The great New Zealand summer camping holiday

Elizabeth Marenzi —  10/12/2012

Summer. It’s finally here, and one of the things I’m most looking forward to is a camping getaway. Do you still do that? The great New Zealand summer camping holiday? I get the feeling that not so many people do these days – which I think is a real shame.

Camping: Our tent looking out onto trees.

Our trusty family tent

I love camping. It’s the best. And I guess you might expect to hear that from someone who works at DOC, but I’m not really that kind of DOCer. My endurance tests are more likely to be in front of a computer, or waiting in line for my latte at Memphis Belle, than climbing a mountain.

My kind of camping has nothing to do with hardship or endurance (except maybe the time we camped in Scotland in spring – I had no idea it could get that cold). No, for me, camping is luxury. The luxury of a slower pace and a simpler world. Back to fresh air, basic food, good conversation and real books (those paper things) under a starry sky, by the light of the citronella candle.

Camping. Our tent at dawn. Full moon in a clear sky.

I remember this morning well. So still, so cold, so beautiful, so very early!

So, here’s the lowdown. My top reasons why I love camping (and why you should too!):

  1. It’s cheap. Your money goes further so you can stay away longer – and longer holidays are good, right? My family (hubbie and two young sons) spent six glorious months tripping around some of the more expensive places in the Northern Hemisphere a few years back. If we hadn’t camped, then we would’ve been home (for a New Zealand winter) after about a month.
Camping. The view from our tent in Sorrento, Italy.

The view from our campsite in Sorrento (Italy). You can’t tell me you’d get a better view at a hotel.

  1. It’s communal. I travel to experience new places, but also to meet new people – and camping is the best way I know to do both.Kids are especially good at connecting with other kids. Normally, within half an hour of arriving at a campsite, my guys (including one little girl these days) find some likely “besties”. I’ve also made friends that I continue to write to, send Christmas gifts to, and even stay with. We meet while brushing teeth, washing the dishes, or watching kids. Family camping just builds that kind of community.
Camping. Young one-year-old boy in a bucket bath with tent.

Camping with young kids is actually kinda cool. My second son, Sebastian,  grew quite accustomed to his bath in a bucket when he was young.
Clockwise from top: Italy, Canada, Scotland, USA

  1. It’s simple. I have a lot in my life (as most of us do) and for me, camping strips life back to the basics. I’m happiest with the basics. Less stuff = less to lose and less to think about. It’s liberating. And when you’ve got a small old sedan, a five person family, and a (not very big) tent that takes up half the boot/trunk there’s no alternative but to keep it simple.
Camping, tent and lots of laundry.

Laundry. One job that follows me wherever I go

So, they are some of the reasons I love camping. Why do you love camping? What’s your best New Zealand camping spot? Where are you heading this summer? Tell me everything!

If you’re stuck for ideas check out: www.doc.govt.nz/camping. DOC manage some lovely campsites, in some stunning places. Go forth and make some great summer camping memories.

Elizabeth Marenzi

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Elizabeth is part of the communications team at DOC. She enjoys reconnecting the urban desk jockeys of the world with nature—believing it to be the best anecdote for “tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people.”