Hippie’s Guide To AU Spring Festivals

There’s no better way top shake off the cold of winter than taking part in one of Australia’s many spring festivals. Held every year from September to November, these flower and music fests welcome the arrival of the season in the most vibrant and upbeat way possible.

Have no idea which spring festivals to drive your campervan rental to? No worries! We’ve listed 5 Australian Spring Festivals you shouldn’t miss this year. Continue reading “Hippie’s Guide To AU Spring Festivals”

From Glaciers To Hot Pools: 5 Reasons To Visit NZ in Winter

There’s no denying that New Zealand is among the most popular travel destinations in the world. This is especially true during winter season, when everything from hotel accommodation to campervan hire offers great bargain rates. But if these money-saving opportunities for first time and seasoned travellers aren’t enough for you to visit, there are plenty of other reasons to plan a trip to NZ this winter and we’ve listed five of them here.

1. Whale Watching At Kaikoura

Although you can go whale watching at Kaikoura all year round, winter is the best time to spot majestic humpback whales migrate to warmer waters. With snow-capped mountains in the background, you’ll never find a more picturesque setting to see these gentle giants in the wild. Oh, and you’re entitled to an 80% refund if the whales suddenly become too shy and don’t show up. But Kaikoura is the only town in New Zealand that can boast of a 95% success rate so there’s a good chance you won’t get a refund.

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"Kaikoura - Whale Watching" BY whoapower via flickr.com/photos/whoapower/4398163613 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY whoapower

2. Relaxing At Hanmer Springs

Visiting New Zealand’s volcanic hot springs is a must-do during winter, with Hanmer Springs at the top of any itinerary. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss relaxing at one of the best natural thermal pools in the world, would you?

If you want to drive to Hanmer Springs aboard a campervan hire New Zealand has reliable rental companies in Christchurch that you can do business with. The town of Hanmer is about 130 kilometres north of Christchurch, and the breathtaking scenery along the way is a joy to drive through. Hanmer is also home to gourmet cafes and quaint boutiques you can shop souvenirs from.

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"Antarctica: Seattle to McMurdo" BY Eli Duke via flickr.com/photos/elisfanclub/1555725110 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Eli Duke

3. Witness The Southern Lights At Lake Tekapo

No visit to New Zealand is complete without experiencing the breathtaking beauty of Aurora Australis, more commonly known as the Southern Lights. Though you may need to drive farther south to see it, we promise that you’d be well rewarded for your efforts. Oh and by the way, the Mt. Cook Region in Tekapo happens to be among the best stargazing sites in the world, so you also have that to look forward to.

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"Aurora Australis" BY koennz via flickr.com/photos/koennz/17581562799 under a Creative Commons License CC BY 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY koennz

4. Take A Ride Along The TranzAlpine Route

They always say that a dust of snow makes everything look more beautiful. This is exactly what you can expect from the landscapes along the renowned TranzAlpine train route between the east and west coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

The four and a half hour journey will take you through the farmlands of Canterbury Plains, the breathtaking river valleys and gorges of Waimakariri River and more. The train runs once daily, so make sure you don’t miss going on one of the most scenic train rides in the world.

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"TranzAlpine 2011" BY Bob Hall via flickr.com/photos/houseofhall/6012338535 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Bob Hall

5. Snowboarding and Skiing At Queenstown

Apart from having the longest winter season in all of Australasia, New Zealand is also blessed with diverse snowy terrain that suit snowboarders and skiers of all levels.

The South Island in particular has several ski resorts within easy driving distance from each other. For an action-packed day on the slopes, go to Queensland and visit one (if not all) of the popular ski resorts in the area: Coronet Peak, Treble Cone, The Remarkables and Cardrona. If you’re in Christchurch, check out Porters, Mt. Hutt, Ohau and Roundhill to enjoy the best of New Zealand’s winter.

