Adventure is calling. Regardless of if you are on the North or South Island of New Zealand, natural beauty lurks everywhere you look. When the daily grind starts grinding, you’re craving to get outside, and the weekend (or that holiday) finally comes, it is time for a New Zealand adventure. It’s time to pack up the ole Jayco and hit the wide, open road, and lucky for us, a gob smacking scenic destination is only around the corner.
Here are seven destinations that promise to take all your worries and stress away:
Kick off your shoes in the Coromandel
Waking up to the sounds of surf couldn’t be more ideal. The first place we’re recommending is heading up to the northeast peninsula of the North Island. For good reasons, Coromandel is a holiday hotspot, but if you want to get away from the crowds, keep heading further north. Or even head inland to the forest park, listen to the birdsong, and watch the sun pierce through the dense native trees. Spend your days wandering from breathtaking beach to breathtaking beach, embracing the good, slow days.
Book a few nights at Hahei Beach Resort, parking at the pink sand beach, perfect for watching the sun rise over the ocean. This campsite has an onsite cafe, hot pools, and several epic bookable activities.
Rotorua for a heated adventure
New Zealand’s literal hotspot for volcanic activity is also an action-packed town. Rotorua is destined for adrenaline-seekers from mild to extreme sports activities and wickedly wild geothermal locations. It’s two and a half hours southeast of Auckland in the Bay of Plenty region. While you can kill hours wandering the touristy downtown, it is easy to get away and into nature with just a short drive in your van. Here are our recs for the area:
One thing that won’t be easy on this adventure is deciding where to pull up your Jayco for the night. Try a DOC spot at Lake Okareka or Lake Tarawera if you want peace and quiet. If onsite hot pools and hot showers are more your thing, book a few nights at Rotorua Thermal, All Seasons, or Holdens Bay Holiday Park.
Maunga time in Taranaki
Something is calming, grounding, and centering about being near a mountain. It can be a place for rest and rejuvenation from simply being amongst its power, and it also can be exhilarating, challenging, and unpredictable. Mount Taranaki and its rich, dense forest surrounding it is an excellent choice for when you are craving a New Zealand adventure. The perfect cone-shaped mountain trumps everything in sight, making it more miraculous to soak in. It’s a place to feel alive as you move through its forests and it’s many different trails, and it’s a place that can also be enjoyed from the seaside.
To be close to Taranaki and all its trails, stay a couple of nights at the Stratford Holiday Park, complete with an indoor pool, playground, and BBQ facilities otherwise, locals love Oakura Beach or Opunake Beach Holiday Parks.
Coastal hangs in Kaikoura
On the northern coast of the South Island, sits a seaside town nestled against a range of sky-high snowy peaks. Kaikoura is one of those places you can get stuck in for weeks. At first, it seems like a super small town, but what it’s known for is what stretches along the coast. The waters here draw in a wide range of marine life, from Hector dolphins to humpback whales and plenty of stinky seals who love to bask at every beach.
A stone’s throw away from the beach, a short walk to town, and a simple look up to see the impressive Kaikoura Range is enough to make the TOP 10 Holiday Park your home for the foreseeable future (or as long as your boss will allow).
Alpine time in Mount Cook/Aoraki National Park
New Zealand’s tallest mountain looms in the centre of the South Island, and unlike most mountain regions, this one is super accessible for all campervans and all types of travelers. It’s windy road leading you to it will leave your jaw hanging, and the roadside pullovers are a must to take it all in. The glowing, electric blue lake guides you into the most visited national park, and it only takes a second to realise why thousands travel here every week. From easy to extreme, the park has something for everyone.
White Horse Hill campsite sits at the trailhead of Hooker Valley track and Kea Point track. It’s a DOC regulated campground with plenty of spaces for your van setup.
Head to the edge of the world at Purakanui Bay
Tucked away at the bottom east coast of the South Island is Purakanui Bay, with its dramatic cliffs and dream surf conditions. This area is known as the Catlins, and although the roads are slow and windy to get around, you’re guaranteed to find isolated spots along the ocean. Inland you’ll find trails leading to waterfalls and rolling fields of pastures.
Drift away to the ocean sounds at Purakanui Bay campsite, another DOC campground with van lifers like yourselves flocking to it. Unpowered, but you won’t mind when you wake up at this spot every morning.
Magic Milford Sound is waiting.
Paradise can be anywhere you park your Jayco van, but true paradise beckons on the southwest coast of the South Island. A part from your modern home on wheels, it feels as if you’ve to step back into the Mesozoic era, as if T-rex is waiting around the bend. Curious one-of-a-kind alpine parrots terrorise (in a friendly way) your vehicle and campsite. Mountains emerge from the water, and plenty of unique visitors make their way to Milford Sound daily.
Sleep in the rainforest in Milford Sound Lodge’s campervan park. This high-end resort has one of the best campgrounds in the country with modern amenities and excellent hang space
Are you ready for your next New Zealand adventure? Tell us where you are heading first!