Tips for staying safe camping in New Zealand

Last updated by Jack on 26 July, 2013 in Travel Tips.

Milford Sound, New Zealand

New Zealand is a wild, exciting and thoroughly beautiful country, so it's no surprise that so many people choose to camp perched on the edge of hillsides and overlooking lakes. RV rental in New Zealand is incredibly popular, but if you don't follow some basic safety tips whilst camping, you could run into trouble.

Follow the tips below to stay safe while camping in New Zealand, whatever the weather and wherever you are:

  • Camp in holiday parks, designated camping spots and Department of Conservation camping grounds. Wild camping is also permitted in some areas, but check with the local authority first. Your camper van must be self-contained if you wish to go wild camping.
  • Pack waterproof and warm clothing for each trip, however small. New Zealand can experience all four seasons in the space of one day, so it's important to protect yourself against the elements by being prepared for every weather eventuality. If you plan to go out for anything more than a short walk, you should also always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  • Follow the New Zealand Outdoor Safety Code to keep safe on all outdoor trips. Plan your trip by seeking local knowledge, asking Department of Conservation staff or by visiting an i-SITE information centre and work out how long you expect the trip to take. Tell someone before you go, check the weather forecast and be aware that the weather might change, and take enough food, equipment, clothes and rations for the worst case scenario – just in case.
  • Keep valuables in a safe place and if you can, try not to leave them in your camper van. Carry your travel documents with you, such as passports and credit cards, and keep copies of the travel documents in a separate place. It's also a good idea to jot down the serial numbers of your gadgets, such as your camcorder or your mobile phone, in case any of the items are lost or stolen.
  • Keep maps, luggage and visitor brochures out of sight in your camper van. Having them clearly visible shows that you are a tourist and this could leave you more susceptible to burglary. Be sensible and keep valuables and similar items out of sight.
  • Shield your PIN number whenever you use an ATM machine and be sure to keep your credit cards in sight whenever possible. At a restaurant, if the waiter wants to take the card away from the table to verify your purchase, offer to go with them to the till just to make sure that nothing untoward happens with your card.
  • Don't leave any baggage unattended in public places, especially airports, railway stations, bus terminals and ferry terminals.
  • If you need emergency help, New Zealand's emergency telephone number is 111. You can call this number to request police, fire or ambulance services.

Enjoy your trip into the wild!

Photo by Trey Ratcliff on flickr

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