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NZ - By Camper Van


Morepork
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NZ camper hire firms doing offers as they have no customers....... Just done a week up the very top of the North Island. Booking a couple of weeks in Feb to do the same in the South Island.

 

Once in a lifetime chance to visit all the sights with zero foreign tourists there. Got to take the positives out of this situation.

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, DVDA said:

Toured the South Island in a camper van 6 years ago. Freedom camping, etc.  Best trip of my life. Would do it again in a heartbeat. 

 

Hey, I always tell people that the North Island is wonderful but the South Island is next level. Freedom camping, DOC sites etc so much freedom and amazing scenery. I'd recommend this place to anyone, once its open to travel again.....

 

I also did the South Island around that time without Mrs Morepork in a Juicy Camper. You might recognise some of the places here - https://jasonhowe.blog/aperture-priority/2013/10/18/finally-more-film-portra-400

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Yes, even the DOC sites were reasonable. Started out of Christchurch, onto Kaikura for whale watching. Up to Nelson and bike tours of the Marlborough region. Kayaking in Abel Tasman. Down through the Southern Alps w/ glaciers and Queenstown, then onto Fjordland and the south coast, where we spotted yellow-eyed penguins and Hector's dolphins in the same day. Dunedin was a bit - meh, but other than that, I think only staying in treehouses in the rainforests of Borneo have come close to matching the perfect trip. Wished we did the same in the North Island, but we home-sat in Hamilton and Auckland, and used these as static bases for exploration using rental cars. 

 

When the pandemic is over, I definitely want to take a sabbatical from work and retrace our steps (especially as the weather was quite poo when in the mountains). Also, there are 7 backcountry kayaking trips that we want to do. 

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When you made your journey to Springfield, I assume you went on State Highway 73

 

Did you stop at Sheffield and have a pie there? The "Sheffield Pie Shop" is home to the best pies on the South Island. It's a must on the route to the West Coast

 

I've never known a place to be so busy in the middle of nowhere.

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1 hour ago, katie melua said:

When you made your journey to Springfield, I assume you went on State Highway 73

 

Did you stop at Sheffield and have a pie there? The "Sheffield Pie Shop" is home to the best pies on the South Island. It's a must on the route to the West Coast

 

I've never known a place to be so busy in the middle of nowhere.

 

Yes, stopped in Sheffield and took a selfie next to the sign. Didn't know about the pies though.........

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On 03/08/2020 at 07:53, Morepork said:

NZ camper hire firms doing offers as they have no customers....... Just done a week up the very top of the North Island. Booking a couple of weeks in Feb to do the same in the South Island.

 

Once in a lifetime chance to visit all the sights with zero foreign tourists there. Got to take the positives out of this situation.

 

 

 

 


Let us know what you think.

 

Always fancied doing New Zealand like that when the kids have left.

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11 hours ago, Holmowl said:


Let us know what you think.

 

Always fancied doing New Zealand like that when the kids have left.

 

Will do.

 

It's funny, even though we've been here 11 years we were still in the same boat.....youngest of the four kids is now 17 so we're just starting to spread our wings....albeit limited to NZ at the moment due to the restrictions around leaving and returning.

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I have done NZ by camper over a month, years ago mind, think it was 2005.  I did both islands, and got as far south as Gore and Dunedin and as far north as 90-mile beach.

 

Things I remember; I went with the dirtiest, cheapest hire company I could find.  £13 a day for the rental.  Typically paying between £4-10 per night at each site I stayed in and that includes the hookup.   I'm guessing things have changed since then as NZ had a tourism boom since then.

 

I'd recommend a visit to the glaciers on the south island, west coast, Franz Josef and Fox.  Do whale watching, Kaikoura (south island, east coast) was the best place and in my sea-sickened state, I still saw 4 or 5 whales diving.  Nice town too, good seafood.   That east coast is great for lots of wildlife spotting (seals, shags, penguins IIRC) so take/buy binoculars.

