Category Archives: Waikato

Big Windows

Parked just a couple of rows across was a flash big German Caravan called a Vivaldi made by Tabbert.

Click on an Image for HI Res

Brent and Natalie

Brent and Natalie from Papamoa are the proud owners of this fantastic Caravan and most afternoons of the Timber Town Romp, there was a Happy Hour set outside this van. The others in the Happy Hour were mostly Brent and Natalie’s neighbours at Papamoa where they are based.

I popped over and joined them one afternoon and the next morning went over for a chat and a look see. One of the first things you notice are the massive windows.

Another look at those fantastic windows

At 8.65 metres long, its a biggie but apparently tows well. With 800 watts odd of Solar power and massive storage, theyre never going to have the lights dim 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to see  a slideshow

After buying the 2005 model van 3 years or so ago from a dealer in the South Island,  where they used to live, they’ve now been “everywhere” but their favorite places are up North.

More table space

A nice Caravan and well set up for some fantastic trips to come.

The Vivaldi

Swinging high at Arapuni

Slightly off the beaten track south of Karapiro but part of the Waikato River Trail is the little town of Arapuni. Its an amazing spot with a really impressive historical Swing Bridge and an old power station built into the side of a hill.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Looking up to the Power Station

The Swing Bridge was built in the early 1920’s so that workers for the power station could get to work. The power station is the oldest and the largest in capacity and was opened in 1929. It is now under the protection of the Historic Places trust and signs at the site, show the effort that went into protecting it from possible Japanese bomb attack during the war by camouflaging it.

Leonies Motorhome parking

And just down the road from the bridge, Leonie runs a great Motorhome and caravan site in her back yard which is a flat paddock, where NZMCA’rs can stay for $10 with power, toilet and shower. There are modern 10 power points and its really easy parking. You might need levelling ramps in some areas but its all very easy with an honesty box and simple instructions.

Neat parking

The site is an easy walk to the bike trail and to the town and to the Swing Bridge which is spectacular. Its well worth the walk and is only 10-15 minutes away on foot, either along the road or via the bike trail just outside the park.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

I’m not one for heights now I’m getting a bit older and a bit more sensible, so it took me a couple of go’s before I went out in the middle of the bridge 🙂 .. but in my defence, there was a lot of wind 🙂
I’m pleased I did though.. check out the image below.

The Power Station from the bridge

On the way back to Rafe, I stopped in at the only shop on the main road which happily is a Cafe. I stopped for lunch on the way back to Rafe. The food is great and they do a great coffee too!

Leonie’s Motorhome Park is fantastic  and we’ll be back with the bikes to do the trails around here.

Rafe’s Tracker map

Two Together

While I was standing in the main carpark helping traffic get from one side to the other at the Tokoroa Timber Town Romp, in came John and Joan in their massive 11m long Motorhome.

Click on any Image to see Hi Res

Joan and John

They originally came from Rotorua but have recently moved to Matata and “Homely” is their mobile Bach which they’ve had for more than 20 years. In that time, they’ve completely rebuilt the interior including putting in features like slide out cutting boards and bench extensions.

The magic pull out extensions

John tells me that it is two Ford D750 chassis’s welded together powered by a Hino eh700 with a Manual Gearbox. It has a Leyland Bison Cab and the the exterior is colour steel. On top is a Butynol roof.

From behind with the 4 wheel drive tray on the back.

They’ve been all over in it and travel with their two small dogs Bear and Wolf.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

They got a very clever friend of theirs in Rotorua to do the fantastic graphics on the side which make it quite distinctive.

Very comfortable

As I walked away after chatting to them for half an hour or so, they looked very settled and content in their very comfortable Motorhome.

Flying Cat

Timber Town Romp – Let there be Music!

The morning started a bit later with I suspect a few sore heads after the NZ-UK Rugby game and there was lots of chatter about the game. To console myself, I kept telling myself that it is only a game after all… not quite that simple but it helped 🙂

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Roger and Diane’s Fifth Wheeler opposite Rafe

I spent the morning reading, listening to some music and generally just blobbed for a few hours. The weather was amazing with a clear blue sky and as the day went on, it got much warmer after a fairly cold start.

Its Knitting time

Today was a real Music Day with a band called Tuned out Larry, Jenny and Band which was a three piece band from Tokerau. A nice sound. After that, there was the usual 4pm Happy Hour. This was the last one for the event so it was well attended 🙂

Time to dance

I went back to Rafe and had tea but was looking forward to the  next band.  Over in the main Hall was  the  Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. A very slick performance by some very talented people!

