Tag Archives: nzmca rallies


While we were at the rally, we noticed that the Pop up Globe was open and Hamlet was on.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

The Theatre

Having had hearing aids for most of my adult life since meningitis as a teenager, I have always avoided these types of shows as usually I can’t hear anything and the whole exercise is just a bore but armed with brand new technology hearing aids, I thought I’d give this one a go.

The Theatre

After starting with a glass of wine in the bar area, we wandered into the pre seating area under the trees and into the theatre.

Fiona enjoying a cider with the Artwork

There was a lot that I couldn’t hear as the stage is almost surrounded with the audience on three sides  so they talk in all directions. This means the lip reading function is unavailable largely but I could still make out enough of what was going on and it was just fun being there and taking it all in. These are good hearing aids too!

The cast during a moment of silence for Christchurch before the show

For some reason I seemed be able to hear more in the second half but put that down to more mayhem and shouting 🙂 …a Great show!

The King getting close to the audience.

Its an amazing venue and being just “popped up” in different locations, they take it pretty seriously with a nice bar and seated area under some trees. The artwork and the décor was something special too along with the Minstrels wandering around with their costumes playing their instruments.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Good seating and nice people directing you around. Its a great setup. Well worth doing and only 5 minutes walk to our Motorhome afterwards 🙂

Back at with Rafe 5 minutes walk away 🙂

Counties Rally at Ellerslie

As always, a well run and executed Rally by the good folk in the Counties team. Just under 400 vehicles were parked by Saturday afternoon and there were still more coming in.

The big picture

This year the Polo was being played in the centre of the track where the rally is usually set up so the parking was set off to the southern side of the stands beside the track. Very handy to the Pop Up Globe which Fiona and I went and saw on the Saturday afternoon.

Big girls under the trees.

Also handy for a walk to Ellerslie shopping centre for those who wanted takeways.

Sea of white (and blue)

Covi put on their magic buses for easy show access and they seemed to go every few minutes throughout the day.

Either side of the track. The latecomers went into the centre.
Off to the show. The Ellerslie event centre in the background.

A great event put on by the experienced Counties NZMCA team.. well done guys.

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Friendly Towns parking at Taradale.

As it was clear early on that the space at the Taradale Club wasn’t going to meet the huge demand for the Phil Collins concert, the local organisers of the NZMCA arranged to lease a paddock opposite the Tarade Club for NZMCA parking.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Lots of NZMCAr’s

One of the organisers Tony was telling me that at their peak, they had nearly 300 Motohomes and Caravans there and in true NZMCA Rally style, they had everyone parking beautifully.

Organiser Tony

Having the Club over the road with its bar and the air conditioning for the 30 plus degree heat, and the generous meal deals didn’t go unnoticed by the folks over the road either.

Tony also was telling me that their next gig was the Art Deco parking and I’m sure they’ll also be involved in the AGM at Gisborne next month too. .. Busy times !

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Its great when great minds come together for a great mutual outcome. A very plesant couple of days with friendly easy parking.

The Hamilton NZMCA Motorhome Show

Along with a few hundred others, I arrived fashionably early and we were all marshalled into a temporary parking area on the grass.

Click on an image for Hi Res.

The parking!

Kickoff at midday came and the lines formed to get in and once settled, there were old friends catching up everywhere you looked.

One of the many happy setups

The parking was superbly managed and given the huge task of parking hundreds of Motorhomes and Caravans along with Buses with Toads, the end result was just a work of art. Well done to all the volunteers who pitched in. An amazing effort.

Out with the awning

I was only there half an hour and spotted Nelson and Maree in Caniwi so popped in for a chat with them and later caught up with them for a drink after also catching up with John and Sarah Pedersen. It was really nice to catch up with them too. John does a blog called licenced to retire.

The next morning was showtime! .. I’d only just stepped in the door when Chris Nuttall tapped me on the shoulder. Chris runs the NZ Motorhome Forum and it was nice to see him. It has been a wee while!

The Swift Caravans are always a treat and this years new models didn’t disappoint. See below

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

With the bathroom and shower at the back, an east-west bed and then Galley and Lounge at the other end, with the finish and polish you would expect from Swift.

