Monday, 16 April 2012

North Island Winter Road Trip

Rotorua - Hells Gate
By Ianz - Flickr
The Winter Holidays are the perfect time to take the kids on a mini Campervan tour of the North Island in New Zealand.  Bubbling mud pools, Thermal Hot Springs and snowy mountains are on the cards in this exploration of the beautiful New Zealand scenery.

Begin the holiday in Auckland, but leave the big city behind as you head for Tauranga and the mount.  Spend some time at the cafes and shops down at Main Beach, Mount Maunganui and be sure to take a walk around the Mount or up to the summit to get some beautiful views of the East Coast.

Mt. Maunganui
Mount Maunganui
By SW-arts - Flickr
From Tauranga,  jump on the highway to Rotorua.  Rotorua is a tourists playground and if you've been there before, the lovely smells will make you nostalgic for previous holidays.   Visit the bubbling mud pools and hissing geysers in Whakarewarewa Geothermal Village and Te Puia's New Zeland Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.   Have some fun up the Rotorua Gondola's, complete with thrilling Luges and chairlifts.  Newly renovated Rainbow Springs is a must visit with it's Kiwi's, birds, Wildlife and fun "Big Splash" ride!   Take a tiki tour around the Lake and surrounding Lakes like Tarawera,  Rotoiti and Rotoma.  Visit the Agrodome for some Kiwi Farm experiences or take an exhilarating "roll" in the Zorb!

Huka Falls
Huka Falls
By KiwiHugger - Flickr

The Next Stop is Taupo.  Another geothermal town with lots to do.  On your arrival into town, if it's a clear day,  you'll be able to see Mount Ruapehu peeking out in all her glory, from behind the lake.  Play a game of mini golf lakeside (always a favourite with me), try your luck at getting a hole in one on the Lake's Golf hole pontoon, or relax and unwind in De Brett's Thermal Hot Pools.  Set up the Campervan Lakeside and share a delicious Kiwi classic - Fish and Chips.  Experience the extravagance of the 'Huka Falls' or the Aratiatia Rapids.  The Botanical gardens are a beauty and the 'Craters of the moon' Geothermal sites is a must visit.

Tongariro crossing
Tongariro Crossing
By trailrunz - Flickr
If your family or friends are up for it, do the world Famous Tongariro Alpine crossing.  Being amongst the volcanoes and all that comes with them is a life changing experience.  You may even feel like you've stepped into 'The Lord of the Rings'. 

The Turoa side
Turoa Side
By flashmick - Flickr
 Not coincidentally, the alpine crossing entrance is on the way to the next stop - Ohakune or National Park.  Both offer access to Mount Ruapehu for skiing, snowboarding or just sightseeing the glorious mountain and the spectacular views that come with it.  If it's a clear day you may even be able to see Mount Taranaki from the Turoa side. 

Head back to Auckland from here, perhaps stopping via Rotorua again to break up the journey to Auckland.

New Zealand is a marvel to travel in and you will have  blast with your family or friends.  Find a winter special on a Campervan at Campervan Hire Sale Finder and Have Fun!!

Take a look at the following videos if you're not already inspired!!

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

A Lovely Long Weekend in a Campervan

Beach Runner
Papamoa Beach
By Abaconda - Flickr
 Our beautiful Easter weekend began on thursday afternoon in Auckland.  After an in depth run-through  of our 4 berth Campervan by the campervan lady, being shown the nooks and cranies, where everything was and the general functionalities of the dinky space, we were underway.   However, not without a DVD explaining anything we may have forgotten ready to play on our Campervan's very modern flat screen t.v. - easily maneuvered to fit up against the wall or in good view from the back couches.

Our dinky kitchen, cupboards, table and back window.
We hit the road with only a slight automatic-driver-to-manual-driver hiccup (Alan forgot to use the clutch when trying to reverse... senior moment).  The turbo diesel powered south towards Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty.  We filled the fridge and little freezer and the many cupboards (still roomy after storing and securing all our gear - clothes, jackets, tennis rackets and easter eggs) with groceries we purchased in Matamata. 

We drove through the beautiful Karangahake  gorge, small towns and Tauranga and arrived at Papamoa Top 10 Holiday Park after dark.   After being given a map to our spot, perched on sunset rise and plugging ourselves into the power, we began the first evening of our entirely relaxing weekend.  The curtains were pulled for privacy from prying eyes and our soup and salad was easily assembled in the well equipped, clean and, all things considered, roomy kitchenette.  After dining on the couches around the spacious table and doing the dishes in the sink (dishwashing liquid, and dish brushes included) we were eager to assemble the couch-cum-kingsize bed jigsaw.   The sheets were fitted and blankets thrown on and voila we had a comfy bed for the duration of our stay, with lights above to read our books.  The other double bed above the driver and passenger seats were more cave like and could be set up all day.  An early night and refreshing sleep was obtained by all.

The Campervan
Good friday brought forth a beautiful morning once the curtains had been raised.  The advantage of arriving at nightime is one gets a lovely surprise when they awake to a recently risen sun above the sparkling East Coast waters.   Our site overlooked other sites filled with Campervans and tents, giving Lynn plenty of "people watching" opportunities.   Beyond them were the small sand dunes and beyond that - pristine Papamoa beach.

Once the bed was packed up and turned back to the slid-able table and couches, bacon and eggs were fried up and the coffee brewed.   Although the Campervan was equipped with a clean, non smelly and perfectly ample shower/toilet facility,  we opted for the holiday park facilities to save on refilling  the water tank as often.   A quick tidy of the Campervan was done as we were expecting guests who wanted to share our Campervan vistas and comforts.   The weather was slightly temperamental, although with only one shower, but I'm happy to say we spent the rest of the day engorged in our books on the comfy couches eating and drinking and occasionally gazing out to the views and changing neighbours. 

View from our Papamoa Camping site
The following morning we spent in Mount Maunganui at the local monthly market followed by lunch at a friends and the afternoon at Tauranga's Easter weekend Jazz festivities.  The return to our site at Papamoa was eagerly anticipated as we were keen for a walk along the beach and more reading.  Sunday night in the park was booked as we couldn't stand leaving the next morning.

Sunday morning saw us heading out to conquer Papamoa Hills, a Maori Pa 10 minutes from the holiday park,  that's views and walk through the bush are well worth the following day's muscle pains.  Lunch was in Mount Maunganui followed by a sunday afternoon drive through the beachtown.  The sunny and warm beach beckoned us on our return, where we sat for a while watching the surfers out in the double overhead clean waves.  The sun went behind the dunes so we got out the deckchairs (included with the Camper) from the outside Campervan compartments, poured a glass of wine and sat in the remaining sun behind the Camper.   Cheese and crackers became our dinner and cards and books were on the table for the remainder of the evening.
Papamoa Hills
Papamoa Hills Climb
By winnins1 - Flickr

Our final morning in Papamoa was a beauty, enticing us to stay for yet another night. A walk along the beach heated us up for a swim in the suprisingly warm April ocean, followed by leftover Hot cross buns grilled in the Campervan's kitchen.  As our next night or two was going to be free camping, it was about time we dealt with "the tanks".  From our site Alan had the pleasure of wheeling (like a suitcase onto a plane) the "black water" tank to the "dump station" conveniently located in the holiday park.  After a relatively clean and tidy "emptying" and checking that the power battery was full,  we said goodbye to our site, belted up, stopped so Alan could hose out the grey water and hit the road for Rotorua.

Back couches of the Campervan
After an hour or so of bouncing around in the back of the Campervan, we hopped out for a walk in the beautiful Redwood forest.  Stocked up with a few more groceries we head to the family's lakeside section near Taupo.  No power plugs were available here so on came the gas for the fridge and hot water and here in forth, preserving of water.  We found a level spot on the section overlooking the pristine lake, dug out some food and wine  and stared out the huge back window  to the killer view.   The sun was behind the mountains so we dug out the little blow heater as we thought it may come in handy at some time in the night.  The duvets and extra blankets were suffiicient however and we arose the next morning to a tranquil walk near the lake.

The rest of the time was easily passed walking, reading and eating before we set forth the following day back to Auckland to return the Camper.  The goodbye wasn't easy as the sun was still shining and  a roadtrip to another destination would've been easy.

The campervan bode us well and we will definitely be doing many more a holiday in one.  Little extras like a large mirror, a toaster and plunger, a tall cupboard for clothes not wanting creases, a stereo system with AUX,  and many storage compartments set this campervan apart making it an easy and enjoyable holiday.

Yet again New Zealand scenery didn't cease to impress and we were graced with a superb Campervan holiday in the sun.  We knew fairly well where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do but for those traveling from abroad or who wanted some help, there was a "tourist radio" included in the rental.  This is your personal tour guide so you don't miss out on anything and can learn a thing or two about NZ as you go.

We found our great campervan at .   I implore all to get a campervan for your next holiday and tour around parts, or all of New Zealand. 

Monday, 9 April 2012

Campervan Park Auckland Airport

The last thing you feel like doing when you get off a long haul flight is driving on unfamiliar roads in an unfamiliar vehicle for hours on end.

