Monday, April 30, 2012

Ring Road of Iceland

Reykjavik and Mount Esja
Reykjavik
By glennharper - Flickr
Iceland is a land in the making (literally), and a rising tourist destination.  The landscapes are rugged black lava fields, icebergs and untouched volcanic islands, complimented by pristine Glacial Lakes and clean green cities.

Circle the country on it's 1,339 kilometer Route 1 and see the intriguing country's volcanic features, gushing geysers, turquoise pools, cascades and incredible ice caps.  You'll be in awe and astonishment at the nature of Iceland.

Jokulsarlon, Iceland
Jokulsarlon
By tigric - Flickr
Take the route in a Campervan and take your accommodation with you, stopping and staying in scenic spots or pulling over for a coffee in the back of the Motorhome. The road  is single lane in most places, widening to more when passing through the larger cities. Some days you'll see thousands of cars and others you'll be pushed to see over 100, adding to the rural and untouched nature of the country. 

20111016 Return to the Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon Hotpools
By chromewaves - Flickr
Begin the spectacular journey in Reykjavik, picking up your Motorhome from this clean green city. 
The little capital is home to dreamers, authors, poets, musicians and all sorts of creatives.  You'll have to stop yourself from falling in love with the place and staying forever. 22 hours of sunlight in the middle of summer and the big city but "village" feel will have you hooked.  The town sits at the foot of snow topped mountains and is lapped at by the blue ocean.  Enjoy some "mud treatment" in the Blue Lagoon geothermal complex or just bathe and relax.  Eat some famous fast food Hot dogs, picnic on lawns or dine in one of the many delicious cafes.

skaftafell
Skaftafell National Park
By Jason Webber - Flickr
Hike through the beautiful Skaftafell National Park getting up close and personal with a glacier and don't miss Iceland's Geysir and Gullfoss, a regularly exploding geyser and majestic waterfall.

Take a day trip into the interior and swim in the massive crater lake of Askja Caldera.  Go sea kayaking form the eastfjords town of Seyðisfjörður, a bohemian artsy town. Spot whales on boat trips, see fire and ice at the Kverkfjöll Ice Caves or embrace the active volcano and lava flows of Mývatn.


Why delay this superb journey, book a Motorhome to travel Iceland!


Author: Rohan Marx+

Melbourne- Adelaide and the Great Ocean Road

Australia's southeast has some beautiful stretches of coast and vibrant cities. Experience them with this 3-day road trip from Melbourne to Adelaide.

Day 1: The Great Ocean Road- Melbourne to Warrnambool

Melbourne is the stately and laid-back counterpart to the hype of Brisbane and Sydney. With a New England feel and a more temperate climate, it is an exceedingly pleasant place to shop, wander and visit! Before departing on your trip, if you have a few days in Melbourne spend some time exploring and taking in the unique and multicultural atmosphere. Hot spots to visit include Chinatown, the retail precinct of Docklands by the water, Federation Square, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Aquarium and any of a number of galleries and museums.

 Melbourne
by Patrick Nouhailler Flickr Creative Commons

On the way out of Melbourne, take Princes Highway/M1 to Geelong. This is an industrial centre with a bustling port, so not the prettiest of all spots on the coast! It does, however, mark the beginning of the Great Ocean Road, so follow the signs through town to get on this legend of a road.

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's greatest scenic routes. The journey will be a pleasure on this stretch of the trip! There are many holiday parks along the way so if you want to see everything more closely, break this part of the road trip into two days. From Geelong, you will hug the coast, passing through many small towns. Take some time to have a coffee with the friendly locals! At Apollo Bay, check out the wood carvings that decorate the foreshore, a depiction of the region's relationship with the sea.

After Apollo Bay, you will leave the coast for a while (don't worry, it's coming back!) and pass through Great Otway National Park. You can take a side road out to the coast and the isolated, beautiful lighthouse at Cape Otway, or explore the walking tracks and numerous waterfalls in the Park.

 Cape Otway
by Sherman Geronimo-Tan Flickr Creative Commons

The beautiful towns, coves and beaches continue along the road- too many to describe individually! One of the stunners of the Great Ocean Road however is the Twelve Apostles rock formation. Standing tall in the wild southern ocean, these rocks are one of the most-photographed natural phenomena in the country. Visit the visitor information centre for some insight on the formation of the incredible coastline.

