If you’re holidaying in New Zealand, one of the best things you can do is hire a campervan, but it’s not for everyone. This article states plainly six advantages and six disadvantages of touring New Zealand in a campervan, based on personal experience.
CON: You have to drive everywhere yourself, which can be tiring and stressful, especially if you don’t know New Zealand roads. A huge campervan on a small, windy road is a hazard.
CON: That accommodation is cramped, with little storage space and very basic facilities, and if your transport gets stolen, all your things get stolen with it.
PRO: Most campervans have kitchenettes, so keeping the food costs down is easy if you’re sensible. You don’t have to eat out, and there are many cheap meals you can prepare quickly and easily in a small space. Plus, many campsites throughout New Zealand have barbecues that are free for the public to use.
CON: Even though New Zealand campervan holidays are good for keeping costs down in certain areas, in the summer, which is when most people want to be holidaying in New Zealand, campervans can be quite expensive to hire, and it can be difficult finding campgrounds you don’t have to pay to stay at.
PRO: Freedom – you don’t have to stick to a set itinerary. If you see a sign pointing to something down a side road that looks interesting, you can go there. If you park up next to a beach, your campervan becomes your own personal beach hut, somewhere to get changed and have a shower. You can stay the night wherever you want.
CON: Well technically you can’t stay the night wherever you want. In accordance with the Freedom Camping Act, if you’re caught staying the night in your campervan in the wrong place, (such as private property or places with signs that say ‘No Camping’) or harming the environment by incorrectly disposing of waste, you can be slapped with a big fine. You must have a certified self contained campervan to freedom camp, but even then different regional councils have different rules. You still need to do a certain amount of journey planning. (This map can help with that.)
PRO: You get to spend quality time with your family (or whoever it is you’re campervanning with.) Spending your evenings in a small space, eating, sleeping and dressing in close proximity to one another, unable to escape to individual rooms, promotes a sense of closeness. You can reconnect with each other and have real conversations without distractions.
CON: Being that close to your family will drive you crazy. Especially if you’re a light sleeper. You can hear every snore – every breath, even – and every time someone shifts in their sleep, the whole campervan rocks and creaks. Sometimes, you just need your own space.
CON: You have to empty the septic tank.
Article by Abigail Simpson, author of POMS AWAY! A British Immigrant’s View of New Zealand