Seeing 600 plus Motorhomes and Caravans as your first view coming into the top of Mystery Creek is always a nice experience. And the first person I see at the bottom helping with the parking was Noel who I met at Tokoroa a year ago.
Once I’d parked Rafe, who should come rocking past on his electric bike but Neal who was organising the parking both then and now. He was saying that the team had parked nearly 800 vehicles in Hamilton so far. Given the effect of people getting over lockdowns and everything else, that’s a great turnout and a job well done for the parking team. This was just after lunch on Friday with two days to go!
They did a great job and everywhere you looked, just about completely surrounding the main Pavilion were Motorhomes and Caravans. A great sight. Nicely done Team Waikato !
It is very rare for me to get Fiona interested in going to one of these so we both arrived early on the Friday afternoon. The show was well into its second day so there were plenty of people there and it looked great.
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Coming down the Mystery Creek hill there was a glorious sea of white roofs for miles. The parkers looked like they had done another great job getting everyone in. Lots of happy faces and a good atmosphere.
After settling down Rafe, opening some vents and having a cup of tea, it was off to the show to see what was new.
The show was considerably smaller due to the postponement and Covid but there was still plenty to see.
One of the first things we saw was the new Dethleffs Trend with the rear bathroom. Its amazing the difference it makes to the layout of the whole van as the usual cupboard like setup on the side completely disappears for a more open layout.
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The Trend with the rear bathroom showing the space
Bathroom – Trend
The bathroom – Trend
The Dethleffs Trend with the rear bathroom.
The next thing we came across was the small Baileys D4-3 Discovery Caravan with the Awning that covers two sides. The space that the caravan doesn’t use on a pitch is covered by an almost wrap around awning.. really unusual and neat to see a different way of getting space.
Click on the Gallery below to see more of the Bailey Caravan
The Bailey with the BIG surrounding awning.
Inside the Bailey
The Bailey lounge area
Quite a lot of room for a small Caravan – Bailey
The Bailey with the Awning
We checked out the NZMCA stand and it was nice to see Ryan and the rest of the team there.
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Lots to see
A Pilote A class my first look.
The Pilote Aclass
Pilote A Class
Pilote A class Galley
Old and new VW’s
Outside in the eating area.
After having a good look around, we headed outside to see the vintage caravans. I love what these guys do to these lovely cars and caravans, and the effort that is made to keep these in such good shape.
I was getting some piccies of one when suddenly in front of me a smiley face popped into the frame and it was the happy owner Alex. The 59 Chev which he used to tow it was a perfect match in colour and it was easily one of the best there.
It was happy hour time so Fiona and I headed back to Rafe to meet our neighbours and enjoy something wet and cold 🙂
The show was definitely smaller than usual but the fact that it on at all was amazing.
One of the only holiday parks close to Thames is the riverside Dickson’s Holiday Park and you do actually get to park right next to an amazing river.
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I cruised in on my way up to Coromandel and was welcomed by the owner Neil who with his wife Cindy have owned it for 4 years. Dickson’s was set up in the early 1950’s by one of the Thames district councilors and was once a Gold Mine.
Neil was saying that where the toilets, showers and kitchen on the top of the hill are was the stamping battery and it was powered by a huge waterwheel that was alongside and fed from the river. Where the pool is now was access to the mine itself. Amazing history.
I was parked right next to the river where you can walk down to a grassed area with seats. Quite therapeutic just sitting there watching and listening to the water run past.
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The pool that was a gold mine.
Looking up the river.
The memorial rock to Mr Dickson
Just behind where I was parked.. Nice spot
A lovely spot to park with easy access and big flat spaces and with 28 powered sites. There are some cabins and onsite caravans for those without a motorhome or caravan.
I found this quite a magical spot and will be back with Fiona.
The park is about 8 k’s north of Thames on the right in Tararu.
Click on an Image to enlarge.This year the good folk of Coromandel were also celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the the HMS Coromandel which the town and peninsular are named after.
The Thames Coromandel District Council, local businesses and locals all pitch in to make this a great event. Nearly all the local shops are dressed up with decorations based on lights and there were several stalls selling food.
