Having to spend some time at home whilst we get my mother settled into her assisted living apartment has meant that there is time to get a few things sorted on the motorhome. Firstly when we drove back to Auckland from Gisborne through the Waiweka Gorge and picked up one of those dreaded stone chips in the windscreen.
When Sarah and I had the car rental company we used Gavin from the Crack Specialists for all the screen repairs that the fleet needed so a quick call to Gavin and we arranged for him to meet us at the new North West shopping centre where there was plenty of parking and space for him to work. All sorted in next to no time. So if you need a chip in your screen fixed and you are in Auckland give Gavin a call on 021 844 885 he is a mobile service and will come to you.
Next on the agenda is to get the Fiat recall sorted (see blog) 7 weeks ago we took the motorhome to Andrew Simms in Botany for what I thought would be the recall sorted but what actually happened was they looked at the van confirmed that it was covered by the recall and then told me they needed to order the parts.
I was really annoyed at this point because we had picked the motorhome up from West Auckland and driven it all the way to Botany in East Auckland some 3 weeks after I had booked it in thinking they would have ordered all the parts for a known recall. So I was rather surprised to be told that they needed to order the parts and would call me when they arrived. Why not order the parts and then get me in?
This time they wanted the motorhome earlier as it’s a full day job and there are one or two service items that also needed to be attended to. So rather than drive from home to West Auckland collect the van and then drive out East all in peak time traffic we decided that we would look to spend the previous night closer to Botany and remove the stress the following morning.
After consulting the trusty Travel Directory to see if there was somewhere to stay near Botany we found that the NZMCA Park at Ardmore was probably our best option. Funnily enough it’s not that long ago that we visited here to have a look see and decided that we would probably never stay here because it’s too close to home. You can read about that visit here.
We had come out separately so Sarah could collect me from the workshop in the morning. I also arrived a couple of hours earlier than her, as she was helping my mother get to a doctors appointment. (it would have been rather difficult to take her in the motorhome) This allowed me to stroll down to the Cafe to grab a bite to eat. It is such a small world as I was about to walk into the cafe I met Peter and Yana who store their motorhome at the same place we store ours, considering there are only 6 motorhomes there I thought this was some coincidence. It also turns out that our member numbers are actually quite close with both of us having joined the NZMCA in 2002.
I guess you know it’s winter when the park is as empty as it was last night and although a few more vans arrived after I took this photo there was still plenty of space available.
Once Sarah arrived we took a walk as dusk approached heading towards the cafe and beyond looking at what where obviously old hangers mixed with newer buildings there really is an amazing amount of empty space here. Maybe parts of this space could help solve Auckland’s housing crisis or maybe the NZMCA Park. could be expanded to become a mega Park so that in summer hundreds of members could be here enjoying the peace and quiet.
We did find out that this used to be the site of the Ardmore Teachers College with a commemorative plaque near the main entrance to the airport. The story board next to it shows the masses of buildings that used to be here. It really was a huge complex. There must have been hundreds of students and teachers based here.
It would appear that no one has done any maintenance on the footpaths since the day the Teachers College moved out as they really are in a shocking state but thankfully these signs, no doubt an OSH requirement, are handily placed mostly lying on the ground so you will know that the paths are a hazard and that you may trip! For goodness sake PC/OSH gone mad.
Other than the gentle patter of rain on the roof it was a peaceful night at the camp. I must say however that the planes began to disturb my beauty sleep at around 7.30am with their noisy revving as they trundle down the runway. Still if that’s my only complaint then I don’t really have anything to complain about.
The following morning it was off to Andrew Simms to drop of the motorhome. One of the difficulties of owning something that is 9 metres long is finding someone who has a workshop big enough to take it. Obviously it also has to be the franchise dealer that does the first service to validate the warranty reducing the service choices even further.
We had met some people in Christchurch earlier this year who had purchased a similar length Swift motorhome and where disgusted to discover that they could not have it serviced in their home town as the Christchurch Fiat agent does not have the room for a motorhome of this size. They needed to take it to Blenheim or Dunedin, something you might need to consider. So check with your local service agent about what they can and cannot do.
The Fiat recall on the Ducato is an 8 hour job so it was drop off the motorhome and return the following day to collect it. Arriving back at Andrew Simms the next day we spotted our motorhome tucked into the corner. With what I thought was a bit of smart thinking on my part I took a photo of the motorhome that was blocking ours in so when I got to service reception I could tell them which vehicle was in the way.
The oil in the Euro 6 Ducato’s is almost like liquid gold dust @$30 per litre and the van takes 8 litres to fill it so it was never going to be a cheap service but you do what you have to do to keep the warranty valid.
From Botany it was out to Pokeno to the new showrooms for Zion Motorhomes the agents for Dethleffs motorhomes in New Zealand. They have only just moved in here and you can almost still smell the fresh paint around the place. It is a fantastic facility with a huge showroom where you can look at the motorhomes undercover. Great to keep out of the rain in winter and out of the sun in summer.
The real reason for my visit is that we have been having ongoing house battery issues with the motorhome. This time the team at Zion have agreed to swap out the house batteries and replace them with a newer set. I am really pleased to say that the team at Zion Motorhomes have stood behind their product really well and any issues that we have had have been attended to without complaint.
On the road travelling we have heard and read on Facebook horror stories about people who have brought something only to be told almost to go away by the selling dealer. This certainly has never been the case from Jonas and his team at Zion Motorhomes I highly recommend dealing with them.
Problems sorted and service taken care of it was time to once again brave Auckland’s traffic and return the motorhome to it’s base in West Auckland. It’s times like these that you realise what a large spread out city we live in, even with moderate traffic it still took over an hour of driving.
From here we are heading north soon to work on an assignment for Heritage New Zealand to visit and blog about some of the historic places they look after in Northland. They approached me a couple of months ago to do this and I am quite excited to be asked to be involved. A series of 6 blogs will follow about these places. As well as the usual stories about other things to see and places to stay in the area.
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.
To view the Ratings we have done for other camps click here