New Zealand in a Campervan – A Snow Fields Road Trip

Been bitten by the snow bug and the travel bug at the same time? Then you should definitely visit the beautiful snow fields of New Zealand in wintertime. You can travel around New Zealand and try out the different ski areas as well.Apollo Euro Tourer

The south island of New Zealand offers lots of stunning areas to discover. Hire a motorhome from Salamanda Travel so you can enjoy your own outdoor adventure to the max. The greatest thing about renting a motorhome is that you and your fellow travellers are independent and can decide for yourselves where and when you’ll go. You’ll be free as a bird, you can stay flexible and decide to stay at one of the snowfields a bit longer than you planned. But we don’t recommend staying in one place for the whole trip, because there is lots to discover in New Zealand.

If you are able to head to New Zealand right now and if you are a massive snowfield lover, we recommend hiring a motorhome and doing a round trip through the south island. Christchurch is a good location to start and end your trip. Not just because of the international airport, but you can start your trip right away. Pick up your motorhome  and drive directly to the “Porters ski field”, and within two hours you will be standing on one of New Zealand’s magnificent snowfields, where beginners can join a class and the skilled discover the right terrain for them.

The second stop should be the Franz Josef Glacier, where you can discover Heli-hiking. Yes, it is exactly what you think. First you will fly in the helicopter to the Glacier with the finest panoramic view and then your guide and your group will hike amongst the ice caves and the seracs while be told all about the astonishing glacier – an experience you will never forget.

Travel along to Mount Cook, which is New Zealand’s highest mountain at 3.724 meters. Mount Cook will take your breath away; it’s the home of the kiwi adventures. The greatest thing about the Mount Cook area is that there are lots of different activities; go on a 4WD Argo Adventure, take a dip into one of the hot Tekapo Spings Pools  or take a tour and visit the amazing Tasman Glacier.

Drive towards Wanaka, where you must book one of the ‘Heli-Skiing’ tours. Again, yes it is exactly what you think. First you will fly in a helicopter to the mountain, take a deep breath and ski or board down the untouched powder-snow. It’s the ultimate snow adventure for both skiers and snowboarders.

When you love adventure, Queenstown is definitely not a city you can skip. There are tons of activities to  participate in, especially if you are an adrenaline junkie.  This town offers different bungee jumps, sky swings, jet boat rides, sky diving, paragliding, parasailing and many more activities. Next to this, Queenstown offers four excellent snowfields within easy reach of the town during winter.

After Queenstown it will be time to return to Christchurch, but not before you’ve stoped in Timaru. Timaru is the second largest city in Canterbury, with everything you need for a pleasant stopover. Here you can capture the spirit of the region, which means tasting the local flavours when you join a South Canterbury Food & Wine Trail, the perfect ending to a holiday you will never forget!

Australia in a Campervan – Our Guide to Tasmania, Cradle Mountain & surrounds

Located in St Clair National Park and part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain is a spectacular sight at any time of year. Its dolerite peaks stand proudly above the glacial lakes, grassy plains and the dense forests that conceal its abundant and unique wildlife from the elements. Only 2.5hrs away from Launceston, 2 hours from Queenstown and 1 hr from Sheffield, the love affair with Cradle Mountain is yet to wane as a quarter of all visitors to Tasmania visit this majestic beauty. Now it’s your turn!

Cradle Mountian- view from Dove Lake Boathouse

Cradle Mountain offers a number of short walks.

The Dove Lake walk is boardwalked much of the way and generally well maintained. Highlights during the 5.7km walk include Glacier Rock, the Ballroom Forest and the much photographed Boatshed. It’s a lovely 2 hour walk that requires no bushwalking experience with just a few stairs and gentle hills.

For quick walks, look at the Enchanted walk. This 20-minute circuit is suitable for all age groups and winds through a magical rainforest filled with wombat burrows.

Longer walks (2-3 hours) include Crater Falls, Crater Lake and Wombat Pool. Ranger guided walks are also available.

For those wanting full day walks, go for the ‘walk’ to the Cradle Mountain summit.  A grade 5 walk, it’s quite a challenge requiring fitness, experience and knowledge of first aid as the track is quite steep, and is rough and unmarked in parts. But the view is spectacular.  This 6 to 8-hour walk is part of the larger Overland Track, a 65km (40 mile) walk which navigates the heart of Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park.  With a variety of side trips (Mt Odessa, Tasmania’s highest peak and Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake) you will see the most exciting landscapes of the magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Download the 60 Great Short Walks app onto your Iphone/Ipad for first-hand stories from walkers, photographs and  safety tips. There are also video/audio podcasts covering bushwalking basics, the overland track and tasmanian water life.

April is considered the best time of year to undertake any of the tracks due the remarkable changing colours of the landscape. The winter months (June, July and August) can see snow on the tracks and caution is advised. Keep an eye on the weather before you venture out and check the Cradle Mountain Webcam.  In Summer the daily temperature ranges from 6 oC to 18oC while Winter temperatures vary between  1 oC  and 7oC. At night temperatures can fall below zero.

Cradle Mountain - Crater Lake

As this is a national park the facilities are somewhat limited. All toilets are wheelchair accessible and are located at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and Dove Lake. There is no reliable mobile phone reception within the park but a public phone can be found at the Visitors Centre. Limited grocery items can be purchased from the Cradle Mountain Tourist Park and Campground with the closest supermarket at Sheffield.

Waldheim Chalets offer the only accommodation within the national park.  There are 8 affordable cabins with heating, cooking facilities and communal bathroom.  Alternatively, there are a few accommodation options close by – Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village, Cradle Mountain Chateau and Cradle Mountain Highlanders Cabins.

People are encouraged to leave their cars at the transit terminal and catch the shuttle bus.  Buses (28 seater) and campervans over 5 metres must be left at the visitors centre. A fee applies for entry to all Tasmanian National Parks and any vehicles parked inside the park without proper authority will be fined. If you plan on visiting a few parks on your stay, the holiday pass is recommended. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife website for the latest information on track closures.

Be sure to check out some of the surrounding towns for interesting activites. Five hundred metres from Cradle Mountain Lodge is Devils@Cradle; a world class wildlife conservation sanctuary which focuses on the Tasmanian Devil, Eastern and Spotted-Tail Quoll.  Other activites and towns close by include:

Nelson Falls

The most popular time to tour Tasmania in a campervan or motorhome is summer, especially December, January and February, so make sure you book well in advance if you are planning your self-drive holiday during the summer holiday period.