Category Archives: Waikato

Taking the Boys to Miranda

Our son Alex had a trip arranged to meet some people in the South Island for a few days so Fiona and I were on deck to look after the Grandies, Ayden and Liam.

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Parking in the street.. with auto wooden levelling blocks:-)

We parked Rafe over the road in a car park space in Papakura and I’d taken a couple of blocks of wood to level up Rafe with the camber which worked perfectly.

The boys were at School during the days so when Saturday morning came, we all went around to watch Ayden play rugby for his team at Ardmore. They were playing the top team in the competition so I think they would have been pleasantly surprised if they would win. The boys played really well, Ayden scored one of the two tries and they had a great game. The end result was 19-12 and after hearing the opposing coach saying afterwards say that Ayden’s team had improved vastly since the last time they played together, and it was a great game for both teams was really nice to hear.

Ayden in his half back role
On the charge

After the game, we went back to the house and then set off for the treat trip to Miranda Holiday Park in Rafe. Fiona and I used to go there quite often but haven’t been for several years so there were quite a few changes.

Checking in was a breeze and we were given one of our favourite parking spots against what used to be the hedge beside the driveway except its all gone ! .. Shock horror but I have to say it does look good the way it has been done and it lets a lot of light and sun into the place.

It had been raining for most of the day off and on so there was quite a bit of water around.

We hadn’t been there long when the boys went off for a bit of an explore and very quickly found that the office had ice creams and lollies 🙂

The Miranda Office

It was time for a swim where we discovered the other new feature, which is the addition of a smaller toddlers pool next to the main pool.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The last time we were here was with our friends Bruce and Judy with Rafe’s twin and Dianne and Gary from Taupo. This was when we discovered the Dog friendly campsites out the back. They’re obviously a hit as there are quite a few more there now.. what a great idea. A bigger pitch with room around your motorhome for the dogs to roam while still being fenced in from the rest of the Campground.. fantastic.

The Dog Parks

Its always a great spot to stay and always clean and tidy.

Later we took the boys up to the Kaiaua Fish and Chip shop for tea followed by another swim in the pool. It was then time to watch the first All Blacks Aussie game in the TV room before we all crashed for the day.

It was wet

In the morning, we managed to sneak in a quick swim before we checked out and hit the road home. A great few days. The boys really enjoyed it and so did we!

Rafe’s Tracker map to Miranda – Armada GPS

A weekend of Surprises at Te Aroha

A couple of years ago I went to the Tokoroa Timber Town Romp  and it didn’t disappoint with Bagpipes, Scottish games and some bands in the hall for entertainment later. A great event over three days put on by the Waikato NZMCA Crew.: Des, Michael and Neil along with many others.

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The main parking area at Te Aroha

I missed last years event so I was determined to get to the Te Aroha weekend run by the same very clever people.

A Boat a home !

The venue was the Silver Ferns Event Centre at Te Aroha so the parking was on the football fields surrounding it. For the 60 or so Motorhomes and Caravans that made the event, there was plenty of room. Neil was out their as chief parker and it was great to see him again too.

In the Dethleffs corner

On the Friday when I arrived it was catching up with everybody with the main events happening the following day.

One of the highlights was the Kayaking where two groups of 7 were taken up river and set off to be picked up further downstream. Nice big wide Kayaks and everyone had a ball.

I’ve never really got to see the domain and the historic buildings where the Thermal Baths are so I walked into town to see them and have a general gander around the town. Its not big but full of very friendly people and with the influx of 60 odd Motorhomes, the NZMCA’rs were very dominant in their red shirts 🙂

Escaping the Heat

Some were off on the bike trails north and south and there was also an organised trip to a berry farm for fresh fruit ice creams.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After a couple of hours of wandering around the town and watching the Kayakers return, I wandered back to Rafe.

Te Aroha
Baths Museum
Croquet

A nice event in a lovely town. Well done again to the crew for putting it on.

Rafe’s Traceker map – Armada GPS

One of the smaller Classic Caravans!

At the Liteweight 75th anniversary, and right next door to us was Karine and Ross in their 1956 Starliner Starlette Caravan.

