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Caravan Guide

Absolutely everything you need to know about caravans

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New Zealand is great for driving holidays with so many places only a few hours apart. You're never far from a main town and it's only a few 100kms from the east coast to the west coast. That's why caravanning is a great way to see the best of it.

Caravanning allows you to park up, unhitch and stay put in your favourite places with all the comforts of home, while still having the freedom to go exploring in the vehicle you use to tow it. Plus, it's a much lower investment than a bach or motorhome but comes with many of the same benefits.

Whether you're new to the caravan lifestyle or are more experienced, still researching your options or are ready to buy, you'll find everything you need to know right here.

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Is the caravanning lifestyle right for you?

Anyone and everyone can enjoy caravanning as a lifestyle choice and that's why thousands do. It's great for families big and small, and people of all ages. Worried about towing? No need, there's a caravan for everyone's towing capability.

The caravan lifestyle is great for:

Full time living on a permanent site

Permanent sitting at a campground for year-round enjoyment

Family holidays - some great family floorplans available

Budget conscious travellers - get into the lifestyle for low initial outlay

Visiting the best campsites in the country

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What types of features does a caravan have?

Caravans come in all different sizes and capacities with a lot of different features. Here's a rundown of what they tend to have and what it means.

  • Berth

    Usually from two to six and refers to the number of people the caravan can sleep.

    Five and six berths are normally geared up as family caravans perhaps with a set of bunks for the kids.

    Some of the larger caravans may be ideal for two but have additional inserts or squabs that can be purchased to make living areas accommodate more.

    Be mindful that to be self-contained for the number of berths the caravan will need to have the adequate water capacity of 12L per person.

  • Bed style

    Beds can be single, doubles or queens and you'll find them located in all sorts of places like island beds, french beds, bunks or even tucked away under a seat.

  • Length

    With caravanning, the length of your caravan does factor into the decision making but certainly shouldn't put you off. Length often but not always (when it comes to the Bailey Australia built models) means weight, which in turn means a bigger tow vehicle. The best place to start when it comes to caravanning is whether you have an existing tow vehicle that can accommodate the caravan you're looking for.

    5.5-7m - small, compact caravans easy to tow, each to manoeuvre

    7-8m - medium sized caravans with single and dual axle options

    8m - dual axle, permanent beds, most manufacturers in this length will be heavy

  • Alu-tech 5 part construction

    Impact resistant fiberglass body panels, bonded and bolted to a unique interlocking aluminium external frame and fixed to a 44mm thick floor.

    The benefit of this is unrivalled strength yet light weight.

  • Other

    Breakaway cable
    A thin steel wire normally coated in a coloured plastic that attaches to the caravan and then to the car. In the event the caravan detaches from a car whilst towing the breakaway cable will apply the caravan’s brakes. This piece of equipment is a legal requirement.

    A device fitted either to the hitch head of a caravan or to the A frame cover that helps to minimise snaking while towing.

    Roll away tanks
    Containers that sit outside the caravan that store the water.

Caravanning 101 basic terminology

So you want to get out on the road and enjoy our beautiful country and you're thinking a caravan is the way to go. We understand why - it's cost effective especially if you already have the tow vehicle.

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Towing a caravan

You'll need to get a tow assessment to ensure you have the right vehicle to get your caravan where it needs to be. We can help you with this when it comes time to buy. For now, read our blog for some tips you may not know about towing.

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Which caravan is best for you?

It all depends on who you are and what kind of lifestyle you want your caravan to create for you.

  • TrailLite Caravans

    Combining world-class design, expert New Zealand craftsmanship, luxury and superior functionality to create the best of the best. The towing experience is incredibly safe and comfortable thanks to technology and innovative weight distribution and the latest components and innovations in a spacious, luxurious living space designed around the unique way we use caravans in New Zealand. Large water and power capacity and impressive storage means room to take what you need to explore further, for longer.

  • Elddis Xplore

    The Elddis Xplore caravan is an ideal choice for those new to caravanning. That's because of its state-of-the-art technology and competitive specifications all packaged up in super-lightweight and exceptionally easy-to-tow caravan.

  • Elddis Affinity

    Loaded with a multitude of added features and specifications, all Affinity models are a lightweight option that's a dream to tow and ideal for those new to caravanning. The contemporary interior design of the Affinity is obvious with streamlined styling, quality upholstery, bright LED lighting throughout, lockable quiet-close cabinets and a panoramic Sky-Scrape sunroof to let in fresh air.

  • Elddis Avante

    The award-winning Avante caravans feature a comprehensive list of specifications in a thoughtful, lightweight package for a comfortable and easy-to-handle caravan for couples and families alike. With all the details covered, it's the perfect choice for whatever life on the road looks like for you.

  • Elddis Crusader

    A real contender to satisfy the serious caravan connoisseurs. The 4-berth layout is the ideal option for couples and families who know and love the caravan lifestyle. A full bathroom and retractable transverse bed make life comfortable for all, and it has a high level of specification as standard so you're fully equipped for a good time away.

  • Elddis Buccaneer

    A British-built grand tourer for couples and families alike. At around 2.4m wide, the Buccaneer is probably the next best thing to a TrailLite caravan. It's brimming with exciting tech, stylish detail and so many features to make experienced caravanners smile. Fully updated in 2022, it comes with 4 berths, a retractable transverse bed, amazing bathroom (a MUST for families) and plenty of clever storage solutions throughout.

What to look for when buying a family caravan

Caravanning is a great way to see the best New Zealand has to offer. Head away with the family to give your children access to some of the best outdoor playgrounds a kid could ask for; nature, forests, beaches.

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Tips for buying a caravan

Ready to buy? How exciting. Here's what to expect when you go through the process, including some questions to ask to help you know you're making the right decision.

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Thinking of selling your caravan?

When it comes time to sell your caravan and get the best price, you'll need a comprehensive and professional valuation that take sinto account current market conditions, and a reputable company that can sell it as not all people like to buy privately as it offers no protection.

We can trade your caravan or sell it on your behalf. Click here for a free valuation.

Travelling New Zealand in a caravan

Our family grew up holidaying in a caravan so we know it pretty well. Here are some helpful resources to make sure you experience the very best of New Zealand in yours.

What is the NZ Motor Caravan Association?

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association is a membership based organisation representing the interests of private motor caravan owners in New Zealand.

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Caravans for beginners

Deciding you want a new adventure filled lifestyle is the easy part. Figuring out how and what caravan fits into that can be a little more difficult. Especially without all the information. Read on for basic tips and tricks to get you started with your research journey.

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Looking for more information on caravanning?

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