Imagine this – 350 acres of bush covered forest in in the wilds of Moores Valley, Wainuiomata, in 1864. The land would have been teeming with native birds when the property was purchased by emigrate Cornishman John Crowther who developed it into a farm. His daughter Mary lived here all her life and on her death in 1958 bequeathed the property to Scouting Wellington. Adjoining land has since been purchased allowing water to be collected and treated for use on the property. 34 caravans (including a sprinkling of campervans) parked in the former orchard amongst the apple trees this weekend at Brookfield to take part in the Wellington Regional Rally, hosted by the Wainiomata Caravan Club.
Pools of water covered the ground when we arrived and the rain continued to fall for most of the weekend. The rain turned the ground to mud and slush, but campers are hardy folks and most just donned their gum boots as they slipped and slid their way around the camp site, wearing rain jackets and carrying umbrellas. First order of the weekend was the official opening on Friday night. The sounds of a lone bagpipe heralded the arrival of the club banner bearers as they made their way into the hall.
The banner bearers marched behind the kilted bag pipe player and the banners were displayed in the hall the whole weekend. Robin had the honour of carrying our banner as he is the current President of Heretaunga Caravan Club. The rally was officially opened and the weekend activities got under way. It was nice to catch up with members of other clubs who we only see now and again at these sorts of occasions.
On Saturday the camp manager Ian gave us a very interesting potted history of the complex from it’s early days as a farm, through to the present time as Brookfield Outdoor Centre. The property caters for scout groups and school parties and provides such fun activities as kayaks and canoes, and a flying fox. We all met back in the hall in the evening for a catered dinner. My main concern was how I was going to walk to the hall through all that mud as I was dressed for dinner and wanted to wear my “good” shoes out to the meal. We had not thought to pack our gumboots. No problem, I would wear my muddy sneakers on my feet, (they looked a bit strange teamed with my flowing skirt and toning top) then change into my good shoes at the hall. Robin couldn’t understand my concerns. HIs suggestion to keep my sneakers on during the meal was not well received. The meal was delicious and included hot ham, beef, chicken and a selection of vegetables and salads. The hall was abuzz with after dinner conversations flowing around the tables.
At the end of the evening, everyone changed into their gummies, donned their jackets, raised their umbrellas and trudged back to their respective caravans through the mud and sludge. Oh, the joys of camping in the rain!