What to pack for a winter campervan adventure in New Zealand | Apollo NZ
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Dunedin & Central Otago

A New Zealand campervan holiday to Dunedin and Central Otago offers a truly unique travel experience. Situated on the southeastern coast of the South Island, Dunedin is known for its Scottish heritage and Victorian and Edwardian architecture, while Central Otago, a short drive inland, offers dramatic landscapes characterised by rugged mountains, rolling plains, and crystal-clear lakes. Dunedin is a city that prides itself on its educational and cultural richness, home to the prestigious University of Otago and an array of museums and galleries. Dunedin’s weather can be cooler than other parts of New Zealand, with crisp, clear days perfect for exploring the historic streets or nearby natural attractions.

Central Otago offers a stark contrast with its semi-arid terrain, making it perfect for outdoor activities such as biking along the Otago Central Rail Trail and wine tasting at some of New Zealand's highest altitude vineyards. The region's dry climate and dramatic seasonal changes serve as a stunning backdrop for adventure and relaxation alike. Park up overnight in a Dunedin holiday park or find a secluded spot near one of Central Otago's picturesque lakes. With the convenience of your campervan, you can comfortably switch between urban exploration in Dunedin and remote escapes in the wilds of Otago. Whether you're drawn to Dunedin's cultural scene or the rugged beauty of Otago’s outdoors, this region promises a memorable experience.

 

Why explore Dunedin & Central Otago by campervan

Exploring Dunedin and Central Otago by campervan is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the region's unique blend of cultural heritage and stunning natural beauty. With a campervan, you dictate the pace and path of your journey. In Dunedin, you can easily navigate from the bustling shopping centre to quiet, windswept beaches along the Otago Peninsula. In Central Otago, the freedom to roam allows you to discover hidden gems, from secluded vineyards to historic gold mining towns, all at your own pace. The ability to spontaneously decide where to go next, from a morning exploring Dunedin’s architectural marvels to an afternoon tasting pinot noirs amidst the hills of Central Otago, is a true luxury.

Travelling by campervan not only offers all the comforts of home, including your own kitchen, bed, and living space but also saves you the hassle of packing and unpacking at each new destination. Plus, having your own facilities means you’re never far from a homecooked meal or a comfortable bed, even if you find yourself in the remote reaches of the region.

 

Things to do in Dunedin & Central Otago

Dunedin and Central Otago abound with diverse attractions, blending rich history with exhilarating outdoor pursuits and gourmet experiences. In Dunedin, discover the opulence of Larnach Castle or engage with local history at the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. For wildlife lovers, the area offers close encounters with unique species like the yellow-eyed penguin. Moving inland to Central Otago, you can hit the scenic cycle trails, savour exquisite pinot noirs at local vineyards, or try gold panning in Cromwell. Activities like water sports on Lake Dunstan also offer plenty of thrills, ensuring every traveller finds something to cherish.

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Apollo Campervan branches

Christchurch

Setting out from Apollo's Christchurch branch, the road trip through the Canterbury Plains and alongside the Southern Alps is breathtaking, with stops like Lake Tekapo and the historic town of Oamaru enriching your travel experience. 

Queenstown

Departing from Apollo's Queenstown branch, you're perfectly positioned to explore both the adventurous heart of the South Island and the tranquil beauty of Central Otago before reaching Dunedin. 

Auckland

From Apollo Auckland, the multi-day trip to Dunedin and Central Otago – we suggest 10-14 days – offers a comprehensive tour of the North and South Islands, including crossing the Cook Strait by ferry

Auckland City Skyline

Auckland

New Zealand’s multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture.

 

Christchurch City, New Zealand

Christchurch

 One of the world’s most unique destinations.

 

Queenstown

Breathtaking scenery and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.

 

Helpful tips for visiting Dunedin & Central Otago

 

Climate and seasons in Dunedin & Central Otago

Dunedin and Central Otago offer distinct climate experiences that reflect the diverse landscapes of the southern part of New Zealand’s South Island.

Dunedin enjoys a temperate maritime climate with mild summers and cool winters, tempered by its coastal position.

  • Summer (December to February) are generally mild, with temperatures hovering around 15°C to 22°C, ideal for enjoying outdoor activities along the city’s beaches and exploring the lush Otago Peninsula.

  • Autumn (March to May) sees cooler temperatures and is a great time to witness the changing colours of the city's abundant foliage.

  • Winter (June to August) in Dunedin can be chilly, with temperatures dropping to 5°C to 10°C, but the city’s historical and cultural sites continue to draw visitors.

