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New Zealand trip, travel with campervan

A road trip is the best way to explore the beauty of New Zealand’s very diverse landscapes (The NZ South Island landscapes are amazing!), as you can cover many of its highlights over the course of short time. The best way to travel around New Zealand is by campervan and I also recommend you to sleep at that campervan. The reasons are:

  • If you sleep at campervan, you are pretty flexible with your schedule and can rearrange things if needed. For example: you planned to stay at certain place of interest for 1 day, but when you arrive at that place you want to stay there for 2 days (because you like the place), so you can just change your plan easily because you sleep at campervan. But if you have booked a hotel room or holiday park’s rental room (instead of sleeping in campervan) then you cannot change your plan because you have to be at the hotel (or holiday park’s rental room) at the date you have planned if you don’t want to lose your booking money (in other words, you need to stick to your planned schedule, if you have booked a room).
  • It’s more fun to travel by campervan and sleeping in a campervan
  • Sleeping in campervan is cheaper than sleeping in a hotel or in holiday park’s rental room.

If you plan to sleep in campervan, you need to park your campervan in a holiday parks sites because you are not allowed to park anywhere you like (such as on the side of the road or at other not supposed place). If you park somewhere you’re not supposed to be, you’ll very likely have an encounter with a policeman, not to mention a hefty fine.

To know more about holiday parks, read it at this post New Zealand trip, holiday parks (to be written soon).

You’d better rent a campervan from good company. You need to choose which campervan is suitable for your need because there are many types of campervan. These are some types of  campervan:

  • “powered campervan” or “unpowered campervan”
  • for 2 people or 4 people or 6 people.
  • Toilet or without toilet.
  • some have these equipments and some don’t have: fridge, microwave, stove.
  • Etc

I recommend you to choose “powered campervan”. If you choose “powered campervan”, then when you want to sleep and park the campervan in holiday park (in the powered site), you can connect the external power cord from your campervan to the power source in powered sites of the holiday park. By doing that, you will have electricity in your campervan so that you can keep the fridge on, charge a cell phone, laptop, camera or even use a hair dryer. If you have raw meat in your fridge, you need to keep the electricity on. That’s why it’s important that you rent a “powered campervan”.

We used Britz campervan in our trip. You can see several types of campervan on this Britz site

This was the campervan that we used in our trip:

my sister wanted to connect power cord from campervan to power source

connects the power source to campervan using power cord

 

Inside the campervan:

campervan (seat before turning into bed)

campervan (seat turns into bed)

campervan bed on 2 floors

campervan (put things under the seat)

kitchen equipment in the drawer of campervan

 

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, tips and tricks

When you want to go to New Zealand, you might have these questions in your mind: what is the best time to go, where should I go, which transportation should I use, where should I sleep, what activities can I do, etc.

I’ve visited New Zealand on summer and winter season. I’ve been to south island and north island of New Zealand. So I want to share some tips & tricks that I learned during my New Zealand trip. Hopefully this tips & tricks can help you in planning your New Zealand Trip.

If you want to know about what places should you visit in New Zealand, you can go to my previous post “New Zealand trip, where to go?

These are some tips and tricks for a New Zealand trip:

1. The best time to go is on summer. The reasons are:

  • The daylight hours is long. Dawn is as early as 5 am, while dusk settles around 10 pm. So you will have a lot of time to go anywhere and do lots of things. Summer weather in New Zealand allows you to spend a lot of pleasant time outdoors. When I went on a vacation there on summer (december 2011), every day is a nice clear day (good weather, blue sky) and never rain.
  • There are lots of colorful flowers in many places (I saw lots of them in december 2011), so it’s beautiful to see.

lots of flowers along the roadside

  • You can enjoy the time outside doing this things: siting on the grass or sitting on the bench outside or sitting on the shore of the lake or do other things.

Notes for summer :
On summer season, temperatures on the South Island of New Zealand can be as low as 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit) at night and as high as 33 degrees Celsius (91 degrees Fahrenheit) during the day.

