Category Archives: Coromandel 2022

Russell and Lorraine’s Frankia M-line

I caught up with Lorraine and Russell at a recent Frankia Owners group meeting at Coromandel.

Like me, Russell has had a long career in Newspapers working in his old hometown of New Plymouth.

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Lorraine and Russell

He was a Linotype operator making the slugs, think blocks of text that make up a newspaper page before computers. He worked with a lot of my old friends (photographers) who migrated to the Herald and the Star in later years.

Looking back

When I worked at the Herald in the 70’s, we had to walk through the linotype room to get to the photographic department and it always fascinated me to see these things working.  Big machines with great big lead bars being turned into blocks of text and then placed on the stone (the page). It was noisy too with the clatter of many of them. The Herald had roomfuls of them!

Nice and bright and plenty of space

Back to Motorhomes .. Starting out in 2002, this is their 6th Motorhome or Caravan. Their first Motorhome was a small Japanese imported Isuzu Motorhome. They’ve had several others including a 5th Wheeler, a Dodge Ram with a slide on. A Laika motorhome, then a Dethleffs Magic and now the Frankia which they got last year.

Galley

It is equipped with a 3 litre, 190 HP Turbocharged Mercedes V6 with auto transmission.

As you would expect with a Motorhome like these, they are well appointed inside with every mod con you can imagine.

Favourite spots are the West coast of the South Island and Matai Bay in Northland.

Having had a few Motorhomes over the years, they have had plenty to compare this to and only had lots of nice things to say about their Frankia.  A really nice Motorhome!

Frankia Owners Group meet at Coromandel

We set off early on the Friday morning thinking there might be a bit of early Labour weekend traffic, but it wasn’t to be, and we made it to Coromandel in pretty good time.

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Steve Gibson took this amazing shot with his drone. Coromandel shops are off to the left.

The Frankia Owners group organiser Brian Maginness, had invited me along to meet some of the group. Many of them were ex Dethleff owners so it was nice to see them again. They’re a good bunch and I’ve always admired the Frankia Motorhomes so we were really looking forward to it.

Brian had booked out the entire Park over property at Acres which is almost right in the middle of Coromandel town.  Run by Pauline and Ron as part of their property in a separate area complete with power and a bathroom, it is spectacular, and we’ll definitely be back to see them again.

Late on Friday afternoon, a few gathered outside Rafe and Happy Hour was on.

I met Russell and Lorraine who were originally from New Plymouth where I had just come from the photo Auction for Hospice.

It turns out that Russell spent a lot of his working life as a Linotype operator at the Daily News in New Plymouth so knew many of my press photographer friends who were involved in the Auction as they had also worked at the Daily News. Small world stuff.

It was really nice reminiscing about the old technology with the lead bars, slugs on the page (letters/paragraphs for the press) Great stuff.

Outside the gate

I also caught up with Peter and Heather who have adult children a similar age to our own and have lived close to us in Devonport for a long time. They’ve recently just got started with their near new Frankia Platin. Lovely to see them enjoying their new Motorhome.

My old friend from Devonport, Peter.

After the happy hour was finished, we all headed up to one of the restaurants in the main street of Coromandel about 5 minutes’ walk away. A great night and everyone had fun.

The next morning, it was each to their own. Some went bike riding, some walked up the back through the bush, we went for a walk through town and after lunch, walked back slowly to the camp to catch up with our neighbours in their Motorhomes.

Off for a Bike ride

Happy Hour rolled around and after this, I set up a team piccy and moved the group, so our Dethleffs was out of the background 🙂

The Team

That night’s tea was at my favourite restaurant in Coromandel, The Star and Garter. The meal I had was massive and Peter who was sitting next to me, watched me struggle through it. It was so nice.
I wasn’t going to waste any of it. 🙂 A nice meal as always and at a reasonable price. Another great night.

Star and Garter on the left looking up the main street.

We all ambled back to the park and crashed.

Click on the Gallery below for an enlarged Slideshow

The next day, many left. The rally was over but Fiona and I along with several others had enjoyed the park and the others company so much, we weren’t quite ready to go home 🙂

a Happy hour getting started.

A fantastic gathering… Well organised Brian and thank you to you all for making us both welcome.

Rafe’s Tracker map – Armada GPS

Goldfields with the Boys

Heading for our next stop in Waihi with Ayden and Liam in the back, we stopped just out of Tokoroa when someone spotted a Subway store, the boys favourite 🙂

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At the Goldfields Park

From here we cruised on up to the Waihi Goldfields Railway. A great place to stay and they’ve really tidied it up since we were last here.

Waihi Station

Its the perfect stop as we could take the boys on the Train to Waikino and then later meet their Dad Alex at Ngatea where he would take them to Pauanui.

Grandsons Ayden and Liam with Fiona

I was a wee bit concerned as it was getting late in the day and you can’t really book parks here but there was plenty of room.

Leaving Waihi

The next morning, we went over to the station and got our tickets and were ready for the ride to Waikino. The boys were quite excited and had a lot of fun encouraging the drivers alongside the railway to toot their horns.

Toot that horn

They liked the Taniwha too by the track on the way. After a 20 minute Ice cream stop, we were on our way back to Waihi. If we had more time, we would have taken them over the river to the Victoria Barracks and the Museum .. next time. We did come here a few years ago and biked the trails right to Karangahake. That can be seen here and the Windows walk is well worth doing, see that here.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

When we got back to Rafe, we realised how much progress Alex was making from Auckland so we needed to get cracking ! After a quick look at the big Waihi Mine hole, we set off towards Ngatea.

Checking out the Taniwha

The Goldfields Railway parking has improved dramatically. They seemed to have levelled it slightly and clearly labelled the parking but generally, it all looks great and for $15 a powered site per vehicle, it can’t be beaten.

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Goldfields Railway – Armada GPS