 Great Ocean Road
by edwin.11 Flickr Creative Commons

Port Campbell has a somewhat tragic history of shipwreck, the most notable of these being the foundering of 3-masted clipper Loch Ard in 1878- there were only 2 survivors, and their tale is told along a signposted walkway above Loch Ard Gorge near Port Campbell. These tragic past events do make for excellent diving around Port Campbell though, so get in the water if that's your thing!

 Loch Ard Gorge
by Gavin Llewellyn Flickr Creative Commons

Warrnambool, your stop for the night, is a popular beachy tourist destination. The shipwrecks continue here, and the Flagstaff Maritime Museum is a fascinating place to visit where you can learn the stories of the coast and its victims. Once a month, there are markets held at the showgrounds, and there is a viewing platform in the town for the Southern Right Whales which visit every year in winter.

Day 2: Warrnambool- Kingston SE

Head out of Warrnambool on Princes Highway/A1. On the way out, have a look at the Tower Hill Reserve- a lake and several small hills nestled inside an inactive volcano. It is an amazing haven for wildlife, with koalas, emus, kangaroos and many types of birds abundant.

 Tower Hill Reserve
by Sydney Oats Flickr Creative Commons

The road continues to hug the coast until Portland, Victoria's first permanent settlement. It is now a decent-sized centre, so reprovision here if you need anything! Many artists have made Portland their home, and there is an art centre that can be visited with a gallery and a theatre. There are over 200 buildings in the town classified by the National Trust, a gem for those interested in the history of the region.

 Portland Town Hall
by Matt Flickr Creative Commons

After Portland, the road heads inland for a while, for a pleasant drive along the Princes Highway . One attraction along the route is the Princess Margaret Rose Cave in Lower Glenelg National Park, 18km off the highway. Just after crossing into South Australia, go left onto Vorwerk Road, left again onto Main Road, right onto Border Road which skirts the border on the Victoria side then go left onto Princess Margaret Rose Caves Road. The cave is an underground wonderland, dripping in stalactites and full of stalagmites, cave coral and other amazing things. Guided tours are available.



Next town on the route is Mount Gambier in South Australia. This city is most famous for its stunning lakes in extinct volcano craters, especially the stunning Blue Lake. There are many dining restaurants in town and lots to do- if you want to spend a while here, visit the Lady Nelson Visitor and Discovery Centre on Jubilee Highway East.

Between Mount Gambier and Kingston SE, there are two routes- Highway 1 and the coastal Southern Ports Highway which starts at Millicent. Both pass through several charming small towns, and the coastal route will have you venture past beaches and lakes. The two meet up again at Kingston SE, your suggested destination for the night. On the shores of Lacepede Bay, the 'SE' is to distinguish this town in the southeast of the state with another one of the same name. Don't miss the giant lobster affectionately named Larry on your way into town, and this is the perfect spot for a casual picnic dinner, as Kingston SE is home to one of Australia's best fish and chip shops, Macs Takeaway. Kingston Caravan Park is a great place to lay your head!

 Larry the Lobster
by Alpha Flickr Creative Commons


Day 3: Kingston SE- Adelaide

Leave Kingston SE and continue on the trusty Highway 1.

This last stretch of the journey will take you past some amazing wetlands. Coorong is a national park and lagoon ecosystem. The lagoon extends over 100km along the coat between Kingston SE and the Fleurieu Peninsula, separated from the ocean by a sand dune. It is a sanctuary for birds, fish and other wildlife- recognised by BirdLife International as an 'Important Bird Area.' The lagoon and Park are a unique and interesting part of Australia, and great for recreational activities such as fishing, camping and boating, so be sure to take a look as you pass. You can take guided tours by the native people (the Ngarrindjeri people) leaving from Meningie.

 The Coorong
by Mick Morrison Flickr Creative Commons

After Meningie, head inland to skirt Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina. You will come across the famous Murray River at Tailem Bend, and cross it at Murray Bridge. The Murray is Australia's longest river at nearly 3,000 kilometres, and was a vital waterway for many years as the main route for transporting people and goods inland. Although its glory days of steamers and riverboats are largely over, the Murray is deeply ingrained in Australia's culture.

