Campervan in New Zealand

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Campervan in New Zealand

1. Posted by Travel Maniax (Budding Member 69 posts) 3w Star this if you like it!

Hi All,
Travelling to New Zealand over Christmas/ New Year period (two of us). However I am travelling the last minute and not able to book anything in advance.

The idea is to pick-up a campervan in Auckland (airport or city) and drive around for a week or so. Any recommendations the best place to rent one the last minute? Is this even feasible as it is during a busy Christmas and school holiday period? Never been in NZ so not sure how busy is during the 'Xmas & New Year' period...

Vehicle: campervan/ RV or similar
Pick-up location: Auckland (airport or city)
Pick-up date: around 26Dec18
Drop off date: around 02Jan19

Thanks!
Todd

2. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1287 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

It's super peak season so you may struggle. A quick search with Jucy shows little availability and dropoff on 2nd Jan greyed out.

I don't think campervans are a cheap option in NZ, particular since a lot of people end up paying campground fees too to get facilities. I think car hire plus motels can be as cheap.

A lot of people advise prebooking things all through the summer, I'm not sure about that but I've certainly struggled during the xmas-new year week. Whatever you do I suggest trying to make some reservations now.

A week isn't long to see much of NZ, and it's a shame you're just seeing North Island as I think the highlights are in the South. But with a week out from Auckland I'd be tempted to see the central North Island, trying to take in Rotorua and Taupo for the geothermal and Maori sights, Tongariro National Park for the volcanoes, across to Whakatane for a boat trip out to the White Island volcano, then heading back and filling the available time with perhaps visits to Mount Maunganui, the Hobbiton film set if that's your thing, or the Coromandel Peninsula (famous for Hot Water beach and Driving Creek Railway). Or else Waitomo Caves are within reach if you take a different route.

You could also strike out for Napier if architecture is your thing, it was rebuilt following an earthquake and happened to be right in the middle of the Art Deco period.
With such limited time I'd suggest forgetting going further north than Auckland - the main sight is Bay of Islands, very pretty and has the history of the first capital town of NZ and the Waitangi treaty house, but it's a bit too far to daytrip from Auckland.

Are hot springs your thing? I can make various recommendations if so.

[ Edit: Edited on 26-Nov-2018, at 03:29 by AndyF ]

3. Posted by Travel Maniax (Budding Member 69 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

It's super peak season so you may struggle. A quick search with Jucy shows little availability and dropoff on 2nd Jan greyed out.

I don't think campervans are a cheap option in NZ, particular since a lot of people end up paying campground fees too to get facilities. I think car hire plus motels can be as cheap.

A lot of people advise prebooking things all through the summer, I'm not sure about that but I've certainly struggled during the xmas-new year week. Whatever you do I suggest trying to make some reservations now.

A week isn't long to see much of NZ, and it's a shame you're just seeing North Island as I think the highlights are in the South. But with a week out from Auckland I'd be tempted to see the central North Island, trying to take in Rotorua and Taupo for the geothermal and Maori sights, Tongariro National Park for the volcanoes, across to Whakatane for a boat trip out to the White Island volcano, then heading back and filling the available time with perhaps visits to Mount Maunganui, the Hobbiton film set if that's your thing, or the Coromandel Peninsula (famous for Hot Water beach and Driving Creek Railway). Or else Waitomo Caves are within reach if you take a different route.

You could also strike out for Napier if architecture is your thing, it was rebuilt following an earthquake and happened to be right in the middle of the Art Deco period.
With such limited time I'd suggest forgetting going further north than Auckland - the main sight is Bay of Islands, very pretty and has the history of the first capital town of NZ and the Waitangi treaty house, but it's a bit too far to daytrip from Auckland.

Are hot springs your thing? I can make various recommendations if so.

Thank you for your reply and all your tips. Glad to hear that recommended places are on my 'to do' list :) After my research for the campervans I've noticed that it's definitely not the cheapest way around however thought would be a good experience overall (have never done anything like it before).

Would love to pre-book all get the best deal but it won't work for me in this instance I'm afraid as I'll be travelling the last minute. Maybe will need to settle down with the car rental or even a public transport... Thanks again for all

4. Posted by Travel Maniax (Budding Member 69 posts) 2w Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

It's super peak season so you may struggle. A quick search with Jucy shows little availability and dropoff on 2nd Jan greyed out.

I don't think campervans are a cheap option in NZ, particular since a lot of people end up paying campground fees too to get facilities. I think car hire plus motels can be as cheap.

A lot of people advise prebooking things all through the summer, I'm not sure about that but I've certainly struggled during the xmas-new year week. Whatever you do I suggest trying to make some reservations now.

A week isn't long to see much of NZ, and it's a shame you're just seeing North Island as I think the highlights are in the South. But with a week out from Auckland I'd be tempted to see the central North Island, trying to take in Rotorua and Taupo for the geothermal and Maori sights, Tongariro National Park for the volcanoes, across to Whakatane for a boat trip out to the White Island volcano, then heading back and filling the available time with perhaps visits to Mount Maunganui, the Hobbiton film set if that's your thing, or the Coromandel Peninsula (famous for Hot Water beach and Driving Creek Railway). Or else Waitomo Caves are within reach if you take a different route.

You could also strike out for Napier if architecture is your thing, it was rebuilt following an earthquake and happened to be right in the middle of the Art Deco period.
With such limited time I'd suggest forgetting going further north than Auckland - the main sight is Bay of Islands, very pretty and has the history of the first capital town of NZ and the Waitangi treaty house, but it's a bit too far to daytrip from Auckland.

Are hot springs your thing? I can make various recommendations if so.

Sorry - yes please share your recommendations about the hot springs. Few more remote areas did sound very good, however got that bit frightened about some of the reviews about car breakages and robing while visiting some places. :(

5. Posted by neurotraveler (Budding Member 17 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I no longer stay in hotels but rather use Airbnb pretty much exclusively all over the world. Almost all super positive experiences!

6. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1287 posts) 1w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting ToddP

Sorry - yes please share your recommendations about the hot springs. Few more remote areas did sound very good, however got that bit frightened about some of the reviews about car breakages and robing while visiting some places. :(

Sorry for the slow reply, I missed your last post till now.

Yeah I've read the same warnings about cars being broken into, but never actually seen anything so I don't know how real a risk it is. But I think it relates only to "wild" sites.

The wild site I know is known as "Hot & Cold", it's between Taupo and Rotorua on the Waiotapu minor loop road. It’s a roadside parking area by wooden steps on either side of the road leading down to the river. This is the confluence of a hot stream with a normal river, and you can find your ideal temperature.

My favourite hot springs are close to this. Waikite Valley is a community run place with lovely hot pools, developed but not too commercial. I think it costs $15 and there's a cafe and "hell valley" walk. Details on www.hotpools.co.nz

The salt water springs at the foot of Mount Maunganui on the Bay of Plenty are a bit more of a commercial pool but one of the nicer ones.

The pools in Rotorua are a bit of a tourist trap - high prices. I've only been in the Polynesian Spa of these, and wouldn't bother going back.

The other wild spot is Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. Do some web searching to find out the right time to go for the tides - you dig your own pool in the beach and mix hot spring water and seawater. Busy at weekends.

7. Posted by Travel Maniax (Budding Member 69 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

Thank you for such a detailed reply AndyF. Much appreciated. I shall review all and try to incorporate in to the itinerary.