We knew we wanted to campervan around New Zealand. We therefore had to figure out which rental company to use for our family of 4 to explore the North Island and South Island for 32 days. The interesting part was that we knew absolutely nothing about campervans or travelling this way across a country, likewise campervan hire in NZ. We didn’t know the terminology with campervans and of course being Canadian we would have to drive on the opposite side of the road! So after many YouTube videos, reading reviews, and asking many other travellers we decided on going with a Maui Campervan, New Zealand.
We spent five incredible weeks travelling New Zealand in a rented self-contained Volkswagen Transporter from Kiwi Campers and Happy Campers NZ. It was an unforgettable experience and we often joke that New Zealand has ruined the rest of the world for us. We were really happy with the VW Transporter although we had some issues with Happy Campers Auckland which we’ll discuss below.
The perfect way to get around and see the island of the long white cloud’s best attractions is by motorhome or campervan hire. New Zealand is an incredible country to road trip when renting a motorhome or campervan. You will have the freedom and flexibility to see spectacular sights you might not otherwise see if you travelled by bus or train. But before you head off to live life on the road, you need to know the basics about hiring a campervan or motorhome in New Zealand. Don’t worry, we have you covered as road tripping is one of our favourite luxury travel hacks!
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Skydiving was a word that used to strike fear to my heart, and quite honestly would make me feel a little sick. However, during my trip to New Zealand and Australia last year I decided that it was time for me to get over all my fears and man the fuck up. This included white water rafting grade 5 rapids, black water rafting, free diving, swimming with a 5 and a half metre long croc, hugging a Komodo dragon, bush camping in the desert – you get the point. Anything that my immediate thought equalled possible death or discomfort I went for and tried out as a rule of thumb.
Skydiving was the one thing my mother was not worried about me trying, she knew that this was something I would never do… How wrong she was! It was the activity I loved the most – I think it’s one of the world’s little tricks that generally we love what we have hated or feared and this was definitely the case for me.
Interested in more information on New Zealand? Check out:
– Comparing the Best Motorhome & Campervan Hire – New Zealand
– Review of a Maui Campervan New Zealand
– Review: Kiwi Campers and Happy Campers NZ
– How to Save Substantial Money Using Bookme NZ
– 12 Experiences in New Zealand
Now it’s well known that New Zealand is THE place to launch yourself out of a plane, it’s got the highest safety record in the world for skydivers and the scenery will take your breath away (as you hurtle towards it of course). So being helpful as ever, I’ve written up for you the top 5 places to jump in New Zealand based on my experience and from friends I travelled with along the way who shared their thoughts. Unfortunately I couldn’t plummet 16,000ft in each of these locations due to the fact I was on a budget – you’re looking at between $300-$550 NZD per jump depending on the height. But, I have been to each place and can only imagine how stunning it is from above!
Queenstown – Nzone
Queenstown makes the list as it’s considered the adventure capital of the world, so why would you not consider skydiving here? With tandem jumps from 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 feet you are spoilt for choice. Queenstown from the ground is stunning so I can only imagine what it would be like from 15,000 feet with a Birdseye view! While I couldn’t jump here, fellow travellers told me how stunning it was.
Taupo is one of the most popular skydives in New Zealand due to the price. It really is the cheapest place to jump and you’re definitely not compromising on the view as it’s still awesome. In Taupo, you’re also able to jump out of a big pink plane which made me a little jealous as the one I jumped from was just white (but still awesome). One of my closest friends, Erin of Canada did this jump last year, and this is what she has to say about it!
“A 15,000 Ft jump over a beautiful lake and volcanoes in the background, I knew Taupo was the perfect place for my first skydive. Me, being afraid of heights, I was absolutely terrified to jump, but it turned out to be the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. The free fall was for a minute but it went by so fast because I was having so much fun. My fear of heights completely vanished and once I landed I knew this would not be the last time I skydived.”
