It’s now been a few days since we attended the NZMCA Motorhome show in Hamilton and I have had time to take stock of what we saw both from the exhibitors and the attendees. So I thought it was time to write a few words about the show, the people, the motorhomes and the coffee.
Even though we didn’t want to buy another motorhome, we really are very happy with our Dethleffs Globetrotter, we did want to have a bit of a sticky beak at some of the new ones on display. The show is also one of the biggest rally’s in New Zealand with over 1000 vans being parked up by Friday night. Such and amazing sight and a credit to all the people who helped park everyone.
I had read that there was going to be a dedicated entrance for the people who were staying at the park, but for whatever reason the organisers decided not to proceed with this option. We thought we would have to join the massive queues for entry which stretched hundreds of people deep. Thankfully there was the option to prepurchase your tickets online and skip the queue. Then you could walk through the entrance which had a much smaller queue and within a couple of minutes we entered the show.
Once inside the show it was surprising to see just how many people had sneaked into the show ahead of us. So our plans to get in early to have a viewing of some of the exhibits before the crush of people made it into the show were dashed already.
One highlights of these shows is the display of vintage caravans with a dozen or so on show this year. For Sarah and I even though we own a modern European motorhome looking at these still evokes memories of our earlier days when we both experienced caravan life.
As we walked around the caravans I spotted the chocolate cake and cupcakes which appeared from a distance to be real. Thinking that someone was selling some home baking I wandered over to discover that these had in fact been knitted. A very realistic display of someones handcraft skills.
It wasn’t just the caravans that where catching peoples attention it was also the older vehicles that were being used to tow them. With some loving restorations to match the caravans.
There is a club for vintage and retro caravans so if you are looking at a restoration project then joining this would be a good source of advice along the way. A number of the caravans at the show were also for sale so if this is something you would like to get involved with maybe make contact to see how they can help.
As I said earlier we didn’t come to the show to buy a new motorhome but we were considering a couple of accessories. One of the things when you spend extended time on the road during winter is that you either spend time at the laundromat or you have to think of some way of getting clothes dry in the wet. For us we are quite happy to hand wash them but wringing the water from them is a real chore so we wanted to investigate a washing machine or some other way of spinning the water from them. In the end we didn’t buy anything here. It was however good to get ideas and maybe another day we might make a purchase.
I’ve also thought about buying leveling ramps for the motorhome, but as we have a tag axle in the rear it’s easier said than done as fitting the ramp between the two rear wheels in next to impossible. One day we will have to invest in one of the self leveling hydraulic systems that are available but at around $10K that’s a bit more than I want to invest at the moment.
The show was also a great time for catching up with people. As well as some other motorhome bloggers that I caught up with. We also met up with Sarah’s cousin Mary who had just purchased her first motorhome. Mary had purchased a Mercedes van that had started it’s life as a rental and was missing some of the things that a more experienced motorhomer might have looked for in a van. So we spent a bit of time researching solar panels and TV dishes to try and help her get kitted out for the road.
It’s great to see more and more people looking to join the motorhome community. But as the community grows so will the pressure on resources for freedom and other forms of camping. I wonder if we aren’t already at saturation point in Northland and other tourist spots like Rotorua and Taupo for the period from Christmas until the end of February. Will it be that we all start heading to the South Island and then that becomes overcrowded as well. I hope not but fear we are heading that way.
It was also a chance to revisit the two vans that we almost brought instead of the Globetrotter. The Pilote from Gary at Deluxe Group in Blenheim who remembered us well as we had also almost purchased his Globetrotter, that he owned personally before buying the new one from Jonas @ Zion Motorhomes . We also revisited the Jayco Optimum which I really liked but with the reduced storage capacity due to the slide out would not have been practical.
Speaking with Gary from Deluxe it was nice to hear that Jan and her partner and their dog, who we had met in Motueka were so happy with their Pilote that they had traded it back in and purchased an A class like the one in the photo.
It was standing room only in the Trailite Theatre to listen to some of the talks about various things to do with the motorhome and caravan lifestyle. A really good chance to brush up your knowledge in a relaxed informative atmosphere. As well as a great place to rest those weary feet if you could find a chair!
I guess people that have been coming to these shows for years will have seen lots of brands come and go but there were two brands on display this year that I didn’t see last year both out of our price range but both I thought were very well finished motorhomes.
Firstly the Morelo which Jonas from Zion Motorhomes has added to his stable to run alongside the Dethleffs and Frankia brands and at $365,000 was I think the most expensive motorhome at the show.
Secondly was the ACM Platinum 8.3 this from a company that make the motorhomes for Pacific Horizon (the rental company) but there is nothing of rental standards about this top of the line motorhome and if your budget stretches to $300K plus it would be worth checking out. You would however have to wait till next year as they only have build slots available in April and September 2019!
Of course it’s not just the expensive vans that people come to see. With something there to cover almost every budget it was a very well put together show. I am sure all the people selling their vans are all looking forward to that moment when they can slap that large “SOLD” sticker on the side of the van. Sort of makes it worthwhile being here for them and gives the buyers that wonderful feeling that they have made a really wonderful purchase.
I wasn’t sure if I was looking at a caravan or a boat when we came across these two on display. You can however be assured that they are caravans just with a very nautical theme obviously designed to attract clients who still have a passion for boating but perhaps now need to be based more on land than at sea.
I think it was one of those cases of do as I say not as I do when I decided that I wanted a Coffee on the Friday. I obviously didn’t read my own blog as just before I ordered I heard them calling out that number 106 was ready and when they handed me my number it was 132 so a great way to waste 20 or so minutes just standing around waiting for my coffee.
On the plus side the coffee and cakes were being sold to aid womens refuge centres so in some small way it was my contribution to a very worthy charity for the day. Of course there were no seats at any of the tables so it was drink as you walk, hoping that no-one bumps you and you end up wearing it. Thankfully this didn’t happen and I felt refreshed with a well made coffee.
I talked about the 1000 plus motorhomes at the start of this post and took various photos at different times of the day of the shear number of vans as well as the dramatic sunset over the events hall on Saturday night.
If you ask me was the show worth attending the answer would be yes. I thought the show was very well set out and although I probably don’t want to change my motorhome next year either we will probably attend next years show as well. It’s a bit of fun and that from someone who hates crowds of people. I would like to see the promised entrance close to the parking area be there next year. I know there is the shuttle but avoiding the long walk and the crowds at the other entrance would be a great benefit for NZMCA members parked up.
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