Kamenjak – Croatia

Croatias Best Kept Secret – Kamenjak National Park!

Kamenjak National Park, Croatia. I am pretty sure you have never heard of it. If you have, then I hope you have visited because I’m gonna tell you why it’s a must in this post. When you think of Croatia you probably think of Island hopping off the coast of Split, checking out Kings Landing in Dubrovnik or maybe even checking out Rovinj as it becomes ever more popular thanks to Instagram.

Luckily for us one of our Instragram followers suggested travelling to this amazing location when we got to Croatia. We are so glad they reached out to us because they helped create some of our favourite memories. Kamenjak National Park is on the Southern most tip of the Istrian Peninsula.

Source: Google Maps

You cannot camp in the National Park but you can camp right next to the entrance to the park, so you are within super easy walking distance. There are also plenty of hotels and guest houses you can stay with in Premantura. Booking.com has so many choices (all with really incredible reviews) and if you book through my link you get 10% back on your stay.

It is an absolute nature lovers heaven!! I cannot stress this enough! The water is an incredible crystal clear blue, it is clean as clean can be. There are masses upon masses of wild flowers of all different vibrant colours and varieties coating the coast. The rocky coastline is dotted with idyllic, secluded islands and there are literally hardly any cars around. You can cycle your way around the park (this is what we opted to do on our mountain bikes) or walk and find your own private piece of nature to bask in.

This little piece of Paradise is 100% well worth the visit and detour away from the usual Croatian hot spots.  If you plan on visiting the stunning towns of Rovinj or Pula it’s just a short distance down the coast. You will also be pleasantly surprised with the drive back up on the East Coast. Reminiscent of the coastal roads on the Amalfi Coast past cliff hugging fishing ports. We took a few days out of our schedule to just relax here, riding our bikes along the coast and admiring the views….oh the views! 

We stayed at Arena Stupice Campsite in Premantura, the location of this campsite could not be any better for the views. It’s located next to the sea and you can walk and cycle in to the park from the campsite (if you drive in you have to pay a daily fee). The camping pitches are not the flattest, many are on a slant and it’s very hard to figure out what actually classes as your pitch. But there are plenty to choose from so just take your time scouting out a spot.

HOT TIP: If you camp at Arena Stupice Campsite make sure you pre book your spot online before you arrive. You will get a much better rate and a better site to camp on. We ended up booking online when we were stood in reception as they could not offer the same online rate in person.

Plenty of visitors come here to sail, kayak, fish, hike, cycle and just spend time exploring the coastline. 

We are big cyclists so started our cycling tour on the Dinosaur Trail. Fun Fact – Dinosaurs used to frequent this area in the Cretaceous period. How awesome is that?! Along the path you can explore all of the geological curiosities of Kamenjak.

The path continues around the edge of the peninsula and mainly along the coast. We stumbled upon the quirkiest little beach cafe- in the middle of no where. Imagine turning up to what looks like vegetation on the edge of the cliff with a few wooden structures outside.

You hear the murmuring of voices and make your way into the bushes to find what looks like the Lost Boys camp from Never Never Land. Safari bar is surprisingly busy for somewhere thats completely hidden. Take a visit here just to witness the quirkiness including the giant swing, sea shell dens, roller slide and tiki huts. 

As you walk through the bar to the cliffs edge you reach the most stunning view and cliff jumping hot spot where the water is incredibly clear.

We hopped on our bikes to continue the ride and came across vast empty countryside, empty beaches and incredible views. We stopped to take a dip in one cove we had all to ourselves. It’s that quiet we would turn up to a beach and if there were people there we would just move to the next beach which would inevitably be empty.

A short while later we arrive back at our van in the campsite and settle in to our camping chairs to take in the view. We crack open an Ozujsko Limun, our favourite Croatian tipple and chat about how awesome our day was. All thanks to a fellow traveller recommending Kamenjak National Park. If you plan on visiting Croatia and like nature then make sure you visit here! It’s just incredible.

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Campervan Travels: 11 Tips Why You Should Buy Versus Hiring

The Facts:

The average cost of hiring a Campervan per month around the World is:

  • AU$2600, NZ$2150, US$3300

A reasonable Campervan purchase will cost around $2000-$3000 in most countries

When I set off on my first long term trip abroad to Australia I had to make the decision whether to buy a Campervan or hire one to travel in for the duration of my trip. After weighing up the choices I ended up purchasing a Campervan and have opted to buy ever since.

Having experienced this a few times whilst travelling abroad now I can say that it is definitely cheaper than hiring…..It may not be easier but ownership provides a chance to get some money back at the end of your expedition which often pays for the extra bit of effort needed at the start, and may well help fund an extra trip or allow you to take the long way home!

Our Van in Byron Bay
Our Van in Byron Bay

I hope I can pass on some tips below that will certainly help out. The first experience wasn’t a good one for me being the first time I did this, BUT I hope by sharing my knowledge on this you won’t experience the same mistake. (see #1)

1. Always consider what season you will be selling the vehicle in! I.e Don’t try to sell a Campervan in the Australian Winter in Sydney where all the travellers have moved up North to warmer climates resulting in having to leave it behind, having no money and flying back home to the UK broke.

2. Insurance costs in each country vary but are comparatively lower than what it costs in Europe, especially in New Zealand. It is even cheaper when you share it between 2,3 or 4 travel buddies!

3. The longer you own the vehicle the more money you are saving.

4. Buying enables you the freedom to not keep to a time scale.

5. Buying! This is a big category but very important. Some things to consider, often fellow travellers will price their vehicles fairly high to try and recoup any maintenance costs they experienced etc. Often it pays to find out when people are leaving to see how quick they need to sell it. While I would never want to see a fellow traveller get ripped off it may help in coming to a friendly agreement on price which is reasonable if you suspect they are asking too much.

Non-Traveller owned vehicles can occasionally be cheaper and with less distance on the clock. They may not come equipped with everything needed to survive a campsite but can often be cheaper, so expand the search from the internet cafe notice boards to the local car trading websites.

6. Mechanics! Always try to take a friend with you when checking out a vehicle. Whether you know what to look for or your friend does, it is good for one person to keep to the talking while the other has a quiet non distracted time to check out the finer points. There are plenty of websites out there with tips on what to look for if you are not mechanically savvy. Otherwise a test drive will tell you a lot and always take it to a garage to have a check over. These normally cost between $60-100 in NZ or a standard $140 in Canada. Very cheap but a lot of people over look this and pay later.

7. Selling! As mentioned always consider the selling season and also make sure you have a vehicle which is desirable to a buyer. For example in Canada a 4×4 will sell with no problems. See what vehicles are most common in your country. In NZ this would be anything Subaru based or Japanese vans.

8. Equipment! If you found yourself with a blank canvas, next stop is the local budget department store. Chairs, Bedding and Tents are normally crazy cheap.

9. Money back! It is normally acceptable to expect your entire investment back at the end of your trip, as mentioned overpricing is common. Be reasonable though as occasionally you may have to haggle and consider the great times you have had as money well spent!

10. Splitting costs with friends is a great way to ensure any maintenance you need doesn’t all count on you and can be taken out of each persons investment at the end of the trip. Splitting a new tire 2 or 3 ways does leave you with more money for the more fun things.

11. Travellers in commercial hire vans and cars are like adverts for would be thieves, there’s no hiding a Wicked Camper (if your not sure why you soon will). Purchasing a civilian car/van is one way to keep it stealth. I have met and heard stories of travellers having EVERYTHING stolen from their campervans.

If you have any specific questions I am happy to reply if you message me