  • Spring (September to November) rejuvenates the city with mild weather and blossoming gardens, perfect for outdoor adventures before the colder months set in.

Central Otago contrasts sharply with a more continental climate, characterised by hot dry summers and cold winters.

  • Summers see temperatures that can climb above 25°C, making it an excellent time for exploring the region’s famous vineyards and outdoor recreational activities.
  • Autumn brings a dramatic change in landscape colour, particularly vivid in the vineyard areas, with cooler but still pleasant temperatures.
  • Winter sees temperatures often falling below freezing, blanketing the region in snow, which transforms the landscape into a winter wonderland, popular for photography and winter sports.
  • Spring slowly warms up the land, thawing lakes and rivers, and ushering in a season of growth and renewal.

 

 

 

What to pack

Preparing for your campervan adventure in Dunedin and Central Otago requires thoughtful packing to accommodate the varying climates and activities these regions offer. Here’s what to consider bringing along to make the most of your trip:

  • Outdoor gear: Given the diverse environments in Dunedin and Central Otago, versatile outdoor gear is essential. For Dunedin's coastal walks and city explorations, lightweight, breathable clothing will serve you well, complemented by a waterproof jacket for unpredictable showers. Central Otago's more extreme temperatures call for sun hats and high SPF sunscreen in summer, and warm, insulating layers in winter, especially if you plan to engage in snow sports or explore the frosty landscapes.

  • Campervan add-ons: Enhancing your campervan with a few extras can significantly improve your comfort and convenience. A portable heater might be necessary for chilly Central Otago nights, while a fan can keep you cool during the dry summer heat. Additionally, outdoor chairs and a table will expand your living space, perfect for enjoying the scenic views at your leisure.

  • Sun protection: Sun protection is crucial year-round due to New Zealand’s strong UV rays, particularly in the exposed and high-altitude areas of Central Otago. Pack broad-spectrum sunscreen, UV-protective sunglasses, and a wide-brimmed hat. Insect repellent will also be useful, especially in the warmer months when sandflies and mosquitoes are more prevalent.

For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip.

 

 

Nearby attractions and day trips from Dunedin & Central Otago

 

  • The Otago Peninsula tretching along the southern edge of the Otago Harbour, is renowned for its stunning coastal scenery and incredible wildlife. This area is a haven for nature lovers, offering opportunities to see rare yellow-eyed penguins, fur seals, and the only mainland breeding colony of royal albatross in the world. The peninsula’s rolling hills and rugged cliffs provide perfect vantage points for breathtaking views and photography.
  • Larnach Castle, New Zealand’s only castle, offers a glimpse into the country’s colonial past, set against the backdrop of expansive gardens and the scenic Otago Peninsula. Built in 1871 by William Larnach, a merchant and politician, the castle features beautifully restored Victorian-era rooms and a unique collection of New Zealand antiques. The gardens are a highlight, recognised as a Garden of International Significance, perfect for a leisurely stroll.
  • Baldwin Street in Dunedin is famous for being the world's steepest residential street, attracting visitors from all over the globe. The street offers a challenging but quirky walk, rising significantly over its short 350-metre length.
  • Dunedin Railway Station is a stunning architectural marvel, known as the ‘Gingerbread House’ because of its ornate Flemish Renaissance style. Completed in 1906, the station is one of the most photographed buildings in New Zealand. Visitors can admire its detailed mosaic floors, stained glass windows, and grand booking hall. The station also serves as the departure point for scenic railway journeys that explore the spectacular landscapes surrounding Dunedin.
  • Tunnel Beach, just south of Dunedin, offers dramatic coastal scenery with sandstone cliffs, arches, and headlands. Accessible through a short walk that includes a tunnel down to the beach – hand-carved in the 1870s – this spot is perfect for those looking to explore a more secluded part of the coastline. The beach is particularly striking at sunset and is a popular location for romantic walks and picnics.
  • Otago Harbour is a long, narrow inlet associated with the bustling city life of Dunedin and the tranquil beauty of the Otago Peninsula. It's a hub for water activities, including sailing, fishing, and kayaking. The harbour is also a vital part of the local ecosystem, supporting a variety of birdlife and marine species, making it an excellent spot for wildlife watching.
  • Moeraki Boulders, located on Koekohe Beach along the Otago coast, are huge, almost perfectly spherical stones. These natural wonders were created by the cementation of mudstone over millions of years, with some over two metres in diameter.
  • The Catlins Coast, stretching between Balclutha and Invercargill, offers a remote and rugged landscape with a wealth of natural attractions. Visitors can explore dense rainforests and meet unique wildlife. Highlights include Nugget Point with its iconic lighthouse and the dramatic Purakaunui Falls.

