With a caravan club rally to look forward to over the weekend, we decided to make the most of it and leave home a day early. The packing was finished on Thursday morning, we hitched up and set off over the Pahiatua Track to the Wairarapa. The sign of the Kiwi at Eketahuna urged us to drive safely on our journey. Early pioneers originally named the town Mellemskov, which means “Heart of the Forest”. This name was eventually discarded for ‘Eketahuna’, a Maori word which means to “run aground on a sandbank” (this name originated because Maori canoes could not paddle beyond this part of the Makakahi River).
Kiwi sign at Ekatahuna
It wasn’t too long before we whizzed past Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre, where they have rare white kiwis on show. No time to stop this time, we were travelling down to Masterton.
National Wildlife Centre
Our overnight stop was at the Solway Showgrounds in Masterton, and this site boasts a long history, stretching over 150 years. The Masterton A&P Association was formed in 1885 as a go-it-alone organization. Agricultural and pastoral shows have been held nearly every year in Masterton since that date. It was resolved to purchase the present site in 1908, with the showgrounds completed in 1911.
Late last year the Solway Showgrounds started welcoming motorhomes and campervans after becoming a registered Park Over Property (POP), with power sites available. The 50 acre site can accommodate self-contained motorhomes and caravans and will help reinforce Masterton’s official status a Motorhome Friendly Town. Visitors can use the onsite toilet and shower block facility and an upgraded laundry facility is also due to be completed soon.
We arrived to park under the large trees to find Bill and Val already on site, and Geoff and Eileen soon joined us. That’s six of us enjoying an extra night away.
This is such a lovely place to stay, lots of room to park up, surrounded with beautiful large trees. The grass was carpeted with golden leaves which rustle and crunch underfoot as you walk by.
Surrounded by autumn leaves
Bill and Val suggested dining out at a local restaurant which they discovered on their last visit. Needless to say, the rest of us didn’t need to much persuading to join them at for a night out at the Wairarapa Trading Company.
Wairarapa Trading Company
With Pork Belly on the menu, several of us chose that, with fried fish and steak also ordered. It was an enjoyable night out, and a great finish to the day.
A Bevy of Blokes - Geoff, Bill and Robin
All of us together, Geoff, Bill, Robin, Jenny, Val and Eileen
Then it was back to the vans for a cuppa and even more talking, except for me, I was nursing my cough and sore throat so went to bed early with a good book. Next stop, Carterton, to meet up with even more of our caravan club buddies.