Article Camping in New Zealand – General Information
You've certainly heard of the impressive nature of New Zealand. To discover this beautiful landscape, the best thing you can do is renting a motorhome. When traveling that way you are completely free and can make spontaneous decisions about where to go on your journeys. With SHAREaCAMPER you can find a suitable motorhome for your vacation. When you start planning your journey, there are loads of things to keep in mind. For example, do you own the right driver's license? And which special road rules do you need to pay attention to? Answers to these and other questions and general information about a motorhome holiday in New Zealand can be found in this article.
The right drivers licence
To drive in New Zealand, you must carry a current, full driver's license. However, if this was not issued in english, you also need a certified translation of the driver's license. You will receive a certified translation either in New Zealand at the New Zealand National Transport Agency, at a consulate or at the office where your driver's license was issued. This translation costs about 30 EUR. You can also apply for an international driver's license. But even then it is absolutely necessary to have the original driver's license with you as well, because the international licence is only valid when you carry both at the same time. In New Zealand anyone with the driving license class "B" or "3" can drive a motorhome.
Specifics in New Zealand
The kiwis, as the locals call themselves, have their very own peculiarities. This not only includes the left-hand traffic, but also the climate. So there are things that you need to consider before and during your trip. The most important information can be found in the following sections.
In New Zealand, as in Australia, left-hand traffic prevails. This means, the steering wheel is on the right side and you are also about to overtake on the right side. If you have never driven on the left, you should slowly approach. Many drivers get used to that change really quickly.
There has been some changes recently! If you plan to visit New Zealand for a short period you must request an NZeTA before you travel if you are a citizen of a country on the list of visa waiver countries and territories and are visiting for up to 3 months (if you are a British citizen, up to 6 months). See more information here. You also need a valid passport. This must be valid for at least one month after your departure from New Zealand. If you want to explore New Zealand for more than three months, you will need a Visitor Visa. This will allow you to stay in New Zealand for up to 9 months.
Our tip: On the website of the Governement of New Zealand, you can take a closer look at all possibilities.
When icy temperatures prevail in Germany it is summer in New Zealand. From December to February it can reach up to 25-30 °C depending on where you are. However, as the weather in New Zealand is generally very mild, it is often 12-16 °C even in winter. The North Island it is always warmer than the South Island. But in both islands you have to expect heavy weather changes. According to the saying "All four seasons a day", you can experience in one day all the weather conditions of the four seasons. But every season in New Zealand has its charm, so you need to think carefully about what you want to do before you travel.
The travel times
In the following part you can read about the different seasons in New Zealand.
Spring starts in New Zealand from September to November. The ski resorts usually close at the end of September and temperatures of up to 19 ° C are reached. Although it is getting warm, the air is sometimes cooled by rain. This season is a low travel season which means there are only a few tourists traveling. But you can discover New Zealand's beautiful flower landscape and watch the nice waterfalls with lots of water because of the past winter.
The high travel season starts in December and lasts until about February, because the summer ends in New Zealand. Many kiwis have holidays at Christmas. This means that even more people can be on the road. In the summer months it can get up to 25 ° C and the bathing and surfing vacation attracts many people to the beach. Although it is warm it is not humid and there are plenty of hours of sunshine and only some rainy days.
From about March to May, there are not many tourists on the island. Although the summer is already over, it can be up to 23 ° C warm until mid-april. From about mid-april, especially, the nights cool off. It can also be too cold for swimming. This season is perfect for hiking in beautiful and colorful landscapes. In the South Island you can already have the first snow in May.
In winter from about June to August, you can ski down the beautiful snow slopes or experience a snow walk. While it's about 15 ° C in June and August, July is the coldest month in New Zealand. The temperatures then sink to below 10 ° C. While it's a bit warmer in the north at this time of the year, you'll need to adjust to snow and frost in the South Island.
There are three time zones in New Zealand. The North and South Islands lie in one zone. Chatham Island is the second time zone and it is about 45 minutes later than on the main islands. Tokelau is located in the South Pacific, belongs to New Zealand and forms the third time zone. There is the difference to the main Island of about 1 hour. The difference to Germany for example is +12 to +10 hours depending on summer or winter time.
A flight from Germany to New Zealand can take between 24 and 30 hours. Therefore, we do not recommend renting a RV already from the first day you arrive. It is best to rest a little on the first few days and then start your journey with the camper. Since the jet lag makes you tired for a while and you should not start your journey directly, you should allow enough time for your vacation planning.
When you shop in New Zealand, you should also look at the back of the receipt. Sometimes you will find discount codes there. Even if you do not live in New Zealand, you can sign up for loyalty cards. Although they receive no bonus points, but can participate earn many savings. Beer and wine are available in all major supermarkets. You can only get stronger drinks such as liquor in a "liquor store". It looks like a big beverage market and your kids are not allowed to enter the store with you. In general, you must be careful in New Zealand because you are not allowed to consume alcohol everywhere. There are alcohol ban areas especially in the cities.
The right camper and road rules
In New Zealand, the roads are very narrow in curves and rather narrow everywhere. Therefore, it is recommended to not rent a too wide motorhome. Maybe you also have a caravan or campervan? No matter what you choose, SHAREaCAMPER will have the right model for you. Even when it comes to parking, a smaller motorhome is more enjoyable. Both in cities, as well as on campsites, signs often show that the places are not suitable for large motorhomes.
When parking, make sure that you do not park in the opposite direction of travel. Also good to know is that the number under the blue parking signs indicates how long you can park for free.
In New Zealand you may drive about 50 km / h in cities and on highways and country roads 100 km / h. You must not turn left at a red traffic light. In addition, you must already stop when the traffic light is yellow. An exception exists only if you jeopardize other road users as a result of abrupt deceleration. If you see a double yellow line, do not overtake.
Even in New Zealand, you can not just set up your camp anywhere. But there are a few places where you can do wild camping. It is best to look for "No Camping" signs or stop at a DOC Information Center and ask. If you can not find any space nearby, you can also drive to a DOC campsite. These places are located in nature reserves and are usually very cheap or even free. They mostly only have a toilet and maybe a cold shower. It is best to rent a vehicle with toilet and self-contained certificate. If you want to have more luxury features, you have to look for a campground or holiday park. You can usually also rent bungalows or apartments there. We would also like to recommend the smart phone apps campermate where you can find all campsites from free ones to big holiday parks, and campable where you can stay at private properties like vineyard, farms or beaches.
No matter where you stay: Always make sure you dispose of your trash properly and do not leave it anywhere. It is also not allowed to use bushes or rivers as a toilet. That's why you always use public toilets. If you are near rivers or streams, do only use eco soap or similar.