Caravan of love: a caravan makeover
Freedom to sing your own tune and walk to the beat of your own drum. The Reweti whānau discover slow summer days in their caravan.
It was Nicola Reweti’s bright idea to get a caravan for the whānau. She trawled TradeMe for months trying to find one, but by a stroke of good fortune ended up scoring one from her husband Anthony’s aunty. It was dilapidated and required restoration, but fortunately ‘Ants’ is a highly respected builder who project-managed an award-winning Master Builders Home of the Year, meaning he had the skills to make it their own.
The couple joined forces and it turned out to be a true labour of love. Ants created a perfect canvas of fresh white paint and sleek ply for Nicola to decorate with soft furnishings. Nicola took to her sewing machine to create floaty cotton curtains, and had the squabs professionally covered in velvet.
When onlookers witness this family chilling in their caravan it would be easy to think it’s been all summer daze and walks in the park… but the reality is a lot of hard work went on behind the scenes – weekends were sacrificed to make this dreamy situation a reality.
The Reweti family are from Mount Maunganui, both Nicola and Ants grew up at the Mount, were high school sweethearts and are now bringing up their family in the same beachside location. Their children, seven-year-old Arlo, five-year-old Jai and two-year-old Mika, are all beach babes like their parents. “I’m a believer in slow living and I make a conscious decision to let that flow through to my parenting style,” explains Nicola. “The Mount is so much busier than it was when we were growing up, so we often rent our home out on Holiday Houses, especially over the summer, and head off on intrepid journeys up the Coromandel, staying at remote DOC sites. We love slow living and the caravan is all about that.”
“Making space for quality time together as a family is a priority so regular trips with the caravan are always on the cards,” says Nicola. Their son, Jai, is a bit of a Steve Irwin and loves hunter- gathering. He’s often out snorkeling with Dad or scavenging for mussels. Arlo loves to hang out with her mum in the caravan and draw while Nicola reads a book or chases Mika, who likes to toddle around ‘tidying’ the caravan and campsite!
CLYDE, THE CASH COW
The Rewetis ultimately restored ‘Clyde’ (as they’ve fondly named their caravan) so they could raise extra funds for future family holidays but the benefits are two-fold; they escape the crowds that descend upon the Mount during summertime and get to create special memories while exploring remote parts of the country. “Sometimes we get bookings for our home out of season, when Ants is still working and the kids have school, so we just take Clyde to the local Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park and spend the week there. It’s a wee bit challenging, keeping the usual routine going while living in a caravan, but the extra coin has helped cover a family trip to Fiji, so we’re not complaining! And the kids are always up for an adventure,” explains Nicola.
Has the hard work been worth it? Absolutely. Anything worthwhile requires a bit of elbow grease. Clyde is once again worth his weight in gold.
THE REWETI'S CAMPING HACKS
✔ A portable BBQ or cooker is perfect for outdoor food prep and means you don’t stink out your caravan while making dinner.
✔ A tatami mat is perfect for sitting outside during mealtimes and is easy to wipe down afterwards.
✔ Keeping a large bowl of water at the front door is handy for rinsing sandy feet before you climb into the caravan.
✔ Always have a little brush and shovel handy for sweeping up the debris on the caravan floor. It’s inevitable that sand will get inside.
✔ Don’t forget the citronella candles. They add to the ambiance and keep the pesky mosquitos at bay when the sun is setting.
✔ Small board games and cards are great ways to pass time on rainy days, and even provide a bit of entertainment for Mum and Dad once the kids are in bed!
✔ Invest in an awning for those really hot summer days, but if you don’t have one, be sure to park next to a tree. Babies nap way better in the shade!
Photography: Alice Veysey, paperandpearl.co.nz
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 48 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW