Conversations w/ Good People: Matt & Dan
Friends Matt Andrews and Dan Baxter started Matt & Dan's Campervans four years ago and has seen it grow from a single ("shitty") van to a fleet of seven beautiful, modern and comfortable vans. Currently working on Van No. 7 , Nelson Van-dela, the two have certainly changed the campervan scene and what travelling around New Zealand looks like. We sit down with them for a wee chat about how they got started, their favourite camp spots and their upcoming projects.
Tell us a little about how you got started with vans.
It was all a bit unplanned really! Dan and I were both graduating Uni and wanted to go on a van trip around NZ, as we both hadn't seen very much of our own beautiful country. The plan was to buy a shitty van (which we did), throw a cheap mattress & cooker in and go roaming. However, once we started to look into campervan conversions a little more, we thought some storage space, a kitchen and the ability to charge our phones might be handy. Dan worked as a joiner during his studies and with the help of his skills, youtube, some friends and, way more money than we initially intended to spend, our first van was born.
We spent 5-6 weeks travelling around the country and living the van life. On the final day of our trip (not kidding) we blew up our clutch and gearbox (shitty van remember). To pay for the repairs we thought we could try to rent the van out on some peer-to-peer campervan rental sites. Fortunately, we received a long booking, mostly enough to cover the repair bill, and with some very tight timings we fixed the van and sent it off on it's first rental.
That led us to build more vans for rentals - so that's what we did, and here we are today some 4 years later!
Your vans all have fantastic names - how do you come up with these? Do they have particular features in common with their namesake?
Dan's the van namer. I have no idea how he comes up with them - I think he had a dream about our latest van's name, 'Nelson Van-dela'. That would be cool, but sadly not. Dan thinks of a van-pun related name and we slap it on.
What are some of your favourite spots around New Zealand?
Our favourite campspots in the South Island - Whitehorse Hill (base of Mt Cook), Otto/MacDonalds (just outside of Franz Joseph), Purakaunui Bay (The Catlins).
Matt and Dan Campervans on tour (Photo: Julie Gursha)
What is one item you'd never leave on a road trip without?
The card game, Monopoly Deal. Dan and I would have played hundreds of games over our campervan careers. It's always a great way to have an argument.
What's currently in the works for Matt & Dan's Campervans?
We've just released our brand spankin' new website and booking system after a year of hard mahi. We've got our latest rental van 'Nelson Van-dela' about to roll out of the shop and out with some lucky travellers' summer adventures. Lastly, we've just started to take on custom campervan conversions for private clients and their personal vehicles. Get at us if you want your van converted or a rental for your summer adventure - www.mattanddanscampervans.co.nz