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MichaelCanode

RVing In New Zealand

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11 Aug 09 9:30

Hello, FMCA Friends!

I am currently one of six American members of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA). I have kept my membership since 2003, because I have found New Zealand to be a very pleasant and cost-effective place for experienced American motor coach owners to visit. Please permit me to outline several reasons for my "humble opinion."

Geographically, New Zealand is about equal in size to the state of California. This means that travelers need not spend endless days of driving to get from one interesting place to another. And yet, within that space, the scenes and settings are so widely varied that a one-day drive -- westbound from Oamaru to Haast on the South Island -- will present you with scenery you might see in a week of driving in the United States or Canada. Sites include hills and mountains, river valleys, and alpine lakes and "dead marshes" straight out of a John Tolkien novel. Plus, your choice of an aviation museum, a transport museum and a puzzle museum. Even a two-hour drive from New Zealand's largest city to the northern coastline will show you scenery you might see in more than a thousand miles of driving here at home.

The large number of New Zealanders who own "motor caravans" themselves is another key reason I have found this country so RV-friendly. In relation to the countries' populations, New Zealanders own a tad over three times more RVs per capita than either Americans or Canadians. This means that, while hotel and restaurant prices are typically more expensive than in Norht America, "holiday park" (campground) fees and grocery-store prices are up to 50 percent less. These price comparisons were pretty consistent in the three trips I have made to New Zealand thus far (1990, 1999 and 2004).

Finally, the presence of the 53-year old, 35000-plus-member NZMCA is itself a great resource for RVers traveling in New Zealand. The NZMCA is set up as 23 "Areas", with more than one Area Rally each, so there are many opportunities to hobnob with fellow RVers. Also, I have found NZMCA members happy to recommend local events and sights to see when I have knocked on their coach doors at a campground, introduced myself and asked politely for such recommendations. And, if you happen to be planning to visit New Zealand around Easter weekend, you can reserve your space for the NZMCA Annual General Meeting Rally (equivalent to our FMCA International Conventions).

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Visit the NZMCA online at www.nzmca.org.nz for further information, or post a query here -- I'll do my best to answer when I visit the forum.

"Happy Cybercamping!"

Michael Canode, F13059S / NZMCA #19250

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Hello there Michael from way down under here in NewZealand, I am a member of the NZMCA (8392) 15 years of experience on the road here.

We are in the early stages of planning a trip through the USA by motorhome. Wondering what the campsite charges are on average $$. Do you recommend freedom camping in your country as we do here? We would probably purchase a vehicle over there rather than rent for the 6 or 12 months we propose to spend there not sure what we would purchase would not want anything to big as we would want to cover a lot of miles as ecenomically as possable. Do you know what sort of money we would pay for storage should we decide to store & return later for a second trip.

I am led to beleive that it is very difficult for Kiwi's to get insurance over there, would appreciate any advice from anyone on touring, vehicle types,etc.

Only to pleased to be of any assistance to FMCA members planning to come down here for motoring holidays. Have done itineraries for several Americans already, Our motorhome is 10.6 meter Mitsubishi Fuso Bus converted by me in 1999, was x Japanese school bus weighs in at 12 Tons.

Regards to all

Roger

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Hello Michael

And any other FMCA members who have RV'd Downunder,

We did not realize that New Zealanders had so many RVs or that RVing was so popular downunder.

We have never been to New Zealand or Australia and are planning a trip there and could use some help. Would you please answer some rather basic questions for us. What time duration would you allow for seeing both the North & South Islands? We were thinking of 10 days per Island. Also where did you rent your RV? Any particular RV Rental company you would recommend? Can you usually get into the RV campgrounds OK? Do they have power? We are thinking of going at the end of Jan/First of Feb. Is there any particular time of the year that you liked or would recommend?

What were you favorite site? Or Must See sites?

Have you ever RV'd in Australia?

I hate to ask this question, but if you only had time to go to one destination and had to chose between New Zealand and Australia which country would you chose to visit?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

Arla & Chuck Ellsworth

F264626

NewZealand.doc

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Hello Arla & Chuck

I would suggest 20 days in each Island would give you a more relaxed time frame to see our country.

I would recommend Kea rentals www.keacampers.com Jan is the high season for holidays in NZ & things can be busy Feb/ March would be my recomendation. Yes camps have power, tell me what your specail interests are & I will be happy to advise you an itinerary to suit.

Regards

Roger Wallis

Email ppanther@xtra.co.nz

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5 Oct 09 22:05

Hello, Roger!

