A Park with a view.

Kevin and Melissa Wallace escaped from Auckland about 15 years ago and bought their piece of paradise in Port Albert not long after.

Looking over towards Port Albert

The house along with a huge orchard sit on the top of a ridge overlooking the back of Port Albert and there’s a peek of the Kaipara too.

Great parking

Fiona and I arrived in Rafe and keen to check it all out, were there when Kevin popped in and was very happy to show us around and we were invited to check out the orchard on the other side of the house.

Fruit for Africa

After plugging Rafe in and opening some vents, I went for a wander to see what was what.

Part of the Orchard

There is a fantastic shower with a loo, a dump station and UV treated water. It was all there.

We had a great night there and all for $20 for us both.

In the morning, Kevin popped in with some Avocados and a Lemon which was great. Fantastic hosts sharing their lovely place by the Kaipara.

If you’re heading to Port Albert and go about 4k’s past the turnoff, you’ll find it on your left or on the App.

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 19.13 Mbps
Upload: 13.52 Mbps
Ping: 62 ms

Rafe’s Tracker map

Port Albert Wharf

After stopping at the Port Albert General Store to check out the amazing fish and chips, we doodled down the hill to check out the Wharf and domain.

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Amazing wharf

The area was settled in the 1880’s and was quite thriving settlement caller Albertland but they eventually all drifted away to Auckland and other bigger centres. There is a museum in Wellsford dedicated to this area which is well worth a look at.

A Plaque telling the story of the Albert Landers

Self contained Motorhomes can stay here for free for up to 2 days but need to vacate during the day.

There are good Toilets here and a huge gravel area which runs down to a boat ramp.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Its a lovely spot and while we were there, there were three small vans ready to stop for the night.

The Gravel area.

Its only 8 k’s from Wellsford and the road runs down to Helensville and Kaukapapa so is not far for many things to see and do.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Fulltimers finally land.

After 3 years or so off full time Motorhoming, Gary and Chris  are back in their Ruakaka bach after having it rented out while they were away. They’re still in their Motorhome outside though while they do a virtual rebuild along with huge changes and additions for their retirement.

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Outside

Gary and Chris were old boatie mates and we used to spend most weekends and Christmas holidays in the Hauraki Gulf when we had our old Whalechaser Rorqual. They had a lovely old classic sedan called Nau Mai. There were many happy moments and we had a lot of fun.

Gary on the nailgun

After selling up in Devonport and spending 5 years or so in Ranfurly, for a change of scene and direction running a B&B, they then bought their first Motorhome, an ex CI Munro renter on a Mitzi Canter base. They later upgraded this to a newer 6 berth on a Mitzi Fuso which is what they have now.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The house is looking fantastic and is very different to how it was.

We popped up a week or so ago to see how theyre going and theyre nearly up to gibbing after huge changes and the place looks fantastic. New Aluminium Joinery and newly cladded and with a very different layout, its looking very sharp. We’re going up to help them do some painting soon.

Chris with the plans of the Kitchen

Looking Good Guys and looking forward to catching up soon with brushes..!

Yay, the Hot Pools

It was miserable in Tauranga and due to get worse so I headed over the hills to the Opal Hot Springs Holiday Park just outside Matamata.

As I pulled up, I met Vanessa and Carrilline at the front desk, both very friendly and ready to show me where everything was..

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Happy faces, Vanessa and Carrilline

Carrilline and her husband, Brian own the business and after 3 years here, they are making some big changes. I showed her a picture on the NZMCA app of the camp and it looks completely different with all the parks now being all weather.

The steam rising from the pools

The pools are being painted later this year. The place is looking really good.

The all weather parking

I parked Rafe at one end of the new all weather parks and headed off for a walk around the park while the sun was out. The pool complex is massive with an almost Olympic sized heated pool and several others.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

There are 70 powered sites, 10 non powered and a dozen or so Motels and Cabins.

More Parking

Its in a lovely position just outside Matamata heading towards the Kaimais.  A great place to blob out with some heat.

The Kaimais

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 4.51 Mbps
Upload: 2.85 Mbps
Ping: 125 ms

Rafe’s Track

From the Blue Beast to the White

Earlier this year at the Covi show, I met  Alan and Keitha and their Blue Beast which they had extensively rebuilt both inside and out.

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Alan and Keitha with their previous van, The Mazda Triton

They were at the Waihi Beach opening and with their new Dethleffs Trend and they love it.

Living area

The Trend was an ex rental and is significantly smaller and more manageable than their older 1990 Mazda Triton Motorhome..

