We couldn’t help but notice Oliver and Sofia’s gorgeous photos across the globe as they explored New Zealand in a campervan, so we made sure to catch up with them once they had returned! They shared their New Zealand road trip with us, including tips for anyone looking to enjoy a similar experience. New Zealand is an absolutely stunning country, and the best way you can explore this vast land is behind the wheel of a motorhome, as that is actually how Goboony began. So don’t be surprised if you start absentmindedly packing your bags after reading about their adventure!
Sofia Shares Their Journey!
Hi Sofia! Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself and Oliver?
We met at university, as we both attended University College Utrecht in the Netherlands. Oliver graduated last May while I still had a year left. To describe ourselves briefly; Oliver is interested in politics, philosophy and the environment, while I’m more focused on human rights, animals and the environment. He also loves music and plays the guitar very well - not biased, of course! That’s why you’ll spot a guitar in some of our photos.
So what led you two to take this campervan trip, and why did you choose New Zealand?
Well, it all began when I went on exchange to Perth in Australia. Given that New Zealand is ‘on the way’ and generally an amazing country, I already knew that as soon as my semester was done I would be rushing to visit it. Oliver was already working then, and saving up money, and made me the luckiest girl on the planet by joining. Although, of course he claims it was due to how beautiful New Zealand is! So this trip wasn’t planned before I left for my semester abroad, but it turned out to be the perfect trip for a couple. As for why New Zealand, I had wanted to go there since my gap year in Australia in 2014, but hadn’t the funds then, so it was simply a matter of time!
Could you tell us a little more about your trip?
We had exactly 7 weeks to travel around both islands, and it took about five days to find the van. We started in Christchurch and then headed north to the ferry. We toured the west of the north island, and almost made it all the way up to Cape Reinga, where we turned around and went down in the direction of Rotorua and Lake Taupo. We followed this by crossing with the ferry again, and going around all of the south island. The north island took about 3 weeks, and the south took 4 weeks. It can be hard to picture this route, but imagine a figure 8 around the two islands! In total, we travelled about 10,000km.
Tricky question now! What was your favourite destination, and why?
That is tricky, there were so many beautiful places! Before heading south, we really enjoyed Raglan, mainly due to the chill vibes of that small town - and the amazing surfing! We could definitely see ourselves living in Wellington, because it’s a pretty city and has a lot to offer. We went clubbing one night and found it to be such a cool International scene - with garage music! We also went canoeing and surfing a lot, there were lakes absolutely everywhere. This was such an experience, and the Kiwi surfers were all so friendly and ready to give us tips and ideas for our travels. The scenery of New Plymouth was absolutely stunning, with Mount Taranaki on one side and the beach on the other. But even after all of these views, we were absolutely blown away when we reached the south of the south island, the Lake Wanaka area. I remember thinking “Wow! This is the New Zealand that you see on TV!”
What was the best and the most difficult part of travelling by motorhome?
The space was definitely restricted, it makes it cosy but can also be hard at times. For example, when it rains and everything is wet, or when you can’t find your stuff because it is all over the place! Cooking was never really an issue, as long as you keep it simple. It’s nice, as even after filling your day with activities, you still have the time to make a lovely meal. The best part? The freedom! You can turn up anywhere, at any time and just do whatever you want. The self-contained spots were generally very spacious, beautiful and rural - they didn’t have that ‘camping’ vibe. Various apps made it super easy to find the right campsites or just to find toilets, drinking water or other facilities.
What tips do you have for anyone embarking on a similar journey?
Make sure you like nature for starters! You’ve got to be able to just chill, as you’re going to have a lot of time to enjoy the nature and just relax, by sitting, observing or taking walks. Also if you’re going to travel with someone, make sure you actually like them, like a partner, as you’re going to be spending so much time together. I really recommend taking your time, as in 7 weeks we saw a lot but there was plenty more that we didn’t get around to. For example, we rarely stayed in one place for more than one night, which made it all feel quite rushed. If you’re someone who likes to shower daily, you better find camping sites offering it or you can do what we did, which was go for a swim at a local pool and then shower there. Also, don’t plan too much! Enjoy going with the flow. It’s true that you don’t meet as many people as you would staying in a hostel, but we just made sure to ask for recommendations in cafes, shops or from other travellers.
Do you have any plans for another trip in the future?
Another trip to New Zealand? Yes! There are so many things still to see and do there, I’d go right now if I could! We were also joking about doing a van trip around South America, but I don’t think it would be as easy or safe. I think we’ll definitely do something similar in Iceland or even around Europe.
Well, we hope you would consider Goboony for it then! And finally, what is your absolute bucket list trip?
Portugal for sure!
Well in case you can’t wait any longer, here are some motorhomes in Portugal you could hire! Thanks for taking the time to share your amazing experience with us, we’re sure you’ve inspired others with your amazing road trip in New Zealand. And if not, you’ve definitely inspired all of us at the Goboony office!