird Coast, Kaiaua and Miranda with its world renowned Chenier shell banks, is the summer home to a variety of migratory Arctic wading birds including the Wrybil which is found here all year round.

Garden Bar KaiauaFree Camp Kaiaua 2

We went to the Pub for Dinner, lovely food!

Dinner Kaiaua


Jude had chops out for tea so back in the fridge they went till the next night.



More reminiscing and it was off to Cooks Cooks Beach & Lonely Bay 2Beach where Jude spent many holidays even after her parents passing. They had retired there. This long sandy beach which caught Capt Cook’s eye is an ideal place to unwind and explore beautiful Mercury Bay.  Cooks Beach is flanked by Shakespeare Cliff to the west and sheltered and picturesque Purangi Estuary to the east. This photo was taken from Shakespear Cliff. It was still pretty early in the day to Camp up so after Brunch of Tui’s favourite, Eggs Benedict, we headed down the coast to Whangamata.  The weather wasn’t the best and we couldn’t find anywhere good to camp so further down the road we went to Waihi Beach.

Waihi BeachNice free camp spot but the weather was pretty shitty.  A Fish & Chip shop 2 mins walk away caught our eye so Tui suggested we get takeaways.  Chops stayed in the fridge!  Really great decision!  Tui had his 100% Paua Fritter.  Paua is like Abalone, the best Snapper we have tasted in ages & NZ scollopes! Yummmm!

A bit of a lazy late start next day and off further down the coast to check out Tauranga.  Man has that place grown!  Still raining so didn’t do any walking around.  Had Tui’s hit of Burger King then off to Jude’s niece, Sandra, at Matamata. Finally cooked those chops, had a barbie for tea.  Lesley (another niece) & kids came around plus Janine & Bob and we had a few drinkies.  Always good fun those girls!!  The next day most of Jude’s family arrived for a bit of a reunion.  So good to see everyone.  Pity Jude’s other son couldn’t make it from Perth but we did a video and sent it to him. Sandra’s ex Mike had given her home killed Mutton which she roasted for the Pot Luck Lunch.  OMG! We had forgotten how good it tasted!!  Not a scrap left!

Otto's Day Jeff & kidsOtto's Day 2

Kai TimeOtto's Day 3

Les, sandra Jude

A very slow day the next day and Lesley, Darryl and kids came around for lunch to eat the left overs and Sandra cooked Tui some venison that her boys had hunted,  Yum! Thanks Sandra for hosting the day, it was awesome!


Wine from jan


Jude’s Sister in Law gave her a very appropriate bottle of Wine! Thanks Jan!! It was delicious!!

Off to Jeff & Amie’s in the afternoon.  Jeff had got Whitebait especially for Jude so we had Whitebait Fritters and salad for tea.  There is nothing quite like NZ Whitebait!! Another Yum moment!  Thanks Jeff! Max & Ella were super excited to have us there and were busy showing us their Fort, as Max calls it, or Castle.  Pity I never got a photo of it or Amie as she was behind the camera!


Tea Jeff'sWith Ella

Fun timeSam

Called in and had coffee with Robyn & Murray the next day, then to Autobahn at Bombay for Tui’s Eggs Benedict before cruising the main of Pukekohe, reminiscing again. Had a hour or so chill out time at Tuakau by the Waikato River.

Waikato River Tuakau 2Waikato River Tuakau

Back to Jeff’s for a Barbie and stay the night.  Beaut Barbie and those potatoes were to die for Amie.  Tui wants you to tell me how to do them!!  All too soon our last night was looming!  Parked at Bob & Janine’s so we could clean out the,Camper and had a Pizza night at Brian & Trish’s.  A great trip, fantastic to see you all and it was a great decision to hire the Camper.  Cost us a bit but it meant we didn’t feel like we were putting anyone out and if we needed time out we could.

A fairly tiring trip back to Mackay.  Dropped off the Camper, free shuttle to the Airport, checked in then a 2hr wait till our flight boarded.  Landed in Brisbane and another 3hr wait for our flight to Mackay.  The lawns were all neat & tidy when we left and Jude nearly cried when she saw them!  They looked like a paddock as there was a lot of rain while we were away.  A very busy few days, catching up on washing, although Jude did do a load at Janine’s, Tiki Tourer needed a good clean & vacuum, then there were those dreaded lawns!  Jude had to have the mower up 2 notches and it still took well over 4hrs!!

Tui hasn’t had any work since we have been back but has practically finished the trailer and packed most of our stuff into it. This last weekend we spent at the shed.  Servicing Tiki Tourer, sorting out a short in the tail lights and adjusting the steering!

We have made quite a few phone calls re work opportunities but it appears to be pretty quiet everywhere.  Where to from here?  Who knows!  Will keep you posted.

Until then “Laugh more, live longer!”













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