 The Murray River
by thinboyfatter Flickr Creative Commons

Keep going along the highway into the city of Adelaide. Set on the River Torrens and extending to the coast, Adelaide is unique in that the city centre is entirely circled by parkland. It was constructed by design, and the city centre is a grid of 5 squares with the parklands surrounding it. Adelaide has wide streets, plenty of things happening, beaches to the west and rolling hills to the east. Places to visit include the Adelaide Central Markets, the zoo and Botanic Gardens, the historic Edmund Wright House, the South Australian Museum and of course the city parklands. Adelaide is considered the Wine Capital of Australia, and is home to the National Wine Centre of Australia where you can taste all manner of Australian wine. A fitting end to the journey! There are a number of holiday parks to park your campervan.

 Adelaide
by bram.souffreau Flickr Creative Commons


Check here for great deals on Melbourne campervan hire!


Author: Rohan Marx+






Monday, April 23, 2012

Perth-Esperance Road Trip

Western Australia is an isolated part of the country, a huge area with one major city and a lot of wilderness! Fly into Perth and get on the road with this roadtrip from Perth to Esperance. From there you can continue East or head back to Perth to see the Great Australian Bight and the southwest corner of the country in more depth.


View Larger Map

Day 1: Perth- Augusta

Perth is a city apart. Not just in the sense of a unique atmosphere and setting, but also literally- it is geographically one of the most remote cities on earth, with no other major centres within 2,000 kilometres.The city has a sunny, mediterranean-type climate and is set on a river within stone's throw of some amazing beaches, There are multiple options to pass the time in Perth, so consider spending some days there before hitting the road. Visit the Art Gallery of Western Australia, wander the banks of the river, explore Kings Park and climb the DNA tower for amazing views, or chill out on the famous Cottesloe Beach.

 Perth from King's Park
by eGuide Travel Flickr Creative Commons

Head out of Perth and down the coast on Highway 1, heading through the southern suburbs such as the beachside Rockingham and Port Kennedy. At Mandurah, the estuary and Peel inlet is a wonderland of wildlife. It is home to a school of friendly dolphins and many types of water birds, and is a great place for family water-based fun as the waters are tranquil, unlike many of the beaches on the Indian Ocean coast. Have a go at catching some prawns or crabs, or find a boat and get out on the water.


Dolphins on the Peel Inlet


Continue through the town of Bunbury, where you should get off Highway 1 and onto State Route 10. A highlight along this route is Busselton, where the longest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere (in the form of a jetty) juts out into the beautiful Indian ocean from a white-sand beach. Some great surfing is to be had in the area.

 Busselton Jetty
by Johnny Akira Baune Flickr Creative Commons

From Busselton, take State Route 104 to get back onto the State Route 10 and go east, then continue east on Highway 1 towards Albany. This will take you past the coastal Walpole-Nornalup National Park, which features a 600-metre long treetop walkway, and incredible way to get amongst Australia's flora and fauna. Denmark, just before the final stop of Albany, has a great bakery and picturesque surroundings.

 Treetop Walk
by Phil Whitehouse Flickr Creative Commons

Day 2: Albany- Esperance

 Albany, Western Australia's first settlement. It is now a good-sized but still rurally-focused city on a lovely section of coast. Albany's Princess Royal Harbour is one of the most impressive natural harbours you will ever sea, and is a base for whale-watching and other water activities

 Albany Beach
by Robert Young Flickr Creative Commons

Continue on Highway 1 from Albany through Wellstead and Jerramungup. A notable National Park along this section of road is the Fitzgerald River National Park, an amazing place designated as a World Biosphere reserve. It is home to many rare and endangered animals, and a huge range of wildflowers- in fact these grow in abundance everywhere between Albany and Esperance.

 Wildflowers
by Lakshmi Sawitri Flickr Creative Commons

Ravensthorpe along this route is an interesting old coppermining town. If you are keen to go out of your way to the coast, turn off just after Ravensthorpe and head to Hopetoun. This is a charming beach town and popular holiday destination, becoming livelier in the summer months!

Esperance is is situated on a safe harbour, with the Archipelago of the Recherche just offshore. Surfing, scuba diving and swimming are all popular in the area. The wine industry is strong in this area, so after you have settled in to a holiday park like one of these, get out and about to taste the food and wine of the region!

 Esperance Seafront
by Tamsin Slater Flickr Creative Commons

For great deals on a variety of Perth motorhome rentals, have a look here!

Author: Rohan Marx+

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brisbane to Rockhampton Road Trip


Whilst most people think that the action happens to the south of Brisbane on the Gold Coast, the coast to the north of the city is equally well endowed with beautiful beaches, so if you can forgo the amusement parks and the crowds, why not try a roadie from Brisbane to Rockhampton??

