I fell in love with a car on a recent trip to New Zealand.
Don’t get me wrong, there was a lot to love about NZ too.
The mountains, the rivers, the food, wine, sheep (so many sheep) and vistas (sheep-dotted, with the odd venison).
But this vehicle will stand out in my affections.
Because it went anywhere with ease.
In great comfort, will all the bells and whistles. And by that I mean reversing camera, blue tooth and sat nav – the holy trinity of travelling heaven.
Plus lots of torque.
So much better than the six-berth motorhome which had been the original plan.
To relive a trip taken 10 years earlier with the kids around Tassie when they were a good foot shorter.
And pencils and colouring in books were all you needed to keep peace in the valley.
Things move on, people get taller, and motorhomes continue to struggle on tight, steep turns.
Research into the idea that you can pull over anywhere in Kiwi land and camp proved a bit off the mark too.
The locals have grown tired, it seems, of Bedouins parking the RV in any ole open space and declaring sovereignty.
There’s virtually no “free camping” areas, in the South Island at least, unless you’re willing to pay.
For the motorhome, and the fuel, and the camping fees, and the fines if you step off the reservation.
So the decision was made to ditch the motorhome and go with a schmick four wheel drive for a quarter of the price per day.
And spend the difference on Air BnB accommodation or the like.
Not that this approach doesn’t come with challenges. Like having internet.
And yeah you should plan it out all in advance, but you have to be quick because everyone else does that too.
We ended up booking day by every other day and it worked out well enough, although sweating over tripadvisor after a long day on the road after a hike up a glacier or what not can be a little draining.
Because a lot of people have opinions online and they’re not always sane, let alone right.
But nothing was ever wrong with this four wheel drive.
No matter how unravelled, tired, flat or hungry we got, the one thing you could rely on when everyone got back in this vehicle, was that all was good.
Air-con, leather seats, super sound system and a sense that there was no obstacle, physical or emotional, that couldn’t be navigated.
And so now I’m in love, and hoping one day soon to rekindle the relationship in Australia.
I’m surprised because I never thought I was orientated that way.
But now I realise love is love and whatever moves you is where you’ve got to go.
Decorum prevents me from naming the vehicle, because you should never kiss and tell.
But oh what a feeling.