New Zealand

Camping in New Zealand

Forget hotels unless you want to go from city to city and New Zealand has way more to offer than its cities. Camping is the way to go.

If you are two people the best way to explore New Zealand is in one of the many varieties of campervan we see scouring the country. You can park up just about anywhere as long as you are “self-contained”. The coolest we saw were the wicked campervans and the escape campervans. These come decorated in graffiti and are everywhere.

The reality is we brought tents and we are 6 people. Because of this we are quite limited. Our salvation, however, were the DOC campgrounds. These are much cheaper than the private campgrounds and well, a lot more interesting. Normal, private campgrounds remind me way too much of suburbia and seem far too tame. Not to mention the fact that they price is rediculous for a family of 6. You can download the PDF of locations of DOC campground or get a brochure once you get here from any place that says “i-site”.

Many of the DOC campgrounds are in amazing places. Interesting little islands that you can only get to with a water taxi. We saw one that was in an old mining town and had 53 river crossings.

We went to one that had 20+ miles of a thin gravel road with sheer cliffs and no railing.

If you like hiking then New Zealand has a special treat for you. They call it tramping (hiking) here. They have dotted the whole country with “backcountry huts”. You see, when you are tramping they would prefer you not to tent on the trail so they provide these huts. I have even heard there are “firebaths” on some of the trails.

New Zealand

Adventures in the South Island

After a couple of initial trips into Christchurch we have gone out for some adventures in the South Island.

We have seen lots and lots of sheep.

We have discovered doc (Department of Conservation) campgrounds. Much cheaper than your normal campgrounds, a bit off the beaten track but worth it.

We went to an observatory and learned about the stars in the Southern Hemisphere.

We went to a doc campground north of Queenstown. We drove our minivan on a treacherous 20+ mile drive through “Skippers Canyon” to get there. We met sheep and 4x4s on this trip with sheer cliffs as a constant warning to stay alert. At the end was a small, restored mining village. We did homeschool in the old schoolhouse with the white picket fence and camped in the field next to it. Quite a surreal experience. Kids said it reminded them of LOST and the camp where the “Others” were in.

Abi finally got to jump out of a “perfectly good airplane”.

We have this tradition in our family. Sometime after your 12th birthday you get to choose a “right of passage”. It is different for every child. It cannot be a child thing. It needs to be an adult thing. Sam walked a week of the camino, carried other people’s burdens and got a man shirt at the end. Lizzy walked the camino for 6 weeks, walked most of the way across the top of Spain. She did this with a beautiful woman, Cindy, we have known since she was a girl. Cindy walked with Lizzy and imparted womanhood into her. Abi is a bit more action packed. From 11 she said she wanted to jump out of a plane. Dad said that if she wanted to jump out of a plane she had to do it in Queenstown. I think he was probably also considering how far away from Queenstown we actually were, at the time.

So here we are with our extreme, adventurous, diabetic daughter. She got her dream, her right of passage and jumped out of a plane.

Guess what!

She wasn’t even afraid.

Not even for a moment!

Fearless Abi!

Ready for a life of adventure!