The Motorhoming Years

Motorhoming – Where can we Camp?

My next post in the series “The Motorhome Years”.

Most new motorhomers remember quite readily the “shudder and loud groan” when recalling issues when it came to finding a place to park up for the night. Especially if like us they owned a large motorhome [R.V.].

Each day, it would send us into a mild panic for a few moments.

This, of course, improved with experience as does most things in life.

During our first year, we were conservative about where we parked up for the night and who our neighbours were going to be. Well, who was to know what or who was behind those twitching curtains or blinds as the roaring engine came to a halt? It happened on a few occasions where the Squire had to head back to the driver’s seat and shift PurrInn, so “her” in the passenger seat was feeling more comfortable and less anxious.

We still laugh at how we thought and acted way back then, in those first few months.

An old saying comes to mind, “Don’t judge a person by their appearance”. The scruffiest and unkempt person we met landed up being a life-educated business person from the area where we used to reside. We knew him.

You see we weren’t and nor was he interested in chatting about what we all used to do for a living. The first, bit of tantalising conversational information to break the ice, was, of course, the state of the weather with the more critical details to follow. Such as where is the best place to park up, the best dumping site, walks and the more lucrative waters to catch a fish or two.

Fishing at night

That particular gentleman was very well informed on what to do and what not to do as full-timing motorhomers. This was the most reliable and entertaining source of gaining information about where to camp/park up for a while to smell the flowers, fish and natter to other like-minded folks. It is also good to collect stories about life in general around the circle during Happy Hour. Which happens more than it does not occur around the witching hour of 5 p.m. no matter where you go.

The most prominent concern regarding on where to camp was PurrInn’s ability to keep us in the usual style of current power requirements we were used to, as she did not have an abundance of battery storage and a very minimal amount of solar panels. This made choosing where to stay the night all dependent on the level of energy in PurrInns batteries, without a regular dose of sun we had to use a generator, or spend weeks on power during the winter time.

We languished on this for a few years.

The primary reason for putting up with a lack of a significant source of independent power was the price of solar panels. They were quite pricey 10 years ago. We seemed to be surviving on what we had during good weather. Once winter approached, we had to pay for a campsite during most weeks to have a regular source of power. The usual place in our first year was a holiday park. This was our least enjoyable type of park up when we got more confidence up about “where to camp”. The primary reason is the cost which on average $20-30 a night. It was not a cheap option.

Some campsites had a few useful perks, such as being right beside the beach!

A more invaluable option and one which in the following years we made more use of was the NZMCA park over properties, which we enjoyed using. More importantly, we met other like-minded people.

Who and what is NZMCA? For more detailed information about the NZMCA see the below links. Then came more confidence and the desire to go freedom camping for a more extended period and to live entirely off the grid.


Where did we venture off to during our first winter as full-timers?

Of course, we headed to the winterless North as did many motorhomers back then or to the Bay of Plenty where we had left. Kerikeri is where we decided to spend our first winter. A place situated North of Auckland and an hour or more travel North of Whangarei.

We learnt more about our new way of life at a pleasurable pace, in between a torrid of rain. With a good source of heating due to being on power, it wasn’t too bad at all. We did manage day trips from our home base to capture the beauty of the surrounding sites, such as the 90-mile beach, Cape Reinga and other historical sites. See below for more information.

Cape Reinga looking the other way from the lighthouse
Cape Reinga – Northland

Funny thing with history, it continues to change. Similar to the weather. The Winterless North had a very wet and stormy winter of 2008.

We were there, boots and all!.

Motorhoming where can we camp

All about places to camp – find a park up and enjoy:

NZMCA – Park Over Property Scheme
Department of Conservation – freedom camping
Rankers – find a campground
RV Park – Kerikeri – where we parked up for most of the winter to explore the North.
NZ Tourism – Accommodation, campsites and holiday park
Heritage Sites – Northland


24 thoughts on “Motorhoming – Where can we Camp?”

        1. I know that there is a whole “community” who call themselves the Grey Nomads, that travel around Australia. I think caravans are still the way to go. Though one couple who I enjoyed gaining information from when we were motorhoming in NZ and Australia was Doesn’t look like they are travelling fulltime I know that they did buy some land up in Queensland years ago.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes there is and it’s probably what I’ll be doing when I’m even greyer! πŸ˜‰
            I’ll check the link out. QLD is a great State for motorhoming, but then again, a lot of Australia is as still a lot of places that are free. πŸ™‚

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            1. Yes, we loved motorhoming around the small bits we did, though we have done over 20,000kms and only managed a small area πŸ™‚ NZ was becoming very restrictive when we stopped. Sadly, many people spend too much on a depreciating asset. The prices for new motorhomes is eye watering!!

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            2. I can see the merits of doing both. Though could never afford to buy new for either a motorhome or a car. Most important is that whatever you buy it is what will do what you want it to do, eh πŸ™‚

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  1. I dream of getting in a motor home and touring around the Western part of the USA ~ a sense of freedom and also when running into others, the opportunity to meet other like minded souls πŸ™‚ Beautiful photos ~

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  2. Oh this is funny, because we are exactly the same when we are looking for somewhere to park up for the night. Many times Jon’s looked at my expression after turning off the engine only to raise his eyebrows and turn the engine back on again LoL! In our case, it’s more whether we’d be getting a knock on the door by some official person saying,”sorry, not allowed to park here” Oh poop!! It can be difficult in England. Scotland is much better for wild camping. Love this series, this made me smile πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought you would understand, Sam πŸ™‚ Your comment certainly made me smile! Yes, well I have a few stories about an official banging on our door and us pleading to the council office workers that we only missed the “proper parking place” by metres, still got a fine of $80. What was terrible about that morning was the fact other people had followed our example thinking that it was okay. Moral of that story is, don’t assume another motorhomer is correct, do your own research πŸ™‚ Scotland would be magical to wild camp around.

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  3. If you were starting out now, it would be so much easier Sue. Solar panels and batteries have got so much cheaper. You wouldn’t need to worry so much about getting to a powered campsite. Fascinating post. Keep them coming.

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    1. Thanks Wendy, and you are right they are so much cheaper now, because of the Chinese imports. It was a challenge during that first winter πŸ˜€

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  4. Apart from the parking issue I think my main worry would be driving such a big beast on narrow roads! I must admit I do quite like the idea of having a mobile home though, but only if I was single. I’d hate to share such a small space.

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    1. Jude, you have to have a good relationship or I should say tolerance is a big factor when it comes to motorhoming fulltime. We had our moments, same as most couples. Our next “home” will be small, just don’t want a large living space. I can’t see us having another motorhome, perhaps rent one. Smaller is much easier especially in NZ and the UK. I never drove the motorhome, I left that deed to the Squire πŸ™‚

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        1. Always a good idea to have your own space. Which can be achieved in different ways. Depends on what you want to do. Interesting as we went from a large house on 14 acres to a motorhome.

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  5. Where to park would be a great concern of mine. We spent my childhood holidays under canvas in Cornwall. The field next to the campsite was full of static caravans and it always looked horribly regimented and crowded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Luckily we never spent the majority of our time motorhoming being regimented and crowded. That only happened when we went to motorhoming events. Most campsites in winter are not so crowded hence far more pleasant to use. Living in such a small mobile apartment years ago, we soon got used to having other motorhomers close to us and also being parked up in glorious vistas with no houses or other humans around. More on that at a later stage. This post has been in my drafts section for months!!

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