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Planning a Campervan Trip to New Zealand

Planning a Campervan Trip to New Zealand



If you are planning a campervan trip to New Zealand, then avoid these five common campervan hire conundrums.

planning a campervan trip 1

Assumption is the mother of all…well, I’ll leave the rest to Steven Seagal. The point is that for those looking to embark on a roaming adventure of New Zealand in a home on wheels, there are a few assumptions that could cost you dearly.

Done right, there is undoubtedly no better way to explore the ridiculously beautiful north and south Islands of this particularly blessed little country tucked away in one of the most alluring regions on the planet.

Endless, white sandy beaches fringed with fish-rich waters, volcanoes, geothermal magic wonderlands, rainforests, towering snow-capped alps, lush rolling farmlands and not a poisonous insect or reptile within thousands of miles – it is no wonder that New Zealand ranks in the top five of practically every ‘must-visit’ holiday destination list in existence.

Apart from the limitless adventure and fun-filled activities to be had – offshore game fishing, heli-boarding, downhill mountain biking, bungee jumping, jet boating, horse trail riding, spelunking, zorbing, wakeboarding, hiking, rock climbing, sky-diving, glacier trekking, fjord exploring, whale watching and this could go on a while – New Zealand boasts a rich, authentic culture and some of the finest cuisine and locally produced wines in the world.

There literally is something for everyone. But be warned, that idyllic roving getaway in a campervan could fast become a nerve frazzling, budget draining and energy sapping waste of time and money. Here’s what you need to know to ensure that your own campervan hire NZ adventure is stress and hassle free.

  1. Bigger isn’t (always) better:

Go big or go home is a great maxim for poker, reaching for the stars kind of dreams and ordering at McDonald’s after a marathon surf session. When it comes to opting for the perfect RV for your trip in NZ however you may find yourself shelling out a ton of cash only to find yourself manhandling a leviathan on four wheels through spaghetti like ribbons of road in the Southern Alps, one hairpin bend after another.

Whilst there are instances where a certified self-contained camper (the ones with their own toilets and enclosed water capturing systems) is warranted, the vast majority of campervan trips here don’t warrant them. There are an abundant number of clean, cheap and very well-maintained campsites along all the popular travel routes.

All it takes is a little route planning and browsing online and you can ensure that you never have to find yourself frantically digging a POW pit in the wilds as hordes of sand-flies dive-bomb in blitzkrieg bombardment of your nether regions.

Hot water is not a camping a luxury in NZ, it is a norm, and laundry services can be found in almost all featured campsites and motor inns.

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  1. There is not an infinite supply of hire campervans to be had

Campervans for hire are a hot commodity in-season. Whilst you may luck out by just flying into Auckland, calling up the first campervan hire company that catches your eye and negotiating your way to a killer rate, you are also equally as likely to cavort freely with a pod of Hectors dolphins within minutes of jumping into the cool and inviting waters of the Marlborough Sounds.

Out of season you should have no problem securing the ideal little gypsy wagon for your needs, but if you are planning on heading over to NZ during peak times then you’d be well advised to conduct your research and book a chariot before you arrive.

  1. As the crow does not fly

Whilst a certain degree of enthusiasm is admirable in a journey where distance needs to be covered, when it comes to gauging how much distance you can reasonably and comfortably travel in a day is one aspect of your trip planning you need to get right.

If not, you will no doubt end up with the impression that New Zealand is one long monotonous blur of blue and green. Far too many campervan captains have plotted a course based on the average speed limit of 90KPH and in doing so chartered routes that had them spending marathon amounts of time behind the wheel, pedal the metal, gunning it toward the daily milestone without time to stop and smell the, well, whatever the natural vegetation of the region happened to be.

A good benchmark to use when chartering your course is to bank on an average speed of 50kph – and be warned, the roads in NZ resemble a serpent in the throes of tantric yoga more so than a neat crisscrossing patchwork of perfectly paved tarmac. In NZ it seems, the only things that move in a straight line from point A to Point B are the airplanes.

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  1. Do not pack as if preparing for the zombie apocalypse

I not so fondly remember the days of our family vacations to the seaside, where an old dilapidated Mercedes was hitched to a house sized trailer which my mother had filled with half the kitchen, including the refrigerator and enough clothing to provide for a moderate sized colony of displaced refugees.

I have seen the same thing with campervan vacationers in New Zealand; a cornucopia of clutter all rocketing around hairpin bend after hairpin bend. Campsites set up at night that resemble humanitarian aid stations with crates of canned food and every camping and kitchen utensil known to man stacked alongside.

Honestly, less is more. Your campervan hire NZ vehicle will more likely than not come fully kitted with everything you will ever need on your trip including dishes, cutlery, cooking supplies and silverware. Save the clutter for the journey back when you stash your bags with gifts and souvenirs.

