David is one of my subscribers who recently bought his first caravan in New Zealand. I think it’s always interesting to hear how people find that first initial experience – the surprises and the difficulties… and why a caravan rather than a motorhome or camper? Luckily David has been happy to answer a few questions while he travels around the South Island. David is also a nightscape photographer and you can see some of his work here.
I am a 31 year old male living alone in my caravan. I worked as a regional manager before this, looking after a wide range of businesses in the electrical wholesale industry. I was brought up in Hamilton but born in Tokoroa. I have always been interested in living with less and enjoying life in a more simple way.
2018 Weinsberg 450 fu
Toyota Mark X 2005 2.5L AWD works well but fuel consumption when towing is high.
I wanted to live off grid for at least a year. I had looked at many tiny designs but I eventually decided I wanted to stay mobile and a caravan seemed like the best way to go.
Emptying the toilet waste is not so bad. It’s amazing how easy living in a caravan is – you give up very little.
I added a large amount of solar and a lithium battery system as well as a generator and 2x 12kg gas bottles so I can stay off grid longer without the need to go to powered campgrounds and be able to go longer with no gas bottle fill ups. I think in winter down south a generator is a must if you don’t want to go to a powered campground.
Adding another toilet cassette so I don’t have to visit the dump station as often.
Forums, Youtube and from the dealer who sold me the caravan.
I have money from my house sale.
Join the NZMCA, make your caravan as off grid capable as possible and add as much solar as you can fit on the roof. One of the biggest costs is petrol so try to set up a home base in one location as long as possible.
I have a friend that I send all my mail to. I do not have a home base as such. I sold everything aside from what I have in the caravan.
Lots all of them. The freedom campground at Lake Pukaki was really nice as well as the Tekapo NZMCA site.
Water, dump station and a pretty view.
Driving is okay. Keep in mind that the caravan is wider than the car and take it slowly. Reversing is something I’m still getting used to.
I have 2x 150w and 1x 260w solar panel, with a 200ah lithium battery, and a Ryobi 1100w generator. It depends where I am – most of the time I can stay running off solar, but in the deep south where sun hours are less, I find I have to run my generator more.
Not too much of an issue using 20L containers with my 80L onboard tank I am able to collect water then pump it into the tank.
The toilet is good. The shower is okay, but the space is small. It would be nice to have a larger space, but it works as intended.
Travelingk 😛 and BuslifeNZ
I was planning to do this for 1 year but beyond that I don’t know.
Have you recently bought a caravan, bus, motorhome or campervan? I’d love to hear how you are finding the experience.