The crowd enjoying the Hamilton Bluegrass band
The two originals, Alan and Paul
Pam with the fantastic Voice

I’ve heard them several times before and although they’ve now got a different line up, the two original 5th formers from Fairfield High school who started the band, Alan and Paul, are still there and sounding as good as ever. Pauls ex wife Colleen was the original Fiddler and sadly she has moved on but one of their sons is the very talented Bass player and their Daughter in Law is the new Fiddle player.  The Mandolin player who is also an instrument repairer and Potter from Coromandel and Pam the singer and Guitar player complete the lineup.  Pams voice is something else… a great sound and I was there right to the end 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

A very successful event run by a very switched on team.

Piccy time

A great Weekend.

Timber Town Romp – Let the Games Begin

I was up pretty early for me at 7:30! It was cold even though the sun was out for the first time for days.

Click on any Image for Hi Res

People getting ready for the games

Today was to be a big day with the Highland Games and it was fun. There were extra points if you wore some Tartan and many made a real effort with some great costumes.

On the bank

The first event was The Hamilton Pipe Band. There’s something about Bagpipes that just get me going.. I love it! A wonderful sound.

Boom Boom

One of the NZMCA Waikato organiser Neal was dressed up in Tartan, and had a set of bagpipes made of electrical Conduit pipes. He had a recording on his cell phone for the sound effects. A great sight. It was funny to see.

Neal with his Bagpipes

He also managed to momentarily slot himself on the end of the line with the Hamilton Pipers playing. Lots of fun.

Neal “Playing along”
Watching the fun

The Games started straight after that. There was Hammer throwing (into a bucket), Caber throwing, Gumboot throwing which was fun to watch. And later there was egg throwing and they weren’t hard boiled either 🙂 Brian Stanley seemed to do pretty well here 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The Forest View High School provided a Sausage Sizzle with Steak Sandwiches and other niceties. They did so well that the queue created meant that the events later had to put back while everyone had a feed.

I’m really pleased for the kids at the school as they really put themselves out to make this happen and with at least 150 odd people out of approximately 600 that attended, their sports trip had every chance of being a well funded one 🙂

Marching off

The Haggis was piped in by the Hamilton Pipe band and later another big Happy Hour in the Events Centre. Lots of people this time and after that, there was a performance by Tim Armstrong and his band. Unfortunately, he was competing against the NZ Rugby world cup semi final.

I was lucky to be able to watch it with Rodger and Diane next door with a nice Pinot to finish off the day. Despite the Rugby result, it was a great day in Paradise with some really nice people.

Happy Hour outside

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.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

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!

Dancing
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.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Huge

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

The 2019 NZMCA Motorhome Show

This is a must do event in my calendar now. Not just as a social occasion to catch up with everyone in the rally and on the stands, its also great too to see some new things available to make our lives easier on the road.

Click on an Image to see it in Hi Res

Coming down the hill – Wow

I arrived long after everyone else on Saturday around lunchtime as we had things on in Auckland that I had to do. Fiona wasn’t coming on this trip either as it we really only had time for an overnighter.

Huge

This was one of the biggest Rallies that the NZMCA has had with huge numbers of Motorhomes. Just amazing and the parking volunteers did a wonderful job of making sure everyone was in a safe spot.

I managed to park right behind some old friends of ours in another Dethleff, Noline and Walter.

Walter and Noline’s Esprit in the middle with Rafe behind

Walter is a very handy guy and has done some really interesting things on his Esprit. He has installed a Laundry Chute from his bedroom which drops down into his garage making it really easy for them to gather up their washing at the end of a trip away. .. see here for the blog.  It was really nice to see them as I haven’t seen them for quite a while.

#1 at the Entrance

After opening vents and getting Rafe sorted, I went straight into the show.

Just inside the entrance was Gail looking after the #1 Motorhome which I photographed extensively a few months ago,, see here.  Alan and Gail have a Dethleffs too and we’ve been at quite a few do’s together over the years and Alan was involved with the restoration of the first Motorhome.

One of the first stands was the Zion stand with a nice shiny new Mercedes based Globeline Motorhome. It is 7 metres long and apparently handles better than most cars. Its also one of the few Dethleffs Motorhomes available with a Mercedes drive train. All the stereo controls were on the steering wheel.

Click on the Gallery below to see the Globeline

Walking on through, I found it interesting that there was a general trend towards smaller Motorhomes but lots of huge Caravans.