2. Don’t go on winter. The reasons are:

  • It’s dangerous to drive in winter season in New Zealand. The roads are slippery, and there is landslide at some part of the road (the landslide can hit you when you drive).
  • Some roads are closed due to snow.
  • It’s raining almost everyday (it was raining almost everyday in my winter trip), so in a lot of time you cannot see anything. New Zealand landscape (especially South Island) is amazing and very diverse, so it’s a pity if you cannot see such amazing scenery due to rain.
  • The amount of daylight hours is so short. It has around 9 to 10 hours of daylight in a day. So your activities (seeing scenery, doing outdoor activities) can only be done in a short time.
  • You cannot enjoy the time outside doing this things: sitting on the grass or sitting on the bench outside or sitting on the shore of the lake.
  • You cannot do some of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, etc, because it’s so cold outside.

3. Minimum time to visit New Zealand is 2 weeks. Don’t visit New Zealand less than 2 weeks. Actually, even in 2 weeks, there will be several places that you don’t have the time to visit.

4. In that 2 weeks trip, just stick to the South Island. The reasons to visit South Island (instead of North Island) are:

  • South Island’s landscape is much more beautiful and more diverse than North Island’s landscape. The South Island’s scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. South Island has the best scenery of New Zealand. Because of the stunning nature of New Zealand, The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was being filmed in New Zealand, mostly in South Island.
  • You will be covering more places in South Island than in North Island, at the same amount of time. In South Island, many places of interest are located near to each other (all within easy reach of each other), so you will be covering quite a lot of places in South Island in a short time. In North Island, the distance between one place of interest to other place of interest is quite far (compared to places in South Island), so you will be covering only a few places in North Island in a short time.
  • New Zealand has a total of 14 national parks, 9 of which are located on the South Island.
  • The 10 highest mountains in New Zealand are all located on the South Island. The highest mountain is Mount Cook. The Southern Alps run from the top of the South Island all the way down to the bottom of the South Island.
  • New Zealand has many glaciers. The 5 largest glaciers are located on the South Island.
  • Fiordland national park on the South Island is New Zealand’s largest national park, and also a large wilderness area. This area does not only have large lakes, but also tall mountain peaks and waterfalls tumbling down into the fiords. It offers some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand.
  • Four of the 5 largest lakes in New Zealand are located on the South Island:
  • Marlborough, which is located on the South Island, is New Zealand’s most significant wine-producing region. In addition, Central Otago on the South Island is becoming well-known for its wineries and award-winning pinot noir wines.
  • The South Island has Queenstown as the adventure capital of New Zealand.
  • The South Island is more rural than the North Island, so there are many farms and there are many sheep that you can see while you are driving. Sometimes you will also see cattle while you are driving.

For New Zealand South Island, 2 weeks itinerary/ road trip map, see my previous post “New Zealand trip, where to go?

5. A road trip is the best way to explore the beauty of New Zealand’s very diverse landscapes, as you can cover many of its highlights over the course of short time. The best way to travel around New Zealand is by campervan and also sleep at that campervan. The reasons are:

  • If you sleep at campervan, you are pretty flexible with your schedule and can rearrange things if needed. For example: you planned to stay at certain place of interest for 1 day, but when you arrive at that place you want to stay there for 2 days (because you like the place), so you can just change your plan easily because you sleep at campervan. But if you have booked a hotel room or holiday park’s rental room (instead of sleeping in campervan) then you cannot change your plan because you have to be at the hotel (or holiday park’s rental room) at the date you have planned if you don’t want to lose your booking money (in other words, you need to stick to your planned schedule, if you have booked a room).
  • It’s more fun to travel by campervan and sleeping in a campervan
  • Sleeping in campervan is cheaper than sleeping in a hotel or in holiday park’s rental room.

I recommend you to choose “powered campervan” instead of “unpowered campervan”.

For more detail about campervan, read it in this post: New Zealand trip, travel with campervan.

6. Pick up brochures and guidebooks (free of charge) on arrival at the airport or at I-SITES or at holiday parks or at car rental office. In those brochures/ guidebooks, you will find many information about New Zealand (places of interest, accommodation, maps, holiday parks, etc), and you will also find discount vouchers and/or special packages.

