Author Topic: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?  (Read 2220 times)

Marvel2017

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Is 3 months enough? We've thought about flying there, renting a campervan, and just driving all around.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 10:19:28 AM by Marvel2017 »

ysette9

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2017, 10:22:27 AM »
Following because this sounds glorious
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forumname123

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2017, 11:34:23 AM »
I did it for 3 months about 2 years ago. We had lived on the south island for a year prior which enabled us to gloss over parts of it on our 3 month road trip, but I would still say 3 months is a good amount of time to do it. My advice would be:

- Rather than renting one of the typical vans (expensive), consider buying a beater and selling it when you're done. We bought a Subaru wagon for around $1500 and sold it easily for about the same when we were done. You could do the same with a van, but they are considerably more expensive so there is more risk. I realize this isn't for everyone, but it's definitely worth thinking about. Cheap camping (usually $6/night) is prevalent so we had no use for a sleeper van, and with high fuel costs we were often the envy of fellow travelers. They had big vans full to the **** with stuff, and we had a little wagon with curtains that we could sleep comfortably in with our belongings in the front seat. We bought a used tent and slept in it probably 90-95% of the time, but a car sleep was always a good option as well.

- Download and rely heavily on the NZ specific camping apps. They are simply amazing. There were 2 that we used every single day (Campermate was the better of the two). They show you where campsites are, where bathrooms are, where water is, where free wifi is, where everything is that you will need. They were also helpful in pointing out attractions and things we surely would have missed otherwise. Some of it was typical tourist trap stuff, but some of it was far better than we could have ever expected. Secret waterfalls, beaches, etc that we never would have found, and often we were the only people there.

- Use Trademe for everything you need. It's a used marketplace that is an awesome hybrid of Craigslist and Ebay. I miss this greatly.

- Check out Bookme.co.nz if you're into any kind of typical tourist 'adventures'. We got awesome deals on things like whitewater rafting, paddle-boarding, etc. My advice would be to avoid any kind of 'tour', but that's just a personal preference. We paid a fortune to do a cave tour in Waitomo and it was one of the lamest days of my life. There are plenty of amazing places where you can cave/etc for free without the hand-holding of a tour guide.

- We had a little camp stove for the first month or so and were determined to make our own food as much as possible. We abandoned this when we found out it was actually cheaper to live off of Subway ($6 subs), Dominos ($5 pizzas), and the thousands of awesome and surprisingly cheap fish & chip shops. These little hole in the wall shops are one of the things I miss most about New Zealand. They are everywhere, they are cheap, and 90% of the time they are awesome. Both of us could typically eat for about $5-$8 total, which was far cheaper than almost anything we could make ourselves (groceries are also wildly expensive). Subway became our primary source of vegetables, with supplementary additions from the grocery store.

- There are a couple of outdoor stores in NZ, but they are pretty expensive and the quality is suspect so try to bring what you think you'll need. We needed new sleeping bags and ended up ordering from the US. Shipping was more than the bags themselves, but it was still a better deal.

Just to give you a reference point, our total expenses for 3 months were right around $5000 per person (2 of us), with an average spend of $56/day/person.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, but I may pop back in if I think of anything else.


« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 11:47:30 AM by forumname123 »

Dicey

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2017, 12:04:30 PM »
Saw a lot of this happening when I was there in 2010. Looked like a lot of fun! You're sure to meet other like-minded folks. PTF, because I want to go back.
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GreenSheep

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2017, 12:10:25 PM »
Also following. This is on my mental (and ever-expanding) bucket list.

How is the reaction of New Zealanders to campers? When we did this in Iceland, I got the sense that the locals were doing their best to hold onto their politeness but were getting rather tired of more and more foreigners every year trampling their natural beauty. The campsites were also crowded in some areas. Maybe the fact that NZ is much bigger makes these non-issues?

forumname123

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2017, 01:19:06 PM »
Also following. This is on my mental (and ever-expanding) bucket list.

How is the reaction of New Zealanders to campers? When we did this in Iceland, I got the sense that the locals were doing their best to hold onto their politeness but were getting rather tired of more and more foreigners every year trampling their natural beauty. The campsites were also crowded in some areas. Maybe the fact that NZ is much bigger makes these non-issues?

We never had any problems with the people or feeling welcome. They say Canadians are quite similar to New Zealanders (NZ=Canada, Australia=USA), so that could be part of it. In general they are awesome people and I wish our society was more like theirs in a lot of ways.

Some of the campsites in the more popular areas were definitely crowded, so you have to consider those things when determining where to go and how long you plan to stay. This was a much bigger problem on the north island, and one of the reasons we prefer the south. There were a few places in the middle of nowhere that we ended up staying many days longer than we thought we would, and there were plenty of popular places where we couldn't get out fast enough.

Another big piece of advice would be to avoid planning anything too far ahead in terms of where you want to go or how long you want to stay. You have no way of knowing what you'll like until you're there, so keep things as fluid as possible. When we started we had one destination planned for 4 days (hiking the Milford Track), and we essentially made everything up on a day-by-day basis after that. You'll likely be surprised by the places you like vs the ones you don't, and if you have concrete plans before hand you will not be able to allocate your time appropriately. Plan to go to _____ for a day, and then re-evaluate and plan your next move. This also allows you to pace yourself appropriately. We found an awesome campsite on a beach and had only planned on staying a day, but it was so peaceful and there were showers/food/etc nearby so we ended up staying a full week just to relax and recharge.

