Campervan Rental Suggestions?

#1
My wife and I will be in New Zealand in September and are considering renting a campervan to travel the country for about two weeks. We've found several places that rent and some reasonable rates. We aren't looking for a huge van, but something along the lines of a Toyota Hiace; somethign with a refrigerator, stove, and cassette toilet.

We've seen a variety of options via campertravel.co.nz, but were wondering if anyone had any opinions or suggestions with regards to best companies or things to avoid.

Thanks!
 
#2
Jucy = good, Wicked, not so much.... Alot without toilets, but alot of press about 'freedom campers' causing all sorts of problems, so a little time reading up about on 'free' camp sites will put you ahead of the pack! Two weeks is going to be a rush....
 
#4
Yes, we've heard good things about Jucy, and we have them in the U.S. now. I wouldn't rent from Wicked after the stuff I've read over the last few weeks. And while it might be a rush, we'll see what we can see in two weeks.

We will be arriving into Auckland, and headed to see family on Waiheke Island. After our visit there, we figured we'd pick up a campervan in Auckland and tour around; probably mostly head south.

https://www.campertravel.co.nz has been a decent site thus far, so I've found. However, there are a lot of vehicles to choose from.
 

whatcharterboat

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
#6
Thirty-Nine, I've had great experiences with Tui in Christchurch..... As have my friends that go every year in a group of three or four vans in convoy. I go with the smallest vehicle they offer that has a cassette toilet , hot shower and CSC. They aren't the newest and blingest vehicles but prices are really competitive. Usually a Ford Econovan. Last year I got a bigger Ford with a flat panel body on the back. This year (coincidentally same as you in September) I have already booked a Ford van again. Just a bit more compact to drive about in .

NZ must be the campervan capital of the world. It'll blow you out how many are on the road there. Lots of Top 10 parks and if that's not your scene the free camping is awesome everywhere you look..,... Think Lord of the Rings -type scenery. Just don't try to get up Treblecone in a big van. Haha.

Also check about any restrictions taking certain roads. Tui was great but some won't let you drive up to any ski fields or on dirt roads.
 
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#7
Please ensure your camper is certified self contained (CSC) it will have the blue label on the rear. This will save you a lot of grief from the freedom camping wardens (and their instant $200 fines) that many councils employ .

https://www.nzmca.org.nz/freedom-camping/
Thanks, Dusty! I've read this before and appreciate your confirmation of the CSC vehicles.

whatcharterboat said:
Thirty-Nine, I've had great experiences with Tui in Christchurch..... As have my friends that go every year in a group of three or four vans in convoy. I go with the smallest vehicle they offer that has a cassette toilet , hot shower and CSC. They aren't the newest and blingest vehicles but prices are really competitive. Usually a Ford Econovan. Last year I got a bigger Ford with a flat panel body on the back. This year (coincidentally same as you in September) I have already booked a Ford van again. Just a bit more compact to drive about in .

NZ must be the campervan capital of the world. It'll blow you out how many are on the road there. Lots of Top 10 parks and if that's not your scene the free camping is awesome everywhere you look..,... Think Lord of the Rings -type scenery. Just don't try to get up Treblecone in a big van. Haha.

Also check about any restrictions taking certain roads. Tui was great but some won't let you drive up to any ski fields or on dirt roads.
Last edited by whatcharterboat; Today at 02:28 AM.
Thanks! I actually just found out that a friend will be there at the same time we will and will also be in a campervan. They must be pretty popular! Thanks for the heads up about the restrictions, too.
 

whatcharterboat

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
#8
Thanks! I actually just found out that a friend will be there at the same time we will and will also be in a campervan. They must be pretty popular! Thanks for the heads up about the restrictions, too.
Yeah no worries.... Might see you there then. If this is your first time my only advice would be don't try to cover too much ground. There is so much to see. The trip I did last September was around the South Island only for two weeks and we covered 3500kms .... It was far too much driving IMO. BTW it rained the day we arrived then we had almost cloudless skys the whole time. My friends were there 2 weeks prior and had constant rain..... Go figure. This September we are plannIng to B-line down to Wanaka region and just cover that mainly. I only get 2 weeks each September. You would want months to see both North and South islands I reckon and even then you'd be wanting to come back to get the spots you missed or wished you coul have spent more time.

You'll have a blast regardless.
 
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#9
Looking at all the campervan rentals, it appears they all offer extra insurance. Here in the U.S.A., I never take it. However, overseas, we are not covered by our domestic insurance company. What's the general thought on purchasing extra insurance from the hire companies? (Britz, Jucy, etc.)
 
