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Travel New Zealand’s North Island

New Zealand is well renowned for its stunning natual landscapes, cultural heritage, and friendly people. It is filled with an abundance of adventure, great surfing locations, plenty of opportunities to relax, and countless locations to wine and dine. The North Island is home to just as many “must do’s” as the South Island and we’re here to outline a few of our favourite locations to visit. Travelling by car is hands down the best way to see the North Island, so hiring a car or a van would be our top tip to ensure you have a one-of-a-kind experience.  

Approximately 220 kilometers south of Auckland you will find Mount Maunganui, a small coastal town known for its stunning beaches and laidback atmosphere. Here you can indulge in an abundance of outdoor activities, from surfing and snorkeling to hiking and fishing – there’s plenty to do. Likened to the southern coast of California, The Mount is the perfect place to go if you’re searching for chilled out vibes and some great local food and drinks. Perch yourself on the white sand beach and watch the world go by whilst soaking up some warm sunny rays. 

If you head west for approximately 115 kilometers you will arrive in Hamilton. Hamilton is a hub for all thing’s tourism. Home to rolling green hills, grand limestone caves, spectacular coastlines and more, Hamilton is a must do spot on your NZ road trip. Not far out of town you can experience magic at Hobbiton – the location where the movie “The Hobbit” was filmed. Here you can explore their homes in the hill and dine like a Hobbit with an evening dinner tour. Another great activity close to Hamilton is the Glow Worm caves. Here you can explore the underworld by taking a boat tour through striking limestone caves twinkling with glow worms. Hamilton is also home to a number of museums and art galleries where you can go to admire the work of local artists.  

If you continue west, you will hit the picturesque west coast of New Zealand. Here you will find endless surfing locations, stunning coastal walks, and plenty of sleepy coastal towns. One of our favourites would have to be Onaero Bay. Situated less than 30 kilometers from New Plymouth you will be treated to stunning vistas and the coastal town vibe, without being too far away from the big town action. Check out the scenery either on foot or by car. Explore what the area has to offer. Not far south you will find the towering Mt Taranaki, Pukekura Park, Brooklands Zoo, and plenty of place to eat and drink! For more information on what to do in and around Onaero Bay click here!

If you head further south towards wellington you will find yourself in Masterton. Located in the Greater Wellington region of New Zealand, Masterton is the largest town of the rural Wairarapa region, separated from Wellington by the picturesque Rimutaka Range. Masterton is one of the earliest inland settlements of New Zealand and is well-renowned for its historical sites and lush parklands, including Queen Elizabeth Park, and its growing wine industry and culture. Serving a combination of sheep, dairy, fruit and cereal farms, the town is widely known as the ‘capital’ of New Zealand sheep shearing, hosting the annual ‘Golden Shears’, the World’s premier shearing and wool handling championship. 

New Zealand’s North Island is home to so many more adventures and experiences we highly recommended looking into a NZ road trip for your next holiday – especially since it is advised we holiday at home this year. 

Top 8 Camping Must Haves

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your campsite, getting set up and settled in, then coming to the realisation you forgot a key item or purchased poor quality essentials. Trust us, it’s the worst. We have pulled together a list of eight things we think are absolute must haves when you’re camping.  

Item 1: A quality tent  

This is probably the most important item you want to get right. Having a tent that is of poor quality, or that is not the right size will end up causing a massive headache. There is nothing worse than being wet or cramped into a tent that’s for sure. Be sure to plan ahead and figure out how many people you want in the tent, then when purchasing be sure to get one that fits MORE than the amount stated (4-man tent really only fits 3 people comfortably). We would also recommend splurging a little extra cash to get a tent with better canvas that can withstand weather conditions.  

Item 2: Appropriate bedding  

Packing the appropriate bedding is so important if you want to have a good night’s sleep. We would recommend to always pack a quality blanket or sleeping bag, even if its summer. Winds can pick up at night making it a bit chilly in the tent, leading to a poor night’s sleep if not prepared (been there, done that). Sheets are also a good option if you need an extra layer, or even a lighter layer. It is always a good idea to pack good quality camping pillows (or regular pillows if space allows) to ensure maximum comfort in your tent.  

Item 3: Lighting  

Whether you’re staying at a large-scale caravan park or a small outback campground, it’s always a good idea to bring some sort of lighting, as it’s rarely provided by the campground. There are so many different options available to suit what kind of campsite you’re staying at. There are LED strip lights available that can be plugged into your power source, into the car, or into your camping battery box (if you have one). If none of those options suite you, there are also large size torches, camping lanterns, and headtorches available from camping stores and even Bunnings. We definitely recommend having your lighting sorted before embarking on your next camping adventure. 

Item 4: Shade! 

