Gary is the patriarch of the Quinn family, his three adult children are all mutiple National Surfing champions. The eldest Maz Quinn, being NZ’s first surfer on the World Tour, then there’s Holly who now runs a surf coaching school and the youngest Jay. Gaz was also President of Surfing NZ for many years. But now the semi retired ever surf amped Grandfather spends a good chunk of the time scouring the coasts with his wife Mereana in their Mitzi Motorhome.
Editors note; The photos in this post don’t do the Mitzi justice, it is incredibly comfortable and welcoming inside. As Gaz mentions, setting up the RV, with the lounge and it’s large windows facing the view is epic.
Gary takes up the story;
We are loving our RV life and plan to spend more time on the road. We have been to Piha twice in RVs. Our current motorhome was a family shared one and on those two occasions, it was not our turn. Our good friends Gary and Carol Jones had a Hiace pop-top and offered it to us so we could attend the Surfing Nationals in Piha. We stayed at the camp that year and although the Hiace was well appointed it was really too small and limited ablution wise. Meaning a motorcamp was the only option.
The following year we came back with a hired Toyota Coaster. We rented a house near the top of the hill at Piha as the whole Whanau wanted to stay. Lucky we had the bus as the house was full, Jay, wife and son, Maz, GT and family. Good times at Piha!I think that was the year Jay won and Maz was second, quiet house for a while after that.
The Coaster is a popular bus for motorhomes, not too big and easy to drive, in fact drives just like a car. I have been told they are built to last about 10 years as a bus and consequently the chassis rust thereafter. The one we hired had bunks and could sleep 6.
So after nearly 10 years in the Okitu Store in Gisborne we wanted a dramatic change so we decided to build in Bali and spend as much time there as possible. While in NZ we would spend our time in the motorhome. We purchased it from the family as the other members wanted out. Mereana’s Dad Ernie was an early Motorhome Association Member and this was his 4th motorhome. It is a 1999 Trail-lite 6m on a Mitsubishi Canter truck chassis. Unfortunately, Ernie got crook and the truck ended up parked in the farm shed for 10 years. When we pulled it out about 2010 it had done only 29000kms. It is painfully slow on the hills!
With dual rear wheels and being a truck, 3950kg tare, it has great ground clearance. The cab is connected to the back, but you have to climb over the motor.
We love the layout as there is plenty of space. Ernie had it built and designed it so the rear is a social area around a table that can seat 8 comfortably. With windows all-around at the rear, it is great to just back up to the beach view. The kitchen is 2m long with gas oven and 4 burner gas top. Plenty of work space and a large 150 L fridge freezer. When we took it over we replaced all the fluro lamps with LED on the inside. With 2 truck batteries and 2 deep cycle batteries power is no problem and we have no need to plug in. We sleep in the Luton above the cab.
It is set up for TV with wind up for a dish. We chose not to spend our time watching TV so don’t have one. We would rather read. With tech the way it is I can tether through my mobile to the laptop, which I have done for working while on the road. I do some moderating work for the Primary ITO industry training organisation. It used to involve going to schools, Polytechnic and Private providers and moderating their facilities and student assessments.
During our first 6 month sojourn around the North Island I was able to combine my moderation visits with our travel. Ideal, however, cost-cutting has seen this all being done by paper now. So I still get scripts posted or emailed to moderate. Though while in Tora last week with no connection, phone included, I had 8 moderations waiting to be completed the day we drove out!!
Because the truck is so strong we are able to get off the highway and do the back roads, sealed or not. We went off the highway at Mokau heading along the coast to Raglan all-metal, great trip and beautiful beaches along the way. Kawhia, however, had five campgrounds and no freedom camping, not very welcoming. The plan is not to stay in campgrounds when you have a fully self-contained motorhome.
The DOC camp on the western side of Palliser Bay is pretty cool too. Plenty of ground clearance needed to drive across the river scees. We asked one of the locals what the road was like, he said’ no worries if ya get stuck in the river or its scoured out I will get the tractor out’.
Great little camp, no one there the week before Labour weekend.
On the way back from there last year we did the coast road from Martinborough through to Hawkes Bay. Lots of forestry roads and often side trips of 30km to reach some of the beaches. You simply could not do this in a modern 7m plus gin palace. The overhang is too long for a start and the rear would drag on the ground.
Belonging to the NZMCA is very beneficial financially. We have not used their park up spots because they are generally not near the surf or beaches mostly. I am sure we will at some point though. We have a Kiwi Fuel card through NZMCA which is great. Often get 20 cents a litre off diesel (at Mobil), always at least 12 cents off the pump price. On the last trip, we paid $1.00 a litre. Then for the truck RUC is 12.86 cents a kilometre. $385.80 for 3000kms. We are in the 3.5 to 12-tonne band for RUC. NZMCA is challenging NZTA over this banding for motorhomes which all fall right at the bottom of this band but pay the same as a 12-tonne truck.