BMW Reisemobile

Jonas Ng recently took a team over from NZ to Germany to check out the new Frankia and Dethleffs models and their new features.

bmwWhile he was there, he visited the Hymer Museum and took these amazing pictures.  Hymer is the parent company of Dethleffs Motorhomes and Caravans.

bmwThis is the second of two posts.  Todays one is the one of the early BMW Motorhomes. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

Click here to see earlier Dethleffs first caravan

Thanks Jonas!

Rustic Parking

After a weekend of babysitting our grandsons, we spent a night at a place we’ve never really parked at before at Gulf Harbour.

Having seen Gulf Harbour one weekend at its worst where everyone was parked between inches of each other. No 3 metre gaps at all, that was the end for me for parking there overnight.

On the way back from Ardmore, I dropped Fiona off in the city as she had missed the train from Papakura to meet her sister from Waiheke, for a girlie lunch and fun in the shops.

fairwaybayHeading north, I went straight for Fairway Bay thinking its either going to be chocker block in which case I’d go to Shakespeare park or it’ll be great. There are only 6 parks there but at $10 with power its a great spot with the parking on a shell base over clay.

Click on the piccies for Hi Res or a slide show

Today was going to be a great day. There was heaps of room and only a 5th wheeler there. It turns out it was his first night out with it and he was a very happy chap.

fairwaybayI went for a walk around to where the Hobbs Bay Market is held every week just behind the parking. There is a Restaurant / Bar there too and lots of big boats.

Later getting back to Rafe, I got a phone call from Fiona to say that she had seen her sister and was catching the Gulf Harbour Ferry up to join me.  While that was happening, Kim and Ali from Motueka parked up in their Nissan Civilian bus. They have taken a year off and are touring the country and having some fun.

Rafe with the wee communal area in the middle.
Rafe with the wee communal area in the middle.

Not long after they had arrived, Kim had decided to check his Oil and water and as he checked the water, he dropped his radiator cap down into his engine. It was sitting on a ledge in the bottom of the radiator but you couldn’t see it, feel it or reach down there to get it.
Stressful !  I found a couple of tools in my kit and after half an hour or so of going no where, it was time to ring the AA man.

From the carpark. Nicely fenced off.
From the carpark. Nicely fenced off.

I went and picked up Fiona from the ferry on the other side of the harbour and returned to our park. Ali and Kim came over for a cold one or three. The AA man arrived about 15 minutes later and after putting a magnet down to where he thought it would be, he fished it out within minutes of his arrival. Isn’t it great to have an expert on hand when you need them 🙂

With the stress gone, it was time for one more to celebrate. A great night in a nice spot right next to the water. Great value and the chap that runs the marina parking is great to deal with too.

A very happy Kim ready for Northland
A very happy Kim ready for Northland

Ali and Kim are heading up north today while we came home to do our GST and do some washing !!

The Netspeed Speedtest for this site
Download: 34.62 Mbps
Upload: 25.34 Mbps
Ping: 47 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
Server: Auckland,174.792272

Wohnauto – Dethleffs first caravan

Dethleffs NZ’s Jonas Ng has just returned after a week or two in Germany catching up with Dethleffs and Frankia to see whats coming soon with the new models.

caravanWhile he was there, he visited the Hymer Museum and took these amazing piccies of Dethleffs first caravan.


He also found an early motorhome.. that’s coming soon.

Click on the images for a slideshow.


Thanks Jonas for sharing these piccies.

The longest Pedestrian Bridge in the Southern Hemisphere

While we had the car at Otamuri Bay, we thought it would be rude to not use it for a look around the area. 

The Whananaki Bridge
Fiona walking on the Whananaki Bridge

We headed back over the hill to Whananake North so we could answer texts and emails and the set off on foot to check out the Whananaki foot bridge which connects the southern shore of the estuary to the northern shore. 

Click on the images to see them in Hi res or a slideshow

The Whananaki Bridge with the school on the other side.
Fiona on the Whananaki Bridge with the school on the other side.

I had to stoop to hold the hand rail where I felt the need and it takes about 20 odd minutes to cross it. It would be fun for the school kids in a blow to get to Whananake North School! 

An interesting crossing so after that we headed back to Otamuri bay and beyond. The seal stopped on the road just past the Doc camp and a rather twisty, windy road takes you straight up and straight down again to a bunch of surf beaches.

Surfing at Moureeses Bay
Surfing at Moureeses Bay

We stopped at Moureeses Bay where some surfies were having fun. Another stunning Northland Beach which you would never know was there.

Yum Yum

We’ve called into this establishment quite a few times recently and it has been consistently good with nice food.


The best part is its always easy to park Rafe. There is a huge carpark out the back which you can’t really see from the road.

Make sure you click on the images to see them in Hi Res or a slideshow

Plenty of room
Plenty of room

cafeThey have an area for dogs, some pigs to entertain the kids and inside you can buy useful stuff for your motorhomes.. mostly kitchen stuff.

