Grand California NZ

A Grand Adventure

One day it’s a classroom on wheels, the next it takes them on an adventure far from home. The VW Grand California may have its roots in the Kombi vans of old, but it provides a very modern way of life for this family.

The thing about children is that they constantly get bigger. For NZMCA members Cynthia Qiu and Michael Speth and their 10-year-old twin boys Lin and Li, that meant their trusty VW T5 was no longer meeting all their needs. But two years’ worth of fantastic family holidays meant they knew exactly what they wanted in a new campervan. Their wish list took them straight to the team at Volkswagen New Zealand where they became one of the first families in the country to get the keys to a brand new Grand California 600.

“We love it,” says Cynthia. “The whole process of buying it was really good, the team was amazing to deal with and I think it’s one of our best investments so far. We knew what we needed and we found it. We intend to keep it for a very long time. It works for our family now and will be great for the future when the boys leave home.”

South Island
Carly Flynn Grand Cali

Cynthia says the fact the Grand California delivered a myriad of features while maintaining a compact size was a key feature in their decision to buy.

“It makes everything so much easier. In a vehicle of this size you can go anywhere and park anywhere, even during the busiest holiday season,” she says, adding the lane keeping system and blind spot monitor are features that make it a dream to handle.

“I don’t think I would feel comfortable driving a large vehicle, but this doesn’t feel very different from driving a car.”

The family decided to upgrade because they were running out of space for everyone to sleep in their old van and wanted a full bathroom so they could freedom camp for long periods of time.

The boys love their pull-out loft bed (complete with skylight), and between the separate wet room and outdoor heated shower, there’s no excuse not to keep clean.

The modern interior reminds the family of an aeroplane cabin, and they love the high-tech features such as the touchpad that controls the lighting, water and battery levels. The dual-fuel heating operates on gas or mains electricity, and solar panels provide further options.


Carly Flynn Grand Cali

Cynthia says buying a campervan is a uniquely personal experience and what is essential for some people, won’t even be a consideration for others. But she loves the way the Grand California has fitted into so many different parts of their family life.

They’ve already had a wonderful trip to the South Island, but you’ll just as likely find them spending just a night or two away close to home in Tauranga.

Michael works from home and Cynthia home-schools the boys, so the Grand California can easily become a combined office and classroom on wheels, with work and lessons being completed somewhere with a gorgeous view.

“I even take it to the boys’ tennis lessons,” says Cynthia. “While they are playing tennis, I can set up the table and do my work or study.”


Carly Flynn Grand Cali

Cynthia loves the fact motorhoming perfectly combines two of her great joys – travel and photography. She grew up in Shanghai and lived in the United States for many years where she met Michael. They both feel lucky to be giving their boys a childhood that involves getting close to nature.

Like many other families, 2020 meant they had to change their plans for international travel, but their new Grand California has provided plenty of other adventures. “It’s a good way to bring up children – it really adds a lot of flavour to our life". Discover more Grand California storiesOpens an external link



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