Elderly Couple Takes Beetle On Its Final Journey 55 Years After Cross-Continent Honeymoon

An elderly couple is preparing to take a road trip in their classic Volkswagen Beetle through New Zealand - the third major journey for the car, which has previously traveled across continents.

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But this trip will be the Beetle's last. The 55-year-old vehicle is about to retire in the Museum of Transportation and Technology in Auckland after two earlier cross-continental journeys around the world, as chronicled in the couple's book, For Love and a Beetle.

When New Zealanders Beth and Ivan Hodge married in 1961, they had been living in London and decided it was time to make the trip back home. So they purchased the Beetle, strapped their belongings on the roof, and made the drive from London all the way back to New Zealand.

The couple, then 25 years old, drove through Western and Eastern Europe, through the Middle East, and into Asia. From Kalkota, India, the couple and their Beetle hopped abroad a cargo ship that finally took them home.

Through hell and (quite literally) high water, this Beetle took them through it all.

Beth and Ivan Hodge encounter a washed out road during their trip in 1961. (Courtesy of For Love and A Beetle)

But the journey doesn't end there for their trusty Beetle. Thirty five years later, as a second honeymoon, Beth and Ivan Hodge did it all again. 

As before, they began in London, and in the same manner, the couple recreated the same photos they took on their first trip. As if witnessing history in the making, they saw the landscape change.

Ivan Hodge photographed in front of a lighthouse in a desert in Iran in 1961, left, and again in 1996, right. (Courtesy of For Love and a Beetle)

"Disturbances in Iraq caused us to choose a different route," Ivan Hodge wrote on Facebook about their 1996 journey. In another post, he includes that,"Isfahan Square [in Iran] was a polo field when we went back 35 years later." 

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Now, two decades on, the couple is back on the road.

After their final journey around New Zealand, the couple plans to finish their trip in Auckland. The Beetle will finally retire, and begin its new adventure as a piece of history for generations to come.

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