  1. It’s not a supermarket sprint to the finish

And last but not least. Don’t approach your trip like it’s a trip to the supermarket with your goal being to check as many destinations off your list as possible. Give yourself time to relax, soak in the surroundings, kick back, sip on award winning wines, roast freshly caught crayfish and snapper over a campfire – give yourself the space and time to put the world down for a while and be where you are, in paradise down under.

Cole is one half of New Zealand's leading adventure travel blogging couple who have been wearing out their jandals around the world since 2009. He loves any adventure activities and anything to do with the water whether it is Surfing, Diving, Swimming, Snorkeling or just lounging nearby on the beach. You can follow Cole on Google+. Or consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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Top 5 Historical Landmarks of Portugal

Top 5 Historical Landmarks of Portugal




Portugal is a hive of culture, history, and architecture and is home to fifteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you plan a holiday to Portugal to discover some of its glorious histories, look through our top five Portuguese historical landmarks.

Alcobaça Monastery

This beautiful monastery is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Monastery of Santa Maria de Alcobaça is a prime example of early Gothic architecture. The sanctuary is home to the ornate tombs of Ines de Castro and King Pedro I. There is a tragic love story associated with the burials. Ines de Castro was assassinated in 1355, and the king ordered his tomb to be placed next to hers so that he could face the woman he loved on the day of resurrection. They are considered to be the most beautiful medieval tombs in Portugal. There are also living quarters, including a refectory, dormitory, kitchen, and cloisters that have been inhabited by monks for 800 years.

Convent of Christ

The Convent of Christ is a beautiful roman catholic building located in Tomar. It was initially a stronghold for the Order of the Knights Templar. The building houses impressive art and examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Manueline, and Renaissance architecture. The walls inside are exquisitely decorated with paintings, carved stone sculptures, and a window depicting symbols and motifs. This site has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983.


Évora is a Portuguese city home to several historical sights, some over two thousand years old. The Cathedral of Évora is considered one of Portugal’s most important gothic monuments. Moorish palaces and courtyards, a renaissance fountain built-in 1559, and a one-of-a-kind Roman temple have become the city’s most famous landmarks. It is not surprising that Évorahas is classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Belém Tower

Belém Tower was built to be a fortress in 1515 to guard the entrance to Lisbon’s harbor. The tower is constructed from lioz limestone that is local to Lisbon. It is considered one of the prominent examples of the late gothic Manueline style. There is a drawbridge, spaces for cannons, turrets, and arches that have been decorated with images of animals, plants, and royal coats of arms. Inside there are statues, pillars, and gargoyle facets. UNESCO has listed the tower as a World Heritage monument. 

Jerónimos Monastery

Jerónimos Monastery is considered one of the most beautiful monasteries in Portugal and Europe. Located in Lisbon, the monastery has various entrances that have been decorated with carved figures, gables, and pinnacles. There is a 16th Century Portuguese sculpture of Our Lady of Belém in the central doorway, a figure of Prince Henry the Navigator in the center of the monastery, and a statue of King Manuel I. The monastery has been classified as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

We hope this has inspired you to start planning your trip to Portugal today.

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Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar

Find out why Sand boarding, Diving and Safaris through the desert are included in the Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar.



Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar

Qatar is a country of reinvention. Shimmering towerblocks rise against a desert horizon, and maze-like souks thrive next to 21st-century shopping palaces. It’s also one of the more accessible countries of the Arab Gulf, with a welcoming reputation towards visitors and plenty of attractions to keep them coming. Some of the best holiday activities you’ll find in Qatar are the adventurous kind. And these are the top 5 outdoor adventure activities in Qatar.

Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar

Sunset in Qatar – Photo by wj2012

Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar

Diving expeditions

The Gulf Sea is famed for its crystal waters and the exuberant marine life which lurks just beneath the surface. Messaid is a good jumping-off point where you’ll find angelfish and barracuda, while those intrigued by underwater wrecks will love the Hall Island dive site at Al-Sharqi, where bright clownfish circle the abandoned boat.

Sand Adventures

Many of the sports here have been adapted from colder climates, so instead of skiing down a mountain piste, try Khor Al Adaid beach to glide down the impressive dunes on a sand-board. Alternatively, race your blo-kart along the sands of Al Wakrah, south of capital Doha, to experience the thrill of wind-sailing on dry land.

Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar

Sand Boarding – Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar – Photo by ground zero

Al Jassasiya

The ancient carvings of Al Jassasiya lie to the north near Al Shamal, amid a truly remote landscape of village ruins and limestone. Hire a 4×4 of your own and make the journey to see the 900 petroglyphs which riddle the rocks here. The carvings denote flowers, animals, fleets of shows, or traditional Arab boats, and to this day, their origins remain a mystery.

Sunset Cruise

When the time comes for a more relaxed excursion, you can do no better than a sunset cruise onboard a wooden dhow as you drift past the super-modern Doha seafront of Al-Corniche and the old harbor at Al Khor. If you’re still hankering after some adventure, rent a smaller vessel and go for a fishing trip the following day.

