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SOLD Want to swap winter for summer? Go to New Zealand...

Discussion in 'Motorhomes for sale' started by Jezzapux, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Jezzapux

    Jezzapux Funster

    Joined:
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    IMG_9332.JPG fisheye3.jpg fisheye2.jpg fisheye1.jpg IMG_0496.JPG IMG_8735.JPG IMG_2511.JPG IMG_8969.JPG IMG_0204.JPG IMG_0204.JPG IMG_8969.JPG For the last nine years we have left England in November and flown to New Zealand until April.

    In January 2008 we bought a small (7 metre) bus, 2m wide, converted to a fully self contained and certified motor home. It, (Bertie) has an electric system that allows us stay without power and travel around where we please in the whole of New Zealand (NZ) usually staying in free or very low cost locations all over both islands sometimes in wild and breathtakingly beautiful locations all listed in the NZMCA's travel directory, only available to members. What's NZ like? We think it is similar to UK with 1/16th of the population and with temperatures about 5 degrees warmer location for location.

    Apart from the airfare which when spread over 4 months is not too onerous, we spend about the same as we would if we stayed in cold and dark UK; diesel is less than half the price, food a little more expensive because here it attracts GST (VAT).

    How do we do this for so little? The number one essential is to join the NZMCA (New Zealand Motor Caravan Association) If you belong to a sister organisation (such as MCC) you can join without paying a joining fee, just the annual sub about £40 about what it would cost to spend two nights in a commercial site full of tourists and few Kiwi's). These sites are good and well equipped but offer nothing that the bus doesn't have; kitchen, TV room full of teenagers, toilet and shower, Bertie has them all except the teenagers, so why pay for what you already have?

    Of course the bus has to be maintained but so would any vehicle that you drove around the country, being a heavy vehicle Bertie has to have a Certificate Of Fitness (COF) about £60 every 6 months; I only pay for one and suspend the registration when we are away and it's off the road. Insurance through the NZMCA is not compulsory but desirable and costs about £200 pa. There is also Registration which again I only pay when the bus is on the road and is about £90 and finally a strange one for UK people, a road user charge per Km based on vehicle weight. We usually do about 4000Kms and this currently costs £135. In our terms NZ only has red diesel hence the charge. This bus is charged on a 6000Kg ticket the later model of Hino bus is heavier and costs more as the weights are in bands.

    Driving licence? Providing you passed your test before 1997 you will have a limit of 7.5 tonnes category C1 and D1 which is acceptable in NZ for 12 months but the periods are not cumulative so the meter goes to zero every time you go home. Watch it on your 70th birthday as you will have to have a medical before the DVLA reissue your licence with those categories.

    I had no experience of heavy vehicles prior to this and thought they were like cars but they are not, they are built to be easy to maintain and even in NZ spares both new and second hand are quickly available, many parts are adjustable and bits renewable rather than buy the whole unit. They are commercial and days off the road are avoidable costs. Also 100,000 miles on a car is considered a lot but on a bus or truck is nothing, many do a million and more before being sold to lesser operators. Just consider the National Express buses that pound up and down say London to Plymouth and back twice a day. (1000 miles a day)

    Bertie is an old bus, 1985, but is very simple, so less to go wrong. It has done 420,000 kms but the engine has been fully rebuilt and should be good for about the same distance again, the gearbox has been rebuilt and whilst quiet and good is a little idiosyncratic and needs double de-clutching from third to second but we both drive it on a day to day basis and soon get used to it. Heavy vehicles are limited to 90km/hr here and it can't go much faster than that unless the road surface is very good which it rarely is but in any case we tend to travel on back roads and enjoy the scenery. There are no caveats on the certification and no reason to suppose that it will not go on for many more years. It was resprayed blue and white over 2011 and 2012 and looks good. There is an Eberspacher 5Kw heater to heat the bus. I have all the bills for what has been done and where, and all the user handbooks for equipment.

    Initially we had no family or friends here. We swapped motor homes with a Kiwi couple in 2007, they had 2 months in ours in the UK and we had 2 months in theirs over here, we liked it so much we bought Bertie, had a lot of modifications done and came back the following year - a pattern which has continued. Kiwis are in general very friendly and helpful and you find you soon have a lot of friends. Finding a place to store it over their winter is not difficult either NZMCA members or commercial storage. The bus comes with a fitted winter cover which works well. Costs from about £5 a week upwards to about £10-£15 a week for covered storage. Sadly the place where we have stored it for many years is being sold for housing development.

