Exploring New Zealand in a recreational vehicle

New Zealand by Motorhome


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Beautiful scenes like this one on the South Island are at every turn of the road.

RV New Zealand
My camper van, a Spirit 4 from Maui Rentals.

By Chuck Woodbury

In late May, 2001, I traveled to New Zealand from Seattle where I rented a camper van — the Kiwi term for a small Class C motorhome — and spent the next three weeks exploring this island paradise.

Along the way, I took hundreds of digital photos as well as hours of videotape for my upcomng home video "RVing New Zealand, a Guide for Americans to exploring New Zealand by Camper Van."

Even though I thought I was well-prepared for my journey Down Under before boarding my Air New Zealand flight in Los Angeles (for a 12-hour non-stop flight), I was not.

First off, I thought New Zealand was tiny. Wrong! I put 2,500 miles on my camper van and still missed most of what there is to see.

And I thought I could see both islands easily in three weeks. Wrong! I didn't realize that the distance from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island is the sameas from Seattle to Los Angeles. Still, while I couldn't see "everything," I saw a lot. My thought now, however, is that one month to see both islands is probably more realistic, although six weeks would be better.

One lane bridges are the rule rather than the exception, and can prove challenging. Narrow two-lane bridges are perhaps even more challenging when a big rig truck is coming the other way.
Perhaps my greatest concern before arriving was how well I would fare driving on the left side of the road instead of the right as we do here in the States. I'll have a report on this website and in more detail in my video on this subject.

So please read one. My experience Down Under should be of interest to other Americans as well as Canadians who plan to visit New Zealand and travel by camper van.

Chapter One: Fear of death on the left side of the road.

All content copyright 2003 by Chuck Woodbury