Campervans are currently lined up in carparks like huge white gravestones for the Tourism Industry. Bad for business, great for you! Now is the time to grab a deal and put your foot on the gas to see New Zealand in a Campervan and discover #vanlife.
My campervan hire experience was an outdoorsy six days around the top of the North Island that was very cost effective and tripped around some of the best sights in the Far North. Here is a full run down and itinerary of my trip for you to replicate! Complete with a list of places to visit, links to holiday parks and a downloadable Budget Breakdown that will make you want to submit your holiday request ASAP.
This waterfall can really get pumping and is just off of the main road making it an easy stop on your way out of Paihia! Keep an eye out for the many roosters that hang out in the carpark.
Stunning 360 views of the surrounding bays and hills at the end of a 20 minutes track!...BUT this track is straight up the entire way and requires a good fitness level. Take shoes with good grip and a jacket to combat wind on the exposed summit.
The Cable Bay Dairy is infamous for their ice cream cones and cute souvenir shirts.
After travelling to the tippy top of New Zealand, drive back down the coast and branch out to the KareKare Peninsula to spend a night in a small but beautiful bay.
If you want to grab some great Fish n' Chips, make a stop at Pukenui Pacific on your way back down the coast after a big day of building your appetite. Dine-in or takeaway to sit by the wharf directly opposite the block of shops.
Freedom Camping in the carpark of Waimamaku Four Square...yes a Four Square carpark.
In the same carpark there is a local that pulls up with his coffee cart around 8am most mornings. Don't bet on him showing up in case you go hungry/ coffee deprived but keep an eye out for great coffee!
A very short walk but it is interesting to see New Zealand's largest living Kauri Tree. Pair this walk with one of many others in Waipoua Forest to extend your visit; try the Yakas Walk or Te Matua Ngahere Walk (second largest living Kauri tree in New Zealand).
A stunning collection of lakes that are perfect for fun on or in the water. There's also walking tracks if it's a little chilly or you don't have a kayak.
Stop off at Dargaville Countdown to replenish your snacks and get yourself a powered site at Dargaville Holiday Park. They have lovely owners, clean facilities, handy location and WIFI.
Blah Blah Blah - Restaurant, Bar and Café
Right in the heart of Dargvaville, this place has meals for any time of the day and coffee can come by the BOWL for only $5.50. This place was recommended to me by a Waimamaku local and I'm happy to spread the word!
Allow time to do these things before you drop your campervan off (for larger self-contained vans):
- Empty the waste container
- Empty greywater tank
- Fill freshwater tank
- Fill Diesel tank
- Swap gas bottle/ ensure it's full
- General tidy up, sweep, wipe counters
- Have your campervan back on time as stated by rental company
Most Gas Stations will do a gas bottle swap. Every other task can be done at most holiday parks.
Think about how much freedom camping you really want to do. Holiday Parks are common in Northland with all the facilities you need so it may be more cost effective for you to rent a smaller campervan without it's own Toilet/Shower and make use of the campground's.
Insurance costs can be the make or break for affordability of a campervan holiday.
The cheapest insurance option will likely come with a high excess/ deposit cost you may not get back if there's damage to the vehicle; around $5,000 for me. Yikes.
Otherwise you can opt for a higher daily fee to reduce the excess/bond. Both aren't ideal for a budget friendly trip.
Independent Travel Insurance, such as OneCover, that includes Campervan Excess can only cost around $30.00 total. This will protect you if something was to happen to the campervan while also saving you from paying around $70.00 per day with the rental company.
SAVE MY BUDGET BREAKDOWN
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