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What is Okay2stay?
Okay2stay is a website service that provides its members with information about great locations to stay in New Zealand. This service is specially designed for holidaymakers travelling by self-contained motorhome or campervan. The locations where members can stay are called hosts and these are mostly small gourmet producers such as wineries, olive groves, lavender farms, cheese makers etc. The hosts welcome one or two self-contained motorhomes onto their property for a single night, free of charge. No services are provided.
What does 'self-contained' mean?
A motorhome must comply with strict conditions in order to be certified as self-contained. There must be a toilet and washing facilities, as well as holding tanks for fresh and waste water. Your motorhome MUST be self-contained to stay with Okay2stay hosts.
How do I know if my camper is 'self-contained'?
If you hire a motorhome in New Zealand and it is equipped with a toilet, shower and waste water facilities, it will almost certainly have a Self-Containment Certificate and display a green Responsible Camper sticker.
What does it cost to join?
The cost of joining Okay2stay is $45 New Zealand dollars and gives you access to the members only area for one year. This is about the cost of a campsite for two people. Stay two nights with Okay2stay hosts and you have recovered your accommodation costs.
What's in it for the hosts?
Our hosts are all committed to their land and the production of quality products. They love what they do, but they aren't in it for entertainment - they need to make a living. So, as a member of Okay2stay they welcome you to stay to overnight and to take a look, purchase and enjoy some of their delicious wares. It's a WIN WIN!
How many hosts are there?
Currently we have 115 hosts – 69 in the North Island and 46 in the South Island. However, this number is constantly growing. We have spent a lot of time out on the road this year meeting with hosts and we will continually add more.
What sort of things do hosts sell?
Obviously one of the criteria for host selection is that they are producing something that will be desirable and practical for people travelling in motorhomes to buy – so you're not going to find carvers of large stone sculptures on the list!
What you will find are boutique and artisan producers, eg vineyards, breweries, olive growers, lavender and berry growers, hand-made cheese makers, nut farmers, fruit & vegie producers, organic producers, beekeepers, gourmet sausages, etc. Not only do they grow this delicious produce, they turn it into a mouth-watering array of preserves, chutneys, jams, pickles, sweets, ice creams, lotions and sometimes, potent brews!
As well as producers of fine food and wine, we have discovered places that offer unique Kiwi experiences; like a cheese making school, a river boat trip, a high country farm stay etc. where you can also park your motorhome overnight.
Must I buy something from the host where I spend the night?
We ask that you make a purchase either for yourself or as a gift for family and friends to show your appreciation to your host. Many of the hosts have on-site cafes and restaurants which showcase their products. Coffee culture in the "land of the long flat white" is a unique experience in itself! Gain the satisfaction of knowing where your food comes from and in supporting small family operated farms.
Can I just show up or do I have to reserve a spot?
There is no formal booking system with Okay2stay. However for most hosts it is essential that you phone ahead to let them know that you would like to stay - preferably the day before. (Their listing will say if it is not necessary). There may occasionally be reasons why it is not suitable for hosts to have members to stay or it may be that all allocated parks are taken. In that unlikely event, you will need to make alternative arrangements. Hosts are often away at Farmers' Markets at weekends so it pays to check a suitable arrival time.
What do I do when I arrive?
On arrival, go in and introduce yourself and your travelling companions to your host. Show them your Okay2stay membership logo. This will have your name and the expiry date of your membership displayed on it. You can print this off, or display it on your smart phone or device. Check where your host would like you to park. Your host may have other instructions, for example where you are able to walk, etc.
How do I pay my membership?
When you join Okay2stay, payment is made through the secure PayPal system online. You can make a one-off payment with your credit card through PayPal, or you can use your PayPal account. If you do not wish to use PayPal then payment can be made safely through a direct bank payment.
What do I get when I join?
You will receive an email welcoming you to Okay2stay and giving you a temporary password. Once you log on to Okay2stay you will be able to change this password to something easier to remember.
The password gives you access to a 'members only' area and there you will find all the host listings and a lot of other useful information. You will be able to sort hosts by region or by what they produce and you will be able to save favourites to your account. This will be available to you online as you travel or can be saved to your device as a PDF file which you can access offline. You could also opt to print off your favourites. You will also receive a file with the Okay2stay logo and your name and expiry date of your membership. You can either print this to show to hosts on your arrival or display it on your smartphone or other device.
We will be travelling with friends in two vans – how many memberships do we have to buy?
Membership is per van, so if two vans are travelling and staying together you will need two
What happens when my membership expires?
Your membership will expire after one year. After this time you will not be able to access the members-only area unless you renew your subscription.
How often do you add new hosts?
We are constantly growing the business by travelling around New Zealand talking to our current hosts and adding new ones. Because the host directory is online, it is continually being updated as new hosts join.
How can I be sure the hosts are of 'good standing'?
We have visited and met all of our hosts and know they will offer a safe and secure place for members to park. They are established farmers, orchardists, winemakers etc, who sell their produce to their local community and through local Farmers' Markets.
How safe is this?
Freedom camping is a hot issue in New Zealand at present. Local bye-laws can specifically restrict it in certain areas and free campers not complying with notices can be fined. Okay2stay offers members the opportunity to park legally and safely, free of charge, on private property belonging to selected hosts.
Do I get a printed host directory?
We are not issuing printed host directories in an effort to keep membership fees low. Most travellers now carry smart phones or other devices which can connect to the internet. The directory is also supplied in PDF form which members can print themselves.
What happens if I go outside internet or cell coverage?
It is not possible nor practical to be connected to the internet all the time while travelling in New Zealand. Therefore members have the option to save the host directory as a PDF file to a laptop, tablet or smartphone which can be viewed offline. You also have the option of printing the directory, or parts of it if you wish.
If I don't drink wine, can I still stay at a winery?
In most areas there is a selection of hosts – and the selection is growing all the time. So if you don't drink wine you may prefer to choose a host that makes something else you would like to try. However, having said that, some of our wineries are in magic locations with stunning views that you won't want to miss. Fortunately many of them have cafés or restaurants onsite where you can purchase a legendary flat white coffee and delicious homemade muffin!