This was my first trip in New Zealand planned with University friends. Outside of family visiting all my other trips have been solo. My mates Aditya and Brad agreed to go to Akaroa for the weekend. This was a test trip as we had planned to take a two-week campervan trip in February before I head back to the states.
We rented a camper van from Lucky Rentals. This company is by far the cheapest and paying for the full coverage insurance is worth it after hearing stories from other travelers that had to pay up when the van was returned. Even with full coverage, it is cheaper than any other competing company. The total cost was NZD 540 with full insurance for the Lucky Ranger.
Day 1 – Halfway Drive & Camp 12.06.2019
We picked up the van after university and made our way out of Christchurch. We wanted to find a free campsite for the night and the best way to find one is to use Campermate NZ. A 2.5-hour drive from Christchurch was Diamond Harbor Wharf, which is on the opposite side of Lyttleton.
This campsite isn’t the most glorious and it’s basically a large parking lot with portable toilets, which is plenty and of course free.
Day 2 – Crate Day 12.07.2019
When we woke up the plan was to drive straight to Akaroa. We looked on google maps and decided we could cut across by heading towards Port Levy. Once we got to Port Levy the road changed to gravel went up a steep hill, as we were driving up we saw a sign that said no campervans. The road continued to get even more narrow so we had to back all the way down in reverse and loop all the way back out to Teddington. Eating up a little over an hour of extra drive town.
Once we were back on track we started heading into Akaroa. This drive is intense up and down the mountains but absolutely stunning during summer with all the green landscape. Once we got to Akaroa we tried to find one of the free places to camp, every single one was packed and full. We finally found a paid place, and this could not have worked out any better.
We stayed at Omuku Farm Hostel the cost is NZD 20 per person if you’re in a campervan. Otherwise, they have plenty of options to stay there without a van. This was a unique experience as there were no power hookups and one shared kitchen which had outlets and wifi. The campsite overlooks the harbor providing breathtaking views.
Now that we found a place, it was time to start Crate Day. In New Zealand, on the first Saturday of December, you get together with your mates and try to finish a crate (which is 12 40oz beers), not going to happen at the age of 30 haha. We walked down from the top of the hill at the farm to the private beach and then came back up to the grill and take in the sunset.
Day 3 – Cricket & Back to Christchurch 12.08.2019
The drive back is only an hour and a half, so we figured we check out the town. Brad had picked up a beach cricket set to teach me how to play. Akaroa had a cricket oval, so I gave it a shot. A lot more fun than baseball I’ll say that. We headed back to Christchurch and my dumbass put petrol into a diesel vehicle. In New Zealand petrol is a green handle and in the US diesel is a green handle, so without thinking twice I filled up the tank and had to pay NZD 250 to drain it. Thankfully I caught it before we started the engine. Lesson learn, do not rely on colors.
Akaroa is a great place to kayak, swim with dolphins, surf, and have some great scenic hikes. Unfortunately, we did not do any of those but still had an amazing time. If you’ve done any of the activities above at Akaroa let me know in the comments, I would love to hear how they went.
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