If you’re planning on traveling to New Zealand, I would highly recommend renting or buying a campervan. It’s by far the best way to experience this beautiful country, because it gives you the freedom to explore. And New Zealand is a country that begs to be explored.
The cheapest (and best) way to travel New Zealand is by freedom camping. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of spots where you can freedom camp in New Zealand, and because New Zealand is Middle Earth, you’re almost guaranteed to be camping in an unbelievably scenic location. So far, we’ve camped next to lakes, beaches, mountains, and sheep. Every morning when I wake up, I expect Frodo to be at the door offering me tea. That’s not to mention the fact that we’ve saved HUNDREDS of dollars traveling this way!
However, in order to freedom camp, you usually need to be self-contained. If you want to see how we made our Toyota Estima, Gimli, self-contained then check out this post and this post. Go here, if you want more information on camping in New Zealand.
Why Do You Need a Shower
Because our van is self-contained, we’ve got a bed, a toilet, a stove, a sink and lots of water. So we’re basically set. The only thing we’re missing is a shower. And trust me, when you’re living in close quarters for weeks at a time, you REALLY start to notice the shower.
Basically it boils down to this: I’m a sweaty dude; so after a day or two without a shower, I start to smell. My wife has a functioning nose; so she doesn’t like it when I smell like old Doritos. This is the fundamental reason that you need a shower.
Finding Hot Showers in New Zealand
In some places, finding a shower is super easy. Napier, for example, is an awesome and thoughtful city. They are the generous type and encourage people to freedom camp near their beautiful coastline. And then, because they are a bunch of geniuses, the Napier city council set up a public restroom that has very clean facilities and hot showers. For $2 you can pay to have a really nice, hot shower. Sweet As, Napier! Sweet As!
Taupo, is another example of a city that is very freedom camper friendly. They’ve got a “Superloo” right next to the Visitor Information Center that has hot showers for a small fee.
However, it’s been much more difficult to find showers most other places we’ve camped in New Zealand. Thus, I decided to write this guide to give people some tips on how to find Hot Showers in New Zealand.
One of the first places we found success with hot showers was at the city pool in Greerton. It cost $4.30 to get in, but then you can get a nice swim workout in before you finish with an excellent hot shower.
We’ve seen lots of other city pools in New Zealand, and I’m sure many of these places would allow you to pay a day fee to use their facilities as well.
Gyms are another great place to find a hot shower in New Zealand. We were really struggling to find anywhere to get a hot shower when we were traveling on the Coromandel Peninsula. However, after a helpful tip from the friendly workers at the Whangamata i-Site, we found BodyWork Gym.
First of all, this gym is awesome! If I lived in Whangamata, I would definitely work out here. The guy at the front desk was super friendly, and let us shower for $2 per person.
Another option if you’re really needing a shower, is to camp at a DOC campsite for the night instead of freedom camping. Many of the serviced DOC campsites have shower facilities that will give you 5 minutes of hot water for a $2 coin. However, make sure you have an actual $2 coin, because the one we were at didn’t accept anything else.
NOT!!! Throughout our travels, we have called probably 10 different holiday parks asking if we could pay to use their hot showers, and the answer has always been “No.”
This is something that I truly don’t understand. If I were running a holiday park, I would jump on the opportunity to make a few bucks by letting someone use a hot shower. It can’t cost more than a few cents to heat a 5-minute shower, but you could charge people $5 to use the facilities.
I really don’t get it. I mean it would be understandable if the holiday park was super crowded, but we were calling these places in the middle of winter. They were less than half full. If you know why holiday parks refuse to do this, please enlighten me in the comments below.
Anyway, I’m done ranting now. Sorry about that.
Well, there you have it. Those are the places that we’ve had luck finding hot showers in New Zealand. If you have any other tips for finding hot showers, please let us know in the comments. Otherwise, get out there and enjoy this beautiful country!