The ultimate NZ summer destination on four wheels
Being asked which region in New Zealand you would choose to spend your summer vacation camper vanning around, sounds at first like a sadistic trick question.
To travel around practically any region of New Zealand is to move about in the kinds of settings upon which the postcard industry was built.
If you’ve ever taken a toddler into a toy store and told them to choose what they wanted, then you should full-well understand the hellish torment such a proposition brings about in the one asked to choose to confine themselves to one region this summer for a van trip.
Confronted with a universe of enticing and appealing options – each one more alluring then the next, but maybe not as much as the first one, or maybe the third, no, no the fifth was the best…but was it, perhaps it’s better to go back to the fourth? – the poor child would find itself trapped in a maze of recurring madness, clutching toys and putting them back, walking toward the counter then sprinting back and electing a new one.
If it weren’t for the parent saying ‘hurry up and choose, we’re leaving,’ the hapless toddler would find themselves stuck in the mire of indecision indefinitely. It is my intention to play the role of the parent here, and in so doing help rescue you from a potentially crippling summer lifestyle dilemma.
If you have ever been to the place it becomes immediately apparent that the whole country was deliberately crafted to be a travellers paradise, hence making the choice on where to limit ones wanderlust to almost impossible to make – but not entirely.
Head south young man, head south
Considering the time of year – the busiest in the New Zealand calendar – and having a limited amount of time to spend, two key components come into play. The first is escaping the madding crowds that one might find on the more congested North Island, and the second being to have as much variety in terms of terrain, entertainment and activities at ones doorstep as is realistically possible.
Opportunities for fun and adventure are endless
Queenstown and the surrounding region is the obvious choice here. The oft dubbed ‘adventure capital of the world’, finds itself superbly situated along the border of the topaz coloured waters of Lake Wanaka and rimmed by the majestic, snow-capped fangs of the Southern Alps. From bungee jumping to jumping out of planes, and paragliding to wakeboarding and downhill mountain biking, this place is the mecca for outdoor adventure.
The roads unfurl from this vibrant, lively town in vast empty ribbons of pristine tarmac, crisscrossing a landscape that is ruggedly beautiful. Quaint little towns offering unforgettable adventures, like horse riding treks out of Glenorchy through the very same terrain where Lord of the Rings was filmed, or trekking along glaciers in the Glacier country towns of Fox and Franz Josef out on the West Coast – a few hours’ drive away.
Milford you say? Jolly good
The world heritage Milford Sound, a bucket list hot spot of the first order, lies waiting to be experienced. Here, on a clear day, the view as you ferry out toward the open Tasman Sea is breathtaking and unforgettable. The road that leads you there out of Queenstown is itself worth the journey.
World class fly-fishing
If fishing in some of the world’s best fly-fishing country appeals to you then you will find yourself spoilt for choice. Stalk and cast to sighted brown and rainbow trout to your hearts delight in crystal-clear, glacier-fed mountain rivers and streams surrounded by towering snow-capped mountains rimmed with lush bands of indigenous beech forest.
Camper vanning around this region of New Zealand will allow you to live the lifestyle of the ultimate first world vagabond. You have access to world class wineries, incredible restaurants as well as the option to head off onto the open road in search of adventure.