Back to the Future
Head to Gisborne for the 2019 National Rally and enjoy everything the East Coast has to offer.
It’s time to start locking in dates on your calendar for adventures in 2019 and there should already be a large ring around 1-3 March for the 63rd NZMCA National Rally & AGM in Gisborne. While national rallies have traditionally been held over Easter, it falls comparatively late next year. So the date has been brought forward to make the most of the East Coast’s wonderful summer weather, providing members with the perfect opportunity to explore an area that is still largely off the visitor radar.
The local organising committee is keen to showcase their patch of provincial New Zealand and has worked hard to produce an event that really is ‘Back to the Future’.
"The rally will be held at the A&P Showgrounds, Main Rd, Makaraka and promises to live up to its name in more ways than one."
NZMCA 1, a 1928 REO - which was originally converted into a motorhome by the club’s founder Andy Anderson - that the Eastland Area club members have spent the past two years restoring from the chassis up, will be unveiled at the rally. While working hard to bring back the past, the organising committee has put as much effort into showcasing tomorrow’s transport and carbon-free future alongside this unique motorhome.
Back to the Future 2019 will be spread over three days, finishing in time for those members heading to the Covi SuperShow in Auckland to get there via a leisurely trip through the beautiful East Coast.
The timing of the rally is also perfect for those who want to combine it with other great events including Wings over Wairarapa, Art Deco in Napier, and one of the last race meetings at the Wairoa racing club, before a fun few days in Gisborne.
A trip around the coast will be magic at that time of year. The Summer Camping Permit scheme operated by Gisborne District Council costs $34 for ten days, including free rubbish bags. These can be purchased at the rally. There are NZMCA camps in Gisborne, Te Araroa and Opotiki and many activities to enjoy in this beautiful, but often forgotten, part of New Zealand.
Parking at the rally site will be available from 9.30am on Thursday 28th February. The trades area will be mostly under cover, where motorhome equipment, services, motorhomes and caravans, e-bikes and the newly minted NZMCA1, will all be in one building. For those who have difficulty walking, regular minibus service will be provided to and from this venue, the main event centre and the village.
The activity list promises something for everyone. The local Area is providing low-key entertainment in the village during the day, including an Irish band, the Orphans skiffle band, a ukulele strum-along, a partner’s challenge quiz, and of course Motorhomers Got Talent, so be sure to bring your talent along. There will be a golf tournament at the course next door, an indoor bowls tourney in the main hall, line dancing and guided morning walks.
So there really is something for everyone - including your furry friends. The pet cafe will be the perfect place for pet owners to meet for coffee and pamper their pet in a secluded environment. There will be agility demonstrations and a Clicker trainer workshop to help teach old dogs new tricks.
Seats are limited on the planned WA 165 Locomotive steam train excursion, which takes in a two-hour commentated trip over the Poverty Bay flats so book this in at registration. While the rally will be one to remember, here are the organisers’ picks of other highlights to tempt travellers into a trip to the East Coast.
Gisborne is the chardonnay capital of New Zealand and one of the most prolific wine-growing areas in the country. No visit to the area is complete without a visit to one or more of the vineyards serving delicious food and wines.
Motu Trails Cycleway
Whether you prefer a standard or an e-bike, the Motu trail offers a wide variety of options, from the Dunes trail accessed at Opotiki to the Tauranga Bridge in the Waioeka Gorge, and of course, the Motu trail itself for the more adventurous. These trails provide a delightful view of the area’s wonderful scenery.
There are also a number of trails that start on the Gisborne side, including the short foreshore route and the Lavenham Road trail which passes by several of the district’s famous vineyards. Check out www.facebook.com/motutrails
There are plenty of walks from easy to challenging. Go to www.tairawhitigisborne.co.nz, search walks and you will find walks that range from 20 minutes to all day, and in difficulty from really easy to challenging.
East Cape Lighthouse
Feeling fit? Want to climb 800 steps? Try an overnight at the new NZMCA camp at Te Araroa and drive out to East Cape lighthouse. The walk up to the lighthouse is quite a climb, but well worth it for the views from the top. It’s a 45 minute ride from the camp to the car park and another 30 minutes or so to the top. Be there at dawn and be first in the world to greet the new day.
Rere Rock Slide
By now surely everyone has heard of this world famous attraction. The Rere rock slide is fun for the young at heart and a short 45 minute ride from Gisborne. Described as 60 metres of pure adrenaline, even spectators will enjoy watching the more adventurous on their inner tubes riding the slide.
There are many places for the fisher folk to go, whether it be for trout at Ruakituri or Lake Waikaremoana, fishing off the wharf at Tolaga Bay, or surfcasting at the many spots around the coast. They can all be productive and great relaxation.
Don’t forget that the East Coast is home to some of the best permitted camping spots in the country. They aren’t free, but you can buy a permit at very reasonable cost from designated places around the coast. Cost for 10 nights is around $34 and includes rubbish bags and tip fees. Go to www.gdc.govt.nz/summer-camping/ for more details. There will be a temporary i-site at the rally to help visitors plan their next steps.
Visit two of the finest in the country, including Eastwood Hill, an arboretum of national and international importance. It holds the most comprehensive collection of woody plants in New Zealand and possibly the largest collection of northern hemisphere trees south of the equator, including 170 species currently on the world endangered list. Then there is Hackfalls’ arboretum with a wide range of trees and shrubs in a hill setting enhanced by two natural lakes and the largest private collection of oaks in the southern hemisphere including more than 3,500 different species.
Feed the fish, well the stingrays and kingfish at least, at Tatapouri. Suitable gear is provided and you are guided through an experience like no other feeding the rays. As this is tide dependent, you will need to check out times. Find out more at www.divetatapouri.com
If all this isn’t enough to keep you busy, check out www.tairawhitigisborne.co.nz
There are many other activities and trips from museums, cultural walks, scenic drives, dining, wineries, to the best little brewery in the east. Also, our neighbours in the Eastern Bay Area are holding a retro rally from 8-10 March so you should really think about making that part of your journey - especially if you’re heading north for the Covi SuperShow the following weekend. So come and join us at National Rally 2019 from March 1-3, and plan to spend a few weeks Back to the Future and get to know us better.
If you'd like to attend 2019's National Rally and AGM please register here: https://www.nzmca.org.nz/membership/easterrally2019