Fresh air, beautiful greenery after our breakfast in the caravan.
I am a caravan lover and after the caravan trip in New Zealand North Island, I even love the van more. It is worth the price of renting a Caravan to tour around in New Zealand. In the small space of a caravan, you have all the necessity facilities for your daily activities such as cooking, accommodation and toilet. The little home of caravan make you feel closer to your family members where your family members are around you at all time. We shared the happiness, we eat together, we cook together, we watch movie together and we adventure together. If there is a problem, we face together, if there is a happy moment, we laugh together. This Caravan trip in New Zealand is the most remarkable trip I ever had. For sure I will be going back there one day for another Caravan trip at South Island.
Making breakfast for my family
Before sharing the tips about the Caravan, let us introduce to you the rules and regulation for Caravan in New Zealand. Not all the caravan are children friendly, you have to choose the correct caravan to suit your family need. Some of the caravans do not have a child seat facility therefore booster seat is not able to fit on the caravan. There are self-contained and none self-contained caravan. Self-contained means the caravan with toilet and none self-contained caravan is the caravan without a toilet. There are very limited free campsite for none self-contained caravan and with the rules and regulation, none self-contained caravan is prohibited from overnight at the free campground. You will not be happy to hear the authority knocking your door in the midnight giving you a NZD 200 ticket and chase you off. As soon as you arrived at the caravan free campsite, please make sure that you are parking at the correct caravan parking lots with the symbol shown. They specified the parking lots for limited caravan only. Be at your free campsite as early as you can before the dinner time, parking lots only for first come first serve basis. Where can I find the free campsite?
Certified self-contained caravan by NZ government
Self-contained caravan sign at free campsite
Make sure you do your homework before you go for your caravan trip. Download the apps “CamperMate”. This is a very useful app that you must have when you are driving a caravan in New Zealand. CamperMate has plenty of information to guide you throughout your caravan journey. Thus spend some time to study the CamperMate to understand all the symbols and features from the CamperMate. Briefly, the CamperMate helps to lead you to the paid and free campgrounds via google map. From the campgrounds search, the CamperMate shows the location as well as the detail information of the campgrounds. All the information represented by the symbols such as: shower, dumpsite, kitchen, toilet, etc. There is also webpage link as well as the owner contact number to check the campsite availability. Other than camping ground, there is many more information shown such as: LPG gas supply, public dumpsite, public shower & toilet, fresh water supply, grocery, petrol station, place of attraction, accommodation and so on. All these information is helpful to keep your trip budget to minimum. We are about to find out the benefit of having these information.
There are 3 types of campsites throughout New Zealand, the free camping ground, the paid campsite and the luxury campsite. The free camping ground is either the public camping ground or the private camping ground that open for public to park their caravan and overnight with the condition that your caravan must be a self-contained caravan. The camping ground does not provide water supply, dumpsite, power supply, etc. It is just a parking space for you to park your caravan and overnight. Occasionally, some campsites do provide public toilet for your convenient. While the paid campsite has some necessity facility for your convenient but most of the paid campsite does not provide dumpsite therefore you need to check with the campsite owner when you arrive or you can read through the information from the CamperMate apps. Last but not least is the luxury campsite, charges around NZD 56. It provides a good campsite with electricity facility, dumpsite, accommodation (addition charges), shower, fresh water supply, kitchen, playground and many more facility. We have stayed at the campsite with thermal hot pool and also bouncing pillow.
Click the left top icon from this apps and you will be able to see all the facilities that you require when you are on the go.
Scroll down your window and you can see much more features.
Example: when you click the "all campgrounds", the campsite icons will shown in the map. Green Icon: free campsite, Blue Icon: paid campsite, Purple Icon: Luxury campsite.
A click on the icon, The name and a photo of the campsite will be appeared on the scene. It allows you to have a view on the location. Click it if you like.
More information will be displayed on your phone and it shows the details, contact and comment. The icons shows very important information about the facilities at the campsite. The left most icon shows that the campsite has a dumpsite.
