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Getting around NZ...

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1. Posted by sinky (Budding Member 19 posts) 11y

Hey,
In Auckland at the mo. Was wondering if anyone had any ideas whether it would be best to get a bus ticket to travel around or to hire a car? We have three weeks and want to do the South Island too. Would getting a car here and dropping it off in Wellington before getting the ferry and picking another one up the other side make sense? Any good car hire/bus companies? Is kiwi experience the best bus company? Any places to avoid/must see? Thanks for your help...!

2. Posted by swiss33 (Inactive 22 posts) 11y

Hi,

KiwiExperience is only the best if you want to have your time wasted, full buses, lots of expensive activities that you are practically forced to do (if not be prepared to sit around waiting while everyone else does) lots of drinking, drugs, sex, and late teens, early twenties.

Why not look at Magic Bus, or the original NZ Bus Company, Intercity.

If you rent a car, all rental car companies (with both island offices) will allow you to drop the car in Wellington, take the ferry, and pick up a new car in Picton. This is all considered one rental, and they arrange the car transfer. The catch is that you are normally required to have the car on each island for at least one week.

I personally recommend renting a car. There is little more frustrating than driving past a great photo opprtunity, or an area of interest in a bus that wont stop.
Rental cars are available online from this company at very good prices. They use various big name firms in NZ, so you get to find the best price first time. www.pleppin.co.nz

Have fun in New Zealand.

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 11y

Quoting sinky

Would getting a car here and dropping it off in Wellington before getting the ferry and picking another one up the other side make sense?

The better rental companies do this by default, so you'll save the price of taking the car over, and they can keep better track of where their cars are.
I personally used Ezi-Rent twice, and found them quite excellent. Older cars, so they have quite a few dents and scratches (hard to avoid those on New Zealand roads), but they go over those quite carefully at the start, and then (with only basic insurance for glass-damage) when you return the car, they barely glance at it to see that you haven't been in any major accidents. Quite cheap too.

Is kiwi experience the best bus company?

I tried them for a few days, but found they didn't offer anything you couldn't also get from reading your lonely planet carefully - and as with all tours, they push those activities they get commission for quite heavily.
I mostly travelled Intercity/Newmans, but given that you'll be going for such a short time, renting would definitely be the way to go.

4. Posted by Philymop (Full Member 110 posts) 11y

Hey, not done the Kiwi Experience, and based on my "Oz Experience" I have no urge to hop on any big green bus...EVER! I can't really say anything on top of the comments from Phlepin Guy with regards to the type of people you get on this thing, hit the nail on the head.

However, I have got a car and done a fair bit of driving around NZ South Island, the roads are great, scenery amazing, and there's nothing better than getting to a place and stopping when and where you like, a luxury you certainly don't have on the bus!

Have fun!

5. Posted by tomandlou (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y

Hi I would suggest these guys, http://www.escaperentals.co.nz they are nice people who well point you in the right direction. We really enjoyed our trip and even through the price of petrol seemed to go up very day we had almost a month cruising New Zealand and didnt blow the budget. There is also a book in NZ called driving guide which is really good, it is especially writen for those who want to do it themselves. Dont go the bus, use a camper, I wouldnt do it any other way. Best Trip ever!!

6. Posted by derden (Budding Member 27 posts) 11y

I was looing into http://www.escaperentals.co.nz and they seem to be competitive price wise. I was just curios to find out peoples toughts of hiring a camper van in NZ. Where do you shower?, is it allowed/safe to park up anywhere for the night. Is it worthwhile paying for campsites, are they many of them around? Is there any other camper van rentals that anyone would recommend? We plan on hiring a van for 10 day to explore the north island.

7. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4834 posts) 11y

Quoting derden

I was just curios to find out peoples toughts of hiring a camper van in NZ. Where do you shower?, is it allowed/safe to park up anywhere for the night. Is it worthwhile paying for campsites, are they many of them around?

I travelled in a campercan with my parents through both the North and South Island for slightly over three weeks. It was a good experience, but I think it's pretty much the most costly way to get around.
You're not allowed to camp just anywhere in New Zealand - in fact, you're only allowed to camp at designated camp sites. That takes care of the showering, but given how cheap hostels are, and how much more expensive campervans are over cars, I wouldn't recommend it. (Also, if you're travelling in a campervan which can hold more than just two people - those things are large! You'd better be confident about your driving skills - and always remember to take the corners with lots of space.)
Still, that said, I had no complaints about my weeks in a campervan. Plenty of campgrounds around everywhere too. Top 10 Holiday Parks is (one of?) the largest chains of campgrounds with powered sites, but there's lots more around, usually in good spots. When you rent the campervan, you should get a brochure with a listing of pretty much all of them in the entire country, so you can decide with which to go on a case by case basis.

Oh, and one really good thing about campervans: campgrounds usually aren't booked solid during the high season, whereas hostels are.

8. Posted by Dougie (Budding Member 9 posts) 11y

Campervans are seen as a great way to see New Zealand but can get costly. But you can free camp around the place so this will save money. Here is a complete price list of New Zealand campervan and motor home companies http://www.newzealandatoz.com/motorhomecompanies.php[u]
This should help you sort out quickley if this is an option for you.

9. Posted by Dougie (Budding Member 9 posts) 11y

http://www.newzealandatoz.com here is that web address again. I must have done something wrong. Just look under campervan companies

10. Posted by fimbria25 (Full Member 120 posts) 11y

I would recommend hiring a car i used Ace Car Rentals, only worked out less that $30 a day, which isnt bad. And you see alot more by driving it.

Gaz