smitten travels: Classic Campers, New Zealand Part 1

vw campervan new zealand // smitten studioWhen planning our trip to New Zealand we knew it had to include a road trip campervan style and as soon as I came across the Classic Campers website I was completely sold on getting into one of their rental Kombis. Retro Volkswagen heaven.

stony bay new zealand // vw campervan // smitten studionew zealand // smitten studiokombi camping // new zealand // smitten studiocows coromandel new zealand // smitten studionew zealand // stony bay // vw camper // smitten studionew zealand road trip // coromandel // smitten studioI can not tell you how much we fell in love with this van (and New Zealand). It became a little part of us while we were touring around the north island’s hills. It was our transportation by day, our shelter at night, it screams happiness and total freedom, and it literally made me smile every time I climbed into the passenger seat. Don’t ask me how a van does all that but it downright stole my heart. Rupe has already started scouring the internet for ones for sale and we dream daily of buying one and driving it all around the states.

Bevan and Andrea, the owners of Classic Campers, were also a treat to work with. He is a bit of a whiz when it comes to the VW mechanics so he had the 1975 Kombi running like a champ. They have a collection of seven vintage campervans that they rent out as well as some modern vans and caravan options. Our particular Kombi came complete with a refrigerator/freezer, hot & cold pressure water, a 2 burner gas stove, and a good stereo system with a USB hookup for our Iphones. What more do you need, really?

All of the photos above are from the first few days of our trip, which covered the Coromandel Peninsula.

I’ll share our full 11 day route with the van in Part two tomorrow!

Images by Sarah Sherman Samuel

Get a few tips for planning a NZ road trip after the jump!

Tips for renting & traveling with a Classic Camper:
1: Make sure to request folding chairs. They were handy be able to sit and relax outside of the camper.
2: Go grocery shopping as early on as you can since you may not run into a food store or restaurant for who knows how long (we ended up with a dodgy fried fish sandwich that was debatably edible while on our way to our first campsite)
3: If you can’t drive a manuel gearshift these vans are obviously not for you.
4: They aren’t joking when people say New Zealand roads are not like our roads and that they take extra time. The entire Island is hilly and mountainous with a lot of our favorite places being down long winding gravel roads. So, expect driving distances to take a lot longer then you think it will, especially when in a campervan.
5: If you ever stay at this campsite don’t park your campervan next to all the boats on the racks like we did… unless of course you want to be woken up at 7 am by a crowd of 50 teenage/college age boys (from what I assume was the Cambridge Rowing Club) surrounding your van while getting their boats off the racks. Even my ear plugs couldn’t save me from that one.

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