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‘Self-Contained’ Campervans in New Zealand

If you are thinking of setting off on the journey of a lifetime in New Zealand, hiring a campervan is a great option for anyone. It is not only the most fun and adventurous way to travel, but also enables you to camp amongst nature, and often completely for free! So, when doing your research for campervans in New Zealand, you might come across the term ‘self-contained’. This article will explain what it means, and why it’s so important.

Self-Contained-Vehicles-NZ

What does self-contatined mean?

In New Zealand, there are plenty of opportunities to camp for free or ‘freedom camp’. This means parking in designated camp places for the night which don’t cost a cent. As this form of travel is so greatly popular in New Zealand, there are pretty strict laws on who can and cannot freedom camp, depending on what amenities your vehicle has on board.  Self-contained vehicles are more environmentally friendly, as they eliminate waste and store it in the campervan. This is extremely important to preserve New Zealand’s clean environment and ecology.

Self-Contained-Vehicles-New-Zealand

What does a campervan need to be classified as self-contained?

To be classified as ‘self-contained’, your vehicle will need to have a few particular items on board. When they have these items, they should be eligible to receive a ‘self-contained’ sticker. You will commonly see these blue stickers on the back of campervans in New Zealand. They are government approved and freedom camping without one will make you liable for a hefty fine if you get caught. To obtained one of these stickers, the campervan will need to have:

  • Toilet – either portable or fixed
  • Grey water tank
  • Fresh water tank
  • A rubbish bin with lid
  • A sink with water trap connected to a waste water tank

Even if a campervan has all of these, it is not classified as ‘self-contained’ unless it has received a warrant from the government.

Self-Contained-Vehicles-New-Zealand

Are our campervans classified as self-contained?

If you do wish to freedom camp whilst in New Zealand, make sure you do your research which campervans enable you to do so. Our campervans in New Zealand come with the option to make them self-contained:

You’ll just need to add a ‘porta-potti’ which is a portable toilet – everything else is built into the van. Then, you’re on your way to freedom camping in some of New Zealand’s most spectacular locations! Want to know more about freedom camping? We have plenty of information you can find on our Freedom Camping page. Enjoy the trip!

New Zealand is a more popular travelling destination than ever as the world discovers what the Kiwis already know to be true. Here you’ll find dazzling beaches, pristine turquoise lakes, spectacular mountain views, volcanic geothermal springs and over 250 well maintained camping areas.

If your first road trip is through New Zealand, you’ll be setting the bar very high for any trip to match! Whether you’re a local youngster heading out on the road for a gap year or a tourist flying halfway across the world to experience New Zealand, read on. You’ll learn how to plan a one-of-a-kind trip by seeing the country the way it should be seen: with the freedom of your own wheels.

Here’s What You’ll Find In This Guide To Travelling Around New Zealand

  • How to Choose the Right Campervan Gear
  • Best Times of Year to Travel New Zealand
  • Driving Tips: Rules of the Road in New Zealand
  • Cooking in your Camper
  • Top 8 Recipes when Cooking in your Camper
  • Essential Packing for your New Zealand Road Trip
  • Responsible Freedom Camping
  • Campground Options
  • 5 Breathtaking Beach Camping Spots
  • Top Road Trip: Auckland to Christchurch

Stationwagon

How to Choose the Right Campervan and Camping Gear

Some of the things you want to consider when planning your trip are whether you will be sleeping in a campervan or tucking up in a tent. A fully equipped campervan comes with many amenities such as a bed, storage area, kitchenette with sink and gas cooker, a fridge and power plug-ins. So generally speaking, you will have almost everything at your fingertips, making your trip close to hassle-free. Whether you’re on a family trip, or out with your best buddy, we’ve got a detailed campervan packing list here.

Some people want to sleep in a tent for a more rustic outdoors experience. If you’re not sleeping in a car or campervan, you’ll need to pack:

  • Warm sleeping bags and a sleeping mat—these will give you the best quality of sleep and help you bed down anywhere
  • A high-quality tent and tarps—you want a tent that can stand up to wind; tarps are good to cover the ground around, but very handy to pitch above the tent at a slant. In case of rain, a tarp pitched in this way can prevent tent collapse
  • Billy or kettle—for heating up water
  • Batteries or plug ins to charge flashlights and mobiles at campsites
  • Esky or cooler
  • Lighters or matches, gas and firewood – for spectacular outdoor grilling (or just making that cup of coffee when you’re half-awake after a late night at the campfire)

There are many places around the country to buy and rent gear but the more prepared you are ahead of time, the less worries you’ll have on the road. If you plan on sleeping in a tent, you’ll also want to consider where you camp. New Zealand has a lot of fully serviced campgrounds with bathrooms; however, a lot of the country is rural. If that makes you nervous, you can use a campervan with a toilet for convenience. Whichever way you choose to travel, there are other essentials you should pack:

  • Swimwear – there are many fabulous beaches and hot springs, so you’ll want to take a dip at many points during your trip.
  • Sunscreen – New Zealand has a mild, temperate climate that doesn’t get too hot or cold in most areas. That being said, you may burn faster than you expect if you’re new to the islands. Be extra generous with your sunscreen.
  • Sandfly repellent – New Zealand has almost no natural predators. But if you plan on hiking in the forest, you’ll want a bit of sandfly repellent. They’re harmless little pests but the bites can be a nuisance if you run into them and you’re not prepared.

These are the basics to get you thinking about what to pack before you hit the road. Consider what special activities you might be doing and plan accordingly. New Zealand has great ski areas, for example. There are also great caves for diving and beaches to explore. Come prepared and you’ll be ready for anything.

Hitop Campervan

Best Times of Year to Travel New Zealand

The best time of year to travel New Zealand is in winter, hands down, June – August. The roads are quieter, the vans are cheaper and there should be more selection with pick up and drop off locations. Plus to top it off, if you love to ski or snowboard, as well as travel, what better way to tie your 2 loves together? Travellers Autobarn does offer heaters and water bottles for specific months of the years, so you won’t get cold.

