Keen cyclists Evan and Heather had one key ‘must-have’ for their new RV. MCD editor Claire Smith finds out more from Evan.
Tell us about your motorhoming history
We started off about 10 years ago with a little 6-metre ex-rental campervan built on a Fiat Ducato, just to see if we liked it. We were moteliers at the time and, living in Ashburton, it was quite handy just to hop in it and head away to the lakes for a short break. We had that for a few years before we upgraded to a 7-metre Burstner Nexxo, which is the model below the one we’ve got now.
The first year we had that motorhome we spent about 100 days travelling, which was great. We haven’t been able to quite match that since!
How did you research your current RV?
I have a colleague who owns a late-model motorhome, so he was very helpful with advice. But we also went along to shows and did research online. The best way to get to know about other motorhomes is to stay at the NZMCA parks. There are always people there that have great advice and stories. Most of them are willing to show you through their motorhomes, and give you tips on what to look out for.
We’d been talking about upgrading again for quite a while, so we made the decision over Easter this year that we’d do it.
Given the shortages this year, did you have any trouble sourcing your new RV?
We rang Wilderness Motorhomes to see if they had any available, and fortunately, there was one left in Germany that hadn’t been sold. There was a three-month wait for it to arrive, but we were fine about that.
We decided to sell ours while we were waiting, but we were quite surprised when it sold pretty much instantly. That left us without a motorhome in-between times. You don’t realise how much you’d miss travelling by motorhome until you don’t have one!
We picked up the vehicle from Wilderness in Auckland and travelled back home over a month – visiting people in the North Island and stopping with friends in Nelson and Hanmer Springs. Luckily we just got home before the latest lockdown.
Why did you choose the Burstner Lyseo TD690G?
The biggest thing that made us choose this model is the generous garage space. We like to put our e-bikes in the garage, and Heather’s bike is quite high, so we needed garage height to be over a metre. In our last motorhome, we had to remove the front wheel to get the bike into the garage, which becomes a bit of a pain.
This model was the only one we looked at that had the garage height we needed. The compromise is that you have to have a twin single bed layout.
What do you love about it?
The 9-speed transmission makes it very good to drive, with plenty of power.
We also like that it has a flat floor throughout, so there’s no stepping up or down between the living spaces or the cab, which makes quite a difference.
Another great thing is the heated floor, which will be very nice for travel during winter.
Campground or freedom camping?
We used to do a lot of freedom camping, but we prefer to stick to campgrounds and the NZMCA parks now, because it feels safer. Plus we’re getting a bit lazier as we get older. It’s more convenient to stay at campgrounds, where we can use the showers and toilets.
One place we love to stay is Donegal House in Kaikōura, which has a camping ground and an Irish pub. We’ve stayed there a few times and really enjoy it.
Do you have any exciting travel plans?
We like to do a lot of weekend trips away, and one of our favourite little places is the Woodbury Domain. It’s just out of Geraldine, and about 45 minutes’ drive from home.
We’re hoping to get down to Warbirds over Wanaka next year, and also to do the new Lake Dunstan cycling and walking trail, which links Clyde and Cromwell.
So is it just you who drives?
Yep, I’m the main driver, which suits me. Heather drove our last one a bit, but prefers to be the navigator!
How was the buying process?
We dealt with senior sales consultant Collette at Wilderness, and were really pleased with her service – we couldn’t fault it in fact. The whole team is very good to deal with.
What advice would you give to someone considering a motorhome?
The best thing is to go and talk to someone who already has one, and ask about the different features. There are so many out there, and they all have different pros and cons, so there’s a lot to think about. Another tip is to hire one – even if it’s completely different from the one you might buy – because it will give you a starting point. If you just go around looking at them all, you’ll end up getting completely bamboozled!
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