Local Heart, Global Soul

July 8, 2018

Blenheim: Motel 171, For Some The Beds Are Almost Too Comfortable…

Filed under: Accomodation,BLENHEIM,NEW ZEALAND,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Locating our hotel in Blenheim New Zealand took a tad longer then we intended. We were tired and didn’t follow directions quickly enough, but found our hotel after a more roundabout route.

It’s just as well that Our Lady of The Tom Tom resets itself and gives us new directions to get to our destinations because Himself doesn’t like making U turns. We arrived at Blenheim’s “Motel 171 on High (street)” in the sunshine of a fabulous summer’s evening.

Donna, the lady owner was in the office  and amazingly friendly: we asked directions to anywhere where we might be able to buy milk at nine at night so that fussy Little Mr could have a drink that he liked and she said we would have a difficult job, and then without pausing gave us two extra packages (each pack held about one glassful) with no extra charge.

Little Mr. showed his delight by downing one of the packets on the spot. This hotel might be a little further from the main road but the upside is that it is quiet and parking is easy.

We have two separate rooms, Himself and I have a double, the kids have a room with a double and a three-quarter extra bed. Little Mr. wanted the smaller bed which was perfect because Kiwi Daughter quickly bagged the double… phew no squabbles.

Kiwi Daughter and Himself went out to find us a takeaway dinner, Little Mr. helped me sort things from the bags and then we chilled out in my room channel hopping with the TV. It was very warm and there is no air conditioning but our hosts have put fans into the rooms.

We found that the temperature dropped just enough once the sun set that the fan was fine, we didn’t need it any colder, just to have the air circulating was enough. What suits us may not suit everyone however. Air conditioning was something the hotel was working on though and it’s not like it’s a standard thing in New Zealand hotels anyway, especially in older buildings.

One thing that we especially liked here was that we were asked for a few of our breakfast presences: which cereal we wanted, which we wanted of the fruits they had for instance, and then covered plates with everything were prepared on trays and put into our fridges with the milk and juice.

Tea and coffee making facilities were already in the rooms so we could wake up at leisure and have breakfast when we wanted, no rushing to get dressed and out to a breakfast room. If you like having breakfast in bed in your pj’s before you head to the shower then this kind of arrangement is perfect. As an especially early riser, Himself likes that he/we could breakfast as early as we wanted. No waiting around impatiently for set breakfast hours. He likes to let breakfast settle before hitting the road, we both like the absence of mad rush in a dining room, especially when there are crutches involved. There are definite bonuses to this system.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There is even a laundry room here with washing machine and dryer, excellent if you are travelling for longer and need clean clothes.

The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day. I push myself out of bed and nibble the last of my breakfast and sip tea whilst sorting out my suitcase and clothes for the day and pottering around.

Himself goes next door to the kid’s room to prod them both out of bed. Kiwi Daughter is very comfortable and most unwilling to wake up.

Mumbles of “Go Away” are eventually replaced with “Just ten more minutes” (half a dozen times).

Eventually everyone else has bags packed and in the car and she is barely awake and not even dressed. Himself applies pressure (“do you want to walk to Christchurch?”) and then a few stern words.

Our unwilling child grumbles and orders everyone out so she can get dressed. After ten minutes we knock to check how she is doing and the cheeky imp has rolled over and is sleeping.

Very stern words ensue. Grumbling girl gets ready. Eventually our straggler is ready-ish, and emerges with a suitcase which,  even though it is closed has parts of clothes sticking out which got  shoved unceremoniously into the back of the car by Himself.  Now  we can continue our journey down the coast. Judging by the earlier rapid emptying of the car park the other guests also had the idea to get an early start. Being one of the last to leave, our exit was not an early one but the day is glorious so in the grand scheme of things it will not matter. An excellent stay and now time to hit the road. I took photographs both in the evening and in the morning, which is why the sign says both “vacancy” and ‘no Vacancy”.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 23, 2018

Back At Meadow Park Once More…

Filed under: Accomodation,CHRISTCHURCH,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We are back at our favourite Meadow Park accommodation in Christchurch, New Zealand.

It’s a two bedroom unit that we have for a couple of days whilst we try and sleep off the jet lag and adjust to the twelve hour time difference.

Most friends and family have downsized their homes after the earthquake so staying with them is not an option.

Added to that, having four people in your home who are up and awake most of the night is an unavoidable disturbance we don’t want to impose on anyone.

It’s more comfortable for them (and us) that we have somewhere where we feel free to do our own thing, when we want to.

That includes possible shopping trips to the “twenty-four hour” supermarket in Northlands a few blocks away, which we now discover that they are no longer 24 hour, they close at eleven or twelve midnight (different days) and reopen at six in the morning.

Fitting in shopping trips before midnight means we can prepare a family early morning hearty “breakfast” at four thirty because our stomachs think they are long overdue a dinner sized meal.

The unit was booked last minute because we only knew I had permission to travel, last minute.

The two bedrooms contain a set of bunks and a double bed each, there is also a small kitchen / dining / sitting room that is more than adequate for the duration of our stay. We are out visiting most of the day anyway, but are already a bit behind schedule on that front: Kiwi daughter got a mosquito bite on her foot in Singapore which became open, infected, and swollen. The trip to the weekend Dr. took far longer than we counted on, plus trip to pharmacy to get medications. Then Himself and I had to spend hours in the Bank, renewing cards and going through various checks against money laundering. (We bring money into our NZ account from our Dutch one, new laws are in place to check it’s kosher). Then there was the trip to the phone shop in the Mall, getting four New Zealand Sim cards so that we didn’t rack up horrendous roaming charges on our Dutch accounts.

It was mid-afternoon by the time we were finished and our much needed afternoon jet-lag nap was overdue. The first day flew by before we knew it. In the unit I was delighted to find a shower I could walk in to, with a seat, even better!!! Sadly the extension pole that supports the seat does so at about a thirty degree angle, a disappointment after my initial joy. The Staff here are friendly though, the weather is wonderful and we are pleased to be settling in.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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)

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(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)

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(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)

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(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)

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(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)

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(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)

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