So, this could be weird… our first Christmas in New Zealand is coming up, and it will be summer!

We are used to holing ourselves up with mulled wine and a toasty fire burning away, so being by the beach and having a barbecue might take a little getting used to. To help with the transition to an antipodean Christmas, we have family coming to stay – yay!

Christmas in New Zealand is when the schools are closed for summer, and most Aucklanders head out of the city. So like lemmings, we’re also following the crowd and heading out south east from Auckland to the Coromandel, Bay of Plenty, and then on to Eastland.

We’ve booked a sleeper van with Fresh NZ campers. We tried to get a proper camper van but they’ve all gone, which is a shame, so book early if you want one! The staff at Fresh NZ campers were very helpful and for that reason I am sure we will use them again. We’ve got the van for two Hoomans and a tent for the other two Hoomans (and The Spaniel). So, we in theory we can go anywhere… right?

Well not quite…the next challenge is to get a dog-friendly campsite. Dogs are subject to lots of bylaws in New Zealand, and you can only exercise them in certain places at certain times (see here:, and lots of campsites simply won’t allow dogs at all. I emailed about 40 campsites, and got positive responses from a small trickle. Nonetheless, they were positive and based on these, here is our proposed trip:


Part 1 – Auckland to Whitianga, staying at the Harbourside campsite the owner, Kim, seemed lovely. Here, we expect to go to Cathedral Cove and Hot Water Beach

Part 2 – Whitianga to Matata. We are staying at the Department of Conservation campsite, which is a little bit more basic – but does have a shower! Just ONE shower in fact, there can be a queue apparently… The manager was lovely, eccentric even, but willing to hear me mutter on about dogs and beaches and such. Dogs are allowed on the beach too – whoop! This campsite is close to Whatakane and all the activities it has to offer, and of course White Island, a live marine volcano, which I can’t wait to visit .

Part 3 – freedom camping in Eastland (see here: Again, dogs are allowed on the campsites and in the beaches – whoop, whoop.

So that’s THE plan… Thoughts? Advice? Top tips?

Ta, very much.

The Two Hoomans and The Spaniel. 😉

p.s. I will probably write another post at some point listing all of the dog friendly campsites, which will hopefully be helpful for others.