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We are thinking about a trip to new Zealand next February hiring a motor home for an extended tour. Any information or advice would be much appreciated.

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It is a while since we were there (2006) but you are welcome to look at my web report! http://www. tednewman. me. uk/NZ1. htm Some of the links will probably be out of date but you may find some of useful.

Any questions please feel free to ask :D

Discovery 4 XS SDV6 and Airstream 532 plus 1996 MGF owned since new.

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My brother is over there now with a hired motorhome for 5 weeks touring both islands he says it's great. He has wild camped even on the beaches most nights with stop offs at sites when needed, spectacular scenery and comfortable driving due to quiet roads. I am not sure where or the names of them but he dowloaded a couple of apps for his ipad one with all the motorhome wild camp areas, facilities and campsites so a search of app stores may help you out if you have a ipad or tablet.

Edited by dave11a
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Whatever you do, do not book your campervan in the UK, go direct to one of the NZ companies. We saved a fortune when we went. Not sure but think the ones we used were called Kea, they were brilliant, picking us up from the airport for free and the van was excellent.

 

It was a few years ago but we paid around £25 per day when travel agents wanted 3 times that for same van.

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We've been twice toNZ, when we did the sums,it cost a lot less to rent a car from Omega or Ace and stay in homestays, plus you have more flexibility for shopping and excursions.

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

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Whatever you do, do not book your campervan in the UK, go direct to one of the NZ companies. We saved a fortune when we went. Not sure but think the ones we used were called Kea, they were brilliant, picking us up from the airport for free and the van was excellent.

 

It was a few years ago but we paid around £25 per day when travel agents wanted 3 times that for same van.

 

Bit of a BOLD statement - we booked through a UK agent and got an excellent discount on a KEA Motorhome for our trip around NZ - it also meant we got the van we wanted rather than the ''left overs'', perhaps it is different today :rolleyes:

Discovery 4 XS SDV6 and Airstream 532 plus 1996 MGF owned since new.

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We did it in 2007 and had month there. The company we were with was Maui and they were excellent. We picked the van up in Aukland and left it in Christchurch, at that time a lot of the companies would not allow this.

 

Beautiful scenery, quite roads and good campsites. There is a campsite company called Top Ten and they issue a discount card. Also the supermarkets give discount cards to tourists.

 

Go for it we would love to go back.

 

Chris

Volvo V60 D5, Coachman VIP 2016, Isabella Magnum porch awning, powrtouch mover

Adventure before dementia

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In 2011 we rented a motorhome from Pacific Horizon and toured both islands, staying wherever possible at DoC (Department of Conservation) sites, located in many of the national parks. They were cheap and often right in the middle of some spectacular scenery.

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Not really a BOLD statement TedNewman, the travel agents wanted £500 a week (cheapest price we got quoted for smallest van) and we paid just under £200 direct for a better bigger van. ...just the simple TRUTH !!

 

and no we didn't get the . ..LEFT OVERS. ..we got the van we asked for. ......... talk about bold statements !

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I think syandi means, Book direct with a NZ company rather than book through a UK agent - Not wait til you get there and book - you wil get what's left!

 

And I agree :) all the NZ companies are well used to Brits booking on line, and it was cetainly cheaper when we booked in 2005.

.

The option of picking up in Aukland and dropping off in Christchurch is really useful, you can get an internal flight back quite cheaply and still use international flights in out out of Aukland though there were only a few companies that did that at the time we went. "Juicy" were one of them BTW .

 

Another thing to think on is the ferry across at Wellington. You get a buch better deal pre-booking (again on line) BUT it means you have to fix your crossing date from N to S islands. BUT make sure you go across in daylight and NOT pick a night crossing as the ferry crossing itself is well spectacular.

 

As to Camper v Car and homestead. We went camper and they are better geared up for it that the UK however if you go too big you will have some problems just getting about ( shopping etc) -though we were a bit too small.

 

Next time I'll use the car and homestead option just for a change.

