The general trend in travel is evolving away from the organized tour groups to a more carefree non-guided tour that involves traveling by car rentals or campervan. Traveling by campervan has been growing in popularity since it offers freedom to choose your itinerary, who you travel with and how much time you want to spend on particular destinations.
Best Way to Explore the Picturesque Landscape
Of all modes of travel you may choose to explore New Zealand, traveling by campervan is easily the best bet among all the options. It is a popular mode of exploration since it offers the most in terms of allowing you to see the beautiful landscape of the country.
Unlike the US, where most of the sight-seeing tours are scattered all over the country, most of New Zealand’s sights are on South Island. Here you can see and take beautiful pictures of snow covered mountains, rolling farmland, the turquoise blue ocean and temperate rainforest.
Most of the attractions are a few hours drive from the major towns, making exploration convenient.
Bonding with Family
One of the main reasons to explore the country by campervan is the fact that it offers the best chance for bonding with friends or family. If you take a tour for an extended period of time, it is inevitable that you will have more opportunities for bonding.
Moreover, having a place to call home for the duration of your tour is a luxury that other modes of traveling, such as tour groups, simply cannot provide.
It is important to prepare adequately for the campervan trip by making arrangements for who will be driving, where you will be sleeping, the itinerary, music you will be listening to, and picnic or camper sites that will promote bonding.
I would recommend that you take a larger campervan than the size of your family. For instance, if you have a family of four, a six-person van would be best. It will cost you more than a smaller vehicle, but it will be worth it in terms of comfort on those long drives.
Furthermore, with a large vehicle, you could make the tour more luxurious. For instance, a six-unit campervan could have up to three double beds, which would make sleeping arrangements quite cozy.
Exploring by campervan means that you do not have to go through the tedious pack and unpack mode during the multiple stops on your tour. Having all your stuff in a campervan means that you have more freedom and flexibility that staying in a hotel would deprive you of.
One of the pros of traveling this way is that you can choose to camp out on that remote valley, beach or mountain-view spot for the night. New Zealand offers numerous such places just off the road that you could choose from. You need to have essential travel apps such as Packing Pro, Maplets, and TripIt that will make managing the trip easier.
Most of the locals are friendly and will let you camp on any spot you want for the night. For example, on the road to Milford Sound, there is a beautiful roaring river that has the Fiordland’s picturesque peaks as a backdrop. I am sure that if you stayed in a hotel with such views, the charges would be equivalent to the campervan rental.
The good thing about exploring New Zealand is that it is not exclusive and high end, unlike some other destinations. The natural splendor of the countryside is inclusive and accessible to every type of traveller, and the campervan is the best way of experiencing this beautiful country.
Cheap Powered Campsites and Holiday Parks
You could also stay at holiday parks and powered campsites found in most of the towns on the tourist circuit. These are affordable campsites costing about $20-35 per night. Most of them offer cooking facilities, playgrounds, internet access and showers.
However, I recommend that you use a Virtual Private Network while logging into public networks as campsites may be a soft target for identity thieves (seriously, it happens!)
While the holiday parks and campsites are not the most scenic, you will need electricity, running water and a hot shower every few days on the tour, and these campsites will be your best option.
It is also a good way to meet other fellow travelers who can give you valuable information on some of the best sights you may have missed on your itinerary. It is not that hard to meet other travelers on these trips particularly on South Island, as there are long stretches of road where most of the people you will run into will be fellow tourists.
Traveling by campervan can be quite an adventure in itself. Driving a 20-foot long and 9-foot high house on wheels can be quite intimidating at first. This coupled with the fact that you drive on the left lane, you steer from the right and it’ll likely be a manual transmission vehicle makes for a novel experience.
The roads, while curving and hilly in most places, are in top condition and not as crowded as in other places, so driving will not be as stressful.
Overall, the price of fuel, rental of the van and the camper site are significantly lower in comparison to renting a car and stopping at hostels, motels and B&Bs on the tour. Nothing is better than settling in for the night in the natural grandeur of New Zealand.
The opportunity for quality family time on the onboard dining table is one thing that will be a highlight of your trip. Exploring New Zealand by campervan is truly one of the most enjoyable and relaxing experiences.
If you plan to tour New Zealand make sure to take a campervan trip, you are sure to have experiences that you will remember for a lifetime.