A new Showroom

From small beginnings behind a church in Howick to the brand new custom built building they’re in now in Pokeno. Jonas and Irene have come a long way with Zion Motorhomes.

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A happy looking Jonas in his last yard

I popped in to have a nosey on my way home from Waihi and it looks amazing.

The front of the showroom

The building is 1000 square metres and is in the middle of a 5000 square metre yard. Plenty of room to play with but on my visit, they’d managed to fill in all the gaps and still had some more motorhomes still to move!

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The showroom is fantastic with a polished concrete floor and its nice to be able to check the various models out without getting in and out of the cold and wet.

in the Showroom

While I was there, I had a good look at the Niessman and Bichoff Arto 79 which is a slightly smaller version of friends Gary and Diannes Arto 88.  Check out the piccies below.

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Looking good Jonas.. keep up the good work.

The Tagged Bus

Wayne and Serena have been living in their 1976 Volvo bus for more than 6 years now and a couple of years ago, they decided that as their Red Bus was looking a bit scruffy, it needed a lick of paint! Their daughter Lisa, who works with teenagers, arranged for a group of spray bomb artists to repaint their story onto the bus.

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They parked their bus on one side of a Mt Maunganui carpark and watched it all happen !

Their bedroom

The result is spectacular with bits of life in colour all around the bus.

Lisa is represented by Lisa Simpson with a background of Hahei beach, one of their favourite places in the background. The Pink Panther represents the loss of a close family member.

Wayne with Lisa behind!

On the back is Wayne respresented by the fishing bear as he is known as Poppa Bear !

Poppa bear with Fishing gear.

The front has two Kiwis on each side which is Wayne and Serena. A fantastic effort.

Wayne tells me it was a scream watching onlookers reaction when the bus was painted 🙂

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Inside, its very comfortable and they have been collecting toys for sick children which are stored all around their bedroom!

A great couple enjoying life on the road!!

Getting Away

Its not far to go and its easy and its familiar.

Mangawhai Heads on the estuary is just lovely.

Lovely spot

Easy walks around to the beach and you can walk the other way for miles too.

Splash

We had escaped for the weekend to give our agent Lance a good crack at the first weekend of open homes without us or Rafe in the way and we weren’t quite ready to go home so it was Mangawhai.

Enjoying the water

I was here only a month or two before so knew that with the NZMCA mid winter rates and it being right next to the water, it was pretty good without travelling too far.

We’d been to the markets, had a coffee and a look at Bennetts chocolate factory and ready just to plug in and go for a walk along the foreshore.

Its a lovely area and as I think I said in my last post from here, it would be a good place to retire to being close to the families in the big smoke.. only 90 minutes or so away.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.