Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Anzac Commemorative Coin

While unpacking the motorhome on arrival home I discovered a new coin amongst our belongings.  Looking closely we discovered that it was a coloured 50 cent coin which I must have picked up at the Waiouru Army Museum on our way home.

One million of these legal tender coins were minted to commemorate the centenary, on 25 April 1915, of the Anzac landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula.

IMG_0050 The ‘Tails”Face of the commemorative 50 cent coin.

Featuring New Zealand and Australian soldiers standing back to back with their heads bowed in remembrance. The Maori motif pattern symbolises strength and determination, and the silver fern is New Zealand’s identity.With New Zealand’s national colours, the motif is white on the coin, with the background coloured black.

IMG_0051The “heads” face of the coin with the Queen and the year 2015

It is the first time in New Zealand history that a New Zealand coloured circulating coin has been produced. It has been checked that the coin is the same size as the existing coin and will be accepted in coin and vending machines.

I wonder how long these coins remain in circulation or are picked up by collectors?

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Lest we forget!

  ANZAC Day (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps)

flanders poppyFlanders poppy 

25th April is the observance day New Zealanders and Australians remember the fallen of the two World Wars.

I remember as a young girl getting up early in the morning to attend the annual Dawn Parade service with my late father.

The many thousands who sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom. May they rest in peace.


One hundred crosses at the National War Museum at Waiouru commemorate the ultimate sacrifice by New Zealanders in the 1st World War 100 years ago.

We Shall Keep the Faith

'Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.'

Moina Michael


Sunday, 19 April 2015

NZMCA Ngongataha

On leaving Paeroa we headed south via Te Aroha and the outskirts of Matamata before turning onto SH 5 which took us to Ngongataha. We were heading for the newest NZMCA Park which was opened the previous day.  Would there be room for our 3 vehicles? No problem, we chose 3 spots overlooking Lake Rotorua. Derek wandered off and took this photo of a model engine at the Rotorua Ngongotaha Miniature Railway.


We had booked tickets earlier in the week for the self-drive rail cars at Mamaku. Similar to the trip we did a couple of years ago while travelling through the Forgotten Highway. We went from Whangamomona railway station to taking the moth balled line towards Taumarunui.

IMG_8935Straight ahead now driver, although there wasn't one!

With a distance of 19kms return we departed Mamaku Station before turning around at Tarukenga Station for the return journey. Travelling through the beautiful Dansey Scenic Reserve on the steep 1:35 gradient railway.

IMG_8947Passing through the forest, look at the tall straight tree trunks.

IMG_8942Coming up to a bend we can’t see around the corner.

Out from the cutting we see stunning lake views and rolling farmland.  The Rail Cruiser is the world’s first fully automated petrol-electric four seater self drive hybrid rail vehicle. We travelled along in 5 rail cruisers 250 metres apart. On reaching Tarukenga station they are turned and ready for the return journey.

IMG_8944Stunning lake views.

Cruising along at 20kms/h listening to an audio (which unfortunately was breaking up in our car and we missed a lot of the commentary) was very peaceful.

IMG_8955Getting set to disembark before turning the car.

The Rotorua Railway was originally planned in 1877 to take tourists to the Pink and White Terraces. Known then as the 8th wonder of the world.  The line was uncompleted in 1886 when the eruption of Mt Tarawera destroyed the terraces. It was nearly 20 years before the line was then completed.  It has been unused for the last 13 years before the Railcruising Experience has once again carried tourists since November 2011.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Martha’ Open Cast Goldmine Waihi!

After leaving Bowen town we decided to take a look at Martha’s Open Pit Mine in Waihi on our way to Paeroa.  Whilst we had been to Waihi several times we had not visited the Goldmine, as we had only passed through.

WaihiWaihi Replica Poppet HeadIMG_9930Cornish Pump house at Martha's Mine, built in 1903.

