Category Archives: Shows

Big Motors, Big Sounds, Retro Caravans, Motorhomes at the Beach Hop!

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 🙂

One of our neighbours towed his Rolls Royce behind his Motorhome
Complete with a machine gun!

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.

Rafe in line

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

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.

Another neighbour with his Ford
Heading out

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

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

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.

The Morris 1000

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.

Hettie La Bomb on her Bass
Hettie La Bomb

One of the things I enjoyed this time was watching people reactions to the cars and the event.

Specialist French vintage Models, Dollykitten and Marion

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.

The big picture – Rafe’s Tracker map to Whangamata – Armada GPS
Rafe’s Tracker map to the school – Armada GPS

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

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

Covi Rally 2020 at Ellerslie Racecourse

This never disappoints and although this year possibly wasn’t as big as previous years, there would have been at least 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The volunteers did an excellent job parking everyone and there was a Bar open for a couple of the nights if you felt the need for some cold lubricant 🙂

From the Stand

There was also a special area for the Dethleff, Frankia, Morelo and Neismann and Bichoff Motorhomes.. more on this later.

Rafe on the left in front of one of the Steeplechase jumps
All shapes and sizes

The buses called around regularly to ferry people to the show at the showgrounds, the weather was fine, it couldn’t have been better.

Smiles from the Volunteers

Thanks again to the Volunteers who make it all happen.

Looking toward the stand

The 2020 Covi Motorhome Show – lots of Images

The numbers were definitely down with the Coronavirus hanging over us all but despite that, several vendors I spoke to did well.

Click on any Image for HI Res

The Reo

I guess with more room to move, many had time to have a good nosey and spend more time doing what they came for.

NZMCA Stand

I went early on the Saturday morning and my first stop was say hello to the happy crew at the NZMCA stand then from there onto the Zion Motorhomes stand where the new Morelo Palace was on display.

Where to start?

At 9 metres long and 7.5 tons, this is a serious Motorhome. Check out the piccies below.

The Morelo Palace

Click on the Gallery below for bigger images

Zion also have a new Dethleffs XLI Alpa which has a rear lounge with really clever drop down beds above the drivers area which doesn’t feel like a drop down system.

Dethleffs Alpa Kitchen

Just in the next hall was ACM Motorhomes who have a repair facility and manufacture their own Motorhomes too, but have made some really nice bespoke designs for those with special interests or needs.

Click on the Gallery below for bigger images

One of the Motorhomes they had on display was one that I saw being put together for a handicapped customer and its beautiful. Complete with a wheelchair lift at the back which comes up to a rear bathroom. Very nice and nice to see what I saw in bits all finished and looking so good.

ACM Motohome for wheelchairs

Moving on from here I was amazed to see some of the refinements made to the smaller Caravans.

Chameleon

In order .. the Chameleon Crusader, a little bigger was the Manta Ray by New Age, then there was the Rockwood with slide outs and a bunk room which was interesting.

The Manta Ray Kitchen area

The 5m long Bailey Discovery is interesting too.. Perfect for two people and can be towed with a small vehicle.

Bailey living area. Nice big vent.

Jayco have got an interesting small Caravan which is called the Crosstrak Hybrid. Again well suited for two and an easy tow for a smaller SUV, it is just under 5 metres.

The Jayco Crosstrak

An interesting show which I finished by checking out the Lilliputs and watching an auction of a Benimar. I suspect someone got a bit of a bargain at 136k 🙂

Click on the Gallery for bigger images and a slideshow

I stayed at Ellerslie Racecourse as part of the Rally there which was free this year and was well served by some free buses to the Showgrounds. A great show!

Lilliput magic

Hamlet

While we were at the rally, we noticed that the Pop up Globe was open and Hamlet was on.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The Theatre

Having had hearing aids for most of my adult life since meningitis as a teenager, I have always avoided these types of shows as usually I can’t hear anything and the whole exercise is just a bore but armed with brand new technology hearing aids, I thought I’d give this one a go.

The Theatre

After starting with a glass of wine in the bar area, we wandered into the pre seating area under the trees and into the theatre.

Fiona enjoying a cider with the Artwork

There was a lot that I couldn’t hear as the stage is almost surrounded with the audience on three sides  so they talk in all directions. This means the lip reading function is unavailable largely but I could still make out enough of what was going on and it was just fun being there and taking it all in. These are good hearing aids too!

The cast during a moment of silence for Christchurch before the show

For some reason I seemed be able to hear more in the second half but put that down to more mayhem and shouting 🙂 …a Great show!

The King getting close to the audience.

Its an amazing venue and being just “popped up” in different locations, they take it pretty seriously with a nice bar and seated area under some trees. The artwork and the décor was something special too along with the Minstrels wandering around with their costumes playing their instruments.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Good seating and nice people directing you around. Its a great setup. Well worth doing and only 5 minutes walk to our Motorhome afterwards 🙂

Back at with Rafe 5 minutes walk away 🙂

#1 NZMCA

And that would be the newly restored 1928 Reo Speedwagon, once owned by the founders of the NZMCA, Andy and Gladys Anderson.