View Larger Map

Day 1: Brisbane-Bundaberg

Brisbane straddles the Brisbane River, and is Australia's third most populous city. The climate anddiversity make it a very pleasant city to inhabit or visit..

Brisbane
 by Broderick Flickr Creative Commons

To head north, leave Brisbane on M1 then National Highway 1. Although this passes behind rather than through a lot of the beach towns of the sunshine coast, be sure to pick a few to stop at. Maroochydore is one of the major shopping spots on this coast, home to the Sunshine Plaza shopping centre. It is also a hotspot for surfing and hosts many surf carnivals. Noosa Heads has a famous northfacing beach as well as some small scenic bays, and the headland is covered in a National Park..

 Beach at Noosa Heads
by brewbooks Flickr Creative Commons

Back from the coast, Gympie is an historic goldmining town, where you can visit the museum to find out how the discovery of the precious metal saved Queensland. From Gympie, take the coastal route through Tin Can Bay, a fishing and boating paradise, or the inland route to Maryborough, one of the oldest cities in Queensland. From there, it isn't far to Bundaberg. At Childers, get onto Goodwood Road and follow it to Bundaberg. Bundaberg is best known for its rum distillery, and is home to a drinks company which distributes the delicious ginger beer by the same name. From the town, it is a short drive to many beaches, and the Great Barrier Reef is just offshore. There are several campervanpark facilities in Bundaberg, such as the Bundaberg Tourist Park..



Day 2: Bundaberg-Rockhampton

To begin the second leg of your journey, head out of Bundaberg on Bundaberg-Lowmead Road, then go right onto Tableland Road/State Route 16 at Berajondo. At Miriam Vale, go right onto Bruce Highway/State Route A1 and head north.

Gladstone and Lake Awoonga are both not far from the Bruce Highway. If you are a keen fisher, Awooga is the place to visit in search of barramundi. It also has great recreation areas to explore if fishing isn't your thing. Off the highway to the right is the busy port of Gladstone. To visit it, exit onto State Route 58 at Benaraby and get back on SR1 at Mount Larcom- this will add only 7km to your journey! fresh seafoood is the pride of menus here, so visit a local restaurant to try some.

 You could catch one of these!
by Rob and Stephanie Levy Flickr Creative Commons

Back on the road, head through the small localities of Mount Larcom, Raglan, Marmor and Midgee before arriving in Rockhampton. This city on the Fitzroy River gets an amazing 300 days of sunshine each year, and has an abundance of outdoor activities to keep you busy. Quay street is full of amazing historic buildings, there is a botanical gardens, and Mt Archer National park fringing the northeast suburbs has amazing views of the city.



 Have a look here for great deals on Brisbane campervan rental!


Author: Doug Brown+

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sydney to Canberra Loop

If you're looking for a road trip departing from Sydney, why not try a loop through Canberra? It will take you through some great inland landscapes and also along the coast from Bateman's Bay to Sydney.

 Sydney
by Jimmy Harris Flickr Creative Commons

Day 1: Sydney to Canberra

 Leave Sydney and get into the southern highlands on National Highway 31, the area to the southwest of Sydney. In this genteel and picturesque area, you will drive through several small towns, and the natural attractions are somewhat off the main road- the Wombeyan Caves are accessed via the Old Hume Highway and Wombeyan Caves Road from Sydney. Views from the road are spectacular, and there is a camping area and other public facilities in the Reserve. There are several limestone caves to explore, so it is worth the trip off the beaten track if you fancy yourself a bit of a spelunker! The Fitzroy Falls are another beautiful natural feature of the area. To see them, get off the 31 and in to Mittagong and get on Bong Bong Road, go right onto Old South Road then left onto Range Road. Folllow signs to Glenquarry, Avoca and the Falls.

 Fitzroy Falls
by Flickr.Whisker Flickr Creative Commons

Further along the National Highway 31 is Gouldburn. This was Australia's first inland city, and is now a large provincial centre that services the surrounding agricultural region. Close to Canberra is the ancient Lake George, believed to be more than a million years old. The shallow lake is prone to short and long term episodes of filling and drying, and sheep are sometimes grazed in the lake bed when it is dry or nearly dry! It is a very interesting natural phenomena to check out on your way through.

Canberra in Australian Capital Territory is the nation's Capital. It is set on the shores of another lake, Burley Griffin, and is set out in an orderly and symmetrical fashion befitting the political centre of a country. It is full of  holiday parks, so there will be no worries finding somewhere to stay!

