Tag Archives: Special events

The Motorhome Surgery

Just recently, I had the pleasure of having a guided tour through ACM’s Auckland Motorhome repair and manufacturing factory. Amazing stuff.

Click on an Image to see Hi Res

A decapitated Luton restored

ACM was started 7 years ago by ex boat builder Chris Cunard (think Super Yachts) as a repair facility and later added his own range of manufactured Motorhomes. After chatting to Chris for a while, you very quickly get the sense that build quality is the name of the game and you can see this everywhere you look.

Chris Cunard

One of ACM’s Leading hands Daryl, showed me around a couple of the new Motorhome’s they are currently making for customers. Apart from having their own standard models, they make bespoke vans for those with special interests or hobbies. They also do repairs for other dealers brands too.

One of those I saw was one made for someone who was confined to a wheelchair. All the benchtops were lower. There was a special hydraulic lift at the back for entry and the bathroom and bedroom was all specially fitted out so they could enjoy Motorhoming. Fantastic!

Room for the slideout with the wheelchair Galley

A lot of  slideouts in the industry are driven electrically. These ones have huge hydraulic arms to drive it instead which should make it a lot more reliable. The hydraulic drop down legs for levelling were huge too.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

One of their clients who liked his music so much, they designed and built his Motorhome so that he could take a built in piano with him and it looks like part of the Motorhome.

Good on them for taking their hobby with them!

Click on the Gallery below to see one of the finished Motorhomes

Stairway to Heaven

Athough I was lucky enough a few years ago to have a look through the Niesmann and Bichoff factory in Germany, it was really nice to see a local builder building Motorhomes basically by hand, doing a really nice job of them and providing employment and skills training for young Kiwis.

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.

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

We’ve found a house !

We sold our last house in October last year. Settled in February this year and since then, we’ve been in Rafe fulltime mostly staying at Takapuna Holiday Park for 3-4 days a week.

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Our last night at Takapuna

Fiona has been able to walk to work from there in Takapuna and I’ve been able to do the odd commercial photographic job from there. We escaped in the weekends to where ever with a month off in the South Island as well. Its been fun but I’m very happy to be in a house again.

The rain finally stopped! Our last day

We did put in offers for a couple but were turned down and in hindsight, it was a good thing as what we have now is pretty bloody good! It also has a park for Rafe once we extend a concrete pad in the next few weeks.

Our view

The Kitchen needs doing and Fiona is already sizing up a new Oven.
Here are some images done by the real estate agency.

Click on the Gallery below to see Images of the House

Best of all its only 90 Square metres (we came from 240 sq m) with enough room for our friends and small enough to vacuum with the new Dyson in a few minutes.

It has a view out towards the North over the Waitemata Golf course in Devonport and is 5 minutes bike ride from about 4 beaches.

Our view

The week before we settled, I went to Adelaide to see my family with my two sons Andrew and Alex, as we haven’t seen any of them over there for quite a while. We were only there for 4 days and my sister Jayne went all out and organised a meal with the family and took us to see McClaren Vale and Hahndorf in the Adelaide hills which was great.

It was all a bit of a surprise for a few with my brother Tim coming over from Melbourne and neice flying in from Sydney too. Lots of fun and nice to see everyone.

Click on the gallery below for a Slideshow

The next day after getting back, we settled on the house so it was all a bit hectic! It all went reasonably smoothly and we moved in a few days later.

Even though Rafe has steadies, its really nice to walk around and not have that little wobble under your feet.

New Frankia Platin -ex Dusseldorf Show

One of things that stood out for me at the last Hamilton show, was the greater use in some Motorhomes of drop down beds and rear lounges, instead of permanent rear beds. The end result making a shorter Motorhome.

Click on the Images to see a larger version

Rear Lounge area

Right now the massive Dusseldorf Caravan Salon is on in Germany and many NZ Motorhome importers are there as they do every year.

Jonas Ng who imports the Dethleffs, Frankia, Morelo and Neismann and Bischoff Motorhome brands is there and has sent some images of the new Frankia Platin layout which features a rear lounge and drop down beds. Really interesting.

Click on the Gallery below to see a Slideshow

Check out his images.. (I’ve given them a little nudge in Photoshop !)

Featured in these photos are the Platin I7900 Plus and the I8400 Plus. .. Enjoy

Night of the Lights

Leigh Central hosted part of the Lights at Leigh which was part of the Matakana Light Festival. What was really convenient is that Leigh Central is also our favorite place for Motorhome Parking in this area.

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Getting busy at Leigh Central

We were sitting at Leigh Eats enjoying a nice cup of coffee when we met Michelle and Rose. Rose used to live in Devonport in a past life and Michelle was organising the Leigh Light Festival.

The weather was awful with the rain pelting down but looking at the rain radar it was due to ease off about 3pm, an hour before the start.

Less than an hour later, the Sun came out and we were on 🙂

The Kids are off for the Scavenger Hunt.

The Leigh part of it started at Leigh School where there was a scavenger hunt for the kids. First stop after that was the Fire Brigade a block away for heated Marshmallows on sticks.. Yum !

Removing the Spark plugs

After this they made their way around to the Leigh Garage where they had to remove a spark plug each and an oil filter! Then onto the Tattoo Parlour to get a stick on Tattoo.

By this time, it was dark and the lights were on. Prizes were to given for the best lighting effort on a House or Letterbox.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

Mums and Dads were at the indoor Markets hosted by Leigh Central and then for some like us, it was off to the Leigh Hotel where Hostess Sarah had gone all out and lit up her dress and and her hair which looked fantastic.

