Camping in NZ.

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Can anyone recommend motorhome friendly campsites that are located around the major attractions on both North and South Island please?

I know price is pretty much the same all over for a pitch, but am more concerned about clean facilities than anything else and would love some personal recommendations before I go ahead and book.

Thanks
Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
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  • chalky_bertie
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    There are camping grounds all around NZ but some of the better ones are TOP 10 Holiday Parks TOP 10 HOLIDAY PARKS which we stayed in last year. Make sure you get their discount card which gives you a discount (not sure how much) at all the other parks. Only worth it if you are going to stay at a few.

    We have also used these to stop at and used them as airport hotels as most of them have cheap chalet type accommodation.


    Have fun!
    **BERTIE**

    Did you Know: It costs more than £325,000 a day to run the lifeboat service? (with no government funding) Please donate to the RNLI
  • bylromarha
    bylromarha Posts: 10,085 Forumite
    I've been Money Tipped!
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    Do I need to pre book the campsites?

    We're going from 15th Nov - 6th Dec. Some websites say yes, others no.

    Have any of you been turned away as the campsite is full?

    Thanks
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
  • chalky_bertie
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    We were never turned away at them, but we went in October so wasn't really busy - you may have to in Nov / Dec, I suppose it's up to you. However if you stay at the TOP 10 parks they will gladly book parks for you for the following day(s).

    The only place we had a little bit of trouble getting on was in Kaikora (there was a group booked in that night) but this is were you can go whale watching and swimming with wild dolphins so would advise you to book there.
    **BERTIE**

    Did you Know: It costs more than £325,000 a day to run the lifeboat service? (with no government funding) Please donate to the RNLI
  • SammyD_2
    SammyD_2 Posts: 448 Forumite
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    I would book if your schedule allows it...the reason is that it is the summer break for University students, and schools are also about to finish up - they sometimes take classes camping in the last few weeks of term so you might get a nasty surprise...you should generally be ok but if you want to go to places like Queenstown or Kaikoura, then I would definately book.
  • bylromarha
    bylromarha Posts: 10,085 Forumite
    I've been Money Tipped!
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    And are there any tips for cheap ferry tickets please?
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
  • mgw99
    mgw99 Posts: 60 Forumite
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    Hi

    We drove / camped around the South Island nearly two years ago. Slightly different as we were in a tent but we camped between the end of October and early February and the only time we needed to book in advance was between Christmas and New Year. If you need an electrical hook up this will reduce the number of available pitched on a campsite. The quality of campsites in New Zealand is generally good - most have kitchens and some kind of communal / tv room (good when you're on the West Coast and it's raining again!)

    Also. as you are in a motorhome, might be worth trying 'basic camping' in one of the DoC (Department of Conservation) sites now and again for a change. They tend to be basic (water supply and 'pit' toilets) but they are in really beautiful locations and very peaceful.

    We found this site really useful before we went:
    http://www.backpackerboard.co.nz/

    Oh and also, I think there are two main companies that operate the Wellington-Picton ferry, Interislander and bluebridge. I think Bluebridge still transports goods (and sheep!) across and is cheaper than the Interislander. And Interislander has a fast and slow ferry / catamaran, and the slow one is cheaper. This is all from hazy, nearly two-year-old memory though, so don't
    shoot me if it's wrong.

    Have fun, the South Island of New Zealand is amazingly beautiful. You can pm me if you want me to try and remember some more details.
  • gerretl
    gerretl Posts: 427 Forumite
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    The Top Ten discount card is $20, and gives you 10% off stays at Top Ten sites. They are excellent. Clean, well ordered, and well managed. Also if you are doing a Franz Josef Glacier walk (highly recommended), they offer $20 off the total price if you say you have a top ten card. For eats, consider the Lone Star chain of restaurants. Great service, good food, and HUGE portions. you can actually order a 3/4 size meal, and trust me, that is enough.
    "Don't critisise what people look like, how they speak, where they are from, and what they are called. They cannot help it.
    Do critisise what they say, and what they do, especially if what they say is different to what they do. They can help that"

    Anon

    "Life is the three weeks and six days between paydays" - gerretl

    £2 savers club =£42
  • gerretl
    gerretl Posts: 427 Forumite
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    sorry, forgot to add. Maui, Britz and Backpacker camper van company are one and the same. Bear in mind when renting a van, the New Zealand government have a really sneaky tax called Diesel Recovery Tax. At the end of your rental period the charge you according to how many miles you have done, and what type of van you are driving. The rub is this, there is none to pay on a camper van with no toilet and shower. seriously consider renting a van without these. My GF and I spent over three weeks in NZ and did not use ours, except for extra storage. If you are doing a lot of milage (We did did about three thousand miles, on both islands) just having that extra space can add around £80 to £100 to the bill. If you are staying at a decent campsite, guaranteed there will be decent toilet and shower facilities within two minutes walk (don't forget to wear your PJs unless you want to be arrested). Additionally, the insurance can add a huge amount to your bill. You have three options. Firstly you can opt to pay a flat NZ$5000 (about £2000) from a credit card, which is refunded on safe return of the vehicle. secondly you can pay an insurance premium with limited liability, or third you can pay a higher premium with virtually no liability. We chose the second option, which added about £180 to our bill. In retrospect I would have gone for option 1, if I had had the money. Remember, the road in New Zealand are superb, though narrow. Anyone used to driving in the UK should be ok there. I have never had an accident (I've seen hundreds in my rear view mirror). After a couple of days, you get used to the fact that a van is little more than a big car. The rental companies play on the fact that most people do not have £2000 on their card, and need some sort of cover. Beg borrow or steal the money if you are a confident driverbe aware you may be charged for damage though.
    If you are going to the Abel Tasman national park (Highly recommended) and go sea kayaking, Kaiteriteri Kayaks are great. Harold who runs the canoes is one of the best characters you will meet.
    Also (sorry if I am going on, I only got back last Friday, and am still full of beans) the North/South crossing is with Interislander or Blue Bridge. The night crossing is cheaper, but it is a false economy. You will miss Queen Charlotte sound, which a sight worth the ferry ticket on its own.
    Have a great time
    "Don't critisise what people look like, how they speak, where they are from, and what they are called. They cannot help it.
    Do critisise what they say, and what they do, especially if what they say is different to what they do. They can help that"

    Anon

    "Life is the three weeks and six days between paydays" - gerretl

    £2 savers club =£42
  • bylromarha
    bylromarha Posts: 10,085 Forumite
    I've been Money Tipped!
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    I looked into this before booking, and we have a van without shower/toilet as it runs on petrol, so no diesel recovery tax, plus shorter, so you don't have to pay extra on the ferry.

    Thanks for the other advice too.
    Who made hogs and dogs and frogs?
  • gerretl
    gerretl Posts: 427 Forumite
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    Hi. Bear in mind diesel is regularly NZ$.40 cheaper than petrol, so you may have wiped out your savings on the petrol van. For the record, they are paying NZ$1 per litre for diesel (about 40p) and all the papers were saying about how that was expensive. Puts it into perspective I guess. We filled up a camper for about NZ$75 and that took us about 650 to 750 km.
    "Don't critisise what people look like, how they speak, where they are from, and what they are called. They cannot help it.
    Do critisise what they say, and what they do, especially if what they say is different to what they do. They can help that"

    Anon

    "Life is the three weeks and six days between paydays" - gerretl

    £2 savers club =£42
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