We just finished up a long, slow, six month wander New Zealand. I have to say, it’s been one of the pleasantest places we’ve had the privilege to travel. It definitely falls near the top of our “easy to travel” countries list.
Even if you’re a very new traveler, or have special needs, you’re going to find NZ a pleasure.
This is also a country made to be driven.
If you head to NZ and don’t hire a car and hit the roads, you’ll have missed some of the best the country has to offer. The cities (small by international standards) are wonderful, but it’s the countryside and the small towns that hold the real charm and the real adventure.
Lots and lots of people come to New Zealand every year to see the country by camper van or RV. My parents did, ten years ago, and their raving about their adventures here were a large part of why we decided to stay for so long. While the famous “free camping” that New Zealand has been known for, has been ratcheted down on somewhat in the last couple of years, due to abuse and misuse of public properties, there are still some free and very good low cost options. The catch: most tourists never find them.
If you google “camper vanning New Zealand” or some such, what will come up is a long list of camper van and RV hire sites. Everything from the more than a little dodgy “Wicked” vans to the very efficiently marketed “Jucy” fleet, to the big “Kea” RVs (which is what we would have needed for our family of six with big kids.)
Knowing that the best way to see this country is by camping, it’s really tempting to hire a van. We know lots of people who have, with varying degrees of happiness with the service and results. It doesn’t seem like it will be *that much* more expensive than staying in a hotel, perhaps it will even be cheaper if you are used to staying in nice places and you’re only coming for a couple of weeks.
A few myths to be debunked:
Interested in how to get around much of that? There are options for the patient and the creative thinkers out there I wrote a very long explanation of how to make it happen without spending an arm and a leg and getting the “local” intel as the cherry on top!