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Will we be disappointed?

UK
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494 posts
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Will we be disappointed?

Hi

We are booked to be in New Zealand 15th - 31st Jan 2014, starting South Island and finishing with North. We have booked a campervan with Jucy rentals out of Christchurch, thinking this would give us the most freedom to explore and that we could just drive and stop where we liked as the mood took us! We haven't done much research yet, but now I am beginning to read posts on the forums which suggest you need to book campsites, even if you have a campervan with a toilet and wash facilities. This would largely defeat the object we were aiming for in hiring a campervan rather than booking into motels.

Is it really necessary to use campsites all the time? And if so, do we have to book them all in advance and so tie ourselves down to where we will be every night?

Thanks

California
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1. Re: Will we be disappointed?

You don't need to book campsites (Holiday Parks). You could stay at DOC sites the entire time as they operate by first come, first served.

However, we found that we benefited from staying at a Holiday Park about every 3rd day to recharge our electronics, refill our water, dump our waste, and do our laundry. I also preferred the showers there, as the campervan shower was rather weak on the water pressure.

I'd prebook Holiday Parks if it is at a beach location. The Kiwis are on holiday during that time and tend to gravitate towards the beaches and campsites may be full.

UK
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2. Re: Will we be disappointed?

Okay, thanks for that, which is a bit more reassuring. So we just need to get a map of where the DOC sites and holiday parks are. Wish I'd started researching this earlier!

California
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3. Re: Will we be disappointed?

Here's an online map:

https://www.rankers.co.nz/respect

It shows Holiday Parks, DOC, and any other place camping is allowed.

UK
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4. Re: Will we be disappointed?

Thanks for this. It looks a really useful site - I just hope we can get connections on the move to consult it. I'm really cross with myself now for not doing this research before we left home!

Tauranga
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5. Re: Will we be disappointed?

I'd be looking to see if you can get across Cooks Strait. With one ferry down, and heavy bookings on the others, you may find your plans stymied. Someone else more up with the latest may be able to help. Good luck.

Ballarat, Australia
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6. Re: Will we be disappointed?

Book the ferry first - you can't leave that unbooked and you will have to work around that.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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28,297 posts
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7. Re: Will we be disappointed?

Stop by at any DOC office - there you can get a map of all the DOC campsites …govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/…

best of luck :)

UK
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8. Re: Will we be disappointed?

We're back now, having had a wonderful time. I hope to write a fuller report once we get caught up with other things!

The campsite/holiday park wasn't the big issue I feared it was going to be. As we had a self-contained vehicle there were places we could "freedom camp" if we were sensible about it, which we were. And we occasionally stayed at DOC camps when Freedom camping wasn't permitted in the area (often around towns, eg Queenstown). We also needed to track down places to have showers, eg pools, though only spent a couple of nights at holiday parks as we found they didn't add a lot to the party when you can refill with water and dump in most towns and we didn't make much use of the domestic battery (why watch TV when three's scenery and stars out there!).

There was never any issue with finding a space at a DOC site or holiday park, even in peak season, though the sites were generally pretty busy (in fact some private ones were packed like sardines!).

Hope this will help someone else! What it has done is whet our appetite for a longer return visit....

New Zealand
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for South Island
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9. Re: Will we be disappointed?

Great to hear from you R and great to read that your travels went well.

and yep, NZ can be addictive - lovely you are planning another, longer, visit :)

10. Re: Will we be disappointed?

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