Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Caravan of Caravans

Friday morning, I heard on the radio there have been problems caused by the rapid increase of caravans, house buses, and camper vans, especially in smaller tourist town like Picton (nearest town to yesterday's shot). At the moment, it seems these vehicles are allowed to overnight pretty much anywhere unless signs say overnight stay is prohibited. Worse yet, some tourists feel free to dump their refuse where they please, and folks traveling on "home-made" vehicles or ones with fewer facilities sneak into backpackers and other establishments for bio-breaks, showers, and rubbish disposal.

I'm hearing calls for regulations on caravan activities and for more roadside facilities, but the there's another layer to this. Previously, when NZ's population was smaller and visitor numbers fraction of what it is now, there were many aspects of life, especially pertaining to leisure and recreation, left to the discretion and common sense. With the increase of resident and visiting population, we're seeing an increase in regulation, facilities, and cost.

The effect is a mixed bag of locals not being able to do some things they've been doing for generations; ugly but useful public structures springing up in places; travel becoming more convenient and meeting the expectations of overseas visitors; and a foreboding for yet more Kiwi freedom being taken away. The bottom line is often the tourist dollars. (Disclamer: I'm not sure how the loo issue was dealt with before the installation of small roadside ones; that was before out time.)

Friday afternoon, I saw a convoy of three from the Cathedral steps.


  1. These look like motor-homes or camper-vans of which we saw a lot when we visited NZ in 2001. In the UK when talking about caravans we usually mean the ones that are towed behind a car.
    ["static" caravans on permanent sites are different matter].

    Didn't see any towed vans in NZ. North American of course seem to go in for quite huge motor-homes the size of a lorry.

    We caravanned around the UK for several years when the kids were growing up and had a great time. We had a chemical toilet and always emptied it only at designated disposal point. When a group of caravanners gathered for a weekend rally on a farmers field, they always had a special pit dug for safe disposal.

    As always, these things are a matter of responsibility and courtesy.

  2. You didn't see caravans in NZ in 2001? I take it you weren't here in our summer.

  3. Lots of motor-homes and camper-vans but not caravans towed behind cars. Was there in February -- see Land of the Long White Cloud

  4. I hate to think of how the loo issue was coped with.....yikes

  5. Hello Meg, hope you and ben are enjoying a lovely Sunday. Pop by KLDP. I posted a backstage shot and dedicated it to you. See you soon!

  6. Very interesting comments you are making here Meg!
    It would be so good if common sense and general respect for things and people were enough... as you said, it used to be...

  7. Hi Meg,
    I wonder why they want to go to such a place as Picton :)
    It's beutiful. You (and your friend) are very lucky to live in such a place.

  8. Thanks for your visits, everybody.

    Carlos, Picton is also where the ferry from Wellington (North Island) arrives - so if you're driving around the country, this is the entry point to the South Island.

  9. Hi Meg, there have always been public toilets in each of the towns you pass through- most people make it from town to town. However, between towns are lots of bushes!

  10. I am not one for government regulations, but in cases like this, tourists do need directions, as long as NZ wants to welcome them. In my experience the USA are a paradise to travel with an RV. In State and National Parks they have facilities that are very beautiful, and the private sector offers a wide range of amenities, from the cheap and simple, to the luxurious.

  11. Thanks for your visits, friends. In my experience, one of the most difficult places to travel loo-wise was Ireland - their Information Centres didn't have loos nearby.


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