Marvel2017

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2017, 02:31:51 PM »
Great, thank you! My wife lived in NZ for four years so we have a little bit of background that will help but these tips are great!

Daisy

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2017, 08:36:15 PM »
Following because this sounds glorious

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This sounds right up my alley.

And I love watching Anabel Langbein's cooking shows on PBS. She seems so resourceful and outdoorsy..very New Zealandish!

Great idea above on buying a used wagon and selling it at the end of a trip.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2017, 08:43:35 PM »
Also following. This is on my mental (and ever-expanding) bucket list.

How is the reaction of New Zealanders to campers? When we did this in Iceland, I got the sense that the locals were doing their best to hold onto their politeness but were getting rather tired of more and more foreigners every year trampling their natural beauty. The campsites were also crowded in some areas. Maybe the fact that NZ is much bigger makes these non-issues?

We don't mind campers that show the normal courtesy for the locals. That means don't speed through our towns, take your rubbish with you, and show a bit of ordinary common sense when it comes to looking after your own belongings. We've had a lot of trouble with people relieving themselves in streets and in people's yards, but that tends to be young europeans. What I would say, though, is that we drive on the LEFT! If you don't feel you can manage that, don't bother coming. We're a tiny bit sick of tourists causing fatal accidents, especially in the lower south island. If you drive particularly poorly, you're likely to be pulled over by a local and have your keys taken off you.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2017, 08:47:44 PM »
Following because this sounds glorious

+

This sounds right up my alley.

And I love watching Anabel Langbein's cooking shows on PBS. She seems so resourceful and outdoorsy..very New Zealandish!

Great idea above on buying a used wagon and selling it at the end of a trip.

That's quite funny. In NZ, Annabel is laughed at as a pretentious idiot with a deliberately unconvincing accent! Apparently she spent quite a long time with a voice coach before she was considered ok for the american market. We think she sounds bizarre. She lives in the richest community in the country and she's far from mustachian. She probably pays someone to take her nails off for her before she cooks.

Daisy

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #10 on: June 09, 2017, 09:10:37 PM »
Following because this sounds glorious

+

This sounds right up my alley.

And I love watching Anabel Langbein's cooking shows on PBS. She seems so resourceful and outdoorsy..very New Zealandish!

Great idea above on buying a used wagon and selling it at the end of a trip.

That's quite funny. In NZ, Annabel is laughed at as a pretentious idiot with a deliberately unconvincing accent! Apparently she spent quite a long time with a voice coach before she was considered ok for the american market. We think she sounds bizarre. She lives in the richest community in the country and she's far from mustachian. She probably pays someone to take her nails off for her before she cooks.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3kidtr

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2017, 04:39:38 AM »
Following because this sounds glorious

+

This sounds right up my alley.

And I love watching Anabel Langbein's cooking shows on PBS. She seems so resourceful and outdoorsy..very New Zealandish!

Great idea above on buying a used wagon and selling it at the end of a trip.

That's quite funny. In NZ, Annabel is laughed at as a pretentious idiot with a deliberately unconvincing accent! Apparently she spent quite a long time with a voice coach before she was considered ok for the american market. We think she sounds bizarre. She lives in the richest community in the country and she's far from mustachian. She probably pays someone to take her nails off for her before she cooks.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3kidtr

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/71743964/Dublin-Bay-development-beggars-belief-reverse-sensitivity-concerns-emerge

She doesn't do herself any favours. Her attitude might be quite normal in LA, but we kiwis generally don't much care for people who don't give a flying crap about anyone else. She doesn't have any shows on the local networks. Probably a good choice.

andystkilda

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2017, 02:47:38 AM »
We did a 2 week trip in the dead of winter with a baby and a toddler - was a fantastic experience!
Jucy is fine - not too expensive in my opinion - I would rather pay a couple grand extra and not have to worry about potential loss, inability to sell, repairs, insurance etc. etc. etc. with a buy/use/sell strategy. I would only buy if it was a much longer trip - like 6 or 9 months+
The Campermate app was our go-to as mentioned above.
A lot of spots where you can park/sleep for free without too much of a worry - just check the signs.
Enjoy!

NorthernDreamer

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2017, 07:14:46 PM »
My husband and I spent 8 months doing this in 2009. We didn't have a smartphone back then (were apps even around?) so I'm sure the logistics are different now. We felt 8 months was a tad long, and we stopped in three places and did farm work (registered with Farm Help in NZ). Worked for room and board. It was fab. I'd suggest seeing if they have a similar program. Meeting and living with local families is a fantastic way to get to know a country. Plus we did find people loved us Canadians ;)

gooki

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2017, 08:14:20 PM »
How is the reaction of New Zealanders to campers? When we did this in Iceland, I got the sense that the locals were doing their best to hold onto their politeness but were getting rather tired of more and more foreigners every year trampling their natural beauty. The campsites were also crowded in some areas. Maybe the fact that NZ is much bigger makes these non-issues?

