Success is getting what you want; happiness is liking what you get

Monday, 17 February 2020

Saddle Road to Anzac Park

We are off on another adventure, meeting up with the ICA people for several weeks, starting in the Hawkes Bay.   Why not leave a few days early, we decided, so we did.  With the Manawatu Gorge Road closed forever, we took the alternative Saddle Road from Ashhust to Woodville.  It’s been a while since we traveled this road, and just like the Pahiatua Track Road which we use frequently, was rather busy with cars and the inevitable big trucks.

Map of Saddle Road, Manawatu-Wanganui
Saddle Road, Manawatu

The hypnotic turning windmills soon appeared as we reached the summit, it’s always interesting to note that some turn faster than others.  Just the way the wind flows past, I expect.  The $100 million wind farm consists of 55 separate turbines capable of generating 1.65 MW each, representing a total capacity of 90.75 MW. Each turbine is atop a 70-metre-high (230 ft) tower. It is fitted with 3 blades each 35 metres in length.

Wind turbines at Te Apiti Windfarm

Lunch stop was at the very pretty Anzac Park, north of Norsewood  According to the info board “A 500 year bush remnant untouched by fire or axe.  An unique examples of conditions encountered by the 1872-75 settlers.”  The last remaining 16 acres were preserved in 1912, renamed Anzac Park in 1916, and approved as a “Motorists Camping Ground” in 1929.  A really beautiful place with bush walks aplenty, and a bargain at $2 each per night.  No facilities, with the water tap and toilet block locked up tight, but most of us are self sufficient these days.  No dogs allowed – so how come one was running around loose with a group of campers, I wonder?


Anzac Park

Lunch stop over, it was time to get on our way.  Next stop, Ericson Road NZMCA park for three nights, before meeting up with the ICA rally.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Further Fun at Pohangina

Our long Waitangi Weekend has come to a close, and what a great weekend we had.   We were kept amused as Don used his “ever so clever” caravan mover to direct his caravan into the correct spot, no trouble at all, this device works effortlessly.

“Come this way, little caravan”

Two rather special awards were presented at 4zees, while we sheltered under the large shady trees.  First was for Geoff and Eileen, who were presented with their 300 rally badges by President Barry.  Then Barry presented Dot with her 200 rally badge.   Many congratulations to you all, that’s an awful lot of rally weekends away with the club.

Rally Awards to Geoff and Eileen, and Dot

Later in the evening we played the Hat Game, rather like Musical Chairs for oldies, but instead of racing around we stayed seated in a circle.  Everyone except one person was given a hat to wear, and as the music played the idea was to remove the hat from the head in front and place it on your head, over and over again.  Once the music stopped the person without a hat left the circle, until it was a fight to the death with the last two players, who were now facing each other.  The ladies went first, with Cath being the eventual winner.

Reaching for those hats

The final, between myself and Cath

Then it was the men’s turn.  Helen had collected all these hats but there were not enough manly hats to go around.  Never mind, the blokes looked rather fetching wearing ladies hats.  Pat was the winner of the men’s section.

Waiting for the music to start

The next morning kicked off with a Champagne Breakfast.  Everyone was up bright and early to fire up the BBQs for bacon, eggs, sausages, whatever took their fancy.  Barry and Dianne arrived with pancakes, blueberries, and cream, which looked  rather tasty alternative.

Barry and Dianne with pancakes

Most of us had bacon and eggs

Then we jumped in the cars and drove to check out Totara Reserve – two motor camps here to see.  One is rather rustic in the style of earlier years with campers parked up wherever – no sites marked out here.  We stopped here for a cuppa and I had a quick look at the Pohangina River, a tributary of the Manawatu River.   Quite a dangerous place with the cliff face being unstable.  Several years ago a large chunk of the cliff fell down onto a group of children resulting in a couple of fatalities.  The river was blocked and the motor camp flooded and closed for quite some time.