 

As to time - 5 weeks is just about enough to allow for quite a few 2 or 3 night stops but 8 weeks would be ideal and less than 5 weeks you are going to be travelling most the time with little chance to "smell the roses".

 

Two places I think were our highlights:

 

Mount Cook! We were going to stay at the camper site near to Mt Cook but we travelled up to the Mt Cook Hotel ( there's only one big one) and asked about a room - the consierge showed us a room where we were looking directly at the mountain through a picture window so we had a night of luxury :)

 

 

And here's another "don't miss this one" just past Christchurch is a real hidden jem, and not on the main schedules, that's Akaroa on the Banks pensinsular. We spent the last 2 days there before flying back to Aukland and it is really quite different ( google its French history :) ) I'm not sure how much damage there was in the most recent earthquake but on the way there ( only one road) just past the highest point there's a great cafe with the most spectacular views (and goats??) to have a pleasant coffee stop.

 

Enjoy NZ but remember - take it easy :)

 

Jim

Edited by JamesF

"keep your motor running"

caravan: Avondale Avocet ( 2006) - tow car: Renault Laguna (2007) - play car: Mercedes 300SL (1988)

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Not really a BOLD statement TedNewman, the travel agents wanted £500 a week (cheapest price we got quoted for smallest van) and we paid just under £200 direct for a better bigger van. ...just the simple TRUTH !!

 

and no we didn't get the . ..LEFT OVERS. ..we got the van we asked for. ......... talk about bold statements !

I did qualify my remarks

 

'' perhaps it is different today ''

 

and we did exactly as you BUT the UK agent still beat the KEA direct prices - perhaps we got a special deal :P as we did book for two months hire :D

Discovery 4 XS SDV6 and Airstream 532 plus 1996 MGF owned since new.

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We've been twice toNZ, when we did the sums,it cost a lot less to rent a car from Omega or Ace and stay in homestays, plus you have more flexibility for shopping and excursions.

 

We did something similar - a cheap car hire and stayed in motels around N. Z - they all had a kitchenette to allow some self catering, but motorhome rental was much too expensive when we priced it up.

 

Incidentally what are companies like Kea charging these days for motorhome hire - my guess is about £180 a day. Is that all in, or are there extras on top?

Edited by moorgate
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Thanks for all the helpful advice.

We will definitely go to Akaroa.

We still think we would like to hire a motor home but haven't got any quotes yet so any more help with prices or recent experiences would still be much appreciated.

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I mentioned that we rented from Pacific Horizon, but I have since heard they they have gone into receivership in the meantime. If I recall correctly, the next cheapest with a good reputation was Britz.

Edited by Lutz
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Thanks for all the helpful advice.

We will definitely go to Akaroa.

We still think we would like to hire a motor home but haven't got any quotes yet so any more help with prices or recent experiences would still be much appreciated.

Hi there

 

Try info@jucy. co. nz / www. jucy. co. nz for a quote as I said they do multi locations and are (or were in 2009) quite competitive :)

Edited by JamesF

"keep your motor running"

caravan: Avondale Avocet ( 2006) - tow car: Renault Laguna (2007) - play car: Mercedes 300SL (1988)

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I mentioned that we rented from Pacific Horizon, but I have since heard they they have gone into receivership in the meantime. If I recall correctly, the next cheapest with a good reputation was Britz.

 

I suppose another reason for waiting till you get out there instead of laying money down on bookings.

 

Dave

 

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Jeep Commander 3. 0 V6 CRD

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Elddis Crusader Storm 2000 Kgs, Unipart Royal Atlas Mover .

 

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  • 7 years later...

I travelled with Travellers Autobarn a couple of years ago and I really enjoyed it! It was a fairly simple set up (just a bed/dining spot and full kitchen), but it was great since we were on a budget. This is the one we went with around the south island: https://www.travellers-autobarn.co.nz/campervan-hire-new-zealand/kuga-campervan-hire/

I highly recommend checking out Lake Tekapo! The star gazing is a must, it was my favourite part of the trip. 