 Canberra
by Richard Gifford Flickr Creative Commons

Day 2: Canberra and surrounds

Canberra and the surrounding area is worth a day for exploring. Some of the most significant cultural institutions of the nation are situated in the central city. The National Gallery of Australia is one impressive art gallery, and includes a huge collection of aboriginal art. The Australian War Memorial includes a very extensive military museum, a Commemorative Area with the Tomb of the Unknown Australian Soldier, a sculpture garden and a research centre. The history of a nation is housed here, and it is a great place to visit, learn a little and reflect on the cost of war. Other cultural hotspots in the city include Parliament House, the National Portrait Gallery, the National Museum of Australia and the National Library of Australia.

 Australian War Memorial
by Lee Hopkins Flickr Creative Commons

Away from the central city, nature abounds. The Canberra Nature Park infiltrates the area with 33 separate areas of park, ranging from bush-covered hills to grassland. When in Canberra, you are never far from a piece of the Nature Park! There are numerous other National Parks, State Forests and Nature Reserves surrounding the city- one of these is Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. Tidbinbilla offers great wildlife watching, bushwalking and even has a Discovery Playground for kids. You can also take ranger-guided tours and overnight discovery tours, an amazing way to experience some of Australia's unique wildlife and landscape.



Day 3: Canberra to Sydney via the Coast

This is a 6-hour drive, so split it over two days if you are feeling leisurely! Leaving Canberra, get on State Route 52 and head to Batemans Bay. Have a look at the historic town of Braidwood on the way through. The King's Highway section of State Route 52 between Braidwood and Nelligen has particularly amazing views, with glimpses of the ocean through dense forest.

 Batemans Bay
by pennyryder Flickr Creative Commons

Batemans Bay is a popular holiday destination for Canberra residents and is situated on the Clyde estuary. A very pretty beach town! From there, get on National Route 1 heading north. There are a multitude of towns and beaches along here. If you are really in the mood for exercise, try the 4-hour return hike to the top of Pigeon House Mountain which includes steel ladders. This will require venturing from the National Route, so you would probably need the extra day in your trip! There are numerous Holiday and campervan parks along this coast.  Jervis Bay further north is a beautiful part of the coastline known for white sand and crystal water.

Jervis Bay
by Steve Shattuck Flickr Creative Commons


Continue up through Nowra, Kiama and Wollongong. The Kiama Blowhole is an amazing thing to see when seas are running, and is floodlit at night for even more spectacular viewing. To hug the coast a bit more, take State Route 151 around the outer edge of Lake Illawara before rejoining the main road and continuing on to the big smoke!


Have a look here for a range of Sydney motorhome hire sites!


Author: Doug Brown+

Monday, April 16, 2012

Winter mini Roadtrip in North Island of New Zealand

Rotorua - Hells Gate
By Ianz - Flickr
The Winter Holidays are the perfect time to take the kids on a mini Campervan tour of the North Island in New Zealand.  Bubbling mud pools, Thermal Hot Springs and snowy mountains are on the cards in this exploration of the beautiful New Zealand scenery.

Begin the holiday in Auckland, but leave the big city behind as you head for Tauranga and the mount.  Spend some time at the cafes and shops down at Main Beach, Mount Maunganui and be sure to take a walk around the Mount or up to the summit to get some beautiful views of the East Coast.

Mt. Maunganui
Mount Maunganui
By SW-arts - Flickr
From Tauranga,  jump on the highway to Rotorua.  Rotorua is a tourists playground and if you've been there before, the lovely smells will make you nostalgic for previous holidays.   Visit the bubbling mud pools and hissing geysers in Whakarewarewa Geothermal Village and Te Puia's New Zeland Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.   Have some fun up the Rotorua Gondola's, complete with thrilling Luges and chairlifts.  Newly renovated Rainbow Springs is a must visit with it's Kiwi's, birds, Wildlife and fun "Big Splash" ride!   Take a tiki tour around the Lake and surrounding Lakes like Tarawera,  Rotoiti and Rotoma.  Visit the Agrodome for some Kiwi Farm experiences or take an exhilarating "roll" in the Zorb!

