Old Rail Freight Wagons for a Snooze

Motorhome friends Helen and two of her daughters, Chloe and Jessica were heading up to Okaihau to stay at the Okaihau Rail Stay. We were also catching up with Gary and Dianne and cycling part of the Rail trail to Horeke which is about 30 k’s to the coast.

Nice layout

Arriving later in the afternoon, we checked in at the Office and met Noeline who set it up and she helped us with power and getting ourselves organised.

First Class

Noeline has been collecting and doing up old Railway Wagons for about 4 years and now has 4 of them set up for accomodation. There is also a Kitchen, Shower and Toilet all looking like a stattion and railway station side buildings. The whole place is immaculatly tidy and clean quite cleverly set out.

Neoline with Maeo the welcome committee 🙂

The Motorhome parking is over a fence on a big paddock. Beyond that on another section is Noeline’s husbands trucking business.

The Rail Trail from Opua to Horeke is right opposite and so its just case of crossing the road to do the trail.

Us all settled in.

We were charged $30 a night for two including power.

Sorry no map as the GPS tracker has spat the dummy but Okaihau is about 15ks’ north of Kaikohe.

The Hundertwasser Town

Kawakawa is famous for its loos and the artwork of Frederich Hundertwasser. Some of the shops have now taken to this unique look as well and it looks great. We were on route to places North but stopped here for lunch.

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One of the shops

We parked down by the Railway Station at the other end of the town and as we walked through, we found that the Cafe’s were a bit light on the food.

The entrance to the Hundertwasser toilets

What we didn’t know was that there were a couple of cruise ships in at the bay of Islands just around the corner and they had bussed in passengers and literally cleaned out the Cafe’s of food!

The main street

We eventually found one at the other end that the busloads seem to miss so all was good.

Sharing the road

Kawakawa is one of the few places in NZ where the Train goes right through the centre of the main street in town but the locals take it all in their stride. It is a real sight.

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Although most of us know Frederich Hundertwasser as the designer of the Kawakawa loos, he has also designed Railway Stations, Grain Silo’s and other well known buildings all over the world.

Like a Tooth Missing

We were heading up North for the weekend to catch up with Helen, Chloe and Jessica and also meet Gary and Dianne from Taupo. The plan was to meet Gary and Dianne at the Caledonian Park at Waipu for a night and then go on up North after that.

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The Neissmann and Rafe

We pulled into the park early in the afternoon and it was good to see a few others in there enjoying the park. There were several Caravans and a couple of Buses there. What wasn’t so good to see was the missing buidings from the recent fire.

You can the back of Rafe in the park next door

As Gary said later, it was like a Tooth was missing. The fire happened in late September and burnt 3 shops to the ground including Fiona’s favorite cafe which is temporarily trading in a building over the road. Having something like this happen in a small town like Waipu would be devastating and I’m sure was a real shock to the town.

Neat Town
That Gap from across the road.

The town rallied around to help those businesses and many worked through their Christmas Holidays to help get some temprorary accomodation for the Cafe.

Cafe Deli’s temporary accommodation.
Cafe Deli at the back

The next morning we went for a look through the town and had a coffee at the Cafe Deli over the road in their temporary building.

Good to see some others here.

Its good to see they’re rebuilding but what a huge hole.

A new life for the Chevron

Shortly after we arrived at Kaupokonui, there was a knock at the door with two smiley chaps wanting to have a quick look at Rafe’s interior.

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Aimee and Brenton outside the Awning

It turned out that one of them was Brenton who  was a long way through the restoration of a Caravan. Brenton with his wife Aimee and two kids were from Wanganui and were staying right next door.

Comfy Bed
Looking across to the Galley

I later wandered over to have a look see. It was a 1974 Chevron lightweight which Brenton and  Aimee started on about a year ago. When they first got it it was full of dark stained cupboards, the roof leaked in several places and it was generally a bit of a mess.

The new Awning

This is not what I saw when I went over.. Its looking great and doing the work themselves, has kept the lid on the cost. The biggest job was reroofing with a bitumen roll on product and then completely repainting the exterior and then redoing the interior.

A Bed at the other end too.

Along with a new Awning, its was great to see them away with other friends and family with their own two kids, enjoying their Caravan.

Looking good