Category Archives: Motorome Friends NZ

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.

Click on an Image to enlarge.

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

Half a Million Hits !!

Its a huge milestone and we finally got there..

Some of you probably aren’t aware of the number on the top right of the blog but thats the total number of hits that have come our way.

The Hits on the right

You’re not alone and its really interesting where everyone comes from. Most hits come from NZ but there are a lot of you from the UK and around Europe as well. The Dethleffs Users UK have been big supporters too.. Thanks Richard!

Where the hits came from over the last year.

We started the Blog way back in August 2015. One of the first posts was about a Fiamma clothesline I installed on the bike rack on the back of Rafe which as been really useful and it was nice to see that it got some good hits again just in the last week!

When Fiona and I went to the South Island last year, it became very obvious how often we were recognised and how well read the Blog actually is. Thanks to everyone that made themselves known .
It was really nice to meet so many of you and get your feedback.

Thanks again for your support.. Now to get to the Million Hits!

Motorhome Show Rally – Mystery Creek

It was nice to see Chris and Margaret and the others from the forum www.nzmotorhome.co.nz, many that I’ve never met before. Andrew and Debbie from Tauranga, nice to see you too. Given the weather was pretty naff, it was good to see such a good turnout.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a slide show

Motorhomes and Caravans as far as the eye can see. Click on the image to enlarge.
Motorhomes and Caravans as far as the eye can see.
Click on the image to enlarge.
Interesting power setup
Interesting power setup

Hundreds of vans parked everywhere and all shapes and sizes. I went for a bite of a wander to have a look for some of the more unusual looking or big/little Motorhomes.

It was also good to see my friends from Miranda, Marama and Rob and also Karen from the Motorhome Friends Facebook page with their Trailites.  We were also joined by our fulltiming friends Chris and Gary.  Good to see them too.

Many had multi day passes to the show and were in and out every day.

Chris and Margarets Jayco
Chris and Margarets Jayco and the Forum Overnighters

Most were there for the full duration of three days. Nice too that so many recognised Rafe and came up to say hello and we could put names to faces. It’s always nice to meet you and get your feedback.

In the rain

And boy did it rain! 

I headed to Uretiti Doc camp armed with my NZMCA Doc pass which is in its last month, to meet up with Gary and Chris who had been there for a few nights strategically hiding behind a big bush from the north easterlies. There was almost enough room for Rafe too but the winds were dying off and it was really about the rain now. 

Gary with the Mitzi and Rafe
Gary with the Mitzi and Rafe

Stuck inside due to the rain, we spent the afternoon watching an amazing Tv series done by the Norwegians set in the Second World War about the Heavy Water factory on Netflix. It was so good that we had to keep watching it and ended up watching the whole series!

The Netspeed speed test at Uretiti
Download: 24.42 Mbps
Upload: 2.45 Mbps
Ping: 49 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
Server: Wanaka

There were a few good puffs overnight but it generally settled down and by the morning it was just a drizzly, dreary light rain. 

Click on the images to see Hi Res

Uretiti Beach .. which way
Uretiti Beach .. Chris on the beach, which way?

In a moment of madness, we decided to go for a walk on the beach but got as far as the sand and decided it was indeed a silly idea so headed back to dry off.

Chris escaping back to the Vans to get out of the rain.
Chris escaping back to the Vans to get out of the rain.

It was nice to catch up with Gary and Chris. They had a few things to do in their new hometown of Ruakaka where their house is rented out and then we were going to catch up again in Waipu where I headed and parked at the Caledonian park.

Due to the rain, I thought the grass was quite soft so I parked on the gravel. 

At Caledonian Park
At Caledonian Park – cell ph pic

Gary and Chris arrived later. 

The Netspeed speed test at Waipu.
Download: 40.33 Mbps
Upload: 25.28 Mbps
Ping: 62 ms
Connection Type: Wi-Fi
Server: Auckland
http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&q=-35.985382,174.444321

Here’s a few helpful links to previous blogs:
The LTE Aerial and Internet installation
The Chrome Cast setup

Later in the day, we walked into town and enjoyed a great meal at the Indian restaurant. Chris reckoned it was one of the best meals she’d had!
Fiona and I have been there a few times and it has always been good. 

Waipu main street
Waipu main street – cell ph pic

As we returned to the park, we met James from Castor Bay who had just squeezed his 11m bus through the main gate and parked on the grass. I was impressed. 1 because he’d parked on the grass with 8 tons and 2, he’d squeezed through the gate in a big bus in the dark! Well done that man🤓.  Two other smaller vans parked there too and nobody had any problems. 

The main entrance from the road was all chopped up and muddy so getting to the parking was the real problem but we were happy on the gravel just for a night and it was nice to have some power too. 

The last time we were in Waipu, we had fine weather and we could park under the trees and it was magic.

Motorhome Friends at Paeroa

The weather forecast for the whole weekend was a shocker but we knew we’d be safely tucked up once we got to Paeroa.

We left early on Friday night after Fiona finished work and headed down to Ardmore to stay in my son Alex’s driveway so we could see  Ayden playing rugby in the morning. He had a really good day and after scoring a few tries, he got Player of the Day so that was special and good to see.

Grandson Ayden with the ball. The expressions on their faces are priceless.
Grandson Ayden with the ball. The expressions on their faces are priceless.

After a cup of coffee, we left Ardmore and headed for Paeroa where we were meeting up with other Motorhomers who are part of a really active Facebook group called Motorhome Friends NZ.  North Island Admins, Steve and  Karen did a great job organising the get together at Paeroa RV Centre.

A Happy crew
A Happy crew

After settling down Rafe in a little corner of the park, we headed into the 3pm meeting in the Hall. There was a pot belly stove stacked up nicely belting out the heat so it was nice and cosy despite the showers outside. We were really lucky to be able to get a powered site as there was a dire shortage of them so thanks Paeroa RV for helping us out there.

Remember to click on the images for Hi Res or a slideshow

It was really nice to catch up with people and put faces to names. I’m a relative newcomer to the group but Fiona and I felt right at home with them all.

Steve getting the Karaoke gear organised
Steve getting the Karaoke gear organised

There was a Kareoke night  which we didn’t get to but I gather it was a huge success and everyone had lots of fun. We had two lots of Motorhomers around for drinks in Rafe. Nick and Karen who have just bought a Autotrail Comanche which they are living in full time. The Comanche is a biggie with dual axles at the back and is 8.4 metres long.  A nice van.
We also had Gaylene and Les from Huntly with us and it was nice catching up with them too.

The view in the yard
The view in the yard

In the morning, there was a 10am coffee meeting to farewell each other. The rain was pretty steady by then and not a good time to be trying to photograph people with their vans but I managed to get a few.

The Hot pool at Miranda
The Hot pool at Miranda

Given the weather was like it was with squalls of heavy rain, we decided to head to Miranda Holiday park and hunker down in the hot pools and not long after we arrived met some others from Paeroa there too. Isn’t it funny how great minds think alike !

At Miranda. Given the weather, it was nice to be plugged in and sheltered.
At Miranda. Given the weather, it was nice to be plugged in and sheltered.

A nice weekend with some nice people.