There are more information when you scroll to the left.
There are lots of information and including a link to google map. The google map will lead you to the destination.
In order to keep your travelling budget to minimum, renting the caravan is one of the solutions but you have to fully utilize the available facility in the caravan and the facility surround you. There is a pack of 12V battery pack in your vehicle that supplying the power to all your facility when your engine is off and this battery can be fully charged when your vehicle is travelling 2 to 3 hours. Which means it is not necessary to go to the paid campsite to charge your vehicle everyday if you able to plan your trip well. But bear in mind that the 12V is not able to supply 240V or 110V for your power charger. You may purchase an in-car invertor of 12V to 240V/110V device before you go for your caravan trip. This device allows you to charge your batteries when you are travelling. All facilities in the caravan will activate the battery whenever the engine has been switch off. All the energy consumption devices need to be taken into account before out of power. Some of the luxury caravans has a solar energy and allow us to use the devices in luxuries, but some does not have this facility.
TV, refrigerator and water pump are the highest power consumption devices. Spend more time to enjoy the breath taking scenery in New Zealand rather than watching TV. Enjoy the cooling weather and fresh air in New Zealand. There are 4 switches on the refrigerator: Automatic, power supply, battery and gas. The refrigerator in the caravan can be functioned based on either of the energy resources from power supply, battery or gas. By switching to automatic mode, the refrigerator will auto select the energy resources. Basically the refrigerator will switch between the power supply and battery, whereby it will switch to power supply mode when the vehicle has a 240V power supply incoming, while it will switch to battery mode when the power supply is unplug. The best way I could recommend is to use manual mode to reduce the battery consumption. Therefore you have to switch to battery mode when you are driving. The decreasing of battery pack power can be charged when your vehicle is on the move. Switch it to gas mode whenever you park your vehicle. Remember to turn on the LPG valve and remember to switch it off when you are able to make a move. Last, switch to power supply mode when your vehicle is at the charging station. By doing this, you may reduce 30~40% battery consumption throughout the day.
In car inverter and power bank
Vehicle heater does not consume a lot of battery energy as it is operate by the LPG energy resources but it does not really keep warm when the temperature below 8 degree C. Never light up the stove to keep your vehicle warm, THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS ACT.
There are only 100L of water storage or less in the vehicle; therefore water consumption is another concern for frequent caravan traveler. With a minimum water usage, 100L of water can only allow 2 adults and 2 kids to bath. Therefore bathing in the caravan is a "NO-NO" activity. Do a study on the CamperMate and look for the public shower facility and take a shower there will be a much appropriate idea. Try to use more disposable utensil whenever is applicable such as paper plate or paper cup to reduce water consumption. Prepare the raw material in advance such as meat and vegetable, cut them into ready to cook cutlet and store it into the plastic bag. Dispose the plastic bag after cook. This is another idea to reduce water in washing. Buy drinking water for cooking and drinking. There are a lot of public dumpsites, fresh water supply locations available from the CamperMate apps; you may dump the grey and black water at these places for free.
3 pin plug socket in New Zealand, it only operates when external 240V power supply is connected.
12.5V indicate the battery pack power. the right top panel shows the fresh water and grey water tank. There is also an in car 12V power supply and USB port at the main switch box. Switches below are the switches to control all electric devices in the vehicle.
Here are some of the interior view of the Caravan.
The best part of this caravan is the panoramic window that I have at the back seat/sofa that allows me to enjoy the scenery at the campsite. It is fascinating to enjoy my coffee or my wine at this area. Love it and miss is so much.
A nice table to do your things while traveling. My dream to sit here and enjoy the view, doing my work while traveling. In house slipper (hotel slipper) is recommended for Asian as we do not wear our shoes at home.
Some refreshing snack to accompany you while traveling will be a great idea to keep you entertain.
Nice kitchen, equip with 2 stoves, 1 oven and cooker hook.
Bed on the top
The fridge and TV
View from the back. Toilet is on the right