Planning a trip around New Zealand? Here are five reasons why Kiwi Holiday Parks trump freedom camping.
1. A Safe Place To Lay Your Head... As Safe As Houses In Fact.
A Mecca for those who love to see what’s around the next corner, New Zealand is world famous for its beautiful landscape and friendly locals. So friendly are the locals in fact that a common phrase uttered when referring to how unquestionably safe things are downunder is “as safe as houses”. But if someone tells you that all the NZ car parks are as safe as houses to sleep in overnight, or that your unlocked vehicle is as safe as houses at the beach, pause a moment.
Aotearoa is indeed a very safe country, but is by no means crime-free. When travelling through ‘God Zone’, thrills should come from the luge at Rotorua or jumping off a perfectly good bridge in Queenstown, not from a drunken lout knocking on your van windows in an isolated car park at 2am, or returning from a swim to find your car’s been stolen.
Tourists staying at one (or even several) of the more than 41 independently-owned Kiwi Holiday Parks gracing both the North and South Island can sleep easy in the knowledge that their accommodation features security lighting, gated entries and onsite managers who are always looking out for the health and safety of their guests.
2. A Hot Shower
Sometimes solar showers or ‘ocean baths’ just don’t cut it when you’re on the scent of adventure. A wash under a portable shower will only last as long as your water supply and only be as comfortable as your surroundings allows. At the end of a long hike, mountain bike or a salty day at the beach, a hot and hassle-free shower can be the difference between simply being clean(ish) and feeling like a million bucks.
3. A Real Kitchen
Nutrition and hygiene can sometimes go out the window when camping or living out of a van. Fuel canisters need to be restocked, cleaning dishes can become a headache, leftovers don’t last long and oven-cooked meals are as common as unicorns. Every single holiday park, campground and motel on the Kiwi Holiday Parks register features kitchen facilities and cooking utensils – some communal, some private, some even boasting barbecues! Some also include fridges to make meals go further and trips to the supermarket less frequent.
4. A Throne You Don’t Own
Public toilets often aren’t maintained to the high standards found at Kiwi Holiday Parks, and let’s face it, they’re not always close enough when nature calls. Portable toilets offer more freedom but can really stink (pun intended) when you consider what’s involved: filling them with the necessary chemicals and disposing of the… errrrr… contents. And then there’s the proximity of your travelling companion(s) to consider if you’re in the close confines of a van – You: “Hey would you mind going for a walk for 5-10 minutes?” Them: “Sure, why’s that?” You: “Ummm... I just need some alone time.”
5. A Social Circle
You never know who you’ll meet on holiday. It could be someone to head to your next destination with, a life-long friend, even a spouse! Or you could simply hear a story that inspires your next trip. Kiwi Holiday Parks are popular with globetrotters and New Zealanders alike, especially in summer, so the social atmosphere is one of diversity and the perfect way to learn about an attraction you may have missed in your research. The friendly staff also have excellent local knowledge and can easily make recommendations or connect you with tourism operators and guides.
So there you have it. With options to suit all budgets and additional amenities like laundries, playgrounds, game rooms and Wi-Fi, Kiwi Holiday Parks are worth a look before you decide to park up in a questionable carpark, have a 30-second long luke-warm shower, eat baked beans for the tenth day in a row and ask your travel buddy for some alone time, or worse yet – they ask you!