Camping really is part of our DNA for so many kiwis.
As our parents before us, and quite often grandparents, led the charge to head for the hills and find the perfect place to park up for your annual three weeks of holiday bliss. We too look forward to creating new memories in those favorite spots, or go on the hunt for somewhere new.
Traditionally, we would head to our favorite spot on the Coromandel Peninsula or Lake Tekapo but finding somewhere new requires a bit of outside the box thinking, so here are a couple of ideas to start off.
We usually think of the mountains as a place to go enjoy the snow; shooting down the slopes, dressed up in our winter woolies. However, the summer months give the places usually reserved for winter holidaying a whole new perspective.
Seeing the mountains stripped bare of their winter blanket reveals a rugged beauty that a lot of people have not seen or even considered. If you take the chairlift up the mountain, it gives you a head start to your trek to crater lake, with spectacular views across the volcanic plateau.
Another great outing is the Tongariro crossing, rated as one of the best walks in New Zealand, and once you are all hiked out, you can retreat back to the campground at the start of the Bruce Road, leading to the mountain top. The alpine summer experience is one not to be missed.
Or why not head to Methvan, only 1 hour and 20 minutes from Christchurch, there is some great activies including fishing and golfing and the beautfiul mountains invite you for some amazing drives, walks and scenery.
Photo by Graeme Murray - Tongariro Crossing
Another different destination is to head to the city, yes, you heard me right ! When everyone else has left the city in the mass exodus that happens over summer, the city is left like a bare playground ready to explore.
If you have come out of the Auckland area, the summer holidays are one time you can probably drive in on the motorway, and not get caught in city grid-lock.
The same goes for the many activities available in and around the city, with half the population gone, the queues you would normally have at tourist hot-spots don’t exist over the brief holiday window. If you leave your caravan or motorhome in one of Aucklands many regional parks, take a bus or train into the city, or take a ferry to one of the stunning islands in the Hauraki Gulf. Waiheke Island, to name one, has some stunning beaches, and is scattered with beautiful vineyards, restaurants, and even a bit of retail therapy if needed.
Even places like Chirstchurch, Wellington and Queenstown can be fun for inner city exploring. Wellington features some amazing events you could stay at the Wellington Top 10 and catch the train into the city which tracks along the picturesque Wellington Harbour. Enjoy some of the amazing wellington summer events, bars and eatarys.
Wandering the streets of Christchurch any time is a real eye opening experience especially when you focus on some of the inner city areas undergoing rebuild activites post earhquake. The Port Hills are another great exploring option with easy walking and cycle tracks available. Check out some other top tips on Christchurch summer exploring. The Christchurch Top 10 is a beautiful city holiday park with goregous trees lining the camping spots perfect for any motorhome or caravan to enjoy some summer fun.
Or why not just see where the wind takes you?
But one of the best ways to find new places, takes me back to a game we used to play as teenagers.
The great NZ road-trip ; flip a coin, heads is left, tails is right. You come up to an intersection, left to Rotorua, right to Taupo, flip the coin, looks like we’re off to Taupo ! Although it sounds a bit “adolescent” it actually makes you go away from visiting the same old spots, and yes, occasionally you end up at places that might raise your eyebrows, but then again, you can always flip again!
The main idea here is to stretch your imagination when you think about destinations, step outside the box. You never know, you might just find your “new favourite spot”.