Shangri-la on Wheels in New Zealand
11 December 2011
For our honeymoon in New Zealand earlier this year, The Wife and I decided we wanted to try something different from the usual holidays we usually have. The result was our first experience on a campervan--our Shangri-la on Wheels for 2 weeks.
It was entirely different from a typical holiday in a Shangri-la resort, even though we had rented a campervan with "premium" facilities (like a fridge, stove, TV set, shower and toilet etc) that cost as much as some of the hotel rooms: NZ$300/night, "room only", to borrow the hotels' terms. There was no room service, no meals included, no cleaning of rooms everyday and we literally had to make our own beds by assemblying it every night before we hit the sack, and dismantling it before we moved off the next morning.
Other differences from the typical luxurious hotel stay included resource management: having to ensure that on top of the fuel tank, the fresh water and LPG tanks had to be regularly filled up too, otherwise we would be without electricity and water. Space was at a premium too as our vehicle had a "floor area" of only 12 square metres (probably even smaller than the size of the bathroom in many of Shangri-la's rooms). The toughest part was probably the "waste management", which included the "grey water" (waste water from the washing sink and shower stall etc) and "black water" (human waste). Cleaning up after ourselves is probably something that many of us, the guests pampered by Shangri-la, are not very accustomed to.
That said, we did not regret our choice. We managed to cover almost 4,000km on both the North and South Islands in two weeks without having to pack our luggage in between. Setting off for the day's adventure without having to change out of one's pyjamas is also an interesting experience. Last but not least, we couldn't think of a better way to start this new chapter in our lives than living in "isolation" from the rest of the world and depending just on each other on this adventure of a lifetime.