Following directly on from our Australian motorhome exchange we went to New Zealand.on a motorhome exchange
Our motorhome was based on a Mazda chassis, it felt like a truck and was not the easiest of vehicles to drive.
The layout was interesting, much like the conventional rear kitchen one but with the extra length encompassing more wardrobe space fore of the toilet and more kitchen work surfaces opposite. There was a sofa bed on one side and opposite this a single dinette which could easily be made into another sofa or bed.
We liked the heat exchanger hot water heating system that meant we had hot water for a good 24 hours after any journey.
If you are planning a trip in New Zealand you can get a lot of information by joining their motorhome club New Zealand Motorcaravan Ass
In the land of the long white cloud campsites are known as Motor Camps and most of their sites have excellent kitchens for guests and often a TV lounge. The majority cost between NZ$20 - NZ$30 night for two people on a site with electricity. The N.Z.M.A. handbook includes listings.
Lots of great free camping on the South Island but less on the North. If you join the N.Z.M.A. their handbook lists numerous spots in each of the regions. Members are also invited to use P.O.P.s (park over properties). These are listed in the handbook as names and addresses of people who permit you to park on their property free of charge. You may have to pay a couple of dollars for electricity. The most we paid was NZ$6 to have power and our own cubicle in the garden with a hot shower, toilet and sink. They are an excellent way of getting to know people and learn about the locality. We were often given local fruit or taken on a car tour of the area.
D.O.C. (Department of Conservation) camps are throughout the country whilst Auckland region and Northland havetheir own. An annual pass can work out cheapest and is best bought through the N.Z.M.A. Again prices and facilities cover the whole range.
When driving beware of a quirky rule in New Zealand. If you are about to turn left and a vehicle in the oncoming traffic is indicating right then they have priority.
Concerning the language we noticed that E's were often pronounced like I's and I's like E's. This is mainly a problem when you are being given directions and don't recognise the place name they are talking about. In addition on the north island particularly you will often hear place names beginning with WH being pronounced as F. Actually the biggest problem is knowing whether they are saying six or sex!
Sand flies are a problem in many areas and locals make their own repellent. Mix equal quantities of baby oil, methylated spirit and disinfectant and apply to the skin from a spray bottle. Rather more expensive but with a preferable odour was Johnson's "Off".
For a shorter trip another option for using a motorhome is a relocation deal with rentals as low as $1 day and free ferry crossings.
We first had a 6 month exchange trip and toured both the South and North islands. On return we exchanged for 6 weeks to complete the Northland part of North Islands and return to other favourite places and to visit friends.
I've recently read in Motorhome Motorcaravan Monthly magazine that motorhome prices are still much higher in New Zealand thant UK and with careful planning you can have a free trip. Basically you buy a brand new English motorhome then export it to New Zealand. Shipping in to Tauranga there is an English man living there who will receive the motorhome and get it registered and roadworthy for New Zealand. You then fly out and use the motorhome and leave it with the man in Tauranga at the end of the trip. He sells it on and in the case mentioned in the magazine the people received back more than enough money to cover the purchase of the motorhome, flights and all their trip with some left over.
Another consideration for a "free trip" is to volunteer to be a leader of a motorhome tour. We have met people who have done this and surprisingly you don't need to have great mechanical knowledge or even know the area so it may be something worth researching.
Whatever you do New Zealand is a very easy country to motorhome in and well worth the long flight over.
A SELECTION OF MY OTHER MOTORHOME RELATED BLOG ENTRIES
Water saving tips Exchanges Misshaps on the road When things go wrong
Motorhome 2 American C Class Motorhome 1 A European A class