Autumn would be our second recommendation to travel New Zealand, March to May. With temperatures up to 29 degrees and you will still experience those long ‘summer-type’ days. This is also a cheaper time of year to travel as well, so if you’re trying to save on budget then make sure to look at these months!

Spring, but specifically October is worth a checking out too! Prices are still sharp and the weather is starting to get warmer. Everything is more vibrant! Spring is generally known as the ‘waterfall season’ in New Zealand, so make sure you check them all out! Whale watching is starting as well, so if you love mother-nature and the great outdoors, Spring is your month.

Finally, November to February are all great months to explore New Zealand. Summer is kicking in and the weather is improving. Although rates won’t be at their lowest, there will still be a deal to be had. Warm, long and sunny days make for a relaxing adventure, however you do risk hitting the crowds and busy roads! Kids will also be on school holiday for the majority of December – January.

Kuga Campervan

Driving Tips: Rules of the Road in New Zealand

  • Drive on the Left Side of the Road – this one is laughable for locals, but for many visitors it is quite a surprise that New Zealanders drive on the left side of the road.
  • Know the Speed Limits – the national speed limits are 100km/h (about 60 mph) on the open road, and it varies in urban areas. Speed limit signs usually have a red ring around the number. Consider the weather and drive accordingly.
  • Don’t Talk on the Phone – It’s illegal while driving here.
  • Learn How NZ Roundabouts Work – roundabouts move in a clockwise fashion. If you miss your turn off, go around again. It’s a bit of a learning curve (literally!)
  • Don’t Drink and Drive – If you’re under 20 years old, you are not allowed any alcohol in your system. Over 20 and the cutoff is 250 micrograms per liter of breath. It’s hard to judge what that cutoff will mean for every individual, so play it safe by waiting until you’re parked for the night before drinking.
  • Look Out for Animals on the Road – In rural areas, there can be springbok, sheep and other herds. Keep an eye out in rural areas.
  • Take Your Time – the roads in New Zealand are winding and sometimes mountainous. This means it might take more time to get somewhere than you planned by looking at a map.
  • One Lane Bridges – most bridges in New Zealand are one lane. As you approach the bridge, you’ll see a yellow sign that represents the bridge. There will be a blue sign underneath with two arrows. The bigger arrow gets priority.

Hitop Campervan

Cooking In Your Campervan

Who doesn’t love cooking in the great outdoors? Whether you’re cooking on an open campfire, or over your campervan stove, each meal really does feel special and like you deserved it.

It can be a challenge to get cheap food while travelling around New Zealand, but as long as you plan and research it is possible to eat well while you’re out on the road. Cooking in your campervan means that budget and quality can come together, as long as you’re organised. Stock up on basic essentials such as rice, pasta, potatoes, veggies and fruits. Sauces and spices can also go a long way to jazzing up your meals.

Here are Our Top 8 Recipes to Fill You Up and Keep You From Getting Hungry:

  1. Fried eggs with Spinach, Mushroom & Cherry Tomato Fry-Up. Saute some onion and garlic in a pan before adding chopped mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Add in the spinach and let it wilt before cracking in a couple of eggs. When the eggs are done take it off the heat and serve with crusty bread.
  2. Caprese salad. If you’ve been driving all day and feel like something lighter that requires no cooking then why not serve up a caprese salad. This simple salad is just fresh, ripe tomatoes and mozzarella. Drizzle with some olive oil, salt and pepper. Yum! Eat with olives and fresh bread.
  3. Classic Aussie sausage sizzle. Pick up some sausages, bread, onions and sauce. You can either cook these on a gas stove or a public bbq.
  4. Mac and Cheese. Super simple, super tasty and super cheap. You can either buy a box of the ready made stuff or cook some pasta stir in a simple homemade cheese sauce made from butter, flour, milk and cheese.
  5. Simple chilli. You can make chilli from as little as five ingredients – Garlic, tinned tomato, beef, kidney beans and chilli powder. Serve with rice, bread or tortilla chips.
  6. Veggie burritos. Simply pick up some tortilla wraps, canned corn, canned beans, red pepper, a jar of salsa, avo and cheese and you’re good to go!
  7. Pancakes. Easy to make and very easy to eat. All you need is eggs, flour, milk and a pinch of salt. Make these savoury or sweet – your choice!

Campfire nachos. Who doesn’t love nachos, especially after a long day of swimming or surfing at the beach? Grab some corn chips, refried beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream and jalapenos and get cooking.

Packing List For Your New Zealand Road Trip

If you’re renting a campervan and it’s a self-contained unit, check with us to see what is included, so you know if you need to bring any other essentials. Vehicles are often outfitted with a standard kitchen with a fridge, microwave, cookers/burners, a sink, and cupboards. Travellers Autobarn do offer a kitchen kit as well, in our premium living equipment set.

Other items you should pack, include:

  • Your international driver’s license
  • A torch/flashlight
  • Gloves and warm gear
  • Hiking shoes
  • Merino wool socks and underwear – New Zealand is the land for merino, so you may just pick this up on arrival!
  • A soft bag or backpack – not a big hard suitcase that will be difficult to store
  • Water bottle
  • Flask
  • Quick dry pants
  • Adapter plugs
  • CDs for the road
  • Pharmaceuticals (sunscreen, mosquito repellent etc).

Kuga Campervan

Responsible Freedom Camping

The Freedom Camping Act of 2011 gives campers the right to stay the night in any public area. However, “free of charge” does not mean that the campers have no responsibilities. Campers must remember:

  • Camping on private property is illegal.
  • Leaving behind litter or human waste at any campsite is illegal.
  • The emptying of onboard toilets is only permissible at legal dump stations. These are often found at holiday parks.
  • Guests must have their own waste systems, toilets and fresh water unless those amenities are provided by the campsite.
  • Don’t be a nuisance (respect the rights of others and don’t be too loud).