This pump house was moved 300 metres to a more stable site in 2006.  Taking 3 months to completely move it now sits adjacent to Martha's Mine.

IMG_8930Poppies lined up to commemorate Anzac Day on the boundary fence.IMG_9942Looking down into the now open cast gold mine.

Originally an underground mine it has now been opened up and all work is done above ground.  There have been several occurrences of collapsed underground shafts collapsing over the years due to the instability of the land.

IMG_9943Our first viewing of a drone.

The drone is sitting on the carrycase, this shows the size of it, the four propellers are attached manually just before take-off.  This young couple had decided to try out Dad’s drone by flying it over the mine. “What happens if it falls in?” I said.  No problem it runs for approximately 15 minutes and then returns to the controller if not directed back and the batteries run out.  The controller is very small which holds the smartphone and its GPS.  A small camera is located under the drone and can be set to photograph and then download to the smartphone.  Very clever, bit beyond us.

UFO?Not a UFO but a drone above Waihi, Waihi roundabout made with sculpured steel balls from Marthas MineRoundabout in centre of Waihi, is made of replica steel balls used to crush the gold and silver in the quartz rock.It's a BoggerThose are some big machines!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Anzac Bay, Freedom Parking at its Best!

From the top of the hill, what a view?Looking down from the top of the hill at Gypsy Rover with Anzac Bay behind.

What a beautiful spot.  While the others had opted for a couple of nights in the motor camp.  We freedom parked a couple of hundred yards further on in the local reserve. 

Anzac Bay at Bowentown was once named St George's Bay. The name was changed in January 1916 to honour those who served and fell at Gallipoli. Nearby Katikati had its  first World War One death when Harry Pritt died on his first day in action on 8 August 1915 along with other members of the Auckland Infantry 5th Reinforcements. The bay at Bowentown is said to be is a perfect miniature replica of Anzac Cove in Gallipoli.

Bowentown Freedom Camping.Bowentown Reserve just out of Waihi

Bowentown Reserve

Almost surrounded on three sides with the ocean, what a fabulous spot, our favourite so far. We were accompanied by up to a dozen other vehicles and felt completely safe.  The weather was at its best and our new battery performed beautifully.  Meanwhile the others were spied upon when we climbed to the top of the hill.

There's the other two vans!Our friends parked together at the camp just down the road.

An old Maori pa overlooking the bay.The site of an original Maori Pa on the hill overlooking the camp.

first one wayOne could see for miles from the top.

and then the otherNice little private sheltered beach nestled at the bottom of the hill.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Avocado Orchard!

Next seasons avocadosNext seasons avocados.
Arriving at Taupo in heavy rain we headed for our POP on the outskirts of Tauranga.  Lovely spot amongst the Avocado trees, unfortunately our motorhome was in the shadow of some very high hedges.  Two nights her and we encountered the same problem with the vehicle battery.
Parked amongst the avocadosParked amongst the avocados.
After Robin tried to jumpstart us with no avail it was call out the AA.  While the other two left for their campsite we sat and waited for help.  Due to a cold morning the AA were very busy and it was not until lunchtime that help arrived.  We started first pop with the AA help and then we headed back to Tauranga for a battery.
Lovely setting amongst the avocado treesLovely setting amongst the avocado trees.
Ouch $350 later we were on our way. Bowentown here we come.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Kawerau, Tarawera Falls and Lake

Leaving Edgecumbe we headed for Kawerau which we knew was a motorhome friendly town.  What we didn't know was that there was a dog agility competition on for the weekend. The free power sites were gone and there were motorhomes and caravans all in the park. 

Talking to the staff at the swimming pool where there is parking available, we were advised not to stop there as they had been having trouble there lately with some persons at night time.  It was suggested that we may want to park behind the Kawerau Cosmopolitan Club, which we did. We had no trouble the two nights we were there, apart from the smell of sulphur.

IMG_9866The lovely colourings in Tarawera River.

