Hunt for the Karavan – North Island Roadtrip

This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Caravan Living

I started! I packed my car and left Auckland on my hunt to find the perfect caravan. This video shows of my adventure through the North Island to Wellington. My car broke down, the weather was extreme and I a saw plenty of caravans.

I arrived in Tauranga, stopping to check where I was and my car wouldn’t start again. Nothing. Luckily, I’d just upgraded my car insurance to include two free Roadside Assistance call outs a year. I rang and learnt I needed to find a mechanic in the area and they would tow me to them. How did people survive before internet access on their phones! I found one just up the road that happened to be right next to one of the caravan dealers. I wondered if I’d be car-less for a night and the dramas that would cause. Turned out to be an easy fix to my alternator and they started recharging my battery.

Tow Truck

While I waited I popped across to the caravan dealer. The caravan I was interested in was sold and new ones should arrive any day now, but I wasn’t planning to stay long in town. I picked up my car with instructions to drive it for an hour to fully charge the battery. There were two other dealers I wanted to see, so left the car running while I poked my head into different caravans. Even looked at some beautifully converted vans and motorhomes! No bathroom in the vans and the motorhomes were either ancient or crazy expensive.

I didn’t spot THE ONE, so the next day, I carried on down the coast and inland through to Te Urewera National Park, the largest park in the North Island. It added a lot of driving time on about 75km of gravel road, with potholes and plenty of winding corners. The weather gradually worsened and it was getting late. I no longer has cellphone reception and wondered where I could stop for the night. After looking at the stunning scenery by the road, I came to Waikaremoana Holiday Park, rang the after hours bell and was in luck.

The next morning, the weather had improved, and a short walk to a lake was suggested. Beautiful forest and there is an option of renting a boat from the Information Centre (tip: get the key before you start the walk!). There are plenty of walks in the area – more than I realised… I’ll be back.

From Napier, I drove through Hastings and looked at plenty of historic Art Deco buildings in the area. I had time for a quick look around Wellington before taking the ferry to the South Island.

No luck finding my dream caravan in the North Island, but excited to explore the South Island and know I’ll find one there.


Do you have road trip stories? What car troubles have you had? Any tips on Te Urewera? I’d love to hear!

Series Navigation<< Random facts I’ve learnt about CaravansHunt for the Karavan – South Island Search >>
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19 Comments
  1. Haha, looks like finding the right caravan is not an easy task! Have fun on your adventures!

  2. Luckily, we haven’t had any road trip car troubles (knock on wood!). The most challenging part about road trips is when you are in the middle of nowhere and you have to go to the bathroom!

      • TravellingK
      • October 26, 2016
      • Reply

      haha I agree, I had moments like that in Te Urewera, shaking about on the gravel road.

    • Julie kern
    • October 26, 2016
    • Reply

    Girrrrl I’m currently living in a VW van and driving it across Europe!! It’s such an amazing experience, but many troubles along the way. That’s what makes it an adventure, right?? 🙂

      • TravellingK
      • October 26, 2016
      • Reply

      Really! Amazing! I’d love to hear more about your adventures.

  3. Oh man, sounds like quite the adventure! Car troubles are never easy to get through, especially financially lol.

  4. What an adventure! I’ve always wanted to rent a van and drive around NZ for a few months. One day!
    Good luck finding the perfect caravan for your journey 🙂

      • TravellingK
      • October 26, 2016
      • Reply

      I’ve peaked into some of the vans at the campsite I’m currently in – bulging shopping bags and comfy beds. That would be a great way to see NZ!

  5. What a quite adventure. Cant imagine what i would do myself with my hearing loss. Cant hear on the phone at all. Never done any road trip though & ive considered it for awhile but would rather have some travel buddy with me. Youre lucky.

      • TravellingK
      • October 27, 2016
      • Reply

      Thank you! Hope you find a travel buddy for a road trip soon, as it’s a great way to explore 🙂

  6. Love this! I’ve just moved to Auckland so I haven’t done much traveling, but you’re a total badass for enduring this solo. I hope your adventures continue to be amazing, but less stressful and if you’re ever back in Auckland area drop me an email!

      • TravellingK
      • October 30, 2016
      • Reply

      Hi Laura. That’s exciting for you! I will be in Auckland in a few months and would be great to meet. I have had a few older men seem surprised that I’m doing this on my own, haha.

  7. It was so much fun watching you exploring the different caravans! I’m fascinated by how much they pack into such tiny spaces. Sorry to see your car troubles, though! Glad that it got back to top form by the time you hit that rough weather. Looking forward to seeing the next phase of your trip!

      • TravellingK
      • October 30, 2016
      • Reply

      Thank you Patricia! I’m learning how much room a 4 berth fixed bed fits right now… kitchen items and food are taking over more of the cupboards than I expected. Luckily there’s a great amount of storage room under the bed.

  8. We have been looking for the right caravan or mobile home for the last 18 months but it is so difficult to find something we can both agree on in our price range. It is nice to hear we are not alone in this hard choice.

      • TravellingK
      • October 30, 2016
      • Reply

      That’s exciting! My budget slowly went up. I thought I’d originally get a cheaper 2 berth, but realised there wasn’t enough room for a permanent home. What other mobile homes are you considering? I love the #vanlife videos and seeing people build their own Tiny House.

  9. I loved NZ, I spent a year living there and saw most of the north island and drove around quite a lot of it. Such a beautiful country, miss it 🙂 Good luck in finding a caravan.

      • TravellingK
      • October 30, 2016
      • Reply

      Oh great! Glad you loved you year here.

  10. What an adventure! haha Have fun in your travels 🙂

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