Having shade at your campsite is so important, especially during peak summer in Australia. Having some sort of shade around your campsite can provide a great place to seek refuge from the scorching Australian sun, whether it be to shield your site in the morning or cover you for your afternoon drink and cheese board, you won’t regret having shade. There are many items available that can provide appropriate shade. This can be an awning that is attached to your roof racks or mounted on the back of your car, it could be a small 3×3 marquee, or even a beach umbrella. Theres something available to suit every type of camper. Not only is having these items good for blocking sun, they’re also great for when it’s raining. Allowing you to move freely from your tent to your seating and table area without getting wet. Relying on natual shade is risky and unpredictable as you can never be certain that there will be trees or buildings around to shield you.   

Item 5: Table and Chairs  

Trust us, you’re going to want somewhere to chill out and relax that isn’t in your tent! A table and some chairs are essential if you want to be comfortable when camping. Folding tables and chairs are definitely the way to go as they’re much easier to store in your car. Having these items provides you with a place to eat, drink, relax, and socialise. It also saves you the hassle of going to find a communal picnic bench or area to hang out in – unless that’s what you like to do.  

Item 6: Quality Esky/fridge 

Having a high quality esky or fridge to keep your food cold is a must have here in Australia. The last thing you want is to be buying ice daily because your esky isn’t properly insulated resulting in melted ice. This is particularly important if you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t sell ice. If we’re being honest – Coles insulated bags just aren’t going to cut it. 

Item 7: First Aid Kit 

Make sure your kit is well stocked, up to date and includes items such as insect repellent, band aids, disinfectant wipes, bandages, scissors and tweezers. If you are camping in snake season, remember a pressure immobilisation bandage is worthwhile having in your kit. 

Item 8: A hammer and shovel  

These items come in handy when around the campsite. The hammer is great to use to bang in your pegs for your tent or shade items. Having the pegs in the ground encourages stability for the items and prevents them from blowing away in the wind. The shovel is handy for digging firepit holes, moving firewood in the fire, clearing a campsite, or banging unwanted spiders. 

Be sure to create a list in the planning phase of your next camping trip and check each thing off once you’ve packed it into the car. This will ensure none of the essentials are forgotte

See Australia from the road

People these days are fascinated with the idea of exploring different countries, rather than exploring what is on offer in their own back yard! Australia is home to so many natural wonders for travelers to see and explore. As Australians are encouraged not to holiday overseas due to Covid-19, now is the perfect time to purchase or borrow that 4WD, camper trailer or tent, and get exploring!  

Travelers can go from big city lights to sleepy coastal towns, and experience everything in between. There are thriving green rainforests, red dusty outback roads, remote oasis’, pure white-sand beaches, extremely large rock forms and the perfect barrels to surf. Traveling by car is a great way to see the outback, and to truly immerse yourself in the experience. There are so many great places to see and stay, so here is a list of some of our top picks!  

Fraser Coast, QLD 

The Fraser Coast is home to a number of World Heritage-listed natural wonders, unique diving experiences, stunning beaches, great views of humpback whale migration, as well as extensive military history. Whether you are looking to explore, relax by the beachside or enjoy an active holiday away with the kids – the Fraser Coast has something for everyone. 

Somerset Region, QLD 

Experience the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and cycle, walk or ride on horseback to townships bursting with character. Thrill seekers can witness the breathtaking expanse of countryside from a different angle as they fall from the sky. Don’t forget your fishing gear and drop a line at some of Queensland’s most picturesque lakes! There are three RV Friendly Towns in the Somerset Region, making it the perfect place to embark on a cara-venture. Enjoy country cooking and kick back with a coldie at one of the region’s iconic cafés, pubs, or wineries. 

Scenic Rim, QLD  

The Scenic Rim is where natural beauty meets country charm and a welcoming aura stretches as far as the breathtaking landscapes. What matters most out here is spending more time with the people you love in places that make you feel alive, connected and enriched. 

The Scenic Rim is a region with so much to offer visitors. From the iconic Tamborine Mountain to beautiful Lake Moogerah, rugged Mount Barney to welcoming Boonah and every breathtaking space in between.  

With ancient rainforests, national parks, quaint towns and villages, adventure parks, farm stays, breweries and wineries, galleries, festivals, camping, and more, there’s always something new to uncover. 

Byron Bay, NSW 

Byron Bay is a coastal town located on the eastern most point of Australia, which is home to the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse. The Byron Bay region is known for its spectacular beaches, unique shopping and dining experiences, world-class festivals, and spirited community. The Byron Bay Hinterland is dotted with quaint towns each with their own unique character. 

Eurobodalla, NSW 

Discover a region that’s all kinds of natural. Where you can drench yourself in the raw beauty of nature, experience ancient cultures, and taste the freshness of the land and sea. Eurobodalla is a place like no other. 
 
