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New Zealand Road Trip
1:04:18 PM
Slightly off topic but does anyone have any experience on roadtripping New Zealand over summer? I plan on spending about 3 weeks over the school holidays in NZ with my girlfriend for a mix of climbing, mountain biking, hiking and jumping out off or out of things.

Has anyone tried to hire a campervan that can fit bikes? I've heard it's basically cheaper to get a hire car and stay in hotels? What is the camping situation like in NZ - can I stop a campervan almost anywhere and stay the night? What about if I had a tent?

I have done a bit of googling but I've given up because there are waaaaaaaay too many options to consider!
5:58:24 PM
A camper van with a toilet can usually be parked up for the night anywhere that doesn't say no overnight camping, but be somewhat sensible and don't do anything to annoy the locals. Many councils now explicitly ban "freedom camping", ie a tent or van with no toilet, and want you to use designated campgrounds, and the locals may get very pissed off.

There are many DOC campsites around the country that are free or cheap, but they do get very busy and a bit feral in summer especially at the nicer spots. Some are bookable, most are not.

Sometimes a commercial campground cabin or motel is a better option just for peace of mind. You may need to book ahead especially in summer meccas like nelson, wanaka or queenstown.

Depending on where you are going DOC or NZAC huts may be another option.

9:31:22 PM
After a few years break from annual NZ trips I went back this April and we hired a small car (from rent a dent in christchurch, excellent service). Probably free camped a third of the nights, but this is pretty tricky these days. Many of my old "secret" spots now have signs explicitly banning camping, and the number of tourists and campervans (and toilet debris) has risen dramatically, so I can't blame local areas for banning, and policing areas. Still possible, but usually means setting up camp after dark and packing up early. As John says, you need a certified self contained campervan with a toilet to be able to park up, making the cheaper vans not much of an advantage.
However with nzac membership you can get good value accomodation in the Darrans, Fox, Arthur's Pass and Mt Cook village. And many campgrounds have small cabins that are ok value if you don't take a tent. But booking well ahead, especially around major towns like Dunedin, Wanaka or queens town is advisable at that time of year.
Check out Mt Somers with its nearby DOC hut. I have yet to climb there, but it was a good walk one year when I had busted ribs.
3:22:22 PM
The NZAC hut in Arthurs Pass is also not a bad staging point for Castle Hill bouldering and tramping/alpine in the park. You don't *have* to be a member but it is cheaper if you are.

A DOC back country hut pass at around $100 is also quite a good option if you are planning some tramping/alpine, though it doesn't include many of the more touristy huts (Great Walks, etc).

If you're in Auckland (and I haven't moved out by then) and want a bit of urban quarry trad, let me know.

8:56:07 AM
Just keep in mind driving around New Zealand is a pretty slow thing most of the time. Allow twice as long as you'll think you'll need to get anywhere. A lot of single lane twisting main roads, and a lack of multiple lane straight highways....
11:53:52 AM
Got to love the guy responsible for speed signs . Leave town 100 speed limit and 30 metres passed that a 30 Kmph U turn followed by umpteen bends with speed sign varying from 30 to 70 don't know when you get to do the 100 Kmph.
Recently was advised to take the tour to Cape Reinga as quite a slow windy road , the way back was the 90 mile beach and apart from the dune surfing stop and the slow trip down the sandy flowing creek most of the trip was at 90 to 100 kmph . Not allowed take a hire car on the beach
5:23:01 PM
Those corner speed signs are not a speed limit, they are recommended maximum cornering speeds, are somewhat conservative and generally measured as an exit speed. But if you are in a camper van in the rain they may not be at all conservative ;-)

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