Hire-a-Kombi on the Bellarine, Victoria

16 04 2017

Last weekend was a special treat for me as the kombi fan in the family. Our friends Jodi and Campbell rented a campervan from Hire-a-Kombi and we spent a camping weekend together on the Mornington peninsula. So last Saturday, we picked up the camper together. Hire-a-Kombi are located on the Bellarine highway (1830 Bellarine Hwy, Marcus Hill VIC 3222). On that day, three of their eight kombis were getting ready for pick-up: In addition to our campervan “Clancy”, an orange-and-white 1974 Westfalia camper, two eight-seater buses were ready for use as wedding limousines: Layla is a mustard-yellow T2ab hybrid from 1972. Harriett is a cream white T2b late bay window bus.

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Clancy, our 1974 Westfalia campervan

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Layla (mustard yellow) and Harriett (cream white), the two wedding limousines

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And there was another beautiful kombi that looked ready for action, an orange Sopru campervan (see this older post on another Sopru). The color could be Riverina Orange (Australian VW color code CLR722). She is not yet on the web site of Hire-a-Kombi, but perhaps about to join the fleet soon?

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The Sopru campervan

In addition to these ready-to-drive kombis, there was an amazing armada of old kombis and campervans, lined up along one side of the property. Some are future projects, some others may serve as spare part supplies. We had stumbled over this kombi parade already at the end of 2015, see this older blog post, but it was, again, an impressive sight. Great start into our “kombi weekend” – more to come soon!

 

 





Happy New Year!

1 01 2016

We thought it cannot get any better with seeing VW buses everywhere in Australia, and then we saw this: A parade of eighteen kombis set up in the front garden of a property on the Bellarine Peninsula, a few kilometers east of Geelong. We did not have much time, so I just took a few snapshots from the fence and did not ring the bell to ask what this is all about. But googling for the address later on solved the mystery: This is the head quarters of “Hire-a-kombi”, a new VW rental company which recently moved here from Melbourne. Their website shows they have five VW buses on the road and ready for rental. So the rest will be future additions to the fleet or sources of spare parts. Wishing you all a great New Year and all the best for you and your families and friends!

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Surf Coast Wedding Bus

17 11 2015

We went down to the coastal town of Lorne to catch up with friends and spend an early summer day on the beach. Lorne is a small town at the beginning of the Great Ocean Road, about 70 km south of Geelong. And look what a beautiful bus we saw on the highway: A bay window T2a/b hybrid kombi, set up as a wedding limousine! From the sticker in the rear window, it belongs to Coastal Kombi Weddings, so you can hire this beauty for the purpose. Following their web site, its name is Dormy, and the fold-up roof would fit to an earlier life as Dormobile campervan. Dormobile is a campervan conversion company in the UK which still exists and is known for their sideways opening fold-up roofs. The beige and white paint job looks perfect for weddings, bright, elegant and friendly. The interior also comes in bright colors (gray or beige) with two benches in the back facing each other. Fantastic for the job. What a beautiful idea to earn a living with a kombi!

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Great Ocean Road going into Lorne.

Great Ocean Road going into Lorne.

Beach and pier in Lorne.

Beach and pier in Lorne.





Our New Zealand Camper on a CD Cover!

25 02 2013

One of our photos from last year’s trip through New Zealand has just made it onto a CD cover! The bright blue campervan “Number 5” from Classic Campers now graces the cover of the new CD “Bright Blue World” by Courtney Leigh Heins, a singer/songwriter from Los Angeles. Courtney found the photo on my Flickr photo stream, fell in love with it and asked me whether she could use it for the cover, which I gladly agreed to.
The kombi, a 1975 late bay Devon camper, was parked on a rest site along the Summit Road on the Akaroa peninsula on the South island, overlooking the bay formed by an old volcanic crater. Here is the link to the Akaroa blog post and to the complete New Zealand road trip. The original photo is from the NZ album on my Flickr photo stream. Check out Courtney’s new CD – great music! You can find a video of one of the songs on the CD, “We were young”, on YouTube.

Now Courtney generously sent me several CDs and I’d like to give five away to readers of Campervancrazy. If you’d like a copy, please say so in the comments below!

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Berlin Bulli Changes Name

25 09 2012

Berlin Bulli is no more. But the Berlin-based VW campervan rental has reinvented itself as Hippie Bus Berlin, a subdivison of a Berlin classic car rental company called Classicdepot. I had mentioned in a previous post that Volkswagen was suing Berlin Bulli for illegally using the name “Bulli”. Now an extra web page from Hippie Bus Berlin explains in German that they have given up the fight and changed their name. Their fleet is still the same and consists of thirteen bay window Volkswagen buses. The majority are orange and white late bay Westfalia campervans, but they also have a T2a campervan, a T2b ice cream van (see earlier post) and a T2a cherry picker on offer.

Screenshot of the web site http://www.hippiebus-berlin.de





Campervan Rental in the Scottish Highlands

16 09 2012

When we met Gavin and his winning bus at the Berlin VW Bus Festival in August, we learnt about another VW bus rental: Happy Highland Campers are based in Inverness in the Scottish highlands. I just looked up their web page: It is a family-run business with four baywindow VW campervans (two T2as and two T2bs) and, as their latest addition, a split-window, reserved for wedding hire. Browsing their page really made me want to go to Scotland on one of our next trips!
If you plan to travel to Scotland in a VW camper, another useful site may be the Inverness based Highland VW Club. If you are looking for other classic Volkswagen bus rentals, Zero-to-sixty-eventually has started collecting them on his VW campervan blog.

