Let’s simplify the world a bit today. Let’s assume that there are just two kind of people regarding to camping. The ones who get relaxed doing it and the ones who get stressed.In our relationship the roles are pretty well distributed. And I can relax completely camping. :)
Your home is always with you. You stay (almost) everywhere you like it the most. No matter if it’s at the beach or deep in the mountains. You are not bound to any booking and can develop the plan on the road. Of course there are downsides too. You have to share a toilet and they can be dirty. Your stuff is spread in the vehicle and a constant chaos is permanent due to the lack of space. But as I like chaos to a certain extent, for me it’s great. Annika likes space instead and chaos to no extent. At the end I just see the advantages and she points out that there are downsides as well. But we agree that there is no other option to see as much of the country in the time we have. You might ask yourself how the every day life is in such a thing with the four of us and how the children like it.
A typical camp day starts for me at 4 or 5pm, when we leave the place where we’ve been during the day. Usually everything is packed by then, we’ve eaten, gone to the toilet and are ready to start. Everybody has their place: me driving, Linnéa on the second seat in the front, Annika and Niklas in the back. Niklas might already be protesting a little because he is tired, but otherwise all is good. After the first 15 minutes Niklas is asleep and after an hour or so Linnéa follows. That’s the time when Annika and me have some quiet time to charge our batteries and enjoy the landscape around us. Depending on where we want to go next we drive around 2 1/2 to 4 hours. Usually we checked out possible camp sites beforehand, so that we know where we can stay during the night and what to expect. In New Zealand there are three major types of camp sites:
- Parking lots for self contained vehicles
We’ve never used it, because our toilet of the vehicle is just a plastic box to place in the forest. These sites are free and you can camp there, if you find a sign which allows it.
- DoC (Department of Conservation)
Most of the time, this type offers you the perfect spot in the nature you were looking for. Next to the beach, deep into the mountains, on the other end of the lake, where nobody else goes. And they cost basically nothing. Something around 6$ per adult and kids are free until they are 5. But they offer you almost no facilities, besides a toilet and fresh water. No shower, no laundry, no WiFi etc. The amount of places is usually quite limited, which makes it a really quiet and nice place to be. If we can, we use this option.
- Commercial holiday parks
Nature is fantastic, but sometimes you need a shower and you have to do the laundry or Annika has to rely on a proper internet connection because of her work stuff. Then it’s better to use one of these camp sites. They usually cost around 16-20$ dollars, but offer everything a DoC camp site doesn’t. Depending on the site they have a “infant up to two years” policy, so that Linnéa has to pay as well.
Exactly when the car is parked, the kids are usually waking up. After checking in, we start sorting our stuff. In the campervan we have an upper and a lower bed. During the day the upper bed is used as luggage storage and during the night as bed. The space under the lower bed is leg space between bench and seat during the day. What sounds like a pretty handy arrangement can cause quite a bit of work too. Every day we basically have to place the stuff from the upper bed storage under the lower bed. Once that is done, we store our stroller somewhere outside and start cooking. Depending on the camp site, we’re doing that inside the campervan or in the camp site kitchen. Once finished we put the children to bed. First Niklas, then Linnéa. Niklas is getting teeth right now, so this is quite a bit of work, but Linnéa is usually as nice as ever and falls asleep pretty fast. Now is blogging and working or drinking local wine and beer time for us. The latter one is definitely the nicer option. :)
Usually we’re waking up between 8 and 9 am, having breakfast, sorting the stuff back before we start exploring the place we’re in. At around 4 the same procedure starts again :)
The kids seem to love the van. They are – believe it or not – more relaxed than usual. Because they sleep more. Every day they have their couple of hours of sleep, while we are driving around. They see more and more things and they are excited about it. A lot of sleep, a lot of things to do and see. And most of the time outside. Being close together all the time. For them it’s quite a bit of fun.