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.
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.
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 event was well organised by the Zion crew with a couple of ladies singing and the food was fantastic.
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 !
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Fulltimers in their XLI, Ian and Linda having fun. Good to see them again too.
Jonas having a say.
The front half of the showroom
The Foods up
Old friends Bruce and Judy from Coromandel. They’ve got Rafes twin with the same colour too. There are only a handful of Globe4’s in NZ as they were only imported for a short time.
At the Zion Motohomes table
More at the Zion table
Down the road a bit
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.
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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I popped in to have a nosey on my way home from Waihi and it looks amazing.
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!
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The Frankia Mline
The sharp end of the Niessman Bichoff Arto 79
In the showroom
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.
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.
From starting out 5 years or so ago from a yard behind a church in Howick and outgrowing that space, Jonas Ng and his expanded team, are about to move into their new custom designed building and yard in Pokeno.
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The building is still under construction and with competion due in June, they’re making the best of it in a temporary yard a few doors down the road.
In the last year, they’ve added a Rental Motorhome business with McRent NZ.
Now they have Frankia Motorhomes, Neismann and Bichoff, and Morelo to add to the Dethleffs fleet and the yard is looking really busy.
And I couldn’t leave without having a nosey at the inside of one of the new Frankia Platins..
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A Frankia Platin
Platin Living Space
Platin Galley area
The Bedroom of a Platin
Platin Toilet area
Compared to the Church yard though, there is plenty of room and the new building will be really good for them. Go Jonas!
I’m really chuffed to get them away as it represents a huge amount of time to put them together.
It has been a lot of fun and a huge learning curve but having been involved in publishing some printed books for the Classic Yacht Association before, it was the next logical step. I’m not expecting to get rich on them but if it covers a few bottles of Chardy and the odd tank of Diesel, then thats all good 🙂
The first two are now available on Amazon as of today and the others are coming. They are slightly modified from the blog version so they don’t date so quickly and suit a book, and they’re in a fixed format horizontal format to show off the images to their best.
The first one is on our trip to Napier a year or so ago to the Art Deco festival. A great occasion and because its such a great event with some great images, it would be shame not to give these piccies another outing!
The other one is about our trip to the Pinnacles with friends via the Hawkes Bay last year. We were in several Motorhomes and it was a lot of fun. Some great adventures with some unusual places with a concert thrown in too for good measure.
These will both be available here by clicking on the covers above.
Ads will be appearing soon on the side of the Blog and you can keep up to date on this from the Books page.
Some time ago, I also did a blog about some older european images that I had posted for sale as prints etc. Again, I’m not expecting to get rich on them but some of you expressed an interest in getting some of them. They’re now available here.
A big occasion for me as a Blog person but there is more to come. .. Stay tuned 🙂
One of the nice things about buying a Dethleffs in NZ is that you are automatically a member of the Dethleffs Owners Group. As part of this with the now huge annual Rallies, there is a real sense of being part of a team or family which is great.
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We’d just arrived at Mapua in the pouring rain and trying to line up Rafe into some fairly vaguely defined parking spaces(in the rain anyway!) It was fun when you had to make sure the TV signal was fine and close to the power towers etc, and dodging big puddles. We got the power right but the TV wasn’t a happening thing until I noticed a dish on a neighbourly Dethleffs Esprit pointing in a completely different direction. Where I thought North was was actually 180 degrees wrong so some trees behind us were the problem 🙂 I ran over and knocked on the door and met Peter and Sue who gave me a huge Dethleffs welcome and invited me in and it was about 15 – 20 minutes later before I got to shifting Rafe to sort our the TV!
Cutting a long story short, Peter and Sue came over through the puddles and rain for a drink later in the day and we had a fun couple of hours.
They picked up their brand new Esprit in March and have been up into Northland and several times down to their daughters driveways in Palmerston North. Now that they’re semi retired, they’re getting out and enjoying their new truck a bit more from their home in Taupo.
I was really impressed with the changes in the new Esprit especially where it came to new lighting systems and it was interesting seeing the Single/King sized bed configuration in a practical way too. Peter is pretty tall so that limited their options when they were working out what they wanted and what they have now really works well for them.
The following day, we caught up with them again for a hour or so in their Esprit. It really is very comfortable.
They will be at the Annual Dethleffs Owners Group meeting in Karapiro in October so keep an eye out for them.
