10 Reasons to Plan a Winter Campervan Road Trip in NZ | Apollo NZ
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Hawke's Bay

Looking for a New Zealand campervan holiday destination that ticks the boxes for sunshine, adventure, great food, and perhaps a little history and culture? You can’t go past Hawke’s Bay. This stunning region offers a taste of the good life amidst some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. Whether you’re into adventurous hikes, wine tasting, or family fun, you’ll find plenty of great things to do in Hawke’s Bay.  

The appeal of the Hawke's Bay region lies not only in its charming townships such as Napier and Hastings but also in its natural attractions. The Hawke’s Bay weather is among the best in New Zealand, boasting plenty of sunshine that ripens grapes in its world-renowned vineyards and warms its expansive beaches. This climate makes the region a year-round destination for visitors looking to explore the outdoors whether on bike trails, on foot through its scenic reserves, or along its stunning coastlines.

Travelling by campervan allows you to take in everything Hawke's Bay has to offer at your own pace. Wake up to ocean views, spend your days discovering local markets or touring iconic wineries in Hawke’s Bay. In the evenings, enjoy relaxed sunset meals prepared in your campervan kitchen. And with plenty of Hawke’s Bay accommodation for campervan travellers, you’ve got the freedom to explore far and wide.


Why explore Hawke’s Bay by campervan

Exploring Hawke's Bay by campervan offers an unparalleled opportunity to dive deep into the region's offerings at your own pace. From the freedom to wander through the sunlit vineyards of Hawke’s Bay to parking along the coastlines near Napier, your campervan allows for a flexible, immersive travel experience. 

Travelling by campervan comes with heaps of perks that make the trip even better. Fancy cooking up some local produce from a roadside stall? You've got your own kitchen right there. Tired of hauling suitcases in and out of hotels? That's not an issue when your campervan acts as your base. You can also pack all the gear you need for outdoor fun – like hiking packs or surfboards – without worrying about space. And let’s not forget the convenience of having your own bathroom, which means no more hunting for public restrooms. It’s all about making your holiday as relaxed and enjoyable as possible.


Things to do in Hawke’s Bay

Hawke's Bay is a playground for explorers, foodies, and culture enthusiasts alike. Immerse yourself in the rich history and Art Deco architecture of Napier. Sample some of New Zealand's finest wines. Or simply explore the natural beauty of the region's landscapes and coastlines. Whatever you’re keen to see and do, there's something here for everyone. 

Things to do Hawkes Bay Things to do Hawkes Bay

Things to do Hawkes Bay

From Art Deco delights to world-class wineries, there's no shortage of unforgettable places to visit in Hawke’s Bay. And there’s...

 Popular Hawke’s Bay road trips & itineraries

Located on the eastern coast of New Zealand's North Island, Hawke's Bay is easily accessible from major cities including Auckland and Wellington. Setting off from Napier, the heart of Hawke's Bay, you can delve into the area's renowned Art Deco architecture, explore the dramatic cliffs of Cape Kidnappers, or indulge in a tasting tour through its famous vineyards. Whether coming down from Auckland or making your way up from Wellington or even the South Island, Hawke’s Bay is perfectly poised to offer an unforgettable New Zealand road trip. 

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Great savings on your New Zealand road trip

Apollo offers a fantastic selection of deals and specials for those looking to explore New Zealand by campervan. From hot deals and last-minute discounts to long-term hire benefits, you’re sure to find a deal designed to help you make the most of your campervan adventure. 

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Apollo Campervan branches


Departing from Apollo Auckland, you’re perfectly positioned for a half-day drive to Northland & the Bay of Islands. This route ensures a seamless blend of scenic beauty and local culture, culminating in the stunning landscapes of Northland.


The drive from Apollo Christchurch to Northland & the Bay of Islands sets you up for a scenic multi-day journey across the South Island, including the picturesque ferry crossing at the Cook Strait, and into the North Island. 


Keen to make the most of your road trip and explore as much of New Zealand as possible? Book your camper with our Queenstown branch and take your time heading northward over an epic 10-14 days taking in some of the great southern highlights along the way. 

