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New Zealand exploring by camper van but whats the best way?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific New Zealand exploring by camper van but whats the best way?

1. Posted by micky_mse (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

We are visiting NZ in November, flyng into Auckland and out of Christchurch and planning to tour via camper van. Does anyone have any advice on the most cost effective way to do this. We would ideally like to take a break from the van by staying in a hotel in Wellington and Marlborough Sounds but not sure if best to still keep the van for the whole trip or take 2 seperate hires for each Island. Any advice would be much appeciated.

2. Posted by akiwiroo (Budding Member 37 posts) 5y

How long are you planning to go for ?

3. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 5y

Yeah I don't think thats going to work in your favor. By the time you drop off one vehicle in Welly, then get another possibly in Picton or worse you may have to bus over to Nelson, then re rent and another drop off. Seems like you'll get a better deal just keeping the van for the whole trip as you'll get a better deal for the longer period, and even though thats still a one way trip, its such a frequent way that most people go, that its probably the most price competitive option.

Having said that, you might want to consider taking an internal flight from Auckland straight to Christchurch then do your trip from south to north. Because so many people do it the other way round, there is often a glut of vehicles in Christchurch and they will give you really really good deals to drive it back up to Auckland. like for free!

4. Posted by micky_mse (Budding Member 3 posts) 5y

Thanks - we have 23 days to get to Christchurch where wel will spend a couple of nights before heading home

5. Posted by nick3006 (Budding Member 24 posts) 5y

The inter island ferry is pretty expensive, even more so for campervans than it is for cars. None of the car hire companies will suggest you take the car on the ferry, they take your car from you at Wellington and give you a new one at Picton. Not sure about camper vans but I imagine it may be the same deal. Given that, it may well be possible for you to arrange to have a few days off in between? Worth asking anyway? If you do keep the van then I think there is a pretty cheap motorhome site near the centre of wellington which you could use as a base for exploring the city. The only other thought is that the Sounds are beautiful, well worth a visit but you will need your own transport to get around them. Have a great trip and make sure you spend lots of time on the South island, its such a beautiful place and a campervan is by far the best way to see it.

6. Posted by Dodger (Inactive 875 posts) 5y

Quoting nick3006

The inter island ferry is pretty expensive, even more so for campervans than it is for cars. None of the car hire companies will suggest you take the car on the ferry, they take your car from you at Wellington and give you a new one at Picton.

Never heard of that before. The only reason I can think that they would tell you not to take the vehicle across on the ferry is because most people are traveling north to south and they end up with a glut of vehicles in the south that they then have to get back up north.

A trick I learned from a ticket sales person at the ferry company is to tell them you are in a van, don't mention the word campervan. The rate for a same size van for me was like about $60 instead of the $130-140. This works for vans such as Wicked campers up to 3m, but not for something that is clearly a massive campervan. Mine is a high top, but as long as you have your ticket no one questions it when you pull on the ferry.

The only two campsites in Welly I know are way out of downtown. Where's the one your thinking of?

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Jan-2011, at 15:08 by Dodger ]

7. Posted by nick3006 (Budding Member 24 posts) 5y

Quoting Dodger

The only two campsites in Welly I know are way out of downtown. Where's the one your thinking of?

I think the city council was planning to open one somewhere around Shelley Bay road, not right in the centre but close enough to walk I'd guess?
It was an old army base and the council were having some trouble selling it off so they decided to open it up temporarily as a campsite. I heard about it about a year ago but I'm not sure what happened to it though.

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4835 posts) 5y

Quoting nick3006

The inter island ferry is pretty expensive, even more so for campervans than it is for cars. None of the car hire companies will suggest you take the car on the ferry, they take your car from you at Wellington and give you a new one at Picton. Not sure about camper vans but I imagine it may be the same deal.

Not all car hire companies have a pickup location in Picton, and so there's certainly quite a few which don't have the option for exchanging cars. I know when I last looked into this (2008), at least one of the big name companies didn't offer the option not to take your car on the ferry. And I don't think any campervan companies do such an exchange by default, as people tend to really live in their campervan, and so moving to a new vehicle would be much more of a hassle.