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Drone image of campervan driving along water


Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: NZ blog

The guide to your first family campervan trip.

In this helpful guide, we'll provide you with top tips on how to plan the ultimate family campervan holiday.

But first, why a family campervan trip should be on your bucket list

From majestic mountains to pristine lakes and rivers, New Zealand is a country of unparalleled beauty. And there’s simply no better way to make the most of everything on offer than a family campervan holiday. In our fast-paced modern lives, it can be rare to find uninterrupted family time, free from the distractions of daily routines. A campervan road trip allows you to create your own unique journey and embrace a more relaxed pace. 

Travelling by campervan is like having a home on wheels, providing all the comforts and must-haves needed for a comfortable journey. From cooking meals together to sharing stories around a campfire, a campervan trip allows you to connect with nature and each other in a unique way.

There are lots of practical reasons why a campervan holiday is perfect for families too. One of the big ones is cost savings. By choosing a campervan holiday, you can avoid the high costs of motel and hotel stays. You can even mix up campground stays with freedom camping, allowing you to stretch your travel budget even further.


Image: Laura Helly


Choosing the best campervan for your family

The very first item on your family camping checklist is to book in a campervan rental that perfectly suits your family's needs. Choosing a campervan that is too small, too large, or lacking essential features can take the shine off your holiday. At Apollo, we understand that different families have different needs, that’s why we offer a wide range of campervan rentals to cater to every type of traveller.

Whether you're a small family seeking a relaxed campground experience or a larger family craving luxury and ample amenities, Apollo has the perfect campervan for you. 

When you’re planning to rent a travel van, consider essential factors like gear storage space as well as extras such as a TV or DVD player. Another consideration is whether your furry companion will be joining the journey – rest assured, Apollo campervans are pet-friendly

Let’s have a look at some of Apollo’s popular family campervan rentals:


Types of family campervans are available at Apollo

  • Endeavour Camper: This 4-berth camper is lightweight, compact, and easy to drive making it the ideal choice for first-time family road trips. The Endeavour campervan is perfect for families staying in campgrounds who don’t need an onboard shower and toilet facilities (available in our motorhome range). 


  • Euro Camper:  This spacious motorhome accommodates up to four adults and is perfect for larger families, providing plenty of space for baby and booster seats. With its spacious beds, fully equipped kitchen, shower, toilet, and ample storage facilities, this motorhome feels more like travelling in a cosy bungalow on wheels! 


  • Euro Deluxe:  For big families looking for all the bells and whistles, Apollo's 6-berth Euro Deluxe is the perfect choice. This spacious and comfortable home away from home is designed for easy driving and luxurious living. Inside, you'll find a fully equipped kitchen complete with a microwave, gas stove, and fridge. You also have the convenience of an onboard toilet and shower. And with internal heating, the whole family will be comfortable wherever your journey takes you. 


How to plan out your travel itinerary

While campervan travel offers the freedom to be spontaneous, having a planned route can provide peace of mind for parents. By mapping out your journey in a road trip itinerary planner, you can avoid unnecessary backtracking and long hours of driving. That’s something you definitely want to avoid with young ones on board! Here are a few tips to help you plan your New Zealand road trip:

  • Book ahead at the campsites you'll be staying at along the way so you don’t arrive only to miss out on a spot. 

  • Take note of petrol station locations, particularly if you're travelling through remote areas, to ensure you have enough fuel for your journey.

  • Consider the weather conditions and seasonal attractions of the places you plan to visit. Certain destinations may be more enjoyable during specific times of the year. 


Image: Miles Holden


What you need to know about driving a campervan in New Zealand

Van travel in New Zealand offers a unique and exciting way to explore the country's breathtaking landscapes. However, before you hit the road, it's important to familiarise yourself with some key information and rules.


Ensure your child has the appropriate car seat

When travelling with children in a campervan in New Zealand, it is important to ensure your child has the appropriate car seat. New Zealand law requires children under the age of seven years to be properly restrained in a child restraint. 

You can hire booster seats and rear-facing infant car seats when you book your Apollo campervan. 


