Somethings to keep in mind while choosing a camper van - number of people traveling, do you need a toilet, how long are you traveling for?
TIP: Don't forget to ask for your airport pick up and drop when you book your JUCY van!
Ten things to keep in mind if you are traveling with a camper van:
1. The Campermate app - this is the only guide you will ever need to get around the country. Download it before your trip. Save everything offline. Treasure it. Follow it to the T. From gas to free campsites to restaurants, it has everything.
2. The roads are long, endless and windy. If you decide to drive long distances along the west, be sure to take at least 2 or 3 stops - not just for you, but for your van too. At one point, there was smoke coming out of the tyre because we drove up the mountain for 6 hours non-stop. Lesson-learned!
3. Before going for a camper van rental, make sure you are comfortable driving stick. The bigger camper vans are not automatic. The vans, while not huge, are bulky. It does take a bit of getting used to while turning, backing up or parking.
4. Grocery - as soon as you pick up your camper van from the Jucy branch, next to the Christchurch airport, the first thing you will want to do is head to the nearest grocery store to stock for the week(s) ahead. We went to PakNSave - a short 12 minute drive from Jucy. While buying grocery, think easy, quick, ready-to-eat meals. You will be exhausted after your hikes, so you won't really be in a position to cook an elaborate meal. We picked up vegan burgers, pasta and vegan sauces, Quesadilla wraps, and vegetables that we could cook in 10 minutes or less.
5. If you travel during the winter like we did, be prepared for COLD nights. I do think you can rent a heater - but I didn't read this anywhere and I wasn't informed by Jucy. Any way, if you happen to find yourself without a heater, dress in layers even as you sleep. Trust me, you will need it!
6. Bring your own AUX for charging phones and music. Also, buy a matchbox to light the stove. You will need it - especially in winter.
7. Irrespective of the time of the year, the west coast is going to be wet. So pack towels, poncho and an extra pairs of socks.
8. You will find plenty of free campsites everywhere you go BUT during peak season, these will get crowded by 3 p.m. In winter, this wasn't an issue but since the free camp sites won't have any light, you will need to arrive by sun down to find the place in the middle of nowhere. Also, you will need a paid campsite if you intend to charge your DSLR cameras, laptop and the likes.
9. Every third day, you will want heat and a long shower. You won't find these at a free campsite. So splurge a little for that beautiful paid campsite - free wifi, hot shower, a BIG kitchen to cook and clean. It will also give you a chance to wash/dry your damp clothes.
10. If you do the itinerary we did, there won't be a lot of connectivity along the road, especially at night. You will be too excited to sleep Bring a book. Download movies. It's going to save you on those rainy nights in the forest.
Despite the recent attack on Christchurch, this is still one of the safest and most beautiful countries on the planet.
The wifi is paid in most places and not very fast. Get a sim card as soon you land, the data should last you for 2 weeks, depending on usage.
Three reasons why I loved it so much: grand views, perfect silence and enough time to take everything in.
He likes history, I like planning for the future. He likes to relax, I like to rush. He doesn’t care for coffee, I live for it BUT the one thing we both agree on though is that we love the mountains. The rougher and more majestic they are, the more we love them. That’s why New Zealand became one of our absolute favorite places on earth.