First night away in their restored Liteweight Caravan

After 3 years or so of restoring their 1963 Liteweight Silver Mist, Ross and Kay finally got to get their first night away in it.  What a WOW moment and huge sense of satisfaction that must be, when you’re lying there on the first night taking it all in. 😊

I’m sure there were anxious moments but it all worked out well and they looked really comfortable in it.

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Kay and Ross with the Silver Mist

Over the course of a few years in between work commitments and building a house, they have finished what I thought was an absolute gem.

Plenty of room
Dinette / Bed

This is their first foray into older Caravans and  they have done a fabulous job of getting all the period door handles, power sockets and then decorated it with all the period fittings.

Looking really good guys,  a lovely Caravan, well done and nice to see you both again.

The 75th Anniversary of Liteweight Caravans at Cambridge

When I first found out about this, my first thought was to check in with friends Ross and Kay who I knew had just finished doing one of these beauties up to see if they were going to be there.

Ross and I both started as junior photographers at the NZ Herald in our early 20’s and its been a while since we last caught up.

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Love the yellow Jandals

I had a commercial job in town on the Friday morning, which didn’t finish until midday so we were late out of the starting blocks and didn’t get to Cambridge until about 4pm, but that didn’t matter as many others were still arriving.

Rafe at the Cambridge Top 10 with the Liteweight Caravans

After settling down Rafe and after having a nosey around the park at some of the old Caravans, we checked in with Ross and Kay to see their amazing Caravan ..more on this in another post coming soon!

Ross had found an Indian restaurant only a block away so that was tea sorted!  We had a great night catching up on all the news.

Don Jesson’s Caravans. Don’s family started Lightweight Caravans.

The next morning  after getting up late 🙂  we had a look around some of the beautiful Caravans that were arriving as the day went on and chatting to some of the people there.

A great turnout of Caravans and some Motorhomes.  It was a really well organised event with a slide show and BBQ too on the Saturday night so hats off to all those who organised the event. There were some great Caravans and not all of them Lightweights.

There was one there with a Penny Farthing strapped on towed by a nice old vintage Truck.

Complete with a Penny Farthing

The lengths some had gone to with their Caravans to be faithful to their origins was amazing.  There were also some really creative ways of restoring these Caravans with the absence of some hard to get parts. The good old Kiwi number 8 wire mentality shone brightly 🙂

Fiona was keen to do the shops in Cambridge and wanted a decent walk so she set off towards Cambridge’s main street which was about 3 k’s away.

Relaxing

The organisers of the event had arranged for a tour of the old liteweight factories  which are now a gift and furniture shop and a huge ITM store on the outskirts of Hamilton. I had no idea it was such a big operation but they apparently had two productions lines pumping out up to 10 Caravans a day. Really interesting.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After this we had a quick look through Caravan and Motorhome World which was just across the road. The owner of this fine establishment is Dave McRobbie who started as an apprentice in the Liteweight factory and later went on to set up this business to service warranty claims and service any after market issues for the Liteweight product lines. That’s Dave’s red Caravan at the top of this post.

One of only 5 of these left, only 50 were made.

He had two Caravans of a model where only 50 were made and they know of only 5 left… A really unusual but lovely looking Caravan. .. see above and below.. same caravan being restored.

One of the 5 left, the other end.

Here we saw some amazing early models of the Liteweights which Dave and his team has restored.

Looking at Dave McRobbies old collection of Caravans

On the way back from Hamilton, we liaised with Fiona and met up for lunch in an old converted church in Cambridge for  lunch.

A really interesting day and lots of images and really nice to see our old friends again.

Rafe’s Tracker map to Cambridge – Armada GPS

Mac and Cheese at Rangiriri

This is THE place for a stop for lunch with a Motorhome. Easy parking right over the road, good service and fantastic food.

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We were heading south from Auckland and it so often happens, it was right on lunch time and we both decided it was time to eat.

We have stopped at this Hotel before and discovered the standard of food to be above and beyond so we were looking forward to lunch.

Easy parking

Within minutes of being in there, Fiona was on the end of a big G&T and I had a glass of Chardy and we were waiting for our electronic beeper to do its thing.

Fiona at the bar

The pub was built in 1904, partially burnt down and rebuilt in 1905 and given that the Maori wars only finished 35 years or so before that, it was one of the early bigger buildings in the Waikato area.

The river flooded early this century and virtually surrounded the pub in water.

The big flood at the turn of the century – Weekly News Photo

The beeper went off and Fiona got the meals. I had an amazing Macaroni Cheese “Mac and Cheese” on the menu for $13 which was very filling and was very tasty.

