If you can excuse butchering up the muffler, killing the car battery and the daily grinding of gears, I guess you could say slowly but surely we started getting the hang of campervan travel. That’s when the real fun began.
Our mobile digs gives us unparalleled mobility and flexibility. We aren’t tied to any plane, bus or train schedule so we can take in the sights and sounds at our own pace. This made stops at every scenic lookout point and roadside farmer’s market customary and exploring the remote countryside a reality.
Best of all, New Zealand is made for campervan travel. There are thousands of motor camps dotting the country that welcome oversized loads like our Bertha. We soon learned, however, that the real experience to be had is all in the Department of Conservation.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (God bless them) has mapped out the most breathtaking locales in the country and converted them into remote, pristine campgrounds. It is here, in the most majestic settings imaginable, that we go to bed each night and wake up each morning. We find ourselves sleeping at the foothills of snow-capped mountains, on the banks of crystal-clear streams, on the beaches of deep blue lakes, atop roaring waterfalls, hidden in the forests of National Parks and among the wildlife of maritime reserves. Each evening as we pick out our campsite, scoping the map for those cheerful blue dots, we feel like Magellan about to embark on an incredible discovery. And upon our arrival, we are never disappointed.
Discovering these sites and the beauty that surrounds has been a true highlight of my New Zealand experience. Here is a look at some of those places we are experiencing:
True to the isolation of the grounds, campsites are basic with minimal facilities. Often with toilets there is rarely running water and showers are a rare treat. The vistas, however, surely do more than make up for the loss of luxury. I find it much easier to adjust to showering out of a bucket each morning knowing the frigid waters are a small price to pay for the surrounding beauty and my New Zealand adventures.