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South Island in a Britz EV

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Words and images by Laurie Winter

I was lucky enough to be one of the very first customers to try out and review the new Britz Evolve Electric Vehicle, and what a pleasure that was! It’s so great to see a campervan company considering the environment and I know Britz has big plans for an electric vehicle fleet. It’s definitely a good thing to lower emissions while embracing New Zealand’s clean electricity resources.

 

 

Travel

6 days


Route

Queenstown to Queenstown

523km


Best Time of the Year

spring, summer, autumn

Highlights

Queenstown

The Wanaka Tree

Mt Cook Sunset

Wilson's Bay

The Journey

Days

1 2 3 4 5 6

Day 1
Queenstown to Wanaka

Distance 116km - Driving Time 1 hour 30 mins

We arrived in Queenstown, did some grocery shopping and then got on our way to Wanaka. We arrived just as a strong southerly hit with high winds and some rain. Not ideal in the middle of summer! The winds actually brought down lots of branches in Wanaka, and we watched some of the famous poplar trees being felled the next morning. We checked out the Wanaka waterfront at sunset.

We stayed at: Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park

We charged: overnight at the holiday park

Day 2
Wanaka

The next morning dawned absolutely beautiful and still. After spending some time on the lake front, we decided to head out to Mou Waho Island. This is an island in the middle of Lake Wanaka that also has its own lake on it that you climb above to get a glorious view. After our Mou Waho visit, we joined a 4x4 trip on the private Mt Burke Station. This trip took us way up into the high country above Wanaka, where there were sweeping views over the lake, and a gourmet picnic with all local produce, cheeses and wines.

We stayed: Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park

We charged: overnight at the campground

Day 3
Wanaka to Lake Tekapo

Distance 201km - Driving Time 2 hours

After a stunning sunrise at “That Wanaka Tree” we hired kayaks and went to explore Ruby Island, which takes about 45 minutes by kayak to get to. Afterwards, we had a delicious lunch at Relishes Café – my favourite in Wanaka. Then it was time to get on the road for the big drive to Lake Tekapo. Getting up and over the Lindis Pass takes almost the full charge of the campervan, and we were nervous we would run out of power! However, it was a good lesson to trust that Britz had the distances sorted and everything was fine. We charged in Omarama and then visited the shores of Lake Pukaki for sunset. Then it was on to Lake Tekapo.

We stayed: Lake Tekapo Holiday Park and Motels

We charged: Challenge Omarama roadside charger and overnight at the campground 

Day 4
Lake Tekapo to Queenstown

Distance 206km - Driving Time 2 hours

Whilst we originally planned on spending two around the Tekapo/Cook area, we changed our plans due to a really bad weather forecast. After checking out the drive to Lake Alexandrina and the last of the lupins at Tekapo, we headed back to Queenstown. The length of the journey required us to stop twice to charge. A full charge at Omarama, where we whiled away the time at the blissful Omarama Hot Pools. Then it was over the Lindis Pass again, followed by a second charging stop at Cromwell (where we didn’t do a full charge knowing we only had to get to Queenstown 60km away).

We stayed: Creeksyde Holiday Park

We charged: Challenge Omarama and ChargeNet Cromwell roadside chargers and overnight at the campground

Day 5
Queenstown

It was a very hot and beautiful day, so we decided to head to the “beach”. We had breakfast in the stunning Wilson’s Bay, before heading to Bob’s Cove and taking the short hike to the look out which gives amazing views over Lake Wakatipu. Afterwards we headed back to the cove’s beach and took a very quick dip in the freezing lake. After lunch we drove out to Glenorchy, and then stopped at a secret waterfall on the road back to Queenstown.

We stayed: Creeksyde Holiday Park

We charged: Overnight at the campground

Day 6
Queenstown

We had a very lazy morning, and then went for a drive to check out the bungy jumpers over the Kawerau River, followed by seeking out fresh Otago raspberries and a lovely picnic at the reserve at Kelvin Heights. We had time to pay a quick visit to a friend in Jack’s Point before heading to the airport to return our vehicle.

We charged at: No charging required, just local driving

Thoughts on the Britz Evolve

We were really excited to test drive this camper, and it did not disappoint. Was a pleasure to live in, and a real talking point amongst locals and tourists who were really keen to know more. The Evolve campervan is new and modern with everything you need and lots of clever features to make life on the road easy. It was also easy to drive, gutsy on the hills and so spacious inside (but also compact so maneuvering and parking is easy)

There were some minor hiccups getting sorted at the campgrounds as we were their first customers, but these were quickly ironed out. Travelling in an EV does require a more relaxed pace, so it’s ideal if you have time to explore the small towns at your charging spots or spend a couple of nights in each place you stay. Whilst we were a bit nervous on our first long drive, by the end of the trip we felt like EV pros and we were really confident with how and when to charge.

Click here for some suggestions on suitable EV holiday parks, our South Island itinerary or for FAQs about the Britz eVolve.

You can check out my photography at www.lauriewinterphotography.com or my Instagram account: @laurie_winter

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