Tag Archives: Museums

The Kauri Museum

What an amazing place. A must do if you’re in the Kaiwaka – Dargaville area and well worth seeing.

Click on the images for Hi Res and a Slideshow

Kauri dam
Kauri dam

Those with self contained vans can stay the night there too and there is also the Matakohe Holiday park a short walk away.

A full steam sawmill setup
A full steam sawmill setup

The museum is a fantastic collection of all things kauri and has a full Sawmill Hall full of all the things that were used to prepare and process kauri.  There is even a model of bean Rock lighthouse made of Kauri Gum.

Local Photographer and famous for his collections of historic images, Tudor Collins donated his huge negative library to the museum when he found it was being set up. There are some fabulous images on display.

Kauri dressers
Kauri dressers and Tudor Collins images

Allow at least a morning to do it properly but you could easily spend a day there.

New overnight parking at Hukerenui

On our way north by the Hukerenui Pub is the Jack Morgan Museum. I was interested in this as my old Whalechaser Rorqual was built by a Jack Morgan in Picton and although I was certain there was no connection given the distance, one never knows 🙂

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

The Museum
The Museum

It turns out that the Hukerenui Jack Morgan was a real character and was a local identity an on retirement started his collection which now makes up the contents of the Museum. Some of the locals have done a great job of the gardens next door too.

His parents owned the pub next door which is where he was born.

The Parking, plenty of room
The Parking, plenty of room

A really interesting place and if you visit the Museum, you can stay for free on the grass behind. It is $6 a night otherwise. There are toilets there too.

MorganIts well worth a look through with all sorts of knick nacks from years gone by and there is a café next door in the pub to finish off with a cup of tea.

The old and the new at the Museum

It is always a great occasion once a year when the nations Dethleffs owners get together for a catchup all in one spot. Its a good opportunity to see what others have done to their vans to make their motorhoming more fun.

Click on the images to see them in Hi Res or a slideshow

View from the Museum
View from the Museum

This year was the biggest yet with 75 motorhomes and caravans which made life interesting to yours truly and my old friend Gary from Taupo to get them all parked. We had a lot of fun as we did it with little walkie talkies that Gary had. The hard part was not being able to have a chat with everyone as they came in, that had to wait for later.  As they all had the same sided habitation door, we decided we’d park them in rows with the doors facing together on a 3 metre space and the opposite side being a 4 meter space so that people could escape without skittling tables and chairs etc and it worked really well.

In the social lane
In the social lane
From the road .. impressive.
From the road .. impressive.

The first 40 odd arrived on the Friday and everyone settled in, met old friends and checked out the car museum.  The car museum is fabulous. We visited this last March and had a good look through. You can see that here. There are all those cars that we had as kids, the Mark 1 Zephyrs, the Prefects and a lot older. It really is something to see. Outside is normally a NZMCA POP where you can stay overnight and it was nice to see friends Marama and Karen pop in for the night.

The next day after a good breakfast in the Juke Box Diner onsite, we caught a bus to a local Tea Estate and got to taste and learn about locally grown tea which was really interesting and on the way back popped in for lunch at the Hamilton Gardens Café. Some decided to walk off their lunch around the amazing gardens.

After getting back to HQ at the museum, it was open home for motorhomes so a quick vacuum and a tidy up of Rafe and it was visits all around. Lots of fun and it was nice to see people we hadn’t seen for a long time.

Open Homes
Open Homes

At 6pm it was time for a drink in the Marquee and a feed in the Diner which was immediately followed by a great display of the local rock n roll dance club and they were fantastic.

dethleffs
Slightly blurry cell phone pic!

We finished up the day with Dianne and Gary with friends Ian and Lynda in their XLI right next to us. A lot of fun and we had some great laughs.

catching up with friends
Ian and Lynda’s XLI on the left, Rafe on the right.
The way there from Rafes tracker
The way there from Rafes tracker

A great day and well hosted by Mr and Mrs Dethleff in NZ, Jonas and Irene Ng. Thanks guys and thanks to Dianne for organising  a great day out.

And the Netspeed speed test from this site.
Test Date: 12/11/2016 5:14 PM
Download: 40.43 Mbps
Upload: 12.35 Mbps
Ping: 34 ms

The Old Tank

Heading for the Countdown supermarket at Kilburnie after a quick trip down from Paekaekareki was easy. There was plenty of parking over two car parks and I got heaps of stuff for us both for a few days. After nearly two weeks of unsupervised travel, I’d spent the previous two days tidying up the van, washing the linen and getting things shipshape for Fiona  🙂

Click on the images to see Hi Res or a slideshow

In Evans Bay
In Evans Bay

It was time to head for the airport and pick her up from the flight from Auckland. I hadn’t been to Wellington airport for a while so I was a bit unsure of how Motorhome friendly it might or might not be!  Wee bit stressful !
After getting a fright at how low the canopy was for the pick up area, I opted for the departure ramp and all was fine !
We made it safely to Evans Bay after that and it was nice to be able to switch off, open the vents and have a cup of tea and work out what we were doing.

