We're a group of five guys in our 20s doing a short tour of the South Island for 10 days in mid-September. We've basically narrowed down our transport/accomodation options to either of these options:
1) 6-berth motorhome, staying at holiday parks every night
2) Self-contained motels
After including rental, insurance, fuel and accomodation, the cost for either option is pretty much identical. If we were travelling in the high season it would be a different story (motorhome rentals go up by as much as 3x in the summer), but in September the cost is basically the same. We also plan to cook most of our meals - either option above affords us this without issue.
Let me describe why it's so hard to make a decision:
The big reason why we want the motorhome: For the novelty and experience. The whole group are really good friends, and none of us have done a motorhome holiday before. The idea of holing up in a motorhome together leads us to believe we will have a huge amount of fun (simply by virtue of being in a motorhome) and create lots of interesting memories. E.g. emptying the toilet cassette may not be pleasant, but it adds "character" to one's holiday!
The reasons why we might think twice:
1) Comfort levels while sleeping and lack of personal space. We're not princesses, but as none of us have ever travelled this way before, we're not sure whether we will seriously regret it three days in. The photos and videos online don't convey how much space there is really for five guys in a large motorhome.
2) Travelling times will be longer than a car. Can anyone estimate how much longer? If a car takes 3 hours to get from Christchurch to Tekapo, how long will a large motorhome take, assuming same number of stops etc?
3) A car will have no problem in car parks, going up to ski fields etc. Whereas for a motorhome, we're just not sure. With a car we can hop into town as and when, with a motorhome we need to bring the whole truck. And I'm thinking if parking in town is difficult for a motorhome, then how do we get from the holiday parks to town and the various attractions?
Would appreciate if anyone could weigh in on the above.