Recently, Alice in Marketing said goodbye to the ‘9 til 5’ for six exciting weeks and embarked upon a thrilling New Zealand motorhome adventure. Planned by the NZ Experts at Freedom Destinations, along with the amazing support of our friends at Maui, now we are asking Alice five questions about what she thought of the trip … and her home on wheels!
Read on to discover why she chose a motorhome for her trip, where exactly she travelled and Alice’s personal motorhome tips for anyone planning a similar journey.
1. What was your top reason for picking a motorhome holiday in New Zealand?
I chose a motorhome so I could really enjoy the freedom of the open road. We loved being able to stay anywhere as long as we wanted with no real need to hurry or rush off if we found a place we liked. You just can’t get that level of freedom with a group tour, or even in a hired car.
I also really liked New Zealand’s free camping rule where you can pull up in designated areas without having to pay, especially if you are in a self contained vehicle like the Maui we enjoyed. This saved us a lot of money on accommodation and makes the motorhome option super cost effective. Maui provide this great app that is really useful for finding the places you can park up and sleep in for the area of New Zealand you’re visiting.
We travelled both the North and South Islands of New Zealand in six weeks! The top experiences that I recommend people don’t miss are a Franz Josef Heli-Hike to get a view of the glaciers that you just wouldn’t find using any other mode of transport, a Tongariro Crossing Trek to get the adrenaline pumping in an authentic Kiwi manner, and we personally fell in love with the Mueller Hut Hike too.
For anyone looking for a romantic and relaxing end to a long day of driving, we loved the Onsen hot pools as well. We highly recommend booking the pools in advance though because it’s a popular pick.
3. Tell us about your favourite day in the motorhome
Tough question! My favourite place that we stayed in overnight comes to mind. In Mount Cook National Park, we woke up in the middle of the night, gazed out of the campervan and saw the Milky Way … straight from our bed! It was such a magical experience. Here, we also really enjoyed the Hooker Valley Track hike (can you sense I like hiking?!).
BBQ’ing in the motorhome definitely rounded up a great day on the road. We loved any meal that meant we could use the outside grill and dine al fresco. It’s part of the fun of travelling by motorhome. Local New Zealand lamb seemed to be the best BBQ choice, especially because all the cuts are so incredibly fresh, local and of fantastic quality.
Food wise, we also highly recommend deliciously sweet and local Manuka honey. New Zealand is famous for it so we made sure we had meals that incorporated it a lot.
4. Do you have any embarrassing motorhome stories?
An embarrassing moment – hmmm. Well, a few things come to mind (Alice giggles). Once, when we were driving, carefully of course, a loaf of bread suddenly fell out of a top cupboard! We saw and heard the bread fly across the van and slump to the floor. Needless to say, remembering to secure everything properly before you set off for the day is super important – luckily, it was only a loaf of bread.
Maui motorhomes come with these super handy drawers and cupboards that click into place on a latch so that everything inside is secure for travel. On this occasion, we hadn’t waited for the ‘click’.
5. What motorhome tips would you offer to Freedom clients?
We personally recommend you create a Google MyMaps account and pin all the destinations you’d like to visit whilst in New Zealand. Then, you have everywhere you want to go in one place which makes it easier to plan your route. If we hadn’t done this before and during our trip, we probably would have missed things we really wanted to see and do. Getting organised, and having a rough plan, is key.
Download the CamperMate app (Maui will send you useful information about this after you book). This was an absolute lifesaver when it came to finding the best places to camp overnight. Plus, you’ll see last minute promotions for any sites that have availability at short notice, so watch out for these to grab yourself a great campsite deal.
Two of the main ingredients for a successful campervan road trip, besides of course the person you pick to go with, are the vehicle you choose and the route you take. Discover Alice’s choices for her Maui motorhome adventure below:
Choosing the right campervan
Alice travelled New Zealand in the Maui 2+1 Ultima Plus Motorhome. This motorhome comes with an in-vehicle tablet with GPS (very useful for locating petrol stations, gas refill shops and waste stations), a fully equipped kitchen with microwave, gas stove and sink, air conditioning and heating, a built in BBQ and an onboard shower and toilet. Maui also provide crockery and kitchen equipment, a radio, TV, CD and DVD player, linen and bedding, and you can use both hot and cold water in the van. With return airport transfers and unlimited kilometres too, Maui really have thought of everything you could possibly need when hiring a motorhome.
Alice also upgraded to All Inclusive, meaning she had a camp table and chairs for those Kiwi BBQs she loved so much, additional driver cover so that her and her boyfriend Mark could share the driving, and WiFi including 1 GB of data. Luckily for Alice, this meant she could share her photos on Instagram as she went along, making everyone in the U.K. based Freedom office green with envy.
Building a New Zealand itinerary
Alice picked up her Maui motorhome in Auckland, near the top of the North Island. From here, they drove up to Bay of Islands, before making their way back down to Rotorua and Tongariro. After the taking the Interislander Ferry across the Cook Strait crossing, with the campervan of course, Alice explored the South Island, following a loop that included Abel Tasman, Nelson Lakes National Park, Pancake Rocks, Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier, Wanaka, Queenstown and Mount Cook. Finally, after six wonderful weeks, they reluctantly returned their Maui campervan to Christchurch.
Alice can’t stop raving about her incredible six week New Zealand motorhome adventure. She says she’d do it again in a heartbeat! At Freedom Destinations, Maui is our top selling motorhome brand, offering modern, superbly equipped campervans that are always under three years old. From as little as £45 per day, start planning your New Zealand Road Trip now, with the same Destination Experts that helped Alice to make this dream holiday a reality.
Photos by Alice Sanz
Karen joined the Marketing Team at Freedom Destinations after spending an incredible year in Australia, New Zealand and Bali, campervan road trippin’ into the wild Outback, enjoying eco tours on beautiful islands and making friends for life.