So you've seen what we recommend packing (if not you can check it out here).
Now we thought we would fill you in on some of the things that made our life easier / cheaper or more pleasant during the trip.
Wikicamp NZ Lists campsites, hostels, dumpsites, points of interest etc and has basic offline functionality
Camping NZ We found this to be better than Wikicamps, the offline download (750mb) covers the whole of NZ and includes prices, location maps, reviews etc of every campsite we passed, from hidden DOCs campsites to full featured holiday parks.
Google Maps before leaving download the entire south island map (can be done in 3 sections in a few minutes on your phone, click here for instructions) so that you have turn by turn navigation wherever you are. Many areas don't have mobile phone signal so you won't have access to google maps without doing this first.
Spotify (or whatever you use for music, ipod, etc) You will be spending a lot of time driving with very poor radio reception. We suggest making a list of great driving music before you go with at least 100 songs or you will go insane listening to the same songs over and over.
AA Smartfuel Card. We found out about this on our last day as we filled the fuel on the van to return it :-( It gives you a straight 6c discount per litre of fuel from any Caltex or BP service station. Can be picked up at any of their service stations. Considering we spent around $600 on fuel in 2.5 weeks it could make a pretty hefty saving over a trip.
New World Clubcard. Only available on the South Island at all the New World supermarkets it gives some really good discounts simply by scanning it when you go to pay. Average saving was between $5-10 per shop (of a $40-70 average shop) and can be picked up at the register the 1st time you go to one.
When you arrive:
Buy Insect Repellant. Sandflies are like mosquitoes, except on steroids, in gangs and armed with machine guns... The west coast is unfortunately infested with them and this was the only downside we found to the trip as it spoilt a few peaceful, beautiful locations for us. So long as you cover up and have repellant you should be ok though, they are typically only out in large numbers at dawn and dusk and apparently are more attracted to dark coloured clothing than light.
This picture was taken minutes before we got swarmed, threw everything in the van and drove away at 100km/hr with the windows down trying to get them out of our faces...
Your First Shop:
Don't forget to grab basics like washing powder (for clothes), dishwashing liquid, margarine (use for butter and cooking oil) and salt, condiments etc.
In terms of food, shelf stable meals that only need a single pot to cook are the easiest to prepare when you only have 1 or 2 burners and limited fridge space. We ate a lot of proteins with prepared salad packs, soup, pasta and porridge or cereal for breakfast along with eggs and we bought breakfast muffins instead of bread as they are more compact and don't crush as easily as bread loaves.
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