In addition to the many public lands of New Zealand, the Department of Conservation provides over 200 public campstes which can be searched here. This search engine allows you to filter campsites by region, landscape, facilities provided and access. Also, read up on your rights and responsibilities with this article about the Freedom Camping Act 2011 from Trip Savvy.

Campground Option

If you’re a camping enthusiast, there are a couple of options for you:

  • Traditional camping: Here is when you pay per night for a site, based on your vehicle size and number of travellers. You’ll have access to a terminal and you can recharge your campervan, dump out your waste, water, and fill your tank with fresh water.
  • DOC Campgrounds: These are sites managed by the Department of Conservation, mentioned above. They are quite quite basic but special, as they’re usually located near lakes, rivers, oceans or in beautiful forests. They’re quite popular so try and book ahead.
  • Freedom Camping: If you’re in self-contained vehicle, with a toilet and shower, you can camp pretty much anywhere in the countryside. However, you must comply with any rules of the area and leave no trace that you were there. For even more articles and blogs on freedom camping, click here.
  • Okay2Stay: This is a membership network like Native Parks that allows you to access a private network of farms, vineyards and orchards all over New Zealand, get to know the locals, stay in a safe place, and park on these properties for free. You can get off the tourist trail and gain access to the local experience. If this is something you’re interested in, consider an Okay2Stay membership.

 

5 Breathtaking Beach Camping Spots

That’s it, once you’ve got all the basics covered, it’s now time to plan your route! We give you our top 5 beaches you need to visit when in New Zealand, whether you’re camping or in a campervan, these spots should be on your list.

  1. Coromandel Peninsula – This peninsula in the northeast is famous for beaches that frame picturesque coastal scenery and forests you could spend days exploring. Visit Thames, a small city with a rich history of gold mining. Then go to Hot Water Beach and dig your own hot pool that fills from springs beneath the sands. Camp at Fletcher Campsite in Northern Coromandel, a beachfront campsite with a farm setting.
  2. Rotorua – It would be amiss to write a New Zealand travel guide and not mention the geothermal experience of Rotorua. On the fringe of New Zealand’s volcanic Central Plateau lies Rotorua, a place that has attracted tourists since the 1800’s. Located here is the world’s largest geothermal hot spring and also the remains of the 8th wonder of the world. Rotorua is a 3 hour drive from Auckland. It’s the main point of Maori tourism in New Zealand, so open your arms to total cultural immersion.
  3. Aroha Island – This is a small island about 12 km by road from Kerikeri in the Bay of Islands, Northland, NZ. It is linked to the mainland by a causeway and boasts an impressive population of Brown Kiwi.
  4. Awaroa, Tasman – This beautiful spot is known as the “People’s Beach” because a group of New Zealanders worked together through crowdsource funding to buy it for the country. Turquoise waters, golden beach sand and lush, natural green bush makes this national treasure a little piece of paradise. The nearest DOC campground is an hour and a half hike away at Totaranui. The beauty is worth it, though it may not be a trek for the faint of heart.
  5. The Catlins, Otago – Porpoise Bay is a step back in time. Located at the most southern point of South Island in a remote area between Dunedin and Invercargill, it feels like you’ve gone back in time. Mobile coverage is sketchy and there are limited ATMs, but the reward is a cavalcade of beautiful beaches. Porpoise Bay is known for sighting rare Hector’s dolphins, New Zealand sea lions and yellow-eyed penguins. There’s a campsite between Porpoise Bay and Curio Bay.

One of the great things about New Zealand beaches is that even touristy spots seem vacant to international beachgoers. If you want access to truly off-the-path, unspoiled beaches, then ask some friendly locals or the Travellers Autobarn team.

Kuga Campervan

Recommended Roadtrip: Auckland to Christchurch!

Finally, we give you one of the best road trips you can do in New Zealand: Auckland to Christchurch. A drive from the capital city at the topmost part of the north island, to Christchurch, the biggest city on the south island, it is a great way to hit the highlights of New Zealand. You’ll want to take at least 9 days to enjoy the trip!

  • Day 1: Arrive in Auckland, pick up your vehicle rental and relax.
  • Day 2: Explore Auckland and the surrounding area.
  • Day 3: Drive south through the rich farmland of Waikato.
  • Day 4: Spend the day at Rotorua! Enjoy nature or check out the adventure park.
  • Day 5: Drive toward Wellington. This is a very scenic stretch of the trip!
  • Day 6: On Day 6 you will cross the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry.
  • Day 7: Drive to the picturesque seaside town of Kaikoura!
  • Day 8: Continue south through the countryside to Christchurch.
  • Day 9: Explore the dynamic city of Christchurch!

Check out some of our New Zealand road trips for even more inspiration on your next adventure – happy watching:

We hope this has been an inspiring guide for ideas of what to do on a road trip around New Zealand. For more in-depth guides, or for even more road trip itineraries come and explore today.

driving campervan in winter

New Zealand is one of the most naturally spectacular countries on earth. So, it’s no doubt campervan travel is so popular when the great outdoors has so much to offer here. If you plan on hiring a campervan for your trip around New Zealand, you might be wondering how to find campgrounds and which ones allow you to camp for free, or ‘freedom camp’

There are strict laws in New Zealand which determine where you can and cannot freedom camp, which normally depends on the location and whether your vehicle is self-contained. Luckily, we live in the age of technology, so access to information is right at our fingertips. We have put together a list of our top 4 apps to help you freedom camp your way across the country!

