Local Heart, Global Soul

June 23, 2014

Finding A Little Camp-site In Between The Agricultural Industry Of South Holland…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We like to spend time outdoors and summer school holidays are an ideal time for our kids to get out of our apartment and experience nature at closer hand than several floors up.

Last summer Himself organised a camping  long weekend with several friends, one of my brothers-in-law and family and with a collection of tents they set out into the wilds of South Holland.  That’s a rather tongue in cheek comment on my part because South Holland is a very built up province and there aren’t too many wilds to be found at all.

Luckily about half and hours drive out of  The Hague some farms in the intensive glasshouse and agricultural area of Delftland have expanded their business to include small scale camping and various activities.

One of these,”Hoeve Bouwlust” is where the extended group were staying and having a ton of fun. My foot injury meant that I was unable to camp with the others and was staying home alone, which was ok for the first day or so but started to be a bit lonely after that. Himself phoned me regularly and invariably gushed with news about what a wonderful time everyone was having.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Suddenly the penny dropped that being told about it wasn’t nearly as exciting as being there so he hit upon a solution: the next morning he would come and pick me up and we could have a big communal picnic together, and later in the day he could bring me back home for the night. It was an excellent solution because the other adults in the group could look after our kids whilst Himself fetched me from home and by chance we managed to bring out another family for the day as well.

Later we found out that Hoeve Bouwlust also has two very small apartments for hire which would have been ideal for me had we known about them earlier.

The farm has a reasonably small camping ground at the rear, complete with toilet block and a whole range of activities to entertain children. Aside from a playground and other play facilities this is also a working farm so there are sheds with cows and home-made ice cream made from their own milk for sale. Once all of the families had gathered together their contributions, the table was soon groaning under the weight of the food and hungry children from friends and family needed no encouragement to get stuck into the fresh fruit, vegetables, sushi and cold meats. Even though the surrounding area is packed with agricultural industry, it’s a quiet space with plenty of space fo the kids to let off steam. A little gem and so close to the city… Who knew?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 11, 2014

Holiday Villa Ownership, Costs More Than We Guessed… Luxury Sea-Side (For A Weekend At Least)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve arrived at the Roompot “Noordzee Résidence De Banjaard”  holiday park that my sister in law has organised,  there are large houses that are holiday homes for the owners, but individually let out to the public  via the holiday  park website when they are not using them. Houses vary in size (and thus price) .

We have a three bedroom house that has a large kitchen, dining area and living room.

One set of in-laws also has a three bedroom place, for themselves, their youngest son and Oma (Grandmother) and the other in-laws have a slightly smaller two bedroom house that has a double, plus a room with two single beds for their two children.

Our rented house has a large double bedroom for Himself and I, a room with two single beds for our two kids and a smaller with singles for our friend and her toddler daughter.

Our double room has French doors leading out to a balcony that overlooks the street and which is the roof of  the veranda below. We aren’t the sun-bathing types (Like all New Zealanders these days, I’m only too well aware of the risks of skin cancer, and our family prefer Factor 80 sun-block to any sort of tanning lotion) , but if you were you could opt for a spot in the shade or in the sun as takes your fancy.

There is an extra cupboard (or it may be a small room) downstairs that’s locked, it’s storage for the owner’s personal belongings, understandably they need somewhere to keep their own bed linen and private effects that are not meant for casual tenants to use.

Other than that there is not a massive amount of storage in the house, but since I think that there are rules that prohibit year round occupation in the holiday park and most tenants would only be hiring for a week or two at the time, that’s less of a problem short term.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The living area is nice and large downstairs, our villa may have the same amount of bedrooms as one of my sister in laws, but is considerably bigger inside, so after the family sharing a picnic dinner at their place on the first evening, on the Sunday, everyone did the same at ours and the larger amount of space was noticeable when filled with a crowd.

It appears that there are various floor plans available for owners to choose from and the houses are more or less compact as a result. Judging from the house rules and reading material our owner is clearly of German nationality,  and I think that many of the houses here are also German owned: it’s an established fact that with large land area but  limited coastline, German nationals love to holiday in the Netherlands and be close to the sea.