I was really impressed with the new Dethleffs Caravans for Families. One of them has two bunks with a childrens lounge at one end, the bathroom and shower facilities, a french bed and Galley area and then a big adult lounge at the other end. Its a big Caravan but they also have a smaller one without the kids lounge which is also a little cheaper.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Most of the big manufacturers were there, Trailite, Bailey, Jayco along with many others and it was nice to see Eldiss’s new Motorhomes too.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

Going from one manufacturers Caravans and Motorhomes to another all in one spot, its really interesting seeing the different design styles and layouts.

I was really interested to talk to Carters Tyres executive Phil Jackson who was at the NZMCA stand, about tyres. Phil was telling me that many Motorhomes and Caravans are actually close to the weight limit of their tyres with some even over. This isn’t something that I ever thought about to be honest as you tend to watch things like GVM and axle weights. His team were going to weigh Motorhome and Caravans the next morning including Rafe.

I also found out that they have a brand called Giti which are well suited for Motorhomes and Caravans and will perform as well as or outperform my current factory fitted european tyres, and they’re less expensive too especially with the NZMCA discount.  I’m really looking forward to finding out more as mine have done 58000k’s and need replacing!!

Rafe’s tyre weights were interesting. Weighed without me and without the bikes on the back, my current weight was just about 50 kg’s under on the front (each wheel) and would have been just over on the back with the bikes. The Giti’s have another 100kgs approx of payload each compared to my current tyres… who would have known!

Rafe’s overall GVM is just under 4300kg and on a heavy day is 4100kg with water, wine, groceries and packed with two of us ready to go.
After having a great chat with Phil, and Ryan from NZMCA and a few others, I headed out the other end for a bite of something. There was a huge covered area with picnic tables with food carts down both sides offering all the usual treats. Some music was provided too.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

From here I’ll let the pictures tell the story but a fabulous show and I heard that it is now going to be an annual event. I can’s say enough about the volunteer parking people who did an amazing job with what seemed to be a zillion Motorhomes and Caravans.

From the early days

The Vintage Caravans looked fantastic too.

The Vintage section

The Blue Beast

Its always a pleasure seeing an older Motorhome getting a new life from a bit of and overhaul or some good old fashioned TLC.

Click on any image to see Hi res

Looking Good

Alan and Keitha fom Matamata have had their 1990 Mazda Triton for about 15 years and about 5 years ago decided it was time for a makeover. The 9 month do up was mostly about the exterior but lots was done of the inside too.

Alan with his album of “Before” pictures

I really liked the hidden Waeco fridge in the double drawer. Nice touch.

The Waeco fridge hidden away in a drawer

The exterior was completely reclad and repainted with Aluminium panels with Insulation on the inside.

Click on the Gallery below to see a slide show

Alan proudly showed me a small photo ablum of how it was and when you look at where it is today, a different beast.

A lovely truck and a great do up.. well done to you both.

It gets even Bigger

The Covi Show NZMCA Rally at Ellerslie just keeps on growing and this year, it looked great.

Click on on an image for Hi Res


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.

Another one comes in

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.

The ladies in the Registration tent doing a great job.
L to R, Carol, Robyn, Debbie, Noeline and Shona.

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!

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.

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. 

Kuratau Rally

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.

Click on the images to see these in Hi res or for a slide show

Rafe and the Xli
Rafe and the Xli

An easy 1hrs drive and we were registering and settling Rafe and the XLI down and getting ready for Happy Hour.

From up above
From up above on the top plateau
Registration and raffle time. On the right, Fiona, Gary and Dianne
Registration and raffle time. On the right, Fiona, Gary and Dianne

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. kuratauHappy 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.

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.

Gary about to open the wine.
Gary about to open the wine… Hopefully!

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!

Balloons over Waikato

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.

Catching up with Helen and Rob
Catching up with Helen and Rob

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.

At Dawn, off to the Lake.
At Dawn, off to the Lake.

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!

BalloonsThe 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.

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.

BalloonsAt 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.

Inflating the Balloons
Inflating the Balloons
At the lake in the morning
At the lake in the morning

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. Balloons

Over the lake
Over the lake

A great day and well done Hamilton council and buses for doing such a great job and hosting a great event, despite the weather.