Leigh Bar’s Sarah with her lit Hairdo

A great day finished off with a glass of something back in Rafe with the heater on!

Back at the Motorhomes

 

Rafe’s Tracker map to Leigh

Motorhomes and Ferrys

It doesn’t seem to matter how early and organised you are but taking a large Motorhome across the strait always seems to be stressful. I have to say though this was one of the easier crossings.

It was perfect weather for a crossing. No wind forecast and not a cloud in the sky.

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Parked in Picton

We lined up early and were boarded pretty quickly. Easy peasy turning around and lining up behind a huge truck in front of us.

The InterIsland left about 20 minutes before us and we basically followed that all the way over.

It was really nice to see Arapawa Island all lit up by the late afternoon sun. This is where the Perano Whaling family based our old Whale Chaser called Rorqual.

Arapawa Island. The whalechasers were kept in the bay in the middle.

They chased in threes and all worked to a larger Mother ship which was a steamer called the Tuatea. Unfortunately it was later destroyed by fire. Rorqual like its other chasers were all powered by 600HP V12 petrol engines.

Rorquals one was a Kermath Sea Raider but others had different varieties, some even having old aero engines. They could honk though.. most did around 35 knots plus which was going for a 12 metre boat.

The trip was nice but as we got closer to Wellington, the wind got up so when we arrived, it was actually quite cold.

Wellington

It was easy as ever getting off and we were headed up to Plimmerton NZMCA park where we were meeting Fiona’s cousins for a night of Fish and Chips, nice wine and lots of laughs. A great end to a nice day.

About to leave the ferry

The Pine trees on the beach

While we were at Fairlie, I met our neighbours Peter and Val who were heading to Amberley to see their daughter. She just happened to live near the Campground at Amberley Beach. This was to be our next destination too.

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Rafe in the Park

After leaving Fairlie, we checked with old friends Ray and Margaret who have settled now in Geraldine. We met them at Peskis and they later showed us around Lake McGregor when we were with them at Tekapo. We had lots of fun together and it was neat to catch up with them again and see their house.

From here it was a quick stop at Christchurch to get some chemicals for the loo and then off to Amberley Beach.

The Non Dog area

We arrived there about 4pm and the shadows were already starting to get long. The camp is split into two bits. On the right is an area for Dogs and on the left is an area without Dogs. We went to the left and signed up and put our money in the “wooden maiden”. The cost is $5pp plus $5 for power.. very good value with some new loos nearby and the beach just through the sandhills.

Crossing to the pines

We went for a walk down to the beach just for a look and it looks fantastic with Pines on the foreshore in the sandhills.

Fabulous beach

It reminded me of when I was growing up in Christchurch, we used to have family holidays somewhere up this coast and I remember the pine trees that you had to run through to get to the beach and there were lots of old Cribs.. ahh the good old days !

Late Colours

It looked a bit bleak this time but this was only because it was getting late.

In the morning we left there and headed through to Kaikoura. Coming down from Wellington poured with rain all the way so we didnt get to see much but this time it was brilliant sunshine.

Its amazing what has been done here by the roading and railway people fixing things up after the earthquake. We saw some of the brave abseiling workers fixing back wire barriers to stop rocks falling. Amazing

The Pier Hotel

Arriving at Kaikoura for lunch, our first stop was to the Pier Hotel where we’ve eaten before. Looking across from there its amazing to see all the rocks that have been pushed up by the earthquake.

Looking across Kaikoura with all the new Rocks

One of the things still noticeable is the state of the roads around the area but Kaikoura is looking great and its great to see the good folk of Kaikoura bouncing back after such massive damage.

The Netspeed Speedtest Amberley
Download : 42.05 mbps
Upload : 12.16 mbps
Ping : 50 ms

Rafe’s Track North

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.

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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.

Yum Yum at Olivers

About a hundred years ago, Fiona trained to be a nurse with Pam.  We became good friends with Pam and husband Ollie, and as they also lived in Devonport we kept in touch.

Cutting a long story short, after their children grew up, they eventually went for a change of lifestyle and bought their farm just out of Temuka and did up the farm house.

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Ollie and Pam

It was a massive restoration which included lifting it up and spinning it around to face the sun.

The Farmhouse

Ollie is a trained chef and along with his cooking skills and having Pam at his side, they’ve setup and run Olivers Farm Stay’s B&B.

We had just arrived at Winchester Domain Camping ground which is about 500 metres up the road from their B&B just as we did a couple of years ago.

Fiona looked a picture as she had just washed her hair and one side of her head all done up in curlers.. think Ena Sharples 🙂 .. Ollie and Pam pull up and pop their heads in the door.. 🙂

After a cup of tea in Rafe, they took us up the road to their local cafe in Winchester.

Several hours went by here and then we went straight to Ollie and Pams home for tea.

It was great to catch up on all the news about their family and where they were up to.

While we had a glass or two of nice wine, Ollie prepared the feast and it was just stunning. No wonder their overseas customers keep coming coming back when there is this standard of hospitality.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The time ticked by unoticed as it does when you’re having fun but what a magic night and lovely to catch up with them both again.

Roasted Kumara !

If you’re in the area or know someone who wants to be spoiled with great food, in a comfortable place with some great humour thrown in. Check out http://www.oliversfarmstay.co.nz