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.
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.
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.
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!.
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