Sleeping Dept

The Trend had 9000k’s on the clock (Hardly touched) and they’ve just enjoyed a great trip down to Christchurch stopping in at Lake Ellesmere.

Galley

With the new 2.3 litre 130HP fiat motor, they’re really enjoying the fuel economy that that comes from one of these new technology motors.

With their new baby, they’re really enjoying the change to a newer, smaller, more nimble vehicle.

A Sea of White

The Motorhome and Caravan parking was a real treat. The NZMCA volunteers pulled out all the stops and the result was amazing.

The whole scene. Behind the pavilion was chocker with Motorhomes as well..

The few volunteers that I spoke to were enjoying themselves with everyone parking as instructed and it looked great.

I really enjoyed catching up with several old friends and seeing some new ones too.

It was good to catch up with Chris and Margaret and the crew from the NZ Motorhome Forum people who had their own little spot.

The NZ Motorhome Forum Happy Hour.

I also caught up with John and Sarah Pedersen for the first time. John does a blog called Licensed to Retire.

You can tell where the Satellite was !

And it was nice to Nelson and Maree and their friends from Caniwi.

Everywhere you looked there was a sea of white and a few other colours! I’m not sure how many Motorhomes were there but there must have been hundreds.

The parking!

Great parking and great organisation of the event itself and I’m looking forward to next years now it is every year!

Settling down

The Netspeed speedtest for this location
Download 78.26mbs
Upload 35.49mbs
Ping 51ms

Rafe’s Track to Mystery Creek

The Hamilton NZMCA Motorhome Show

Along with a few hundred others, I arrived fashionably early and we were all marshalled into a temporary parking area on the grass.

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The parking!

Kickoff at midday came and the lines formed to get in and once settled, there were old friends catching up everywhere you looked.

One of the many happy setups

The parking was superbly managed and given the huge task of parking hundreds of Motorhomes and Caravans along with Buses with Toads, the end result was just a work of art. Well done to all the volunteers who pitched in. An amazing effort.

Out with the awning

I was only there half an hour and spotted Nelson and Maree in Caniwi so popped in for a chat with them and later caught up with them for a drink after also catching up with John and Sarah Pedersen. It was really nice to catch up with them too. John does a blog called licenced to retire.

The next morning was showtime! .. I’d only just stepped in the door when Chris Nuttall tapped me on the shoulder. Chris runs the NZ Motorhome Forum and it was nice to see him. It has been a wee while!

The Swift Caravans are always a treat and this years new models didn’t disappoint. See below

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

With the bathroom and shower at the back, an east-west bed and then Galley and Lounge at the other end, with the finish and polish you would expect from Swift.

I was really impressed with the new Dethleffs Caravans for Families. One of them has two bunks with a childrens lounge at one end, the bathroom and shower facilities, a french bed and Galley area and then a big adult lounge at the other end. Its a big Caravan but they also have a smaller one without the kids lounge which is also a little cheaper.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Most of the big manufacturers were there, Trailite, Bailey, Jayco along with many others and it was nice to see Eldiss’s new Motorhomes too.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Going from one manufacturers Caravans and Motorhomes to another all in one spot, its really interesting seeing the different design styles and layouts.

I was really interested to talk to Carters Tyres executive Phil Jackson who was at the NZMCA stand, about tyres. Phil was telling me that many Motorhomes and Caravans are actually close to the weight limit of their tyres with some even over. This isn’t something that I ever thought about to be honest as you tend to watch things like GVM and axle weights. His team were going to weigh Motorhome and Caravans the next morning including Rafe.

I also found out that they have a brand called Giti which are well suited for Motorhomes and Caravans and will perform as well as or outperform my current factory fitted european tyres, and they’re less expensive too especially with the NZMCA discount.  I’m really looking forward to finding out more as mine have done 58000k’s and need replacing!!

Rafe’s tyre weights were interesting. Weighed without me and without the bikes on the back, my current weight was just about 50 kg’s under on the front (each wheel) and would have been just over on the back with the bikes. The Giti’s have another 100kgs approx of payload each compared to my current tyres… who would have known!

Rafe’s overall GVM is just under 4300kg and on a heavy day is 4100kg with water, wine, groceries and packed with two of us ready to go.
After having a great chat with Phil, and Ryan from NZMCA and a few others, I headed out the other end for a bite of something. There was a huge covered area with picnic tables with food carts down both sides offering all the usual treats. Some music was provided too.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

From here I’ll let the pictures tell the story but a fabulous show and I heard that it is now going to be an annual event. I can’s say enough about the volunteer parking people who did an amazing job with what seemed to be a zillion Motorhomes and Caravans.

From the early days

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