Campervanning is a popular choice for travellers roaming across New Zealand. It’s cost effective, convenient and a great way to see NZ’s awesome scenery. To ensure a smooth trip with as few glitches as possible, here are five useful tips that I picked up on my two-week road trip around the North Island.
Download Useful Travelling Apps
Prior to our trip to New Zealand, I was a little concerned about how we were going to find campsites for the night - or simply navigate around the island. I was intending to purchase a SIM card, however didn’t want to burn through all my data using maps.
A quick search led me to two extremely useful phone apps that we all used throughout the trip. Firstly, I came across an application that located most camping sites on the North Island, and one that indicated whether they were free or paid. The second was an app that allowed maps to be used offline. This saved us all a tremendous amount of data and money.
Don’t Rent a Camper based on its Facilities
When we finally booked our campervan, there was no toilet or showers on board. This initially worried me as I thought they were a priority to have in a campervan. However as a few days past, I realised that the facilities I thought were necessities, weren’t.
A bathroom would always present itself, and we simply utilised the shower facilities whenever we stayed at a paid camp ground. Looking back on the trip, I’m quite glad we booked a campervan without these facilities as the money we saved was spent enjoying ourselves.
Take Plenty of Driving Breaks and Split up the Driving
Taking breaks and splitting up the driving between fellow travellers are excellent tactics to combat driver fatigue. Driving for long periods at a time can be hazardous (as Aussies are aware of), therefore taking breaks or swapping drivers at least every two hours can greatly reduce the risks of accidents.
Organising the itinerary to accommodate for breaks in travelling can also be an effective tool to maximise what’s being achieved in these pauses. Rather than simply pulling over on the side of the road for 15 minutes, have an activity or attraction planned to make the stop memorable.
Keep Track of your Valuables inside the Campervan
Remember where you put your valuables inside the motorhome as it doesn’t take long for a campervan to turn into a jumble of clothes and rubbish. On our 2 week journey around New Zealand, I brought along a phone charging battery pack only to lose track of it a couple days into the trip (after lending it to a friend).
Unfortunately, I didn’t end up finding it until we cleaned out the campervan at the end of our trip. Whether your belongings have fallen under a seat or between the beds, chances are, they won’t turn up until the camper is cleaned out.
Free Camp Sites vs Paid Camp Sites
There are an abundance of beautiful campgrounds to enjoy whilst travelling around NZ. Paid camping areas include showering facilities, kitchens, bathrooms, and a variety of activities within the campground, along with a sense of security among other travellers. Although, they can be costly at some locations, splitting the cost between the group and price-matching can make them quite affordable.
Free camp sites are usually an unglamorous patch of grass or a car park. Although they don’t cost anything, if there are no other campervans around, these sites can feel somewhat unsafe. Throughout our trip in New Zealand, we intended to stay at a paid campsite every two days, saving some money and utilising free camp spots on alternate nights.
We ended up staying most nights at paid campgrounds, and with the bill being split between the four of us, our budgets weren’t busted. We realised quite quickly the convenience and sense of safety that paid campgrounds delivered were worth the cost. If deciding to take advantage of free camp grounds, ensure the environment is safe.