Taking possession of our new Airstream took over two months of planning beforehand. The actual task of bringing her home to Christchurch would take us through 1200kms of New Zealand’s most beautiful landscape and scenic spots over twelve days of adventure up and down the North Island.
On the way there we would pass the New Zealand’s crayfish capital Kaikoura, picturesque Picton, windy Wellington, Palmerston North, lake Taupo – and our destination Pauanui near the Coromandel.
We became members of NZMCA (New Zealand Motor Caravan Association) in August 2013, and it has been the best investment we have ever made for our travels around the country! The staff at NZMCA have been very friendly and passed on plenty of helpful information before our departure – particularly about the Cook Strait ferry crossing, and locations and details of affiliated camping grounds all around New Zealand. In addition, NZMCA members enjoy special discounts from Covi insurance. The member’s section on NZMCA.org.nz provides plenty of useful tips and interactive maps showing GPS co-ordinates of camping destinations you might otherwise never have heard about.
Being NZCMA members means we are not alone on the road… and it’s a great feeling to know that we are being well looked after throughout our journey!
After several days of travel up through many of the North Island’s most scenic spots, we finally arrived in Pauanui to receive our shining new trophy!
It certainly was a relief and a delight to finally see our beloved Airstream in the flesh (or metal, should I say?) after months of only being able to see her in photographs! It was like love at first sight all over again!
Our first duty after taking possession was to secure a WOF certificate and registration for our new caravan. Being American-made, towing the Airstream is not as straight-forward as you might imagine! Much research and preparation had to be done prior to our arrival – looking at things such as the right sized tow ball, the installation of an electric brake controller, the wiring of a 12v charger and transmission cooler all needed to be installed before she could be deemed road-worthy.
Getting the tail lights to work properly was just one of our challenges, as the US trailer uses shared lights, whereas in NZ we use separate wires for each signal lights. So, we had to import the correct adaptor from eBay beforehand. And, as it turned out, the adaptor that we have brought with us was incompatible with the Airstream – we should have got the 12v powered version! But despite each challenge and frustration that came up, our excitement and passion to get our Airstream on the road made each moment a fun and memorable experience!
The interior of the 20ft Airstream is more spacious that what one might otherwise expect – it accommodates up to 4 people, with enough room for an L-shaped kitchen with range hood, gas cooker, oven, and even a large fridge. There is also a bathroom with vanity and toilet!
The permanent double bed is located at the front of the caravan, while the dinette unit also converts to a double bed if needed.
I love the amount of storage space onboard; there is a wardrobe large enough to fit all our clothing, and also plenty of shelving overhead, under the seats, and under the bed for everything else. There is also a very handy tool box located at the rear bumper where I store the jacks, hoses, and tools – fantastic and well-thought out design for road-travelers!
The Airstream is also easy to heat during lower temperatures. The gas furnace kicks in and warms up the entire van in just 5 minutes – and with the Airstream being fully insulated, we can stay cosy for the whole night!