Huka Falls
Huka Falls
By KiwiHugger - Flickr

The Next Stop is Taupo.  Another geothermal town with lots to do.  On your arrival into town, if it's a clear day,  you'll be able to see Mount Ruapehu peeking out in all her glory, from behind the lake.  Play a game of mini golf lakeside (always a favourite with me), try your luck at getting a hole in one on the Lake's Golf hole pontoon, or relax and unwind in De Brett's Thermal Hot Pools.  Set up the Campervan Lakeside and share a delicious Kiwi classic - Fish and Chips.  Experience the extravagance of the 'Huka Falls' or the Aratiatia Rapids.  The Botanical gardens are a beauty and the 'Craters of the moon' Geothermal sites is a must visit.

Tongariro crossing
Tongariro Crossing
By trailrunz - Flickr
If your family or friends are up for it, do the world Famous Tongariro Alpine crossing.  Being amongst the volcanoes and all that comes with them is a life changing experience.  You may even feel like you've stepped into 'The Lord of the Rings'. 

The Turoa side
Turoa Side
By flashmick - Flickr
 Not coincidentally, the alpine crossing entrance is on the way to the next stop - Ohakune or National Park.  Both offer access to Mount Ruapehu for skiing, snowboarding or just sightseeing the glorious mountain and the spectacular views that come with it.  If it's a clear day you may even be able to see Mount Taranaki from the Turoa side. 

Head back to Auckland from here, perhaps stopping via Rotorua again to break up the journey to Auckland.

New Zealand is a marvel to travel in and you will have  blast with your family or friends.  Find a winter special on a Campervan at Campervan Hire Sale Finder and Have Fun!!

Take a look at the following videos if you're not already inspired!!



Author: Phil Wright+

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Lovely Long weekend in a Campervan.

Beach Runner
Papamoa Beach
By Abaconda - Flickr
 Our beautiful Easter weekend began on thursday afternoon in Auckland.  After an in depth run-through  of our 4 berth Campervan by the campervan lady, being shown the nooks and cranies, where everything was and the general functionalities of the dinky space, we were underway.   However, not without a DVD explaining anything we may have forgotten ready to play on our Campervan's very modern flat screen t.v. - easily maneuvered to fit up against the wall or in good view from the back couches.

Our dinky kitchen, cupboards, table and back window.
We hit the road with only a slight automatic-driver-to-manual-driver hiccup (Alan forgot to use the clutch when trying to reverse... senior moment).  The turbo diesel powered south towards Papamoa in the Bay of Plenty.  We filled the fridge and little freezer and the many cupboards (still roomy after storing and securing all our gear - clothes, jackets, tennis rackets and easter eggs) with groceries we purchased in Matamata. 

We drove through the beautiful Karangahake  gorge, small towns and Tauranga and arrived at Papamoa Top 10 Holiday Park after dark.   After being given a map to our spot, perched on sunset rise and plugging ourselves into the power, we began the first evening of our entirely relaxing weekend.  The curtains were pulled for privacy from prying eyes and our soup and salad was easily assembled in the well equipped, clean and, all things considered, roomy kitchenette.  After dining on the couches around the spacious table and doing the dishes in the sink (dishwashing liquid, and dish brushes included) we were eager to assemble the couch-cum-kingsize bed jigsaw.   The sheets were fitted and blankets thrown on and voila we had a comfy bed for the duration of our stay, with lights above to read our books.  The other double bed above the driver and passenger seats were more cave like and could be set up all day.  An early night and refreshing sleep was obtained by all.

The Campervan
Good friday brought forth a beautiful morning once the curtains had been raised.  The advantage of arriving at nightime is one gets a lovely surprise when they awake to a recently risen sun above the sparkling East Coast waters.   Our site overlooked other sites filled with Campervans and tents, giving Lynn plenty of "people watching" opportunities.   Beyond them were the small sand dunes and beyond that - pristine Papamoa beach.

Once the bed was packed up and turned back to the slid-able table and couches, bacon and eggs were fried up and the coffee brewed.   Although the Campervan was equipped with a clean, non smelly and perfectly ample shower/toilet facility,  we opted for the holiday park facilities to save on refilling  the water tank as often.   A quick tidy of the Campervan was done as we were expecting guests who wanted to share our Campervan vistas and comforts.   The weather was slightly temperamental, although with only one shower, but I'm happy to say we spent the rest of the day engorged in our books on the comfy couches eating and drinking and occasionally gazing out to the views and changing neighbours. 

View from our Papamoa Camping site
The following morning we spent in Mount Maunganui at the local monthly market followed by lunch at a friends and the afternoon at Tauranga's Easter weekend Jazz festivities.  The return to our site at Papamoa was eagerly anticipated as we were keen for a walk along the beach and more reading.  Sunday night in the park was booked as we couldn't stand leaving the next morning.

