Tag Archives: Special events

800 000 Hits!

The last 100000 has been a bit of a slog but we finally got there.. Its actually more than 820 000!

Glorious spot  by the Waikato River 

I remember the moment when we hit 600 000. I was on my own in Coromandel at a neat campground by the river so had plenty of time to think about it. Fiona was at work.

Fiona using the Power pole clothesline 🙂  In the Ida Valley

Thanks for being great supporters of these pages and now heading for the Million mark.!

Timber Town Romp – Let there be Music!

The morning started a bit later with I suspect a few sore heads after the NZ-UK Rugby game and there was lots of chatter about the game. To console myself, I kept telling myself that it is only a game after all… not quite that simple but it helped 🙂

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Roger and Diane’s Fifth Wheeler opposite Rafe

I spent the morning reading, listening to some music and generally just blobbed for a few hours. The weather was amazing with a clear blue sky and as the day went on, it got much warmer after a fairly cold start.

Its Knitting time

Today was a real Music Day with a band called Tuned out Larry, Jenny and Band which was a three piece band from Tokerau. A nice sound. After that, there was the usual 4pm Happy Hour. This was the last one for the event so it was well attended 🙂

Time to dance

I went back to Rafe and had tea but was looking forward to the  next band.  Over in the main Hall was  the  Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. A very slick performance by some very talented people!

The crowd enjoying the Hamilton Bluegrass band
The two originals, Alan and Paul
Pam with the fantastic Voice

I’ve heard them several times before and although they’ve now got a different line up, the two original 5th formers from Fairfield High school who started the band, Alan and Paul, are still there and sounding as good as ever. Pauls ex wife Colleen was the original Fiddler and sadly she has moved on but one of their sons is the very talented Bass player and their Daughter in Law is the new Fiddle player.  The Mandolin player who is also an instrument repairer and Potter from Coromandel and Pam the singer and Guitar player complete the lineup.  Pams voice is something else… a great sound and I was there right to the end 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

A very successful event run by a very switched on team.

Piccy time

A great Weekend.

Timber Town Romp – Let the Games Begin

I was up pretty early for me at 7:30! It was cold even though the sun was out for the first time for days.

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People getting ready for the games

Today was to be a big day with the Highland Games and it was fun. There were extra points if you wore some Tartan and many made a real effort with some great costumes.

On the bank

The first event was The Hamilton Pipe Band. There’s something about Bagpipes that just get me going.. I love it! A wonderful sound.

Boom Boom

One of the NZMCA Waikato organiser Neal was dressed up in Tartan, and had a set of bagpipes made of electrical Conduit pipes. He had a recording on his cell phone for the sound effects. A great sight. It was funny to see.

Neal with his Bagpipes

He also managed to momentarily slot himself on the end of the line with the Hamilton Pipers playing. Lots of fun.

Neal “Playing along”
Watching the fun

The Games started straight after that. There was Hammer throwing (into a bucket), Caber throwing, Gumboot throwing which was fun to watch. And later there was egg throwing and they weren’t hard boiled either 🙂 Brian Stanley seemed to do pretty well here 🙂

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

The Forest View High School provided a Sausage Sizzle with Steak Sandwiches and other niceties. They did so well that the queue created meant that the events later had to put back while everyone had a feed.

I’m really pleased for the kids at the school as they really put themselves out to make this happen and with at least 150 odd people out of approximately 600 that attended, their sports trip had every chance of being a well funded one 🙂

Marching off

The Haggis was piped in by the Hamilton Pipe band and later another big Happy Hour in the Events Centre. Lots of people this time and after that, there was a performance by Tim Armstrong and his band. Unfortunately, he was competing against the NZ Rugby world cup semi final.

I was lucky to be able to watch it with Rodger and Diane next door with a nice Pinot to finish off the day. Despite the Rugby result, it was a great day in Paradise with some really nice people.

Happy Hour outside

Timber Town Romp – Getting Settled

Yes, it was at Tokoroa. Tokeroa is not somewhere I’ve spent any time at and after a walk around, its quite a neat wee town. Everything is handy and the locals all seemed super friendly.

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Rafe in his spot surrounded by vans

I was heading to the latest NZMCA Rally being the Timber Town Romp which was looking like being a real hoot.  Hosted by the good folk from the Waikato area of the NZMCA, it was held at the recently setup South Waikato Events centre which was a fantastic venue.

Everywhere you look

Having done parking at a Dethleffs event a few years before, I quickly volunteered to help with the parking and all was good.

After registering inside the centre, I met Des and Cathy who were manning the desk along with some others clocking everyone in. A big job.

All those white things

That night I bumped into lots of people I knew which was fantastic, including Rodger and Diane who were parked right next door. I knew Rodger from his time as Custodian at the Ardmore Park. A great guy who most will know from the park and has been involved in several of the Covi shows parking at Ellerslie.

Tokoroa’s main street is undergoing some major road works so the original plan of opening the gates at 11am was quickly found to be impractical as the Motorhomes and Caravans starting queing earlier than planned.  In the interests of safety and not cloggging up the main street, the decision was made to open early and get everyone safely parked.

I was in the main carpark making sure Motorhomes and Caravanners took a wide track so they could line up correctly for the entrance.

That carpark filled up around 11:30 so we started the other paddock. While another friend who I was pleased to see, Alan marked out several rows of new parking sites, I stood in the entrance way and directed them in. Others were parking them as they came onto the field. Everyone pitched in and we covered each other for cups of tea and lunch breaks etc..

The second park with the first in the distance behind…

It was a fun day and there were no disasters either which was a bonus 🙂 So after starting about 9am, most of us had finished about 4pm, we think we parked about 400 odd Motorhomes and Caravans !  Fortunately it got warmer as the day went on starting out around 5 degrees !

Raffle winner

It was time for the first Happy Hour of the event and that was held in the Events Centre main hall which is HUGE! One of the biggest Happy Hours I’ve ever been to.

Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow

At 7pm there was a show from a solo performer Ebonivory Neville Ormsby where many got up onto the dance floor. Very slick too from a one man show. And this was just Day One!

Dancing
Rafe’s Tracker map to the Event.

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.

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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.

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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

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