Archive for February, 2011

Campervans in Australia

February 27th, 2011

Campervans in Australia

There aren’t a lot of VW campervans in Australia if the truth be told. Unsurprisingly Japanese pop top campervan conversions are popular, some of which I like, others I don’t and there are plenty of regular motorhomes too. There’s a huge camping culture on this great continent and whilst travelling out here for a wedding dictates the type of activities one can undertake, a return trip with outbacking in mind is certainly on the cards. It’s such a massive country and you would need a good few months of travelling before you have even scratched the surface, Australia’s culture is reminiscent of Britain’s but with the proviso that just over yonder hill, the veneer of civilisation falls away and a whole continent awaits discovery. It’s wild and largely untrod, amazing to think really. Many a traveller is unprepared for the type of terrain that they may encounter and is often unprepared for what awaits.

I am currently on the train to Ballarat from Melbourne and this is the view out of the window, as I write this latest Camperbug blog. This photo taken from iPhone doesn’t do it any justice at all. It’s so infinitely massive, wild and beautiful that the mind just reels from the enormity.

A View From the Train to Ballarat from Melbourne

A View From the Train to Ballarat from Melbourne

Looking out at this huge beautiful sunny country, I feel envious of all the Australians I know in Europe who have this huge wilderness to return to at any time they wish, Well I guess I can too! And the next time I return I plan to do so for a couple of months and travel all over. Driving along the Great Ocean Road this week has really given me a taste for doing some more travelling in Australia. I’m going to a separate blog of the pictures I took on the Great Ocean Road next.

It’s not always been sunny. After a week the weather has certainly started to warm up but it’s been distinctly English for a number of days. But whilst the Melbournians are donning warmer clothes, we are in contrast enjoying a day that is still warmer and less windy than one in England.

A visit to the craft fair that takes place on the esplanade in St Kilda every Sunday revealed three out of the five vw campervans that I have seen in the week that we have been here. The vans were owned by the stall holders who generally use them as beasts of burden to transport their goods from and to the market.

I took the following pictures with my increasingly annoying iPhone 3GS which works wonderfully well as a pocket computer, calculator, organiser and camera but more and more poorly as a phone but I digress… So these pictures are a little grey and underexposed but you’ll hopefully get the idea from them. So I saw a T1, T2 and T3 on the esplanade which was very fortunate and I also saw a T4 but didn’t take any shots of it because quite frankly it was pretty ugly and the urge never took me to shoot it.

So if I start with the T2, the poor thing was very much a work horse and used to carry goods all over the various craft fairs around Victoria.

T2 on St Kilda Esplanade

T2 on St Kilda Esplanade

Here you can see the poor thing, all loaded up with goods and carrying out the purpose for which she was built at the factory – manual labour !

T2 with Door Open on St Kilda Esplanade

T2 with Door Open on St Kilda Esplanade

Here is the T3 that I spied slightly parked slightly forlornly on the road at St Kilda Esplanade. As you can see the folks of Australia don’t seem to view these great machines with the same respect that people in Europe might, although this may be a completely incorrect assumption on my part.

T3 on St Kilda Esplanade

T3 on St Kilda Esplanade

The Belle of the Ball had to be this pale blue Split Screen that was parked proudly on the side of the street.

T1 on St Kilda Esplanade

T1 on St Kilda Esplanade

Her owner informed me that he had possessed her for twenty years. She was a direct Australian import and had left the factory in 1958 making her 53 years old. Quite a remarkable thought really,

St Kilda Esplande and Pale Blue Split Screen Van

St Kilda Esplande and Pale Blue Split Screen Van

Some more shots of the 1958 Australian imported VW split screen van.
She was a lovely van and received a lot of attention from the public strolling along the strip.

Profile Shot of Blue Split Screen VW Van

Profile Shot of Blue Split Screen VW Van

On the way to the train station I spied this orange T3 at the traffic lights.

Orange T3 VW in Melbourne Traffic

Orange T3 VW in Melbourne Traffic

It caught up with us, as we slowed down to get out at the train station and as it sped past, I caught this cheeky side on shot out of the window of my taxi.

Side shot of Moving Orange T3 VW Campervan in Melbourne

Side shot of Moving Orange T3 VW Campervan in Melbourne

And one last picture as it zoomed away from us.

Escaping Orange T3

Escaping Orange T3

There’s one last set of pictures to come of a T2 that I shot on the Great Ocean Road but will post these shots in the next blog post.

 

So Little Time!

February 12th, 2011

Camperbug is taking more and more time and there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done!

Two months in and the progress the site is making is excellent. I am sure that over the next year Camperbug will become one of the key locations for VW Campervan Hire on the web. There are more and more amazing campervans being added everyday, we’ve got 155 now. It’s also great to see the beautiful campsites that are appearing too, of which there are just over twenty. Check out this recent beauty, a lovely campsite in Anglesey called Llanbadrig. Can’t wait to visit, roll on the summer…

I’m off to Australia on Wednesday to be best man at a forthcoming wedding and am foolishly still finishing writing the speech! Hence this procrastinatory blogpost on a Saturday night when I could be doing something far better and the numerous cups of tea all designed to take me away from actually writing the darned thing! Ho hum.