Freedom camping New Zealand apps

Travellers Autobarn

We know how important budget-friendly travel is to our customers, so we have created this awesome app to help you find freedom campgrounds in New Zealand. Inside the app, you’ll find a map with hundreds of pinpointed campgrounds around the country, and information about what facilities you will find at each. From free sites to fully-equipped motorhome parks and everything else in between, there will be a site to suit your budget, wherever you are in the country. The app tells you which campgrounds are suitable and unsuitable for self-contained vehicles, which have BBQs, toilets, showers, dump-stations, as well as other handy information such as reviews and petrol station locations. If you’re using the app while in one of our campervans, you’ll also find the vehicle explanation videos and our contact information very useful.

road-trip-app

Rankers Camping NZ

Camping NZ is an official New Zealand app for camping, so you can be sure the information is trustworthy and reliable. This app has a lot of information on individual campsites, making finding what you need to know very easily. You can also book campsites ahead via the app if required. Like most other apps, Camping NZ also relies on user-generated information on campsites such as photos and reviews of the sites.

Rankers CampingNZ

WikiCamps

WikiCamps is a great app for finding campsites in New Zealand. A great benefit of WikiCamps, you’re able to download the maps for offline and it allows you to navigate and get directions to sites, directly from the app. The difference between WikiCamps and some others is that is has a lot of other useful features. It has a compass, a camping checklist, world time zone clock, and other great camping features. Unfortunately, this is not a free app, it costs $2.99.

WikiCamps

NZ DOC Campsite Finder

The Department of Conservation (DOC) manages more than 200 campsites throughout New Zealand. From sites by the lakeside and sandy beaches to forest settings, and everything from basic free campsites to serviced campsites. NZ DOC Campsite Finder app is a helpful tool for locating these sites. The app is quite basic and directs you to pages on the DOC website. However, it’s very user-friendly compared to having to navigate the website yourself, and a fabulous way of finding DOC campsites – which are perfect for freedom camping.

New Zealand Apps

We would recommend everyone downloads at least one of these apps before setting off on your campervan journey. Even if you do not plan on freedom camping, these apps are great for finding paid caravan parks and advise you on which have amenities such as toilets, dump stations and communal kitchens. They are a must-have on any holiday!

Freedom camping is the best way to travel New Zealand on a budget! We have plenty of freedom camping tips, check them out!

Hiring a campervan for your trip around New Zealand is one of the most budget-friendly ways of travelling around the North Island. You have your transport and accommodation all in one, meaning plenty of savings can be made in order to do other activities. And New Zealand is the land of fun activities – so you’re gonna want to put some dollars towards that!

That being said, during peak travel times of the year, campgrounds and caravan parks in New Zealand can become quite pricey. So if you’re travelling in a campervan, you can always take the other option of freedom camping. Freedom camping literally means camping for free!  New Zealand has plenty of freedom camping opportunities around the North Island, and just because they don’t cost a cent doesn’t mean they aren’t AMAZING! Read on to learn all about the hows, whats and wheres of freedom camping in the North Island.

Explore New Zealand with Travellers Autobarn

Explore New Zealand with Travellers Autobarn

WHAT IS FREEDOM CAMPING IN NEW ZEALAND?

Freedom camping is camping outside of recognised campgrounds on public land or using campsites specially designed for freedom campers. Families and adventure lovers alike appreciate freedom camping because of the quiet and unobstructed views it affords. There are frequently no other campers right on top of you to keep you up at night or wake you up in the morning.

As these spots are usually quieter than your normal paid campgrounds, you can enjoy 180-degree views or better of some of the most stunning terrain in New Zealand. This is ideal for stargazing and if you’re into your photography. It can be like having your own campground all to yourself!

Some freedom camping locations are truly free, in that they don’t cost anything. Others charge a fee, albeit usually a small one, but you are not restricted in the way you would be in a family holiday camp or RV park. Instead, you can park in out-of-the-way locations because you don’t need to be hooked up to an electrical or water connection (but more on that below). You see more of nature and can come and go with ease, covering lots of ground without having to spend hours “decamping”.

What are the rules of freedom camping?

If you wish to freedom camp in the North Island, you should be aware of a few things before you head off on your road trip journey. As there’s such a high volume of campers and campervan travellers in New Zealand, the country has some pretty hefty laws in place – understandably. Some of the rules and regulations of freedom camping in New Zealand include:

  • Always clean up after yourself and leave no litter or trace of your stay
  • Dispose of waste carefully. Only empty your greywater tanks into designated dump stations. And please (please!) use toilets to do your business
  • Keep noise to an absolute minimum at night and always be respectful towards the locals. Especially if you’re freedom campsite which is close to a residential area.
  • Avoid lighting fires. If you do make a campfire always keep it small and douse it out one you are finished with it. You should also be aware of whether or not you’re allowed to light one in that area in the first place – sometimes there are total fire bans.
  • Lastly, and definitely most importantly – know where you can and can’t sleep. If you have a ‘self-contained’ sticker on your vehicle (meaning you have a toilet and greywater onboard) you are allowed to stay in a lot more places. If you don’t have this, you will always need to stay in designated ‘non-self contained’ campgrounds.
Freedom Camping New Zealand

New Zealand

Freedom campgrounds in the North Island 

Whether you want to stay lakeside, beachfront or in the forest, you’ll find plenty of amazing freedom campgrounds in the North Island. You might want to consider some of these free campgrounds when you travel around the North Island:

  • Rankers Koha Camping
  • Long Beach Domain
  • Anzac Bay, Bowentown, Domain
  • Lake Hayes
  • Ohingaroa, Kenepuru Sounds
  • Alex McKenzie Arboretum, Otautau
  • Tuapiro Reserve

Also, try Googling Department of Conservation (DOC) campgrounds in New Zealand. These are government run sites, many of which are free for campervan travellers.

