Glamp or Camp, Cottage or hotels - Choice is all yours! Flow towards the roads untravelled and paths untouched. Delving into places where the road takes you by campervanning is one of the best ways to explore New Zealand. Campervanning helps you traverse the wilderness in luxury with a sense of being immersed outdoors. Here’s a list of 5 places you must explore in a campervan.
Go for a spin to the unexplored coastal road, to the north of Auckland. The roads take you to golden-hued sands and a vibrant display of Pohutukawa trees, which add up to the picturesque view of this little town. The blues in this setting are something you would want, despite it being a Monday. With a driving distance of half an hour from Auckland, this beach backdrop has a lot of things to offer. Other than taking a stroll along the Millennium Walkway to soak up in some amazing coastal views, you can also take a dip in the crystal-clear waters to discover what lies within the sea. An amazing experience comes along with this beach town, from wind sailing, kite sailing and surfing at the beach to thermal hot pools, wine tasting and indoor skiing beyond the beach ambience. You can spend the night laying your head on the soft sand and glazing towards the glistening sky as the sun sets into the horizon. Night brings in stars not only in the sky, but also in front of your eyes. Pretty glow worms light up the bushes, a feast for the eyes and a delight for the soul. Waking up to the beautiful dawn, you can start the engine and head farther north to the beautiful town of Mangawhai Heads. Elegantly placed between the Pacific coast and undulating farmlands, this locality will offer a list of seaside experiences. Right from swimming with the exotic fishes to trying your hand at surfing. On the far side of the harbour, there is a large sand dune area, housing the cute fairy terns, Caspian terns and New Zealand dotterels.
Driving for three and a half hours on the smooth and excellent roads to approach the historical town of Russell, beautifully nestled to the north of Auckland, is a pleasant journey with a destination even more breathtaking. Whether you wish to lay your head in the wild or colonisation is what you believe in, Russell allows you to do both. Historic buildings and a seaside setting full of adventure activities, quirky cafes, fancy restaurants and beautiful art galleries, make this little town lively and vibrant. There is a plethora of water activities that one can indulge in Russell. Whether you wish to enjoy swimming, surfing, kayaking, fishing or you want to just relax at the beachside, soaking up in the sun, all your fascinations will be met. If you prefer more land activities, there are some trails through the lush forests where you can encounter the wildlife by hiking or trekking. Once in Russell, a visit to the Christ Church is a must. The beautiful old structure tells stories about the history of this place, all the way back from 1836. The neat wooden houses which sit beautifully with English cottage-style gardens and oldest surviving Roman Catholic building add up to the aura of this town.
Beautifully set in the central North Island, Tongariro National Park is a 5-hour drive from Auckland. Reaching the destination, you will encounter the most mesmerising view of the sacred land, Tongariro, and his brothers, Ruapehu and Ngauruhoe, which rise majestically from the central volcanic plateau. They create a horseshoe-shaped setting, from which they have got the name of Pacific Ocean’s ‘Ring of Fire’. Tongariro out of the three is of a great cultural significance to the natives, Maori, being a key part of their history, ancestors and idols. Blessed with outstanding natural features is just an add on to its importance. Sanctified with beryl lakes, scalding craters, beautiful silica platforms and unique green gardens, this National Park offers some mind-blowing sights that you will not want to miss. Tongariro covers about 80,000-hectares of land, which means lots of camping opportunities! What an amazing place to indulge in some campfire stories, roasting marshmallows and setting up a barbeque amidst the fascinating and diverse flora and fauna. Get up close to Mt Ruapehu, which is covered in white snow, for some adventure activities like skiing and boarding. Tobogganing, tubing, constructing a snowman, snow angels or simply playing around in snow are some more fun activities that will always stay with you in the form of beautiful memories. For hikers and nature lovers, there are a series of short trails you can go exploring. Don’t be too surprised if you come across some breathtaking waterfalls like Taranaki falls, Waitonga falls, Silica Rapids and Tawhai falls. Each location paints a beautiful picture, like an artist’s masterpiece has come to life. And when in Tongariro, how can you forget about Peter Jackson’s Lord of The Rings trilogy that features this awe-inspiring scenery.
A feast for the eyes, this lakeside town beautifully rests in the alps of the South Island. Adorned with scenic mountains, emerald lake and a vast green landscape, it is a perfect spot for a beautiful camping experience. A scenic one-hour drive from Queenstown brings you to this peaceful locality. Colourful streets and galleries, fancy shops, craft breweries, pretty cafes, world-renowned wineries and local spirits, these alluring hamlets has it all. Outdoor enthusiasts will fall in love with the adventure activities that this place has to offer. Various summer friendly sports like watersports, hiking and cycling; winter comes in with opportunities like skiing and snowboarding; spring and autumn will make you want to explore the mesmerising flora and fauna and click a perfect instagrammable shot. The perfect ending to an outstanding day is when you get to sit on the grassy land by the lake and witness the sun melt into the horizon, which fills up the lake with beautiful hues of reds and oranges. Setting up the campfire and gazing at the mesmerising night sky, listening to the history and stories about this land is what an evening well spent looks like. The cherry on the top is when you are right on time for the world class events like international music and arts festivals, Festival of Colour, Rhythm & Alps, and the Audi Quattro Winter Games, just to name a few.
For the vintage wine connoisseurs or the ones with a slightly more modern palate, Winery hopping is the best bet. Especially when you get the opportunity to drive all around the beautiful setting or if you just had a grape moment at a winery, you could also spend your night in that vineyard. From North to South, Coromandel Peninsula to Central Otago, you can set up your camp right among the delicately tended vines. The aroma of the grapes that fill up the air and the beautiful sky full of stars while you have a delicious meal and sip on some fine spiced wine will leave you feeling tranquil.