After much weather watching by all, Cyclone Pam was delayed and downgraded from Category 5 storm to Category 4. This was a blessing for all the convertibles on the Club’s 2nd annual Top Down Tour.

The sun was shining and the cars were shiny when we pulled into The Falls CafĂ© carpark on Edmonton Road, Henderson. This was to be our first club meet and to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was very much in awe of the classic SL’s and truly felt like the newbie with my CLK320 being a later 2000 model. After we pulled up, I was pleasantly greeted by Brian Hood. He gave me my new member’s goodie bag which included our name tags. I was truly grateful for these as it made it easier to meet other members on our first day. Everyone was so nice and friendly.

Barbara was well organised and handed out the tour guide. We got a group safety brief. I liked how we had fun tasks to do along the way. Lucky for me, Mark (my partner) was a good navigator and patient participant.

As we took off in convoy I noticed the attention the locals paid to all the Mercedes. That felt cool.

The course took us up to Birdwood Road, Swanson, to the back of Westgate, on to Whenuapai and out to Lizard Island to Christmas Beach, where my four year old daughter was perplexed that she could not see Santa swimming?! (It was also a planned toilet stop, so thoughtful!)

From there we went up Clarks Lane to find a sculpture of clay carpet which required a lazy stroll over the motorway. This took Mark a wee while. I thought he had got lost. It was good fun how the cars grouped up again at this task. It made for a good photo opportunity too.

The next task took us to Greenhithe where we stopped to count leaves on an iron gate. This seemed to be an intense task, as others were counting some forgot where they were up to and would have to start counting again. Mark counted the leaves once and got back into the car. Zoom, zoom next task.

As it turned out, next it was the DOT.COM mansion with MEGA etched in the lawn. So we spent the rest of the trip making up words out of MEGA and we got 10. Coatesville-Riverhead Highway led us out to the back of Dairy Flat up and down roads I hadn’t been on since my youth. It really felt like a classic “Sunday Drive” to be out in the countryside. Cleopatra our 4 year old was very busy pointing out horses and farm animals whilst we were looking for random stone statues.

We carried on to underneath the Waiwera Viaduct (part of the new North toll road) via a gravel road next to the Waiwera River which was a very pretty drive, not too much dust or stone flicking. Another stunning photo opportunity as the cabriolets bunched up again. Some took the optional no-gravel route so we all met at Waiwera carpark for a Tour photo. All the cars together looked spectacular.

Our final destination was the Wade Hotel in Silverdale via the old highway through Orewa. The Venue was busy and child friendly, thank goodness, as our little one had just spent four hours in the car so we were able to let her have a good run around whilst the adults talked.

We met so many interesting people. In total there were 22 cars, 18 convertibles, 3 sunroofs and 1 tin top. You got given 3 extra points if your car was fully “convertible, roof down”. Barbara collected and marked all the question sheets.

We didn’t think we had done so well as there were a few curly questions we had no idea how to answer. So you can imagine our surprise that we won! What a great end to the day. To be honest we were just happy to finish and to have not got lost.

We look forward to doing it all again next year.

Angela Rickwood