 

Tongariro Crossing on the North Island is a 7-10 hour walk over Mt Tongariro and well worth it (a local transport will drop off/pick up at the other end), with nearby thermal spas afterwards to recover, often on the camp-sites themselves.

 

Some of the really small towns in NZ are dire, so prepare yourself for the shock that it's not all picture perfect.   The small/medium size towns are nice; Gisbourne, New Plymouth, Napier, Nelson, Queenstown.   Auckland is bustling and it's great to get out on the ferries too.  Wellington is laid back considering it's the capital, but a really nice town to pootle (also to get the ferry to the south island).  I went to Christchurch pre-earthquake so can't speak for it now, but it was nice (although I didn't find it "more English than England").

 

Queenstown is the main fun town on the south.  It's a bit over-rated IMO (unless you want snowboarding and the like), but there's a cable car there (or you can walk) to the top and get a great view.  Fjordland and Milford Sound are unmissable, but check weather conditions in advance.  The road to Milford Sound can be as scary, especially with snow on the ground.  Most hire places won't provide chains unless you ask (pay).   Only one way in or out.  At Milford Sound, lots of huge boats doing tours of the fjord, usually with breakfast and cuppas etc.  But, I went with a small company that got on the water about 07:30, so we had the water to ourselves.  Beautiful.

 

Anyway, a month wasn't long enough for me.  Enjoy.

 

 

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On 27/08/2020 at 02:36, Manwë said:

I have done NZ by camper over a month, years ago mind, think it was 2005.  I did both islands, and got as far south as Gore and Dunedin and as far north as 90-mile beach.

 

Things I remember; I went with the dirtiest, cheapest hire company I could find.  £13 a day for the rental.  Typically paying between £4-10 per night at each site I stayed in and that includes the hookup.   I'm guessing things have changed since then as NZ had a tourism boom since then.

 

I'd recommend a visit to the glaciers on the south island, west coast, Franz Josef and Fox.  Do whale watching, Kaikoura (south island, east coast) was the best place and in my sea-sickened state, I still saw 4 or 5 whales diving.  Nice town too, good seafood.   That east coast is great for lots of wildlife spotting (seals, shags, penguins IIRC) so take/buy binoculars.

 

Tongariro Crossing on the North Island is a 7-10 hour walk over Mt Tongariro and well worth it (a local transport will drop off/pick up at the other end), with nearby thermal spas afterwards to recover, often on the camp-sites themselves.

 

Some of the really small towns in NZ are dire, so prepare yourself for the shock that it's not all picture perfect.   The small/medium size towns are nice; Gisbourne, New Plymouth, Napier, Nelson, Queenstown.   Auckland is bustling and it's great to get out on the ferries too.  Wellington is laid back considering it's the capital, but a really nice town to pootle (also to get the ferry to the south island).  I went to Christchurch pre-earthquake so can't speak for it now, but it was nice (although I didn't find it "more English than England").

 

Queenstown is the main fun town on the south.  It's a bit over-rated IMO (unless you want snowboarding and the like), but there's a cable car there (or you can walk) to the top and get a great view.  Fjordland and Milford Sound are unmissable, but check weather conditions in advance.  The road to Milford Sound can be as scary, especially with snow on the ground.  Most hire places won't provide chains unless you ask (pay).   Only one way in or out.  At Milford Sound, lots of huge boats doing tours of the fjord, usually with breakfast and cuppas etc.  But, I went with a small company that got on the water about 07:30, so we had the water to ourselves.  Beautiful.

 

Anyway, a month wasn't long enough for me.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

That's interesting because we first visited in 2008 and it was clearly already changing by then.

 

Cheap hire companies have gone, if you were coming for an extended period there are options to buy a converted van, something like an Estima and then flick it on at the end. We've looked at the doing a 2-3 week trip in a camper from one of the bigger operators but every time prior to Covid 19 we've rejected the chance to do it because quite frankly you can go to Australia or Asia for the same money. Now the tourists have gone these companies have been forced to focus on the domestic market that they were only too willing to ignore previously. I hope they continue to do offers for NZ residents when things eventually open up again as we're keeping them going now.

