Friday, 1 November 2019

Trying out the new Britz Evolve Campervan

I was lucky enough to be one of the very first customers trying out 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.

Day 1 - Queenstown to Wanaka – 116km (no need to charge on the way)
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 stayed at: Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park

We charged: overnight at the holiday park

Day 2 – Local activities in Wanaka
The next morning dawned absolutely beautiful and still. After spending some time on the lake front in the morning, 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 spending some time on the island, we joined a 4 x 4 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. Both tours run over summer and are delivered by the wonderful people at Wanaka Water Taxis - highly recommend their trips!

We stayed at: Wanaka Kiwi Holiday Park
We charged: overnight at the campground

Wanaka Water Taxis, Lake Wanaka, Wanaka, Sunrise
A still morning at Lake Wanaka

Wanaka Water Taxis, Lake Wanaka, Wanaka, Sunrise, Mou Waho
The view from Mou Waho Island

Wanaka Water Taxis, Lake Wanaka, Wanaka, Sunrise
Wanaka 4x4 Adventures with Wanaka Water Taxi

Wanaka Water Taxis, Lake Wanaka, Wanaka, Sunrise
On top of the world in Wanaka

Day 3 – Wanaka to Lake Tekapo – 201km (charging stop in Omarama)
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 CafĂ© – 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 at: Lake Tekapo Holiday Park and Motels
We charged at: Challenge Omarama roadside charger and overnight at the campground

Sunrise, Wanaka, Lake Wanaka, That Wanaka Tree
Wanaka Tree at Sunrise

Sunrise, Wanaka, Lake Wanaka, That Wanaka Tree
Lake Wanaka looking amazing at sunrise

kayak, ruby island, wanaka
Kayaking to Ruby Island

Mt Cook, Aoraki, Sunset, Clouds, Moody, Lake Pukaki
Moody Mt Cook and Lake Pukaki

Day 4 – Lake Tekapo to Queenstown – 206km (charging stops in Omarama and Cromwell) 

Whilst we originally planned on spending two days further north, we changed our plans on the back of 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 at: Creeksyde Holiday Park
We charged at: Challenge Omarama and ChargeNet Cromwell roadside chargers and overnight at the campground

Chruch of the Good Shepherd, Sunset, Lake Tekapo
Church of the Good Shepherd, Lake Tekapo

Chruch of the Good Shepherd, Sunset, Lake Tekapo
Moody Skies at the Church of the Good Shepherd

Britz, EV, Evolve, Lake Tekapo
The Britz EV and Lake Tekapo

Britz, EV, Evolve, Lake Tekapo, Lupins
Britz Evolve amongst the Lupins in Tekapo

Day 5 - Local activities in 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 at: Creeksyde Holiday Park
We charged at: Overnight at the campground

Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, Sunset
Stormy Sunset in Queenstown

Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, Bobs Cove, Lake
The Beautiful View from Bob's Cove Lookout

Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, Bobs Cove, Lake
Amazing Queenstown, Bob's Cove

Lake Face Creek Falls, Waterfall, Queenstown
Secret Waterfall in Queenstown

Day 6 - Local activities in Queenstown
After a very lazy morning we 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, surprisingly gutsy and so spacious inside (but also compact so manoeuvring 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.

Note: Britz supplied the Evolve for me to trial free of charge. The opinions are my own.
If you would like to hire the Evolve for your own holiday, you can do so here: Britz Evolve

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