Pohangina River

Driving to the adjacent camp we stopped for a photo opportunity, with the cars all lined up in a row.  It was nice to see a large group of picnickers out for the day enjoying themselves, a family or church group perhaps, all having fun in the sunshine.

Here we all are

We weren’t back at camp very long before we had to lave for another social occasion, Devonshire Tea at the local café, Country Fayre,  just a short walk from where we were camped.  The building was the former Pohangina County Council, and we were seated at the rather impressive boardroom table.


Devonshire Tea at Country Fayre Café

There was a quiz and games on our final night of the rally.  Many thanks to Owen and Helen for organising a great weekend.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Waitangi Weekend in Pohangina Valley

Yesterday (Thursday) was our national day here in New Zealand, Waitangi Day.  While the Prime Minister and other assorted government officials were celebrating at Waitangi, we joined the caravan club for a long weekend at the pretty Pohangina School Reserve.  Sited in the old school grounds, and surrounded by lovely old trees, this is a favourite place of ours to stay.

We had a stop on the drive up at Ashurst – and I just had to walk up to the Viewing Platform, to get a good view of the power generating windmills on the Tararua Ranges.  With an altitude of over 1500 mts above sea level, and lying perpendicular to the prevailing winds, this range of hills has long been known for its wind.  The resulting flow produces some of the biggest wind speeds in the country.

Just a small part of the Tararua Wind Farm

Walking up the track to the viewing platform through the bush  I came across these two kereru sitting on top of the fence.  And managed to snap a photo before they realised I was there and flew away.  The kereru or New Zealand pigeon is the only pigeon endemic to the New Zealand mainland.


From here it wasn’t too far to our destination, Pohangina School Reserve.  We arrived in time for lunch, and during the afternoon the others soon rolled in.

All lined up

The day was hot and sunny so we all gathered under the shady trees for 4zees.  What could be nicer than that?

4zees under the shady trees

Some of us decided to fire up the BBQs for our evening meal, it was pork chops for us, and salad.  Then in the early evening we all gathered outside again.  Owen and Helen are the rally family in charge this weekend, and had the idea that perhaps some of us might like to give a short 5 minute talk about aspects of our lives, which others may not necessarily know.  Geoff talked about how he and his parents happened to make the decision to emigrate to New Zealand, they were advised that New Zealand was a tropical country and they would not need winter clothes of coats – not true, of course, while others talked about their early working lives.  I spoke about my life when I ran a dairy (corner shop) with my former husband and two young children.  Getting up at 5.00am, and closing the shop doors at 9.00pm, it was a very busy and rather stressful time in my life.

Owen and Helen have plenty of plans for us, so we are assured of an interesting weekend away.  Hope the weather stays nice and sunny, but of course, we will just have to take what we get.

Monday, 3 February 2020

These things take time

Finally, another little job done on our new caravan, purchased a couple of months ago.  Sign writing – just in case we forget who we are.  (If we forget where we are, that’s a whole different problem).  Local company Parsons Signs did the work for us.  We were pleased that they had kept the design work from our previous van on file, so it was just a matter of deciding on the size, and printing them off again.  Up the ladder he went, and got to work smoothing the vinyl lettering in place.


The job didn’t take too long at all and before we knew it, all the signs were in place.  Romany Rambler went on the front and the back of the van.

Signs on front and back

And just so we don’t enter the wrong van by mistake, we now have our names by the door.

And by the door

It was great that the company does “home visits” to complete the job, meaning we didn’t have to hook the van up and drive it through town.  We were very pleased with the prompt and efficient service, much appreciated.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

Safety Matters

Although we have been enjoying our new caravan for a couple of months now, it has taken this long to put some safety measures in place.  Robin purchased this Fire Safely Kit a while ago, as we had left our previous extinguisher and alarm in place when we traded in our previous van.


It only took an hour or so with his trusty screw driver to have all these items hung up in place.  Now the smoke alarm is installed we can rest easy.  We found wall space to hang the fire blanket and extinguisher.



