New Zealand with kids

New Zealand with kids

Traveling through New Zealand with kids is something really exciting and a unique experience. The creativity and liveliness of kids gives travel a special note and New Zealand is considered one of the safest places to visit as the crime rate is low and unlike Australia the wildlife is of no concern. Here we have some advice based on ours and our customers’ experience.

Many families arrive and have a well-organised schedule for their New Zealand adventure. While it is good to know about distances and the different areas in New Zealand we recommend you to leave yourself as much freedom as possible. Especially with kids plans tend to change all the time. But it is not all negative because the excitement and spontaneity of kids is amazing and it is good to be independent of any pre-booked accommodation. This is why we think a motorhome is the best option for a free New Zealand experience. Some parents told us their kids’ rhythm set the pace of the travels and they did not mind skipping some of their main attractions they wanted to see before as there was so much to find on the road.

Some things can be problematic, though. A motorhome is a tight space so it is better not to end up getting caught in 3 days of pouring rain on the west coast. If the kids get bored it can get a bit tricky. This is why we recommend to follow the sunny weather which is always so local over here. But that’s no problem in a Camper where you are independent of any accommodation. Also travelling with kids means there will be different highlights on your trip as you may meet less people than those travelling alone and cannot do too many cultural stops.

What follows is some advice for your preparation before and while travelling:

First of all, the perfect choice of a Campervan is important. We believe the arrangement of seats, a heater and the storage areas are things to consider when traveling with kids and will help you to make a good choice. The location of the seats is important as some have their seats in the back of the van and you might feel better having your children around you. Some models have more sitting options right behind the driver’s cabin. A heater is really important because some areas can get cold in the evenings, especially down south or in the colder seasons. We will find a vehicle with a heater you can use when you park your van. Storage room is another issue when traveling because especially with kids you want to have access to your luggage and be able to store a lot of things.

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Before arrival:

  • This is when you should have a look at distances, seasons and calculate how much time to spend in New Zealand.
  • Check the passports – are they valid? Check the immigration website –
  • If carrying medicals ask your GP if they can give you a letter to show if asked at the check-in.
  • A smartphone or tablet are good devices as you can install Apps like WikiCamps or Campermate. They help finding campsites, free Wi-Fi areas, shops or walking tracks. After downloading the content they can be used offline. If you have a tablet you might like to have a look on all your new pictures from the trip together with your kids if it is raining outside or at night.
  • A local sim-card is recommendable – Vodafone, Spark or 2degrees offer data volume, free inland texts and minutes for around 20$ for a months and are quickly set up. Check the weather wherever you go first to make sure there is not bad surprise.
  • Bring a soft bag instead of hard cases. They are much easier to store in a motorhome.
  • Generally try not to bring too much luggage, you can find everything over here as well. The big red “The Warehouse” stores have everything from sunscreen to clothes, toys and sports equipment.

On the road:   

  • We recommend to take it easy on the first night after arrival and book accommodation to have some comfort after the long travel and reduce the jetlag.
  • Once you start your trip do not book too much in advance if you want to stay independent. Let your kids, the weather and all the advice other travellers give you make your schedule.
  • Take some coins and small notes with you – there are really nice DOC-campsites where you can stay for cheap prices. They operate without reception and only have an “honesty box” where you need to put your cash in.
  • If you have data volume on your mobile device or have access to Wi-Fi check the weather forecast on a regular basis to see how the conditions will be – it can changes pretty quick.
  •  Do not plan on driving big distances, there are so many opportunities to stop and the kids won’t get bored if you do not travel too long at a time.
  •  Sunscreen and insect repellent should be a basic ingredient you always carry with you. Mosquitos and especially sand flies can be annoying and the sun is strong even in the transition seasons.