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Larissa's Solo Campervan Adventure Around the South Island

by Larissa Dening | Sep 12, 2016

I was kind of nervous for this adventure before I arrived in New Zealand. It was my first time overseas on my own and the first time driving a motor home all by myself. Mike who picked me up from the airport put my mind at ease though by saying I would be fine and that the campers were easy to drive.

After watching the instructional video and going over the van with Mike I was on my way in the awesome Freedom 2 ! It was such an exhilarating feeling being on the open road and all the possibilities of fun ahead of me.

The thought of freedom camping was a bit nerve racking at first but the Wilderness Travel app is the best invention ever and helped me out so much.

I used that app to find the best free camping spots, the best caravan parks, dump stations, places to fill my gas bottle and places to fill up my water. The Wilderness app is invaluable when freedom camping.

My absolute favourite place to free camp of the whole trip was at Lake Pukaki Reserve. I drove right up to the edge of Lake Pukaki for the night and woke up to the most stunning sunrise ever. I was one of about four other people camping in that area and we were all spread out, so it was really peaceful.

 Lake Pukaki Wilderness Motorhomes
Amazing sunrise whilst free camping at Lake Pukaki
 Wilderness Motorhomes Freedom Camping

The most amazing place to free camp, Lake Pukaki Reserve

Being able to free camp means that you can get to some really remote places and find absolute peace as you are not parked next to rowdy neighbours like you are in a caravan park. I free camped 6 out of 10 nights in New Zealand and probably could have free camped for more.

Being able to free camp 5 minutes down the road from the gorgeous little town of Glenorchy meant that I was able to witness another gorgeous sunrise.

 Beautiful Sunrise Glenorchy Camping
Beautiful sunrise at Glenorchy!

One night I decided to drive up to the top of the remarkables to free camp so that I could catch the sunrise overlooking the mountains and Queenstown. Unfortunately the weather report came in with snow and gale force winds so I decided to drive back down and found a beautiful spot to free camp right on Lake Wakatipu. I didn't leave without capturing the milky way right above my camper high on the mountain though.

 Camping Milky Way Stargazing
Camping under the milky way on top of a mountain

There are so many amazing places that you can free camp all over New Zealand. This stunningly beautiful country is designed to be enjoyed this way and the Wilderness motorhomes make it so easy and comfortable to do this.

I absolutely loved the fact that the bed came down from the roof with the push of a button and can be raised back up out of the way by pushing another button. My camper was so warm in the middle of winter that I had to turn down the heating during the night.

Having a decent sized fridge meant that I could take so much food with me and cook in the fully equipped kitchen. I enjoyed sipping on my morning chai while staring out the window at these amazing views.

 Wake up to a beautiful morning in your New Zealand Campervan Rental
Morning van views

You really do have so much freedom with Wilderness Motorhomes and I can't wait to return to New Zealand to hire another one and explore more of this amazing country. 10 days was no where near enough time to see the splendour of this place :) so make sure you plan about twice as much time as that for each island!


  • Wilderness Explorer Stories
  • Motorhome Road Trips
  • NZ Travel Tips
  • Planning your Motorhome Road Trip
  • Photography
  • Camping in New Zealand

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