Road rules in New Zealand

If you’re not familiar with the road rules in New Zealand, it’s important to take some time to learn these. Here are a few key points:

  • In New Zealand, you drive on the left side of the road.

  • The speed limits are generally 100 km/h on open roads and 50 km/h in urban areas unless signposted otherwise. 

  • Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers.

  • It's important to be aware of the alcohol limits for driving. This is a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05% for drivers aged 20 and above and zero tolerance for drivers under the age of 20. 

  • Always give way to vehicles on your right at uncontrolled intersections.


How to keep kids happy on a campervan road trip

Taking a campervan road trip with kids can be an exciting adventure. Here are a few tips to help keep them happy and entertained along the way.


Make the most of your campervan’s kitchen

With a kitchen on board, you have the freedom to prepare and enjoy meals whenever your little ones get hungry. Additionally, many family-friendly campsites provide barbecue facilities, allowing you to add some outdoor cooking fun to your trip. You may like to get the kids involved with these fun activities:

  • Have the kids come up with a name for a campervan ‘restaurant’.  

  • Give them some paper and pens and get them to draw or write a menu.

  • Assign age-appropriate cooking tasks, such as stirring, measuring ingredients, or setting the table. 

  • Prepare a skewer-based meal that is easy to cook and fun for kids. Encourage them to assemble their own skewers with ingredients like chopped vegies, slices of meat, cheese, or tofu (see our yummy seafood skewer recipe further down).

  • Have a breakfast (or dessert) party! Whip up some pancake batter and set up a breakfast bar with various toppings such as fresh fruits, chocolate chips, and syrups. Kids can pour the batter into a pan to make their own pancakes and then add their favourite toppings.


Don’t forget about kids' entertainment

Keeping kids entertained on a campervan holiday is essential for a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here are some tips to keep your little ones engaged and entertained throughout the trip:

  • Pack board games, card games, and puzzles that the whole family can enjoy together.

  • Plan nature walks, scavenger hunts, or geocaching activities to engage their curiosity and encourage exploration.

  • Enjoy multimedia on the road: Load up tablets or portable DVD players with their favourite movies or TV shows for entertainment during long drives.

  • Consider audiobooks or podcasts suitable for their age, offering a mix of education and entertainment.

Remember, a successful campervan holiday with kids involves a balance of planned activities and free play. Kids have great imaginations, so be open to allowing them to create their own fun along the way.


Stay at kid-friendly holiday parks

There are loads of fantastic family-friendly campgrounds and holiday parks in New Zealand. These are designed to cater to the needs and interests of families with children, ensuring a fun and enjoyable experience for the whole family. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Family-focused facilities: Kid-friendly campsites and holiday parks often feature a range of facilities tailored to children, including playgrounds, swimming pools, and game rooms. 

  • Safe and secure environment: These holiday parks prioritise the safety of families, with secure premises, gated entry points, and attentive staff. 

  • Kid-friendly activities: Many campsites and holiday parks offer organised activities and events for children, such as arts and crafts sessions, treasure hunts, and outdoor games. 

  • Friendship: Staying at kid-friendly campsites is a great way for kids to make new friends from all over New Zealand (and beyond!). 



Image: Tourism New Zealand


Pack appropriately for your trip 

When preparing for your family campervan road trip, it's a good idea to allow plenty of time for packing. Here are a few tips to make it easy:

  • New Zealand's climate can be unpredictable, so be sure to pack clothing suitable for all weather conditions. Layering is key, as it allows you to adjust to changing temperatures throughout the day. 

  • Don't forget to pack essentials such as toiletries, medications, a first aid kit, and insect repellent for summer. 

  • Writing a packing list in advance can help you remember additional items that are specific to your family's needs and preferences. 

  • Consider items like favourite toys, outdoor equipment, entertainment options, and any specific dietary requirements. 


Ready for your first family campervan trip?

A New Zealand campervan road trip offers endless possibilities for exploration and quality time together. With Apollo New Zealand, you can choose from a wide range of family-friendly campervans equipped with everything needed for a fun and comfortable holiday. Start planning your dream campervan getaway and book your camper online today. Let the excitement begin!

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