Click on an image for Hi Res

4 of the volunteers that could come up with #1, L to R, John, Alan, Brian and Fergus

Once used as passenger and freight bus in Te Karaka, it later went on to be a bus for the Gisborne freezing works.

#1 sporting its new Headlights

Andy Anderson bought the old bus in Gisborne and converted it to his Motorhome and then started the NZMCA as #1 !

Looking forward

Fast forward to June 2016, it was collected from the Eastland Museum of Transport and Technology and taken to a workshop at Hallright Plumbing.  It spent the next 2 and a half years here being restored by a small army of 34 volunteers.

Looking back over the Galley

It was completely stripped down and rebuilt bolt by bolt and the result is stunning.

Click on the Gallery below for a Sldeshow

Seeing it on the NZMCA stand at the 2019 Covi show, it was a joy to behold. The attention to detail from the volunteers is amazing. Ferg Mckenzie along with 3 other volunteers came up to the Covi show to look after and show off their work.

Storage on the back

Well done too to the board for supporting the restoration. A great part of the associations history.

People queing to see it on the stand

Covi Show 2019

What I took from this years Covi show was the slow move away from ground floor beds in Motorhomes, mostly in the smaller models to drop down or other options. There were lots of new knick knacks too.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Morelo area

There is a new Dethleffs XLI on its way which wasn’t available for the show but comes with a rear lounge instead of beds. The bedding comes as various versions of either a Luton type or different drop down setups. New also to the Dethleffs range is the Pulse GT.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Burstner has a new 7 something metre van option with a rear lounge with a door, and a drop down bed with another drop down bed further forward. A nice option too.

One of the things I really liked was the trailer mounted fold out camper priced at just $32000 with all the extras. I  forgot to get the name of it, but a lot of kit and good comfortable camping without spending a fortune.

Its like a friend of mine once said in the boating world, those who spend less on their boat than the million dollar boaties, still have just as much fun 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

There was lots to see in the accessories area too with several options available in the Generator area and there was also a drop on bach on display too.

A Mark 1 Zephyr with matching Lilliput. I had one of these during my misspent youth 🙂

No show is ever complete without the Lillput Caravans and their beautifully done up tow cars (Tugs).

Great Caravans
The lovely Lilliputs

A good day with lots of walking. Fiona looked at her phone at the end of the show on the bus back to Ellerslie and we did just over 9000 steps 🙂 .. plenty of exercise for the day.

Taradale Club parking for Phil

Late last year, I received an email from our Taupo Motorhome friends Gary and Dianne asking if we wanted to go to the Phil Collins concert.. yes please says I so Gary bought them online. I’m not sure exactly where he was at the time but I suspect it was somewhere in the UK.

Click on any Image for Hi Res

On the way.. Taupo

All I had to do was arrange for some parking at Napier for our two Motorhomes. Just as that was happening, I received a very timely email from mary at the Taradale club saying they had limited Motorhome parking for $25 a night.. thats us I thought so I immediately booked us for two nights for both of us.

Happy parking

Fast forward 6 months or so and despite moving out of our house in less than two weeks, we’re on our way for a few days to Napier.

Arriving at Taradale, I met Mary who was happy to change Gary and Dianne’s park so they were next to us and not long after we arrived, in rocked Gary and Dianne in the Niesmann.

34 Degrees C! .. not much talking happening here 🙂

The Taradale club was doing a BBQ tea for $20 a head and a $10 cooked breakfast so we clocked oursleves in for those too!

Every nook and Cranny was used.

The parking was great and with the temperatures hovering around the early 30’s it was stinking hot. The club’s bar with its air conditioning was a great spot to hang out and the drinks were reasonably priced too.

It was one of these !

There were probably about 30 odd Motorhomes there with most taking up the option for the meal and the breakfast.

Everyone was happy to chat to each other in the parking area and it was a very friendly spot.

Over the road, The NZMCA had leased a paddock fromn a local farmer and there was parking there too and that would have helped that Clubs turnover too!

Acroos the road at the NZMCA parking

Mary did a gfreat job making sure everyone was where they wanted to be and organising the meals. A neat spot to stay and very close to the concert venue as well.

The Netspeed Speedtest
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Upload: 7.43mbs
Ping: 47ms

Rafe’s Tracking map north showing where the club is.

A Sea of White

The Motorhome and Caravan parking was a real treat. The NZMCA volunteers pulled out all the stops and the result was amazing.

The whole scene. Behind the pavilion was chocker with Motorhomes as well..

The few volunteers that I spoke to were enjoying themselves with everyone parking as instructed and it looked great.

I really enjoyed catching up with several old friends and seeing some new ones too.

It was good to catch up with Chris and Margaret and the crew from the NZ Motorhome Forum people who had their own little spot.

The NZ Motorhome Forum Happy Hour.

I also caught up with John and Sarah Pedersen for the first time. John does a blog called Licensed to Retire.

You can tell where the Satellite was !

And it was nice to Nelson and Maree and their friends from Caniwi.

Everywhere you looked there was a sea of white and a few other colours! I’m not sure how many Motorhomes were there but there must have been hundreds.

The parking!

Great parking and great organisation of the event itself and I’m looking forward to next years now it is every year!

Settling down

The Netspeed speedtest for this location
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Ping 51ms

Rafe’s Track to Mystery Creek