We’re road tripping with our friends for a couple of weeks

Written in retrospect…

Monday October 5, 2018

We’ve been planning a short trip away with our friends Lynda and Terry, for a while now. Like us, they have recently replaced their motorhome with a caravan.

We left Taupo in fairly gusty weather, and were a little concerned about winds on the Desert Rd, so we decided to stop at our favourite cafe in Turangi, The Creel Tackle Shop and Cafe

Over our coffee, and after checking the Met Service app we decided to carry on and in actual fact it was a piece of cake, as Terry put it, though there was a warning about possible high winds and high-sided vehicles in place. The mountains were visible with quite a bit of snow.

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We reached Marton NZMCA Park in good time and settled in. This was the first time here for both of us. What a great place. The custodian came around soon after we arrived and helpfully told us where we should park our tow vehicles, as the park was filling up.

We loved the barbecue area, and made use of it the second night.

Laundry facilities are basic, but I had to try the old wringer out for old time’s sake, so did some hand washing.

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There are unisex toilets and a shower on site too, but beware, the shower runs cold water only.

We decided on takeaways for dinner that first night, and a fellow camper recommended the hamburgers from the dairy if we walked through the park and turned left, but when we got there unfortunately, the kitchen was closed! It closes at 6.45pm, and we arrived at 7pm.

They recommended we try Broadway Takeaways, which looks pretty unattractive from the road, but in actual fact, their burgers were spot on, and they obviously have a good reputation judging by the number of people coming in for takeaways on a Monday night.

The next morning I took a walk through Marton Park beside the NZMCA Park. There is a pretty rose garden, and a pavilion.

This cute wee cafe opposite caught my eye..


If you feel like you’re having a bad day, remember, you are a miracle.”

The town shops are just a short walk away…

I hadn’t known that Marton was named after the Yorkshire town of Marton in England, it being the birthplace of Captain James Cook, and a statue of him stands in the main street to mark this.

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We’d heard good reports of the Coach House Museum in Fielding, so decided to visit while in the area. This is a world-class collection of horse-drawn transport and New Zealand farming heritage. It’s also home to the finest collection of vintage John Deere tractors and machinery in the Southern Hemisphere. The stories of Manawatu’s history are brought to life, and we spent several hours browsing the vast collection of not only farming and rural artefacts and vehicles,  but Edwardian household items, fashions, cameras, and… well you need to see for yourself if you haven’t already.

What was known as the Manchester Block was covered in podocarp forest and dense bush, and native birds  were abundant.

With the arrival of Pakeha (European settlers), and the purchase of the block by the Government from Maori for 25,000 pounds in 1866, it was then on-sold to Colonel Fielding, of the Emigrants and Colonists Aid Corporation, in 1871. The total area was 106,000 acres. It was part of the Rangitikei/Manawatu block, and known as the Manchester Block.

The first immigrants arrived in 1874, and were housed in tents in a clearing in the bush until barracks were built. Land was cleared for farming. Roads were cleared and tramways laid. Fielding, and the towns of Halcombe, Ashhurst and Bunnythorpe were established.


A wee look at some of the collections… and this is just a small fraction of what there is to see…

Sewing and embroidery


A wonderful restoration of this old Burford lorry which was found rotting away under a tree


Cameras galore


Sheep = wool and bales stamped with the station they came from


A huge collection of carriages and gigs


Horses of course were all important


Machinery and vehicles, and the biggest display of vintage John Deere tractors which I didn’t photograph (sorry).


A scale model of a WW1 aeroplane, and motorbikes – an Indian and a couple of early Douglas models



The Cheltenham Co-operative Dairy Company Ltd produced their own brand of butter



The collective curation here in the Coach House Museum in Fielding is outstanding, and I’m told, continues to grow. We highly recommend visiting and supporting it.

This place is also a POP – #4709 in the NZMCA directory. A paid museum visit (it’s $12 per pp) as a donation is appreciated. Suitable for any sized vehicle, and very welcoming.


After this we needed a coffee and some lunch, so headed to Feilding’s delightfully laid out village square, and hit the shops.


Just some of the Edwardian architecture in the town

I seem to buy shoes every time I come to Fielding, and today I went home with two pairs, while my husband also bought a pair. The thing is, my father’s business was shoes, so my mother had lots, and as I grew up my father would buy in shoes he knew I would like.

Oh dear! Glad John understands 🙂

We’ve enjoyed our stay in Marton in the Manawatu, but tomorrow we’re moving on to Plimmerton.

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