Ah a Kiwi summer – hot days, balmy nights and warm water – nothing beats camping and campervanning season Down Under.
However, before you trek off on your holiday ventures, be sure to arm yourself with a few campervanning hints, tips and know-how, just in case the weather doesn’t come to the party but the bugs do or you find yourself parking up in places you hadn’t planned for! A Kiwi campervan trip should be about making memories – not morbid escapes – so sit back and read on.
It’s the Little Things
Your campervan comes pre-loaded with all the mod-cons and essentials you need for a comfortable journey ahead, however it’s advisable to keep a few ‘extra’ bits and pieces tucked away in your van! Why? Because you may encounter unwanted guests – bugs – which although small can be majorly frustrating, especially when sleep time nears.
According to the Ministry of Health, New Zealand is home to 19 species of sandfly – of which only three bite humans, and 12 types of mosquito – who are mostly active around dawn, late afternoon and dusk. And although campervans do come with bug shades these pesky pests can find their ways into bags, towels and hidden crevasses during the day. So, applying bug repellent before you go to sleep is an option. Goodbye Sandfly is a popular natural-based repellent sold here in New Zealand and it absorbs easily into skin. If you aren’t so keen on spraying skin, there is a great range of portable repelling devices on the market – such as Thermacell which provides over 20 metres of bug protection.
Extra ‘extras’ you may want to stow away in your campervan include extra batteries for torches, a picnic rug, washing powder and plastic bags for wet/dirty washing, coins for washing machines and small day packs to take out and about. Whilst we’re packing, choosing to pack clothes into soft suitcases and bags rather than hard-shell cases means they can be squeezed into spaces and free up more room for you!
When the Weather Turns
NIWA is predicting most parts of the country can expect average to near average temperatures and weather conditions from December 2018 to February 2019, however, Mother Nature doesn’t always play into our favour.
We all know the drill when rainfall strikes – the boardgames come out and movies rotate one after the other.
Mixing things up activity speak can bring light relief even when the rain persists. So, why not use rain downtime to sit back and take closer inspection of your map. Using this time to intricately plan the next stage of your campervan journey can be invaluable, especially as New Zealand serves up much more road tripping than anticipated.
Did you know that we have the 9th largest coastline in the world! It pays to not underestimate the time you’ll need to devote to exploring all the places you want to travel to in your campervan. Whether it’s Cape Reianga to Wellington, from Auckland to Nelson, or Picton to Fiordland, accurately mapping out your distances and including stopping time for rests, and allowing extra time for those days when travelling may be a good option too.
Be Free But Know Where to Go
New Zealand provides a multitude of stunning places to freedom camp countrywide but not every spot you travel to is necessarily free to camp at, so it pays to know where to go and what to expect before you set off.
Essentially, freedom camping means parking your campervan in areas that are not always meant for camping. This means there is – or could be – limited water and toilet facilities in these areas. There are rules as to where you can freedom camp in a campervan and local councils can issue fines for campers nesting in undesignated areas.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation provides over 200 campsites – around 50 of these are free camps – www.doc.govt.nz. To discover a myriad of freedom camping spots to head to in your campervan visit, www.freedomcamping.org/.