Category Archives: Rallies

Zion Owners Group Rally

This year it became part of the Covi Rally and Show as it has grown so much with Zion’s new brands. The more the merrier and more to talk about 🙂

I arrived at Ellerslie Racecourse around the middle of the day on the Friday and within minutes met Gary and his wife Alison who have a Dethleffs Esprit which is very similar to Rafe in layout, length and size and only a little younger.  As it turns out I used to work with Gary’s Dad who was an editor at the Auckland Star when I was an 11 year old on work experience when I was at School.  Small world and we had lots to talk about.

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Racing this time. Behind the jump. Gary’s Esprit on the left, Rafe on the right.

When we first arrived there was a bit of confusion as to where to park so after a big Frankia moved from the inside of the Steeplechase jump, I moved in to the hole and Gary parked beside me. We had just finished parking when we bumped into several other people we knew too.

Rafe parked in front of the Steeplechase jump

I was supposed to go to the show that afternoon but it all got a bit too social so I stayed put but it was a great afternoon. When the volunteer stand workers returned home, there was a gigantic happy hour squeezed in between Rafe and Gary’s Esprit.
Lots of fun and we met a lot of new people.

The Happy Happy Hour
Jonas and Irene talking to Gary with the hat in front of Rafe

The owners of Zion Jonas and Irene, joined in too and it was a fun night.

Irene and Jonas with the Happy team

The next morning was showtime. I caught the bus to the show and returned early in the afternoon.  I was really looking forward to the Zion meal which was being hosted that night by Jonas and Irene out at Melba Restaurant in Manukau. We were picked up in Buses and after a great night, dropped off back to our Motorhomes.

All different sorts

Gary, Alison and I joined their friends Grant and Jo in their Airstream Bar which was parked near us for a few drinks afterwards for what was a really funny night. 😂

Good Parking

Lots of fun with some nice people. Thanks to Jonas, Irene for a great night at Melba.

Covi Rally 2020 at Ellerslie Racecourse

This never disappoints and although this year possibly wasn’t as big as previous years, there would have been at least 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans.

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The volunteers did an excellent job parking everyone and there was a Bar open for a couple of the nights if you felt the need for some cold lubricant 🙂

From the Stand

There was also a special area for the Dethleff, Frankia, Morelo and Neismann and Bichoff Motorhomes.. more on this later.

Rafe on the left in front of one of the Steeplechase jumps
All shapes and sizes

The buses called around regularly to ferry people to the show at the showgrounds, the weather was fine, it couldn’t have been better.

Smiles from the Volunteers

Thanks again to the Volunteers who make it all happen.

Looking toward the stand

Timber Town Romp – Getting Settled

Yes, it was at Tokoroa. Tokeroa is not somewhere I’ve spent any time at and after a walk around, its quite a neat wee town. Everything is handy and the locals all seemed super friendly.

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Rafe in his spot surrounded by vans

I was heading to the latest NZMCA Rally being the Timber Town Romp which was looking like being a real hoot.  Hosted by the good folk from the Waikato area of the NZMCA, it was held at the recently setup South Waikato Events centre which was a fantastic venue.

Everywhere you look

Having done parking at a Dethleffs event a few years before, I quickly volunteered to help with the parking and all was good.

After registering inside the centre, I met Des and Cathy who were manning the desk along with some others clocking everyone in. A big job.

All those white things

That night I bumped into lots of people I knew which was fantastic, including Rodger and Diane who were parked right next door. I knew Rodger from his time as Custodian at the Ardmore Park. A great guy who most will know from the park and has been involved in several of the Covi shows parking at Ellerslie.

Tokoroa’s main street is undergoing some major road works so the original plan of opening the gates at 11am was quickly found to be impractical as the Motorhomes and Caravans starting queing earlier than planned.  In the interests of safety and not cloggging up the main street, the decision was made to open early and get everyone safely parked.

I was in the main carpark making sure Motorhomes and Caravanners took a wide track so they could line up correctly for the entrance.