For more inspiration, check out our guide to family friendly things to do in Dunedin.

 

Where to stay in Dunedin & Central Otago with a campervan

When it comes to finding the perfect spot to park and rest in Dunedin & Central Otago, there's no shortage of picturesque, comfy campgrounds. Here are a few worth checking out:

Dunedin

 

 

Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: NZ blog

What to pack for a winter campervan adventure in New Zealand.

Kicking off a New Zealand road trip in a campervan this winter? You're in for a real treat! In this helpful guide, we'll share all the essentials of what to pack for your New Zealand winter holiday. From the must-have gear to keep you warm and cosy, to the essentials that will make your campervan hire experience smooth and enjoyable, we've got you covered. 

Whether you're planning a South Island road trip to explore the snowy wonders or a North Island itinerary filled with winter festivities, preparation is key! 

So, let's dive into the ultimate campervan checklist for your winter road trip in NZ. 

 

Why you should take a winter campervan trip in New Zealand

A winter campervan trip in New Zealand is truly something special. As the cooler months roll in, the landscapes shift into a stunning spectacle of snow-dusted beauty, offering a quiet and intimate setting that's hard to find at any other time of the year.

Start your day with a freshly made morning coffee with views of majestic, snow-draped mountains. Spend the day exploring townships, museums, and trails, before relaxing the evening in a soothing hot pool under the stars. It's the kind of experience that turns a simple trip into a soul-enriching adventure.

For those who thrive on adrenaline, winter in New Zealand is a playground. The season offers unbeatable activities, from carving down world-class ski slopes to glacier hikes that make you feel like you're on top of the world. Whether you're a seasoned snowboarder or looking to try something new like ice climbing, winter is the perfect time to embrace these thrilling experiences.

One of the best parts about travelling in winter is the peace and quiet. The campgrounds and popular tourist spots are all quieter, and sometimes cheaper too! And of course, a camper gives you the freedom to chase the snow, find the best spots, and do it all at your own pace, making every moment of your New Zealand road trip uniquely yours. 

 

What comes with an Apollo camper?

Choosing an Apollo campervan for your New Zealand winter adventure means you're setting yourself up for a holiday that's not just about the stunning views and thrilling activities, but also about comfort and convenience. 

Apollo ensures that your camper hire experience is as smooth and enjoyable as possible, providing you with all the essentials you need for a cosy winter getaway.

Inside every Apollo campervan, you'll find a well-equipped kitchen kit and a range of general equipment designed to make your life on the road easy and pleasant. Here's what you can expect:

  • Cooking equipment: Whip up your favourite meals with the provided pots, pans, and cooking utensils. Whether it's a hearty breakfast to start your day or a warm dinner after a day of exploring, you'll have everything you need.

  • Eating utensils: Enjoy your meals in the comfort of your camper with the provided plates, bowls, cups, and cutlery. It's like having a mobile dining room with the best views in town.

  • Pegs and clothesline: Keep your adventure gear fresh and ready with the handy pegs and clothesline, perfect for drying clothes on the go.

  • Fire extinguisher: Safety first! The included fire extinguisher is there for your peace of mind, ensuring you're prepared for any emergencies.

  • Bucket and hose: These versatile tools are great for a variety of uses, from washing dishes to a quick clean-up.

  • Broom and dustpan: Keep your space neat and tidy with these cleaning essentials, making your camper feel like a home away from home.

To ensure you're wrapped in warmth and comfort throughout your journey, Apollo provides personal kits with complimentary items such as sheets, blankets or duvets, pillows and pillowcases, and bath towels.

And if you're looking to enhance your campervan hire experience further, Apollo offers additional gear for hire. From plug-in heaters to keep you extra toasty, to outdoor tables and chairs for those scenic pit stops, child booster seats for the little adventurers, and bike racks for cycling enthusiasts, you have the option to tailor your trip to your preferences.

With Apollo, every detail is taken care of, so you can focus on soaking up the winter wonders of New Zealand from the comfort and warmth of your camper.

 

What to pack for your campervan road trip

Here are a few ideas on what you'll need to pack to make sure you're snug, safe, and ready for an unforgettable campervan adventure.


Warm clothing

New Zealand's winter can throw all sorts of weather your way, so layering up is the way to go. Start with some good thermal underwear – it's a game-changer for keeping warm. Add a warm fleece jacket for that middle layer and top it off with a waterproof jacket to fend off any rain or snow. Don't forget your beanie and gloves to keep your head and hands warm, and a pair of sturdy, waterproof boots are essential for those crisp winter walks. To help you prepare for the day ahead, it's a good idea to check the weather forecast ahead of time. 