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Locals manning the food stall
Lit up Trees
Dressed up shops
One of the better dresses
Light and more light
Cute kids in their gear.
The main parade
More from the parade
At 7pm the main parade started where there where everyone was dressed up and adorned with led lights. It was a great scene.
A great event which was topped off by a massive fireworks display.
Don’t you hate it when you’ve just filled your LPG bottles up when its a mission to squeeze it back into the Motorhome LPG locker!
I was in having some work done on Rafe and Peter the Engineer said “what’s that tape measure doing in your gas locker?” ahh says I. That’s for when you get to an LPG station and you discover that your LPG bottle has expired and you need a new one and making sure it’ll fit in the locker.
The bottles can vary in diameter around the waist by up to 10cm each ! With two bottles in the locker, that’s the difference between getting them in or if you can get them in together, being able to shut the door!! Who would have known !
I found this out the hard way the first time, by just trying quite a few bottles to get two that fitted in the locker together.
As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 25, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.
Bugger it we are off to Hit the Trails is about our nearly two month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand which we did just last year.
We had been living in our motorhome for several months between houses and it was time to bust out and explore some of the South Island Rail Trails that we hadn’t finished or completed.
Some beautiful scenery and we meet some magic people along with catching up with some old friends.
Bugger it we are off Around the Mountain follows the famous Forgotten Highway from Taurumanui through to Stratford. We check out remote town of Whangamomona, its pub and its people and then with the help of an old friend, we check out some of the finer parts of New Plymouth and explore Taranaki.
The bright lights of Wellington beckon and then on up for a brief look at the Hawkes Bay.
A really interesting trip exploring some of New Zealand’s more remote towns.
This is a lockdown redo of an earlier book which was in a different format… this is much nicer 🙂
Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer motorhome and then following our motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks, we explore central Europe with bikes.
An absolutely fabulous trip including many cities and towns from Belgium, Netherlands, Germany Czech Republic and back through France. Some amazing places, nice buildings and nice people.
Click on the links below to buy the books!
These are in Kindle format.. Epub’s coming soon.
Bugger it we are off to Napier Art Deco – Buy from Amazon50 Pages – US$2.99 This is FREE from the 11th – 15th September!
Bugger it we are off Around the Mountain – Buy from Amazon76 Pages – US$5.49
Bugger it we are off to Europe in an old Hymer – Buy from Amazon 158 Pages – US$5.99
About two months ago we suddenly found that our morning ritual of having the hot water heater come on at 7am to heat the water, and then switch over to take the ice out of the air, stopped working.
After reading up on some online forums, I found the most likely cause was that one of the two 900w elements to have failed. The gas was working perfectly and it still worked on power but just ever so slowly.
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The van was due to have its annual check for water ingress so I asked one of the really busy techies there to check the resistance on the elements. They were both the same.. strange.. if one is blown, it will have a different resistance reading.
A couple of weeks later, I took Rafe to another RV workshop where I was told there were a couple of “clever truma people” who would sort it for me. After a week of having the van and removing the heater, cleaning and reinstalling it, it still wasn’t working.
A big disappointment !
Back to square one.
So.. time to find a Truma Guru and get this fixed once and for all..
While we were in Wellington recently, we were in a shopping mall and Fiona was doing the shops. I was sitting in the “husband waiting chair” . I got on the phone and via some friends, I was put onto Peter Webster who owns RV Repairs who are just up the road in Albany.. yippee!
Still sitting in the “Husband waiting chair” I called Jan at RV Repairs and booked Rafe in for some heater surgery.
After taking Rafe up on a Saturday morning, Peter’s electronics man, a really nice guy also called Peter, who tested the heater with an amp meter found it was only pulling just over 1 amp on full bore.. it should be pulling about 6-8 amps. So he started to take the unit out of Rafe and stick it on their specialist Truma test trolley.
Within an hour, I got a phone call saying that one element had a normal resistance, the other was as dead as a dodo.
After trying to take out the old element, they found the element had virtually exploded in the heat exchanger and when it went, it had damaged the heat exchanger.. two choices, new heat exchanger or new unit.
Heat exchanger $2000 plus odd with two elements. There would be several hours to install the heat exchanger in the heater on top of this. The other choice was a new Heater unit .. mid/late $3000’s. I chose the heater. At last the thing will now heat properly again 🙂
Truma’s new policy for replacement elements is to provide a heat exchanger with two elements due to installation failures!
I was absolutely rapt with the two Peter’s getting straight in to solve the problem without any fuss.. They’re clever guys too . Peter W (the owner) is a boat builder and spray painter by trade and the other Peter an aeronautical engineer so they’re perfect for solving a Truma heater problem 🙂 and with lots of knowledge left over !
They’re also motorhomers themselves and great fun with not just two Peter’s but three.. 🙂
Wellington beckoned with some photographic work for some ads and a manual for a client I’ve worked with for nearly 20 years. The plan was to drive down in Rafe, take my gear and photograph some people in and around Wellington doing their thing.
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So off we went checking in with our old friends Dianne and Gary along the way in Taupo, and the next day, checking in to the Wellington Top 10 in Petone.
They were doing an off season deal where if we stayed for more than 5 days, we’d get an extra two nights for free. That worked perfectly for us as the work was finished in 5 days and we’d get to catch up with some of Fiona’s cousins for the last days.
The client also arranged for a small rental car so I could get around to all their sites and get the piccies done which was magic.
Once the work was done, we had a half day where we could have a bit of a look around with the car to see my old school in Clifton Terrace in the city in Wellington. Its now called a model school. I’m not sure what that means but it was two classrooms and went from the primers all the way to standard 6. I was about standard 2 or thereabouts and occasionally used to catch the Cable Car to school 🙂
The house we lived in then has now gone and is roughly where the motorway is by the Aurora Tce bridge.
We checked our old house in Eastbourne and later, my grandparents old house in Melrose over the hill from the Zoo. The house was huge with a massive garden up the hill behind which was almost vertical.
I remember watching the old Bristol Freighters taking off from Wellington Airport across the other side of Lyall Bay. My bedroom when we stayed there (we were living in Christchurch then) was on the top floor and used to get the lighthouse flicking through the window every now and then on the wall… amazing.
He also had an amazing workshop and showed me how to make string puppets and a lot of other things. All sorts of things came out of that small workshop. He made some trolleys for us (younger brother and sisters) to play with on the terrace outside above the garages.
He was a really clever guy and I could never work out why my mothers nick name for him was foolie 🙂
A house with lots of memories.
After returning the rental car, we caught the bus into the city with the idea that we would visit Te Papa and see what had been updated but that was first day of lockdown and it was closed, so we settled for a nice lunch at Mac’s with a glass of wine.. very civilised !
We’ve stayed at the Top 10 before and it is really the only Motorcamp in Wellington for bigger vehicles. It is well equipped with everything and being quiet, we pretty much had a whole section of 6 parks to ourselves for the first part of the week.
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Wellington top 10 reception !
Amazing reception area!
The BBQ area at the top 10
One of the best games / entertainment spaces I’ve seen in a Holiday Park.
More of that amazing games room
Plenty of room
Fiona up on Mt Victoria
I had to get this.. everyone else has taken it 🙂
One of the old Cable car trams
Outside Te Papa
I had to photograph some people (formal business portraits) using a portable studio and they were very obliging in letting me use a corner of their conference room for an hour.
They are about to install a heated pool which sounds huge. That will be great as it is a little bit removed from anywhere but the bus stop to the city is only a 10 minute walk away.
They have the best TV / Games room I’ve ever seen in a campground and everything else is tip top. A nice park with everything you would expect from a Top 10 park.
Earlier in the week, we checked in with Fiona’s Cousins, Shona and Bruce and their partners in Plimmerton.
After stopping at their local supermarket which has the best parking for Motorhomes I’ve ever seen, we stayed in Fiona’s other cousin Malcolm and Michelle’s driveway before heading back up to Taupo.
It’s always nice to catch up with Dianne and Gary in Taupo. Their house is on the market so it might be our last night at their old house. We enjoyed a fun night with a glass of wine or two and lots of laughs.
A week of fun in Wellington with a bit of work thrown in but lots of great memories and nice to catch up with people we haven’t seen for a while too.