Let’s hope we wont need to use these items, rather like a form of insurance, necessary to have, just in case.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Weekend in Carterton

Our caravan safari came to an end, but it wasn’t an end to our time away.  The next thing on the agenda was the three day rally hosted by the Wairarapa caravan Club.  It was a double celebration, the 20th Regional Rally, and their club’s 80th birthday.  The Wairarapa Caravan Club is the oldest in New Zealand, and back when it started, the caravans would have been home built models – there was no New Zealand caravan industry then.  There were 29 caravans and motorhomes gathered at the Rugby Club grounds, with some people traveling quite a distance to attend.


The club banners from the various clubs attending were proudly marched into the hall, and the rally was officially opened on Friday evening by the President of CCNZ who had traveled down from Gisborne.


Over the weekend it was great to catch up with members of the other clubs, who we only see from time to time.  Harry and Lorraine were determined to relieve us all of some dollars over the weekend, as they were selling raffle tickets.  Our club, Heretaunga did quite well in buying winning raffle numbers, with most of us taking home a prize.  There were the usual Morning Teas and Happy Hours, plus a quiz to keep our brains active.

Harry and Lorraine, and the Club Bike

We all enjoyed a meal out together on Saturday night at the local Cossie Club, within easy walking distance.    The 80th Birthday Cake was cut by Gary and Elva, the oldest active members of the Wairarapa Club.  We hadn’t seen this lovely couple for some time, so it was very special to catch up with them again at the dinner.

Gary and Elva cutting the 80th Birthday Cake

Club photo time

Then it was BBQ time on Sunday night, the the Wairarapa blokes and helpers cooking up a storm.  Sausages, onions and bread and butter were provided, we supplied our own salads or veggies, and if we didn’t fancy sausages, there was room on the BBQ to cook our own meat. 

Dave and Terry hard at work

All good things come to an end and the rally closed on Sunday morning.  Rae led the banner holders through the hall again, with the sounds of bagpipes emanating from whatever that blue thing was she was waving around, a small recorder of some type, channeled through her phone, it seems.  Thanks were made to all involved in arranging the weekend, and as it happens, our caravan club will be hosting the next Regional Rally in two years time.

Heretaunga Club President Barry, with Rae

It was time to say our goodbyes, and  pack up, put the cat in the car and head to the dump station.  After nearly three weeks away, and driving 1700kms, I was ready to head for home.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Mangatainoka Reserve and Tui Brewery

Our last night on Owen and Helen’s safari was spent camped on the river bank at Mangatainoka Reserve.  (There was another addition to our numbers, Dot arrived after a night away, and brought along her sister Mary.)  This is a very significant stretch of water, in the history of beer brewing.  In 1889 Henry Wagstaff stopped on the banks of the Mangatainoka River to boil up a pot of tea.  The water tasted so good that he decided to build a brewery, and so Tui Brewery began.  All these years later Tui Brewery is still going strong, producing plenty of Tui beer, incidentally, Robin’s beer of choice.

Parked up on Mangatainoka Reserve for the night

While we were camped here, it would be rude not to walk across the road to the famous Tui Brewery, don't you think.  It took us no time at all – the beer drinkers were happy, while others had coffee and hot chocolate.


After our refreshments it was time for a little walk around.  It had obviously been a while since our last visit and we found out that the new brewery building full of shiny vats was erected in 2016.


And here is the famous seven storey brew tower, built in 1931, so brewers could use gravity to turn malt into beer. Strangely, the builders forgot to put in a lift and stairs, and this quirk has only added intrigue to the site’s long history. The tower is now classified as a Category 1 Heritage Listed building and has been earthquake strengthened.  Advertising photos often  show a bevy of beautiful Tui Girls leaning out of the windows, but they weren’t there when we were visiting.  As the evening drew in, and the skies darkened, we could see the tower all lit up across the road from the camp site.

Tui brew tower, afternoon and evening

So, it’s been another day, and another brewery,  GodsOwn and then Tui.  Robin must think he’s died and gone to heaven!