Auckland airport have created the perfect solution! A Campervan park at Auckland Airport!

Now you can get a hold of your campervan and go knuckle down for a good sleep less than a kilometre away from the airport! You don't need to spend a night in an expensive hotel but you can get the run down of the camper, get a good sleep and wake up at the crack of dawn to get on the road! Don't make your kids fall asleep in their seats or don't let yourself fall asleep at the wheel!


Don't start your dream campervan adventure tired and agitated. Book a night at the Campervan Park Auckland Airport!

With 54 powered sites, access to fresh water, toilets, showers, a laundry, kitchen and Wi-Fi you'll be all set as soon as you get off the plane. What's more, it allows you to stock up the camper with groceries at the supermarket nearby.
Alternatively, stay at the Campervan Park on your way out of the country

The park is also fully fenced, with CCTV and has regular security patrols on site.

Book a site for when you arrive in Auckland! If you haven't got a campervan yet check out Campervan Hire New Zealand or Campervan Hire Sale Finder.

A few quick Campervan ideas for NZ

Coromandel Peninsula Panorama
By Subwaynz -Wikimedia Commons

Pack up the kids, husband/wife or friends and spend a weekend or longer in a Campervan! The perfect way to see the sites of the beautiful New Zealand is from the comfort of a Campervan.  Campervanning gives you the chance to cruise around and take in the scenery, friendly people and hopefully some lovely weather.

Easter Weekend Campervan trip idea #1 - Coromandel

Paradise within New Zealand is the Coromandel. With so much coast comes the most beautiful beaches! Dig a hole at Hot water beach and bathe in the warm waters like the video. Visit Cathedral cove, where Narnia was set or park up next to a pristine beach and read your book.

Easter Weekend Campervan Idea #2 - Rotorua

If the intriguing smell of Rotorua can't tempt you then maybe Zorbing, Thermal hot pools or petting lion cubs will. With so much to do in Rotorua you'll be set for the whole long weekend. Park up in a Campervan park around the Lake and have fun all weekend. Ride the Gondola and zoom down on a luge!

Rotorua PoW
By Valley2city- Wikimedia Commons

Easter Weekend Campervan idea #3: Queenstown

Sit alongside the beautiful Lake Whakatipu with a hot drink, ride the Shotover jet, or cruise to the quaint Arrowtown. Cuddle up in the comfort of your campervan by evening and the next day take a trip on the Earnslaw, a picturesque journey across the lake.

Easter Weekend idea #4: Auckland

If you're not from Auckland, why not explore the "big city" by Campervan. Stay at a campervan park next to one of the beautiful beaches that surrounds Auckland. Rise to the top of the Skytower and see for as far as you can or join the underwater world with the penguins and sharks at Kelly Tarltons. Visit the rugged west coast beaches or the many more tranquil East Coast beaches and don't forget to relax in one of Auckland's fantastic cafes .

Find a Campervan to fit your holiday at Campervan Hire Sale Finder. You'll find the best deal on a campervan that will make your Easter weekend a memorable time.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Traveling cheaply while in New Zealand.

Campervan beach side in New Zealand
This post is for all the American or Canadian tourists and anyone else who may think RV's are for retirees who don't mind a gas guzzling vehicle.  This post is for tourists coming to New Zealand who don't want to spend hours searching for hotels or hostels and then pay exorbitant prices for a good nights sleep.  This post is for tourists who would love to eat out at all the gastronomically amazing eateries in New Zealand but are on just a too tighter budget to do that. And finally this post is for the keen traveler who wants to explore the magnificent scenery and beautiful spots of New Zealand, like a true New Zealander.

A funky and cheap Campervan. approx  $45/day
For our first set of people... New Zealand's equivalent to an RV (kind of) is the campervan.  Campervans in New Zealand range from your plumber size van, often with a "pop-top" for 1 or 2 people, to 6 berth larger vehicles and even up to the bus size vehicles more commonly known as an RV.  These RV's aren't very popular in New Zealand due to their size and of course their Retiree/ sell-the-house-move-into-an-RV image.  Campervans on the other hand, are easy to handle, easy to park and even a little bit trendy.  What could be cooler than jumping into a colourful van, cruising round the streets and across country sides, parking up, cooking your evening meal to eat outside, sitting in the glory of your van and then bunking down for the night in a piece of paradise we call New Zealand.  The next morning cruise on outta there to the next location.  For the gas guzzling part, because the campervans are small and more van like, the gas isn't sucked dry pulling a gigantic bus along.  Tourists in New Zealand, Germany, Australia and all over the world are joining the campervan band wagon... it's cool!!

