Back on the road with the VW California
There once was a time when you could have called me a hippie.
A halcyon decade where for the best part of every weekend, my husband and I would pack up the van and ditch the work life for the beach life in our old faithful Cyril. No matter the temperature. It was our escape. The teal blue 1972 Kombi van was the first love of our couple life.
Weekends in the Coromandel, Raglan, Waiheke even, we lived in it up north for 3 months in a Paihia campground before a few years overseas. Then we paid big money to store Cyril, who waited patiently until we returned.
But when I was pregnant with our first child. The opportunities to slip away seemed less and less. The bed not built for a heavily pregnant wife, one that lived in 2010 anyway.
So while I’m still holding on to some of my hippiness - like whole foods and meditation - arguably less hippie more mainstream these days - others have had to go.
Cyril was sold just weeks before our precious first born was born. The new baby became favourite child.
Cyril was given a suitable send off and went to a braver family (3 young kids!) who had big plans for converting and sleeping the family of 5. The cash went on the mortgage, the deal was we’d pull it out to buy a suitable camper once we knew what parenthood was really like.
And now, we’ve just fallen in love again, with the 2016 VW California. The modern day take on the classic Kombi. This is no rickety, rusty teal blue model, more luxury holiday home, with it’s push button roof top, diesel heater, plush double beds (2!) and super storage. There’s even power plugs to take our Nespresso Machine on the road.
When my husband picked it up for the much anticipated trial weekend, he commented that after driving it home through Auckland city traffic (on a Friday afternoon!) it was the only vehicle he’s even driven where he’s actually received any courtesy from other drivers. Other motorists tooted and gave the thumbs up, giving way as he passed by.
Unlike our 1972 model which rattled and bumped to which ever destination, the T6 California drives like a dream. It’s no different to driving a big SUV these days, I never had the confidence to drive Cyril (taking the wheel once in 10 years!), but this was too easy.
We decided to take it to an old favourite haunt in Hahei, where Cyril spent many of his days with us. The grin was evident on my husbands face from wo to go. he too was in love. It drove easily over the hills and corners, unlike in Cyril, we didn’t need to pull over for impatient traffic once.
We pulled up, plugged in, popped the roof, and popped a cork off a bottle from the built-in fridge. Dinner that night was steak and veges cooked on the cook top, and despite temperatures reaching below freezing, the diesel heater ensured all four of us slept soundly, and warmly all night long. Just like a hotel.
The kids (4&5) fitted beautifully up top in the second double bed which could easily hold two adults, and we could read below with our LED lighting without disturbing them at all.
We opted to unplug and drive it to the beach, taking all our home comforts, and popped out the deck chairs and cleverly built in picnic table for an evening nibble while hubby had a mid winter dip.
It was deja vous. albeit with two kids in tow.
It’s a hard thing to beat nostalgia, but we’re thrilled VW’s put the California into Kombi - a vast improvement, and one we’ll be raving about for a long time yet.
For more info and all the specs, check out this website