Fire up the Van – New Zealand

An ice box, three skinny mattresses, plastic cutlery and a dingy, drooping curtains. And all this luxury wrapped up in a converted jalopy of a Hiace Van. True, you’ll get funky graffiti on the side – ‘The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing’, or a giggle-worthy translation of the eighth of the 10 Commandments – ‘Thou shalt not steal, God is looking’. Oh the wit, the wit.

You thought you’d be driving through Lord of the Rings country with panoramic views of the sublime, acres of vineyards and generations of future All Blacks stretching their muscles on roadside pitches. In reality what you get is a petrol guzzling banger and not a rubgy match in sight. It’s cricket season silly, and 40 million of New Zealand’s sheep population are shivering in the ‘unseasonal rain’ in their freshly sheared coats as you trundle by at a breakneck 50km an hour.

But you’re here now, you may as well check out Waiheke Island, a 35-minute ferry trip from Auckland – the home of boho artists and hippies as well as millionaires and boutique vineyards.

And if you’re still foolish enough to try this campervan malarkey, get acquainted with one of New Zealand’s most impressive services - the i-Sites, well sign-posted tourist offices that can be found in every one-horse town.

Etihad, Etihad, Emirates, Emirates and Air New Zealand AirNewZealand fly to Auckland or Christchurch with connections.

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