Tuesday, 17 January 2012
The last night of our BCV (Beloved Camper Van) rental we really didn't have any idea where we were going to stay. We definitely wanted to do the 'freedom camping' thing rather than pay $30nz to stay in a Dept. of Conservation site, or $75ish to stay in a powered site in a regular holiday park (I know - ripoff right!). We found that around the Bay of Islands they were really mean spirited with the freedom camping, and the Coromandel was pretty miserly with it too - although I did notice we could have stayed in the Hot Water beach car park if we had wanted to (lots of others were) but as it so happened we had to make progress towards Auckland so at 7pm we hopped in the van (pretty tired and sandy) and did the last of the windy roads to take us off the peninsula. 90kms or so later we basically picked a little town on the map which was 10km off the motorway and by the bay looking back over to the peninsula so we headed towards it thinking that we would surely be able to find a picnic spot or something that was legal. To our extreme amusement, we rounded a bend and saw a huge long line (the picture shows less than half) of camper vans all lined up along the waters edge - and upon further investigation we realised we'd finally stumbled across a dedicated free rv site. Obviously these things are kept secret in NZ as there were absolutely no signposts anywhere leading us there and the map certainly didn't show it. Anyway - it was nice to feel that we were surrounded by our own kind..