Planning a New Zealand Motorhome Holiday

Why a Motorhome Holiday is the Best Way to See New Zealand

Why a Motorhome Holiday is the Best Way to See New Zealand

New Zealand is a Varied Land

Ngauruhoe Tongariro National Park
Mount Ngauruhoe

I’ve been on many holidays within New Zealand. I’ve travelled by plane, by car, by bus and in tour groups; I’ve stayed in hotels, in motels, in B&Bs and in tents, but the best holidays were always the ones where I travelled and slept in a campervan. The reason why is simple: I saw more.

New Zealand is such a varied land. Considering how small the country is, it’s amazing how different it is from end to the other. You’ve got sunny vineyards at the top and wintry mountain faces at the bottom; golden beaches on the east coast and black, volcanic beaches on the west. You’ve got beautiful forests and bubbling mud pools; stunning sounds and peninsulas that teem with wildlife. You simply cannot experience New Zealand from one spot. You have to move around to take it all in.

The Other Options

Picking one town and staying in a hotel there will not do, (unless you plan on having many more New Zealand holidays in the future.) Besides, there is often not a lot to do in one area. New Zealand is a small place, after all. Interesting destinations tend to be quite a distance from each other, and usually the only way to get there is to drive.

Joining a tour group certainly lets you travel a lot, and see many different places in a short space of time. However, I found that this offers a very artificial view of the country, as you are herded from one place to the next. We seemed to spend a lot of time in gift shops, but not exploring the places I wanted to explore. I would see something out the window and want to investigate, but not be able to. You are able to if you’ve got your own vehicle, be it a car or a motorhome.

The Advantage of a Motorhome

Golden Bay Abel Tasman National Park New Zealand
Golden Bay

Motorhomes give you so much freedom. You can stop when you want, and take as long or little as you want exploring places. You have the freedom to experience as much as you can, taking in all the beautiful sights as you drive. Plus, motorhomes can be cheaper than paying for separate travel and accommodation – (even backpackers’ are expensive in New Zealand these days) – and having your own kitchen makes food cheaper as well. Having a motorhome also gives you the option of free camping.

Free camping is easier in a motorhome. Heaps of places won’t let you stay the night unless you’re self-contained – i.e. you have a motorhome that is certified to last for three days without having to discharge its waste. Motorhomes are better than tents anyway. You don’t have the hassle of putting them up, they’re warmer and more comfortable, there’s more storage, and you have a dining table, toilet and shower. It’s great going to the beach with a motorhome – you have your own private place to get changed and make a cup of tea!

New Zealand is All About Nature

Camping is an important part of any New Zealand holiday, because New Zealand’s main draw is its nature. The New Zealand experience is all about getting amongst nature, and having a motorhome gets you right in there. Some of the cheapest campgrounds in the country are run by the Department of Conservation, so you get to wake up to all these beautiful, peaceful landscapes.

New Zealand’s campsites are far more beautiful that any hotel. Take, for instance, the FREE overnight camping spot on the shore of Lake Pukaki. FYI, this is Lake Pukaki:

Mount Cook over Lake Pukaki

You can explore both islands of New Zealand in a motorhome, because you can take motorhomes on the ferries that cross Cook Strait. And, believe me, you’ll want to explore both islands, so make sure you give yourself time.

You’ll have plenty of company on your New Zealand motorhome holiday. No matter the time of year, you always see heaps of motorhomes on the roads of both islands. Clearly everyone knows a motorhome holiday is the best way to see New Zealand.

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Abigail Simpson Writer Profile PicArticle by Abigail Simpson, author of Poms Away: A British Immigrant’s View of New Zealand

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