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Home From Home In A Caravan

Dec 18, 2007
We're Planning The Trip Of A Lifetime. The Children Have Never Travelled Anywhere Outside Of Europe And We're About To Take Them On A Trip To The Other Side Of The World For Two Months In New Zealand.

We know this is going to be a one off but we really want to get a feel for the place. We don't want to be stuck to a rigid timetable running from one place to another to make sure we get in all the tourist attractions. We want to be able to go off the beaten track for some of the outdoor leisure activities.

To do this we decided to use a caravan. Still at the planning stages, we were unsure whether to go for a new or used caravan but after research on the internet we found a new caravan company local to the airport and car hire company.

So, we've arrived in Auckland after a 24 hour flight, exhausted. After picking up our car we soon see the sign for new caravans and head for the site. The staff in the caravan sales department are very helpful and have our caravan ready for us immediately. We've decided to opt for a new one as we are going to be spending a long time in it and want the extra facilities that come with such a large caravan.

After a few days rest on a local camp site, we make our way to Hot Water Beach on the Coramandel Penninsula. Parking virtually on the beach we head off with our spades to enjoy the first of our outdoor leisure activities. We have spent an afternoon digging holes on the beach and bathing in the hot water fed directly from the volcano springs. As lovely as this is, we realise the small luxury of having our own shower when we are able to clean up and sleep exactly where we are.

Waking up this close to the ocean the next morning is just sheer luxury. We have a leisurely breakfast and head across to Rotorua. With this whole town built on a flat topped volcano, I'm quite glad we have the means of driving off with our home should the unthinkable happen!

We spend a happy few weeks travelling South with our caravan, stopping at roadsides, campsites and beaches - wherever takes our fancy. We get to travel off the tourist route, to see waterfalls and the most amazing natural sights that we wouldn't have seen had we been based in a hotel. A few days in Napier gives us the chance for scuba diving. One of the main outdoor leisure activities we are here for and once again, an on hand shower to warm us up is a godsend.

Three weeks in and we're running short on supplies so we head to a new and used caravans site and stock up. Driving a couple of miles further down the road we reach Castle Point. This is a beautiful sport with a rocky coastline and great reputation for snorkelling and diving.

Parking up, I am able to hop in the caravan and make a much needed cup of tea. This is when I hear my son shouting for me and a feeling of panic washes over me. I rush out to see that he is safe but he had been jumping about in the rocks and was now stood atop one just staring down. I picked my way across to see what he was shouting about when an almighty roar bellows out.

It's a mother sea lion with her cub asking us to move away! Backing away slowly we realise the rocks are full of sea lions. Most are quite happy for us to have a look at them as long as we don't get too close. The next day we are able to move a little further down the coast away from them and go snorkelling. Now it's their turn to be inquisitive and, much happier in their own environment, they swim with us for a look.

After a week in Wellington, we begin to make our way up the island. Stopping at little villages off the beaten track we get to mix with plenty of the most sociable locals. Laying on a beach of black volcanic sand one afternoon we are joined by a couple of natives who chat to us like we have known them for years! I think if we had stayed in a hotel we would only have met foreign tourists so I am very glad we decided to use the caravan.

After another 3 weeks of relaxed touring with stops for white water rafting, waterfall jumping and seeing all the sights, we have made it as far North as we can possible go to 90 mile beach. This is where we spend the last few days of our trip sand boarding down the biggest sand dunes you have ever seen. But at the back of our minds we realise it's time to start winding down to go home.

Despite all the excitement, we have been a little homesick at times. However, I have also become attached to this 'home' too. Before our flight home, we make arrangements to have our beloved caravan shipped back home. It takes six weeks but there's no great rush. We are able to then site our caravan on a UK caravan site and have regular breaks with fond memories.
About the Author
Travel expert Shaun Parker looks into the use of new caravans for touring and travel. To find out more please visit http://www.homesteadcaravans.co.uk/
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