Desert Safaris

Much of the inland desert in Qatar remains inaccessible on foot, but fortunately, that’s where a 4×4 comes in very handy for a safari trip you won’t easily forget. There are numerous options available from Doha, including day-long excursions, bumping, and rolling to the inland sea at Khor Al Adaid. Or make the trip at dusk for a spot of star-gazing before you settle in Bedouin-style tents for the night.

Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar

Desert Safari – Top 5 Outdoor Adventure Activities in Qatar – Photo by robertpaulyoung

Most activities can be arranged via a tour company. Although cash has been the predominant payment method in Qatar, this is beginning to change, which is good news for tourists since  HSBC offers protection against loss or theft. If you’re planning on taking part in several activities, it can be handy to have some plastic on you to avoid expensive traveler’s cheques, plus credit cards from HSBC and other familiar providers also enable easy access to money at the ATMs. However, it’s wise to exercise caution, using only official bank machines here and sticking with local currency at the market and in smaller shops.

There’s no doubt that Qatar offers some world-class cultural attractions beyond the more energetic highlights, and while you’re in the country, set aside some time for the historic Al Zubarah fort or browse the recreated 19th-century Souk-Waqif, in Doha.

This country has been undervalued in the past but is now coming to the world’s attention. With its desert adventures, ancient sites, and thriving culture, this attention is thoroughly deserved.

This is a travel feature by world traveler, Jose Capelo. He loves exploring the top 5 outdoor adventure activities in Qatar and has spent many trips exploring the wild deserts of Qatar.

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8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter

8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter



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Bondi is well known for sun, surf, and fun, but what can you do if you find yourself there in the colder months from June to August? Here are a few suggestions for things to do in Sydney’s most popular suburb when the temperature drops.

Adventure Travel Activities in Sydney

8 Things to do in Bondi in Winter

1. Go on an art tour

If the weather doesn’t allow for the typical outdoorsy activities Bondi is known for, a tour of some of its first-rate art galleries can be a great way to spend an afternoon. Don’t miss the Cooee Aboriginal Art Gallery, dedicated to promoting Indigenous art, and the Bondi Art Lounge, where you can view works from local artists or even take a beginner class and create a masterpiece of your own.

2. Take a hike

In crisp cool temperatures, a hike along the coastal cliffs with a view of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean below can’t be beaten. One of the most popular hikes is the Bondi to Coogee Walk, which is 6 km and takes you through Sydney’s eastern suburbs and past plenty of cafes, restaurants, and kiosks where you can stop to rest and take in the sights.

Outdoor Activites in Sydney - Spit Bridge


3. Head to Bondi Icebergs for some winter swimming

Even during winter, swimming is not entirely out of the question in Bondi. The Oceanside pool at Bondi Icebergs Club is open year-round, and the winter swims every Sunday from May to September have become a time-honored tradition. Although club members must complete at least three winter swims a year to retain their lofty membership title, non-members who are up for the challenge can pay a one-time fee to use the pool and sauna.

4. Strap on your skates and visit the only beachside skating rink in Australia

If winter swimming is a step too far for you, why not skate instead? Bondi has Australia’s only beachside ice rink, and the ocean view in the background makes for a striking contrast. The ice rink is open from June 27 to July 13, and aside from hosting skating sessions that are open to the public, it also features spectacular ice shows from Stars On Ice.

5. Settle in for brunch at one of Bondi’s decadent cafes

Winter wouldn’t be the same without a few indulgences, and after all your skating and hiking, you’ve probably earned a hearty brunch anyway. Fortunately, Bondi is full of great brunch options, from Trio Café with delicacies like poached eggs with truffle oil and char-grilled halloumi; to the rustic Brown Sugar, where you can indulge in classic comfort food like buttermilk pancakes and English muffins with bacon.

Coffee and cake around the world


6. Join a cooking class, dodge ball game, or salsa lesson

During the winter, it may seem like most people have gone off to hibernate, but if you know where to look, you can still find plenty of social things to do. Start by checking out the Bondi community page on Gumtree. You can find like-minded individuals to explore the area with or even join a group for fun activities like hiking, biking, or cooking.

7. Score some vintage fashion at Bondi Markets

The Bondi Markets, held every Sunday on Bondi Beach, are known in Sydney for being the best place to shop for vintage clothing and accessories and hip new fashions from emerging designers. Aside from style, you can also shop for art, furniture, flowers, books, local produce, and delicious street eats. Even if you don’t buy anything, it’s a great place to do some people-watching and see the Bondi locals in their element.

8. Stop by the Bondi Pavilion

The Bondi Pavilion is one of the suburb’s oldest landmarks dating back to 1928 when it first opened, featuring grand dining rooms, a lounge, a ballroom, and the Turkish and Hot Sea Water Baths. Today, it’s used as an art and cultural center and is home to a theatre group, recording studio, and art gallery. There’s always something going on here, from pottery classes to festivals to open-air cinemas, so check it out if you have a chance.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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