 

-Jane

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I agree, Lake Tekapo is amazing, we stayed in a wooden hut on the banks. The views were amazing. We went to the thermal springs just along from where we were staying. We were in the springs with snow falling on our heads, amazing. We hired a car and used motels on both islands. If you get the chance I would recommend stopping off in Raratonga in the Cook islands on the way home. Well worth a week there. What amused us was the bus services around the island. One was signed clockwise the other anti clockwise, and that it the way they operated. Our trip to NZ was part of our round the world trip.

Edited by madasaman
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I can't wait to get back to NZ, it's the most amazing country (along with Oz and RZA). See my comment from 2014 above regarding MHs.  I haven't changed my mind that the most cost effective and convenient way to see the country is to rent a car from one of the smaller, cheap and cheerful companies (Omega is the best IMO, they allow one-way rentals but they don't have outlets everywhere.  Ace are good too, but avoid Rentadent). Then book homestay accommodation through a specialist agency such as holidayhouses.co.nz or bookabach.co.nz. Don't rule out cabins on campsites, they are usually of an excellent standard, and infill with motels if you get stuck - they generally have some self-catering facilities in NZ.  Also YHA accommodation is supposed to be of a high standard, and it isn't necessary to be a member. 

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

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Another supporter for car hire and stopping at self-catering/homesteads/motels etc.

 

We toured North Island and then South Island.  Our car hire company would not allow us to take the car between Islands - something you may wish to check.  Not a big deal except we had to carry out suitcases on and off the ferry.

 

Would return tomorrow if we could.  A fantastic place and we always felty welcome.

 

Hiring motorhomes is a very popular way of holidaying.  We found ourselves stuck in a few long lines of traffic behind a motorhome clearly struggling with the driving.  Speaking to locals we were told that motorhomes are locally known as "road maggots".  Apparently many are hired by people with no previous experience hence the, sometimes, appallingly slow progress. 

 

 

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I have been trying for ten years to persuade people that motorhome hire is not the only way to tour New Zealand. We found motels clean, convenient and affordable - and we didn’t need to book any in advance - but my daughter who went just before the country locked down for Covid said a phone call 24 hours ahead to Airbnb properties was the way they did it . They really had far more variety of accommodation than we did - and of course they met local people. Touring with a motorhome can be very solitary.

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2 hours ago, Squash said:

Our car hire company would not allow us to take the car between Islands - something you may wish to check.  Not a big deal except we had to carry out suitcases on and off the ferry.

Both Omega and Ace will allow collection in Auckland and return to Christchurch or vice versa. They favour the latter with promotional rates because they normally end up with a surfeit of cars returned in South Island. On our first trip to NZ we took our Ace car on the Inter-Islander ferry from Picton to Welly - stunningly memorable!  And it wasn't extortionate - NZ$200 one way for car + 2, but that was in 2010.  Bear in mind that these 'lesser' companies provide older (but well serviced) vehicles, which don't look out of place because the majority of cars in NZ are 'oldies'!

Nissan X-Trail Tekna + Coachman Festival 450

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4 hours ago, moorgate said:

I have been trying for ten years to persuade people that motorhome hire is not the only way to tour New Zealand. We found motels clean, convenient and affordable - and we didn’t need to book any in advance - but my daughter who went just before the country locked down for Covid said a phone call 24 hours ahead to Airbnb properties was the way they did it . They really had far more variety of accommodation than we did - and of course they met local people. Touring with a motorhome can be very solitary.

 Indeed.  

We chose to drive a car because of the versatility and the opportunity it gave us to meet people.  

If doing it again - and we hope to - it will be the same again.

Motorhomes are very popular but with the same constraints as here in the UK. 

"Bog standard motels", at least those we stopped at, were clean and well run.  Not a single cause for complaint at all. 

Fantastic country and so much to see and do.

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