It is called Woodturners Café and is about 200 metres towards Ngatea from the Tauranga/Paeroa turnoff (Highway 2) on state highway 27.

The Detectives
The Detectives

Its always handy to know where to stop where there is  Motorhome friendly parking.

A beautiful place with the Sun

Fiona arrived at Waipu just after 11 from Auckland so we set off for Whananaki . We’d never been there before and were looking forward to it. Fiona followed in the Qashqai and after a quick stop at the dump station in Whangarei, we were off. The turnoff is just after Hikirangi and from there it 20 odd k’s of a really windy road in parts. 

Coming in to Whanakake
Coming in to Whanakake

As we came into Whananaki, it was a sight to behold. What a lovely place. It is largely populated with amazing little baches but there is a Camping Ground there.  We were heading to the DOC park in Otamuri bay over the hill.

Click on the images for hi res or a slideshow

Otamuri. The camp is behind the trees
Otamuri. The camp is behind the trees
Otamuri .. off peak !
Otamuri .. off peak !

It’s a huge park right on the beach with all the usual DOC non smelly long drop loos but not much else but a beautiful spot.  After all the rain we have had, the sun was out and for the middle of June, it was quite hot and very pleasant. 

I went for a drive back over the hill in the car to get some piccies of Whananaki  and a walk on the beach for a look around. 

We sat out in the sun with a cold one, with some cheese and crackers and after tea in the Mitzi, retired to Rafe to watch some rugby.

 Us enjoying the sunset at Otamuri
Us enjoying the sunset at Otamuri – Cell ph pic

No cellular coverage so no internet. We got to talk to each other 😃 But a fantastic spot to stay.

In the rain

And boy did it rain! 

I headed to Uretiti Doc camp armed with my NZMCA Doc pass which is in its last month, to meet up with Gary and Chris who had been there for a few nights strategically hiding behind a big bush from the north easterlies. There was almost enough room for Rafe too but the winds were dying off and it was really about the rain now. 

Gary with the Mitzi and Rafe
Gary with the Mitzi and Rafe

Stuck inside due to the rain, we spent the afternoon watching an amazing Tv series done by the Norwegians set in the Second World War about the Heavy Water factory on Netflix. It was so good that we had to keep watching it and ended up watching the whole series!

The Netspeed speed test at Uretiti
Download: 24.42 Mbps
Upload: 2.45 Mbps
Ping: 49 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
Server: Wanaka

There were a few good puffs overnight but it generally settled down and by the morning it was just a drizzly, dreary light rain. 

Click on the images to see Hi Res

Uretiti Beach .. which way
Uretiti Beach .. Chris on the beach, which way?

In a moment of madness, we decided to go for a walk on the beach but got as far as the sand and decided it was indeed a silly idea so headed back to dry off.

Chris escaping back to the Vans to get out of the rain.
Chris escaping back to the Vans to get out of the rain.

It was nice to catch up with Gary and Chris. They had a few things to do in their new hometown of Ruakaka where their house is rented out and then we were going to catch up again in Waipu where I headed and parked at the Caledonian park.

Due to the rain, I thought the grass was quite soft so I parked on the gravel. 

At Caledonian Park
At Caledonian Park – cell ph pic

Gary and Chris arrived later. 

The Netspeed speed test at Waipu.
Download: 40.33 Mbps
Upload: 25.28 Mbps
Ping: 62 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
Server: Auckland,174.444321

Here’s a few helpful links to previous blogs:
The LTE Aerial and Internet installation
The Chrome Cast setup

Later in the day, we walked into town and enjoyed a great meal at the Indian restaurant. Chris reckoned it was one of the best meals she’d had!
Fiona and I have been there a few times and it has always been good. 

Waipu main street
Waipu main street – cell ph pic

As we returned to the park, we met James from Castor Bay who had just squeezed his 11m bus through the main gate and parked on the grass. I was impressed. 1 because he’d parked on the grass with 8 tons and 2, he’d squeezed through the gate in a big bus in the dark! Well done that man🤓.  Two other smaller vans parked there too and nobody had any problems. 

The main entrance from the road was all chopped up and muddy so getting to the parking was the real problem but we were happy on the gravel just for a night and it was nice to have some power too. 

The last time we were in Waipu, we had fine weather and we could park under the trees and it was magic.

See you in a few days

With nothing happening in my diary for a few days, Fiona suggested I head north and catch up with our old Boating, and now Motorhome friends, Chris and Gary Parkes.

Fiona will join us with the car at the end of the week.
They’ve cashed up and are now full timing in their Mitzi Fuso, Ci Munro truck for the next wee while and seem to be really enjoying it.

The remains of the weather that hit Sydney’s beaches was, due to hit Northland so I thought I’d try a campground away from the gale north easterlies hitting our coast.