#10
My two daughters and I flew down to Christchurch and rented a Maui camper for two weeks and did about 2500 k. Down the West Coast, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Mt Cook sort of a deal. I payed for what they are calling 'liability reduction'. I'm guessing this is what you mean by 'extra insurance'? Looking on the Maui/Britz website now, with 'standard liability' you are still responsible for between 5k - 7.5k in the event of an accident (!). Even as a Kiwi my 'domestic insurance company' won't help me in a rental situation. Personally, this was too much of a gamble for me, someone crash's into me, and I have to pay 7.5k! Huge expense though, sixty something dollars per day to rent a nice camper, an additional $45 for liability reduction! Oh, and there is one more twist insurance wise, hidden inside the 'Get the sizzle and stay connected' bundle(!) (on the Britz website), is 'single vehicle rollover cover'..... They don't consider single vehicle rollover's 'accidents' so another $10/day will cover that for you! Again, buried down inside the FAQ's is a list of roads you aren't allowed to drive on at all... To summarise, depend's on how well you know Murphy, I'd pay for it!
 
#11
My two daughters and I flew down to Christchurch and rented a Maui camper for two weeks and did about 2500 k. Down the West Coast, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Mt Cook sort of a deal. I payed for what they are calling 'liability reduction'. I'm guessing this is what you mean by 'extra insurance'? Looking on the Maui/Britz website now, with 'standard liability' you are still responsible for between 5k - 7.5k in the event of an accident (!). Even as a Kiwi my 'domestic insurance company' won't help me in a rental situation. Personally, this was too much of a gamble for me, someone crash's into me, and I have to pay 7.5k! Huge expense though, sixty something dollars per day to rent a nice camper, an additional $45 for liability reduction! Oh, and there is one more twist insurance wise, hidden inside the 'Get the sizzle and stay connected' bundle(!) (on the Britz website), is 'single vehicle rollover cover'..... They don't consider single vehicle rollover's 'accidents' so another $10/day will cover that for you! Again, buried down inside the FAQ's is a list of roads you aren't allowed to drive on at all... To summarise, depend's on how well you know Murphy, I'd pay for it!
Great info, Billyhilly. Thank you.
 
#12
Looking at all the campervan rentals, it appears they all offer extra insurance. Here in the U.S.A., I never take it. However, overseas, we are not covered by our domestic insurance company. What's the general thought on purchasing extra insurance from the hire companies? (Britz, Jucy, etc.)
Most travel insurances have an rental excess reduction, as do some credit cards. I buy an annual policy (AUD350) and it covers me for $6000 excess. Unlike the the US, vehicles come with full insurance as part of the price, but are loaded with high excesses and clauses like which roads you can't drive on etc, etc.
 
#13
Well, we're booked. Ended up booking a Sprinter (or similar) van through Mighty. And yes,we bought the rental excess reduction. Better safe than sorry. We're going to fly from Auckland to Christchurch and pick the van up there. From there we'll explore the south island and eventually make our way up back to Auckland over 10 days. Thanks for all of your advice.
 
#15


Back from NZ, and we had an amazing trip. A few notes on the campervan hire:

- We went through Britz/Maui/Mighty. Our 2011 Sprinter was a Mighty.
- We didn't know there was a Road User Charge for diesel vehicles in NZ, so we ended up buying the company's $299 RUC package, which included any RUC, gave use the ability to return the van empty with fuel and propane, and full with black/gray water.
- There was a bit of issue picking it up as there was a faulty pipe with the sink. Water was on the floor and they ended up fixing it before we left. However, Mighty wasn't exactly friendly about it, and sort of shooed us out the door afterward.
- Zero problems with the van on the road. The van ran great, and all of the amenities worked as advertised.
- There were plenty of dump stations on the South Island, but we found finding fresh water for our tank harder than we expected. (At least without having to visit a holiday park, and even some of them didn't have water for vans)

Next time, I think we'd pick up in Queenstown (vs. Christchurch). The drive from Christchurch to Queenstown is scenic, but it looks very similar to Oregon, USA which is where we live. We would also spend more time in one spot than do so much driving! However, we only had seven days on the South Island, including two in Blenheim (Marlborough).

We also used Okay 2 Stay (http://okaytostay.co.nz), which was great with a self-contained campervan. For $45, you can stay at a variety of businesses free of charge. We stayed in a field outside of a honey producer in Garston, a pub in Onekaka, and two wineries in Blenheim. Everyone was very nice and accommodating.

FYI, this was our route.