Personally my family used to go to Glendhu Bay, a beautiful camp located on the shores of Lake Wanaka. I recall it took us the most part of a day to get there and if we were lucky without my brother getting carsick. Setting up the large family tent at the end of this arduous journey was something we dreaded, almost as much as packing it all back up at the end of the holiday!
But I do have fond memories of the 3 weeks we spent tenting, I loved hearing the pitter patter of the rain on the canvas roof and waking early to the sounds of birds, something I’m sure my parents didn’t appreciate quite so much. I also recall how hard it was to sleep in the hot tent at night. Tenting is a great way to truly feel outside and in nature.
Tents come in a variety of shapes and sizes so it’s easy to find a layout that suits and one that fits your budget.
Security can be a concern given canvas and zips aren’t the best protection from thieves, so it’s wise not to leave anything of value in the tent.
Our fickle weather can also be a spoiler. Tents aren’t very robust in howling winds and torrential downpours. I’ve pitted fellow campers whose tents have collapsed in the night and they’ve resorted to sleeping in the car!
When our boys were little we hired a camper and drove to Taupo crossing on the ferry. Being able to have everything on the road with us and easily available meant I could grab food from the fridge, clothes and toys from the cupboard whenever and where ever along the way. The boys become accustomed to eating and napping in their car seats. Finding a toilet also wasn’t a concern. We stopped when the boys grew too restless and took advantage of the many freedom and DOC campsites along the way. Security wasn’t a concern as we could secure the windows and lock the doors.
We only hired the camper, we couldn’t afford or justify the expense of owning it. Especially for it to sit outside the house parked in the drive not being used and waiting for the next trip. I’ve heard from friends remedial work can also be expensive especially for older campers like those we could have afforded. Older less expensive vehicles often require more maintenance and have slower engines. I doubt my husband would cope dawdling along to our destination whilst being overtaken or worse having to stop to let the queue of traffic past.
One other problem, if we weren’t continuously travelling and had actually properly set up and unpacked at a campsite with an awning, outdoor chairs, table and BBQ, would be the packing up required every time we moved on.
The caravan has the same benefits of the campervan, it can be left packed and ready to go but for a fraction of the price. It can also be stored near or on-site at your regular camp spot like we do.
The caravan means that once we have arrived on site, backed her in place, wound out the awning and set up the deck chairs we have the ability to take our vehicle and explore the local attractions or just pop into town for some bread and milk (or wine!).
At the end of the day our Bailey caravan is a little bit of luxury with its comfy bed, ensuite, TV and heater ensuring we are kept cosy even at the edges of the season when Jack Frost bites. A leisurely brekkie and coffee in our PJ’s in the comfort of the van sets us up for a new day of exploration. It truly is like having a motel on wheels.
Another perk of a caravan is that they can be used for other purposes such as a playroom for the kids, a guest bedroom or just a quite space to relax away from a hectic household filled with teenage boys!
Personally I love the caravan (although I am a little bias!). We go away as often as we can, it’s so easy! We can explore our country at our own pace, whether that’s one night at a spot or several when we discover a new favourite.
But these are just my thoughts and as we know everyone has different requirements and ideas so it’s all about finding the best fit for you!