Thanks to friends who advised us on our trip we also paid for the Express Return. No need to dump anything or fill anything. Just sweep, pile your linens, and slight wipe down. We passed the inspection no problem.
Off to Christchurch Airport and onto our next short adventure in Auckland.
So...if you choose to do this trip some advice:
|Bring travel games|
- Do not take big suitcases. We took a backpack each and a duffel bag each. The RV does not have room to store suitcases, and especially not hard-sided ones. Nope, not even underneath.
- Do not pack fancy clothes. We took this advice from friends and boy was it true. Everyone and everywhere is casual. For men, a collared shirt and jeans are as fancy as it gets.
- Ladies every campsite has hairdryers, but don't bother bringing a flat iron or other styling tools. Their 230V even with a converter can possibly fry your items. But do grab plug adapters. Your RV will have USB ports, but also several electrical outlets.
- Layers...and a good raincoat. The weather really changes rapidly here. But a good raincoat is good protection from the rain and a windbreak.
- Speaking of weather...pack some cards or travel-size games. We brought playing cards and a travel scrabble.
- Visit at Thanksgiving if you can. Everyone told us December just gets busier and busier. And WOW we saw that even today on November 30 when we returned our RV there were 3X as many people picking up. We were told you must book campsites if you are not "Freedom Camping" well in advance for the Christmas Holiday. Thanksgiving we added nights, added locations with no problem. We were also told prices go WAY up for Christmas.
- The same goes for activities. Most guides told us December should be booked in advance.
- Bring waterproof pants for Milford Sound. Or just be prepared to be in wet pants for a while. Some of our tour group had bought rain ponchos from the gift store. Also a good idea.
- Kind of wished we would have brought 1 compact umbrella. The good news is there are groceries in about every town within walking distance from the campgrounds, but we often ventured in the rain and it would have been nice to have an umbrella.
- Have the airport shuttle at the RV rental take one of you to the grocery to shop while the other checks in at the RV. They say to plan on 1-2 hours for check-in. Ours took about an hour, but there were people today who had waited 2 hours.
- Speaking of shopping...we found the RV had plenty of space to store things. Food-wise we went with pasta, bread that could double for sandwiches and french toast. Eggs allowed for french toast, scrambled, and hard-boiled. Manuka honey for toast, sandwiches, and melted for "syrup." Due to the rain, we got ramen noodles for an easy warm-up and again our bread with cheese slices became yummy grilled cheeses. The RV had a microwave, so leftovers worked well. Carrots and spinach were added to salad and soups. And there's no lack of amazing chocolates at every "petrol" station to try something new every day for a sweet. And lamb...and other fresh meats could be added to salads or eaten as an entree. All the campgrounds had gas grills in a common area to use.
- "Give Way" or "Use the Bays"....use turnouts and allow people to pass. And when they honk when they pass you they are saying thank you. They are not mad.
- Don't visit unless you are giving it more than a week. We were 10 days and it was still tight. And we only did the south island and even skipped the north/Nelson/wine area.
- Ask...if there is anything you are wondering...just ask. The people here are incredibly nice and accommodating. Other than agriculture tourism is the main source of income. We never met a cross person. Everyone was incredibly friendly.
HUGE SHOUT OUT to the Jarnac Family for passing on their notes from their trip a few years ago. It saved us tons of headaches and we are grateful. We have saved all of our activities, websites, contacts, etc.. And if you have New Zealand on your list feel free to reach out to us. We love sharing our love of travel and our successes and failures along the road.
|Always add add 10 minutes to every hour travel|
|Mind your head|
|Enjoy the outdoors, when not raining|
|Sleeping was surprisingly comfy|