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Campervan trip round the East Cape--doable for first timers?

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Tokyo
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Campervan trip round the East Cape--doable for first timers?

I'm an expat Kiwi, born in Ruatoria, but haven't been back to the East Cape since I was 2. Our family are coming to NZ this Xmas and we're planning to check out my 'roots' with a trip around the East Cape. Now my husband (non-Kiwi) has decided we should hire a camper van for the trip and our three kids are all gung-ho. While I don't want to rain on their parade,

i'm just wondering how good this is for campervan novices? I can still remember hearing my parents talking about hellish drives down to see relatives in the Waikato, with a toddler and baby in tow. While I'm sure the roads are much better these days, I am still a little concerned that it might be tough. We live in Japan, so are used to narrow roads but I think the East Cape is a law unto itself. Our kids are teens and tweens, by the way.

Any thoughts would be welcome!

5 replies to this topic
Rotorua, New Zealand
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1. Re: Campervan trip round the East Cape--doable for first timers?

All I can say is that I'd do it! I don't think the roads are that bad any longer. We have just had 14 days in large motorhome in Australia and loved it!. Campervan/motorhome places in NZ have discounts if you book early. And I'm sure you will have no trouble with road, could be a little busy due to time of the year. But if you have a large enough van that you can eat sleep etc in, you are self contained. But may to check if there is room available in holiday parks if needed. Not too certain about "free" camping down there in all areas. But it still is a great area of the country to travel. And I'd love to do it in a campervan.

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: Campervan trip round the East Cape--doable for first timers?

In a lot of ways campers are easier to drive than cars, you just have to take your time. They are more comfortable and have better visibility.

Rotorua, New Zealand
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3. Re: Campervan trip round the East Cape--doable for first timers?

I agree Mike there is good visibility in campervans. That foes for when driving along and when sitting places having a meal etc. You can overlook most cars

Taupo, New Zealand
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4. Re: Campervan trip round the East Cape--doable for first timers?

Absolutely fine, first trip I ever did in a campervan was around East Cape about nine years ago. Loved it so much came back and ended up buying the rental business...........true story!! Have customers round there all the time with no problems at all. Some road works on Maraenui Hill and slip repairs in Waioweka Gorge can hold you a bit at the moment but it is a great area to do by camper. Even the road out to East Cape lighthouse whilst not sealed is a lovely drive with some great spots to park up at. Also you can go a very long time between other vehicles so that makes it more relaxing. ( unlike a day drive I did up to Nikko from Tokyo one long weekend, caught in a traffic jam for nearly eight hours, fluked a bed in a Ryokan in Yumoto to get out of it and went back the next day instead!!)

Auckland Region...
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5. Re: Campervan trip round the East Cape--doable for first timers?

I can assure you that this is very doable. Given that you have chosen the best time of year to travel around the East Cape, the places that you might want to park up at will be very busy. Especially in Tologa/ Aunaura Bay ( ALthough you should still definitely stop there for a night. I would avoid Gisborne around New Years if you can as it becomes a cesspool for 16-20 somethings that are all there to get dunk and go to RnV. It also makes ti hell to drive anywhere. Putting up to a few hours extra onto trips between cities sometimes.

I definitely think that the East cape is manageable for First time campervanners. You would have no trouble and most of the time would be probably have a few people doing a similar thing around the area. I can't think of a more beautiful time and way to see a gorgeous part of the country!

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