This week, my brother & his girlfriend came to visit his home country, South Africa after having immigrated to New Zealand some 8 years ago. It has been great to be in touch again, but sad that we can’t get together more often.
For New Zealanders, Cape Town & South Africa is of course an affordable holiday destination. With the NZ$ currently weighing in at ZAR 8.90, this means they can enjoy a lovely affordable holiday visiting us. Of course this is not the same for South Africans who would like to visit places like New Zealand, as we find our hard earned Rands become worth less by the day. I recall visiting my brother in Auckland about 5 years ago at which time the New Zealand Dollar cost me around R5.50.
In Cape Town, we are used to seeing droves of tourists and especially young, budget backpackers roaming the sights, enjoying the beaches, the sporting and adventure activities & the diverse landscape.
Which brings me to a number of questions I have:
- Can a South African travel New Zealand on a budget?
- What would be the best option, backpacking or a campervan/motorhome roadtrip?
- Is it practical for middle aged backpackers to backpack through New Zealand?
- Would the accommodation costs saved by using a camper van justify the cost of the campervan?
- What would our total expenditure be to backpack New Zealand?
- How would that compare with the total cost of a Camper van or car road trip?
- Would car or camper van be the better option for a road trip?
- What are the pros & cons of camping versus sleeping in the camper van?
- Buying or renting a vehicle for a New Zealand road & camping trip?
Inspiration for a future trip?
Ewold & Wendy’s visit has broadened our horizons as we are sure it will broader theirs, as travel and interaction between people from other countries does. We wonder how many middle aged South Africans there are who consider backpacking a dream as we do, whether there are others out there who share our dreams & ideals. We consider ourselves young at heart and see no need to go on package tours as it seems most other “midlifers” do. We are just an average South African couple, with a dream to see the world. We do not a dream about doing what so many foreign travelers do. Having all their home conveniences & luxuries at hand, mingling with other tourists & staying in resorts which are isolated from the locals of a country.
One thing that I do know for certain is that having taken on the midlife backpackers challenge in Thailand, we have so much more confidence to take on challenges like this in the future. We already have a good number of Kiwi Dollars saved, just to motivate ourselves to step up to this future challenge. So, while we are currently “stuck at home”, while the Kiwis enjoy our amazing country, we’ll be sure to start researching these and many more questions that arise.