Most people these days travel with either a smartphone, tablet or laptop (and in some cases all three). If you have the technology, you might as well use it to help make your journey easier. Today we’re sharing the best free travel apps to download for New Zealand. All of these were ones we used during our campervan trip and found invaluable for our adventures.
Pro Tip: Download these apps prior to departure, while you have a good WiFi connection. WiFi around New Zealand isn’t the best, often with connectivity challenges, speed limitations or data caps. You’d hate to waste a lot of data on getting these apps setup after you’ve arrived.
CamperMate and Rankers are the top two contenders for finding campsites across the Islands. Both provide filters that allow you to search based on type of vehicle (self-contained versus not) and accommodation style (freedom camping, DOC sites or paid holiday parks). They even offer offline modes when not on WiFi.
After testing both apps, we preferred CamperMate. Their interface was a little easier to navigate and they also seemed to plot more resources you’ll need on a road trip (such as dump stations, potable water taps, and public toilets). Rankers, on the other hand, is more geared toward locating campsites and points of interest.
Pro Tip: No matter which app you use, take advantage of the user comments. This was a great way to get a snapshot at the latest happenings with a site (such as if they haven’t been cleaned in a while, or had a string of theft).
Another must have travel app for New Zealand is Gaspy. It tells you all the gas stations in your vicinity and ranks them by price.
We used this app regularly to find the best deals in our area, as well as planning for longer travel days. If the gas price was better in our current location, we’d top up the tank early versus waiting to fill it after we arrived to our destination.
Note: Gaspy requires a WiFi or data connection to pull the latest gas prices. We’d generally keep our data off and then just turn it on when we wanted to use this app.
You’re going to need driving directions while on the road and Google Maps is one of the best. What we like most about this travel app is you can cache maps offline, allowing you to still navigate when you don’t have or want to use data. You can either download a pre-made map (such as for Bangkok in the above right photo), or define your own area of the map and name it accordingly (as we did for New Zealand).
Maps.Me also does navigation, specifically excelling in offline navigation. It became our brainstorming map for points of interest. This can be very useful if you need to change plans last minute, or are playing things by ear. Just look and see what’s nearby.
For each pinned location you can easily add notes about why you’d like to go, timing or pricing for activities, and any written directions you’d like accessible. Although Google offers the abiilty to make custom maps, it’s a lot clunkier when it comes to working offline. So in this instance we found Maps.Me works as a nice complement to Google’s system.
Pro Tip: Whenever we decide to take Maps.Me with us, we’ll first import our custom planning map over from Google. This way it’s a mirror image of the data you’ve already been working with, and saves the effort of having to manually re-input everything.
Weather is a fickle beast in New Zealand. Each region seems to have its own micro-climate. While it may be sunny on one part of the island, it could be snowing only a few hours away. As such, it’s important to pay attention to the weather (especially if you plan to do outdoor activities) and adjust your travels accordingly.
Throughout our travels we’ve found AccuWeather to be the best weather app. Not only does it have up to date information, but it also allows you to save multiple destinations to a favorites list so you can reference them often. AccuWeather also includes other nice features such as a Dust & Dander rating (which is important for Tom), and the UV index rating (so we know how to gear up for the day).
Note: AccuWeather requires a WiFi or data connection to pull the latest weather report.
Pro Tip: Although there is a free version of this app, we recommend purchasing the paid version which removes advertisements and allows you to see the hourly weather forecast up to 72 hours into the future. The free version only gives you up to 24 hours view, which is nice, but it’s always better to see a more detailed breakdown when travel planning.