When we can, we like to attend rallies with the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, (NZMCA) which are much larger gatherings than our usual caravan club rallies. Another caravan arrived at the camp site the same time as us. But where was everyone? Were we in the correct area? This must be right, we decided, it’s where the NZMCA group always comes. So we unhooked the tow vehicles, wound down the caravan legs, put the kettle on, and invited our new neighbours in for a cuppa and a chat while we waited. As we looked out over the deserted camping area, the birdlife kept us entertained. Several groups of ducks waddled past, quacking quietly to themselves as they looked for titbits to eat before heading off to the river. And a pair of pukekos kept us amused as they leapt up in the air and fluttered around each other, then ran wildly away; making us wonder if a mating ritual was taking place. One by one, the campervans and caravans started rolling in, big ones and small ones, older campers and bright shiny new rigs. A total of 48 vans arrived for the weekend fun. We watched as one small bus changed position several times. First he went here, then over there, then changed his mind once again, before finally settling on a space. It turned out that he was waiting for his daughter Suzanne to arrive, and wanted to make sure there was room for both of them to park together. Suzanne was towing the cutest little caravan I had ever seen, called a “Little Gem”.
Her Dad made the awning for her, and the caravan has a cosy sleeping compartment. The back lifts up to reveal the kitchen facilities. It is a real little home away from home and her new acquisition from Trade Me suits Suzanne’s camping needs perfectly.
Although quite noticeably chilly overnight, the days were lovely once the air warmed up. I joined a group for a walk on Saturday morning and was doing fine until the leader started striding purposely up the hill track. As I stopped to get my breath back I met up with a group of walkers from a cruise ship, who were getting a taste of the Regional Park. Some scenes of the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy were filmed in this area, and I heard the leader telling his group all about it.
There was plenty going on to keep us entertained. We chatted to friends outside in the sunshine as we watched teams competing in games of pentanque, horseshoe tossing, gumboot throwing and quoits. There were the usual morning teas, raffles and Happy Hours. Peter and Lexie cooked up the lunch time Sausage Sizzle which was calling Robin’s name, so that was his lunch sorted.
On Saturday night we were wrapped up warmly as we watched the movie “Keeping Mum” under the open sided pavilion. Gary kept us entertained when he brought out his UFO in the early evening and put it through it’s paces. It buzzed about in the darkening sky flying this way and that, and hovering quite effortlessly.
Called a Parrot A R Drone, this European electronic device is controlled by an I-Pad. It has two cameras and a video and works by way of a Wi-Fi connection. “Wave at it”, I was instructed, and sure enough, there was me on the screen. The battery only lasts for 10 minutes of flying, and an icon appears on the screen when the battery is getting low. A group of youngsters came rushing over to have a look, and were thrilled by what they saw. “Wow, imagine getting one of those for Christmas”, one of the boys exclaimed.
Our Birman Muffy wasn’t the only cat away for the weekend at Kaitoke. We met up with Muffin, a beautiful Himalayan Colour point, who was on her first weekend away. Although well used to popping in and out of the motor home while it is parked at home, it is quite a different story to actually travel in it, her Mum Amanda told us, and Muffin was feeling just a little bit stressed.
Muffin’s parents Paul and Amanda own a marvellous 5th Wheeler “Changing Places”, and plan to live in it full time very shortly. So of course they want their Muffin to settle down and travel happily with them. With slide outs giving them plenty of living space, and room for their bikes in the locker on the back of the tow truck, they are well on the way to enjoy their travels.
We were not in any hurry to head back early on Sunday, after all we were only 14km up the road from home. As a group of us ate our lunch in the sunny conditions we heard an almighty “bang”. What on earth had happened? A gust of wind had torn an awning out of Gary’s hands as he was in the process of stowing it away and flung it off the fittings and onto the roof. Several of the men rushed to help, and Robin hurried over with his ladder as the owner and his friends tried to untangle the mess. The awning was a write off. What a shame for such a thing to spoil a weekend away. Guess that is why we all have insurance.