Tag Archives: NZMCA

Fairlie, the home of great pies and Campground!

Our aim after leaving Lowburn was to stay at Fairlie after getting a freezer full of one of the best pies in the South Island. They’re known as “Fairlie good pies” around the south but I reckon they’re Fairlie Amazing pies. Pork Belly with crackling, Chicken and Salmon and some other amazing options.

Click on an Image for Hi Res

Taken under a light in the Rafe – Pork Belly with the Crackling all ready eaten 🙂


After stopping at Lake Pukaki for lunch we hurtled on to Fairlie.

The place to stay in Fairlie is the Fairlie Holiday Park which is also taking part in the NZMCA’s Camp Saver program.

Nice parking

$20 a night for a powered site with everything else available. There is a dump station, great Toilets and showers in several places and a huge council playground right next door for the little ones.
They also have Dogs on leashes.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

This motorcamp up until about 6 years ago was part of the Top Ten network but closed. Mary Jane and her partner Dutchie have taken it from there and it looks fantastic.

Kitchen and Laundry

It is also only 5 minutes walk into the main shopping area one way and is next to a lovely huge river on the other side.

Looking through to the playground

Being able to park for the night in sites like this on the Camp Saver program is just fabulous and long may it continue and grow.

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


And that would be the newly restored 1928 Reo Speedwagon, once owned by the founders of the NZMCA, Andy and Gladys Anderson.

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4 of the volunteers that could come up with #1, L to R, John, Alan, Brian and Fergus

Once used as passenger and freight bus in Te Karaka, it later went on to be a bus for the Gisborne freezing works.

#1 sporting its new Headlights

Andy Anderson bought the old bus in Gisborne and converted it to his Motorhome and then started the NZMCA as #1 !

Looking forward

Fast forward to June 2016, it was collected from the Eastland Museum of Transport and Technology and taken to a workshop at Hallright Plumbing.  It spent the next 2 and a half years here being restored by a small army of 34 volunteers.

Looking back over the Galley

It was completely stripped down and rebuilt bolt by bolt and the result is stunning.

Click on the Gallery below for a Sldeshow

Seeing it on the NZMCA stand at the 2019 Covi show, it was a joy to behold. The attention to detail from the volunteers is amazing. Ferg Mckenzie along with 3 other volunteers came up to the Covi show to look after and show off their work.

Storage on the back

Well done too to the board for supporting the restoration. A great part of the associations history.

People queing to see it on the stand

New Dargaville park with History

This was my first trip to the brand new Dargaville NZMCA park and its a cracker.

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Close to the water

It is right on the rivers edge with another smaller river on a side boundary and only a few minutes walk to the centre of town.

This was one of my first times of the new check in system and paying on the NZMCA App and it was easy. What a great system.

There are two old heritage buildings on the site with a couple of old jettys on the side of the river.

Click on the Gallery below for a slideshow

After a wander around watching the river water flow from all the rain we’d had, it reminded me of when I was a nipper just mooching around the waters edge and sitting on old wharves on a quiet day.

2 minutes walk to the Rotunda and the town

I went for a walk into town over the bridge and what a neat atmosphere. The old band rotunda and some public loos are only a few minutes away and although the brown colour of the Wairoa River isn’t exactly beautiful, there is a real sense of history and a real charm about the place.

All weather and safe

We’re very lucky to have this network of NZMCA parks and once the word gets out, this new one is sure to be popular.

The Netspeed Speedtest here (Old Router)
Download: 7.64 Mbps
Upload: 21.01 Mbps
Ping: 44 ms

Rafe’s Tracker Map

Rust N Dust

This is before Pohara was an NZMCA park. We stayed at the Murchison Park which is fantastic too.  Another oldie. Enjoy

Pohara Beack looking towards the boat club and Abel Tasman National Park
Pohara Beack looking towards the boat club and Abel Tasman National Park

After a more settled night at a free camping site by the Waitapu river, we left Takaka via the magnificent Pohara Beach and checked out the Pohara boating club. The rock formations right above the road were amazing. There were a few Motorhomes , a bus and a 5th wheeler parked at the boat club which is parking by donation, and looked as though they had been there the night and were right on the waters edge. They must have been hammered by the wind as we got some big puffs by the river and we were behind big trees and sheltered!

The rocks by Pohara boat club
The rocks by Pohara boat club.

