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.
We are still waiting for a tenant for the house but it has only been just over a week. Rome wasn’t built in a day as they say.
We’re really looking forward to heading south in a couple of weeks time. Here’s another great recent trip in the meantime.
Late in July, we arranged to meet friends at a NZMCA rally being held at kai Iwi lakes .. somewhere I’ve have never been to before north of Dargaville on the coast. We left Auckland on a Saturday morning and arrived there just after midday.. its a good 2.5 – 3 hr run.
There were a lot of vans and a lot more of them were European Motorhomes than the traditional bus conversions that we’ve seen at these events. A really interesting place and another well organised event by the Northland NZMCA crew. Along with meeting our friends from Snells Beach, we met many Dethleffs van owners, some who have travelled quite some distance to be part of the fun. Remember to click on the images to enlarge them.
There aren’t many DOC camps around the Auckland region and on the way home, we were keen to try the Trounson Kauri park which is just up the road (15k’s or so) towards Waipoua Forest . .. somewhere else we’d never been to.
After plugging in to the power and settling down, we were off to explore the park. It is really nicely set up .. a boardwalk stretches through the whole length of the forest. Amazing huge Kauri Trees mixed with new growth.. It’s very clean and an easy 1/2 hour walk through the whole park. Well worth doing.
We got back to the van and settled down in front of the heater to warm up with a glass of something cold .. This must be one of the few DOC parks with power. Several vans of nice French tourists arrived just before dark which was good.
There is also a building with a hot shower and kitchen facilities and nice clean toilets.
The walk was fantastic and its a great spot for a night in your Motorhome.
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