Sarah Bennett & Lee Slater
If you're not having fun, you're probably not doing it right – although with a Maui campervan it's pretty hard to go wrong. Make the most of your experience by planning properly, packing right, and following these tips for hassle-free camping.
1. Do your research A good guidebook or other independent source of travel information will enrich your trip – helping you pinpoint rewarding experiences and illuminate the places you travel to. If the trail runs cold, visit an i-SITE or other local information centre – their staff will point you in the right direction.
2. Pack the essentials There's plenty of storage room on board a Maui campervan, but it will pay to pack your luggage in a soft bag so you can stow it under the seat once you've unpacked everything. Our adventure holiday must-haves include: torch, penknife (for picnics), sturdy shoes, woollen clothing, raincoat, insect repellent, sun hat and sunscreen.
3. Carry a road atlas While digital navigation devices such as GPS are a godsend –particularly when it comes to getting you out of a pickle in urban situations – nothing beats a road atlas for campervan touring. Easily readable, reliable, and practical for pre-trip planning, printed maps give you the big picture where a small screen cannot. We never embark on a road trip without one.
4. Relish the journey A tight timetable will wreak havoc on your adventure holiday, especially as New Zealand driving times are much longer than the distance chart suggests. Follow a realistic route while making the most of the flexibility a campervan allows. Campsite bookings are only required at the busiest holiday spots in peak season, allowing you to explore, detour, and linger when you hit a highlight.
5. Mix up your camps New Zealand has more than 800 vehicle-accessible campsites, ranging from basic freedom and conservation camps, to the relative luxury of five-star holiday parks. To experience Kiwi camping and the outdoors from as many angles as possible, stay at a range of camps – your Maui campervan is set up for every situation.
6. Embrace your fellow campers The folks sharing your campsite are a valuable source of travel information – from what's hot to what's not, which walkway was closed for lambing or which cafe had great cake. Fortunately, the relaxed, communal environment encourages personal interaction – you may be sharing a wine and swapping addresses before you know it.
7. Look for farmers markets Enjoy a real taste of New Zealand by loading up with fresh produce and artisan goodies such as bread, fruit, cheese and chocolate. Local market days are listed at Farmers Markets New Zealand. While you're at it, keep an eye out for wineries and breweries if a tipple tickles your fancy.
8. Think picnic The beauty of Maui's onboard kitchen is that a picnic can happen pretty much anywhere, anytime. Park somewhere picturesque, then pop on the kettle and raid the fridge. Et voila!
9. Wear wool clothing Famous the world over, New Zealand merino wool clothing is a dependable way to keep warm in the outdoors. Haven't got any? No problem. You'll find flocks of it in clothing stores and factory outlets all over the country. Consider it a practical souvenir that will last you a lifetime (especially if you buy Icebreaker – it's truly amazing).
10. Embrace the night The fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down, especially if you're ten years old and you've never camped on the edge of a forest before. Rug up warm, grab the torch, go for a walk to find glowworms or build a bonfire on the beach. Or maybe just stare at the night sky – the ultimate in broadening your horizons.
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