With views of the city below, this is the best place to jump and see a mix of urban jungle (or as ‘urban’ as New Zealand gets’ mixed with the peaks and troughs of the landscape. If you cannot wait to leap out of a plane, this will be your first stop as it’s only an hour from Auckland international airport.
Franz Joseph Glacier
In the South Island, New Zealand is pretty special in that it’s one of the only places in the world that has a glacier going into a rainforest. Doesn’t make sense, but I’m sure science can explain it better than me. In Franz Joseph, you can do one of the highest jumps in the world, 19,000ft, and do it right above a glacier! With this, you can free fall for almost a minute and a half taking in the view as you go – what more could you ask for when adrenaline seeking?
Bay of Islands
The bay of Islands was one of the first places I visited in New Zealand, and I can understand why everyone would want to skydive here. It is what it says on the tin, a bay full of islands with sandy beaches and blue waters. The guys who skydived here got picked up in the biggest limousine I’ve ever seen and whisked away for their big moment. Tyne, one of the brave people who took the first opportunities to jump told me her thoughts!
“Sky diving over the bay of islands was for me the highlight of my trip. For someone who is terrified of heights (to the point I dislike standing on a chair) it was a challenge I was determined to face sky high! It was so surreal and left me speechless – apart from mumbling thank you in Fijian in a daze to the camera afterwards. (I had just volunteered in Fiji to save confusion)
The view was spectacular as we twirled our way down to the ground (not for the nauseous if they say grab the reins!) What an exhilarating, breathtaking experience, putting your complete trust, faith and life into the hands of a complete stranger strapped to your back. If you are willing to make the jump then I would definitely recommend the 16,000 at bay of islands. The staff were so welcoming, hosting us for a day whilst we waited for clouds to pass and then bringing us straight in the morning after to ensure we had the best dive. I’d go again tomorrow if I could!”
Skydive Abel Tasman – this was my chance. Abel Tasman national park is near the top of the south island, and the view you get is spectacular. Both the snow capped mountains, the beautiful ocean and best of all, you can see BOTH islands during your free fall. For me, this was so magical and the moment I jumped out of that plane was the moment I smashed through my biggest fear. From the moment we were picked up to the moment we jumped, the team here talked through exactly what was going to happen and ensured we were happy with our safety information. Essentially, when doing a tandem jump you have to do very little (which is lucky because I was enjoying it so much I probably would have forgotten to pull the parachute cord!) I cannot recommend the venue enough – so get your boots on and give it a go!
Interested in more than just skydiving on the beautiful South Island? Check out this epic South Road Itinerary.
About – MillieGoes
Leaving school I had no intention to go anywhere other than 5* resorts, drink fantastically delicious champagne and be the epitome of class in all aspects of life. Three years on, aged twenty one, I am very different to the person I used to be. I’ve thrown away the heels and donned the hiking boots. Sure, I still frequent the champagne bar (when it’s free!) but I’m less concerned about how I look and more concerned about how I feel. For all the girls out there who always say ‘I can’t’ – You can. The only person stopping you from achieving your dreams is yourself. I have skydived, surfed, trekked, swum with massive crocodiles, kissed a komodo dragon, been shot at, tackled tumbling falls and raging rivers, camel raced and sipped cocktails in over a dozen countries. When it comes to stepping out of your comfort zone; I know my stuff. It doesn’t matter how you do it; in a 5* resort or camping on a beach. Trust me, trust yourself, hit the road, it will change your life.
Want to read more, check out Millie’s blog.
Firstly it was summer when we travelled around New Zealand but never fear snow still does get a mention. Skydiving, bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating on the other hand, DON’T! It’s not that we didn’t want to because jumping off something super tall with only a rope around my ankles sounds super thrilling, right? Well for us time and money were our enemies and without even meaning to we went to New Zealand without doing anything extreme. As this post will show it can be done and in fact if you are travelling on a budget I would recommend it.