I'm still in the "working world", so I apologise for not replying sooner. I have used both "freedom camping" and holiday parks in my domestic travels, although more than half the time, I am staying with fellow FMCA members at a Chapter Rally, Area Rally or Convention.

During this year's camping season, I spent anywhere from US$38 per night at Dayton, Ohio, to US$75 per night at Saint Petersburg, Florida. Chapter Rallies typically cost around US$20-25 per night, with from US$10-30 for rally events, meals and so forth. Area Rallies (there are ten each year, in various parts of the USA and Canada) typically cost around US$200 for a coach with two people, run four to five days and include live music, numerous seminars and one or more sit-down meals. FMCA Conventions happen twice a year, and typically cost around US$225 for a coach with two people.

Perhaps, if you enjoy attending our NZMCA Area Rallies, you might want to pick out two or three Chapter Rallies and maybe an Area Rally, interspersed with three or four free nights and two nights each at a campground.

And (please don't think me predatory for suggesting this!) it happens that I will be hosting a Rally in west central Ohio from 4-7 June 2010, one week after an FMCA Area Rally in southwestern Michigan (two easy days' drive apart). I definitely enjoyed the NZMCA Rally I attended on my last journey, and would be delighted to see you at either event next Spring.

Happy Cybercamping!

Michael Canode, #19250 / F13059S

(P.S. Rumours to the contrary are false -- the FMCA >> is not << plotting a hostile takeover of the NZMCA!)

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Hello Michael

And any other FMCA members who have RV'd Downunder,

We did not realize that New Zealanders had so many RVs or that RVing was so popular downunder.

We have never been to New Zealand or Australia and are planning a trip there and could use some help. Would you please answer some rather basic questions for us.

Arla & Chuck Ellsworth

F264626

==========

21 Oct 09 10:00

Hello, Arla & Chuck!

Answering your questions in order -- 1) Ten days per NZ island can be quite an adventure. I only get two weeks' vacation at a time, so all I've ever spent is twelve days, and I was never disappointed or bored. 2) I've only used three rental outfits (there are at least twenty major outfits from which to choose), and the best of that small group was "Gateway Motor Home Hire" in Conifer Grove: check them out online at "motorhomehire dot c o dot n z". 3) Campgrounds ("holiday parks", as they are called in NZ) are plentiful, and rates tend to be less per night than here in North America. However,... 4) January and February are peak travel months in the Southern Hemisphere, and as such, airfares and coach hire rates are quite a bit more expensive. My voyages have been in either spring (early October) or autumn (early April), when costs are more reasonable, and the weather is still enjoyable. 5) It would take a whole Web server to store the answers. 6) If you have a month or more to spend there, Australia is certainly a "go trip". Just remember though, that AU is a tad bigger than the USA mainland, with a lot of long-distance driving between parts of the country. NZ is about the size of California, ao you could probably save some on-road time and fuel costs if you only had twenty days to spend there.

"Happy Cybercamping!"

Michael Canode, F13059S / NZMCA #19250

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Robev   

Hi to all our American Rv friends. I belong to the American RV Group, who are made up of owners of American RV's imported into NZ and converted to right hand drive. The maximum width of vehicles in NZ is 98 inches, so that means that most of the RV's imported into NZ are models manufactured before about 1996. One enterprising engineer has imported a few 2005 Crescendo's in that are 101 inches wide. He has cut three inches out of the middle of these RV''s and welded and fibreglassed them back together so they are no wider than 98 inches. I own a 1993 Winniebago Vectra diesel.

Most of the American RV's in NZ are diesel powered.

Rob Wallace. Orewa, Auckland, New Zealand.

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15 January 2015 18:35

Hello again, Rob!

Something connected in my memory about NZ modifications on US-built coaches. I met a couple on my third NZ adventure (Palmerston North, if memory serves), who were interested in a US trip, buying a coach they would bring back with them. I suggested a 1970's GMC motorhome, It's a narrow, but still roomy type-A coach with a one-piece fiberglass shell and a large removeable rear panel for big modifications. Its powertrain is the same as the Oldsmobile Toronado, and there are are outfits in the US as well as NZ who can handle the RHD refitting.

"Happy Cybercamping!"

Michael Canode, #19250 / F13059S

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7 September 2015 18:45

Hello again, globe-trotting RVers!

It's back to New Zealand again! The NZMCA are hosting their 60th Anniversary Easter Rally and Annual General Meeting in Wellington, and I'm pretty much booked for the journey.

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