Life on the road: Noel and Jocelyn and their Bürstner Lyseo IT590

By: Jill Malcolm, Photography by: Jill Malcolm


In this monthly column, Jill Malcolm interviews the owners of RVs to learn how they made their decisions

Former real estate agents Noel and Jocelyn Magnusson have been retired for seven years. They live on a lifestyle block in Alfriston, South Auckland, with a Jack Russell called Pippi and an elderly cat. They are also raising Roxy, a Labrador guide-dog puppy. The couple has a lakeside property in Rotorua as Noel is a keen trout fisherman and bird photographer. Two years ago, they added motorhoming to their activities list.

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Tell us about your camping/RV experience so far?

Five years ago, we bought a new caravan and joined the NZMCA. Initially, we took short holidays in the North Island, but in the autumn of 2016, we went on a six-week adventure around the South Island. We loved the freedom it gave us to visit out-of-the-way places.

We are not city folk. We much prefer the countryside and have always loved the outdoors. We especially liked the convenience of parking the caravan and then using the car to head out and explore. For that reason, we were adamant we would not change the caravan for a motorhome.

Why did you decide to buy a motorhome?

In 2017, we won a week’s holiday in a motorhome. We set off with our daughter and her family, who took their own caravan. During the trip, we figured out how easy it is to move around in a motorhome. The packing down seemed much more manageable. We’d stow the dishes, check that all the cupboards and doors were locked, turn off the gas and away we’d go.

How did you go about working out what you wanted?

We had been going to motorhome and caravan shows since we’d bought our first caravan. As a result, we had a fair idea of the makes and models available. The motorhome we’d used on that brief holiday wasn’t quite what we wanted.

There were space limitations, and the bathroom was too compact. From our caravanning days, we knew we needed a spacious living area, a good-sized bathroom with a separate shower, plenty of storage and a large fridge.

We also didn’t have the room at home to park a vehicle longer than about 6m. We may have been able to stretch to 6.5m, but even at that length, we struggled to find a floor plan to suit. The main issue was there was no room for a full-sized floor-level bed without compromising the space in the living area and bathroom. The obvious solution was a drop-down bed.

What was the biggest challenge when choosing the right RV?

The biggest challenge was finding a vehicle with a floor plan that met our requirements.

Why did you decide on your make and model, and what is it?

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The couple say their choice of motorhome fits all their most important criteria

We looked at a model in the Bürstner range and were impressed by its high-quality presentation and finish. Features such as leather upholstery and quality fixtures and fittings ensured it stood out from others. We aren’t price-driven and wanted to buy new.

A visit to Smart RV in Auckland convinced us the floor plan of the six-metre Lyseo would most likely work for us. We decided to wait for the new six-metre model, a Lyseo IT590, expected to arrive in a few months from the manufacturer in Germany. The delay also gave us more time to sell the caravan.

The new model had improvements in layout, including better and more cupboard space. But, more importantly, it had a double floor, allowing a single level throughout with the underfloor cavity for heating ducts, cables, and additional underfloor storage. As a result, the floor is much better insulated, and this makes the motorhome warmer.

The new model also had a flat roof for easier placement of satellite dish and solar panels. It had an electric home step and LED lighting throughout the interior. When the vehicle finally arrived in New Zealand, we compared it with the existing six-metre Bürstner Ixeo model. The new Lyseo, with its improvements, suited us better.

We ended up with a Bürstner Lyseo IT590. It is 5.99m in length on a Fiat Ducato, 130Bhp multi-jet, six-speed auto. It has alloy wheels, 3500kg GVW (WoF). There is one 150w solar panel, 2 x 90 amp hour batteries, a 1000-watt inverter, and a 19-inch RSE TV with an auto satellite dish.

What made the difference when choosing your RV?

Smart RV was extremely helpful and made the process of buying seamless. Before the handover, we had the motorhome treated at the workshop with Toughguard, which makes the vehicle much easier to clean – and stay clean – as the bulk of dirt washes off in the rain. The handover was thorough and professional, and any further questions and requirements have been handled similarly.

Would you do anything differently?

We wouldn’t change anything at all. It would be difficult to improve on the RV’s design and layout, which is perfect for our requirements. It is so easy to park and manoeuvre, and Joceylin is happy to take over the driving.

Is there anything about your RV you’d change or improve?

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The Lyseo’s high-quality finish is impressive

It quickly became apparent when looking at the vast range of motorhomes available that the perfect layout does not exist and compromises are necessary. We find our motorhome is very workable and comfortable for our purposes. We can’t take our grandchildren away with us – the van is a two-berth – but they still get to enjoy holidays with us in Rotorua.

What advice do you offer others?

Look at everything available and be prepared to compromise. Then be happy with what you’ve chosen.

What travel plans do you have?

We are planning another extended South Island holiday next summer. But in the interim, we will be taking a lot of short North Island trips with family or friends and photographing birds along the way. We don’t take the animals with us. A busy Jack Russell, a 25kg puppy who takes up a lot of space and a cat who isn’t keen on either of them aren’t the easiest of travelling companions.

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