Meet Ohana, Paul and Jen Carrington’s ’56 Beddy Bus. The couple have lovingly given it a second [or third] life. Paul explains the transformation;
We have been in Raglan now just over a year, I ran Wellington boardriders in the 90’s taking the groms to the Nationals etc. Then I had a long break until my boys started getting into it. Over the last few years before we moved I started helping out again, taking the grommets to the scholastics etc, then my boys came to Raglan for the surf academy and basically didn’t want to come back to Wellington so we decided to join them!! We have a 16 year old daughter too who is at the local school here.
The bus is a 1956 Bedford A3LZ with a Mitsibushi reconditioned diesel engine. We are not entirely sure what it was in its former years, some people have told us it’s an old railways bus that used to take the workers to work.
We have had it for around 2.5 years now, it’s a bit of a crazy story how we got it. The plan was to get a bus and do it up when the kids left school, then we would travel the country for a while. We went to Nelson to have a look at an American school bus that was for sale, it had been in a paddock for 7 years and needed a lot of work. After deciding it wasn’t what we were looking for we were driving through Nelson and my wife, Jen saw it down a side street. She said “let’s go have a look at it” so I turned around and headed down the road. It was parked on the side of the road outside someone’s house and as we got there a person drove into the driveway. We asked her if it was her bus and she said it was her friends and he had just been talking about selling it the night before. She took our details and said she would pass it on. A few weeks later I get a call from the owner and sure enough he wanted to sell it, a few trips later we were the proud new owners!!
When we got it it was already painted, empty inside a part from the panels on the ceiling had been finished and there was insulation in the walls.
The bus arrived in Wellington and we had a deadline, we wanted to go to Raglan for Christmas. So we had six and a half months to get it finished so weekends and nights we spent working on it.
It is self contained for 5 people, we have a double bed in the back, a couch which converts into a bed and we also have a rooftop tent on the deck/roof. We have taken that off at the moment and the deck is a nice place for a wine or to sit and watch the stars…
The bus, which we have named Ohana, Hawaian for “no-one gets left behind/family” is fully off grid with two solar panels which look after all the power. Hot water and cooking are done with gas. Heating with the woodburner which is a stove too, so you can cook on it.
The ply for the kitchen is from Plytech in Auckland, it’s a hard wearing commercial ply, we just wanted to make sure it lasted and looked good too. We have a friend who runs a joinery company who made it for us.
The toilet is a macerating toilet, mainly used on boats, it has a separate fresh water tank for the toilet only and has its own black water waste tank. We have had a couple of issues with people putting down the wrong things and jamming the blade on the pump, lucky I’m a plumber… or in this case maybe not! We have a completely separate fresh water tank and grey waste tank, all the waste from the shower and sink go into this one. Both tanks are drained from the side of the bus and so far we have not had any issues with them.
At the moment we have it parked on the property we haven’t been using it much. I’ve been busy building a new business and also another small airbnb on the property. We are getting to the stage now that weekends are becoming free so we are definitely keen to check out what’s around this neck of the woods and are planning some trips around the Bay Of Plenty and up North this summer.
We would love to do a trip down south at some stage too. We currently have it on airbnb for anyone who wants to try a few nights in a bus and it has been very popular!
Check out Ohans’s listing HERE