Hot Rodders & Hotter Weather

Orewa Beach, 24.01.2020

Now that Ellie is gone the weather has obviously taken a beautiful turn! So before we head back to the city (to save some pennies for our return to the UK), we decided to take a teeny beach break and head back to Orewa to soak up some rays. What better place than to pick up where we finished off just last week?

Having taken a few days to organise our lives following our epic road trip (AKA rest, arrange jobs, find a place to live, finally fix Lewis’ broken phone and even play some cricket!), we packed up the van once again and said our goodbyes to the Ashworths. As we set off for the coast it felt great to be back on the road, sun shining and tunes on the radio - what a carefree life indeed!

Blissfully unaware, we meandered up towards our intended campsite where we were asked for our booking. In all of our travels around New Zealand we’ve never been turned away from the campsite before so when we were told that “Hot Rodders” was in town we were equally confused and disbelieving when they also told us

that they might not be able to fit us in. Hot Rodders for any of you who don’t know (and I’m sure you are many) is a classic American muscle-car festival celebrating the “good ol’ days” of wholesome 50’s Americana and Elvis - they just love Elvis here OK? Thinking about it, we did notice that Orewa was was rather more busy than the last time we were here and that there seems to be some kind of “big event” on. Fortunately they managed to find us ”one of the more dangerous spots”, which turned out to be a plot with a huge tree growing through the middle of it, and we settled in for the night.

Waking up the next day we had a lazy breakfast and headed straight to the beach. Our campsite was right on the beachfront, which made things a lot easier with my ongoing ankle issues. We found a relatively quiet spot by the river estuary, meaning that frolicking in the water was extremely fun/dangerous once the tide started to go out and the river started to push everyone out to sea. The way to counteract this was to grip onto the sea/river bed which was full of sharp mussel shells - Ouch! I opted to grab onto Lewis who was much softer (Lewis refutes the suggestion that he is anything but pure muscle).

We then left our fellow beach bums to see what all the fuss was about at Hot Rodders. When in Rome! Well, when in New Zealand, they do as the Americans do. The festival can only be described an collection of a pre-pubescent boys’ “fantasy cars”, except everyone was middle-aged or older, and the cars would’ve been on your bedroom wall 70 years ago. I have to admit some of the cars are really cool, but I just don’t understand why some of them still exist - they must be a nightmare to drive and maintain, and they’re ugly. Despite this, there was ice cream and the music was pleasant enough, I guess you’d say we had a good time. We even got some free chips when the cars all abruptly left at 4 pm and I was very happy with the trade. What a strange life it must be pretending that Elvis isn’t dead and travelling around in a muscle-car drawn caravan?

We’ve certainly felt like we’re in a bit of a time-warp on our travels, especially visiting some of the more remote locations around New Zealand, but it’s great that you can essentially visit your grandparents’ youth by stepping into a festival like that. Is that how we’ll be in in 30 years? Organising electric car rallies and Beyoncé tributes? Park your Prius to the left please... Who knows, but it’s great to see everyone enjoying themselves. That’s one of the big things that we’ve noticed about New Zealand - people just aren’t ashamed of what they like, even if what they like is strange. Pondering the big questions, we headed back to the van for what we like; a quiet evening and some beers.

(Barely) Working Title: How to retire in your twenties


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