We bit the bullet. We rented a campervan. We are the proud ‘temporary’ owners of a home on wheels we have endearingly named Bertha after the ‘double berth’ our baby boasts.
Campervan travel came highly recommended as the best way to live, breathe and experience all New Zealand has to offer. While the thought of living out of a glorified truck for the next month of my life sounded less than luxurious, I couldn’t help but give in. The idea had Ryan fist pumping and salivating like Pavlov’s dog so who was I to crash that party. Albeit a bit outside of our budget, we made arrangements to pick up our motor home, which would conveniently package our New Zealand transportation and accommodation in one neat, rustic package.
Bertha is a real gem, and bathroom and shower aside, she comes with all the works. We have a sink, small pantry and shelves for pots, pans and dishes. There’s a gas stove and grill to meet all our cooking needs and a refrigerator to keep our wine and beer chilled to our liking. Two long benches line the back of our girl and a wooden table can be set up in between for dining, card games and you name it. We have a small table that folds outside of the van that we use for cocktail hour and meal prepping and some folding chairs we can use to take in the scenery. At night, the benches transform into quite a nice little bed for the two of us and the sheets and blankets keep us warm on some of those chilly nights.
We were already sold on the idea of a campervan before even considering some very important details. Upon picking up the van, we discovered the vehicles are all manual, which Ryan has only driven twice (Sidenote: With my innate driving skills, our survival relied heavily on me not driving). We also underestimated the challenge driving a monstrous van on the opposite side of the road would present. Nonetheless, with keys in hand off we went.
Day one proved treacherous. As Ryan attempted to get the hang of driving a stick again, I sat there white-knuckling the dashboard for dear life. Whether or not we were on the right side of the road was the question of the minute and figuring out where and how to make our turns was a real challenge. Driving, or rather bouncing, our way out of Auckland was a comical disaster and trying to decipher the meaning of the traffic signs along the way was equally taxing. We were off to a poor, yet exciting start.