Finally, here’s a link to the newest vw campervan called Tinkerbell, who features on the site courtesy of Stella at Passage Unwritten. She’s a lovely vehicle indeed. I don’t know that anyone apart from the zillions of spammers read these posts – and the spammers really seem to love it too! they’re always commenting on its quality, whilst at the same time trying to slip in their link to paris-france-boutique-hotel.biz – but if anyone does, you may be pleased to discover that my new trusty netbook and Nikon will also be making the trip with me, so expect some scintillating shots of vans that I spot down under!

G’day All.

 

Camperbug Sessions 2 – Interview with Rent a Retro Camper

February 7th, 2011

Update: This company has gone the way of the dinosaur, dodo and erm the Unicorn :( – check out more great campervans by checking the CAMPERVANS tab above

The second Camperbug session of 2011 and indeed the second session of all time has landed!

After the first Camperbug session with a small company who runs a campervan hire company in Cheshire, we have been inundated with requests for interviews and are trying to find time to fulfil everyone’s requests. Many hands make light work as they say but at this time hands are few and responsibilities many and so to use another figure of speech the best things come to those who wait!

Thus without further ado, we move onto the second campervan company to receive the now surely infamous Camperbug spotlight treatment :-) and so we shine our beam brightly upon Rent a Retro Camper.

Olive and Anni Parked On a Hill



We’ve decided to interview this campervan hire company from Kent for a couple of reasons. Without a doubt their beautiful vans Olive, Anni, Monty and Belle would have guaranteed them a session in the first instance, as they are truly some of the finest and well kept VW Campervans that we’ve seen but the reason we’ve brought forward their session and also made Olive van of the month is because Jane and Paul haven’t had the best luck over the past few weeks. Their website was hacked and subsequently Google has removed them, they’ve been penalised by the search engine which has since seen them being de-indexed. Google has written to them to and informed they’ll be re-indexed in the next couple of weeks. So for reasons not of their own making they’re without a searchable website until this happens. So we think it’s only fair that we try to get them as many fresh enquiries as possible, this is an important time of year and lots of potential campervan hirers are planning their summer get away and we don’t want them to miss out.

Rent A Retro Camper styles itself as the original classic 1970’s classic Volkswagen camper van rental for holidays and short breaks away. Their vans are driven to all four corners of the United Kingdom.

Monty the Campervan

Monty the Campervan



One day in the workshop, Paul surrounded by the various vehicles that he was restoring, caught sight of an original 1970’s VW Campervan and paused in thought. The seed of an idea was born and he called Jane and a five minute conversation one Sunday morning led them to the conclusion that running a travel company, hiring out beautiful Volkswagen campervans was a calling they needed to answer.

In hindsight, this was an inevitable outcome for the two of them. Previously, Jane had run a promotions company which helped independent traders to focus on processes designed to enhance their customer’s experience of their products. Paul had always had a love of travelling and this passion for travel and a further fascination for the great explorers made the combination of their two day jobs and the formation of Rent a Retro Camper a happy outcome.

Paul has always recognised the power of the campervan. He was often surrounded by customers whose campervans he had restored telling him tales of the adventures they had had. It was always apparent that people had a strong affinity with vw campervans and they were universally loved by everyone no matter their age or walk of live.

Excited by the possibility of building a company doing something they loved they decided to focus on a quality approach to the business. Their classic campers would be the best on the market and renting them out would lead to a lot of people having some great holidays – all thanks to Paul and Jane.

Olive the Campervan

Olive the Campervan


VW campervan holidays are generally irresistible; they are camping in true style. They
allow people to go anywhere they want and at a pace that suits them. Hiring a van from Rent a Retro to travel around the UK in, means no airport delays, ferry strikes, traffic queues, or expensive parking.

The company has 3 mint Type 2 Bay Window and 100% original 1970’s vans and one T25 from the 80s.
Olive, our van of the month is gorgeous. She’s a lovely mango green and cream campervan that sleeps four people in the lap of luxury for a truly glamorous camping experience

Monty is the T25, he sleeps two and his eye catching graphics make him the ideal surfing bus.
Belle and Anni are both imported from California and are left hand drives. Belle is soft pale blue and cream and Ann is a stunning Orange.
All their VW Campervans have had full bare metal restoration, new engines, new top quality paintwork and brand new interiors and upholstery. They come with a fully comprehensive insurance and breakdown cover and Paul and Jane always keep a back up vehicle of the same specification in case of an emergency.
Also customers can park their own vehicles in their fully insured workshop whilst they’re away for free of charge.
Plus all customers receive a full list of high quality camping equipment at no extra cost, so all you really need to bring is your clothes and you’re ready to go!

Two vans, Anni on the right

Anni the Campervan



We asked them what the furthest distance their vans have travelled and discovered that Olive had been to the Swiss Alps giving the people that had hired her a wonderful time.

We also asked them what they would do differently if they started again. They warn of using large multinational companies and advise that people seek out smaller dedicated companies when seeking goods or services: “We always invite people to ask us who we use, having a reliable dedicated team around you supporting your business is essential to its success.”

For Paul and Jane the whole point is creating a truly memorable experience. We really appreciate (customer) feed back .Making sure they have had a really good experience is critical to our business and makes it all worth while.

Right now, they are happy with their fleet of vans but look forward to the opportunity to one day add another bay window or even a split screen van as well as promoting some undiscovered parts of the UK to their customers.

Many camper companies do campervan hire company in Kent

Camperbug Listings

http://www.camperbug.co.uk/Anni_rentaretro
http://www.camperbug.co.uk/Anni_rentaretro
http://www.camperbug.co.uk/Olive_rentaretro