Next morning after a quick visit to the local Laundromat we headed off with Robin and Jenny to Tarawera Falls. This is via a private road but one is able to get a permit from the i-site.

Beautiful colours in the Tarawera RiverBeautiful New Zealand bush alongside Tarawera River.

IMG_8904Tarawera Falls where the water comes out of a split in the rocks.

Shows the size of these volcanic roacksLook at the size of these volcanic rocks

IMG_9877Tarawera Falls

New Zealand BushLovely ferns up at the waterfall.

The next morning as we were about to head for Tauranga,  what did we have? but a vehicle that wouldn't start.  A problem due to a couple of days with no sun and freedom camping. Changing the solar panel to charge the vehicle battery only, we managed to get enough power to start after a short while in the sun.  No stopping now off to Tauranga.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Edgecumbe instead of Awakeri

Tristed steel at Edgecumbe Fonterra Plant.Twisted steel at Edgecumbe Fonterra Plant.
An earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Ricter scale hit Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty on 2 March 1987.  This photo shows the damage it did to this steel beam discovered during reconstruction of the Fonterra Edgecumbe Milk Treatment Plant.
Mount Edgecumbe in the distance.Mount Edgecumbe in the distance.
Our intention had been to go to a POP inAwakeri but Geoff being 5 minutes ahead of us drove up the drive to discover that there was no room for the 3 vehicles. We had rung the previous evening and assured there was plenty of room.  Yeah right.  No problem out came the trusty Travel Directory and we found the Edgecumbe Cosmopolitan Club only 6 kms away.  This is where we ended up.
Tucked in the corner of the carpark.Tucked in the corner of the carpark.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Opotiki formally known as Pakowhai

Weka at our POP in Opotiki.Weka at our POP in Opotiki.

Driving through the beautiful scenic Waioeka Gorge we arrived at our POP in Opotiki with a warm welcome.  A weka or two wandered around our vans with Honey keeping an eye on these strangers, not much different in size to her.

Wandering into Opotiki the next morning before moving on we found a town that too us was really down and out.  From 1840 until the early 1860’s Pakowhai was a booming port.

Bicycle built for oneBicycle built for one

In 1865 The Rev Carl Volkner set up the Mission Station after which the ensuring Maori Wars caused him to take his wife to Auckland for safety, returning back with Rev Thomas Grace he was hanged claiming he was a British Spy.

Courthouse OpotikiCourthouse Opotiki

Carving in the centre of OpotikiCarving across from the Courthouse in Opotiki

St Stephens Church OpotikiHiona St Stephens Church Opotiki was renamed in 1995

War Memorial in Opotoki, newly painted ready for ANZAC Day.War Memorial in Opotoki, newly painted ready for ANZAC Day.

Next stop Awakeri.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

First to see the sun!

That’s Gisborne New Zealand of course, the next stop on our safari. We arrived at Waikanae Beach Motor Camp to find two fellow Heretaunga members and one from Wairarapa Caravan Club. We had all headed north after the National Rally to check out the area

IMG_9806Our first view of Gisborne from the lookout.

Gisborne ParkLooks even better in the dark as it is lit with lights.

Look at all those logs waiting for export!Look at all those logs waiting for export!

We spent a couple of nights catching up on laundry and other necessities. The last time we had been in Gisborne was for the Millennium Rally in 2000, its amazing how the town has changed since that visit.

Now who's that trying to hide?Now who's that trying to hide?

Young Nick siting NZ 7/10/1769A statue of Young Nick siting NZ 7 October 1769.

Look at all those logs waiting for export!Look at all those logs waiting for export!

Not qite what it seems, this is a mural!Not quite what it seems, this is a mural painted on the building.

Gisborne Railway MuralGisborne Railway Mural.

Derek had a long wander around the old Railway Station and track after checking any changes since the government mothballed the line after the last derailment saying it wasn't economic to repair.

Next stop Opotiki through the gorge.