Screenshot of the Happy Highland Campers web site, http://www.happyhighlandcampers.co.uk/





Kiwi Kombis – Another NZ Rental Company

9 05 2012

When you are a kombi nerd and plan your visit to New Zealand, there is a second rental company that will provide you with a proper Volkswagen campervan: In addition to Classic Campers in Auckland which we rented our 1975 T2b Campervan from in February, there is Kiwi Kombis, also based in Auckland. We met a British couple in Akaroa with a T2b campervan which was Van Nine from Kiwi Kombis. We realized later that we had already bumped into one of their vehicles, a beautiful 1962 T1 campervan which I blogged about in Feb and which later turned out to be their Van Five, called ‘Coffee ‘n’ Cream’. For their fleet of beautiful buses (5 T1s and 4 T2s), check out www.kiwikombis.com. As I understand, with both companies you can also pick up their buses in Christchurch and drive them up to Auckland. If you are still open whether you want tour NZ from Auckland to Christchurch or the other way around, it makes sense to contact these two companies. Most likely there will be better deals where they give you a bus a little cheaper because you transfer it in a direction that fits with their planning.





Our NZ Campervan

4 02 2012

The kombi we are currently travelling NZ in is a 1975 T2b VW camper from Classic Campers. The campervan conversion is from the English company Devon Ltd. This company still exists and nowadays offers VW T5 campervan conversions, but the web page unfortunately has no useful information on their history and the camper conversions of the 1970ies VWs. Apparently the most common classic VW campervan conversions can be differentiated by the way their pop-up roofs operate: Devon conversions pop upwards altogether, Westfalia conversions fold up via hinges at the front or back of the bus, and Dormobile roofs fold up via a hinge along the side of the van. Our Devon camper has a nice large pop up roof which provides standing height for the back part of the car (if you are smaller then say 1.85m). The speedo is in miles-per-hour, with stickers reminding you of the relevant km/h, which are actually pretty useful. (The change to the metric system in New Zealand happened in December 1976, so our little camper predates it by one year.) Unusual 240V electricity inlet, sticking out from the side of the van – but I have seen this now with a number of older and also very modern campervans in NZ.

The gas cooker block, the sink unit and the rock-and-roll bench/bed are still original Devon. The kitchen block opposite the sliding door has been replaced by a more modern cup board with a 12V fridge.

The two-flame Devon cooker is pretty cool: Metal side boards fold up to form a chimney which protects the unit from wind and probably also the curtains from the flames. The complete block can swing out of the car so that one can cook either inside or outside the van. Fun to see this sophisticated seventies (or sixties?) design still working beautifully.

First bacon and eggs breakfast on the Devon cooker.

Anyway, it’s great to back in a kombi!

A happy blogger...





New Zealand in a Classic Camper

2 02 2012

After visiting family and friends in Australia for the last two months, we are still on parental leave, but will now spoil ourselves with three weeks of travelling in New Zealand. And we will do this in style in a 1975 Volkswagen campervan! We hired this beauty from Classic Campers, a campervan rental company in Silverdale just outside of Auckland. It is owned and run by Bevan and Andrea Beattie and comprises a fleet of nine kombis (one split-window, five T2as and T2bs and three T3s) and several more modern campers. Check out their web page (click here) for more information on their buses. We had a great start when we picked up our van two days ago. Andrea and Bevan welcomed us with a cup of tea, lunch and lots of information on what we can do and should not miss on our trip through New Zealand. Our bus is a T2b Devon camper conversion which comes with bedding, a fully equipped kitchen, camping chairs & table, a small annex and, last but not least, a baby capsule for our now 5-month-old daughter. Before we started out on our trip, we had a look at the other buses that were around, and at a number of current and future projects, in restoration or waiting for restoration. There are some pictures below – hope you will enjoy them!

This is Van No. 2, a 1973 T2b campervan with a customized Devon camper conversion.

Van No. 3, a 1969 T2a campervan with original Westfalia conversion.

Another view of Van No. 3, with bike carrier fitted. The last customers, a family with two small kids, rented it complete with two montain bikes and two children's bike seats.

Van No. 5, a 1975 Devon campervan and our companion for the next three weeks. More soon!

Buses under restoration (T2a in the foreground) and waiting for restoration (T1 single cab in the background).





And what’s this “Bulli” anyway?

23 11 2011

For the German VW bus fanatic it’s all about bullis. Bit of a shame that “bully” in English means something completely different. In German “bulli” is the general term for all VW bus generations, though preferably for the early ones, the T1s (1950-1967) and T2s (1967-1979). The different translations: In the UK it’s a Campervan or a Veedub bus, in the USA a Microbus, and in Australia and South Africa a Kombi. The different VW bus generations are the split window or splitty (T1), the bay window or bay (T2), and the wedge (T3). Please comment if I got this wrong or if it’s incomplete.

“Bulli” is most likely short for “bus and delivery van” (German “Bus und Lieferwagen“). Volkswagen did not own the rights to use the term when the VW bus was brought to market in 1949/1950. They bought the trademark only in about 2007. And then started introducing a special “Bulli” edition of the current T5 model, and also sueing other companies not to use the name, such as the Berlin VW bus rental company “Berlin Bulli”. For details click here (Welt newspaper article). A bit of trivia: One of the co-founders of Berlin Bulli is Christian „Flake“ Lorenz, Keyboarder of the band Rammstein.

Foto: Berlin Bulli, taken from the news paper article “Die Welt”, see link above.

Note addedd, August 2012: The guys at Berlin Bulli gave up and entered into an agreement with Volkswagen where they will not use the word Bulli in their name anymore. The new name is Hippiebus-Berlin.de. They are one of three businesses of Classic Depot Berlin.