WW1 DisplayAfter we’d had lunch in a French Cafe in town by David Jones, we walked to the main War memorial museum to see the Peter Jackson display of World War 1.  It was amazing with the usual high quality displays. The realism was quite something.

Tank tracks above
Tank tracks above

It was interesting as my Grandfather drove one of these old Tanks in the Somme in the First World War. I remember as a 4 year old him telling me stories of how they used to cross the German trenches with these monsters.  I won’t spill all the gory details but it’s interesting that now that I’m nearly 60, I can still remember exactly what he described 🙂
I used to love listening to his stories and he loved telling them.  He was a real character.
Apparently he turned up to his own funeral after the war at his home town in Little Downham, Ely. He saw someone in the street and asked where they were.. “Oh Bert, they’re all at your funeral down at the church!”  His mother was so pleased to see him that she scraped the mud of his coat and put it in a little tin. My son Alex has got that tin with the dirt today along with medals and other important family stuff. … Great stuff for a 4 yr old 🙂 .. And his peppermints in the old Mark 1 Zephyr were good too !

Back to the show.. I didn’t realise the scale and how big they were compared to infantry soldiers and the crews.

Poignant Memorial
Poignant Memorial

The display was stunning and I reckon it’s a must do if you’re in Wellington. The very last display is quite poignant too of an older chap in a field of poppies with a young boy.. Fantastic display.

Tyers Magic

Before we enjoyed a great lunch at the Helensville Railway Station Cafe, we visited the Helensville Train Museum right next door.
Run by the Helensville Railway Station Trust by volunteers, this is well worth checking out.

Helensville Railway Station with the Museum behind
Helensville Railway Station with the Museum behind

parakaiThere is a gigantic model railway based on Helensville, even replicating well know local buildings and known points. There is even a little orange sign that says, “You are Here” 🙂
The chap that built the model spent 30 years putting it together.

Click on any photo for Hi Res or a Slideshow

Helensville Station. Note the pub in the background
Helensville Station. Note the pub in the background
The Pub over the road
The Pub over the road

After spending an hour or so, checking it all out, one of the volunteers came over and said to me, “come and check this out, I’ll demonstrate it for you”.
There were two red boxes with buttons and bells.
This was The Tyers Tablet system which railways in both Great Britain and New Zealand used up until 1994 on single lines to prevent head on collisions.
It involved a sophisticated coded bell system with switches with electromagnetic locks that allows a small disk, a Tablet, to be released for a train driver when the line is clear. The system was setup between railway stations at each end of a line.

All Packed
All Packed

Given that it was setup in the dark old days of bleeps over the phone lines, it’s a clever system. Helensville Railway Museum is the only one that we know of still in working order and when you think of what it had to do and when it was invented, it’s pretty clever.
If you want more info on this, Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Tyers Tablet system and here’s a youtube vid of the Helensville setup being explained.

 

The two volunteers there were only too happy to show me everything at the museum and couldn’t have been more helpful. It’s a must do if you’re in town.
It’s $3.00 each and well worth it.

BMW Reisemobile

Jonas Ng recently took a team over from NZ to Germany to check out the new Frankia and Dethleffs models and their new features.

bmwWhile he was there, he visited the Hymer Museum and took these amazing pictures.  Hymer is the parent company of Dethleffs Motorhomes and Caravans.

bmwThis is the second of two posts.  Todays one is the one of the early BMW Motorhomes. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

Click here to see earlier Dethleffs first caravan

Thanks Jonas!

Parking behind the History

One of the great new secrets of Mangawhai is the Motorhome parking behind the history in the new Mangawhai Museum. 

Parked behind the Museum
Parked behind the Museum

It’s a huge area and perfectly flat and also has the dump station and for a donation, fresh water. 

One of the most decorated dump stations
One of the most decorated dump stations

We arrived here fresh from having a look around Bennetts chocolate factory and the old Mangawhai shops and were keen to check out the Museum. 

In a brand new purpose built building with a cafe, it is really well done and well worth a look through. There is a lot of history on the Niagara sinking and a huge amount of items donated by the founding families of the the area. 

After visiting the Museum, we unhitched the bikes and went for a bit of a trek around the new housing areas opposite the Museum.  As we left, we saw our caravan neighbours from the pub carpark the previous night arriving at the dump station. 

Lots of room and dead flat
Lots of room and dead flat

Another great free parking discovery at Mangawhai and the Museum is one of the best!

Jukebox and Classic Cars

As you arrive into Hamilton off the expressway from the north, you will see at one of the roundabouts, a car on top of a pole.

The entrance to the Cafe and Museum
The entrance to the Cafe and Museum

This is the Jukebox Cafe and Classic Car Museum. NZMCA members can stay the night here for free and there is tons of room at the back of a huge carpark.

Inside the Museum
Inside the Museum

The Jukebox cafe is all decked out with an American 60’s Rock n roll type decor along with the staff wearing the retro clobber. While we didn’t eat here it all looks pretty good.

Click on the images for Hi res / Slideshow

The Classic Car Museum is a must do and is someone’s private collection. It includes a caravan, a Cord, and an amazing looking Auburn which I’d never heard of.

Dodge trucks
Dodge trucks

There’s a Messerschmitt along with trucks and many others. You’ll easily get lost in here for an hour or two.

The parking outside the museum
The parking outside the museum
Us and Dianne and Gary's XLI
Us and Dianne and Gary’s XLI

We went through here with Gary and Dianne before they headed back to Taupo and were sitting in the carpark getting ready for a cuppa while waiting for Fiona. She was really taken with the Messerschmitt.

History in the Rimutakas

We headed over to Featherston today despite the 100k odd gale warnings and it was quite an interesting trip! Martinborough is down in a basin lower that Featherston so I suspect that protects it against the big blows but once up on the Featherston plain despite heading strait into the wind, it was evil. The Van was all over the place. Slowing down to 65k odd helped but that was all we could do when were exposed in the sides.
We looked for a park so the van wasn’t side on and found the Fell Locomotive Museum right over the road. You could barely stand up in the wind so we thought we’d run for cover into the Museum.

The Fell Shunter
The Fell Shunter

What an interesting place. The steep grades over the Rimutakas ranges were such that they had specially designed Shunters that used a third rail to climb and brake.

A display showing how the centre rail, the one on the left was for the loco to grip onto for traction and braking. The normal rail on the right.
A display showing how the centre rail, the one on the left was for the loco to grip onto for traction and braking. The normal rail on the right.

Apparently, they used to get through a set of 8 brake shoes per loco for each descent and 4 for each brake van each descent! They had a cog driven wheel in each side of the loco of the centre rail that was wound in by the engineer and driven by the steam engine. It was held in by gigantic springs for the extra traction uphill. Apparently it worked really well. Each loco could deal with 3 passenger wagons or 4 freight vans depending on the weight and it was quite common to see 4-5 Shunters per train with passenger carriages and freight in between.

The brake van. The guard used to wind the brakes in on springs so the pads would slow on the centre raised rail.
The brake van. The guard used to wind the brakes in on springs so the pads would slow on the centre raised rail.
Under the loco showing the brakes on the raised rail. There were two huge geared wheels which locked in behind the brakes for uphill traction.
Under the loco showing the brakes on the raised rail. There were two huge geared wheels which locked in behind the brakes for uphill traction.
The drivers cabin
The drivers cabin

We were warmly welcomed by some nice chaps who showed us and explained us how it all worked and then shown to a theatre where we saw an early 1900’s film of the whole system working. Great film. Funny to see all the old clobber that people wore back then and really interesting.
If you’re in Featherston, check it out. At $5 a head it’s well worth the visit.

Another pic of the skippers cabin showing the firebox and other controls.
Another pic of the skippers cabin showing the firebox and other controls.

We visited an unnamed disappointing coffee shop after that, that interestly had its front door facing out of the wind ! Awful coffee and very average cakes.. That’s the first we’ve struck that bad on the whole trip so can’t really complain.

My perfect house, plenty of room, vineyard all around. Just need taps on the end of those vines fir an easy refill of the glass  😎
Back in Martinborough – My perfect house, plenty of room, vineyard all around. Just need taps on the end of those vines for an easy refill of the glass 😎

Given the wind was so bad, we headed back to Martinborough for our last night. Rugby tomorrow morning. All Blacks v France. Just as well I brought the sky card with us. We’ll head to Napier after that.

Firth Tower Museum

The Firth Tower and House. The original was burnt down in 1902
The Firth Tower and House. The original was burnt down in 1902

3k’s or so outside of Matamata is the Firth Tower Museum.
Its an amazing collection of original buildings in the grounds of what used to be a farm for the Firth family in Auckland to feed the flour mill.  It later became the base for a well known Waikato family to farm.
The original farmhouse was built with the tower in the later 1800’s but the farmhouse burnt down in 1902 and was replaced  then by the current house. It was then owned by the McCaw family.
Don’t forget you can click on the images to enlarge them

In each of the buildings there is a theme of history, Agriculture, Transport, Medical, local war involvement, and there is even two carriages with the History of the Kaimai tunnel as well.
The volunteers who staff it were all wearing historical gear to add to the feel of the place.  When  we visited, there was school trip of local primary school kids and they all got dressed up in historical clothing to add to the occasion.

Dusk, Glass of Red in one hand, camera in the other!
Dusk with The Tower

For $10 you can stay the night with power or free parking without power. One of the nice things about being on the road is discovering new places to stay and how nice they can be and often it is the least expensive that are the nicest places to stay… this was one of those times.   A great way to spend the day and it really is a well setup museum.

As the posts here are a bit infrequent at the moment, if you click Follow at the bottom, you’ll be notified of a new post to save you checking in. 🙂