All posts by Chris Miller - Buggeritweareoff.com

Founder and Creator of Buggeritweareoff.com. Ex Newspaper Photographer and Commercial Photographer for more than 40 years.

Motorhoming by the river

Nicely positioned on the edge of the Tapu river coming out of the hills in Coromandel is Tapu Creek Motorhome Park. Unless you knew about it, you would never find it !

Click on an Image to enlarge

It is in an absolute idyllic position right next to the river.

With quite few powered sites and hot showers and good facilities, it is also quite interesting with its slightly alternative decorations. . Really nicely done too.

At $15 with power in the off peak, it is very good value and the scenery can’t be beaten.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slideshow

As you come into Tapu travelling north from Thames, it is about 5 k’s along the sealed Tapu Creek road into the hills.

BBQ hut

If you want somewhere nice a quiet and very good value, this is hard to beat.

The NZMCA Show Park and Stay

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.

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What you see as you drive in.

When I was at last years Tokoroa Timber Town Romp last year and its coming up again this year at the end of this month, I helped with the parking. With Noel and a few others, we parked more than 400 vehicles and although it was a long day, it was a lot of fun.

The goings on in the parking area 🙂
Rafe in the park

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!

Great show. Click on the image to enlarge.

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 !

Rafes Tracker map to Mystery Creek – Armada GPS

The 2020 NZMCA Motorhome Show

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.

Click on any Image to enlarge

What you see as you drive in.

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.

As we walked in..

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.

The Dethleffs Trend with the rear bathroom.

Click on the Gallery below to see the Trend

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.

The Bailey with the BIG surrounding awning.

Click on the Gallery below to see more of the Bailey Caravan

We checked out the NZMCA stand and it was nice to see Ryan and the rest of the team there.

Ryan and the NZMCA team.

Click on the Gallery below to see larger images or a slideshow

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.

Alex with his Caravan

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.

Alex’s 59 Chev Impala
The back of the Impala

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.

Rafes Tracker map to Mystery Creek – Armada GPS

On the beach at Tapu

On the way up the coast to Coromandel is a little village called Tapu. It is roughly 20k’s up the coast from Thames and has two motor camps and a free parking area on the beach.

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The Parking area

I pulled in to the free parking area on the way up the coast and joined with three other overnighters nicely backed into the trees looking out at the amazing beach.

Nice beach

Several of the other Motorhomers had Kayaks and were out fishing off the beach from their Kayaks when I popped in.

A great spot and the price can’t be beaten .. Free!

Just Cruising

Dickson’s Gold Mine

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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Just behind where I was parked.. Nice spot

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 and Cindy

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.

The Ablution block that was a stamper Battery. The huge waterwheel was beside it.

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.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slideshow

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.

Neat Caravans

The park is about 8 k’s north of Thames on the right in Tararu.

Illume and 200 year Celebrations

The Illume Festival in Coromandel was one not to be missed. The last time I was at this event was in 2016 so a return visit was well overdue 🙂

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.

Neat gear

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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.

Two Fat Bottles

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!

Not much room to come and go on.

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 !

Bottles in their locker

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.

Its is so much easier to get them in and out too.

Locker safely locked up.

We’re publishing a couple of books!

Great news .. We’re publishing 4 ebooks.!!

This was my lockdown 1 project 🙂

These publications are all based on this Blog.

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 Amazon
50 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


Bugger it we are off to Hit the Trails – Buy from Amazon
234 Pages – US$5.99

The Ipad / Iphone ibooks version is due in a couple of months..

Check out the Art Deco book while its free for a taste of the others.

Truma Trauma

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.

Click on an Image to enlarge

The Truma on the Truma test trolley

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.

The exploded element

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!

Peter W with my old Truma

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.

The break

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.

My stuffed element

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!

How a new element looks when being installed in the Heat Exchanger

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.. 🙂

The workshop is HUGE

Work in Wellington

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.

Click on an Image to enlarge

Plenty of room

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.

Lots of space

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.

One of the best games / entertainment spaces I’ve seen in a Holiday Park.

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.

Fiona up on Mt Victoria

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.

One of the old Cable car trams

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.

My grandparents house in Melrose.. my room was the top floor on the left. The workshop was the row of windows by the terrace above the garages.

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.

Te Papa was closed

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 !

Fiona about to tuck in a meal at Mac’s

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

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.

More of that amazing games room

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.

The new pool goes here..

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.

Outside the New World at Paraparaumu Beach.. great motorhome parking !

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.

Parked with power at Gary and Di’s in Taupo for the last time (Probably)

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.

Just leaving Waiouru on the Desert Rd.