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Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

Boston...
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Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

Hello,

My british friend and I (American) are planning a trip to New Zealand for January. We plan to be in NZ for 19 days.

We wish to rent a Campervan or RV. Any advice about what to consider when renting one, and suggestions on whom to rent from would be most appreciative.

Cheers!

Brisbane, Australia
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1. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

Hey Suepatoo

We looked into renting one but it was a more expensive option than hire car and selfcontained accomm. You have to factor in the petrol/gas price, plus the price of staying in a holiday park (about $50 a night on average I think it was) plus insurance. I was a bit nervous about driving a big campervan around small windy roads too. Then if you want to go to the shop, you have to pack everything up and go....so really need to think about where to stay and do lots of planning ahead.

Have a great trip whatever you decide :)

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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2. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

19 days is such a short time that you'd be better off with a car and perhaps one domestic flight. Depending on your age & budget there are hostels; cabins or motels where you can save money by self catering. January is peak season so you'd need to book in a hurry for car or camper

Boston...
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3. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

Thanks for your input. Some food for thought.

However, if anyone whom has actually done it would respond that would be helpful.

Wauchope, Australia
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4. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

We have used a campervan in Sept 2009 & Sept 2010. Obviously if you are talking Jan, the situation changes a great deal. In Sept we have enjoyed cheaper rates on the campervan, cheaper rates on camp sites, no waiting at loos or showers, no booking ahead, ease of access to the laundry & kitchen facilities etc.

When we have gone it has been a fantastic experience despite the weather this yr not being as good. Re your question of who to rent from, I suggest you google the NZ site rankers & look at feedback. I also reinforce the opinion that 19 days would mean covering just part of either the Nth or part of the Sth Is certainly not all of the country

Auckland Central...
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5. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

After having travelled by RV in the USA please tell your American friend the roads are very very different to what they have.

Also our campgrounds are New Zealand style, not American.

And freedom camping is now not an option in many places.

Christchurch
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6. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

Hi Suepatoo

Don't be put off RV/Campervan in NZ - yes it is different than the US - I have done both so feel I can comment. Our campground are different to the big 'RV resorts". While many have power most do not have a sewage drop at the site. Like many 'dry' RV sites in the States you have a central dump station. RV sites are usually the same as the 'tent' sites so may not be very level and most companies do not provide levellers. But some bigger camping grounds do have tarmaced level sites. Most of the bigger RV/Campers have shower and toilet in them - some of the smaller ones that have been made from SUV type vechiles don't. But don't worry - while you can't freedom camp in those the campground have all the facilites you need. Most campgrounds in NZ have communal toilets and showers and also kitchens (great place to get to know other travellers)

Do a bit of research on google - type in campervans in NZ - just watch the ones that want full payment approx 30 days ahead - lots do but not all. See which ones suit and ask the forum if anyone has used them.

Roads - yes they are a bit different than the US - not lots of highways - generally single lane each way. We have a fair few shingle/dirt roads but that is okay. Just check your rental policy for where you can and can't go.

Have you any idea of where in NZ you want to go??

Hope this is of some help.

cheers

Kiwi

Christchurch, New...
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7. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

If you have a "compliant" camper with self contained waste you will be fine for facilities. Many areas strill welcome and there are "dump" stations all over the place. West cOast SI supermarkets even have them. DOC campinggrounds are adequate and are slowly being upgraded to hot showers etc. I have used big one and small ones here at all trimes of the year on all sorts of roads. While we are not talking "freeways" the stories of difficult roads are grossly exagerated.

However with 19 days, I would stick to just 1 Island. The secret to a really great holiday is not to drive too far any day. Allow an average of 70KPH for a maximum of 4 hours driving.

Mif
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8. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

We spent 7 weeks exploring NZ in Feb/ March this year. For the first half , on North Island, we hired a car and stayed in B&B, and self-catering accommodation. We never had a problem finding accommodation even if we had not pre-booked. The local I-Site offices are superb and will usually be able to find you somewhere if you just turn up.

For the second half of our trip we rented a motorhome (from Gateway) to explore South Island. The motorhome option worked out a lot more expensive than the hire car option, and, in my opinion was far less comfortable.

With the motorhome it was nice being able to pull up anywhere for refreshments and the 'bathroom', but once parked at a site at times it was a pain having to traipse across to the shower block. You get a better view from a motorhome because you are sitting up higher, but the seats are probably not as comfortable. It was good to be able to unpack the bags and stow stuff away.

When using self-catering accommodation it was great to have more space and to be able to cook a decent meal, and to do laundry. The disadvantage was that you are forever packing and unpacking cases, unless you are very well organised.

If you choose the car option I suggest you take a good coolbag plus ice blocks, and a thermos flask for hot drinks so that you do not have to pay out for lunches.

As other people have suggested it is probably best to just visit one island. 19 days is not long in NZ and some (most!) of the roads are very wiggly.

We also used the Rankers site to check the reviews of different companies.

We were surprised at just how expensive everything was in NZ. The cost of living for food is almost double UK prices. Visitor attractions were also very costly so we had to be quite selective.

Happy planning and enjoy your trip - we had a wonderful time.

Edited: 04 October 2010, 16:28
Auckland Central...
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9. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

Mid

Thanks for your great report on your trip to our lovely country.

It is so good to hear current information and thoughts from up to date travelers.

There are still lots of "things" to do in New Zealand that do not cost money, like visiting our parks and beaches and walking in our forests.

Do hope that you come back again some day and see things and places that you missed.

london
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10. Re: Seeing New Zealand by Campervan

Is it correct that the campervan/motorhome has to be parked in a campsite overnight?

How about during the day when we are sight seeing, do we need to park in a car park or will a roadside do?