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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Kickoff at midday came and the lines formed to get in and once settled, there were old friends catching up everywhere you looked.
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.
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
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The Swift Caravan
Inside the Swift Caravan
In the Swift looking forward
The Swift.. Nice!
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.
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The childrens bunk and lounge area. Dethleffs
Through the window
The adult area
Outside the Dethleffs caravan
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.
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And the rush is on
In a Trailite looking back. Dropdown bed above.
Looking forward in the Trailite.
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.
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Phil from Carters
The Rockwood stand
LOutside the Eldiss
Checking out the beds
At the eating space.
Plenty of choice
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.
It was a great occasion and the Central Bay of Plenty crew did a fantastic job getting it all across the line.
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.
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.
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Planting those trees
Are you there Ross
Everyone is ready for the Rugby tonight
The extended grandstand for the opening.
Audrey planting her tree with Ken the Secretary
Ken with Gary the Mayor
Board member Ross planting a tree with Ken the Secretary
Secretary Ken with Peter from the council.
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.
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.
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.
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)
A nice afternoon and lots of fun.. and my cold is much better now too 🙂
The Covi Show NZMCA Rally at Ellerslie just keeps on growing and this year, it looked great.
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Fiona was working on the Thursday so after a stop at Countdown in Takapuna, I tootled on my own to the Rally arriving around midday. As I entered the gate, there was a nice cheery exchange with Pete and then into the rally and once I was parked, I was right next to friends Nelson and Maree.
I had just turned the engine off when in the doorway popped one of the volunteers and a friend from Ardmore Jim. Nice to see him too. There was a real buzz about the place. Fantastic.
Everywhere I went, it was seeing friendly faces and at the Registration tent, I got some gentle ribbing from Jill about leaving Fiona behind again.. all good fun 🙂
The Rally was well set out and it all went like clockwork but when you see it, its impressive. All those Motorhomes, Buses and Caravans.
After a happy time with Nelson next door, I had a stream of visitors to Rafe which was neat.
At lunchtime on the Friday, there were already over 300 vehicles of different sorts at the Rally.
Well done to the volunteers who put it together and nice to hear that it was a fun time for all. I gather that there were more than 500 Motorhomes over the weekend!
This is just bigger than Ben Hur.. There must be more than 450 Motorhomes and Caravans here and they’re still piling in.
Due to the weather being rather nasty last weekend, the Barfoot and Thompson Races were postponed to coincide with this rally and the races were on while the Motorhomers were crossing the track into the centre. … Between the races of course.
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All in good humour and as the day went on, little groups popped up all around the rally with gatherings for a few quiet cold ones while the horses galloped around the track. A great atmosphere.
It never ceases to amaze me how the good folk of the NZMCA who put themselves out there and go the extra mile for the benefit of everyone else. The Covi/Spoton team organised this rally from scratch and had a roster to make sure that everybody that needed some help or guidance got what they needed and were happily and safely parked.
Dusk on the first night
It was disappointing to hear that a few NZMCA members who failed to check whether their dogs were allowed, made a scene and got unnecessarily nasty for our cheerful volunteers.
Come on guys.. Common sense… Racecourse, horses and dogs don’t go together.. especially when there is a race meeting on. For those responsible for this display of bad manners, it’s nice to think that we could be be respectful and helpful for those volunteering and doing their best for the rest of us.
On the positive side, one of the volunteer Rally Marshalls, Jim was telling me that a couple of members who arrived with dogs just to see where they could go, were very thankful when they were redirected to another parking spot just around the corner where dogs were permitted… Nice !
The team also organised a great free bus service to the show which was fantastic.
A great rally, some nice people and thanks to Auckland Racing Club, Ellerslie racecourse and of course the Counties NZMCA team for having us there.
We haven’t been to a rally for a while and with it being at Kuratau at the bottom of Lake Taupo, our friends from Taupo, Dianne and Gary were keen to go so we were off. We left early on Thursday night and headed for the NZMCA Ardmore park so we could avoid the traffic on Friday morning which worked well as we were in Cambridge having a cuppa at 10:30.
By lunchtime we were cruising up the hill to Gary and Diannes place about to join them for a quick lunch and then were going to head down to Kuratau in convoy. Gary lead the way as he knew the road and we headed from Taupo around the western side of the lake down to Kuratau.
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An easy 1hrs drive and we were registering and settling Rafe and the XLI down and getting ready for Happy Hour.
The area was on a beautiful 6 acre property owned by Aucklanders Peter and Sandy, beside the river. They had a bach with a big open stone fireplace and their were two plateaus. We were parked on the bottom level next to the river. As the day went on, the area progressively filled up as more and more vans arrived. Happy hour is always fun and we met some new people and joined in for a couple of the raffles. I don’t remember seeing any of us (the 4 of us) win anything but its all a bit of fun and supporting the Taupo NZMCA.
Tea with the leaves
Chairman Geoff with his swiss cow bell
Gary, Dianne, Fiona talking to Cyril and Gail.
HQ for happy hour
Gary (right) coming out of Dethleffs corner
I met a chap who I knew but had never met from my old days as a newspaper photographer. He worked in Palmerston North on the paper there when I was in Auckland on both the Herald and the Auckland Star. It was really nice to finally meet him as we had lots of common friends. Small world stuff.
The weather behaved itself, Geoff and Joyce and the committee did a wonderful job of organising it all and it was nice to see everyone having fun.
