Head to the Coromandel via the beautiful farmland of the Hauraki Plains. After crossing the rugged Coromandel Ranges drop down to the scenic coastal vista of the Pacific Ocean.
Cruise up the stunning coast to lovely Cooks Beach, where you will find the Purangi River Reserve with lots of cosy, private, secluded spots to park the motorhome near the river.
Once established, you can explore the river and beach for shellfish, which abound there, just as Captain Cook and his crew did nearly 250 years ago. Casting a line could bring in a fresh meal. Cap it off with a superb wine from the vineyard on the hill behind and enjoy the choice of vegetables from the local suppliers. Sleep well to waves gently breaking on the beach. So much to explore at Lonely Bay; take the little ferry to Whitianga, discover Cathedral Cove and enjoy the experience of a hot bath at Hot Water Beach. Bush walks abound as does the bird life, with endangered dotterels nesting on the beach.
Just before Christmas last year, undeterred by the Kaikoura earthquakes two weeks before our planned trip, and wanting to support the local economy, we made our way to Momorangi DoC campsite on Queen Charlotte Sound - our first trip to the South Island with our self-contained caravan. The Interislander was an adventure in itself, as was negotiating Queen Charlotte Drive and the road damage, but our stay on the water's edge, dramatic scenery and barely another traveller to cramp our style, provided us with a truly NZ experience. We dined on mussels in Havelock, had an anniversary lunch at Raetihi Lodge, delivered and collected by the Pelorus Mail Boat, and walked the final stage of the Queen Charlotte Track through a magnificent beech forest. The movies at Picton (accessed through the aquarium) and a stroll through classy Taylor's in Blenheim, with copious coffee at Ritual, kept us busy on the days where swimming, lounging around and fishing with our inflatable boat were off the menu due to the weather.
If we won the competition we would like to explore more of the South Island and stay for a couple of weeks in one place to really enjoy the experience.
Sandra and Sandy Russell
Home for me is the Bay of Plenty, and I recently rented a bach in Ohope. We took a drive out to the Opotiki coast and discovered the Island View Holiday Park on Appleton Rd and stopped for the obligatory icecream. The beach was wild and windy and perfect to blow away the cobwebs of city living. With great views to White Island and lots of fishing on offer, I'd be keen to rock up in a campervan and get back to nature.
If I had a full tank of gas and the freedom of the open road I would take off from Dunedin and head for The Catlins. There are a number of picturesque places to camp but one stands out. The Whistling Frog Resort is a haven of peace and tranquillity but there are lots of things to do if you are up for it. There are a number of walks, including a 20-minute walk to the beautiful McLean waterfall and a great walk down to the Cathedral Caves (accessible only at low tide).
The resort offers all kinds of accommodation and has a really welcoming bar and restaurant if you can't be bothered cooking. To make the most of this spot, take your walking shoes and a raincoat and relax in the bar in the evening and enjoy chatting to visitors from all over New Zealand and overseas.
Got a campervan? Go Tongariro! You'll pass over an active volcanic range (how many peeps you know done that?) spread over five different types of terrain from rock desert to a rainforest.
It's one of the best hikes you can do in a day, and easy to get to - go swimming in the mineral lakes or camp at the huts along the way. This certainly blew away a London lad who hadn't seen a mountain before. Possibly one of the best walks I've ever done in New Zealand. Geography lesson memories came flooding back, you learn something new about each different terrain you set foot in. No specialist gear needed and there are different treks suited to hiker's preference.
Don't try to put the miles behind you and travel for hours to find the perfect spot.
Grab yourself an Auckland Council parks pass, a regional park camp map, and turn those 10 days into a continuous break or several weekends of exploring the jewels of greater Auckland that are the regional park campsites.
Whether it be Ambury Farm Park to the south with adjacent cycle track, Tawharanui in the north with its stunning swimming beach and the takahe, the Cascades in the west to walk to see bats and hear kokako, or Omana in the southeast with its outstanding views of the inner gulf and nearby fish 'n' chips at Maraetai ... what's stopping you heading off in your motorhome? In a short time you'll be so relaxed it will be hard to believe the big smoke is only a little over an hour away.
Mary-Ann and John White
The greatest place for a campervan adventure is Totaranui Beach, Golden Bay, and the surrounds. Imagine stepping from your van on to the unbelievable golden sand beach stretching some 600m with crystal clear water.
You may be among only a handful of people taking in this exceptional location. Getting to Totaranui is just as amazing, with a choice of vineyards, the world-class Ngarua Caves, Takaka and great scenery. The bush tracks from Totaranui to either Awaroa Inlet to visit "our" new beach or Separation Point are peaceful and full of native birdlife. On leaving, head north to Pu Pu Springs to enjoy the purest water in the world and then on to Farewell Spit and Wharariki Beach, both fascinating. The return drive to Nelson is a memory of its own that will stay with you forever.
Heading North along SH12 and coming over the hill to Omapere is one of the most spectacular views in New Zealand. The sun shining on the giant golden sand dunes, in stark contrast to the deep blue of the Hokianga Harbour.
Stay at the Opononi Holiday Park, across the road from the beach and directly opposite the dunes. It affords one of the best places to watch the sun go down, providing fantastic photo opportunities. To make the most of your stay you need a bottle of one of the local wines (Marsden Estate Black Rocks Chardonnay is a favourite), outdoor chairs and a blanket. It's a must that you meet the locals at the nearby Opononi Hotel, who will entertain you with their stories.
We love nothing more than to get out of Auckland and explore the South Island in a campervan.
We try to go once a year usually in May or October when it is quieter but beautiful. Our favourite trip is through The Catlins. Newhaven Holiday Park at Surat Beach is amazing. Walk the beach and enjoy seeing the sea lions in their own environment. Nature is at its best on this coastline. My best tip would be not to be afraid to try freedom camping if fully self-contained. We parked up by the side of the river in Invercargill a couple of years back and it was great. In the morning we sat up in our cosy bed with a hot cuppa looking at an amazing view with a crazy frost and felt like the luckiest people on earth. One of our best holiday memories.
Embrace minimalism. Plan, but be flexible. Don't leave home without a good stove-top coffee maker. DO NOT POLLUTE OUR (or anyone else's) ENVIRONMENT. Enjoy.
I would travel to Coromandel then down the East Coast. I would enjoy the many beaches, camp out under pohutukawa, fly fish river mouths for kahawai, take a kayak and mountain bike to explore the hinterland. I would watch the midwinter sun set over the sea from Te Kaha and rise from East Cape. I would play golf and relax in a hot spring at Te Puia and imagine riding whales at Tolaga Bay. Finally I would enjoy the fine wines and produce in Gisborne.
PS: This time I would remember to take a can opener. I forgot that on my last trip when I returned my company car from Hastings to Auckland the long way, having stocked up on Wattie's canned food.
Towards the top of the Coromandel Peninsula sits the DoC campground at Stony Bay. Camping is on a deep carpet of grass, a sliver of flat land overlooking a glorious bay and backed by the rugged ranges.
You sleep to the sound of the tide and wake to the sun coming up over the ocean. No internet access makes your mobile device superfluous, and after a short period of panic, you begin to relax and unwind. Activities are entirely of your own making; walking the Fletchers Bay track, fishing off the beach, a bush walk up the slopes of Mt Moehau, visiting the Colville General Store and local art studios, or simply doing nothing other than appreciating how lucky we are to be Kiwis. Essentials: camp chairs for sitting out under the stars, a good book or three, sturdy walking shoes, togs and towel, and a fishing line.