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How to Explore New Zealand by Campervan, The Right Way.

Posted by Billie Gadd on 17/04/2021
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Is freedom camping free?

Before you book your rental and hit the NZ tarmac with reckless abandonment, it’s important to note you can’t park overnight just anywhere you fancy. Parking at many of the hundreds of campsites around NZ is illegal if your campervan isn’t 'self-contained'. To qualify as self-contained (and earn the certification sticker) a vehicle must be able to contain water waste for up to three days – that’s water supply, grey water (sink and shower waste water) and toilet waste. The fines for not abiding by this law can put a real damper on your holiday, so a little research can go a long way.

Getting the most out of your trip

Because there’s so much to see in NZ and you will likely be restricted by time, we recommend you stay at a combination of free sites and Stay Kiwi accommodation partners. This will prevent you from missing things along the way due to your booked accommodation venues being too far apart. It also gives you the best of both worlds – ‘roughing it’ by cooking your meals, showering and answering nature’s call in your camper; and ‘treating yourself’ to the cooking, toilet, shower and laundry facilities at any of our Stay Kiwi accommodation partners dotted around the country.


How to Explore New Zealand by Campervan, The Right Way.


Forget public transport, but don’t forget to rest

Not having to depend on public transport to get from one stunning kiwi location to the next is potentially the biggest perk of campervan travel. You’re in charge of your own destiny, free to move on at the drop-of-a-hat or stay a while longer if you’re especially enjoying a spot.

But don’t forget that you’re also in charge of a very heavy automobile and that lapping up the sights, sounds and activities of Aotearoa will leave you feeling exhausted at times. Tired drivers are dangerous drivers, especially on NZ’s demanding winding roads, so if you’re feeling like you could do with a rest, pull over and take a nap.

Save large by preparing your own meals

Aside from your camper rental and fuel, food will have the biggest impact on your wallet during your expedition. Eating fast food or from restaurants and cafes everyday will quickly eat into your funds, so to speak. To cut down on this type of spending and preserve cash for fun activities by visiting a Stay Kiwi activity partner, visit a supermarket like Pak’nSave or Countdown every few days to stock up on ingredients for meals you can prepare in your campervan or at a communal kitchen.

The best NZ region to visit is…

You could ask ten different people this question and get ten different answers. People who like winter holidays will say try Wanaka and Rotorua. Those who are led by their taste buds will tell you to follow the coast, and sun-lovers will say follow the sun.

We think all the above are brilliant ideas. You can’t really go wrong with the right insurance, a campervan that suits your needs, a map of all the best locations, and some research about driving in New Zealand. But perhaps look at the South Island to see some one-of-a-kind attractions.

Oh, and don’t forget to get to sign up for Stay Kiwi  to save on accommodation and activities, and to locate handy facilities and exciting attractions.

Happy planning and safe travels!



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