The New MORELO Empire Liner

These images are hot off the press from Jonas Ng who is at the big Motorhome and Caravan show in Dusseldorf in Germany.

Jonas is Managing Director and with his wife Irene, they own Zion Motorhomes in Pokeno who also import Frankia, Neismann Bischoff  and Dethleffs Motorhomes.

This new vehicle is based on the Mercedes Benz Atego 1530L… Jonas’s comment “Impressive”!

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow of the interior

This model starts at 450K Euros and is on either a Mercedes or Eurocargo base chassis depending on the customers needs. Jonas has some other smaller models made exclusively for the NZ market but if you want an Empire, I’m sure he could be persuaded to get you one 🙂

Enjoy his photos.

Caniwi

Many of you will have seen Nelson and Marees Trailite with Caniwi across its forehead along with the NZMCA wings. Nelson is originally from Canada hence the Cankiwi name!

Click on an image to see Hi Res

Nice big lounge area

They’ve had their van for 3 years now. Amazing as it seems like yesterday when they got it!

The van is a 2015 Trailite Karapiro powered by a 3 litre Turbo diesel on a VW base. They’ve done 32000 k’s over the last 3 years and spent a lot of it in the South Island and it still looks brand new!

Galley

Their favorite spots were the Tekapo NZMCA park and Pinders Pond in Roxburgh..both our favorites too.

The Bedroom

It was nice to catch up with them at the Waihi Beach NZMCA park opening.

The Grand Opening

And  even Gary the Mayor was there too!

Click on an image to see Hi Res

It was a great occasion and the Central Bay of Plenty crew did a fantastic job getting it all across the line.

Nice tidy parking

Fiona had work on Monday so wasn’t keen on a flog down there from Auckland and back for 2 days so I was on my own. So fighting a worsening cold, I jumped into Rafe and off I went.

Lots of white behind the water feature at the gate!

As I came around the last bend before the camp, all I could see was lots of white from Caravans and Motorhomes.. was there going to be room! There were 68 vehicles in the park and it was chocker.

I arrived just in time for a drink in the tent with many others which was perfect timing. It was nice to see so many old friends there too.

The park is looking good and the CBOP team had all hands on deck making sure that everything was covered.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slide show

Early on the Saturday, it was all hands on deck for a mass tree planting of all the bunds around the park. It was great to see the party atmosphere that came with it. This was followed by a nice bbq’d sausage lunch which went down a treat.

The 2pm opening came around just inside the entrance to the park and lots dragged their deckchairs out for a ringside seat.

The grand opening by the gate

Guest of honour was Audrey who is number 164 and is now in her 90’s. She was planting a tree along with Gary the Mayor and Ross Hamilton from the board. There was also a tree planted by a senior parks manager from the council, Peter.

Audrey, Gary the Mayor, Peter from the council and Ross from the board.

After the ribbon cutting performed by Audrey and Gary the Mayor, it was back to the tent for the cutting of the cake and some refreshments.

Audrey and Gary the Mayor curting the ribbon.

Earlier in the day, I managed to get a pic of Audrey (164) with one of the NZMCA’s newer members and first timers at a Rally, Bill and Colleen. (81847)

New members Bill and Colleen (81847) with board member Ross and Audrey (164)

A nice afternoon and lots of fun.. and my cold is much better now too 🙂

Rafe’s Track to the NZMCA park

Its all about that Beach

The Bowentown Holiday Park is in one of the best locations with one of the best Beachs !

With a friendly crew and with the NZMCA off season deal of pay for two nights,  and get two thrown in, it was just too tempting! Their normal tariff at $23pp powered I thought was very reasonable anyway, given the facilities provided.

With Tania’s cheery voice on the phone  and confirming there was a space for Rafe, I was underway.

Click on an image for Hi Res

On the way, I stopped off at Karangahake Gorge to do the Windows walk. Well worth doing, and after that, I stopped to check out the new NZMCA park at Waihi Beach.

Another great addition to the parks network.

