We spent exactly 60 days in New Zealand, 50 of them in our campervan. While the van could be tight on space at times, we wouldn’t recommend seeing the country any other way. We could move at our own pace, linger a few days longer where we wanted to, and make detours anywhere that seemed interesting. We did lots of comparison research when looking at campervan companies; there are a LOT in New Zealand to meet every budget. We ended up going with Lucky Rentals, as they offered the best value for the money on our backpacker budget.
Here are a few of our top tips for exploring New Zealand in a campervan:
- If you are bringing a tent and hiking boots, be prepared to take a little longer when you get to customs. New Zealand is very strict, so they’ll want to make sure your boots and tents are totally clean, and you’re not inadvertently bringing any foreign plant or animal products into the country.
- If you want to be able to stay connected, pick up a Vodaphone SIM card; we got them for free at an information center in Queenstown. You can download the “My Vodaphone” app, load money, and pay for your plan right on your phone.
- Check out discount websites for places you’re interested in visiting. BookMe has some great deals for some of the most popular activities and attractions; truth be told, they never quite worked out for us because we were always looking at the last minute. If you look ahead of time, you’ll have much better luck.
- Download a camping app. We mainly used Campermate, and we occasionally used Rankers to compare information. On Campermate, you can get details about all of the campsites – both free and paid – in the area, find wifi locations, dump stations, rubbish bins, and we often read through tips from other travelers about what to see and do along the road.
- Bring a power strip. This will help you charge up all of your electronics at the same time, even if only one outlet is available. I can’t even count the number of times I wished I had a power strip, as I stared at the one solitary outlet available on the wall and had a dead laptop, camera, and phone.
- Most importantly – drive safely! The roads can be a little crazy, particularly if you’re not accustomed to driving on the lefthand side of the road. Always allow additional time when you’re driving; it will take longer than you think.
To read more about our time in New Zealand, check out the links below: