Campervan exploring with a baby

For those looking to travel with a baby, Campervan rental in New Zealand is setup for success. For us as a family run-business and passionate travellers, it was so important that having a baby didn’t mean we stopped doing what we loved.

We were determined to keep adventuring and little one was coming with us. The part of becoming a parent that excited me the most was showing my baby the world and creating special memories together. Over the Christmas period, we took 10 days off to go on our first Roadie with our baby girl, Hebe, travelling in our biggest campervan.

We decided to set off to the Bay of Plenty to visit some friends in the Mount and then onto the Coromandel with the dog, baby and boat in tow.

Hitting the road in a campervan with a baby gives you such freedom to stop when and where you like, (especially with naps, feeding, tantrums etc) as well as hopping in for a surf, while dad stays in a shady spot in the campervan. Being able to set up camp at some of New Zealand’s most picturesque locations, all while having the comforts and facilities of home, makes travelling with a baby all the more appealing. The Big One is great for a small family of three. The bed is huge, it has an awning to create some much-needed shade and a fully equipped kitchen which you can stand and use inside.

Campervan Hire in New Zealand is the perfect way to set off with kids in tow, with friendly locals & stunning beaches. The Coromandel coastline has some wonderful freedom camping spots which when camping responsibly outside of peak season are often pretty empty. Conveniently in the Coromandel, most council-run freedom camp spots have some epic facilities but there are also some family-run local campsites such as Earl’s (Whangapoua) which are hard to top. We’ve developed this guide to make some quick wins when travelling with baby.

Tip 1 - Finding a family-friendly campsite.

We often use the Wilderness camping app to find the best spots and read reviews from other campers of their experiences. This also helps locate lesser-known family campsites which can be epic and keep money in the local community. One adjustment of bringing your family along for the ride can be that ‘roughing it’ doesn't seem as attractive. Having clean shower and toilet facilities, as well as common areas for those rainy days can really make a difference.

Tip 2 - Bedtime routine

Make the most of beach toilet blocks to wash the sand off after a long day at the beach.

Get the baby washed and dried off earlier than normal and pop PJs on at the beach. I found this also helps faffing around back at the campsite (often at dusk) and avoids those pesky mosquitoes which seem to come out just as everyone is stripping off for bed. Along with a militant approach to keeping mosquitos out, we use this bug repellent from nature baby.

Tip 3 -  Sleeping

We all know that sleep for baby and new parents is one of the things we worry about most.

Make sure you think about where baby will sleep. We brought along the Moses basket which doubled up as a safe space for baby to sleep at night & can be a comfy and sand-free option for day naps at the beach.

Scope out your campervan before you rent. If you’re not comfortable co-sleeping make sure there’s a bed for the baby or space to put up a travel cot. For this trip, our dog, Nula, graciously took the front seat for her naps. We brought our LED egg light from home to get around wakes in the night without waking other campers & the battery life is incredible. Having a light with a thermometer also ensures the campervan isn't too hot or cold. Make sure you’ve got camp chairs and tables ready for those beers outside once the baby is tucked up in bed.

Tip 4 - Travelling safely with a baby.

Ensure you have a safe and appropriate car seat for the journey as NZ law requires all children under 7 to be in an appropriate seat. When choosing a campervan also make sure that your baby can travel upfront and within arms reach while driving.

Having a campervan with seats in the back is great for teenagers or older children, but having baby upfront is a must when travelling. The Big One is the most suitable campervan in our fleet for travelling with a small family.

Tip 5 - Pack light

We used to think we took too much when there was just 2 of us - try now with a baby in tow.

Try and pack light, take some travel laundry detergent, such as the solid bar by Ethique to freshen up babies clothes if you need to. They dry in an instant in summer and it saves packing the whole wardrobe.

We use cloth nappies at home but didn’t fancy travelling round with dirty ones for the week. Save your sanity and get some eco-friendly disposables (sometimes life’s just too short).

It's true that travelling with a baby takes a little more planning ahead, but with some careful packing and choosing a campervan that fits your needs, you'll be loving the flexibility of travelling on 4 wheels.

Drop us a message if you need any advice for your itinerary, which one of our rental campervans to choose and what to bring along to make your trip with baby a successful one.

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