 

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"Kat & Phil" BY Yun Huang Yong via flickr.com/photos/goosmurf/2824035827 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Yun Huang Yong

 

Compared to other countries, New Zealand winters aren’t TOO cold, thanks largely to its year-round temperate climate. Best of all, the country’s diverse and beautiful landscape ensures you will not run out of things to do and places to go, regardless of the time of year you visit.

Self-driving from one tourist hot spot to the next is always the best way to explore New Zealand. Check out Facebook to find one of the most affordable and reliable campervan hire New Zealand has to offer!

 

 

 

By Land, Sea or Air: Thrilling Things To Do In Perth

From hot air balloon rides and skydiving, to kite boarding and swimming with wild dolphins, Perth is teeming with activities that would satisfy even the most avid thrill seeker. Keeping true to the spirit of adventure, many travellers choose to drive from one thrilling activity to the next aboard a motorhome. This makes sense when you consider that when it comes to campervan rentals Australia has several companies you can check out. So you better hurry because the city has so much to offer.

"Perth skyline from South Perth" BY vincentq via flickr.com/photos/pics-or-it-didnt-happen/5726833574 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY vincentq

Whether you are seeking adventures on land, sea or air,  you are spoilt for choice in Perth. To help you plan the holiday of a lifetime, we’ve listed some thrilling air, water and land adventures you can do during your visit.

Aviation Based Adventures

Whatever type of air adventure you are interested in, there’s a good chance you will find it in Perth. Go skydiving and choose to land between Perth city, the beach or the countryside. Imagine yourself free falling at hundreds of kilometres per minute, with the region’s majestic views surrounding you.

"Perth's Red Bull Air Race November 2008" by Ken Hodge via flickr.com/photos/40132991 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Ken Hodge

If skydiving isn’t your cup of tea, you can go on a hot air balloon ride and take in sunrise views of Avon Valley. Float over historical towns, lush rolling hills and sparkling rivers. Oh, and a champagne breakfast is waiting for you at the end of the ride.

 

Adventures By The Coast

With its plethora of beaches, rivers and canals, you will not run out of things to do in Perth and its surrounding towns, whether you are into diving, snorkelling or surfing.

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"smile-on-the-wire" BY Shauna McGee Kinney via flickr.com/photos/30205071@N04/14050786523 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Shauna McGee Kinney

Go on an exploration of Swan River by kayaking or going on a boat cruise at sunset. Amp up the excitement by swimming with wild dolphins and race jet skis along the Rockingham coast. You can also go on an underwater adventure along Perth’s  stretch of coastline and discover its rich marine life. Dive to see historic shipwrecks a few kilometres from the shore. There are also eco cruises and snorkelling tours offered throughout the year, ideal if you’re travelling with friends or family.

 

Experience The Great Outdoors Through Land Adventures

Perth is blessed with a landscape that makes every land adventure truly memorable. From mountain biking and paint-balling, to camel rides and sand boarding, the city and its surrounding towns offer an array of land-based activities for lovers of the great outdoors.

Speed down Perth’s sunset coast in a V8 race car or a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Go on the world’s biggest 4WD tour coach and brave the renowned sand dunes at Lancelin.

Image BY Michael Roper via flickr.com/photos/michaelroper/37499459 under a Creative Commons Attribution CC BY-SA 2.0. Full license terms at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Michael Roper

If immersing yourself in nature is what you prefer, Perth’s nature reserves and national parks await your visit. Explore the winding hike trails in Kings Park, the biggest inner city park in the region. If you travel a little farther away from the city, you’d come across Munda Biddi Bike Trails and Bibbulmun Track, which are among the world’s best biking trails and hiking tracks. Lastly, you can spend the rest of the day paintballing in Swan Valley or trying one of the tree adventures offered in the region.

 

If your idea of a perfect holiday involves action-packed adventures combined with endless opportunities for exploration, then you will feel right at home in Perth. So what are you waiting for? Go on Facebook to check out Hippie Camper rentals and drive your way towards your most thrilling Perth adventure!

 

Cairns Great Tropical Winter Destinations

“Winter is Coming.”