7. These are several things you can do that can help you minimize costs of your New Zealand vacation:

  • Use discount vouchers and/or special packages from many of the brochures/ guidebooks that you picked up at the airport or at I-SITES or at holiday parks or at car rental office.
  • Sleep at campervan, instead of sleeping in a hotel or in holiday parks’ rental room. Sleeping in campervan is cheaper than sleeping in a hotel or in holiday park’s rental room.
  • If you don’t want to sleep at campervan, you can sleep at holiday park’s rental room (cabins, units, motels). The holiday parks’ rental room is cheaper than hotel room.
  • Eat well with less money by buying your food ingredients in supermarket (SuperValue or PAKnSAVE or Countdown) instead of buying food at the restaurant. You can even eat steak everyday with a cheap price. This is how you do it: buy marinated steak in the supermarket, then cook it in the kitchen of holiday parks or hostel. When we went to the supermarket in our trip, there was a marinated lamb t-bone steak (1 pack consists of 6 slices of lamb t-bone steak) with the price of 5 new zealand dollar. So you get 6 slices of lamb t-bone steaks for 5 dollar. It’s cheap, isn’t it? If you like to eat rice often, then you had better also buy rice cooker and rice at that supermarket.

8. If you plan to sleep in campervan, you need to park your campervan in a holiday parks sites because you are not allowed to park anywhere you like (such as on the side of the road or at other not supposed place). If you park somewhere you’re not supposed to be, you’ll very likely have an encounter with a policeman, not to mention a hefty fine.

9. Holiday parks provide sites for tents, caravans and campervans and many also have simple cabins, self-contained motel units and backpackers’ lodges. If you want to sleep at holiday park (at campervan or cabins or motels or etc), I highly recommend you to choose “top 10 holiday parks”. If you cannot get top 10 holiday parks, then choose “kiwi holiday parks”. In my opinion, “Top 10 holiday parks” is the best holiday park, and kiwi holiday parks is the second best holiday parks. To know more about holiday parks, read it at this post New Zealand trip, holiday parks (to be written soon)

10. If you are a muslim, be careful when you buy a sausage, because lots of sausages in New Zealand contain some pork in it, even though it is a beef or chicken sausage. The beef or chicken sausage often is not consist of 100% beef or chicken, but it contains some pork in it. So when you buy a beef or chicken sausage in supermarket, you need to read the ingredient lists on the label on that sausage to know whether that sausage contains some pork or not.

11. See a “sheep shearing” show & “heading dog” show at The Wrinkly Rams. To know more about this, read this post New Zealand trip, where to go? part 9: Omarama “sheep shearing”.

12. Visit Jones Family Fruit Stall in Cromwell “fruit town” to buy fresh fruits. Their cherry is so sweet in summer season. To know more about this, read this post: New Zealand trip, where to go? part 8: Arrowtown, Cromwell “fruit town”.

13. Learn about New Zealand road rules before going to New Zealand. To know more about it, read it in this post: New Zealand road rules (to be written soon).

14. To know most up-to-date road condition (map and webcams of traffic conditions) go to this site: traffic and travel information or go to this site traffic information map. or ring 0800 4 HIGHWAYS (0800 444 449). This phone service is available 24/7. From that links or phone number, you will know which road is closed, and other live traffic information.

15. For state highway road map, you can download it from these sites: state highway map 1, state highway map 2.

16. Use google maps to get an approximate travel time and distance between two points in New Zealand. If you know your travel time and distance, you can make a better plan of your New Zealand trip.

17. You can check on New Zealand weather conditions on the Met Service website. This is what you will see on that website:

To know the weather in detail for each city, click “town and cities” and choose 1 (for example choose queenstown), and you will see this:

18. The number to call if you need the Fire service, Police or an ambulance in an emergency is 111.

19. You might want to download CamperMate app on your smartphone. In that app, you will have information such as free campsites, cheap campsites, holiday parks, hostels, public restrooms, wifi, water, etc. You can download that app from this site: CamperMate 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2017 in new zealand, travel

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? Final part

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13.

