The Challenges of International RV Travel (Our Guest Bloggers Go Metric!)

The Lively LIttle Campers are excited to read all about our guest bloggers’ adventures as they head to New Zealand on an epic RV adventure.  Here is the latest installment.

The challenges of planning a trip outside of the United States are myriad.  The first challenge is, of course, planning the dates for the trip.  When crossing the Equator the seasons reverse.  So, what would be a winter trip here in the U. S. becomes a summer trip in New Zealand.  We have to plan for late summer temperatures and precipitation–while wearing wooly sweaters we are packing t-shirts.  The next difficulty, after making the decision to rent a campervan, is picking where to go and where to stay.

Maui Ultima

We wondered what the campgrounds are like in New Zealand.  We have camped in Europe and found their campgrounds to be similar to the U. S.  Would New Zealand be the same?  While Googling campgrounds in New Zealand we learned that there are several “chains.” But they seemed to offer mostly motel-like accommodations. Would this mean that there would not be the same amenities for campers that we are accustomed to here in the states?  Would they have clean restrooms, hot showers and the kitchens that we found in Europe?
Of course all campgrounds look good on the internet.  And we have been disappointed at times when we have visited independent campgrounds that we have found online.  But, we have never been disappointed with KOA, Good Sam or other “chain” campgrounds here in the U. S. or Canada.  The anxiety of planning a trip 8500 miles (13600 km) away was eased when our former exchange student’s father said that we could not go wrong with Top Ten Holiday Parks or Kiwi Holiday Parks.  So, we have booked into the Top Ten Holiday Park in Rotorua, a thermal pool and lake area on the North Island.


However, there is nothing like actually talking to someone face to face.  Again, Serendipity came into play.  We were attending a fund raiser for the Tyler Arboretum, in Media PA ( when we found out that one of the volunteers working there was a Kiwi.  We talked for a little bit, at his insistence, and he approved of our itinerary and said that RVing was the best way to see the country.

Another hurdle to overcome is mastering the metric system.  The temperatures are in centigrade, distances are in kilometers, fuel is measured in liters, and food is measured in grams.  So when we look at the average temperatures for the summer in the 20’s it looks chilly to us.  The distances look daunting when they are in kilometers, especially since New Zealand doesn’t really need an interstate highway system in its rural areas.  And then there are the money issues.  New Zealand uses NZ dollars which are worth about 81 U.S. cents.  We will be doing a lot of math in our heads while traveling.  And don’t forget the Kiwis, being a former British colony, they drive on the left side of the road.  Our heads will be spinning!

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