Yum ! Mac N Chees !

We had a quick look around and carried on with our journey south.

There is an old Maori Wars Cemetery right opposite which is also worth a look at.

One to remember for both the quality of the food, the service, the price, the ambience and the easy parking 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Rangiriri Hotel – Armada GPS

Rugby, Hot Pools and a nice place to stay.

The sky was a bit murky and we had a day left before having to head home so it was Rotorua for the night, and the search was on for a hot pool.

The Bledisloe Cup game was on that afternoon so we had a choice of finding a pub or staying somewhere with the rugby and Fiona likes to be near some shops 🙂 The Top 10 was the answer plus it had some hot pools.. a big bonus.

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The entrance to Rotorua Top 10

As we drove in, I met Caroline who couldn’t have been more helpful. We were very fortunate to get a park right next to the pools and close to the showers and loos and not far from the rugby 🙂

Plenty of room

They have two thermal pools and a swimming pool. The two thermal pools run at 38C and 40C, plenty hot enough for us…

Proper thermal water.!

It was interesting looking at the comments on the app which said the pools weren’t hot enough and the parks were squeezed in. All the parks I saw allowed for an easy 3m gap. Most had a table set between each park.(much more than 3m!) .. and the pools were great.

The Thermal pools

After a quick splash in the pools, were set off into the Rotorua shopping area, about 10 minutes walk. We had a packed program 🙂 Lunch, a quick look around the shops and then the Rugby at 4!

Downtown Rotovegas

After the rugby we met some people who had hired 5 Dethleffs Trend Motorhomes and were on route to the Hawkes Bay, just staying one night. They were having a ball.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We had another swim when we got back and met some people also from Auckland with a small caravan not unlike our Wee Rafe that we started with. They were looking for a Motorhome so it was interesting talking to them.

The Dethleffs Trends off to the Hawkes Bay

The sky was strange.. one minute it was and quite threatening and then clear and then back to overcast again…

Rafe near the big pillow

A nice spot in Rotorua and once of the better campgrounds I’ve stayed in.  It is also within walking distance from pretty much everywhere and with the facilities, its a winner. I’ve got it marked down as a GPS favorite for our next visit.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Top 10 in Rotorua – Armada GPS

The Trakka Motorhome

I haven’t ever seen one of these so when one rocked up and parked right next to me, the Sherlock Holmes in me came out and I had to go and check it out.

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Julian and Dianne come all the way from Christchurch and bought it new in 2005.  It is 7metres long on a Fiat chassis complete with air suspension and they love it.

Comfy Lounge area and sleeping

It was made in West Auckland and apparently they were quite popular. They doing a big long tour around the north.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

I was pleased to see a slightly older Fiat motorhome looking in such good condition and although you can see where technology has changed with switches and things it all still works to their satisfaction.

Galley

 

A Kauri treat

Long Bay Holiday Park with the Kauri’s behind

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On my second day at Long Bay Holiday Park in Coromandel, I discovered the track to get up to the Kauri grove up behind the bay.

One big tree

There is a boot washing station to prevent Kauri Dieback getting into the forest but its an easy walk in. Its mostly uphill going in and I found myself stopping a few times just to catch my breath (must be getting old or unfit) but it is well worth the effort.

The walk up

There is one massive tree that I could see, and a whole lot of smaller but really tall trees and a couple of areas where you can sit and take it all in. Its a magic spot just like the rest of the bay.

The Grove at the top with the seating area

I sat up there for about half an hour before walking back down to the Holiday Park in the bay.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I’ve never been one for long walks or studying trees but this is well worth seeing.

That’s a big tree

What a fantastic place to stay

There are few places in the world that you can stay at in a Motorhome that would beat Long Bay Holiday park.

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The Beach

In the off season, this is a camp saver park too. Leanne is the very friendly camp manager and also runs the well stocked shop. Everything is very easy and laid back.

Just lovely

I was lucky to have 2 out of my three nights here with just brilliant sunshine and made the most of it by walking around to the next beach called Tucks Bay.  Its an easy 10 minute walk around a coastal track which is well worth doing. There is also a gigantic Kauri tree and Kauri glade which is worth a look too.

Tucks Bay
Coming back from Tucks Bay

But its just a neat spot. You can also hire boats or kayaks and go for a paddle around. There are 65 powered sites and three onsite caravans as well.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I went for a walk and met some of the neighbours. It is within walking distance rom Coromandel town (about 3 k’s) but probably a better bike ride.

A must do if you in the area. I’ll be back soon 🙂