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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
a rare mention of New Zealand in yesterday's Bangkok Post, a 3.5 page colour spread on camper van travel written by New York Times travel writer Seth Kugel (The Frugal Traveler)
Friends have just done a trip around Easter to the Lake Waikaremoana and Coromandel area and I see they visited some of the same places.

In New Zealand, a Man, a Van, a Plan


The author rented a camper van to explore the North Island of New Zealand. His travels included the Coromandel Peninsula. Pic 2: Beach at Cathedral Cove

Early on a chilly March morning, my iPhone alarm clock sounded. I extracted myself from deep within a navy blue comforter, sat up and opened the door. I had momentarily forgotten where I was.

Oh, right. I gazed out at Lake Taupo, a sprawling lake on New Zealand’s North Island. Ducks gliding along just offshore were an invigorating sight. So were the mountains that rose behind them, and the predawn periwinkle and orange sky beyond.

It was my third night in a camper van, a miniaturized recreational vehicle — mine was about the size of a plumber’s van with a raised ceiling — that is New Zealand’s mobile lodging of choice. I stripped the bedsheets, rearranged the cushions, flipped around a few boards, and voilà: two comfy benches and one breakfast table. Out came the Weet-Bix cereal from the cupboard. I threw some boerewors sausage and scrambled eggs on the stove. After doing the dishes in the sink, I was off to my next destination.

Camper-vanning is a way of life, or at least a way of leisure, in New Zealand, a beautiful country that begs to be hiked and climbed and camped in. And so it perfectly pairs with the camper van, which gets you about as close to the outdoors as you can be, short of a tent.

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
More light reading stories from Seth Kugel that may be of interest to people looking to travel/move to NZ

Notes From a New Zealand Newbie


A group of Tongans in New Zealand, where the Frugal Traveler’s ethnic compass seems to have gone through a magnetic field.

Compared with the culture recalibration required of Americans when they travel to some far-off parts of the world, arriving in New Zealand is a rather smooth experience. Kiwi society functions in a way both recognizable and reassuring to Americans: everyone speaks English, people shake hands when they meet, and they eat bacon and eggs for breakfast. There is no bowing or cheek-kissing or shoulder-covering or rampant unpunctuality to get used to. New Zealanders even call soccer soccer. (The sport played by hand — and foot — with an oblong ball is rugby.)

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In Auckland, New Zealand, a Frugal Trifecta


On New Zealand’s South Island, Farm Stays With Friendly Hosts


In Auckland, Exploring the South Seas Without Setting Sail
 

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...and my recommendation is - forget the campervan and buy yourself a cheap open-topped sports car!

We toured South Island for 6 weeks 2 years ago in a purple open-topped MGF sports car. We stayed in holiday park cabins and backpackers double rooms mainly, but also had a 3-man tent, 2 sleeping bags, mats, fold-up chairs, a table and cooking equipment. It was cosy, but we had all the essentials - even a place for the compulsory wine cooler bag (with wine, of course!)

You can get to places you can only dream of in a campervan - and it's much more fun. And we reckon it worked out a comparable price to renting a campervan for that period of time.
 

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If you're coming vanning in NZ join the motor home association - they have some incredible deals at some places ordinary travellers and even kiwis cant go!
 
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