Planning your Campervan Holiday in New Zealand

New Zealand is a fantastic destination for a self-drive holiday in a motorhome for a number of reasons.

First of all, the distances are not that great, so to drive from one location in your campervan to the next won’t take long. This will allow you to spend more time at each fantastic destination.

Another reason is that New Zealanders themselves love the camping lifestyle and there are plenty of options for those undertaking their own campervan holiday in “the Land of the Long White Cloud”. There is even a national organisation dedicated to camping  – click here.

Camping Our Way NZ

And then of course, there are the stunning destinations that you can travel to in your campervan that you book through Salamanda Travel!

Akaroa_Harbour NZ

Last but not least are the friendly locals. New Zealanders are known as a very friendly nation who will be only too happy to strike up a conversation and give you advice if they can.

So, you’re planning a trip to New Zealand and are considering hiring a campervan … we agree, it’s a great idea! But what do you need to know?

Free Airport Transfer

First of all, our suppliers offer a free transfer both from the airport and back after your journey is over. When you book a campervan with Salamanda Travel the airport transfer from either Auckland or Christchurch is included free of charge. On arrival at the airport, you simply call the number we have advised, and someone will meet you at the airport and bring you to the branch office to collect your motorhome or campervan.

Queenstown_New_Zealand_September_07

Where to Stay?

So the next thing is – where to stay?

Here there are plenty of options throughout New Zealand – caravan parks and campgrounds, National Parks, or so-called “freedom camping”.

Caravan Parks and Holiday Parks

Caravan Parks are the most convenient places to stay and enjoy your campervan holiday in New Zealand. In addition, prices are quite reasonable. However we do recommend you plan your route and book ahead, especially in the busy season which is during the New Zealand summer and holiday period from late November to March.

Private campgrounds and caravan parks offer plenty of facilities to make your campervan stay easy, such as access to power and water, so you can fill up your water tank and recharge the battery on your motorhome or campervan. They also offer facilities such as shower and toilets, laundries, camp kitchens, and sometimes campfire sites that will make your stay that much more enjoyable. Some campgrounds offer recreational facilities such as tennis courts, swimming pools, and recreation rooms with table tennis and other games.

Campgrounds and caravan parks are usually located close to attractions such as tourist sites and attractions, beaches, and so on.

Coromandel_Peninsula_Panorama

They are also a great way to meet other travellers and swap tales.

To find some options, this is a good place to start: Great NZ Accommodation Directory

Please also have a look through the following list and see if you can find something to suit you:

  • Family Parks New Zealand – this an independant group of holiday parks that provide a family atmosphere. For more information click here 
  • Kiwi Holiday Parks – these are highly recommended. For more information go here
  • Top 10 Holiday Parks – these offer affordable accommodation throughout New Zealand – go here
  • Holiday parks – a range of camping grounds here
  • Jasons – accommodation and camp sites – click here

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National Parks

The NZ Department of Conservation (DOC) manages more than 200 conservation areas throughout New Zealand, including National Parks. The conservation parks feature a range of appealing natural settings, from beach settings to forests or lakes, with each one offering a wide range of campgrounds and facilities.

These DOC campsites are a great place to call in with your campervan for the night and experience the natural wonders of New Zealand. Besides that, they offer very affordable rates and you will most probably meet like-minded travellers.

Bookings are required for the serviced campsites, and also for some of the standard campsites. Fees vary depending on where the park is situated and whether or not it is serviced.  Please visit the Department of Conservation and New Zealand’s National Parks website here for more information.

Milford_Sound NZ

Freedom Camping

It is still possible to “free camp” in many areas in New Zealand, except for areas that are signposted as no camping allowed. Please be careful when choosing your site, because if you camp in a prohibited area you may be fined.

Local authorities are responsible for free stays in their own region. We recommend you check with the local information centre before setting up for the night.

The other thing to consider is the battery power in your campervan. Campervans and motorhomes run on a dual battery system – one battery starts the campervan ignition and the other powers internal appliances. Approximately every second day you will need to recharge the battery, depending on usage. So it’s a good idea to plan to stay at a powered site at least some of the time.

Most importantly, be sure to clean up after yourself and not leave any litter. In recent times, some freedom campers have not done the right thing and this will ultimately lead to tighter restrictions on freedom camping.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us and have a chat!

The Legendary Pacific Coast Road Trip between Sydney and Brisbane

Congratulations! You’ve booked a motorhome or campervan through Salamanda Travel and are looking forward to a self-drive holiday from Sydney to Brisbane (or Brisbane to Sydney). So the next thing is to find out what to do along the way. We will try and help you with that here.

Cheapa 6 Berth

The legendary Pacific Coast road is Australia’s national highway number one, stretches for approximately 1 000 km and is arguably Australia’s top tourist drive. On the way you will spot some signs showing the brown-coded scenic tourist route which points the way to some of the best beaches and most picturesque towns. It can be an adventure just to follow any of the Scenic Route drives without knowing where you will end up. Once there, you can visit local pubs and cafés – you never know who or what you’ll find. However, we also recommend planning some activities and places to visit before you start out on your road trip. Here is our list of some highlights along the way.

