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Wednesday 19 June 2024

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Vangabonding – why campervan hire is now de rigueur


The world’s best countries to travel in a campervan…

Let’s be honest. The words ‘Motorhome adventure’ seem about as out of place as a nun and a hunky underwear model holding hands in a cathedral.

The first word in this careless semantic coupling invokes images of house sized monstrosities thundering down miles of god-forsaken tarmac in the middle of nowhere, with pensioners at the wheel giving it their last go – the proverbial last throw of the dice in the game of life before the bucket list gets emptied and a good innings comes to timely end.

Adventure, on the other hand, conjures up images of bold journeys into the heart of lands and cultures where the only thing one can expect is the unexpected. This is where the inexorable pull of new, vibrant experiences and hard, gritty challenges will leave you standing at the end of it all with a much keener appreciation for your life and much more intimate awareness of who you are and what you value as a human being. Danger and delight line the hidden path and courage and curiosity are the fuel that propels your journey.

In the traditional sense, an adventure is undertaken upon horseback, or straddling the well-worn seat of a clapped out motorcycle, or simply on foot. Clambering on board a house on wheels and casting off with cries of ‘All aboard’ is not what one envisions when thinking of an adventure.

So long to the stereotypes

Thankfully, those stereotypes no longer apply, and the motorhomes and campervans of today have come a long, long way from the iconic Winnebago monstrosities most recently brought back into the limelight by that classic opening scene from the hit TV series Breaking Bad – where Walter White wrestles that out of control leviathan in nothing but his signature ‘tighty whities’ through the New Mexican desert.

The motorhome adventure is now something that can be undertaken by budget conscious travelling vagabonds looking for freedom on four wheels to those whose shoestring travel days are behind them and who prefer to step out in true glampervan style and comfort.

The chariot of your choice is there, but the hardest decision to be made remains just where to go. Ruling out war zones, the arctic, and crime-riddled hotspots where after a few hours away from your home on wheels you’re more likely to come back to a chassis on bricks, four obvious choices remain.

1. The USA

The USA is a Winnebago wanderer’s dream. There is so much on offer in this huge country that more often than not the hardest part of the campervan trip deciding just which route to do. We still reckon the classic National Historic Route 66, which stretches from LA to Chicago across some of the most bewildering and awe-inspiring scenery Murica has to offer, is the best way to go.

Glide through the unforgettable hairpin bends in the majestic Black Mountains, hideout in the very secluded cave system that the legendary outlaw Jesse James used to conceal himself from the law in the Meramec Caverns, Stanton, Missouri and be sure to refuel and refresh at the Dixie – Route 66’s most iconic and oldest truck stop which has only been closed 1 day in the near 70 years it has been open.

2. Europe

No other region on earth manages to combine such an alluring fusion of culture, cuisine and dynamic, diverse and startlingly beautiful scenery as Europe – both the west and the east.

Tour the iconic cities of Amsterdam, Paris, Barcelona and Munich; lose yourself in the endlessly crisscrossing tarmac ribbons that trail through Alps, forests and along pristine lakes. Some of the most enticing coastal driving awaits and for those with a thirst for off the beaten path adventure the whole of Eastern Europe awaits.

3. Australia

Big, bold and beautiful – Australia is a land teeming with an almost unrivalled offering of wild open spaces, first class cities brimming with culture and fine cuisine and a coastline that stretches on and on and on. Australia is a country practically tailor made for campervan travel – It has a great road infrastructure, it is safe and its natural diversity is truly astounding.

Arguably the most noted campervan route is the iconic Adelaide to Darwin route – which will have you coasting along the Lasseter highway past Australia’s most famous natural landmark – Uluru. This route is extremely campervan friendly with a host of very affordable campsites dotted along the way – many of them situated in national parks.

4. New Zealand

The jewel in the campervan hire holiday destination crown. The land of the long white cloud is synonymous with unrivalled natural splendor, vast and dramatic coastline teeming with a rich diversity of wildlife and the kinds of settings that dazzled audiences around the world on the silver screen as Peter Jackson brought J.R.R Tolkien’s masterpiece to life.

A huge part of what drives New Zealand’s economy is tourism, and a big portion of that is driven by campervan adventurers. In keeping with the theme of adventure we would recommend a circuitous route of the South Island which offers a huge range of natural diversity in so small an area of land.

Start off in Queenstown – the adventure capital of the world and head down through the Southern Alps to the majestic Milford sound, and then up the rugged and wild coast past glacier country and the old gold mining towns that dot the coastline. Tour some of the finest wine regions in the world as you head north past Picton and Nelson and then loop back down towards Christchurch.

Campervan hire in New Zealand is extremely easy and budget friendly. The industry and infrastructure is tailor made for these kinds of trips, making NZ the perfect spot for families, couples or even just a group of friends keen on a road trip in some of the most beautiful settings on the planet.

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