Auckland Campervan Rental Holiday
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city with a population of over 1.3 million people, and is home to one third of New Zealanders. The city’s mix of urban sophistication and coastal setting has inspired a lifestyle that regularly ranks in the world’s top 10. It's definitely a city that's worth visiting on your campervan road trip, and the fact that nearly every major campervan hire company in New Zealand has a depot in Auckland, makes it a great place to start or conclude your campervan journey.
Auckland (Tamaki Makaurau in Maori) is often called the City of Sails as its residents are renowned boaties and reputedly own the highest number of recreational vessels per capita in the world! Admittedly the term boat is used loosely to encompass a range of craft from superbly-built yachts and gin palaces, through to the common “tinny” or aluminium speed boat, and battered dinghies and kayaks. Nonetheless there is no doubt that the city, centred as it is upon a narrow isthmus between the two glistening harbours of Manukau and Waitemata, offers easy access to the water with hundreds of creeks and estuaries, and a range of city beaches to choose from, no matter where you find yourself in this vibrant South Pacific metropolis.
Auckland is a city of contrasts and within an hour’s drive of the CBD in your Auckland Campervan Rental there’s a vast array of experiences to be had from roughing it on Auckland’s wild west coast beaches with their black sand and pounding surf, to taking a leisurely drive through the Clevedon Valley, visiting craft shops and market gardens en route.
These days Auckland, the world’s largest Polynesian city and New Zealand’s most multicultural has moved on and rejoices its diversity in several ways including its mouthwatering fusion of cuisine. Food is served fresh and is vibrantly flavourful, indigenous foods and Pacific fruits add lots of interesting colour and texture, and Asian curries, stir-fries, sushi and miso soup are commonplace.
Seagulls will happily accompany picnickers, at any given point on the coast. But keep an eye out for terns, cormorants or shags, and the sleek, fast-moving yellow-headed gannet too. A vast colony of these birds make their home at Muriwai on Auckland’s west coast, and their nests, seen up close from viewing platforms, are one of city’s greatest sights.
Auckland sits on top of a large volcanic field that has produced some 53 volcanic scoria cones in the last 140 thousand years. From wherever you are, a volcanic slope is never far from view. Three of the more prominent examples include Mount Eden, One Tree Hill and Rangitoto; all offer a range of walks and like many of Auckland’s cones offer stunning city and harbour views.
Auckland’s early Maori name, Tamaki Makaurau, poetically translates as “the battle of a hundred lovers” however this does not allude to a love story, but rather to the land conflicts which were said to be as fierce as a suitor’s rivalry. Traditional lore tells of persistent inter-tribal warfare over Auckland’s S-shaped isthmus which at its narrowest point is barely 1.3 kilometres wide. It was a highly prized piece of land for it was here that canoes were beached and hauled overland from the east coast to the west and vice versa.
Interestingly, when Europeans first began to arrive in Aotearoa – the land of the long white cloud – today known worldwide as New Zealand, Maoris traditional relationship with land rendered the concept of ownership as meaningless, so when land was purchased it is highly probable that chiefs did not know they were selling their assets but rather accepting gifts in exchange for allowing the newcomers live here.
If you are arriving from a long flight, it is strongly recommended you stay overnight in Auckland so you are not driving when jetlagged. There are a few camping ground options in and around Auckland city, where you can park up your campervan, or you may to prefer to take a hotel for one night before picking your campervan rental.
Auckland’s waterways have played a major role in its past, and will continue to do so in the future. But to gain a true appreciation for their enormity, it’s essential to get up high – and in this volcanically formed city, that’s not hard to do! There are several dormant volcanoes which are high looking hills hidden beneath a veneer of houses, bush and grass. And then there's Auckland’s centrepiece, the cloud-piercing Sky Tower.
To get to Awhitu, head south on State Highway One through Manukau to the outer suburbs. take exit 461 onto Great South Road and turn right to cross back across the motorway and head towards the west coast. This becomes Karaka Road then Glenbrook Road and eventually leads to the small town of Waiuku.
The route between Auckland up to Reinga and the beautiful Bay of Islands is a picturesque trip with lots of small places to explore along the way. This is prime motorhome rental and campervan hire country, with lots of bays where you can pull over and spend the night stargazing.
Auckland to Port Waikato can also be described as potentially the shortest road trip on the island. At only 206 Km door to door the whole trip could be completed in a leisurely four hours, but in a motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle you should take at least a few days!
The mouth of the Waikato River river offers a unique coastal experience only an hour away from Auckland City. Experience massive sand dunes, great fishing, and an interesting hinterland where part of the Lord of the Rings was filmed.
Thanks to Tourism Radio for much of the content supplied about Auckland. Tourism Radio is like having your own tour guide - providing you with audio commentary of over 2000 points of interest in New Zealand. It is available for rental with any vehicle booked on New Zealand Camper Hire
Helensville is a township known to Maori as Te Awaroa, or the valley of the long river. Helensville is home to nearly 2,500 people, and even though it is only a 40 minute drive from Auckland, it’s still a country town at heart.
Matakana is a country village famed for its leisurely wine trail and lively weekly farmer’s market held every Saturday. Matakana has an activity to suit every taste and budget from watching pots being thrown at the Morris & James potteries, perusing local arts and crafts, catching a movie at Matakana’s country theatre, or taking the kids for a pony ride at the Matakana Country Park.
The Hibiscus Coast township of Orewa is a region that was semi-rural pastureland and beach cottages barely a generation ago. Today it is Auckland’s northernmost dormitory suburb and although it has lost a lot of its former charm, it’s still a pleasant place to wander along the beach, have a swim, hire a windsurfer, or when the winds and swells are perfectly matched, watch local surfers ply the waves.
Kiwis, sheep and Rugby are what come to most people’s minds when New Zealand is mentioned. Recently, the Lord of the Rings movies were added to the list, and the beautiful countryside of this southern land became synonymous with Middle Earth! Take a road trip to see some of the landscapes which represented Tolkien's magical land, and see some of the beauty of New Zealand as an added bonus!