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.

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