Most people welcome campers. It's be a long part of our tourism heritage, although the low cost camper is a newer phenomenon. Take your rubbish, and if you need to go toilet where there are not facilities, do it off the beaten track.

2-3 months should be ideal. If you avoid the school holidays it'll be a whole lot less busy.
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Daisy

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2017, 09:30:37 PM »
Following because this sounds glorious

+

This sounds right up my alley.

And I love watching Anabel Langbein's cooking shows on PBS. She seems so resourceful and outdoorsy..very New Zealandish!

Great idea above on buying a used wagon and selling it at the end of a trip.

That's quite funny. In NZ, Annabel is laughed at as a pretentious idiot with a deliberately unconvincing accent! Apparently she spent quite a long time with a voice coach before she was considered ok for the american market. We think she sounds bizarre. She lives in the richest community in the country and she's far from mustachian. She probably pays someone to take her nails off for her before she cooks.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3kidtr

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/71743964/Dublin-Bay-development-beggars-belief-reverse-sensitivity-concerns-emerge

She doesn't do herself any favours. Her attitude might be quite normal in LA, but we kiwis generally don't much care for people who don't give a flying crap about anyone else. She doesn't have any shows on the local networks. Probably a good choice.

I obviously didn't know anything about her other than her show. I do like her cooking style and all of her guests at the final meal on the show seem happy, but maybe they are paid to do that, or maybe they are not even New Zealanders!

I'm on the fence about her changing her accent to appeal to Americans, because now you have me worried that my American ears will not understand a true New Zealander when I visit there. It seems like a good move to change her accent a bit if she was trying to put on a show in the US...it wouldn't be wise to air a show where your audience can't understand you. Kind of like the movie The Full Monty. That's one English movie that certainly needed subtitles for this American viewer!

If you saw that video I linked on the How I Met Your Mother episode talking about glass shattering when someone points out the flaws of others you were previously blind to...well that's me now. Thanks a lot!
« Last Edit: June 11, 2017, 09:32:13 PM by Daisy »

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2017, 11:23:25 PM »
Following because this sounds glorious

+

This sounds right up my alley.

And I love watching Anabel Langbein's cooking shows on PBS. She seems so resourceful and outdoorsy..very New Zealandish!

Great idea above on buying a used wagon and selling it at the end of a trip.

That's quite funny. In NZ, Annabel is laughed at as a pretentious idiot with a deliberately unconvincing accent! Apparently she spent quite a long time with a voice coach before she was considered ok for the american market. We think she sounds bizarre. She lives in the richest community in the country and she's far from mustachian. She probably pays someone to take her nails off for her before she cooks.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3kidtr

http://www.stuff.co.nz/southland-times/news/71743964/Dublin-Bay-development-beggars-belief-reverse-sensitivity-concerns-emerge

She doesn't do herself any favours. Her attitude might be quite normal in LA, but we kiwis generally don't much care for people who don't give a flying crap about anyone else. She doesn't have any shows on the local networks. Probably a good choice.

I obviously didn't know anything about her other than her show. I do like her cooking style and all of her guests at the final meal on the show seem happy, but maybe they are paid to do that, or maybe they are not even New Zealanders!

I'm on the fence about her changing her accent to appeal to Americans, because now you have me worried that my American ears will not understand a true New Zealander when I visit there. It seems like a good move to change her accent a bit if she was trying to put on a show in the US...it wouldn't be wise to air a show where your audience can't understand you. Kind of like the movie The Full Monty. That's one English movie that certainly needed subtitles for this American viewer!

If you saw that video I linked on the How I Met Your Mother episode talking about glass shattering when someone points out the flaws of others you were previously blind to...well that's me now. Thanks a lot!

I think american subtitles for UK regional accents are hilarious. We don't do that here. Maybe we should, because it took me a few episodes of Duck Dynasty to get my ear used to them!

Annabel's accent IS bizarre. It's not kiwi, or English or any combination of the two. Rachel Hunter's accent is kiwi who has lived in the UK for awhile. Annabel's isn't american either. It's like some weird, exaggerated version of modern Julia Child!

Nudelkopf

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2017, 11:50:50 PM »
How is the reaction of New Zealanders to campers?
Drive on the left!! My partner is Kiwi (I'm Australian) & have done a few driving trips around both the North & South Islands. The main bug bear is bad drivers - keep to the left, & don't drive tired.

NorthernDreamer

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Re: Anyone taken a campervan/RV around New Zealand before? Tips?
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2017, 09:35:51 AM »
I should add that we bought our campervan on TradeMe, and sold it at the end in 48 hours for $500 less than we bought it for.

My husband and I spent 8 months doing this in 2009. We didn't have a smartphone back then (were apps even around?) so I'm sure the logistics are different now. We felt 8 months was a tad long, and we stopped in three places and did farm work (registered with Farm Help in NZ). Worked for room and board. It was fab. I'd suggest seeing if they have a similar program. Meeting and living with local families is a fantastic way to get to know a country. Plus we did find people loved us Canadians ;)