Holidaying with dogs in a campervan in NZ

It’s estimated that one in three New Zealand households now own dog – a dramatic rise over recent years. With all that has happened in 2020 with COVID-19, planning a local trip away is an exciting prospect… until it comes to sorting out who will look after your beloved furry friend(s). Wouldn’t it just be so much more fun, easier, and cheaper (who wants to pay a small fortune for a dog hotel?) if you could take your dog on holiday with you? After all, they are one of the family.

Nearly all Quirky Campers in NZ are pet-friendly – with no extra charge for the privilege?!

Colin (the dog) in Ivan (the campervan)

There’s nothing quite like holidaying with your dog in a campervan

Pulling up on a secluded beach or a quiet piece of a woodland. Opening up the doors and letting them jump out. Watching them discover all those new smells and run around to their heart’s content in new places every day. It’s all so exciting for them, and for you too watching them!

Let’s face it, dogs are happy when they’re outside, playing, eating or snuggled up with their paw-rents. So, it seems like campervanning is the perfect kind of holiday! If you need some tips on holidaying with your dog in a campervan, here are some ideas…

Dog-friendly features for your campervan

If, like us, you knew you wanted to take your dog with you before you built or bought your van, then you may have already planned in a dog-sized space for your pooch to grab some zzzzz’s! Under a fixed bed is common – potentially accessible from both inside and out – and check out this cosy kennel, next to a wood burning stove.

You might even go the whole hog (dog?) and add an outdoor shower just so you can hose off muddy paws after a good walk!

When it comes to caring for your dog outside – keeping them close or enclosed – there are a couple of popular options. Many people use a fixed tether/tie-out that can simply be “corkscrewed” in to the ground, providing the dog with a few metres of space to wander about in. But these can end up getting tangled around chairs and tables! The other common option is a playpen set-up using portable fencing – though this is really only suitable for small dogs and puppies. With either, do make sure your dog(s) have a shady space to hang out – perhaps adding a collapsible crate with cover and/or a raised bed to allow airflow underneath.

Where to stay when holidaying with your dog onboard

The question of “where are the best dog-friendly places to camp in [NZ region]?” comes up a lot, on many different pages, groups and forums. And it’s fair to say that the answers change over time, for many reasons… local bylaw changes, restrictions at different times of the year and general opinion!

The safest bet is probably to use an app like Campermate, where you can apply a filter to find dog-friendly campsites across NZ. You may also find more general places to go (for walks or cafes) on an app like Paw Planet NZ (which also has a Facebook page). If you’re not already a member, there’s also the NZMCA. Virtually all the places that members can stay are dog-friendly! Which is pretty cool.

If in doubt, ring ahead to confirm what – if any – restrictions are in place for dogs. Most places welcome well-behaved dogs on a leash 🙂

K9 the Campervan (from the Quirky UK collection)

A final note on leaving your dog alone in a campervan. While this should be avoided really, it is sometimes necessary so our advice is to:

  • make sure that there is plenty of ventilation by opening roof vents and windows (without creating an escape risk!)
  • close any blinds or curtains to keep the space cooler and block any outside distractions
  • leave a radio on to create some white noise and keep you dog calm
  • lock the doors
  • ensure they have adequate water
  • keep your time away to a couple of hours maximum

For longer spells you could consider NZ Pet Sitters On The Road – to make contact with others who offer or receive pet sitting! Lovely idea.

Check out our pet-friendly campervans for hire and happy travels with your dog(s)!

Indie the Campervan (from the Quirky UK collection) with her gorgeous furry house guest!