– House Stark

Like migratory fowl, some people could not bear the cold would rather move elsewhere where the climate is warm and the warm air invites you to take a dip in the cool waters. If you are one of those who can’t stand the cold, you certainly caught our drift. Although you don’t have wings, a cheap motorhome for hire could definitely take you to that ideal winter escape.

For people who plan to lookout for campervan rentals in Australia during the winter, we prepared a list of destinations in Cairns that might quench your wanderlust. Some people might wonder why Cairns is the top choice for an ideal winter retreat. However, one look at the map and you’d absolutely figure out the answer to that question.

Cairns rests at the eastern front of Queensland. It faces the Great Barrier Reef, which is one of the best dive sites in the Oceania and the Pacific. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, there’s more to Cairns than that vastness of the ocean. So, let us help you get the most of your winter retreat with our list of holiday spots in Cairns.

Atherton Tablelands

Before you visit the many boutiques and restaurants in Cairns, you might want to visit the interesting destinations in the Atherton Tablelands. It is just west-southwest of Cairns and it boasts a mix of flora and fauna that would ensure you that you have already landed to the tropical regions of Australia.

Visit The Crystal Caves and be awestruck by the collection of fossils, rocks and gemstones that are part of René Boissevain’s collection. At present, he already has collected around 600 pieces. The man-made tunnels were dug to house the vast collection of specimens. The maze of colourful rocks and bones would truly give you a psychedelic feeling as you take photos around this eclectic tour.

After a trip to the tunnels, take a leisurely stroll at the Historic Village of Herberton. The place would definitely blow you away. It’s like time travelling as Herberton boasts a uniquely preserved town from Australia’s proud past. Go inside Elderslie House to understand how the colonial Australians live. From the antique pots to the wood chips at the fireplace, there’re lots to do to maintain this fabulous home. There are also other attractions in the tour like tin-panning and riding on an old steel wheeled tractor.

When you’re ready, you can move up to the highlands for a glimpse of Cairns before finally taking the route to one of Australia’s best dive spots.

"Into the Jungle” by Michael Zimmer available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/zayzayem/15813314064/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

"Into the Jungle” by Michael Zimmer available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/zayzayem/15813314064/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Michael Zimmer

Cairns Botanical Gardens

Upon arrival at Cairns, you might want to check one of Australia’s oldest gardens. The Cairns Botanical Gardens is famous for its “tropical plant exhibitions” in the country. The gardens have been since the 19th century. It features around 6 major locations that are a mix of lush greenery as well as aquatic plants.

The Flecker Garden features several plants from the tropical forests of Southeast Asia, South America, Africa and of course, Australia. The thick canopy resembles the surroundings of an exotic sanctuary where you can see nature working at its finest. There are even carnivorous plants that would make you wonder how they are able to digest unsuspecting small insects that they were able to snare.

The Rainforest Boardwalk features the Layered Tassel Fern, which is an endangered plant. The boardwalk gives you a picture of what the whole region looks like before the settlers came in and built their communities in and around Cairns. Apart from plants, the Lovely Fairy-Wren as well as other endemic bird species in the region could be seen in the thickly forested boardwalk.

"Freshwater Far Palms” by Michael Zimmer available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/zayzayem/16409811066/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

"Freshwater Far Palms” by Michael Zimmer available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/zayzayem/16409811066/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Michael Zimmer

Meanwhile, the Centenary Lakes give visitors a refreshing view of bodies of water that are not yet spoilt by pollution from the busy street that is just on the other side of the garden. The lakes are made up of two basins. The saltwater lake is filled by mangroves that supply food for schools of fishes that live in the lake. One the other hand, the second lake was dedicated in 1975 during Cairn’s centenary. It was originally a freshwater swamp that was modified to become another wildlife attraction at the Cairns Botanical Gardens.

The Cairns Esplanade

After being immersed in the lush forested and humid area of the Cairns Botanical Gardens, you can relax at the saltwater pool of The Cairns Esplanade. The saline lagoon is open to the public from Thursday to Tuesday, but it is only open from midday to 9pm during Wednesday when they clean the pool.

