After their famous world tour in the 1960s, Kiwi adventurers Beth and Ivan Hodge are in Rotorua on their fifth stop of their VW Beetle's final expedition, before they retire it to Auckland's Motat.

The pair, who were married in Rotorua in 1958, will be holding a get-together with locals tomorrow at the Buried Village from noon before heading back to Auckland.

Now in their 80s, Mr and Mrs Hodge will be sharing tales of their epic adventures and visiting places of personal significance on their "Bye Bye Beetle" tour around the country. Mrs Hodge said Rotorua was significant to them due to strong family ties in the area.

She said she loved being back, catching up with familiar faces.


"I went to school in Rotorua and later taught here as well, so it has been a large part of my life."

She said they were feeling both sad and nostalgic about their final trip in the Beetle, but she was "elated to think it's going to have a much better future at Motat than on the side of the street at home".

"I love thinking some young people might visit our car and think, 'Well if those oldies can do it, so can I'. To be able to inspire others to go on adventures would mean a lot."

In 1961 the Hodges bought a new Volkswagen Beetle for £439. With their possessions strapped to the roof-racks, they set off into the unknown: across Europe, through communist countries, the Middle East and into the Asian subcontinent.

Then in 1996, they dusted off the Beetle, retracing their steps and reliving memories on their "second honeymoon". The couple documented their travels in what has become a celebrated chronicle, For Love and a Beetle.

Mr Hodge said taking the Beetle on its last drive was "incredibly emotional".

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21 Mar, 2016 11:30am
2 minutes to read

"It has been such a big part of our life - from within a year of our marriage, with so many highlights and exciting things we've done along the way."