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With so many places to visit in New Zealand, two questions remain. Which direction will you head? and which places in New Zealand will you visit to experience an endless summer?
There are an array of New Zealand destinations to visit during the summer months that can be traveled by camper. Hidden gems secreted away in spots around New Zealand, perfect for taking in some sun, relaxing and slowly unwinding as the summer rolls on.
LAKE BENMORE AND WAITAKI VALLEY
Imagine rolling brown hills spilling down to a suntanned promontory dotted with golden poplar trees. There, next to the water of startling blue intensity, you will find a quiet place to read and snooze in the sun. This is Central Otago at its best - where roadside stalls are groaning with summer fruit and limestone dust whirls like a Dervish behind the motorhome and settles for the long wait for another passer-by. Wherever you go the Waitaki Valley is a rare and unspoiled place for trampers, cyclists, boaties, fishers and dreamers who need little more than a remote place to read, and it’s perfectly located roughly halfway between Britz’s Christchurch and Queenstown branches, making it accessible from either direction or even on a one-way hire.
This is home to the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle trail which winds down the valley to the capital of Victorian and Edwardian charm, Oamaru. But if you are not a serious cyclist you can still access cycle trails to lose yourself, or return slowly to civilisation. There are many campgrounds to choose from and you can stay at the well-serviced Lake Benmore Campground, or take advantage of the wonderful service the Waitaki District Council offers of basic serviced campgrounds in remote lakeside places.
OAMARU, MOERAKI AND SURROUNDS
Oamaru, on New Zealand’s south-east coast, is a charming town, which boasts the greatest number of Edwardian and Victorian buildings in New Zealand. For this reason, and the fact that the beautiful harbour town is roughly equidistant between Christchurch and Queenstown (both of which have Britz Campervan branches), it has become wildly popular and crowded during the high season. So if you don’t need people on penny farthings wearing period costumes to bring history to life, visit after the crowds have dissipated and stroll the quiet streets at your leisure. After that, head straight to the magnificent Edwardian wharf, which has seen some restoration in recent years, and look across the water to the night-watchman's red shed where, in 1913, news first broke that Robert Falcon Scott and his team had perished. Return to the Victorian precinct for coffee and a pick me up of some local delicacies, before heading 30 minutes south to the tiny township of Moeraki. There on the ramshackle wharf, you can line up for a delectable seafood lunch at Fleur’s, knowing your chances of getting a table at this world-famous eatery are better now the hordes are gone. Afterwards, take a walk through the quaint and quiet hillside campground.
RUSSELL AND THE BAY OF ISLANDS
The far north of the North Island is where Kiwis in search of an endless summer are bound to go. After picking up your camper from Britz’s Auckland branch, head up to Russell and base yourself there. It is well-equipped with camping options just an easy stroll from the waterfront village. If time is on your side, as it should be during an endless summer, jump on the ferry to Paihia, and take the famous cream trip around the islands and explore some of the historic landmarks of the birthplace of our nation. Spend a night or two at the Falls Campground north of Paihia and, here, you’ll find the waterfall spray dances, sending rainbows across the landscaped grounds, now luminescent in the autumn light. It’s so beautiful here that you may not be able to tear yourself away. But since the weather is still warm, you may not have to return to reality for a while yet.