The Trinity inlet fills the esplanade pools with saltwater. However, pool-goers should not be worried when taking a dip in the waters as it is filtrated using state of the art technology. Add to that, parents would feel safe as the pool is a great alternative to swimming in the unprotected waters where there could be sea animals that may sting their children.

"Cairns Esplanade at Night” by Nicky Jurd available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickyjurd/2481126626/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"Cairns Esplanade at Night” by Nicky Jurd available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/nickyjurd/2481126626/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Nicky Jurd

The park has several facilities where both children and adults can have fun whether it be under the sun or under the water. You can check out the playground design for kids, but is also a colourful sight for adults to appreciate. Then, there are also recreation facilities like the Skate Plaza, Bouldering Park, Petanque court.

When you had your fill with sights and sounds of the esplanade, you can fill your stomach with some barbeque that is cooked to perfection at any of the park’s barbeque and picnic areas. There are around 12 featured areas around the esplanade where you can set-up your picnic basket and cook some meat on any of the grills that are ready to use.

The Great Barrier Reef

"Amazing Great Barrier Reef” by Sarah_Ackerman available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackerman519/4252119822/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

"Amazing Great Barrier Reef” by Sarah_Ackerman available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sackerman519/4252119822/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/ BY Sarah_Ackerman

Finally, there’s the Great Barrier Reef that is an absolute aquatic wonder. It is dubbed as the largest coral system in the world. Some of its features even look great when viewed from the sky, like the aerial photos that were captured and spread around the Internet.

You can even try sky diving and enjoy the view of the stunning drop zone. You could also hire a speedboat to go to the reef. However, the true beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is when you take a dive and observe this beautiful ecosystem and its inhabitants of different species of fish. Its majestic corals that took several hundreds of years to form are truly a sight to behold.

Now that you have a short list of destinations where you can spend your winter at Cairns, it’s time to pick-up a cheap motorhome for hire to help you get to your dream vacation. You can always check our website for the best and most affordable deals for your complete campervan holiday.

We’d love to hear from you. Where in Cairns would you like to go first? Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about the best places to travel on a campervan in Australia.

First Time Camper’s Guide to South Australia

If you haven’t gone camping in South Australia, you are missing a lot.

The southern state has more than 100 camp grounds to choose from with activities ranging from hiking scenic trails, kayaking its tranquil rivers, interacting with animals in their natural habitat or just staring at the vast night sky of the Outback.

For first-time campers in South Australia’s wilderness, renting a campervan or motorhome is a convenient option. You can take control of your schedule and be in the comfort of a home while on the road.

Hippie doesn’t have a branch in Adelaide- BUT never fear you can always hire form our family brands- Apollo Motorhome Holidays OR Cheapa Campa. 

Where To Camp in South Australia

Because there are many campgrounds to choose from in South Australia, you need to do an extensive research. Know first what you want to do. Is it hiking, swimming, road tripping or a culinary tour? Take also into consideration the travel time and the length of your stay.

Doing an online research doesn’t take long. You can also ask some relatives, friends or colleagues who have also camped in South Australia for some recommendations. Here are some of the popular things to do in South Australia:

  • Hiking the rugged trails of Flinders Ranges
  • Boating on the tranquil Murray River
  • Sightseeing in Seal Bay Conservation Park
  • Watching the colour changing Blue Lake
  • Swimming and sunbathing at Henley Beach

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"Flinders Ranges" by Ralph Bestic available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/23172952@N04/4837549508/ under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Ralph Bestic

Free Park Entries and Camping Fees

Almost 90-per cent of South Australia’s parks has free entrance fees  for backpackers and cyclists. Camping fees range from $45 to $100, depending on the level of facilities of the campground. Most national parks, however, charge $10 per vehicle for entry.