Sunday morning saw us heading out to conquer Papamoa Hills, a Maori Pa 10 minutes from the holiday park,  that's views and walk through the bush are well worth the following day's muscle pains.  Lunch was in Mount Maunganui followed by a sunday afternoon drive through the beachtown.  The sunny and warm beach beckoned us on our return, where we sat for a while watching the surfers out in the double overhead clean waves.  The sun went behind the dunes so we got out the deckchairs (included with the Camper) from the outside Campervan compartments, poured a glass of wine and sat in the remaining sun behind the Camper.   Cheese and crackers became our dinner and cards and books were on the table for the remainder of the evening.
Papamoa Hills
Papamoa Hills Climb
By winnins1 - Flickr

Our final morning in Papamoa was a beauty, enticing us to stay for yet another night. A walk along the beach heated us up for a swim in the suprisingly warm April ocean, followed by leftover Hot cross buns grilled in the Campervan's kitchen.  As our next night or two was going to be free camping, it was about time we dealt with "the tanks".  From our site Alan had the pleasure of wheeling (like a suitcase onto a plane) the "black water" tank to the "dump station" conveniently located in the holiday park.  After a relatively clean and tidy "emptying" and checking that the power battery was full,  we said goodbye to our site, belted up, stopped so Alan could hose out the grey water and hit the road for Rotorua.

Back couches of the Campervan
After an hour or so of bouncing around in the back of the Campervan, we hopped out for a walk in the beautiful Redwood forest.  Stocked up with a few more groceries we head to the family's lakeside section near Taupo.  No power plugs were available here so on came the gas for the fridge and hot water and here in forth, preserving of water.  We found a level spot on the section overlooking the pristine lake, dug out some food and wine  and stared out the huge back window  to the killer view.   The sun was behind the mountains so we dug out the little blow heater as we thought it may come in handy at some time in the night.  The duvets and extra blankets were suffiicient however and we arose the next morning to a tranquil walk near the lake.

The rest of the time was easily passed walking, reading and eating before we set forth the following day back to Auckland to return the Camper.  The goodbye wasn't easy as the sun was still shining and  a roadtrip to another destination would've been easy.

The campervan bode us well and we will definitely be doing many more a holiday in one.  Little extras like a large mirror, a toaster and plunger, a tall cupboard for clothes not wanting creases, a stereo system with AUX,  and many storage compartments set this campervan apart making it an easy and enjoyable holiday.

Yet again New Zealand scenery didn't cease to impress and we were graced with a superb Campervan holiday in the sun.  We knew fairly well where we wanted to go and what we wanted to do but for those traveling from abroad or who wanted some help, there was a "tourist radio" included in the rental.  This is your personal tour guide so you don't miss out on anything and can learn a thing or two about NZ as you go.

We found our great campervan at Motorhomerepublic.com .   I implore all to get a campervan for your next holiday and tour around parts, or all of New Zealand. 


Author: Phil Wright+

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

On Route 66 With Billy Connolly

 From Chicago to Santa Monica is 2488 miles, the route of the original Route 66. It is a legend in the US, and has spawned many namesakes- a song,  a television show, a brand of jeans and more. It was removed from the US Highway System in 1985, but has remained a well-known icon, and some parts of it are preserved as the 'Historic Route 66.'

Billy Connolly took to this legendary road on a trike in a 4-part series for ITV. Connolly is known for his brash humour, and the series doesn't disappoint, although it's not all about the funnies. It also offers some insight into the cities and communities along the route. Billy's storytelling ability comes to the fore here, picking up the threads of life along the route and weaving them into one long story during his journey. He visits Tornado-struck St. Louis, amish communities and many more places along the route- kicking off with a trip up the Willis Tower in Chicago.

Whilst Billy's irreverent attitude might rub some the wrong way, This is a fascinating series that investigates life along America's most famous road, and makes for a great idea for your own roadtrip. See the sights, people and communities along this road which was once a migration path towards the midwest, and get your kicks.. on Route 66!




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Author: Phil Wright+

10 of the best in Cornwall

The Guardian lists the ten best campsites in the popular british holiday destination of Cornwall. Although judging the best is subjective to say the least, these campsites are certainly worth a look if you are planning a roadtrip in the area:


Lovelane Caravans

This is a camp full of boutique caravans- sadly not much use for an RV rental as the caravans are already set up on site and you cannot bring your own. However, it sounds like an enchanting place to stay!