This frequently leads to German families returning year after year to their favourite places on the Dutch coast, combined with the fact that many Dutch speak German and communication is easy,  has lead to a trend where owning  a property of your own by the sea is a good long term family investment. The holiday houses aren’t cheap though,  One of my sister in laws had a brain wave and thought that one of these would also be a brilliant idea, until we checked out the website and discovered prices between 300.000,– and 400.000,–  Euro for the types of villas we were staying in and her dream one a little larger.   Ouch… her dreams quickly evaporated at those  prices.

There are various modes of “transport” to play on and to get around with: short term hires of tricycles plenty big enough for adults, with a “side-car” sort of arrangement that the kids were delighted with. Then for a set fee you could hire a little cart, to take your stuff to the on site swimming pool, playground, or in our case, to transport tired toddler back to the villa.

We had all weathers during the weekend so my photographs reflect that… Let’s take a look around …

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 21, 2012

MeadowPark, We Are Back Again…

We’ve arrived back in Christchurch again to spend time with family and friends and sort out last minute things before we leave New Zealand. We would have liked to head back to the Hidden Haven B&B  https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/new-601/

but Rae and Pete have family visiting from Australia and their rooms are full. Since family should always come first we don’t mind and head to another favourite accommodation spot of ours, Meadowpark. https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/new-post-98/

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We manage to book a ground floor unit  (in the different block to our last New Zealand trip’s rooms) and since I want to take photographs and sort out clothes, Himself takes the kids out from under my feet  to the swimming pool.

Ideal for a family, there’s a double bed in the living/ kitchenette area and two sets of bunks in an adjoining room next door.

The toilet and shower are accessed though the second bedroom,  which might be a worry having to walk past the kids when I need to make night-time  use of the privy, but both our kids sleep like little rocks so that’s not a problem in our case.

We’ve stayed some five or six times here since the kids were born so they know their way around  and run off like homing pigeons in the direction of the playground after their swim, and after half and hour they come back to the unit with new little friends in tow.

It turns out that there are quite a few families here at the moment who’s insurance companies are using MeadowPark as  four to six week temporary accommodation whilst major eathquake repairs are carried out on their houses.

The children from these families see quite a few  tourist kids passing though and quickly seize on ours with delight because our bilingual kids speak English. Once we’ve made acquaintance with the parents of the other children and discussed with the kids the limits of where we want them to play, we see them scooting past like butterflies every now and again until their stomachs bring them home to roost later on.

Let’s look around our accommodation…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 15, 2012

An Oasis with a Swimming Pool…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We’ve had fun driving today and seeing the sights on our way south, but now everyone is tired and we come into the Wanganui at the end of the afternoon looking for a bed for the night.

Himself spots an accommodation sign  for the Oasis Motor Lodge that also advertises an indoor swimming pool and this combination has us persuaded and in the driveway within moments.

After signing in it’s apparent that this is a more old fashioned establishment…  the Family Room accommodation is a rambling set of rooms could easily house a small football team or a very large  family … we put Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr. in just one of the rooms, Himself and I take the double and leave the other massive room neat and tidy, but if you had six kids this accommodation would be perfect.

There’s a stove, fridge and even a small courtyard and laundry out the back of our unit so it’s a great find if you want cheap, cheerful and functional.

The older couple who run the place are very friendly and helpful, directing us to their favourite takeaway for our tonight’s easy meal (no photos since we were tired and ravenous) and taking our order for a cooked breakfast that will be delivered to our unit tomorrow morning.

Even though we are in town, there are sheep grazing in the empty section next door, and the kids quickly find the trampoline and the swimming pool before our evening meal arrives.  All in all this is comfortable and does the job.

It’s the kind of place that used to be typical in New Zealand years ago but which is slowly but surely disappearing as customers demand all mod cons when they travels as well as when they are at home.  The current owners are close to retirement and who knows what will happen to the place once it changes hands in the future.

We spend an excellent night here,  although it’s on the main road it’s well off the street, quiet and has plenty of play space for the kids and the beds are comfortable. Let’s look around…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

July 26, 2012

Palm Court Motel… Just the Ticket for a Tired Family.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

You are following the pages of our New Zealand tour, made in December 2011- January 2012. We have been visiting friends and family in the north of the North Island and are now slowly making our way south again, but this time via  the west coast of the North Island.