Finding campgrounds 

To take advantage of freedom camping in New Zealand, you should have a general idea of some places you can stay before you head off. We live in the era of technology, which means luckily for us, there are plenty of apps that allow you to find places to sleep, right at your finger tips. We would recommend not leaving on your campervan journey without having downloaded at least one campground-finding app. Trust us – they are lifesavers and will make your trip so much more enjoyable!

You can download the free Travellers Autobarn app which has helpful information about free campgrounds, so you should never be stuck without a place to sleep.

freedom camping new zealand north island picture2

The app also contains many more handy travel tips and a self-help guide for when you are on the road in your Travellers Autobarn campervan. Check out our range of campervans and get a quote today!

If you are looking for more information about Freedom Camping please visit our Freedom Camping Section…

Queenstown is a must-visit on any South Island trip. It is lively and charming hotspot situated in a beautiful mountainous surrounding, and there is something there to appeal to everyone. Whether you crave adventure, meeting new people, or indulging in top quality food and drinks, we have you covered, with the top 5 things you should do when you visit Queenstown.

1. Indulge in the foodie culture

Queenstown is a traveller’s and a foodie’s hotspot, and one of its biggest drawcards is the variety and quality of food options available in town. You can indulge in anything from hearty winter meals to organic summer salads, so get ready for a journey for your taste buds. The famous Ferg Burger is a must-try on many foodie’s bucket lists, but if you aren’t into queuing up, try the just as good Devil Burger instead. For modern Malaysian inspired cuisine, head to Madam Woos for dinner and try their delicious roti and laksas. If vegan dishes and fresh smoothies are more your thing, don’t miss Bespoke Kitchen for a wholesome brunch and coffee.

Ferg Burger Queenstown

2. Take a nature walk or hike

Queenstown is set within spectacular lakes and a picturesque mountain backdrop. There is no shortage of natural beauty to take in when you visit Queenstown, so it’s the perfect opportunity to get outdoors and stretch your legs. Start your day with a relaxing stroll through the charming rose gardens and pristine lawns in Queenstown Gardens, and grab a take away coffee on the way. In the afternoon, you can walk 1.5km to the top of Queenstown Hill and be rewarded with the view of the sun setting over the city. If you are looking for something challenging, Queenstown has that to offer as well. The Ben Lomond Track is demanding climb which offers spectacular panoramic views at the summit. You can choose to take the Gondola cable car up the hill at the beginning or take the entire hike which will be a 6 – 8hr return trek.

Ben Lomond hill queenstown

3. Be adventurous

Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand, so it is the perfect place to get your heart racing. The city is a must-visit for adrenaline junkies, and you can choose from a variety of extreme adventure activities. Choose from skydiving, jet boating, white water rafting, bungy jumping, or a combination package of many. We recommend trying the Nevis bungy jump at AJ Hackett, the 134m drop is the longest in New Zealand, and it is definitely not for the faint-hearted!  If you are visiting in the winter months, you’ll surely not want to miss a day or two on the slopes. The nearby mountains are perfect for skiing and snowboarding and offer some of the best experiences in New Zealand for action snow sports.

bungy jumping queenstown

4. Experience the Nightlife

As well as being the adventure capital of New Zealand, Queenstown also holds the reputation of being the party capital. With the huge number of backpackers and youth travellers visiting Queenstown every year, you’ll be sure to enjoy the bar and club experiences if you are a lover of the nightlife. Head to Loco Cantina for cheap eats, cheap drinks, and DJs for your party nights, or Bungalow for a more sophisticated cocktail bar. For late night dancing with an artsy vibe, head to Vinyl Underground or Zephyr. There are also plenty of craft beer bars and pubs to experience in Queenstown, such as Atlas or The World Bar.

queenstown nightlife

5. Chill out

Although it may seem like Queenstown is all go-go-go, it is also to the perfect place to simply relax, unwind and chill out. Take a book and chill out by the lake where you will be surrounded by people playing instruments and strolling through the park. In the warmer months, you can go for a dip in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wakatipu, with the natural beauty and energy of the region making it a perfect experience.  Sore or tired from all your adventures? Treat yourself to a massage and spa package at the tranquil Onsen Hot Pools, where you can relax and take in the beauty of the surroundings.

queenstown lake

Queenstown is the perfect road trip destination. Located on the south-western side of the country, it is centrally located to many of the South Island’s must-see locations. About a 6-hour drive from Christchurch, there are plenty of places to stop and see along the way. Check out a campervan hire from Travellers Autobarn  New Zealand, and start planning your dream getaway today.

If you are looking for more campervan travel tips check out our Campervan Travel tips section…

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful and remote countries on Earth. It’s peaks, valleys, bays, cities and trails are sought by people all over the world. New Zealand has everything from amazing culture and restaurants in cities, to memorable movie locations from the Hobbit, to an array of outdoor beauty and adventure that can be found in no other place. There are a few top locations that are both amazing to see and to Instagram.

1. Waitomo Glowworm Caves #glowworms, #unreal

These ancient caves feature millions of tiny insects that glow in the dark. These unique creatures hang from the ceiling of the cave, creating an optical illusion that looks like stars in the night sky. Visitors sail through the caves in small boats as their guide explains the magic history and nature of this location. Any picture inside these caves will be simply incredible on Instagram (remember to keep the flash off though).

glowworm campervan new zealand

Glow Worms Caves New Zealand

2. Mount Cook #snowinNewZeland, #CookisKing,#MtCook

Located on the South Island, Mount Cook is one of the highest peaks in New Zealand. It has amazing skiing during the winter time and is a great place to go to get away from the warmer parts in the North. The amazing, clean, beautiful, snowy slopes make great places to snag a photo.

Mount Cook New Zealand

3. Queenstown #NZadventure,  #LandofHobbits, #NZkayak

Queenstown is the HQ of adventure in New Zealand. The area offers everything including bungee jumping, skydiving, white water rafting, kayaking, mountain climbing and adventure trails. There are so many cool photos available here it is hard to know where to begin. Anyone looking for thrills and beauty should come to this location on the South Island. It is also home to some of the most iconic scenes from The Hobbit.