 

The glaciers are definitely worth a visit although receding at an alarming rate, possibly even gone in our lifetime. Kaikoura still quaint although touristy the wildlife is still abundant. 

 

Tongariro we did a few years ago, it was excellent but rammed with tourists, almost like a human snake stretching 27km across the whole thing. It would be a good time to go now, hopefully we will reduce the numbers allowed on in future. Still amazed at the number of Asian's setting off in t-shirt and jandals........

 

Some of the small towns can be visually jarring, as with many places the youth head for bigger cities and overseas opportunities. There are some nice little places though and I think if you've been here a while you adjust and don't notice so much. Wellington is a favourite place, cool culture but not good enough climate for me......

 

Queenstown and the Fjordland area have suffered under Covid 19, the latter in particular is on it's arse. Places like Te Anau very badly effected. Still, the environment is probably benefiting no end!! 

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9 hours ago, Morepork said:

 

That's interesting because we first visited in 2008 and it was clearly already changing by then.

 

Cheap hire companies have gone, if you were coming for an extended period there are options to buy a converted van, something like an Estima and then flick it on at the end. We've looked at the doing a 2-3 week trip in a camper from one of the bigger operators but every time prior to Covid 19 we've rejected the chance to do it because quite frankly you can go to Australia or Asia for the same money. Now the tourists have gone these companies have been forced to focus on the domestic market that they were only too willing to ignore previously. I hope they continue to do offers for NZ residents when things eventually open up again as we're keeping them going now.

 

The glaciers are definitely worth a visit although receding at an alarming rate, possibly even gone in our lifetime. Kaikoura still quaint although touristy the wildlife is still abundant. 

 

Tongariro we did a few years ago, it was excellent but rammed with tourists, almost like a human snake stretching 27km across the whole thing. It would be a good time to go now, hopefully we will reduce the numbers allowed on in future. Still amazed at the number of Asian's setting off in t-shirt and jandals........

 

Some of the small towns can be visually jarring, as with many places the youth head for bigger cities and overseas opportunities. There are some nice little places though and I think if you've been here a while you adjust and don't notice so much. Wellington is a favourite place, cool culture but not good enough climate for me......

 

Queenstown and the Fjordland area have suffered under Covid 19, the latter in particular is on it's arse. Places like Te Anau very badly effected. Still, the environment is probably benefiting no end!! 

 

I wish I remember the £/$ ratio, but I'm sure it was in the region of £1 for $3 or thereabouts.  Diesel worked out at 0.55/l, which was about half (in £) at the time.  Dirt cheap.

 

The hire company I used were called Ezy (now called Ezi I think) and it was a Toyato Hiace with over 130000 miles on the clock already, considering it was a new-ish company.   The £13 I mentioned also included insurance, so the vehicle itself was even cheaper.

 

I went in Sept/Oct so quite rainy, and there were only three people in our walking group on Tongariro and we met two further groups of around 5 people each during the walk.  How times change.

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1 hour ago, Manwë said:

 

I wish I remember the £/$ ratio, but I'm sure it was in the region of £1 for $3 or thereabouts.  Diesel worked out at 0.55/l, which was about half the price of the UK (in £) at the time.  Dirt cheap.

 

The hire company I used were called Ezy (now called Ezi I think) and it was a Toyato Hiace with over 130000 miles on the clock already, considering it was a new-ish company.   The £13 I mentioned also included insurance, so the vehicle itself was even cheaper.

 

I went in Sept/Oct so quite rainy, and there were only three people in our walking group on Tongariro and we met two further groups of around 5 people each during the walk.  How times change.

 

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Just to add to places that haven't been mentioned, I did a Stewart Island road trip last year, stopped off in the Catlins, Ideal for this type of trip I would have thought. Stewart Island was also good, although probably only worth it if you are a bird enthusiast, it's a hairy ferry or plane ride across.

 

Nelson is probably my favourite place in the whole of NZ too

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