Auckland City Skyline


New Zealand’s multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts and culture.


Christchurch City, New Zealand


 One of the world’s most unique destinations.



Breathtaking scenery and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities.


Helpful tips for visiting Hawke's Bay


Climate and seasons in Hawkes

Hawke's Bay is known for its consistently warm and dry climate, making it a favoured destination throughout the year. The region's weather complements its reputation as one of New Zealand's premier wine-growing areas, with long, sunny days that nurture vineyards and invite outdoor adventures.

  • Summers (December to February) in Hawke's Bay are typically warm and dry, with temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C. This is the perfect time for beach outings at places like Waimarama or Ocean Beach, and for enjoying al fresco dining in Napier or Hastings. The warm weather also makes this a peak season for exploring the region’s numerous vineyards and wineries.

  • Autumn (March to May) brings cooler temperatures and the landscape bursts into vibrant colours, especially in the vineyards where the leaves change hues against a backdrop of crisp blue skies. The mild weather is ideal for hiking and cycling through the region's parks and reserves.

  • Winter (June to August) sees cooler days with temperatures generally between 10°C and 15°C. Although colder, the days are often clear and sunny, providing perfect conditions for visiting indoor attractions like the Art Deco buildings in Napier or the Hawke's Bay Museum.

  • Spring (September to November) rejuvenates the region with fresh blooms and gradually warming temperatures. It's an excellent time to witness the orchards in blossom and to enjoy the late spring events that celebrate the region’s produce and wine.

Hawke's Bay's sheltered position in the rain shadow of the central mountain range means it receives less rainfall than many other parts of New Zealand, but packing a rain jacket is still advisable. The pleasant climate in spring and autumn, along with the vibrant seasonal changes, make these particularly delightful times to visit.



What to pack?

Preparing for your campervan adventure in Hawke's Bay calls for smart packing to make the most of the region's sunny climate and abundant outdoor activities. From relaxing on its beautiful beaches to touring its famous wineries, here’s what you should consider bringing along:

  • Outdoor gear: Hawke's Bay's varied landscapes, from coastal paths to vineyard trails, demand versatile outdoor gear. Opt for lightweight, breathable clothing to keep cool during warm days, and include a layer or two for the cooler evenings – perfect for enjoying a night under the stars. Sturdy walking shoes are a must, whether you’re exploring the streets of Napier or hiking the trails at Te Mata Peak.
  • Campervan add-ons: To enhance your campervan experience, think about including a few extras. A portable barbecue is great for cooking up local produce as you enjoy panoramic views of the bay, and additional camping chairs and a table will make your setup outside the van more comfortable and inviting.
  • Sun protection: Given Hawke's Bay's reputation for being one of the sunniest areas in New Zealand, good sun protection is essential. Pack a high-SPF sunscreen, sunglasses with UV protection, and a wide-brimmed hat to shield yourself from the sun, ensuring you can safely enjoy the great outdoors throughout your trip. For more helpful ideas, check out our guide to what to pack for your campervan road trip.


Attractions and day trips in Hawke's Bay



A city reborn from the 1931 earthquake, Napier is renowned for its beautifully preserved Art Deco architecture. Strolling through the city, visitors can enjoy vibrant street art, boutique shops, and waterfront cafes that make Napier a cultural gem worth exploring.

Cape Kidnappers

Cape Kidnappers is famous for its dramatic coastal cliffs and as the home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. A guided tour offers a chance to see these magnificent birds up close and enjoy stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Te Mata Peak

Te Mata Peak provides panoramic views of Hawke's Bay and is a must-visit for anyone wanting to capture the beauty of the region from above. Hiking trails range from easy to challenging, catering to all fitness levels.


Hawke's Bay is one of New Zealand's oldest wine regions, famed for its Bordeaux blend reds and rich Chardonnays. Visiting local wineries for tastings and tours is an indulgent way to experience the area's gourmet offerings.

