Tag Archives: Caravans

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

60’s Caravanning and towing a houseboat with an AmphiCar

A repost from days gone by .. enjoy

Check out this amazing video of English caravanning from 1966

Lovely varnished boat and how is the chap towing a houseboat with a “amphicar”

Grant and Jo’s Airstream Bar

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

Click on an Image for Hi Res

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

A Hidden Sanctuary in Paradise

We woke up to another stunning day at Tekapo NZMCA park by the lake. Ray and Margaret next door in their bus were up and about. Fiona had an idea that she’d like to take Rafe out and check out some of the lakes nearby.

As soon as I stepped out to see Ray, they were doing exactly that and did we want to come with them in their Toad (Suzuki). Then came the rustling around for thermos flasks and cooly bags. A better idea said I, why don’t we take Rafe and we’ll have fridge and cup of tea / butter etc facilities. We were off.

Click on the Images for Hi Res

Ray and Margaret have been on the road in their bus for 4 ½ years so there aren’t many places in the South Island that they don’t know about. One of their little Gems was a neat place called McGregor Lake and Lake Alexandrina.

Looking across lake McGregor to Tekapo

Its about 12k’s from Tekapo and is run as a campsite by a Community Committee. It is in a fantastic spot on the side of a river between the two lakes. Just spectacular.

Stunning Spot

You can stay their for $10 a night per person. There are Toilets and Showers and rubbish along with an outdoor kitchen.

Our first stop was the Dump Station at Tekapo to fill and empty and then the local 4 Square shop for some fresh bits for lunch, then we were off.

We headed along the road to Mt St John and then a short gravel road and we were there.

Across Lake McGregor

We met a chap who had been there a while in his caravan and was keenly following the antics of the local Paradise Ducks. He directed us further down a track to the other area where there more than 50 Caravans and a whole bunch of Baches up on the hill.

Ray on the left walking to lake Alexandrina

As we walked along the river, Ray told us about a time when he was here earlier when he saw Salmon swimming upstream to spawn. The small river was just chocker with Salmon. It would have been quite sight !

Great camping

With the caravans on both sides of the river, its just an idylic spot to stay. No shops and no pubs but if you’ve got a kayak or just want to blob, what a sensational spot.

Lake Alexandrina

After a good look around, we retired to Rafe for lunch with cups of tea and plenty of laughs.

The images say it all.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

After lunch we tidied up and headed back to Tekapo Club camp and organised ourselves for the next event of the day, Happy Hour!

Our neighbours Jim and Lynley back at the NZMCA park

As the afternoon wore on, more and more neighbouring Motorhomers and Caravanners came over to join us. Its really interesting meeting people from all walks of life and where they come from. Lots are retired but many still work and its interesting hearing their stories.

Happy Hour with all our visitors at Tekapo. Cell pic

Another fantastic day in the Sunny South Island.

Rafe’s Track to the camping area.

The Homebuilt Caravan

While we were in a park in the north, Sculptor Nick and partner Tracy rocked in with their girls Mila and Ruby, and their Homebuilt Caravan.

matakoheThey found it in a barn in Balclutha and after recladding it and  modifiying their table so it could add extra beds for the girls, they’ve set off around the country for a year on the road.

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

They were not keen on going down the track of having a gas oven so they settled on a wood burner which also heats their water.

matakohe

Its all insulated and warm and toasty and it was nice to see them happy and getting around NZ.

A Monster Caravan But Beautiful Too

I woke up this morning and looked out of the window to see this. It’s huge but looks the business as well.

The view out of the window
The view out of the window

I first saw one in the flesh at the Covi show and photographed it as well. It turns out that Kel and Jenny had just taken delivery of their new baby and lent it to Jonas and the Dethleffs team for the Covi show. I had a think about this and thought, that would be hard to do. With something like this and having only recently got it, you’d just want to disappear in it 🙂

Click on the images for Hi Res

Kel and Jenny with their Caravan
Kel and Jenny with their Caravan

Kel and Jenny have sold their house in Auckland and are full timing in their 9.42 metre (incl drawbar) Dethleffs Exclusive caravan. Their first big trip was around the South Island early this year and it went well.

mirandaKel tells me he nearly cried when he marked one corner of it as he came off the ferry as the 4m back overhang swung out. I know how he felt as I nailed a corner on the back of Rafe not long after we got it and felt sick.. My new baby was injured ! Their parts are all here and she’s about to go to caravan hospital to made all better again so all’s well.

The Living area
The Living area
Bedroom
Bedroom

The Exclusive is 8.05 metres long(body) and its tare weight is 2040kg with a max of 2800kg.

One side of the Galley
One side of the Galley

I had a quick look through and can see lots of similarities with Rafe. The high standard of workmanship, the comfy feel, it’s all there. A very nice caravan and when I first met them both, they had smiles a mile wide so they’re obviously enjoying their freedom and their new home on the road.

Wohnauto – Dethleffs first caravan

Dethleffs NZ’s Jonas Ng has just returned after a week or two in Germany catching up with Dethleffs and Frankia to see whats coming soon with the new models.

caravanWhile he was there, he visited the Hymer Museum and took these amazing piccies of Dethleffs first caravan.

caravan

He also found an early motorhome.. that’s coming soon.

Click on the images for a slideshow.

Enjoy

Thanks Jonas for sharing these piccies.

60’s Caravanning and towing a houseboat with an AmphiCar

Check out this amazing video of English caravanning from 1966

Lovely varnished boat and how is the chap towing a houseboat with a “amphicar”

Amazing home built Airflow

How is that lovely verandah cover.
How is that lovely verandah cover.
The interior
The interior
Looking the other way
Looking the other way

Check out these amazing piccies from Facebook. A home built Airflow caravan. The workmanship is extraordinary!

Matching colours

i came across this today. It would interesting to tow. Room for the whole family 😎

Dethleffs Caravan and Esprit Motorhome
Dethleffs Caravan and Esprit Motorhome

It looks like a Dethleffs Esprit with a matching caravan modelled from another Esprit..

Has anyone see anything like this in Australasia yet ?