I arrived in Paparoa, on the road to Dargaville mid afternoon and checked in to the Paparoa Holiday Park.

Remember to click on the images for hi res or slideshow

The view of the camp from the entrance.
The view of the camp from the entrance.

This park was built from a paddock by the current owners and is all gravel with lots of small trees and cabins which offer good protection from the wind and rain. On my own, it cost $15 which is extremely good value with power.

I got the bike of the back and went for a toodle into the Paparoa village for a look around. The Pub is just around the corner and the village is loaded with history. There is a river which comes up from the Kaipara which was used to get supplies up for the locals and dragged up a bank by wires from the boats. The old National Bank building is built into the shape of the corner which is interesting too.

One of the neat historic houses there
One of the neat historic houses there

A neat little town and a nice wee campground.

The 20000th Peppermint

I was having a bit of browse through the NZMCA app and found Athenree Holiday Park. We cruised into the entrance and popped into the reception. Well, what a welcome.. “You’re our 20000th customer, have a peppermint! ”
Fantastic. That doesn’t happen too often!

Fiona having a cup of tea in the sun
Fiona having a cup of tea in the sun

We’re parked right on the waterfront facing towards Katikati just up from Bowentown.

Remember to click on the images for Hi Res or slideshow

They have two hot pools. One is directly fed by a bore that goes down 220 metres and the water comes up about 35c. They have another smaller adults pool which has the water tweaked up by a heat exchanger from waste water. It’s fantastic.. Nice and hot.

The Pools .. hot adults pool on the left
The Pools .. hot adults pool on the left

Nice big flat parks and with the pools, great.

anthenreeAcross the road is a kids playground and the other side of the peninsula. More water!

Right by the water
Right by the water

Home for a few days after this.

Good Sounds

My son Andrew very kindly gave me an early birthday present of a Nakamichi 8inch subwoofer to match the stereo we have in Rafe.

The boys at Vantage RV had warned me not to install a subwoofer as they can draw heaps of power but having done this before on our old Whalechaser Rorqual, I felt confident we could do this without thrashing Rafe’s batteries.

I’ve found that speakers generally tried to reproduce the whole range of sound but compromised to get full depth with the bass. It tended to take the edge off the treble and mid range and add some distortion as well.
By adding a subwoofer and directing all the bass at the sub and removing it from the mid range speakers, you get a much cleaner sound but still with the depth from the bass.  Also with motorhomes, you get to remove the bass from the door speakers and get rid of some rattles 🙂

When  I did this with Rorqual, my first version of the installation had a bit of a boy racer look to it as soon as you entered the saloon.
I got a bit of stick from a couple of fellow Classic Yacht Association committee members who were telling me it was “Very non CYA compliant” and it needed to be addressed fairly quickly 🙂

The VERY obvious subwoofer
The VERY obvious subwoofer

My second attempt with a teak grill which I made with glue and clamped together looked vastly better. The sound was spectacular with several saying it was one of the better boat stereos around.  Since then, my son Andrew  has removed everything I did, and taken it to a whole new level !

After with the "CYA compliant teak grill
After with the “CYA compliant” teak grill

Anyway, back to the birthday present !
I was surprised how heavy it is for its size. There must be some serious speaker magnets and stuff in there. I was also quite surprised to hear they can draw up to 80 amps ! I suppose that’s if you’re really cranking it. As I said, for me its about having the quality of the sound rather than the volume.

Remember to click on the images for the detail

The bits on the table. Look at the size of that fuse holder.
The bits on the table. Look at the size of that fuse holder.

After arriving at Vantage to get it installed and getting past all the jokes about trying to be a 15 year old again :-), Phil got the job of installing it.

Before we started
Before we started

We had a spot under the table on a kick board which is well out of the way and I figured that would make it easy to get at the dashboard where the stereo and power was .. How wrong could I be!

It was the perfect place but getting the wires across the floor wasn’t an easy task and then getting the big 80 amp cables across to the house batteries under the drivers chair, meant actually pulling the chair out! It was turning into a major.

Sub fixed to its position
Sub fixed to its position

There was a stage it looked like a nightmare with all the wires out of the dash, the starter battery box opened on the floor, the drivers seat removed, it looked pretty chaotic but as quickly as it came apart, with a bit of time, it all tidied up.

What a shambles. Seat out for access to the batteries.
What a shambles. Seat out for access to the batteries.

Another hour later of finishing the wiring and putting the stereo away in the dash, it was all good.

The stereo on the dash with the blue sub wires plugged in
The stereo on the dash with the blue sub wires plugged in

The sound was spectacular. Later that night, Andrew helped me tweak bypass levels and whatnot with the stereo and it sounded amazing.

The end result
The end result. A very tidy installation.

I also got a switch installed on the dashboard to disable the sub in case the power becomes an issue. As always,  Phil did a magic job of the installation with all the cables in conduit and tidied up with the appropriate clips.