 

Queenstown New Zealand Travellers Autobarn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queenstown New Zealand

 

4. Tauranga #GoldenBeach, #BayOfPlenty

Tauranga is a spectacular beach on the North Island. Visitors come for surfing, jet skiing and general good times. There are places to hike and explore. There are also wonderful hotels and spas to relax at. Instagram experts might want to focus on the amazing beaches and nearby scenery.

Road Trips New Zealand

 

5. Waiheke Island #IslandBeauty, #IslandWinery

This island is known to be a spot for the artists, innovators, rich and famous to get away. It has amazing hotels to stay at as well as pristine beaches. There are also several top wineries that accept visitors. Tourists can enjoy all aspects of this island paradise. Photos at the beach, restaurants, winery or hiking trail are all great ideas.

New Zealand Road Trips

 

 

6. Auckland #NZnightlife, #CityLifeNewZealand

This is the largest city in New Zealand and the gateway to the rest of the world. It has skyscrapers, luxury real estate, great food and a thriving nightlife. This melting pot has visitors from around the world enjoying local cuisine, beer and the nightlife. This is a great place to shoot party shots and downtown photos.

 

Auckland New Zealand

Auckland New Zealand

 

7. Milford Sound #Glaciers, #UnrealBeauty

The Milford Sound is on the South Island and is home to the Fjordland National Park. It includes massive glaciers that are truly incredible. In fact, when famous author Rudyard Kipling saw this land, he called it the Eighth Wonder of the World. This area includes massive peaks and valleys. It is quite cold so visitors need to wear extra layers of clothing. Photographers will have no trouble finding the perfect pic to place on Instagram though.

 New Zealand Road Trips2

 

8. Hinuera (Hobbiton) #HobbitsAreReal,
#HobbitComesToLife, #IFoundTheHobbits

Hobbiton is one of the most iconic locations for visitors to New Zealand. The movie producers of the Hobbit left many of the most famous homes in the village standing. These stand among beautiful rolling hills and farmland. Visitors can walk right up to the homes and take the best pictures. At the end of the tour, people can sample the local ale or many other treats.

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

 

This island is known to be a spot for the artists, innovators, rich and famous to get away. It has amazing hotels to stay at as well as pristine beaches. There are also several top wineries that accept visitors. Tourists can enjoy all aspects of this island paradise. Photos at the beach, restaurants, winery or hiking trail are all great ideas.

The best way to capture those Instagramable #roadtrip memories is with a campervan hire in New Zealand. Travellers Autobarn hires out campers from Auckland and Christchurch. Get a quote and start planning your epic road trip today!

If you are looking for more campervan travel tips check out our Campervan Travel tips section…

Just because you are living life on the road doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly! In fact, travelling in a campervan is a great time to try some new recipes. You have a kitchen with you everywhere you go, and what better way to eat breakfast than with a view of snowcapped mountains?! Here are 7 quick and easy meal ideas that you can make during your campervan trip in New Zealand.

7 Quick and Easy meals to make in your campervan

1.Breakfast Burritos 

Start your day with some delicious and healthy breakfast burritos to sustain you for a big day of exploring. Use whole wheat tortillas, scrambled eggs, and spicy salsa as a base, and then get creative tomato, and avocado, capsicum, cheese and black beans to your taste.

Ingredients 

  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion
  • 1 capsicum
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese
  • 2 tortillas (10 inch)
  • 1/4 cup salsa
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 tomato diced
  • 1 avocado

Method

  1. Heat half the oil in a frypan on medium heat. Cook the onions and capsicum until softened, around 7 minutes. Add the black beans and cook for another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a separate dish
  2. Whisk the eggs and stir in the cheese. Heat the other half of oil in the frypan and scramble the eggs until they are cooked. Spread each tortilla with sour cream and salsa, then top with eggs, bean mixture and avocado.
  3. Roll up burrito style and serve. For extra flavour, serve with chilli flakes or hot sauce.
7 Easy and Tasty Meals to Make in Your Campervan

Image via Food Network

 

2. Spinach, Mushroom and Cherry Tomato Fry-Up

This combination packs a vitamin and nutrient-rich punch to your day and is perfect as a side with any meal. For breakfast, you can fry it up alongside some eggs, or for lunch and dinner, serve with your favourite meat or protein-based meal. Simply add all the chopped vegetables in a pan with oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon.

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp butter
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 5-6 button mushrooms
  • 1/2 red onion
  • Half a punnet of cherry tomatos
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 large handfuls baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • A drizzle of lemon juice

Method

  1. Heat butter and olive oil in a large frying pan and add the mushrooms and onions. Sauté for 5-6 minutes until browned and cooked through.
  2. Combine the tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Next, add the spinach and stir through and cook until it welts. At the end, squeeze over the lemon juice.
  3. Serve this with anything you like, whether it’s eggs, meat, or simply on bread.
Photo and recipe from eatdrinkpaleo.com.au

Photo and recipe from eatdrinkpaleo.com.au

3. Coconut Curry 

A veggie-packed coconut curry is a real crowd pleaser and is super easy to make in a campervan. A can of coconut milk, vegetable stock, some curry powder, and your choice of vegetables is all you need to put in one pot to make this creation. Feel free to swap vegetables in this recipe in and out, you can even use whichever ones you have as leftovers. Serve with rice or quinoa for a healthy and tasty meal. If you are hiring a campervan with a microwave you can minimise time and washing up by heating up a packet of 90-second rice!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 2 handfuls of snow peas
  • 1 brown onion
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp curry powder (or curry paste)
  • 1 cube of vegetable stock
  • Small piece of ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Rice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Handful natural cashews (optional)
  • Chilli flakes (optional)

Method

  1. Prepare all the vegetables. Chop the carrot into circles, chop the cauliflower and broccoli into 2cm heads, dice the onion, cut the heads of snow peas and finely chop or grate the garlic and ginger.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger and garlic and cook until the onion is clear. Add the carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, and snow peas and cook for around 5 minutes or until slightly softened. Meanwhile, cook the rice in a medium pot.
  3. Add the curry powder or paste and stir until all vegetables are covered. Pour over the coconut milk and crumble the vegetable stock cube in. Bring to a simmer and then reduce heat and cook for around 10 minutes.