New Zealand HolidaysCoromandel to Fletcher's Bay (34 of 37)
Wake up to this!
By (L) New Zealand Travel - Flickr  (R) GOC53 - Flickr
Now for our second set of people.  You needn't spend hours searching for hotels in every city you might want to stay at and then risk missing out on staying somewhere that you discover while you're in New Zealand.  You also needn't pay for expensive hotels, motels or stay in a hostel sharing a dorm with that guy who hasn't showered for days.  In a Campervan you can zip from city to city, town to town, beach to beach and stay where you want, freely able to change plans last minute and add destinations the local "kiwis' have told you about, into your schedule.  As for the non-showering foreigner, you've got your own cosy bed surrounded only by the walls of your Campervan bedroom (and possibly sleeptalking buddy).  Campervans can be budget backpacker varieties to more luxurious models, but, the freedom it gives you is priceless.
2011-03 Campervanning in New Zealand 064
Cooking Dinner in the Campervan
By Matt S Fisher - Flickr
  The next Campervan strength is it's ability to create a gastronomical delight without spending all your travel money on food.  Campervans are equipped with dinky kitchen facilities and New Zealand is equipped with delicious food, especially its right-off-the-farm meats, fresh-from-the-sea seafood, juicy vegetables and of course, world class wine.  Stock up on groceries at a local supermarket before setting out on your adventure and every breakfast, lunch and dinner you can dine like Kings in your Campervan, in chairs outside of it, or on a beach looking out to the pristine waters.  Perfect.
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand.
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
By Mike NZ - Flickr
New Zealanders explore their beautiful nation by Campervan so it only see's fit that tourists should too.  Camping is a rite of passage for Kiwi's and bar the tent, you're pretty much there.  Every year New Zealanders spend their holidays at sparkling beaches, pristine lakes or near mountainous slopes, enjoying the outdoors and all that that offers.  The environment beckons you to take a swim, go for a hike or sit back with a glass of New Zealand wine.  Campervanning is a way of life in New Zealand which enables you to spend the morning waking up to a sunrise on the east coast to snowboarding the mountainous slopes by afternoon.

To experience the true New Zealand, be sure to visit some of the following locations: 

Bay of Islands
Bay of Islands, NZ
By AntonyP80 - Flickr
Northland, New Zealand (above Auckland) is teeming with lengthy white sand beaches and surfable waves.  Auckland city is the biggest in New Zealand and holds a plethora of activities from jumping off the sky tower to having Fish and chips at a local beach.

Coromandel paradise
Coromandel Paradise
By asgw - Flick
 The Coromandel again is a hive of beaches and beautiful scenery with quaint holiday towns.  Hot water beach is a popular spot where punters can dig their own hot tub in the sand as a result of geothermal activity.  Cathedral Cove is the perfect beach and as locals know, the film location of Narnia. The estuary at Cooks beach is perfect for a swim and be sure to drop a line somewhere.   Get to know some locals and they will treat you well.

Mount Ruapehu
By Mysterious Photographer - Flickr
The central part of the North island is home to Mordor-ish mountains, flat plains, interesting  towns like shopable Tirau, Maori culture central and geothermal wonderland - Rotorua & Taupo.

The Bay of Plenty, notably Mount Maunganui, will welcome you to their beach town, perfect for a surf.
Hawkes Bay's wineries will entice, as will it's pretty scenery and quaint art deco towns.

Wellington, the country capital, is art and culture central.

Cross the Cook Strait in your campervan on a ferry and arrive in the beautiful Queen Charlotte sound.

The West Coast is rugged and untamed but beautiful in that.  The Southern Alps span a large length of the South Island making magnificent vistas wherever you go.

Marlborough wine country
Marlborough Wine Region
By oh man alive - Flickr
 The top of the South island is wine region. Take some tours if that's your thing or head down the vast untouched south island.  Lakes, mountains and dry plains will greet you wherever you go. Queenstown is a resort ski town as is Wanaka and further south encounter some ancient glaciers.  There's too much goodness in New Zealand to write about but if you specifically want to know about an area just post a comment.

Stop in at i-sites when you see them and the friendly workers will show you where's good to visit around them.  Free Camp or stay in the many campgrounds around the country.  Top 10 holiday parks are a good place to start, but many a campground has good if not better facilities.  DOC campgrounds are cheaper and  less equipped but usually in a more remote and therefore untouched location.  Make sure you're prepared with food and water before staying in any of them.

This brings the post to an end. You'll never regret spending a campervan holiday in New Zealand.  The trip will be well worth it and you definitely won't join the retiree RV image.  Find a Campervan deal at Campervan Hire Sale Finder and book your next vacation.