Nice outlook

The Bowentown Holiday Park is at the end of a long  peninsula right on the beach. It is well setup up with a newish Amenities block with TV room, Games room, huge Kitchen and an amazing space age looking Laundry. There is also a spa pool area there too.
I was offered a park right up against the hill overlooking the beach and the rest of the park. It was a breeze getting in and settling Rafe and I was off for a look around and down to the beach. A magic spot.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

The park has just changed hands after 30 something years, with new owners Mike and Bec settling in and only just 4 weeks in, have already got a plan of attack for new improvements. Two of the cabins are well into a full refurbishment with more to come!

New owners Mike and Bec

The beach here though is the feature of course and being right next to it, it just doesn’t get any better. Even in Winter!

A nice park, nice people and I’ll be back soon.

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Rafe’s Track

Waihi Beach NZMCA Park

I was on my way to Bowentown but couldn’t help but pop in and have a nosey at one of our new Parks. Its also got a Cafe a few doors along so very handy.

The NZMCA park at Waihi Beach

As I drove in one of the first things I saw was Robin and Linda’s brand new Morelo.  They’ve sold their house and the new beast is now their new home. It comes from the same stable as the Dethleffs in Pokeno so I was keen to catch up and see how it was all going.

The park.. Robin and Linda’s Morelo and Rafe on the other side.

They’re  having fun. They’re really pleased with it. At 8.4 metres long it was the height that’s impressive.. they’re massive!

We had a good natter and my 5 minute chat and quick stop to get some piccies turned into an hour or so! .. Nice people.

The Entrance

The park had about 20 odd Motorhomes and Caravans in it and there was plenty of room for more.

Its in a great location being an easy walk to the beach and to the shops and the Cafe next door will be pleased to see the park open.

Another great place to park and a great addition to the network of parks.

Rafe’s Track to the NZMCA park

Windows

Karangahake Gorge is just amazing. We walked around here a year or two ago but didn’t quite get to the Windows walk for some reason. Well.. its wild.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The Main suspension bridge over the Ohimemuri river

After parking Rafe in the carpark next to two other Motorhomes, I set off with the box brownie and headed across the suspension bridge crossing the Ohinemuri River.

The Power Station looking back to the carpark

The old Powerhouse used to be at the other end but all that can be seen now is the concrete base.

Looking back over the old PowerStation ruins to the carpark.

The walk is supposed to take an hour and is 2.5 kms. I headed off up the right hand side of the gorge along a pathway which had some mine entrances heading off into the hillside.

How is that track

As the walk went further on, the pathway was cut into the sheer cliff face and protected by barriers. Just stunning with the river below. Knowing that this was a loop walk back across the other side, I couldn’t see anywhere across the other side that looked like it could accommodate a track!

The second bridge up to the tunnels.

As I went further on, I came across another suspension bridge crossing the river and a track leading up some steps into a Tunnel. Just as well I brought my cell phone for some light although a torch would have been better .. note for next time!

The original tracks are still in there for the Gold Diggings train too.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow of the walk

As the Tunnel went on their were little exits (Windows) out across the river and eventually it came out to a well formed track.

The Spanish chaps ahead

I bumped into a couple of chaps from Spain enjoying the walk who were keen to do more walks. A family with small kids went through too so its suitable for all ages.

One of the old carts

Further along there was the ruins of the processing plants that occupied most of the hillside. Its not a big area so its amazing what they fitted in there at that time.

The foundations of one of the big factories

After a chat with my Spanish friends at the end of the track, I headed back across the main swing bridge to the carpark where there was originally a whole township. An amazing spot! .. I’ll definitely have to come back here again.!

Rafe’s Track to the Windows walks

The Control Gates at Aratiatia

On the way to the National Equestrian centre where we were to stay for the night, there is a bridge and dam that is crossed which crosses the Aratiatia Control Gates.

Click on an image for Hi Res

Waiting for the start with the gates behind

Every now and then, they open the gates to let the water head down the Waikato river. It is spectacular and there are always good crowds there to see it happen.

Before

The rush of water is amazing and the area below the bridge transforms from empty to full with millions of litres of water in minutes.

Nearly full

There is good parking there for Motorhomes and Caravans and while we were there, there was a visit from the Huka Falls Jetboat.

