Story Time: Camping in New Zealand

New Zealand is a dream destination for many travels. Mostly to visit the stunning nature. In order to enjoy exactly the same, the best thing to do in New Zealand is camping. We traveled to New Zealand well-prepared with all our outdoor gear. Only to learn that full equipment can be bought in every warehouse. In case you are lacking equipment or something gets broken, this is the place. For us this also came in handy, as after the first week one of our air mattress was broken. After another week we even broke the one we bought in the warehouse.

During our time in New Zealand we used an offline camping app, in order to find the nicest camp grounds. In general there are three different once. Holiday Parks, Campgrounds from Department of Conservation and private Campgrounds. Holiday Parks were the once with the most luxury like Playgrounds for Kids, Kitchens, Bathrooms, Pools etc. For us they mostly been too commercial and not at the nicest spots. With having all the luxury they also been mostly at the upper end of the price range. Campgrounds of the Department of Conservation been mostly at the most stunning placed directly in nature. With having mostly only a toilet and an outdoor shower, they have been on the lower end of the price range. Nether the less we mainly choose them because of the surrounding. Private Campgrounds been very diverse. Some were huge as the Holiday Parks others only provided their own backyard for 5 tents. With that also the equipment and prices were very different.

Prices for campgrounds are been between 10 and 35 NZ dollar. Depending on the campground and the region. Campgrounds near a bigger city like Auckland been more expensive than the once in the middle of nowhere. Mainly we paid the campgrounds with cash. Only the bigger once accepted a credit card payment. For the Campgrounds of the Department of Conservation nobody is at the sight. There is only a cash box available where you put your payment in an envelope. By filling out a small form with your name and plate number of your car.

During our travel in New Zealand we never pre-booked any Campground, we just showed up. For us this was never a problem, but keep in mind we did travel in the off season. Especially at the End of December and January it can be really busy. As there are the public holidays and school free time for New Zealanders. Also, the locals love camping in their own country, which makes the campgrounds really busy.

Many campgrounds, even the smaller once, provide washing machines. It can be used with coins that can be bought at the reception of the campground. In the picture above you can see, how a washing day on the road could look like. We spend two days at the campground, in order to wash three times all our clothes. The spot was especially adorable, as several duck families with small once lived there. As well, it included a forest with a hiking options, in order to see the Kiwi at night. Even that we not been lucky to spot the national New Zealand bird, at least we been able to hear it at night.

On the South Island we mainly camp at lakes and fjords, which made beautiful surrounding mainly because of the mountains in the background. On the North Island we choose, whenever possible the Coastal Camping options. It was amazing how many beaches once country could have. The options were endless. One really beautiful campsite was on the Coromandel Island, the Opoutere Coastal Camp. The camp had his own beach in the backyard. The two days we spend there we had the place for ourselves.  Which been pure luck, as the spot seem popular. The owner told us that just a few days before they had a school of 50 children at the ground. Which been a challenge at its own. In New Zealand it is very popular to do school trips to campgrounds at the beach.

Another stunning campsite was at Stony Bay. It is one of two campgrounds, that are connecting the Coromandel Coastal Walkway. Starting from the Stony Bay Campsite, it is possible to hike the Coromandel Coastal Walkway. Which is by the way really beautiful. Reminded me a lot at the Able Tasman Walk. In case you do not get a permission for the Able Tasman or it is just too long for you, the Coromandel Coastal Walkway is a great alternative.

Our last week in New Zealand we drove back from Cape Reinga to Auckland. Were our flight back home would start. Our way brought us to the east coast to the Mangawhai Heads Beach. We stayed at the Waipu Cove Cottages & Camping with an own beach access. Even that after six weeks we saw so many empty beaches, this view did not get old. Just standing in front of the ocean, enjoying the sound if the waves and the wind on our faces.

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