I had a sneaky look at the Rockwoods which are massive and have enough room in them to almost play football in them but very nicely set out, and they didn’t seem to have the  over the top heavy American furniture look which was nice to see.

Inside the Rockwood

Moving on to the NZMCA stand. I had to get a piccy of the team there complete with the two Bruce’s along with Gillian, Judy and Ryan. Nice to see Ross and Carol Hamilton too along with Brian Stanley.

The Team.. Chairman Bruce, Gillian, CEO Bruce, Judy and Comms specialist Ryan.

 

Not far from here was  the ACM stand. These Motorhomes are just the bees knees..

Click on the Gallery below to see the ACM Motorhomes

They’re stunning and they come from a factory that make a lot of bespoke Motorhomes tailored for the new owners needs but they also have a range of their own designs. One of their previously made Motorhomes has even been built with a piano in it for an owner who just loves his music. Fantastic.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

Nice to see Duncan and Chris from Apollo freshly back from the Dusseldorf show with some interesting new things too. New automated Hydraulic Rams for levelling your Motorhome along with their range of Kiwisat Satellite dishes.

An adventure anyone

Outside ther was a huge area set up for food and somewhere to sit.. Much bigger that previous years given the numbers this year. A great show.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

On the banks of the mighty Waikato

Just past Tuakau is a lovely new Campground on the banks of the river.

Click on any Image for Hi Res

Glorious spot

It is run by the good folk at the Tuakau Hotel on land that used to be where the sand was loaded up and shipped off and its in a beautiful spot.

All weather parking

The campground has been constructed from scratch with about 8 dead flat gravelled sites with power and a barbeque table overlooking the river. It couldn’t be in a better spot and well thought out.

Perfect seating

We popped in to the Tuakau Hotel which is just a few k’s away and spoke to Tash at the Hotels Accomodation office where we were given the full rundown on what was where and in case we forgot, there was also a sheet of everything we needed to know along with a key for the water and the codes for the automated gate and shower block. The cost is $20 per site for two with power which I reckon is extremely good value.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

After settling down and opening some vents, I went for a bit of a look around.

Looking down the river

There are three quite large self contained cabins too which can be rented which look out over the river too.

Looking across from the cabins

In the morning I went for a walk along the rivers edge to see the whitebaiters in full swing where I met Anthony who drives down here from Mt Wellington to do his whitebaiting. He was doing well and showed me piccies of his catch from the day before.

Whitebaiter Anthony from Mt Wellington

A lovely spot not far from the Tuakau Bridge on the way to Port Waikato.

The Netspeed Speedtest (Not great here)
Download : 2.68 mbps
Upload : 0.85 mbps
Ping : 48 ms

Rafes Tracker Map

You know you’re on the West Coast When..

You’ve got black sand between your toes and at the Kopua Raglan Motorcamp right on the beach, there is plenty of that.

Click on an image for hi Res

The Black Sand

We’ve stayed here a few times now and one of the things that I really noticed this time is the recently done up showers and toilets. The pressure in the showers is so good, you almost don’t need soap.. let the water do its thing.. amazing.

Chess anyone?

When you check in, you get a swipe card which you use for both the automatic gates and the facilities. A good system and it worked well. There is a $10 bond which you get back as you leave after returning the card.

Lots of stripes

The camp is on a peninsula of sand basically so it there were no worries with the awful forecast of heavy rain. We knew we’d be fine on the well drained sand. It is almost completely surrounded by water but there is a well lit footbridge connecting it to the town with an easy walk in to the cafes and shops.

The Bridge to Raglan

There are more than 200 powered sites with quite a few permanent caravans and they also have Cabins that can be rented too.

The Fish and Chip shop on the edge of the camp and apparently they’re pretty good.

I heard someone comment that they thought it was a bit expensive but at $86 for two nights for two nights with power and all the new facilities with the NZMCA discount, I thought that was very reasonable.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

We spent a couple of really nice nights there. Yes it rained and it blew but nothing like the forecast said. Over the two days there with friends, Dianne and Gary from Taupo and Jonas and Irene from Auckland, we had several walks into town for a look around the shops and an great meal at one of their restaurants.

The Beach

Very easy accomodation, friendly people, great facilities and a really interesting town.

Rafe, The Niesmann and Jonas’s Trend

Before you ask, No Dogs but there is some free Wifi!

The Netspeed Speedtest
Download: 31.34mbs
Upload: 26.30mbs
Ping: 56ms

Rafe’s Tracker to the Camp