For our first 15 years of camping holidays together, Lee and I slept in a tent – braving storms, sub-zero temperatures, cramped conditions and even a black bear. But when our trusty two-man tent finally split at the seams around the same time our car was going kaput, we hit upon a genius idea: to become campervan travellers. It didn’t take long for us to realise that this was the best way to see New Zealand. Take a trip in a maui motorhome and you’ll soon see what we mean.
No other method of travel offers such freedom, with a campervan affording almost the same reach as a motorcar, with the convenience of your own ‘home’ on board. Outside of the busiest spots in peak season, no advance campsite bookings are required, which means you can travel at your own pace, to a flexible itinerary, safe in the knowledge that securing a bed for the night is as simple as parking up. There are more than 800 vehicle-accessible campsites in New Zealand, most in picturesque locations, from basic freedom camps and scenic reserves to groomed holiday parks with facilities galore.
Spending your nights in some of New Zealand’s most beautiful places is just one of the joys of campervan travel. Another is eating delicious food. With maui’s apartment-style kitchen you’re ready to indulge your way through the countryside, stopping at produce stalls, local grocers and farmers’ markets. Not only does this offer a seasonal and healthy taste of the country, it means you’ll be dining inexpensively, too.
Making the most of your campervan kitchen is just one way to stretch your holiday budget. Another is taking advantage of maui’s early booking discounts, long-hire rates and other special promotions. Factor in that maui's modern campervan fleet is highly fuel efficient, and you’ll discover that your travel and lodging costs are actually very reasonable.
Hit the road in a campervan and see that getting there is more than half the fun. Take in the scenery along the open road, stopping whenever you fancy it – at riverside rest areas, forest walkways, or a rocky shore dotted with seals. Or maybe a middle-of-nowhere museum, or an historic site marked with interpretive displays and the inevitable picnic table. The New Zealand roadtrip dishes up plenty of surprising and fascinating tangents, so allow for some serendipity, a little kismet. Slow down, relax, and just follow your nose.
Sound like a proper holiday? It is, even with the kids on board! Strap your happy little campers into maui’s child car seats, and watch their eyes pop. Besides a higher chance of ice cream, playgrounds, and crazy new places to run around and explore, they’ll likely find plenty of other campsite buddies to have fun with. New Zealand campgrounds are famous for their friendliness and communal spirit – the kids get the seesaw, you get inspiring conversation over a sauvignon blanc or two.
You only need to unpack once. After that, everything you need is within arms’ reach. Maui motorhomes are so economically configured and well equipped that your wee home on wheels will feel spacious and comfortable. They’re also all late model and surprisingly easy to drive. We freely admit to a few nerves during the first couple of manoeuvres in the maui six-berth, but it didn’t take long to get the hang of it. New Zealand highways are built for lorries, country roads are generally very quiet, and towns are well used to welcoming motorhomes. You’ll always find somewhere easy to park, and while you’re looking around just wave and smile. Local drivers are generally patient and forgiving, and who knows – they might just be campervanners themselves. We Kiwis love them!