Kuratau is not somewhere we had been before and its lovely. We’ll be back there for sure. Thanks again to the Taupo committee for a well organised rally and to Peter and Sandy for letting us park on your front lawn. 🙂 It was great to catch up with our friends Gary and Dianne again. A nice weekend having fun!
We arrived in Hamilton about 10:30 and followed the GPS instructions to the Hamilton West school where the Waikato NZMCA rally was setup.
Gael and her team had done a fantastic job of parking more than 50 Motorhomes and caravans onto the school field in the traditional lines with the 3 metre gaps.
We met our friends Rob and Helen with daughter Chloe within minutes of arriving. They had come down the night before and had already been up at the crack of dawn to check out the Balloons just over the road at the lake. It was time for a cup of tea.
There was a Dethleffs Sunlight van right behind us in the line which was at Vantage RV when we had our water pump replaced a few days ago so it was nice to see Alan too.
Friends from Taupo, Gary and Dianne arrived not long after and parked beside us in their new Dethleffs XLI. It was nice to see them again too. Within minutes of their arrival, we introduced them to Rob, Helen and Chloe but then made the worrying discovery that the Dometic fridge in the XLI wasn’t running on gas properly so their food was at risk. Potential Motorhomers nightmare!
The last time they were away, the 240v element had failed so they had taken the XLI in to have it repaired. The 240v and 12v worked but the gas that was then working fine, now didn’t work! Don’t you hate it when that happens ! Calls to the original repairer did not help and after shifting the food into our fridge in Rafe to keep it cold while we spent a couple of hours sorting it at least protected their food. After an hour or two, while Gary was on the phone to another technician, he noticed a lose unplugged wire from the gas solenoid that looked like it was important. We took the cover off Rafes fridge to see where it went. After popping off another plastic cover and plugging in this wire, the fridge was away again. Crises averted! Well spotted Gary!
By then it was afternoon tea time and so it would have been rude not have a small celebration for the fridge working again and the fact that the weekend wasn’t going to be disaster after all!
At around 6 pm and after a fridge debrief, a few glasses of wine, cups of coffee and tea and cheese and bikkies, we left to head to the Balloon festival.
An NZMCA volunteers doing the sausage sizzle at the school
Lots of people
The food stalls
The queue for the food
The Hamilton council had done a wonderful job with the bus system and had laid on free buses for all to get to this fantastic event. We were told that we had to use the green route buses which made it really easy. The bus picked us up from just outside the school and delivered us to the Waikato University campus, some 20 minutes or so later to see thousands of people eagerly waiting for the balloons. It was a great atmosphere and people everywhere having a good time. There was quite a well setup sideshow area too. Huge queues for the food stalls but that didn’t seem to worry anyone.
At about 7:30, the balloons started to get inflated but then the rain came down. This put a bit if a halt to the other balloons inflating but as they say, the show must go on and the music continued. A huge fireworks show followed. Despite the brief rain, everyone seemed to have a good time and it was a great show.
We arrived back at the school campground by 10pm after getting onto the second bus out. Again, an amazingly efficient bus system and to clear that volume of people so quickly with no dramas was extremely well done.
In the morning, we walked over to the beautiful Hamilton Lake park to watch the balloonists inflate their balloons. Again, the weather wasn’t playing the game and there was too much wind for the balloons to fly but it was a great spectacle all the same.
A great day and well done Hamilton council and buses for doing such a great job and hosting a great event, despite the weather.
A great turn out from Motorhomers saw the car parks chocker on Thursday. Friday arrivals were redirected to Ellerslie racecourse to the centre of the track. There was a free shuttle going to and fro from the show to the carpark which worked really well. Ellerslie was free and we got a free bag of lollies for the inconvenience, what inconvenience?
The show seemed a bit smaller this year, maybe I missed a bit but the big difference I noticed this year was the trend towards caravans.
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Dethleffs Esprit. I’m not sure what Bernie (in the blue) said but the punters look a bit stunned 🙂 It would have been something good knowing Bernie !
Inside the Rockwood
Inside the Rockwood
Inside the Rockwood
Dometic and waeco stand
Jayco with slid outs
Jayco with slide outs
Jayco pop up
The interior of the Jayco pop up
The NZMCA stand
New retro caravans
Time for a rest
It was really nice to see the Lilliputs there with their classic cars.
The Dethleffs caravans were impressive. Lots of space and nicely decked out. The title pic is the interior.. nice ! The pictures really tell the story.
I ended up back at Ellerslie mid afternoon and prepared myself for meeting people as you do!
It was nice to catch up with some Dethleffs owners later in the day amongst all the other people, Motorhomes and Caravans.
At the end of the week, it was time to think travel again and with a son with a birthday, Ardmore was the destination. After provisioning for the weekend at the easy to park in Countdown Takapuna, I headed to the Ardmore NZMCA park after getting some diesel at .91c a litre In Manurewa ! Fiona was driving out to join me after work.
I caught up with some if the regular liveaboards in the park which was great.
The Freewheelers were having their Christmas rally and were there in great numbers, all parked outside the NZMCA Ardmore park.
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Freewheelers enjoying catching up on Satruday morning
Freewheelers are single people out enjoying their Motorhomes and they’re a lot of fun.
They had a Its in the bag night in the hall and it sounds like they had a great time.
With more than a hundred people turning up in 80 vans, it was a fantastic turnout.
We went out to tea in Takanini with our friends Roger and Marion which was great. In the morning moved around to son Alex’s family in Ardmore in the morning.