Highertown Farm Campsite

This is a small campsite, but well-maintained by the National Trust. With room for only a few motorhomes or caravans and less than 20 tents, it is small but stunning- the campsite has views of the South East Cornwall coast and easy access to several secluded bays. Be prepared to be isolated- there is no restaurant nearby- but also to enjoy the quiet and natural beauty.

Treen Farm

Treen Farm in Penzance is known for breathtaking views. It is family-owned and run simply. A first-come-first-served policy means no reservations can be made. Charges are very reasonable, and there is a small store onsite with local bread, veges and meat, and an off-license from 8am to 8pm. The site is just back from Treen Cliff, with amazing views of the Logan Rock, and there are walks galore along the cliffs. Two beaches are close by.

 Logan Rock
by Jim Champion Flickr Creative Commons

Cornish Tipi Holidays

Like Lovelane, this is not a bring-your-own situation, so don't turn up in a motorhome! It is also quite expensive, considering you will be camping, albeit in a tipi. However if you want to experience something different, tipis are certainly it.

Gwithian Farm Campsite

Gwithian Beach is removed from the cute coves of Cornwall and is a somewhat more wild surf beach. The Campsite is just back from the beach, and provides many great features at a reasonable price. There is a shop onsite, clean toilets and showers, laundry facilities, free use of freezers for freezer packs and free phone recharging, a children's area and free wireless access. The pretty village location means that there are conveniences close by, such as the pub just across from the campsite.

 Gwithian Beach
by Jim Champion Flickr Creative Commons

Beacon Cottage Farm

In St. Agnes, Beacon Cottage Farm has extremely amazing panoramic views of the ocean. It offers 70 sites for tents and motorhomes and great facilities, including a small shop. The site is also a working farm! The South West Coastal footpath passes just outside the campsite so it is a perfect spot for hikers. There is also a beach only ten minutes' walk away. The elevated position can mean strong winds, but these should not affect a motorhome.

Treloan Coastal Holidays

This is located on the Roseland Peninsula, very close to the ocean. There are hot showers and dish-washing facilities (no cooking area), powered sites and if you don't have your own camper or tent, you can hire a 'yurt' or 'snug,' both of which have their own stoves. The area is beautiful, with extuaries, secluded beaches and forests abounding.

Namparra Campsite

This campsite is great for those who want peace and quiet- set well down a private road on the Lizard Peninsula.  Just 6 acres, the site is family run and casual- no allocated pitches. In July and August, hook-ups can only be booked from Saturday to Saturday due to demand. It has a basic shower block, a shop and the 'Cow Shed Bar.' A 20-minute walk will take you to Kennack Sands, a pretty and family-friendly beach.

South Penquite Farm

This organic farm and campsite is set on the dramatic moorland of Bodmin Moor. The shower and toilet facilities are top-notch and solar-powered, but rmember this is a farm, so bring your gumboots! 'Yurts' are also available for hire. There are coin-operated washers and dryers, and washing-up facilities. The farmhouse sells home-produced lamb burgers and mutton sausages, as well as logs- as this is one of the only campsites where you are permitted to build a campfire.

 Bodmin Moor
by Paul Harris Flickr Creative Commons

Broad Meadow House

This quaint spot is limited to 12 campers, and the only campervans allowed are vintage VWs. It is located in Charleston, and has great views over the bay, and is very private due to the limited numbers. There are great views from the site, and it is right in the lovely village of Charleston.


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Author: Doug Brown+

Monday, April 2, 2012

Workamping

For the semi-retired or naturally nomadic, workamping is the latest lifestyle option- live (and work) out of an RV!

If your work is internet-based, the transition is easy- just take to the road and find a way to keep up a connection-  buy a dongle for internet on the go, or use wireless which many parks provide. However, it's still possible to combine work with your chosen lifestyle if you can't work on the web- many workampers do short term work in camping grounds, hotels, amusement parks or anywhere where their interests and skills may lie. Workampers have dedicated websites with 'work wanted' ads and 'help wanted' ads to aid budding and experienced workampers find occupation. Jobs at RV parks and camping grounds are obviously popular- these often exchange a site, electricity, water and other necessities for part-time work with no pay, and some pay a wage as well as a site and full hook ups.

Workamping is a great way to prolong your travel- work a bit, spend less and become a part of the communities you visit.





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Author: Rohan Marx+

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