Art Deco Tours

Take a step back in time with an Art Deco tour in Napier. These guided tours, often available on foot or by vintage car, highlight the city's unique history and architectural heritage, celebrating the style that defines the region.


Ocean Beach and Waimarama Beach are pristine stretches of sand perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and long beach walks. Both beaches offer a tranquil escape with stunning ocean views, ideal for a relaxing day by the sea.

Havelock North

Havelock North is a picturesque village known for its artisanal food scene, boutique shopping, and the lush Te Mata Park. Its charm and scenic setting make it a delightful stop for those exploring the greater Hawke's Bay area.


Where to stay in Hawke's Bay with a campervan

When it comes to finding the perfect spot to park and rest in Hawke’s Bay, there's no shortage of picturesque, comfy campgrounds. Here are a few worth checking out:


Wider Hawke’s Bay

Alyssa Tresider
/ Categories: NZ blog

10 Reasons to Plan a Winter Campervan Road Trip in NZ.

Planning to hire a camper for a winter road trip in NZ? Exploring New Zealand's diverse landscapes in a campervan during the cooler months is a truly special experience. There’s something magical about rugging up under the stars before bed, and then waking up to crispy mornings with a hot coffee and a cooked breakfast. If you’re looking for NZ winter holiday ideas, then you simply can’t go past a campervan road trip. 

To help inspire the ultimate travel itinerary, we’ll share ten reasons why booking an Apollo campervan hire this winter could be your most memorable adventure yet. 


Our top 10 reasons you should explore New Zealand in a campervan this winter

Travelling in a campervan during winter offers a unique perspective of Aotearoa, offering a blend of adventure and breathtaking beauty. Here are our top picks for why a campervan hire should be your go-to choice for a New Zealand winter road trip.


Spectacular scenery

There's nothing quite like the sight of New Zealand's landscapes as they transform in winter. The mountains, parks, and forests take on a new life, adorned with snow and frost in many areas, offering scenes straight out of a postcard. And when you drive New Zealand by campervan, these captivating views aren't just a part of your journey; they're the first thing you see when you wake up, your backdrop for lunch, and your sunset scene. Imagine sipping your morning brew surrounded by the snow-dusted Southern Alps or listening to the dawn chorus of native birds in one of New Zealand’s national parks. That's the beauty of campervan travel in winter.


Tranquillity and serenity

If you're seeking a getaway from the crowds, winter is your season. The usual buzz of tourist spots simmers down, leaving behind quieter roads and peaceful campsites. This shift allows you to experience New Zealand's natural wonders and attractions without the usual hustle and bustle. As an added bonus, some attractions and campgrounds provide off-peak pricing during winter making your campervan hire holiday even more appealing (this may not apply during the school holiday period). It's a win-win: fewer people and potentially lower costs, all while you're wrapped up in the stunning winter scenery.


Unique outdoor activities

A New Zealand road trip in winter isn't just about enjoying the scenery, it’s also an opportunity to add some unique outdoor activities to your travel itinerary. Whether you're carving down the slopes of renowned ski resorts like Cardrona and Treble Cone, or taking a glacier hike across the majestic Franz Josef Glacier, winter offers an exhilarating playground for adventure seekers. With a campervan, you have the ultimate flexibility to hop from one winter wonderland to the next.


The Southern Lights

Winter in New Zealand brings with it the chance to witness one of the most enchanting natural phenomena: the Southern Lights, or Aurora Australis. These lights weave a tapestry of vibrant colours across the night sky, creating a spectacle that's both surreal and captivating. For the best views, venture to the remote areas of the South Island, where the darkness and clarity of the skies serve as the perfect backdrop for this celestial dance. With your Apollo campervan hire, you're equipped to chase these lights at their most brilliant, turning an ordinary night into an extraordinary experience.


Cosy campervan living

The charm of a winter adventure in New Zealand is perfectly complemented by the cosy living a modern campervan offers. Apollo's campervan and motorhome fleet comes with all the home comforts, from snug bedding to fully equipped kitchens. For unbeatable cosiness, pack a hot water bottle and your favourite warm socks. And if you’d like an extra touch of warmth, you can also hire a fan heater when you book your Apollo campervan hire. After a day of exploring New Zealand’s wintery landscapes, you'll love returning to your own warm and welcoming sanctuary.