4. Serve the curry over rice in bowls and top with salt and pepper, cashews, and chilli flakes if using.

7 Easy and Tasty Meals to Make in Your Campervan

Image via Minimalist Baker

 

4. Simple Chilli Con Carne 

In a large saucepan, add minced meat, vegetables, garlic, and beans, cook for 15 minutes and then serve with your favourite toppings. This simple chilli con carne is ready in under half an hour and is perfect for dinner, next day leftovers and snacking on with corn chips.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 750g beef mince
  • 2 brown onions, diced
  • 2 capsicums, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed or diced
  • 1 long red chilli, chopped
  • 2 tbsp Mexican chilli powder
  • 800g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 400g can of red kidney beans
  • Topping choices – jalapeno chillies, sour cream, coriander, tasty cheese, etc.

Method

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the mince and break up and stir for 15 mins. Add onion, capsicums, garlic and chopped chilli. Cook for 5 minutes and then add chilli powder.
  2. Add the tomatoes and a cup of water. Bring to the boil and then reduce heat to medium-low, simmer partially covered for 30 minutes or until sauce thickens.
  3. Add the beans and increase the heat to medium. Serve with toppings of your choice.

Recipe via taste.com.au

5. Grilled Lemon Chicken and Asparagus

With just a few ingredients, all of them being very healthy, this chicken and asparagus dish is a perfect dinner to eat in your campervan. Instead of grilling the chicken, just put it in the pan over your gas stove. It almost seems a bit fancy – but it’s ready in about 20 minutes!

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch of asparagus

Method

  1. Heat the frying pan (or BBQ if you are at a campground that has one!) to medium-high. Brush the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Steam or boil the asparagus until it slightly softens.
  3. Fry the chicken until cooked through, this will take about 6 minutes each side. Halfway through cooking, add the lemon wedges to the pan or hotplate. Serve with the asparagus and squeeze over lemon.

 

Image via Women's Day

Image via Women’s Day

Recipe via womansday.com

6. Mushroom and Bacon Risotto

With only 7 ingredients and one pot required, this mushroom and bacon risotto is the perfect meal for while you are on the move. Our tip: if you are feeling a little more adventurous, add a splash of dry white wine and some diced shallots for some extra flavour – and you’ll have yourself a restaurant quality meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 8 rasher bacon, chopped
  • 250g button mushrooms
  • 300g risotto rice
  • 1l chicken stock
  • grated parmesan to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a deep frying pan or pot and add the onion and bacon, cooking for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for further 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook until it goes clear and all juices have been absorbed.
  2. Gradually add the stock, about half a cup at a time, stirring well and waiting for the stock to be absorbed before adding more. This process will take about 20 minutes.
  3. Once cooked, serve with grated parmesan.
7 Easy and Tasty Meals to Make in Your Campervan

Image via BBC Good Food

Recipe via bbcgoodfood.com

7. One-Pan Pesto Chicken Penne 

This perfect campervan dinner is one that even the most amateur of cooks can master. With ingredients such as chicken, garlic, penne, cheese, and cream, who wouldn’t love this delicious classic pasta dish?!

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • ½ tablespoon salt
  • ½ tablespoon ground pepper
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup pesto
  • 3 cups penne pasta, cooked
  • ¾ cup cherry tomatoes halved
  • parmesan cheese to garnish
  • fresh basil, chopped, to garnish

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a pan over high heat. Add the garlic, chicken, salt and pepper. Cook the chicken until it is browned. Stir in the heavy cream, parmesan, and pesto, stirring until combined.
  2. Bring the mixture a boil and cook until the sauce has reduced, about five to seven minutes.
  3. Toss in the cooked pasta and cherry tomatoes, stirring until evenly coated.
  4. Serve with parmesan and basil on top.

Recipe via tasty.co

7 Easy and Tasty Meals to Make in Your Campervan

7 Easy and Tasty Meals to Make in Your Campervan

Ready to begin your culinary adventure on the road? Stop salivating and get a quote on a Travellers Autobarn campervan in New Zealand today!

 

Hiring a campervan and hitting the road is hands down the best way to see New Zealand’s South Island. It offers you the ultimate freedom and flexibility to travel at your own pace and by your own rules. It also gives you the chance to camp for free, or ‘freedom camp’. This means sleeping under the stars and wake up with spectacular wilderness views! Here is our guide to freedom camping in the South Island, for the most epic and cost-effective adventure of your lifetime!

What is freedom camping?

Freedom camping is the practice of setting up a tent or parking your campervan in an area designated for camping for free. That’s right – there are plenty of places in New Zealand that let you sleep the night without costing a single cent! Rather than staying at a busy campground or caravan park, some prefer to venture into the wild and stay at more isolated locations. By freedom camping, you can stay in some of the most picturesque locations in the South Island and avoid the cost of park fees. However, it does come with its cons. The popularity of freedom camping in New Zealand, and especially the South Island, has had an increasingly negative effect on the country’s clean environment due to litter and waste. There are typically no toilet, shower, or waste facilities when you’re in the middle of nowhere (as you would expect). This has resulted in strict laws being put in place to prevent how and where people freedom camp.

Ben-Lomond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are the rules of freedom camping?