Blue Mountains
The Blue Mountains National Park is one of the most popular national parks in Australia and just a short trip west of Sydney. The most famous attraction in the park is the ‘Three Sisters’ rock formation. It’s a spectacular landmark, and highly recommended. Explore The Blue Mountains Bushwalks which are extensive and impressive. If you are looking for a more adventurous way to see the ‘Three Sisters’, you could ride the steepest passenger skyway in the world, the Scenic Skyway. Glide between clifftops and gaze at the rainforest canopy through the glass floor of the Scenic Skyway! Or go horse riding, and take one of the segway tours where you can discover the spectacular beauty of riding in the Blue Mountains in a different way.

Blue Mountains 2

Newcastle
A few hours drive north of Sydney, Newcastle is located in the heart of the Hunter Region and bordered by a stunning coastline with beautiful beaches. Take a dip in the “Bogey Hole” which was hacked out by convict labour in 1819. Once you see the Bogey Hole in real life you will realise what an achievement this was by the convicts. It was constructed by order of a commandant for his own personal bathing use.

Port Stephens
Further north again, Port Stephens offers a unique diversity of activities, especially for tourists. It is well worth discovering the ‘Great Lake Marine Park’, which is a 98,000-hectare marine reserve. You can also enjoy other water-related activities. The marine park was established by the NSW Government in December 2005, and has since developed into a stunning habitat full of diverse wildlife thanks to its rich variety of ecosystems. Go on a camel riding tour or a quad tour and experience the thrill of riding over the vast sand dunes of Port Stephens.

Port Macquarie
Further north from there, Port Macquarie is a bustling town with stunning beaches. Port Macquarie is known as the “Koala Capital” of Australia. Visit the Koala Hospital and Wildlife Park. There is a free Koala Hospital tour at 3pm every day.

Coffs Harbour
Heading towards the northern part of NSW is Coffs Harbour. No matter in what time of year you visit Coffs harbour, the area won’t fail to entertain and delight. Did you always want to travel to Holland and see how clogs are built? You don’t have to travel to the other side of the world – visit the Clog Barn to find a little piece of Holland in Australia. Take a leisurely walk around the model Dutch village with its miniature working windmills and working miniature railway. All the models are replicas of actual buildings in Holland. Visit Big Oma’s Coffee House, and taste some of the Dutch specialties, like croquettes, frikendellen and poffertjes.

Coffs Harbour has more to offer than just clogs. “Coffs” has some outstanding beaches, such as Gallows, Park Beach, Diggers, Sapphire, Emerald, Sawtell, Sandy and more. A popular attraction is the Big Banana,  one of the most photographed objects in Australia. Other attractions include a downhill taboggan ride, an ice skating rink and a waterslide.

Byron Bay

Byron Bay
On the way from Coffs Harbour to Byron Bay, make sure you visit South West Rocks and Scott’s Head along the way. They both have a caravan park overlooking beautiful beaches. Byron Bay iself is recognized as one of the homes of alternative lifestyle culture in Australia. Make a short scenic journey into Byron’s hinterland to Crystal Castle  to see a slice of the alternative lifestyle. In Byron Bay itself, you can hike to Cape Byron Lighthouse, the most easterly point in mainland Australia. It is definitely worth the walk for the amazing view. Don’t forget to try ‘Stand Up Paddling,  it’s one of the fastest growing sports, and there is no better place to try stand up paddling then in Byron!

Gold Coast
The Gold Coast is THE holiday destination for a lot of Aussies and tourists as well, due to the sunny subtropical climate, surfing beaches and plenty of nightlife, family entertainment, shopping and hotels. Apart from this, the Gold Coast has a lot of different theme parks, such as Dream World, Warner Bros Movie World, Sea World. Another popular attraction is the Tamborine rainforest skywalk. The skywalk is a great way of exploring the rainforest – during your walk you will be able to observe the diverse flora and fauna the rainforest has to offer from a birds eye view.

Brisbane Kangaroo Point lookout Brisbane

Brisbane
Your final destination is Brisbane – a town that offers plenty of things to do. At the Cultural Precinct at South Bank, visit the Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Museum, take the family for a swim at the “City Beach” at South Bank, or cruise over the river on the frequent ferries. Plan a trip down the Brisbane River on the special ‘Bat Cruise” to observe the flying foxes that take off each sunset to go foraging for fruit across Brisbane. There is also Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary at Fig Tree Pocket, just a short trip downriver by ferry where besides koalas you will see plenty of other Australian wildlife. The city itself offers plenty of shopping and historic buildings such as the Brisbane City Hall at King George Square, and then in the city on the river’s edge is the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. For more information, check out the Visit Brisbane website.