Himself and the kids managed to see the famous Waitomo glow-worm caves late this afternoon and now that we are heading for the hotel everyone is suddenly very tired and hungry.

It took quite a few phone calls at the visitor information centre at Waitomo to secure us a room that was suitable for our kids and for me on crutches, but this looks perfect.

We are staying the night in the Palm Court Motel  in Otorohanga which means a small back-track towards Hamilton but it looks well worth it. Himself and I bag the double bed in the living room and park both kids in the double in the side room.  There’s a microwave had we wanted to heat up a simple meal but we are opting for a take-a-way tonight as we haven’t bought any groceries with us.  This place would be ideal for a larger family too, and everything was clean and tidy so we are really happy with the place. Later we go over to the office to ask some questions and directions on how we think we want to proceed with our journey and the owners are really helpful with the information we need.

This is definitely somewhere we would be happy coming to again. The one and only downside was the noise of trucks passing on the nearby main road but  we were tired so after a short while we hardly noticed it and we slept soundly. Let’s have a look around.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 18, 2012

A Distinctive Look Around…

Filed under: Accomodation,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,Reviews,Travel — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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We’ve landed for the night at the Distinction Hotel Rotorua… The kids have found the jacuzzi pool, but let’s look around and see what the rest of the place looks like…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 17, 2012

A Room of Distinction, (Before The Kiwidutch Kids Strike…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The rain has really set in by the time we arrive in Rotorua and we set about finding a place to stay.

The first few places we try either are full up or have no adjoining or family rooms available, and one has only a really tiny studio (that’s also not by any means cheap) that sleeps two-three but they would see what they could do to try and squeeze in an extra bed, and the man there paints a very pessimistic picture as he tries to convince Himself that it will probably be impossible to find anything else at this (late afternoon) hour.

Himself  smells the arm twist ploy and replies we will look further thanks and get back to them if we don’t find anything suitable.

Two places later we find a Family room in the  Distinction (Rotorua) Hotel for far less cost than what the studio guy was asking, and with two double beds so less cramped too.

The bonus is that there are several restaurants within the hotel so we don’t have to go far for a meal and the place has it’s own pool and jacuzzi…
…upon finding this later information, our tired kids are suddenly in looooove with the place.

The room is large enough for two double beds and there’s  plenty of space for the bags, a fridge. mini-bar etc. The first item on the agenda for the kids is to beg a swim before dinner,  and that wish granted, throw the suitcases open and rummage for swimming costumes, get changed and disappear off to the outside jacuzzi pool with Himself  in tow, whilst I put my foot up and have a little rest.

Whilst they were busy dragging suitcases from the van to the room, I took photos of the room knowing it wasn’t going to be in this pristine state for long…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

View out of the window…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(apologies for the lens cap or thumb Oops in the next photo…) … the fridge and tea making things are inside the tall white cupboard…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 25, 2012

Napier: Deco City Motor Lodge, We will be Back!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are staying in Napier at the Deco City Motor Lodge… … the only rooms left are up a flight of stairs but I’m not going out tonight so one flight is do-able on sticks.

There’s a double bed in the main room and two singles in the adjoining one and a large bathroom.

Everything is well laid out except for one large door-stopper in the toilet /bathroom that’s positioned a bit too close to where your right foot wants to be when sitting on or getting up from the throne.

We repeatedly warn each other not to trip over it when the door is closed so that we don’t end up with an extra set of crutches in the back of the van.

For the rest everything is clean, comfortable and easy to navigate.

We arrived a bit later in Napier than we intended and had to search for almost half and hour for accommodation that had space,  so everyone is now  tired and hungry. Himself and the kids unload baggage whilst I take photos of the room upstairs and in no time we are settled in.

Before we eat the kids plead for a swim in the small swimming pool they spied on the left as we drove in, and investigation revealed that the pool was open for only another 27 minutes so they threw clothes around the bedroom, hauled on their swimming costumes at breakneck speed and raced out the door  to the pool.

The water in the pool  was unheated and whilst it’s been a reasonably warm day today, it was getting towards dusk when they plunged in and discovered that “fresh” was  rather too genteel a word to describe it,  their squeals and shrieks of shock probably disturbed half the motel. (sorry everyone)

They were really determined  to swim until the pool closed but lasted about 15 minutes, before scuttling back to the room shivering and heading for the shared bath that I already had filling  because I “guessed”  they might need one after hearing  how cold the water was.

There’s been a unanimous decision after the swim for an easy dinner of fish and chips and Himself remembered seeing a take-a-way a short distance away so he sprints off to procure our dinner forthwith.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The wifi is good so I check my email and sit on the bed with my foot  up typing a blog post…

…the kids find cartoons on the TV and blob out for half an hour after dinner, but after that everyone is so tired that it’s light’s out and I think all of us were fast asleep within minutes.

We had a great night’s sleep and packed up early the next morning because we want to go exploring  before we hit the road.

Clinton and Robyn were really nice about giving us some extra milk (the kids polished off all the milk with dinner the night before), and also very helpful with tourist information and how to get where we wanted to be,  so I already know where we want to be staying if we go back to Napier again.

Owner / Hosts: Robyn & Clinton Green Deco City Motor Lodge Address: 308 Kennedy Rd, Napier

Phone: +64 6 843 4342

Fax:+64 6 843 7565    //  Reservation Freephone (NZ Only):0800 536 6339     //   Email:decocity@xtra.co.nz

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 31, 2012

We Have Indeed Found a Hidden Haven…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We touch down in Christchurch city New Zealand to scattered showers and a cool day,  but it’s better than the steadily lowering temperatures that we left behind in The Netherlands earlier and we won’t  to do too much in the first day or so while we get over the jet-lag so we don’t care.

We call Teddy, our favourite car rental man as soon as we get inside the airport and he arrives a very short time later with the minivan we will be using while we are in New Zealand.

After heading back to his office nearly to complete the paperwork Himself takes the wheel and we concentrate keeping tired kids quiet so that Himself can concentrate on driving on the left-hand side of the road.

Various relatives are coming to stay with other friends and relatives for Christmas,  my Aunty’s is in hospital, and will need some quiet recovery time later so we have elected to stay in a B&B just a few minutes walk from another Aunt and Uncle out in a suburb just outside of Christchurch called Belfast.

Accommodation in Christchurch wasn’t particularly easy to find because of earthquake damage,  as more often when I enquired, found that some of the  private accommodation I had bookmarked before the quakes were now utilized for personal used by their owners , or  owners friends and family due to their own homes being uninhabitable, or needing extensive repair.

We own a house in Christchurch too, but it’s got a family in it on a fixed tenancy and we can’t be  throwing them out to accommodate ourselves either.

Rae and Pete of Hidden Haven B&B are fabulous people… although the house is on the Main North Road, it’s on a back section, so once up the long drive to the house, we found that the road noise all but disappears.

There are two bedrooms, a livingroom/kitchenette area that consists of a fridge, microwave and tea/coffee/breakfast  making equipment and the use of a BBQ outside. There is also a seperate games room that we may use, a garden area and to our children’s extreme delight, a trampoline.

We can use Rae and Pete’s laundry facilities, and since we will be busy visiting and eating with friends and family and not be cooking here, this accomodation is perfect.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

January 16, 2012

Understanding What Traveller’s REALLY Want…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

FINALLY, a hotel that “gets” what there travelling guests really want.

During the refurbishment of the Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa Hotel they have added a guest laundry room.

Hurrah!!! For a family on the move, we try hard to pack light but anyone who’s travelled with kids will know just how hard this actually is to do in practice, especially when travelling between a northern hemisphere winter and a southern hemisphere summer.

Any parent of a six year old boy also understands very well that at some moments there are never enough clean clothes, no matter how many you have already packed.

I also hate to death those stupid laundry lists that you find in the folders in the hotel room bureau’s that give you the privilege of laundering a single pair of knickers for $4.00  and charge per item that you mark off one the list.

Surely this must be the most expensive and stupid method on the planet to do a single load of laundry.

On the first floor of the Rasa, there is now a laundry room, where you, the guest can do a whole load of laundry for a small fee. There’s washing powder available included in the price and a tumble dryer to use  for a little extra as well.

Our family used the laundry room twice  during our stay and loved   this feature as a hotel service for guests. For the clothes we have that are not for the tumble dryer, we just used the retractable washing  line over the bath in our hotel room.

Family friendly and Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant!

Bravo Rasa, this is a feature that I wish many other hotels would copy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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