Driving along the waterfront in Paihia while I was trying to decide where to stay, I passed Terry and Ruth’s Dethleffs White Magic A Class Motorhome parked on the side of the road. I’ve been meaning to try to catch up with Terry as I’ve been following their progress around the bay with their friends on Facebook. I turned Rafe around and parked a few spaces behind and as it was lunchtime, wandered along the waterfront to look for something to eat.
There was neat place about 50 yards along which was doing $10 roast lamb meals which I thought sounded good and ordered a glass of Chardy to go with it. While I was sitting there, I thought I’d facebook message Terry and see if he was around. I’ve never met Terry or Ruth before so had no idea what they looked like. I simply said I was parked behind them, be nice to catch up and where I was having lunch.
Within two minutes, I had a response back and my neighbours at the next table were looking around for me. How’s that for small world stuff and technology.. I shifted to their table and we swapped various stories for the next hour or so. .. Fun times in the fast lane 🙂 It was nice to catch up and I’m sure we’ll see each other again soon.
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After a memorable lunch with Terry and Ruth, I decided on staying at a little tucked away waterfront site called Beachside Holiday Park owned by Dusty and Aroha Miller.
In their office they have a picture on the wall taken in the early 70’s of the park and it looks completely different. Dusty and Aroha have been here for 15 years, progressively working to a plan they had done for the transformation of this fantastic site. They say there is still things to do but the place looks fantastic.
The Dump station is what you wish for everywhere where you don’t even need to get your grey water hose dirty. Simply back up over the grate and let her rip !
Great Dump Station
The 70’s pic
Terraced bush camping
Nicely laid out parks
Right on the Water
The laundry looks like a Space Station with industrial machines right along one wall. Toilets and showers are all in new condition and kept very clean. Walking around there are non powered sites for tents on little grassed terraces carved out for camping, most with great views of the water.
There is a boat ramp there and a rack of kayaks which are available for guests.
For the first night I was parked by the water but Rafe was poking out a bit on the roadway so I moved to a bigger site one row back for the second night. I was also parked under a tree so I had TV reception the next night too! The charge is $20pp which is pretty much normal at this time of the year around Paihia but right on the water parking with all the facilities, its fantastic.
Nice people and nice to see someone investing in the future and doing a great job of it.
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It has been two and half years in the making but we’ve finally solved the Glass cabinet problem.
When we first picked up Rafe, unlike other Dethleffs, the Esprits, the Sunlights, the Magic series’s and the Trends.. all of them had Glass cabinets you could fit a glass in. The Globe 4’s cabinet had two shelves in it and was so narrow that only shot glasses and really small glasses would ever fit in.
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The first thing I did was remove the shelves so normal sized glasses would fit if they were narrow enough. Then there was the problem on how to fix the glassware so it wouldn’t rattle or get damaged as we moved from place to place.
A couple of lengths of pine screwed in across the cabinet and some tool clips to hold the glasses and we’re all done.
While we were in Martinborough earlier this year, Fiona found 11 cystal glasses in an antique shop by the square. They suited perfectly. Her new name from friends Gary and Dianne is “Mrs Waterford” and I think she suits the name quite well 🙂
The shelf with the crystal glass base sitting over the edge.
A tool clip
The screw taking the weight of the pine
I’ve set the cabinet up for these glasses as we have a few spares if a couple get broken.
Both “Mrs Waterford” and I are both pretty pleased with the way the cabinet looks and there no rattles at all.
Its interesting that while quite a few brands of Motorhomes have adopted tracklighting, many haven’t.
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Rafe started out in life having three tracklights for lighting. Two on either side of the saloon and one across the top of the bed for reading lights. They were probably a great idea in that you can twist and slide the lights and put them anywhere you want them and also shift them out of the way. The only catch with them is that the ones that we have, have very flimsy plastic tabs on them which are so easy to break off, its ridiculous.
To be fair to the manufacturers, they can’t be blamed for excited grandchildren accidently bumping into them with their heads when they’re standing on the seats but when the owners are reluctant to use them in case they break, to me means there is a problem.
The other issue is that we found that as we cruised around NZ, the screws holding the glass would undo and eventually the glass would end up smashing on the table below with glass everywhere.
In the end after breaking a few, we now travel with them in a box and tend not use them for fear of snapping the tabs or breaking them.
After looking for ages through lighting shops and RV places, I discovered some really nice LED lights for another model Dethleffs which I ordered through Vantage RV. They had to come from Germany and just arrived the other day so I didn’t waste any time getting them installed. These ones are screwed into the shelves and I’ve set them back out of harms way.