Ski gear

If you're keen to hit the slopes or explore the snowy landscapes, bringing along your ski or snowboard gear is a great idea. Helmets are a must for safety, and if you're into snow hiking, snowshoes can make the experience even better. And if you don't have your own gear, no worries at all – most places near the slopes have rental options available, so you can easily gear up for your snowy adventures.

NEED SOME INSPO? Check out our 14-day winter road trip itinerary.


First aid kit

It's always smart to have a first aid kit on hand for those just-in-case moments. It could be anything from scrapes and scratches to headaches or an allergic reaction. The good news is that all Apollo campervans come with a first aid kit. This will cost $50 only if opened and it means you’ll be prepared for any accidents along the way. 

So, whether you bring your own or use the one provided, it's all about peace of mind while you're out exploring.


Cooking extras

While your Apollo campervan is kitted out with the basics for whipping up some delicious meals, there's always room to add a personal touch to your campervan cuisine. Consider packing a few extras to elevate your cooking game:

  • Portable BBQ: Perfect for grilling up a feast under the stars. There's nothing like the aroma of a good BBQ to make a winter evening feel special.

  • Coffee plunger: For coffee aficionados, starting your day with a freshly brewed cup can make mornings in the great outdoors even more delightful.

  • Favourite ingredients and condiments: Bring along those special spices or sauces that you love. They can turn a simple meal into something extraordinary. Note: If you’re travelling to New Zealand from another country, it pays to check what foods you can bring into New Zealand before you start packing. 


Entertainment

After a day of exploring, there's nothing quite like winding down in the cosy confines of your camper. To keep entertained during those chill evenings, pack some of these essentials:

  • Books: Whether you're into thrillers, romances, or travel guides, a good book is a perfect companion for a quiet night in.

  • Board games: Compact board games or card games can provide hours of fun and are a great way to bond if you're travelling with companions.

  • Laptop or tablet with movies: Download your favourite films or series for a movie night in your home on wheels. Just remember to bring headphones if you're sharing the space!


Navigation and communication

Staying connected and on the right path is crucial for a smooth campervan road trip experience. 

  • GPS device or offline maps: Even if you're planning to go off the grid, having a reliable way to navigate is key. Offline maps can be a lifesaver in areas with spotty reception. A good tool to help you do this is the thl Roadtrip app. This handy app is packed full of everything you’ll need to prepare for and enjoy your campervan road trip. Download on the App Store or Google Play.  

  • Charged mobile phone with a New Zealand SIM card: For local calls, internet access, and emergencies, a mobile phone with a local SIM card is invaluable.

  • Travel itinerary: Share your travel plans with a friend or family member. It's good practice for safety and they can also offer suggestions for your trip.


Personal items

When you're packing for your campervan road trip, it's the little personal touches that can make all the difference. Here's what you shouldn't leave behind:

  • Toiletries and medications: Essentials like toothpaste, shampoo, and any prescriptions you need should be at the top of your list.

  • Sunscreen and lip balm: The winter sun can be deceiving. Protect your skin and lips to avoid any discomfort.

  • Hot water bottle: For those extra chilly nights, a hot water bottle can be your best friend, keeping you warm and toasty.


Headlamp or torch

A headlamp or a sturdy torch is a must-have on any campervan adventure. Whether you're navigating around your campsite or exploring after dark, having a reliable source of light is essential for safety and convenience.


Power bank

In today's connected world, keeping your devices charged is more important than ever, especially when you're on the move. A high-capacity power bank ensures you can keep your phone, camera, and other gadgets powered up, even when you're far from a power outlet.


Refillable water bottle

Staying hydrated is a must, no matter the season. A durable refillable water bottle is not only environmentally friendly but also ensures you have access to water wherever you go. Fill up at water stations along your route and keep hydration at hand throughout your journey.

 

Ready to explore New Zealand in a campervan this winter?

New Zealand's winter landscape offers a unique blend of beauty and adventure, making it the perfect backdrop for your campervan journey. 

With an Apollo campervan, you have the freedom to explore this winter wonderland at your own pace, all while enjoying the comforts of home.

So, are you ready to hit the road and discover the magic of New Zealand in winter? Book your Apollo campervan online today and start planning the ultimate winter escape. Whether you're chasing snow-capped mountains, serene lakes, or cosy nights under the stars, an Apollo campervan is your ticket to an unforgettable adventure.

Don't wait any longer. Your New Zealand winter journey begins with Apollo.

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