David Honeyfield on a skiing holiday with his Kombi at
Kirchberg, Tyrol, Austria. The Kombi had just been started
after a winter parked up. Photo supplied.
We bought our Dutch-registered 1975 converted Kombi at
Hungerford Bridge, Waterloo, in London, where all these
vehicles were traded in the mid-'80s.
We needed accommodation as it was a week after our arrival in
An early trip in the Kombi was to the Newmarket races to
attend an Air New Zealand-sponsored meeting with the late
chairman Bob Owens, of Tauranga. We parked in the members'
car park with the Rolls-Royces, which embarrassed a few
Next was the 1982 New Zealand Maori tour of Wales, during
which a convoy of 30-50 campervans (mostly Kombis) followed
the team and enjoyed the Welsh hospitality. I have some great
memories of car parks outside rugby clubs crammed with Kombis
and vans enjoying the facilities the Welsh had opened up for
their New Zealand friends.
We moved on to Europe to find work in an Austrian ski resort,
which proved a very cold trip. I did not know the heat
exchangers had been removed. We parked up there for the
winter as it was a little scary to drive on icy roads.
Roll on April 1983, and we were off on an excursion south
through Italy to Brindisi and then Corfu. I was required to
have a stamp in my passport to say that when I left Greece I
would be taking my Kombi out with me. A few people may have
tried to sell their vehicles, which was against the law. What
followed was a month in convoy with two other Kombis driving
around the Peloponnese peninsula, doing free-camping.
We arrived back in northern Greece before our first major
breakdown. The rocker covers had rusted through so we covered
them with Araldite and sat in a tavern while our repairs
dried. We rolled on to Yugoslavia (where petrol coupons were
needed) and the Dubrovnik coast. It proved an interesting
country and mixture of people, on the verge of the ethnic war
that was to follow in the 1990s.
We travelled back through Austria in summer and back to
London via Germany, France and Belgium to find work. Summer
was spent working in a Cornwall caravan park with some time
hop-picking in Kent.
More travelling around the UK, to the top of Scotland
followed, then back to Austria for another winter working,
domiciled in Kitzbuhul, Tyrol. After more travel on the way
back to England in spring, we decided to sell the Kombi back
at Hungerford Bridge where it all started.
We had bought the Kombi from some Australians in 1982 for 900
and sold it two years later for 800 to some more Australians.
It's a small world though. Later in Munich for Oktoberfest, I
recognised the old Kombi being driven into Thalkirchen
campsite by an old friend from Tauranga.
• Dave Honeyfield has been living in Dunedin since