On arriving at Cromwell, we had to stock on some groceries at the New World, get some Diesel at the Truck stop and call some friends re catching up as you do!
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After this we had lunch by the lake and had a good look around the Cromwell Historic Precinct. The lake looked fantastic and its a nice spot to relax in and see what used to be in this area.
We were going to stay the night in Lowburn at Rob and Helens house with Rob, Helen was flying down later that week. As they’re Motorhomers themselves, they have a purpose built concrete pad with a 16 amp external power socket for friends on wheels 😄
Absolute luxury !
After a nice night with Rob at Lowburn, we met old Auckland friends Ross and Karen and they took us around to a restaurant and we enjoyed a nice couple of hours catching up on all the news. Our kids were all Playcentre kids together so we go back a long long way.
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Rafe parked near the precinct
Rob and Helens place
The forecast was looking very suspect so we headed back to Derek and Andrea’s Cap in Alexandra and Rob came with us to hunker down for the weather.
Its really good to see Rob and also Ross and Karen as we haven’t seen them for at least a year or two.
Saturday was a big day. Rob and Helen were off to collect their new Autotrail Tracker RB and they were beside themselves with excitement.
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Their first Tracker RB had taken them and their daughter Chloe. all around NZ over the last 4 years or so.
The new Tracker is a different colour, has Automatic Transmission and has 180 horses. It has more room in the front lounge area, a separate Shower and Toilet area and lots of other little tweaks.
Having Rafe parked right behind, I was amazed with the changes in some of the vents, and other fittings which you see on Dethleffs and other makes. Even the tyres are different from the older models.. now Michelins.
We drove down to meet them at Athenree Holiday Park as a meeting point and to help celebrate their first night away in it.
We hadn’t long checked in when the first glasses of bubbly were consumed. A nice afternoon in the sun with a swim in the hotpools later as well.
Its a lovely Motorhome and they’re over the moon with it.
As the title says.. lots of bedtime reading manuals for Rob!
Rob and Helen were in England visiting one of their daughters. While they were there, they had a thought, where they could buy a new AutoTrail from the factory, cruise around the Uk for 6 months or so and then ship it back to NZ. It was all going well until they found that Kiwis, Aussies and Canadians can only drive up to 3500kg GVM unless they’re on British drivers licenses. Their Tracker has a GVM of more that 4200kgs. Finding it was all getting unnecessarily stressful, they decided on plan B and decided to ship it brand new, to NZ to use and enjoy on NZ roads. By shipping it brand new, they avoided all the fumigating and cleaning that is required for importing a used vehicle😊. 3 years and 20000 k’s later, they’ve travelled through most of NZ with their daughter Chloe. Their AutoTrail Tracker is a nice van which is well kitted out out with Truma heating, Dometic fridge and all the other nice things you’d expect in one of these vehicles. We’ve shared some great trips and great evenings with them including last New Year’s Eve at Sullivan’s Bay (in the rain 🌂🍷😃).
Having spent the last few days with our friends Rob and Helen and their 11yr old daughter Chloe, Rob was keen to show us a modification he has made to his fridge to make it more efficient. Now Rob is a clever guy and is very familiar with things electrical so to see it working as well as it does is fantastic.
Robs fridge is an under the bench style Dometic 3 way fridge. They imported their AutoTrail themselves from the Uk a few years ago and of course it came with a “Northern Hemisphere” fridge. The difference between those and the “tropical” fridge is that the NZ fridges apparently are setup to be able to deal with hotter climates.
The work around for Uk fridges in NZ is to fit a 12v fan in the cavity behind the fridge with a thermostat to expel the air from behind the fridge, outside.
The 12v fans use next to no power and are really reliable.
Rob says it has made a massive difference to its performance and both he and Helen are really pleased with the way it performs.
There is a link to an Aussie web site which details the technical which Rob found that makes it relatively easy. Here’s the technical link
After Fiona’s very pleasant work do at The Brigham Restaurant at Hobsonville, and after showing off Rafe to her workmates who mostly hadn’t seen the inside view before, we headed for the NZMCA Ardmore park in South Auckland to meet our old friends Gary and Chris Parkes who joined us for part of our South Island trip a few months ago.
With the sudden surge of pre Christmas work from clients, we have been temporarily grounded if you like so we’ve been making every excuse to get away. It was nice to catch up with them again and with Alex, Sarah and the Grandies just next door to the park.
We arrived in the middle of the afternoon and after settling Rafe down, opening some vents and a little unpacking, we walked down the road to see the Ardmore Millers to watch some trampolining, some bike riding and catch up with Alex and Sarah.
Returning back a couple of hours later around 6 ish, we had the mandatory sundowners and tried to make some sense out of where we would head over the coming weeks of holidays. This turned into dinner and some cups of tea much later. A good night and nice to see them again.
Overnight we had a really solid rain and a few puffs of wind to go with it. There were decent sized puddles everywhere in the morning although fine but still windy. Gary found a leak in his roof but we suspect it might be the vent that was open for the rain overnight.
The morning tea bell rang from the Parkes truck and not long after that, Alex and Sarah arrived with Ayden and Liam. We walked down to the Airport Café just in time to see the ole restored DC3 take off for a circuit but there cant have been too many customers as it landed after we arrived and taxied to its parking spot behind the tower. There was very little other plane movements which was disappointing. It must have been too windy or unpleasant for the small planes.
We walked back to the trucks and I spotted a nice pic of flowers and parked planes which summed up the day nicely. Our friends Roger and Marion’s Autotrail Delawere was at Ardmore park too and we caught up with some of the other regulars as well.
After tidying up Rafe and saying goodbye to all, we left after lunch and headed for home to more work this week.
I’ve been following Eric and Shazza’s adventures via their blog for more than a year now and they’ve been an inspiration for this blog and for fulltiming here in NZ. Eric writes most of the blog and takes the pictures and is a real character.
They’ve got an 9m odd Autotrail Commanche which is very comfortable and have had some interesting moments with small streets… well worth a read.