Once upon a time, many years ago (I think it was around ’05), the man said to his wife, “why don’t we buy a kombi van to go on our holidays with?” And so, there just happened to be one for sale (because the man constantly trawls TradeMe [an online buy/sell site in NZ for those not in the know] for such things to dream about!) The kombi was in Pounawea, which is in the Catlins area of Otago, NZ, not too far away at all – he thought it was fate. A navy blue and cream bay window model – with a pop top! She was duly purchased and driven home to Riverton where she was much admired by the couple before they decided to venture out in an overnight stay in her (the couple assumed the van was a her, although sadly she remained unnamed for many years).
And so the first overnight adventure happened to be on a Dunedin curbside outside a friend’s house where we were camping after a rugby game at Carisbrook. It was the middle of winter – it was a very frosty night – the man was already inside curled up, snoring in his sleeping bag, in his clothes, with the sliding door open. The wife thought she would do the same, but the door would not close and the man wouldn’t wake up, so a freezing night did not give her warm, fuzzy feelings about kombi holidays
We thought we’d give this kombi camping lark another go and so the next adventure was at Papatowai camping ground in the Catlins, where we had bought her. Catlins scenery is stunning, if you get the chance you should definitely make a point of making that trip, especially if you’re a nature junkie! So anyway, getting back to the story – unfortunately, that weekend was also cold and wet. We found out she leaked and woke up with wet bedding. Also no warm, fuzzy feelings on that weekend away!
After those two (mis)adventures, she was parked up for quite a few years until there was time to fix said leaks and sliding door issues. Even put back up for sale on the good old TradeMe site, but not a soul wanted her, so back to the shed she went. Then the man somehow discovered her original colours were red and white – renovation excitement began, DIY interior overhaul, new paint job, road trip time! The first true holiday adventure was to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island – wow!! is all that comes to mind.
Sunshine, beaches, native bush, DOC camps with stunning scenery, friendly tourists enjoying our country – we felt the buzz of driving a retro kombi van, the happy feels, the constant smiles on our faces, the pleasure of taking the back roads, slowing down, being present in the moment.
At one campsite a fellow camper admiring our van asked what her name was? (We get many admirers and people wanting to check her out – no need to be lonely on a kombi road trip) No, the man said, she didn’t have one – the camping man (from the UK he was) said all kombi vans needed a name because they have so much personality. The wife said, she’d always been Aggiee in her mind – and so it was, from then on she was Aggiee for real. We just love our Aggiee – she has taken us on so many trips around the South Island of New Zealand.
We absolutely love kombi van holiday road trips – they totally embrace simplicity and it just proves you don’t need a lot of “stuff” to enjoy a good life. Why not experience that for yourself, along with our beautiful country?
Adventure soothes the soul . . .
. . . where will your next adventure take you?