New Zealand is no doubt one of the best countries in the world to go camping in. In fact it is one of the most popular pastimes for both tourists and the locals. It’s not hard to see why when there are mountains, rivers and beaches all in the backyard. Add on to that a clear night sky with the Milky Way apparent and you have the perfect package. Be it short or long, every camping trip has its own memories and experiences. However before you set off on your great camping expedition, there are certain things you need to know about. Here goes the dos and don’t of camping in New Zealand:
1. Do ample research on camping in New Zealand
First of all, get yourself acquainted with camping in New Zealand in general. And nice try but no, reading just this article does not count. In this day and age that we live in, information is at our fingertips. Google oppa will tell you everything you need to know. To get you started, you can visit this website and this website.
2. Don’t just camp anywhere
Freedom camping does not mean you have the freedom to camp anywhere. Not all paddocks, fields and reserves are available for camping. There will be signs informing you on whether or not you can camp there so be sure to take notice of them. Whenever in doubt, just ask a local. There are also some good apps around to help you such as CamperMate, Rankers Camping NZ and Travellers Autobarn.
3. Do abide by the road rules
This is super important. Roads in New Zealand are very different and are usually very winding especially out of town. The main rule of thumb of driving there is to keep left on the road. Also, you have to abide by the speed limit. If it’s a 50 km/h road, it means exactly that. Be more or less than 5 km/h of that and you could be fined. Yes, driving slowly is an offence too. So if you notice that you are holding up cars behind you, pull over to the side as soon as possible and let them pass. Most roads in New Zealand should have pull-in bays at the ready.
4. Don’t be irresponsible
When camping, it is crucial to be mindful of your actions and behaviour. Please clean up after yourself and leave no traces of your visit when you leave. Keep a toolkit with axes, shovels, 24-hour emergency supplies in your car – I love having one for camping and you can check out the contents of mine if you want. Do note as well that a self-contained vehicle means that it is one with toilet amenities. It needs to be certified too as evidence. Some camping sites only allow campers with self-contained vans because they may have no toilets at the site. So if you have a non self-contained van, make sure you’re camping at the right place.
5. Do pay attention to the weather
Depending on which part of New Zealand you are camping in, the weather can be quite different. Do check the weather forecast for each day of your trip before going because there’s nothing worse than hitting the road and being all hyped up, only to be greeted by heavy pelting rain and thunderstorms. Although that being said, if you do have the right gear, camping in gloomy bleak weather can have its beauty too, especially if you have the right company!
So there you have it, piefaces! It may sound like there are so many rules and regulations bla bla bla, but honestly they are all there for a good reason. Just stick to them and I guarantee that you will have the best time ever. Camping is an experience like none other and you ought to do it one day!
Header image source here.