Off the main road.

Papa Cliff CafeLast weekend we delivered Our Darling Girl back to Victoria University and on the way home checked out the electric car charging options. We didn’t take the car this time. We had a truck load of gear for her new flat to take down but we’re looking forward to our first big road trip.

There are plenty of rapid charging stations (20 -30 minute fill) in Wellington and there is one in Otaki, a new one being built in Levin, one in Palmerston North, Mangaweka, Waiouru, Turangi, Taupo and Rotorua. The trip is very doable and should be range anxiety free.

Charging options in the central & lower North Island. Brown – public rapid chargers, green – public slow non rapid, blue – private chargers (usually ev owners), brown spanners – chargers being installed now.
Mangaweka EV charging station.

We stopped to check out the Mangaweka charger at Papa Cliff Café and had lunch in the warm little café with staff who were cheeky enough to feel like old friends and good home made food . There we meet Lisa, an ex-local passing through in her motor home. We shared a table and stories and parted friends.

Lisa had been swimming in the Rangitikei River at the Mangaweka Campground and recommended a detour down there for a look before we headed home. It was less than a five minute drive off the main road to the rustic campground set on the bank of the river opposite the spectacular white cliffs.


There are non powered campsites right beside the river and further up on a higher level are rustic little cabins, showers, toilets and kitchen and powered sites.

From –


The river flows gently past the camp, making it a safe place to swim.



On the other side of the river, Awastone Riverside Camp offers ‘Wifi, well appointed bathrooms, kitchen, laundry and beautiful riverfront powered sites.’ There is also a summer licensed café and it is the base for Mangaweka Adventure Company’s rafting and kayaking activities.

Both campgrounds also offer electric vehicle charging through their caravan plugs, a good option for overnight charging. It looks like an idyllic place to break up the long journey to and from Wellington.




  1. Hi Wendy. Interesting to see the charging network there. Are they all free to use? Also, I’m wondering how long the non-rapid chargers take to charge your car?

    I still can’t imagine taking a road trip where you have to keep pausing so you can then go a bit further…and what if the stations were all in use? Have you ever had to queue for one?


    • Hi Graham. The chargers aren’t all free but a lot of them are. Chargenet is the organisation that has put a lot of them in and they need to recoup their costs I guess. Power companies have put free chargers in some areas. The one in Whakatane, installed by Horizon Energy is free. We can charge our car at home overnight by plugging into a normal 3 pin plug, about 10 hours to fill from empty but you wouldn’t run the battery that low unless you’re pretty brave. You can plug into a caravan plug and charge from empty to full in 5 hours.

      We will get about 150km on a full charge and we actually like stopping to recharge. It makes trips much more relaxed. Once you accept that’s what you have to do you just factor it in as part of the trip.

      We haven’t had to wait often to use a charger but it’s probably going to happen more as the number of cars increases. I think either people who want to drive electric are pretty chilled or you get that way when you drive electric. But we also have an alternative for those times when we need it. Basically it’s a mindset change, slow down and enjoy the journey. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nice attitude I think. I really hope someone can come up with a car that runs on water at some point…we shall see…


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