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Freedom campers flock to Ocean View Recreation Reserve and Brighton Domain over summer. Reporter Shawn McAvinue talks to three separate parties of German campers about their stay on the Taieri coast.
German freedom campers Jochen and Anke Roser, of Stuttgart, arrived in Auckland on November 24 with their daughter Antonia (8) and son Valentin (5) for six months of travel.
The stay will include three months in the North Island and three months in the South Island.
To save money the family bought a 20-year-old caravan and a 24-year-old SUV.
‘‘It’s old stuff but still nice,’’ Mrs Roser said.
‘‘To buy a motorhome is too expensive,’’ Mr Roser said.
The family stopped for a stay at Brighton Domain last week.
At the domain, the Roser family met the Bauer family, of Munich, who were travelling around the South Island for three weeks and staying the night at the domain in a motorhome.
The families discovered the domain using the Campermate app, which lists freedom camping sites across New Zealand and provides reviews from previous users.
Mr Roser said the motorhomes generally left the freedom camping spots in the morning but his family stayed until the afternoon because they had more time.
After breakfast, the children were home-schooled and then had lunch.
Any tourist activities began after 1pm, he said.
German freedom camper Paul Drabek (19), of Stuttgart, and his friend Julius flew into Auckland and bought a Toyota Estima van from a car dealer for $7000.
When their four months of travel finished next month, the dealer promised to buy the van back for $3500.
The decision to travel New Zealand was made after hearing positive reviews from friends who had visited.
‘‘We heard New Zealand was great.’’
The friends stayed at the reserve for one night last week after discovering it on the app.
The freedom camping facilities at the reserve were ‘‘OK’’ in comparison to other sites across New Zealand.
The stay at the reserve had been social and they befriended other German tourists, he said.
When the Taieri Times visited the reserve on a morning last week, Mr Drabek was relaxing in a deck chair, reading a book as his friend slept.
When he woke, the friends planned to spend the day exploring central Dunedin before leaving for Christchurch.