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Ivan, Beth and the Beetle

In 1961, after a two-year stint in England, young Ivan and Beth Hodge decided to drive home to New Zealand. They bought a brand new Volkswagen Beetle for £439 and, with their possessions strapped to the roofracks, they set off into the unknown: across Europe, through communist countries, the mysterious Middle East and into the Asian subcontinent.


Thirty-five years later, Ivan and Beth dusted off the Beetle to retrace their steps and relive the memories. Now in their sixties, the couple called it their ‘second honeymoon’. They had a different perspective of the world, as well as a mobile phone and a laptop.


In the book, For Love and a Beetle, Ivan and Beth have recorded their impressions of these two journeys – the changes in cultures, the impact of tourism and technology, the decay of communism, the continuing hostilities in some countries and the constant friendliness of the people. Through it all, the Beetle overcomes the harsh desert, the wild weather and chaotic roads to deliver Ivan and Beth safely to their destination.


This new edition of the book includes an epilogue, bringing the Beetle story to its final journey. Even as grandparents, Ivan and Beth’s adventurous spirit has remained strong. They have visited many new places, including driving up to the Arctic Circle and the northern most point in Europe.


Their final Beetle trip takes them around New Zealand before they donate the car to the Museum of Transport and Technology in Auckland. You can visit the Beetle and see mementos from the journeys at the museum (

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