Me and My Car: Same vehicle on both sides of the ditch
KIWI SHARON DAVIES RUNS TALENT PROPELLER, BIG SPLASH AND TECH ENGINE IN NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA. SHE SPLITS HER TIME BETWEEN AUCKLAND AND MELBOURNE, AND DRIVES A RANGE ROVER SPORT IN BOTH COUNTRIES
Why the same car in two countries?
I am on a two-week rotation between my homes in Melbourne and Auckland. I got my Range Rover Sport in Australia first and when I needed a new car in New Zealand, I tried to find one I liked as much but I couldn’t, so I decided to get the same one. The only things that are different are my New Zealand one has seat warmers and a different coloured interior. Otherwise they are the same year, same model, and same engine size. My New Zealand one is slightly faster, strangely.
What is so good about the Range Rover Sports?
I think that they are sexy, robust, they tackle anything you are doing, they go off road or on road but they are also comfortable, safe city cars. I like that they are versatile so I can throw my dogs in the back and head to the beach. Or they are really roomy when you go on road trips.
Any difference driving across the Ditch?
Road rules are the same but the driving styles are exceptionally different. It always takes a bit of adjusting particularly when you come from New Zealand. I really like how in Australia on their highways and motorways they have an unspoken rule that the right-hand lane is always empty, unless you’re passing, which means there is always a passage to get through. Kiwis will sit in the fast lane at 100. In Australia everyone drives faster, they are quicker off the mark. I think driving in Australia you cover the same distance in half the time. In New Zealand, everyone is more cautious.
Who else drives your car?
My husband Ben used to be able to but he has had accidents in my New Zealand and my Australia car, so now he is banned. I don’t think he is used to driving a car so big — he has a Mustang.
A Mazda 323. I was about 17 when I saved up and bought that. It was a great sense of achievement being able to purchase it in my own right. My two cars after that were also 323s.
Who taught you to drive?
As soon as I turned 15, I got my learner’s licence and my brother took me under his wing and taught me how to drive. He made me aware of not only what I was doing but also what was happening on the road, who else was out there, how they were driving, what the conditions were like and how I needed to adapt.
Manual or auto?
My cars are automatic but I prefer manual because I like the control of a manual gear change.
Most memorable road trip?
For my 30th birthday in 2010 I was in Melbourne. I loaded my two dogs, best friends and my husband Paul into my car, plus a chilly bin full of French champagne and we headed down to the Twelve Apostles, about a six-hour drive. On a sad note, it is memorable because I went away with my husband and six months later Paul passed away from melanoma cancer so it was our last trip away together.
Do you prefer driving or being passenger?
Love to drive. For a passenger I am too vocal and I drive everyone nuts.
Great day trip out of Auckland?
My favourite place is Piha. It is so beautiful, so diverse, from walking along the beach to hiking through the Waitakeres and it’s a great place to take dogs.
-As told to Donna McIntyre