Some questions about DOC campsites
I was wondering about buying the DOC campervan campsite for my coming trip to NZ now in mid November, but then I read the Standard and Scenic DOC campsites have only cold shower =S I see that the temperatures in the coast are now around 15-17 degrees, so Im a bit skeptical of taking of having a cold shower after some hiking =D Are those showers usually directly powered by cold river water? Or do they have some system to provide some heating via solar energy? At last, do DOC campsites and huts take card or just cash? If the first, do they charge a fee for card payments?
contact DOC, we are trampers, not campers they can answer all those questions http://www.doc.govt.nz/footer-links/contact-us/
As for card or cash most Doc campsites are unattended. They use an honesty box system where you fill out a form and envelope. put the form on your car and payment in the envelope in a steel drum. No reason you couldnt put your credit card in there but you wont see it again for 6 months. There are campsite passes as well that get round that. Campervan company should also know
I've done some camper van travelling around New Zealand (before I decided to move here). I strongly recommend you do a chunk more research as there are so many options available here. First up What sort of camper van you will get? One with toilet and shower? If so - that gives you a lot of flexibility. In my experience you can stay pretty much anywhere as long as you visit a dump station every 4 days or so. If not, then you are more tethered to formal grounds. But that doesn't mean they all need to be fancy. If you are happy to skip showers from time to time then you can mix it up a bit. Most DOC huts (not camp sites) don;t have a shower at all. On the other end some DOC sites totally compete with mid-range commercial sites in terms of facilities. Definitely take the time to check each site on its own merits.
Agree with @PaulEvans. Hire a fully self contained van (like they all should be in my humble opinion) and you'll have way more options. "Campermate" is an excellent app to download - shows you every single site (DOC and commercial, paid and free) with reviews for each site, plus locates dump stations, ATM's supermarkets, petrol stations etc. Well worth the small cost.
Thanks for the feedback. We will have a non self-contained campervan, so I think that we will alternate between simple DOC campsites on the days we dont mind skipping a shower or having a cold one, and serviced campsites =D Due to the alternance, we will probably not buy the DOC campervan pass, but instead pay as we come.
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