I really wanted to remove the track but found that it was glued as well as screwed so I’m still thinking about this as I don’t want to butcher the cabinets getting it out.
The lights are fabulous. We recently had the first trip away with them and the light was awesome.
It’s always an exciting time when either of the Motorhome and Caravan shows start to see what new knick knacks are available and what’s new. We were staying at the Ellerslie Racecourse NZMCA Rally with 500 or so others and they had put on a shuttle service to make it easy to get to there.
I must have been on one of the first buses to the Showgrounds as the bus driver wasn’t too sure where to drop us off and we circumnavigated the Show grounds a few times before we got there, even a brief tour of Alexander Park too. 🙂
This year was the first year for the new Hymers and also the Cathargo. The Hymer has arrived in force with three or four different models including a 4 wheel drive model which was setup on top of a pile of rocks just to make the point. The Hymer in the piccies is the Starline 690 which is 7.9 metre is length, has a GVM of 5.3 t and has a 3l Mercedes rear wheel drive.
The Hymer Starline 690
With the drop down bed down
The Hymer galley
One of the new Cathargo’s
Yes, a motorbike in the garage.
Stephanie with her Stacks
The Poptop Camper interior
Poptop Camper from the other end
Poptop on the outside. 12 ft long.
The Jayco Stand
NZ made Allisee with slide outs
Inside the Allisee
The Cathargo was well publicised at last years Covi show but this year is the first time they’ve got several models here. A very smart looking wagon.
The Nomad Kitchen space
The Nomad Bedroom and bathroom beyond
The Nomad with all its space and Doors for the Bedroom
The Shower on one side ..
And the Toilet on the other. Look at all that storage in the Nomad
Plenty of storage in the Platin
The Frankia Platin
Living Space – Platin
Kitchen Area – Platin
Toilet – Platin
Bedroom – Platin
The Electrics all in one spot on the outside on the Platin
The other interesting story is with the Dethleff Nomad Caravans represented by Central RV. Brett at Central RV sent off his design for a Caravan specially for the local market and this was the first one in. The amount of room in it is amazing and it’s the first caravan I’ve seen with doors on both sides of the bedroom giving complete privacy. The Dethleffs Nomad 650 RQT as it is known is 8.7 meters long, it has a 700kg payload and has a total weight of 2.5 tons so she’s a biggy! It also has an Alko chassis helping to make it tow nicely.
Jonas and Chris and the team at Frankia have received the first of the 8.4 metre Platin series. These really are the ultimate in Motorhomes. The electrical cupboard is a joy in itself having its own external locker with everything very tidily laid out and easy to get at. The inside is amazing as well.. The Platin at the show is 8.5 metres long and has a GVM of 5 tons with a 650kg payload.
Well appointed and is typical of the Frankia range known for its high standards.
It’s always nice to see the Lilliput Crew with their lovely old Caravans and usually matched by their amazing, beautifully restored cars.
Patricia and John were here with their caravan and their 1955 Plymouth Belvedere. It was their 55th Wedding Anniversary. They were also well colour co-ordinated for St Patrick’s Day 🙂
The NZMCA stand was huge. I got there fairly early so it was largely pretty empty given its size but it was nice to see the crew there and great to see most if not all of the Motorhome Friendly Towns all with their own stands promoting their areas.
A lot of the NZMCA regions had their own stands as well and nice to see them too.
I managed to get in and out without parting with too much hard earned loot which Fiona will be pleased about, settling for just a new ground mat for under our awning.
The Autotrail Stand
Inside the big Autotrail Comanche
The RV / Camec stand.. Where I bought my mat 🙂
NZ made Allisee with slide outs
Rob finishing off setting up the NZMCA Northland stand
One of our favorite parks that we use a lot too, is Ardmore by the airfield. Its a great park and usually full of some interesting people as well.
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We were on our way to Coromandel with our friends Rob, Helen and Chloe and to avoid the morning traffic we checked in with Rafe and their Tracker for the night. We arrived first and soon after we found we were next to another Dethleffs, some people that that we’d met some months ago, Liz and Dave in their Esprit.
It was time for a drink so they came over to Rafe and soon after Rob, Helen and Chloe arrived and joined in too.
The biggest thing about Ardmore now is the massive amount of gravel that now covers the old grass area at the back. What a huge difference it makes and also extends the useable area of the park.
Its level too which is great.
Well done to those who make it such a great park.
We had a great night there and in the morning were up early to get away to Coromandel.