To legally and respectfully freedom camp, you will need to be aware of a few things before beginning your South Island adventure. Firstly, make sure your campervan is ‘self-contained’ by either having a built-in toilet or a portable toilet on board. This is a legal requirement in New Zealand and you will need to have a certified sticker on your window to avoid copping a fine of $200. Some other good measures of practice include:

  • Always take garbage away with you until you find a proper place to dispose of it.
  • Use proper toilet facilities or your onboard toilet at all times.
  • Try to camp away from residential areas and always keep noise to a minimum
  • Avoid lighting fires. If you do light a fire make sure you keep it small and douse it out with water before you leave.
  • Always respect the environment and the locals. Leave no trace of your stay.

Kuga Campervan - Lifestyle 151

Where can I freedom camp in the South Island?

There are plenty of places you can camp for free in the South Island. Whether you prefer to be lakeside, by a beach or within a forest, the opportunities are endless. There are many freedom camping apps available to help you locate sites in New Zealand, so you shouldn’t have much trouble finding them. Here are five of our favourite freedom campsites in the South Island:

1.  Greyneys – Located within the stunning Arthurs Pass National Park, this free campsite is perfect for travellers who want to enjoy the serenity of the outdoors. There are plenty of great hiking tracks around and it’s a great base to explore the century-old tracks in the national park.
2. Robin Hood Bay – Camp next to the beach in the Marlborough Sounds region of the South Island. Go fishing, visit the nearby Magnet Bay beach for a surf, and look out for Hectors Dolphins in the stunning blue waters.
3. Thicket Burn – Located on the outskirts of Fiordland National Park, and just 5km’s from New Zealand’s deepest lake. There are toilets, picnic tables, and water available in an incredibly peaceful surrounding.
4. Queenstown-Glenorchy Road, Lake Face Creek – A great spot to stop for the night near the iconic town of Queenstown. Here, you can wake up to stunning views of the lake and mountains and nearby beautiful waterfalls.

5. Lake Pukaki Campground – Located in the centre of the South Island, this is a must stop if you’re making the journey past. Located on the beautiful Lake Pukaki, you can wake up with a mountain backdrop of Mount Cook. There is a basic restroom here, but other than that, it’s all natural!

Kuga Campervan - Lifestyle 225

Across New Zealand, you will find signs that indicate whether or not freedom camping is prohibited. Always respect these signs, there are plenty of amazing places you can freedom camp legally. Most importantly, enjoy your campervan journey in one of the most naturally spectacular countries in the world.

If you are looking for more information about Freedom Camping please visit our Freedom Camping Section…

Do you dream of disconnecting and getting back to a simpler pace of life? It doesn’t have to be a dream. With a campervan hire, you can embark on the ultimate New Zealand adventure. Not only will a campervan hire trip allow you to see some of the most beautiful spots in New Zealand, it can also help you reset. The modern world is full of stress and activity, but you have the opportunity to spend a few weeks making your own schedule.

campervan adventure new zealand

Modern life equals stress

Stress has become a constant in life. The modern world offers convenience, and in return, an escalation in stress. Recent studies have found that workplace stress is rising, finding that six in 10 workers in significant global economies experienced increased workplace stress. Stress isn’t a result of just the workplace. Relationships with mates, friends and family are a huge source of stress. That’s nothing new, but think about how much the world has changed in just the last 10 years. With social media and the ability to be connected 24/7, people are over-stimulated and bombarded with information.

Consider these startling stats: 84 percent of mobile phone users claim they can’t go a day without their advice. Mobile device owners check their phones approximately every six and a half minutes. Does this sound like you? If so, it’s time for a break!

Stress Relief

Image via Pexels

Gain a new perspective on the road

With a campervan hire, you can get set up and on the road with ease. Depending on the number in your party and how long you plan to stay, you can find the right campervan hire for your trip.

The beauty of being on the road in New Zealand is that most areas are readily accessible. This makes it great for a self-drive. When you have control of your trip, you won’t have to deal with stress and anxiety related to trains or tour coaches. Plus, you won’t have to contend with any other travellers. Taking a tour of the country should be the perfect chance to power down. A holiday should be stress-free not stressful.

Once you depart from Auckland or Christchurch, you’ll begin to leave the city behind. You can expect to travel for long stretches and not see anyone. Can you imagine walking out your front door today and having that experience? Just the great outdoors, the open road, and you.

Because roads are well maintained and easy to navigate, you’ll be able to drive along the coastline, taking in the beauty of the beaches. From there, you’ll find yourself in ancient forests with views of snow-capped mountains. From the beach to snow to glacier-fed lakes, New Zealand packs so much into a relatively small island. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime occasion to take in the serenity of the natural world, where the only use for your phone is as a camera.

Campervan Road Trip

Image via Pexels

Find happiness in the small moments

Many may have the erroneous view that happiness only comes from living in the modern world with access to entertainment and the finer things in life. Well, what if you could tell them they were wrong? That the secret to a happy life can be found on a campervan hire experience? You may find that what really makes you happy is time with a significant other, best mate or just yourself watching the sun rise and set.

Happy Moments

Image via Pexels

Navigating your way through the many wonders of New Zealand is easier than you think. With Travellers Autobarn, we’ve got a variety of vehicles for your trip, including station wagons and campers. While the modern world won’t slow down for you, you can certainly create your own pace. Start planning your journey today.

If you are looking for more campervan travel tips check out our Campervan Travel tips section…

No country screams more “road trip holiday” than New Zealand – in fact, it has the highest numbers of campervans per capita compared to any other world.

If you are considering a campervan road trip – or are already on road – read up on our handy campervan travel tips.

Our Campervan Travel Tips section covers everything from Freedom Camping (it’s a big topic in New Zealand!), how to prepare yourself for a campervan trip, top holiday parks and much much more…

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