Category Archives: Waikato

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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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.

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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.

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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)
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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.

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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
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Rafe’s Tracker to the Camp

A Special little town called Raglan

After a few weeks of being housebound and itching to get away, our friend Dianne in Taupo arranged a get together in Raglan.

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Jonas trying out a surfboard on a Mural

Raglan was deemed to be reasonably easy for everyone and a pleasant place to be. There were going to be three Motorhomes, Us in Rafe, Gary and Dianne in their Niesmann and Bichoff and Jonas and Irene with a Dethleffs Trend McRent Motorhome from their fleet.

One of the amazing shops

The weather forecast was a shocker with high winds and heavy rain forecast but when has that ever stopped us before 🙂 The Classic Yacht Association had already cancelled their annual Christmas hooley just based on the forecast a few days before !

At the campground

After staying a night with Alex and Sarah and the grandies, we set off early to the dump station at Papakura and then Raglan stopping briefly at the Countdown supermarket in Huntly for a few forgotten items.

We arrived at Raglan Kopua Holiday Park around lunch time and after parking Rafe, plugging in and opening some vents, we had a quick lunch and then set off to Raglan township across the bridge for a look around.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

At this stage we pretty much had a blue sky but the wind was blowing and it was threatening.

Raglan really is a seriously nice town full of very friendly people. The choice for cafe’s is fantastic and there seems to be a real Hippy/Surfy culture which you can see everywhere.

After an hour or so, we headed back over the foot bridge connecting the Motorcamp to the town and arrived back just in time to see Gary and Dianne arrive from Taupo.

The famous Hotel

The next morning we were joined by Jonas and Irene and had a another trip into the village for another look around and after an afternoon of chatting, cups of coffee, a few glasses of wine and lots of laughs, we headed back in for a meal in one of the towns fine restaurants.

Last time we were here a few years ago, we walked right around the foreshore to the wharf where there is an amazing fish and chip shop and some more great shopping.

One of the unusual shops

A fantastic town with an amazing atmosphere and I’m looking forward to going back sometime soon.

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Ping: 56ms

Rafe’s Tracker map to Raglan

Weights and Tyres

At the recent NZMCA Motorhome show at Mystery Creek, I caught up with Phil from Carters Tyres.   After 59000 k’s, Rafes tyres were down to 2mm and I needed to replace them before my next COF so I was keen to find out the ins and outs of tyres.

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Phil from Carters

One of the things I wasn’t aware of that Phil highlighted was that many Motorhomers and Caravanners weren’t really aware of the weight limits on the tyres themselves. While we are all very aware of GVM’s and Axle weights, as that is what you get fined for if you get them wrong, many of us overlook the per wheel weights on our tyres.

Checking the rear wheels

As Carters were weighing vehicles the next morning, I moved to where the scales were and Rafe was weighed.

The scales

Both the back wheels were 1100kg’s or within a few kg’s either side (without the bikes) and the front wheels were 970kg and 1020kgs.  The Michelin Agilis tyres that I had on have a weight limit of 1250kgs per tyre so no worries there.

While I was pleased with the Michelins and how they had worn, they were expensive to replace with prices from nearly $1800 – $2000 for four, depending on who you got at the counter 🙂

The Michelin Agelis after 59000k’s

Phil was telling me that the Giti company produced a truck tyre with specs similar to the Michelin for almost half the price.. the GT Radial. It has a per tyre limit of 1460kgs, has more belts in the tread to help it track really well and 10 ply on the sides which is plenty. Yippee!!

The new Gt radials

So I booked into Carters in Highbrook in Auckland and Patrick was the man weilding the tools to change my tyres.

Patrick putting one of the new tyres on

I couldn’t get over the technology now used to change tyres. I remember when I was 17 years old odd, I worked in a service station in between photographic jobs and for a while was in the tyre bay.  I remember a steel pole concreted in the ground with a circular seat half way up that held the tyre while you wrestled with a long steel pole to lever off the tyre. Lots of fun ! These days, its all pneumatics.

A Tyre Changer of days gone by 🙂

Back to Rafes new tyres.. Each wheel was balanced and filled up with Nitrogen and refitted to Rafe.

Click on the gallery below for a Slideshow

Patrick did a great job on the tyres and driving home felt very different. You could really feel the extra rubber and it seemed to track better at speed on the motorway too. They also seem quieter on the road as well.

Rafe in the Tyre Bay

They’re definitely the place to get your tyres and NZMCA members get a really good discount too!

Glenview Club Parking

I’ve been wanting to park here for a while but haven’t really had a reason to come out this way until today  🙂

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Room for big and small

One of the things I’m really allergic to is parking in Pub/Club carparks overnight and the Glenview club is not one of these. I has a completely separate Motorhome and Caravan parking area away from the main carpark for bar patrons.

There are 38 parks without power and another 12 parks with power all on well drained grass.

There is an honesty box but they’re there almost every day after 2pm. Its $15 a night without power and $20 a night with power. There is a shower and Toilets and there are meals later in the week during the evenings. There is also fresh water, a dump station with rubbish and recycling.

A grand entrance way

On a week day before a big show it was really busy. Its amazingly quiet and in a great spot right on the Waikato river opposite the Hamilton Gardens.

Click on the Gallery below for a slide show

I met several people in Caravans who had sold homes locally and were staying there due to work or to be close to family so there are quite a few who almost reside there longterm.

A really nice location, friendly hosts and a really quiet spot to stay.

The Netspeed Speedtest from this location
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Rafes Track to Glenview Club

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!

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

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 🙂

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

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!!

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.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

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

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Ping: 125 ms

Rafe’s Track