This Shire is a hidden gem on the NSW South Coast. It stretches from South Durras all the way down to the historic village of Tilba Tilba. This area is home to a lush playground comprising of ocean, river, forest and farmland. Visit the charming villages of Batemans Bay, Broulee, Narooma, Moruya and Tilba. Surf the barrels, walk the cliffs, swim with seals, and eat some outstanding fresh seafood.  

Yass Valley, NSW 

The Yass Valley is bustling with delightful experiences. Yass Valley has a proud heritage connection to early rural Australia. It is also well renowned for its modern food and wine scene, a thriving arts experience and some great boutique stores to do your shopping. Visiting the Yass Valley is an experience not to be missed. Exploring the regions beautiful, historical towns and villages is sure to captivate the young and the young at heart!  

Guilderton, WA 

Guilderton is a nature-based tourist destination, which lies approximately 100 kms north of Perth. The town is situated on the last remaining river estuary (Moore River) on the Swan Coastal Plain, which remains un-spoilt by development. Residents strive to maintain the near pristine environment to ensure enjoyment for current and future generations.  

Williamstown, SA 

Bordered by the undulating vines of the Barossa Valley and flourishing Adelaide Hills, Williamstown’s location makes it the perfect place to base yourself out of when tasting your way around South Australia’s best wine regions. Settle in for a drink at a stunning winery, take to the skies for a birds-eye view over endless vineyards. Not far from Williamstown you are able to explore bushland bustling with wildlife at Mt Crawford Reserve and Parra Wirra Recreation Park. You can also take a scenic drive around the region’s reservoirs or discover the Whispering Wall. 

With so much to explore in our own backyard here in Australia, why would you want to travel anywhere else? Stay Covid-safe and travel at home this year – we can’t wait to see you!  

Top 5 Benefits of Camping

Now more than ever, camping has significantly increased in popularity. The recent events of 2020 that has seen families confined to their homes for weeks on end, has led to a resurgence of people rediscovering the joys of camping. Not only is camping a great way to explore and experience the great outdoors, it also has many health benefits. We have highlighted our top five benefits that camping has for travelers.   

Benefit 1: Affordability   

Camping is a great way to explore what Australia has to offer. It’s an affordable option for those who are on a small travel budget as it is an inexpensive alternative to a more traditional holiday.  Camping can range from an unpowered, unmarked site for approximately $20/night through to a fully furnished cabin.  Accommodation options abound to suit everyone’s budgets and requirements. Apps such as Wiki Camps, allows travelers to research/locate accommodation that meets their budget.   

Benefit 2: Closer to Nature   

Camping connects people to nature and encourages travelers to immerse themselves in their immediate surrounds. An escape from the city allows for encounters with wildlife, peaceful sounds of birds singing, wind whistling through trees, waves crashing onto the shore as well as seeing stars away from the bright lights of the city. Often, campgrounds are situated close to bushwalks, hiking trails, and beaches meaning you have numerous experiences to encounter, right at your very own front door. According to the President of KOA (Kampgrounds of America), Toby O’Rourke, “with reduced barriers and the desire of campers to connect with nature and each other, it is no surprise that camping is fast becoming a fundamental component of an outdoor lifestyle. You must agree, getting closer to nature makes you feel refreshed and ready to tackle life again”.  

Benefit 3: Aids in a decrease of stress levels  

When you are camping, there is no having to stick to a schedule! You’ve got no place to be by a certain time, there’s very few interruptions, and no one is competing for your time or attention. There is less strain on both your mental and physical health as you are enjoying a slower pace of life. As most campgrounds have limited services, it’s a great time to unplug and unwind from the stresses of everyday life. Unique experiences like this will keep you healthy, happy and stimulated. 

Benefit 4: Increase family time  

Camping has the ability to bring family and friends together. With limited interruptions from devices, homework, and busy schedules, there’s more time to spend with one another strengthening relationships. Families partake in new experiences, share campfire stories, build on confidence, capabilities, and learn a host of new skills. The journey to the campground destination, is in itself, the perfect time to engage with those travelling with you. Sing-a-longs, games, books, movies, I Spy, number-plate bingo and a large variety of healthy snacks (hungry kids are not happy kids) will inevitably make for a fun-filled family road trip. Say goodbye to the “are we there yets?” 

Benefit 5: Increase in activity  

Time spent camping automatically increases your level of physical activity. Whether it is setting up your tent or caravan site, walking to the amenities block, visiting family and friends at their campsite, collecting firewood, hiking, fishing, boating or just exploring, these are all forms of activity that you wouldn’t usually do in your everyday life. Let’s face it. Many of us live a sedentary life. Camping is a prime opportunity, which allows us to experience a different world far removed from our hectic lifestyles. 

Below is a list of all Belgravia campsites. Be sure to book a campsite today for an unforgettable, life changing experience.