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Karine and Ross with their Starlette

Its tiny but over the last few years, from the wheels up, they have completely stripped and restored this little beauty.  Ross has gone out of his way to keep it light and tow friendly .. it is less than 475 kgs!

It is a real Tardis but it is surprising how much room is there when the space is used efficiently.

It is what you’re used to as we found with our first Caravan, Wee Rafe.. not much bigger at 650kgs!

It is completely self contained and is surprising how much room it has in it.

Amazing amount of room
Lovely curves on the beds

They tow it with a 1964 Volvo 544 which would be a really rare car.  I haven’t seen any of them anyway.

Ross has completely rebuilt this too including replacing the motor with a Ford Sierra motor and gearbox. It has Ford Mondeo wheels, Smits Gauges on the dash (Triumph Dolomite) Hyundai seats and discs all around. It was a real eyecatcher!

The Volvo

With its awning out they looked quite at home entertaining their friends during the day.

First night away in their restored Liteweight Caravan

After 3 years or so of restoring their 1963 Liteweight Silver Mist, Ross and Kay finally got to get their first night away in it.  What a WOW moment and huge sense of satisfaction that must be, when you’re lying there on the first night taking it all in. 😊

I’m sure there were anxious moments but it all worked out well and they looked really comfortable in it.

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Kay and Ross with the Silver Mist

Over the course of a few years in between work commitments and building a house, they have finished what I thought was an absolute gem.

Plenty of room
Dinette / Bed

This is their first foray into older Caravans and  they have done a fabulous job of getting all the period door handles, power sockets and then decorated it with all the period fittings.

Looking really good guys,  a lovely Caravan, well done and nice to see you both again.

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.

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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

Mac and Cheese at Rangiriri

This is THE place for a stop for lunch with a Motorhome. Easy parking right over the road, good service and fantastic food.

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We were heading south from Auckland and it so often happens, it was right on lunch time and we both decided it was time to eat.

We have stopped at this Hotel before and discovered the standard of food to be above and beyond so we were looking forward to lunch.

Easy parking

Within minutes of being in there, Fiona was on the end of a big G&T and I had a glass of Chardy and we were waiting for our electronic beeper to do its thing.

Fiona at the bar

The pub was built in 1904, partially burnt down and rebuilt in 1905 and given that the Maori wars only finished 35 years or so before that, it was one of the early bigger buildings in the Waikato area.

The river flooded early this century and virtually surrounded the pub in water.

The big flood at the turn of the century – Weekly News Photo

The beeper went off and Fiona got the meals. I had an amazing Macaroni Cheese “Mac and Cheese” on the menu for $13 which was very filling and was very tasty.

Yum ! Mac N Chees !

We had a quick look around and carried on with our journey south.

There is an old Maori Wars Cemetery right opposite which is also worth a look at.

One to remember for both the quality of the food, the service, the price, the ambience and the easy parking 🙂

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Rangiriri Hotel – Armada GPS

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.

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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.

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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

Grant and Jo’s Airstream Bar

And it is shiny and at 10 metres, very big.

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Jo and Grant with the Bar

Grant and Jo went over to the US with the idea that they wanted to buy an Airstream Caravan.

They met a chap there who had two of them. So after agreeing to buy both of them, the guy says “Hang on a minute, I’ve got this too around here”, and showed them the then rather dilapidated 1972 Airstream Bar. Grant tells me it was “not a lot” so he bought that too and shipped all three back!

The Lounge at one end
Inside
Grants lovely F100 Tug with their Dog Gilbert keeping an eye on things

Once they all landed back in NZ, the 2nd Caravan was sold so they could do up the Bar and a year later and lots of hard work, its looking pretty good. With a huge fridge, new lighting and a great sound system, its a fun way to spend a night.

Grant with the Bar

We spent a really good night here after the Zion Motorhomes function at Ellerslie and it was a real hoot.

Tables and Chairs.. Rafe in the distance

Cruise ideas for the new year – Northland

Where to this year?  Here’s some other ideas..

Click on this link to see some trips we’ve  done around Northland

The outside of the Hundertwasser Toilets

The latest post will come first so scroll down to the bottom to get a chronological order.

Enjoy