The Huka Falls jet above the gates

We quietly queued up and waited for the sirens and then the rush of water.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow of the stages

An amazing spectacle and you can check with the Taupo visitors centre for opening times.

After the action, we moved on up to the Equestrian Centre for the night.. another favorite place.

Toilets, Showers and rubbish right opposite

The prices have changed and are now $5 per person plus $5 for power. This includes access to a toilet and shower. A good place to stop for a night.

Boiling Mud and Geysers

Grandsons, Ayden and Liam were both really looking forward to seeing some boiling mud for the first time and if we could, the famous Pohutu Geyser.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Fiona, Ayden and Liam on the way to the Geysers

We left early and walked about 100 metres to Te Puia all well connected by tunnels under the roadway. The family pass which was normally $150 odd seemed appropriate and because there was a NZ special discount, we were able to show our drivers licenses and get nearly $50 off !  A big saving.

The base of the Geysers

There  just enough time to get the boys an ice cream and us a coffee before the next tour was due to head off with Guide Kiri.

Kiri with the Tour group

She was fantastic and as the Geysers were still building up a head of steam, after teaching the group of about 60 in the tour how to pronounce the full name of Whakarewarewa(and a lot more), she took us first to see the craft academy. Whakarewarewa is the abbreviated form !

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I didn’t realise but they have a full Academy for training craftsmen from Bone or Stone carving to Wood Carving, Jewellery and many other skills. They work on show for the tourists behind and below a walkway and you finally end up in a Gallery where the work is available to buy. The trainees have uniforms and have a full apprenticeship/graduation ceremony. It is an amazing setup. Very entrepreneurial and all done very nicely. I was impressed.

The base of the Geysers

The steam was building up so Kiri took us down to the Mud Pools then onto the Geysers. Unfortunately there was a grey sky and the steam and the clouds all merged so it was impossible to really see the water let alone photograph it. The boys enjoyed it and also got to sit on some warm concrete which was nice as it was only 10C!

Boiling Mud

We spent about 4 hours there all up and we decided it was time to head back to Rafe and go and warm up in the Hot Pool.

Pohutu Geyser is in there somewhere

As I say, I was very impressed with the way it was all setup. Paths and bridges are a long way from what I remember from the old Whaka village with them all being well engineered and maintained.
A fun day for young and old 🙂

Launch of the Books – Free Download!

Wow.. what a week ..

The last 2 of our Bugger it We Are Off series books were launched last week.  All four are now on Amazon as Kindles EBooks.

To celebrate this, I’ve got the Napier Art deco book available for free for the next 4 days from today (US time) – Tomorrow NZ Time

From 1st August (US time), this book will be available for free for 5 days.  …..Click here

I’ve got them available in the Epub format as well for Ipads but haven’t got a Mac which you need to upload to the iTunes store.. I’ll find a way!

These publications are all based on this Blog.
I’m not expecting them to be best sellers but if someone out there finds a couple of things of interest in there, it was worth doing.

The blurb below is copied from the OUR Books page.

As a Photojournalist of some 25 plus years and a Commercial Photographer for another 20, these books are all about the images. We went to some amazing places giving me the opportunity to get some great images.

Bugger it we are off to the Pinnacles in a convoy is about meeting Motorhome friends in Taupo NZ (central North Island) and heading in our three Motorhomes down to the Pinnacles at the bottom of the North Island.

We travel through the Hawkes Bay wine region on the way, go to a UB40 concert, survive a raging storm and enjoy a great meal in an old style Country Lodge. Lots of fun and some great images.

Bugger it we are off to Europe in an Old Hymer is based on our two week trip to the UK to pick up an old Classic Hymer Motorhome and then following our Motorhome friends through the Chunnel and over 5 weeks explore central Europe with bikes.

There were lots of adventures and lots of laughs. A truly memorable experience.

Bugger it we are off to the South Island of NZ is about our three month trip in our own Dethleffs Globe 4 around the beautiful South Island of New Zealand.

We met lots of neat people, caught up with some friends and relatives, stayed in some amazing places and had a great time.

To see more about these books and links to buy, see our Book Page