LAKE TEKAPO → CHRISTCHURCH, via SH 8, SH 79, & SH 1

Drive from Lake Tekapo to Fairlie via state highway 8, then from Fairlie to Geraldine via state highway 79, then from Geraldine to Ashburton via state highway 79 and state highway 1, then from Ashburton to Christchurch (final destination) via state highway 1. From Christchurch airport you can fly back to your country. End of trip.

When you’re driving from Geraldine to Ashburton, before you reach Ashburton you will find farmers corner/ highway one restaurant. In that place you can eat at the restaurant, or buy somethings in the shop, or see many flowers & alpaca animals on the outside of the building.

In the shop, they sell any kind of things, but my favorites are the animal toys. The animal toys are so great & cute (penguin, sheep, alpaca, etc). There is a penguin toy that can be transformed into a pillow. And there is a sheep toy that can be transformed into a pillow.

These photos are taken at farmers corners/highway one restaurant, on december (summer):

alpaca, farmers corners

alpaca, farmers corners

The location of farmers corner/ highway one restaurant:

We have come to the end of this series “new zealand trip, where to go?”. I hope my posts can help you in planning your New Zealand trip. Till we meet again in the next post (New Zealand trip, tips and tricks).

Have a nice day everyone 

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 13: Lake Tekapo

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10, 11, 12.

MOUNT COOK → LAKE TEKAPO & CHURCH OF THE GOOD SHEPHERD, via SH 80 & SH 8

Drive from Mount Cook to Lake Pukaki via state highway 80. Then drive from Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo via state highway 8.

Lake Tekapo & Church of the good shepherd

Lake Tekapo is surrounded by rugged mountains, wide open skies, tussock vegetation, and at times, brightly colored lupins.

Picturesque by day and dazzling by night, Lake Tekapo is part of UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve, making it the perfect spot for stargazing.

Lake Tekapo has been ranked one of the best spots in the world for stargazing. Most of the areas in the Northern Hemisphere had too much light pollution which prevented good stargazing, whereas the Aoraki Mackenzie Dark Sky Reserve, of which Lake Tekapo was part, had used special shields and lightbulbs for 30 years to point the light downwards in order to preserve the night sky.

Lake Tekapo (and Lake Pukaki) are my most favorite lakes in New Zealand. The view of the lakes and surrounding area are so breathtakingly beautiful. I was mesmerized by the view. The color of the lakes are turquoise (bluish-green color). Lake Tekapo gets its intense milky-turquoise color from the fine rock-flour (ground by glaciers) which is suspended in the water. The lakes looks much more impressive when you see it in person than it does in photograph or video. But you have to catch the lakes on a sunny day to get to see its mesmerizing color.

There are lots of beautiful lupin flowers on the shores of the Lake Tekapo when I was there on December (summer).

On the shores of the Lake Tekapo, you’ll see the Church of the Good Shepherd, where the altar window frames a perfect view of the Southern Alps beyond the lake.

Built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie region, the Church has been home to thousands of weddings, and has seen more than its fair share of visitors to its grounds.

The foundation stone was laid by HRH the Duke of Gloucester, on January 15 1935. The builders of the Church were instructed that the site was to be left undisturbed, and that even the matagouri bushes surrounding the building were to remain.

Videos (Lake Tekapo & Church of the good shepherd):

video by Mark Gee

video by Fraser Gunn (beautiful night sky in the Tekapo – Mt Cook area: milkyway, aurora, etc)

Photos (Lake Tekapo & Church of the good shepherd):

Church of the good shepherd

lupin flowers on the shores of Lake Tekapo

lupin flowers on the shores of Lake Tekapo

lupin flowers on the shores of Lake Tekapo

we slept here, in front of Lake Tekapo

in front of Lake Tekapo

we had breakfast here, in front of Lake Tekapo

 

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? Final part

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 12: Mount Cook

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,11.