That carpark filled up around 11:30 so we started the other paddock. While another friend who I was pleased to see, Alan marked out several rows of new parking sites, I stood in the entrance way and directed them in. Others were parking them as they came onto the field. Everyone pitched in and we covered each other for cups of tea and lunch breaks etc..

The second park with the first in the distance behind…

It was a fun day and there were no disasters either which was a bonus 🙂 So after starting about 9am, most of us had finished about 4pm, we think we parked about 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans !  Fortunately it got warmer as the day went on starting out around 5 degrees !

Raffle winner

It was time for the first Happy Hour of the event and that was held in the Events Centre main hall which is HUGE! One of the biggest Happy Hours I’ve ever been to.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

At 7pm there was a show from a solo performer Ebonivory Neville Ormsby where many got up onto the dance floor. Very slick too from a one man show. And this was just Day One!

Rafe’s Tracker map to the Event.

1600 Motorhomes and counting !

This has to be the biggest Motorhome and Caravan rally ever held in NZ.  Apparently nearly 1700 vehicles parked over the course of the 4 days.

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As I came down the hill, all you could see in all directions was lots of white roofs of Motorhomes and Caravans along with a few other colours but mostly white of course!

The early morning walk past Rafe

The volunteer parkers did a fantastic job. I arrived at the bottom of the hill and then realised I didn’t have any cash but with a rustle through Rafe, I eventually found some Washing machine money and had just enough!

Friends, Bruce and Judy’s Globe4 in the crowd.

Early the next morning I went for a walk around the edges and it was just amazing to see so many here. Despite the early hour, there were plenty of people out walking their dogs and enjoying the sunshine.

People leaving early

Breakfast Time

From the top of the hill in the fog
On the road

A great job done by the organisers and fantastic job by the volunteers. Thanks Guys.

Lovely early morning walk

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Dethleffs Owners Group Get together 2018

Every year this is an event I look forward to and we missed it last year as we were in the South Island.  This year it was held at Zion Motorhomes new premises at Pokeno rather than the usual Rally somewhere.

The rain on the way.

As the Rally this year was at The A&P Showgrounds at Pukekohe next to the Racetrack, Fiona and I decided we’d go straight to Pokeno and camp outside for the night. This worked really well as we found a driveway next to the Rental fleet yard and later we were joined by three or four others. Those at the showgrounds were bussed out to Pokeno and back.

Since we bought Rafe, Jonas and Irene have added several new brands of Motorhomes to their stable.  This year we were  also joined by Morelo, Frankia and Niessman and Bichoff owners too.

Other overnighters outside who later moved down near where we were in Rafe in the distance. It was windy and rainy too!

In previous years, they’ve been held at Camping grounds and one year was at the Car Museum in Hamilton where Gary and I did the parking!

The layout

The event was well organised  by the Zion crew with a couple of ladies singing and the food was fantastic.

Irene during the quiz and prizes

Over the course of the night, there were some spot prizes given out. Some were drawn out of the pot and others were for answers to some easy questions.. like who’s the youngest and who had the highest NZMCA number !

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

It was nice to see some of our old friends that we haven’t seen for a while and amazing to think that our Rafe is one of the oldest Dethleffs Motorhomes on NZ roads as Jonas only started bringing them in not long before we bought ours 🙂

A great night thanks to Jonas and team and I’m looking forward to next years.

The Massive Rally at the Races

This is just bigger than Ben Hur.. There must be more than 450 Motorhomes and Caravans here and they’re still piling in.

Looks impressive from the entrance.. click on this to enlarge it.

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.

Click on the images for Hi Res or a Slideshow

One of the last races

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.

Race with the stand in the background

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.

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.

The NZMCA marshalls Happy Hour

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.

The Rally from up in the stand

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.

And from Rafe’s Tracker.. for those offshore

Ellerslie Racescourse for those off shore

Covi show story next up.

The old and the new at the Museum

It is always a great occasion once a year when the nations Dethleffs owners get together for a catchup all in one spot. Its a good opportunity to see what others have done to their vans to make their motorhoming more fun.