Culinary delights

Winter is the ideal season to dive into the hearty comfort foods that New Zealand is celebrated for. With an abundance of local delicacies – from fresh seafood to artisan cheeses, your taste buds are in for a treat. Local farmers markets are a great place to pick up something tasty that showcases fresh, locally sourced ingredients. And what better way to enjoy these culinary delights than by preparing them in your campervan's well-equipped kitchen? Embrace the joy of cooking on the road, turning each meal into a cosy and memorable dining experience amidst the stunning winter landscapes of New Zealand.


Hot springs and thermal pools

New Zealand's geothermal wonders come to life in winter, offering the perfect escape into the warmth of natural hot springs and thermal pools. From the geothermal heartland of Rotorua to the hidden gems in the South Island, these warm waters provide a sanctuary against the winter chill. Places like the Miranda Holiday Park or the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools not only offer a rejuvenating soak but also overnight campervan parking. This means you can enjoy a soothing dip under the stars and retreat to the comfort of your campervan, parked just a stone's throw away. It's an experience that blends the rustic charm of outdoor living with the indulgent pleasure of a spa retreat, all within the backdrop of New Zealand's stunning winter landscapes.


Captivating wildlife

New Zealand’s winters offer the opportunity to experience some unique wildlife encounters. The cooler months mark the migration of majestic whales along the coastlines, making it a great time for a whale watching cruise. The shores also become playgrounds for playful seals, basking in the winter sun or frolicking in the waters. Not to be outdone, adorable penguins make their appearance, waddling along beaches and nesting in coastal areas, providing heartwarming sights for nature lovers. 

For bird enthusiasts, winter is an excellent time to observe native species in their natural habitats. Guided tours are available, taking you through dense forests and protected reserves where the chorus of native birds fills the air. From the melodious calls of the Tūī to the elusive sight of the Kiwi under the cover of dusk, these experiences bring you closer to the heart of New Zealand's wildlife. 


Fun winter festivals

Winter in New Zealand is not just about picturesque landscapes and cosy nights; it's also a time for vibrant celebrations and community spirit. Embrace the festive atmosphere by diving into some of the country's most invigorating winter festivals. Queenstown's Winter Festival is a highlight, transforming the adventure capital into a hub of excitement with street parties, fireworks, and a wide array of events that celebrate the chilly season in style.

Another significant winter event is Matariki, marking the Māori New Year. This cultural festival is a time of reflection, remembrance, and renewal, observed with various events across the country, including art exhibitions, traditional performances, and community gatherings. 


Stargazing under winter skies

Winter's clear nights in New Zealand offer some of the best stargazing opportunities in the world. The crisp, cool air reduces atmospheric distortion, making the stars appear brighter and more numerous. With your Apollo campervan hire, you can venture out to some of the most remote and dark locations, far from city lights, to gaze up at the celestial wonders overhead.

Aotearoa is home to the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve, one of the largest dark sky reserves in the world, located in the Mackenzie Basin of the South Island. Here, the Milky Way stretches across the sky in a dazzling display, with constellations, planets, and shooting stars visible to the naked eye. Whether you're an avid astronomer or simply wish to enjoy the natural beauty of a starlit sky, winter provides the perfect backdrop for unforgettable nights under the stars. So, grab a blanket, step outside your campervan, and look up to be mesmerised by the universe's vast beauty.


Ready to explore New Zealand in a campervan this winter?

From the warmth of thermal pools to the thrill of winter festivals and the awe of natural wonders, your Apollo campervan hire is your ticket to experiencing the best of New Zealand's winter. With state-of-the-art features, cosy interiors, and the flexibility to take you from snow-capped mountains to starlit skies, Apollo ensures your winter adventure is nothing short of magical.

Ready to kick off your unforgettable winter journey? Book your Apollo campervan online today and unlock the wonders of New Zealand's winter landscape at your own pace.

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