Dora is a 1976 Sprite caravan, proudly owned by Deidre O’Flynn (Dee). And she has every reason to be proud – she renovated this pocket-sized camper herself.

Dee is proof that gender and age are no barriers when chasing your dreams. Dee set a goal to own a caravan and go camping before reaching 70. And she’s achieved it!

Turn back the clock to April 2015. Dee, a retired school principal, was searching on Trade Me for a 1960s or 1970s caravan. The criteria for the caravan were simple … it had to be a rounded shape, structurally sound, no leaks, and cheap! Dee had a tight budget she wanted to stick to and was determined not to break it.

Parked at an NZMCA rally

As luck would have it, a 1976 Sprite was listed in Auckland. Dee asked her niece Sharon to view the caravan as she felt Sharon had more knowledge in that field. It turned out the caravan met the criteria and ticked all the boxes. Once the purchase price was agreed on, Dee travelled to Auckland from the Wairarapa to collect her new project.

Although Dee had never towed a caravan before, she wasn’t fazed. Even when the weather turned sour and it poured with rain, Dee still wasn’t to be put off. Carterton is Dee’s hometown, an eight-hour drive from Auckland, and to break the return journey Dee decided to spend a night in Taupo – “I made sure I found a spot to park that didn’t require any backing.”

Touches of turquoise

Once safely home Dee began renovating the caravan. Her grandchildren, who are fans of the animated TV series Dora the Explorer, named the caravan ‘Dora’. It seemed the perfect name for this new acquisition.

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