One of the amazing finds at the Whangamata Beach Hop this year was literally parked right next to us. It was the vintage combination of a 1957 Ford Mainline Ute towing a Canadian Adventurer 5th Wheeler and it was a perfect match in scale and style.
Coming from a Retro Caravan background, Ray and Cathie were keen to make it easier to get the self containment issue solved a so decided to start with the Ford Mainline and match it with a 5th wheeler..
After selling their Caravan, they bought the Ford Mainline and at their home in Tauranga, fixed up some rust and upgraded the motor to a 347 Stroker Ford motor and a few other changes and with a really nice paint job, it looks spectacular.
Then came the 5th wheeler which they found in Whangarei and over a 4 year period they’ve nearly completed the project. Ray described it to me as a “leaky building” and they recently just put a whole new back on it. I couldn’t get over how well matched they were in scale and style when they first arrived.
It looks fabulous and its name Bucket of Vino suggests they’re going to celebrate their efforts with the project’s completion. 🙂
One of those BIG events of the year which I reckon we should all do at least once. The 2020 Beach Hop was postponed from earlier in the year but it was just as popular as it always is. Its a fun event and the fine people at Whangamata did well accommodating everyone as the place was literally jumping with people 🙂
There were 1700 registered (for the show) vehicles plus they think about that again of unregistered owners of vehicles who turned up just to enjoy the fun.
I parked on the Whangamata School footy field along with nearly 300 other Motorhomers and a whole lot of Retro Caravans. At $75 for three nights each van, it makes a great donation to the school of about $14k which replaces a lot of cake stalls 🙂
The Retro Caravans – Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
One of the Caravans
Ross and Karine and their Starlette
Caravan in the Retro area next door
I managed to get to see some old friends who I haven’t seen for a long time. They’re both ex newspaper Photographers who have retired here now and love it.
I met John who used to work at the Christchurch Press and Star, and his wife Cheryl at their favorite coffee shop in the centre of town. Very hard to hear anything with the big V8’s running past but it was really nice to see them. I also caught up with Paul who I used to work at the Herald with. We met at the Whangamata Club which is a neat place and just down the road from the school.. Paul is a Caravanner now so great to see him too.
Just Cruising – Click on the Gallery below to enlarge
Every spot taken!
A bit different
An old Holden
Without a doubt the Grand Parade was one of the big events of the weekend and it went forever width the sheer numbers of cars. Quite a few woman made the most of the occasion and were dressed up in their bebop skirts and looked amazing.
Grand Parade and later – Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow
The Rolls Royce in the parade
Enjoying a dance
Check out those Turbos
Mum and Daughter with Daughters Hot Rod behind 🙂
Even a vintage Tow truck
Nice way to get around
DD of Boom Boom Deluxe
Amongst the cars popped out a Morris 1000 with a half done paint job which got a few smiles. Most of us some where in our histories have had one of those or knew someone with one.
After enjoying a good lunch in a town café with an elevated deck for a view of the street, I wandered back and listened to one of the many bands playing.
There was one called Boom Boom Deluxe appropriately singing Rockabilly music and doing it really well. The female lead singer / double bass player, Hettie La Bomb, could really belt out the sound and looked the part too.
One of the things I enjoyed this time was watching people reactions to the cars and the event.
A lot of fun and after several years of trying to get here but other things getting it the way, I’m pleased I came. Neat place, I met some nice people and lots of action.
As I’ve got older I’ve noticed how I can’t do the big marathon drives I used to do but I suppose some of this has to do with the fact that I’m now driving a 4 plus ton Motorhome, not a Mini or something.
Click on an Image to enlarge it
Coming back for our last night away from our post Covid few days away from Whakatane, I decided I’d had enough just as I descended down the Tauranga Kaimai road and that Coffee lounge in Matamata never looked better 🙂 We sat down to a lovely all day Eggs Benny and it was just lovely washed down with some great coffee.
After that, it was off to a place I’ve been to once before just out of town called Opal Springs.
They have plenty of powered and non powered sites along with some cabins and they also do a discount for NZMCA’rs.
One of the nicer spots available not far from Opotiki is the Island View Motor Camp right on the beachfront between Ohope and Opotiki. The Island in front is of course White Island and it was steaming away when we were there.
Click on an Image to enlarge them
After leaving Whakatane, we thought we’d try this Holiday Park which is also part of the Camp Saver program. Right on the waterfront too.
It was cold and in the middle of winter and I better it pumps during summer. Its a lovely spot with several tracks through the dunes to the sand. Some enterprising person has even made a throne of sorts so you can sit and enjoy the view.
They currently have several hundred Kiwi fruit pickers there and with Covid still on, we were advised to stay away from the bathroom facilities. I usually prefer ours anyway. All the facilities are normally available and they also have a pool, Kayaks and other water toys available for those interested.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow
Neat Pirate Ship for the kids
Great spot and later we were joined by David and Michelle in their new Dethleffs Trend.
Great to see David and Michelle again and when we left there, they were staying on a few more days to have a good look around.
It’s been a wee while since either of us have been in this part of the country so I was really looking forward to checking it out.
Click on any Image to enlarge it.
The Awakeri Campground was great with the pool too but we were leaving that behind.. we arrived in Whakatane later in the morning and checked in and settled down.
This was a very different camp from Awakeri where the sites were a lot smaller but it was only $20 a night with power and had everything you would ever want in a fantastic location.
Whakatane Holiday Park is pretty much right in the centre of town on the edge of the river, protected by a raised stop bank with a walking track on top which the locals seem to really enjoy.
The track goes right into town and it is only 5 minutes away. All the White Island boat services and Tourist area is based on the edge of the river just along from the park. There is also the Gardens and a model train and playground set up there too.
Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow
Neat Mural by the coffee shop
Some tourist cabins
Looking down from the wall
We enjoyed a good look through the shops and a cuppa in one of the coffee shops and then headed back to Rafe.
Later in the day, we met David and Michelle who were visiting in their near new Dethleffs Trend motorhome. This is their first motorhome and they were really enjoying it. Nice people and they popped over later for a drink. It was really nice to see them.
Nice spot and really handy and great value with the Camp saver.
Fiona had arranged time off for work and for me having a gap between jobs, it was time to get out in some fresh air. After packing Rafe, topping up with water and loading food and clothes in, we were away. We decided we’d stay in over Queens Birthday so we could take advantage of some of the Camp Saver deals.
Down the southern motorway with very little traffic and onto the amazing new Huntly bypass. This was our first time over it as it was finished just before lockdown. What a big saving in time and easy to get through. Now we just need a real bypass for Hamilton.
It has been a long time since I have driven around the lakes by Rotoiti, Rotoetu and Rotoma. Despite the weather being a miserable, it was an easy drive through.
It has also been a while since either of us had been over to Whakatane we headed out towards Awakeri Hot springs. With over 100 powered sites and at a really reasonable rate and now the weather is colder, this seemed very sensible being close to a hot pool. 🙂
Arriving mid afternoon, we plugged in and settled Rafe and headed for the pool. Within minutes we had met some people some people also from Auckland who were doing just what we were, escaping after the Covid lockdown and they also had limited time so were counting the days away.
Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow
Nice tourist flats too
Kids play area
Nice wee hedge rows
Its a lovely spot and only 12 k’s from Whakatane.
The next morning, after another swim in the pool, we headed into Whakatane for some groceries and a bit of a look around.
Back to the camp, we headed for the pool.
A lovely park, some nice people running it. The free Wi-Fi didn’t really happen but there were so many other nice things about this park, it didn’t matter. Great pools and spotlessly clean. We’ll be back.