We left there to go over the Takaka hill road which is impressive. Sadly, no where to stop for pictures but some great views. We headed into Motueka and the onto Mapua for lunch. After lunch, we left to go through upper Moutere which is supposed to be loaded with craft shops, cheese places and vineyards. Someone must have forgotten to tell the gps where they were as Madam was a bit dark when we got to the other side without seeing any:-/

NZMCA park in Murchison
NZMCA park in Murchison

We arrived at the NZMCA park in Murchison at about 4pm. The park is well set up and is huge. It has a dump station, water and is beautifully flat with all weather gravel. Well done and a big Thank you from us to those people who put this together.

The grocers shop
The grocers shop
Murchison Hotel
Murchison Hotel

There is an amazing old shop in the old stables right next door to the park selling second hand bits and bobs called Rust N Dust!

Rust n Dust in Murchison
Rust n Dust in Murchison
Odds and sods
Odds and sods
Bits and bobs
Bits and bobs
Madam with some glassware
Madam with some glassware

Most if it you would never see in another shop. It was almost like a museum as the stock was so rare. Parts of an Austin dashboard, 1950’s high chairs, old telephones.. I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

More bits and bobs
More bits and bobs

We had a quick walk around Murchison Main Street when Gary and Chris arrived from Takaka.
As it was well after 5pm, we thought it would be rude not to have a wee glass of something to celebrate our arrival in Murchison. Gary also did a plan for us for the rest of the trip which looks really good. Westport tomorrow.

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 2017 Covi Motorhome Show

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.

The Rally looks impressive from the entrance.. click on this to enlarge it.

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.   🙂

A 4 WD Hymer on the Rocks!

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 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 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.

Patricia and John with their Lilliput and Plymouth
The interior of John and Patricia’s Lilliput

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 🙂

Peter with others on the NZMCA Stand
The NZMCA stand early in the 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.

Another great show with lots to see.

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!

A few hidden surprises

Huntly is another town that has a few hidden surprises up its sleeve. I was keen to see what the holiday park looked like on the edge of Lake Hakanoa. 

Lake Hakanoa
Lake Hakanoa

Yep, Huntly has its very own lake with a Holiday park on the edge. It all looks very nice. We didn’t go in but stopped for lunch in the park next to the lake. The council have set it up well with nice planting and paths. I’m not a big bird watcher but there were some pretty unusual looking ones there apart from the swans. 

Lake Hakanoa
Lake Hakanoa

After lunch and a cup of tea, we headed off to another parking spot, I was keen to try on the edge of the Waikato river, the Huntly golf club. 

Click on the images to see hi res or the Gallery below for a slide show

Our motorhoming friends Rob and Helen are the golf club experts and have stayed at lots but this was our first ever golf course and it looked like a purler! As we arrived, I got talking to a local who was keen for me to spread the word about motorhoming here as they’re keen to promote it. 

Huntly$10 including power and the use of their toilets and showers which I thought was very good value.  After plugging in and settling things down, we went for a walk through the golf course and went right across to the Waikato river. It was a bit grey and gloomy but still nice to be near the water.

Waikato River
Waikato River

After an hour or so, the last player finished and we were on our own.  Another great spot, not too far from home!

Wheels of the Freewheelers

The view from the road
The view from the road

At the end of the week, it was time to think travel again and with a son with a birthday, Ardmore was the destination. After provisioning for the weekend at the easy to park in Countdown Takapuna, I headed to the Ardmore NZMCA park after getting some diesel at .91c a litre In Manurewa ! Fiona was driving out to join me after work.
I caught up with some if the regular liveaboards in the park which was great.

Our view of the Freewheelers.
Our view of the Freewheelers.

The Freewheelers were having their Christmas rally and were there in great numbers, all parked outside the NZMCA Ardmore park.

Click on the images to see them in Hi Res

Freewheelers are single people out enjoying their Motorhomes and they’re a lot of fun.
They had a Its in the bag night in the hall and it sounds like they had a great time.

The crew looking happy on Saturday morning
The crew looking happy on Saturday morning

With more than a hundred people turning up in 80 vans, it was a fantastic turnout.

Inside the NZMCA park looking out towards the Freewheelers in front. Fiona's car next to us.
Inside the NZMCA park looking out towards the Freewheelers in front. Fiona’s car next to us.

We went out to tea in Takanini with our friends Roger and Marion which was great. In the morning moved around to son Alex’s family in Ardmore in the morning.