    The bus would be particularly suitable for an owner from abroad as we would like to sell with all the equipment such as bedding, blankets, all kitchen equipment (including a 150 litre 3 way fridge freezer), crockery and cutlery. The bus also has GPS, fan, TV, DVD, free-to-air satellite decoder and Winegard wind-up satellite dish. There is loads of storage including a back box, also included is side awning and Windblocker sides and skirt and wheel arch covers and many hand and power tools. The bus is certified for 3 persons although we are only two. There is 175 watt solar panel and regulator, 2 new start batteries and two large traction batteries for domestic use. There is a Stirling advanced digital alternator regulator which charges the batteries very quickly when the engine is running a Victronic mains charger with 800/1600 watt inverter,.

    Looking at rental motorhomes one of similar size will cost about £250/day plus deposits, limitations on where you can go, be poorly fitted out and force you into commercial parks because of lack of electricity. It is not worth coming all the way out here for less than 2 months which is £15000 and much less fun We have yet to meet people in a rental van who are satisfied with it and several have been very disappointed. The 4 months that we usually come for would cost more than this bus if we hired commercially. We would want £19,000 (currently around $42,800) for our bus and you would be really well set up for years of adventure to wild parts, meeting wonderfully friendly and helpful people for as many years as you wish.

    If you are interested, in the first instance contact me through this site and then emails etc can be exchanged with further details. I would suggest that you look at the NZMCA site and also look at Jan's Travel Pod site where she has described where we have been with lots of pictures and take a look at the Facebook page Hemisphere Hoppers.

    Have look at:
    brixhambertie Travel Pod
    nzmca.org.nz
    Kea motorhomes NZ, one of the better rental companies for prices.
    and also TradeMe.nz (the Kiwi ebay) and look at other buses and vans for sale to get a feel for the market.

    We are travelling around the North Island until the end of March and if you have family or friends out here we would be happy to meet them somewhere that is mutually convenient and show them the bus.

    We love the old bus dearly and have had lots of fun in it but the time has come to do something different. We have kept in touch with the previous owner and hope that whoever buys it will be pleased with it and stay in touch.
     
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  2. Charlie

    Charlie Funster

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    How cool is that !
     
  3. Jimbohorlicks

    Jimbohorlicks Funster

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    Brilliant
     
  4. mikebeaches

    mikebeaches Funster

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    Sounds great!

    Fascinating description, hearing how you've used the bus and spent the time in NZ each winter. And what the costs involved are.

    It definitely sounds appealing...

    Good luck with the sale. :xThumb:

    Mike
     
  5. Cyclewalkbob

    Cyclewalkbob Funster

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    All I can say is great! NZ is a fantastic place, we travelled in a Toyota Previa with four Aussie friends and had a wonderful time. We stayed mostly on the South Island and saw many converted busses travelling around.

    Would agree go for as long as you can and have fun.

    I hope you get a buyer and wish you all the best
     
  6. Steve and Kat

    Steve and Kat Funster

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    Good Read.. My better half is from NZ, and our plan (in a couple of years) is to do the touring of both south and north Islands.. This writeup just makes that plan even more desirable..
     
  7. Jezzapux

    Jezzapux Funster

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    Thanks for the interest it certainly beats renting. Most renters seem dis pleased with rental motorhomes to various degrees. We have met people with kids living in NZ who have bought one and find that it is conducive to domestic harmony plus the offspring get it to use while the old parents are back in the mother country. Anyone reading this who is or has rented and who was unhappy should get in touch with Gordon Harcourt who runs a NZTV program called Fair go. He wants evidence of poor service for his prog.
    Happy New Year
    Jeremy
     
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  8. Jezzapux

    Jezzapux Funster

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    Thanks to those who responded to this ad. and added good wishes. The old bus is now sold to a Kiwi newbie who was grateful to get all the equipment as well, including some much loved tools, sob, we hope he has gone to a good home, if the maintenance is kept up these old commercial vehicles will go on and on for perhaps a million Kms or more with and engine rebuild at halftime. Not at all like cars. We put it on Trademe, kiwi equivalent of ebay and got our asking price perhaps because that was on the cheap side of the average of the 7m Hino bus motorhomes on Trademe (48 of them) so the end of our Kiwi saga. Still have an Adria twin at home so off to Spain/Portugal next winter.
    Thanks Jeremy
     
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  9. Anthea M

    Anthea M Funster

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    The end of an era for you but Bertie is still going strong! What a wonderful adventure for 9 years and so glad he's gone to a good home!
    Our youngest is on her first trip to NZ and loving it , on South Island at the moment and when we do get photos it looks beautiful! Enjoy Spain/Portugal next year!
     
  10. Judge Mental

    Judge Mental Funster Deceased RIP

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    An Australian gentleman has just bought my van in London to do the opposite of you every year........ Good luck in the future!:)

    Eddie
     
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