LAKE PUKAKI → MOUNT COOK, via SH 80

Drive from Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook via state highway 80.

MOUNT COOK

Mount Cook is the highest mountain in New Zealand.It lies in the Southern Alps, the mountain range which runs the length of the South Island.

Mount Cook and it’s surrounding alpine peaks were used as backdrop while filming the movie “The Hobbit”.

There is a village at the base of Aoraki/Mount Cook. The village provides a range of accommodation from an international style hotel to motels, backpackers and camping.

When staying in Aoraki/Mount Cook village, you become immersed by mountains.

To know more details read it at this link: Aoraki/Mount Cook

Video by Raw Cinematics

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 13 (Lake Tekapo, via SH 80, SH 8)

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 11: Lake Pukaki

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10.

LAKE OHAU → LAKE PUKAKI, via Glen lyon Rd

Drive from Lake Ohau to Lake Pukaki via Glen lyon Rd.

LAKE PUKAKI

Lake Pukaki is a glacial lake. It is the largest of three lakes (others are Lake Tekapo and Ohau) occupying ancient glacial valleys in the Mackenzie Basin.

Stunning Lake Pukaki was chosen as the filming location for Laketown in the movie “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug”.

Lake Pukaki (and Lake Tekapo) are my most favorite lakes in New Zealand. The view of the lakes and surrounding area are so breathtakingly beautiful. I was mesmerized by the view. The color of the lakes are turquoise (bluish-green color). These lakes looks much more impressive when you see it in person than it does in photograph or video. But you have to catch the lakes on a sunny day to get to see its mesmerizing color.

Mount cook with snow on its peak (even on summer you can see the snow on its peak) on the background of Lake Pukaki adds the beauty to the lake scenery.

There are spectacular views of the lake on the drive on State Highway 80 to Aoraki/Mount Cook Village, and also along on the road between Twizel and Lake Tekapo Village.

Photos (Lake Pukaki):

Click the link (word with color) to see a great photo of Lake Pukaki with snow-capped Mount Cook in the background 

video by Richard Magid

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 12 (Mount Cook, via SH 80) 

 

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New Zealand trip, where to go? part 10: Twizel “salmon”, Lake Ohau

Before reading this post, you might want to read part 1 (road trip map), part 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9.

OMARAMA → “High Country Salmon” Twizel, via SH 8

Drive from Omarama to “High Country SalmonTwizel via state highway 8.

TWIZEL

Twizel – the region’s main country town – appeared in movie of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy as the location for the Pelennor Fields. This was the largest scene filmed in the Trilogy with over 1500 actors and crew involved. Twizel was also being used as filming location of The Hobbit movie.

“High Country Salmon” Twizel

I recommend you to stop at “high country salmon” (salmon farm) to purchase fresh salmon. You can eat the salmon in the restaurant or take it with you to the hotel or car or wherever you want to eat it. Their sashimi (fresh raw salmon fish sliced into thin pieces) and their smoked salmon are very delicious. I love their sashimi and smoked salmon. You can also feed the fish in high country salmon.

To know more detail, go to their site: high country salmon.

Open: 8.00am – 6.00pm
Phone: T: 0800 400 385. M: 021 400 385
Address: State Highway 8, Twizel

Photos (High Country Salmon, Twizel)

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“High country salmon” Twizel → Lake Ohau, via Glen lyon Rd

If you want, you can go to Lake Ohau after visiting high country salmon because its location is near to high country salmon. Drive from “high country salmon” Twizel to Lake Ohau via Glen lyon Rd.

LAKE OHAU

Lake Ohau is a glacial lake in the Mackenzie Basin of New Zealand’s South Island. It is fed by the Hopkins and Dobson rivers, which have their headwaters in the Southern Alps, and has its outflow in the Ohau River.

Lake Ohau is the smallest of three roughly parallel lakes running north-south along the northern edge of the Mackenzie Basin (the others are Lake Pukaki and Lake Tekapo).

To be continued to New Zealand trip, where to go? part 11 (Lake Pukaki, via Glen lyon Rd) 

 

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