Click on the images to see them in Hi Res or a slideshow

View from the Museum
View from the Museum

This year was the biggest yet with 75 motorhomes and caravans which made life interesting to yours truly and my old friend Gary from Taupo to get them all parked. We had a lot of fun as we did it with little walkie talkies that Gary had. The hard part was not being able to have a chat with everyone as they came in, that had to wait for later.  As they all had the same sided habitation door, we decided we’d park them in rows with the doors facing together on a 3 metre space and the opposite side being a 4 meter space so that people could escape without skittling tables and chairs etc and it worked really well.

In the social lane
In the social lane
From the road .. impressive.
From the road .. impressive.

The first 40 odd arrived on the Friday and everyone settled in, met old friends and checked out the car museum.  The car museum is fabulous. We visited this last March and had a good look through. You can see that here. There are all those cars that we had as kids, the Mark 1 Zephyrs, the Prefects and a lot older. It really is something to see. Outside is normally a NZMCA POP where you can stay overnight and it was nice to see friends Marama and Karen pop in for the night.

The next day after a good breakfast in the Juke Box Diner onsite, we caught a bus to a local Tea Estate and got to taste and learn about locally grown tea which was really interesting and on the way back popped in for lunch at the Hamilton Gardens Café. Some decided to walk off their lunch around the amazing gardens.

After getting back to HQ at the museum, it was open home for motorhomes so a quick vacuum and a tidy up of Rafe and it was visits all around. Lots of fun and it was nice to see people we hadn’t seen for a long time.

Open Homes
Open Homes

At 6pm it was time for a drink in the Marquee and a feed in the Diner which was immediately followed by a great display of the local rock n roll dance club and they were fantastic.

Slightly blurry cell phone pic!

We finished up the day with Dianne and Gary with friends Ian and Lynda in their XLI right next to us. A lot of fun and we had some great laughs.

catching up with friends
Ian and Lynda’s XLI on the left, Rafe on the right.
The way there from Rafes tracker
The way there from Rafes tracker

A great day and well hosted by Mr and Mrs Dethleff in NZ, Jonas and Irene Ng. Thanks guys and thanks to Dianne for organising  a great day out.

And the Netspeed speed test from this site.
Test Date: 12/11/2016 5:14 PM
Download: 40.43 Mbps
Upload: 12.35 Mbps
Ping: 34 ms

Down by the Riverside

While we were at Kuratau, we went for a trot through the park at the back of where the rally was and followed the river down to the Taupo lakefront. There are well set tracks and it is an interesting walk through bush and parks.

Amazing Cliffs
Amazing Cliffs

Enjoy the images, remember to click on them for hi res

A real contrast of landscape. Huge cliffs up from the water and really colourful trees and river reeds. There are some houses lucky enough to have a jetty at the bottom of the lawn against the river too.

Kids playing on the lakefront
Kids playing on the lakefront

At the lake front, there is an interesting walk down to a memorial on the lakefront. Some children were happily playing in the water, the sun was shining with no wind. Another nice part of the world. 

The Covi Supershow – Lots of images

Ellerslie later in the day
Ellerslie Racecourse with the NZMCA parking

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.

Click on the images to see hi res and Slideshows

It was really nice to see the Lilliputs there with their classic cars.

Vintage Caravans and cars
Vintage Caravans and 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. 

Dethleffs Caravan
Dethleffs Caravan
Dethleffs caravan
Dethleffs caravan
Dethleffs Caravan
Dethleffs Caravan

I ended up back at Ellerslie mid afternoon and prepared myself for meeting people as you do!

Nicely tucked in for the night
Nicely tucked in for the night
Ellerslie later in the day
Ellerslie later in the day

It was nice to catch up with some Dethleffs owners later in the day amongst all the other people, Motorhomes and Caravans.

The coffee cup holder

This was Pete’s first rally with his new Dethleffs Black Magic so it was great to see the Kiwi ingenuity being applied to his van.

There is a notable absence of anywhere in the Ducato cab for holding coffee. Pete decided this had to change and came up with a nice  tray with  locking blocks underneath the hold it between the two front seats on the seat arms.

Pete with his coffee cup holder
Pete with his coffee cup holder

Clever use of dead space and with the use of matching vinyl from the floor and a nice wooden surround, it really looks the part.