There are also places where you can camp for free like:

  • Kingston SE Jetty Parking Area (34 Marine Parade, Kingston)
  • Murtho Forest Landing/ Headings Cliffs (Murtho Forest Reservation)
  • Terowie Railway Yard (1 Telford Ave., Peterborough)
  • World’s End Gorge Campground (Worlds End Highway, Burra)

If you regularly visit parks, you can enroll for a Park Pass to save time when paying your vehicle entry and camping pass.

Allocating Your Budget

Estimate how much this camping trip will cost. Take note of your expected expenses- travel fare, campervan rent, food allowance, entry fees to parks, camping fees, souvenirs, etc. Total these and add emergency or hedge money. The real challenge is sticking to the budget by being accountable when you spend on things, not on the budget.

Pieces of Equipment To Carry

Depending on your camping preference, you can do away with little equipment or bring as many as you can as possible. The latter is prescribed if you have a vehicle with you. These are the  basic items which you should take with you:

  • Waterproof camping tents (unless you want to rent)
  • Warm clothing
  • Easy to prepare camping food
  • Lighting equipment (flashlight or lamp)
  • Cooking wares (unless you brought canned goods)
  • First aid kit
  • Water or hydration bottle

If you need more clothes or camping gears, shop on Goodwill or any local garage sales to save money. Online sites like Discount Camping, Wildearth and Anaconda Stores regularly posts discounted items on their websites.

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"camping gear score" by Lindsay available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/lindsaydeebunny/5798666508 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Lindsay

Preparing for Emergencies

Camping, especially in rugged areas, poses some level of danger. This includes injuring yourself while hikes or getting rashes from poisonous plants. Prepare for the worst case scenarios, beforehand.

Bring a basic medical kit with you at all times. It should have bandages, burn ointment, blister pads, gauze pads, rubbing alcohol and other medical essentials. Bring prescription drugs and other over-the-counter medicines. Aspirin and Ibuprofen can treat common ailments like cold and fever.  

Get the emergency contact numbers of local authorities, park management, ambulance and State Emergency Service (SES). For quick emergency services, dial 000.

Heading Out to Your First Camping Trip

The day before you heads out to your camping journey check if everything you need is ready. Refer to your to-bring list and make sure you are not missing anything essential. When travelling with a group check if everyone has their assigned items ready.

If you booked a campervan or motorhome, call the rental company and confirm your scheduled pickup of the vehicle a week before your appointment. Check the weather in the area you planned to camp. If there are any travel warnings, heed them.

Campground

"Home" by Robert Young available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/robertpaulyoung/2762959611 under a Creative Commons Attribution. Full license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ BY Robert Young

Setting up Camp in South Australia

Campgrounds in South Australia usually have basic facilities like barbecue and picnic areas, water toilets, shower and rubbish disposal. The only real challenge is setting up your tent and camp. You should do this at around 5:00 P.M., especially by the end of Fall when the sun sets earlier than usual.

First, find the most levelled ground you can find. If you are camping in parks, you are already assigned on one. Next up, construct your tent. This will be easier if you have practised building it at home. Make sure it is tied neatly and will not be knocked down by the wind.

Second, get your campfire ready. Some campsites allow you to pick up dead branches to serve as firewood. However, there are also sites that require you to bring your own firewood. Firestarters, either do-it-yourself or bought from supermarkets, can hasten the process of making fire. Check first with the campground staff the policies regarding campfire.

Leaving No Trace, Only Memories

The principle of leaving no trace on any campground, public or private, is an outdoor ethic expected of any camper. There are seven principles that make up this unwritten camping law:

  1. Plan ahead and prepare
  2. Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  3. Dispose of waste properly
  4. Leave what you find
  5. Minimise campfire impacts
  6. Respect wildlife
  7. Be Considerate of Your Hosts and Other Visitors

This sums up the things you need to know if you are a first-time camper in South Australia. If you feel that you are not yet ready to rough it up on a backpack-only camping trip, then consider renting a motorhome or campervan. Driving a vehicle allows you to carry more things and lets you own your own schedule.