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Best way to travel NZ in winter?

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Best way to travel NZ in winter?

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1. Posted by corinne244 (Budding Member 54 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi, My boyf and I will be travelling NZ in May after travelling Oz since Sept.
We are not quite sure how we wanna travel ? bus ? campervan or hire car and stay in hostels. We will only be there for 5 wks so no point buying a car.
Will it be too cold to stay in a small campervan like Wicked Campers. We went with them in oz and had a fab time but would it be as good in NZ?
I have heard of cheap buses- and we do need cheap, but will we miss out?
Any advise appreciated.
Thanks Corinne

2. Posted by corinne244 (Budding Member 54 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Has anyone got any idea- or does no one travel in winter!

3. Posted by emma1979 (Full Member 126 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi Corinne,

You might want to think about buying one of the bus tour operator tickets like The Kiwi Experience. I was in NZ for about 9 months in 2005 with my boyfriend so we bought a car and stayed in hostels when travelling around - so i'm probably not the best person to give advice.

We found the buses to be quite expensive actually so maybe the tour operator will be a better deal. I think you can hop and off wherever you like and they stop at all the scenic parts of the journey so you wont miss out on anything. We were there from April to November and there were loads of people in camper vans so I don't think it will be too cold to do it this way if that's what you prefer - although the winter was very mild that year. We had to camp in a tent in Wanaka for a few nights in the middle of winter as there was no accomodation we could find and that was okay - just a wee bit cold!!!

Not sure if the tour operators do deals for 5 weeks but there are sometimes people who sell on their tickets that haven't been fully used up so this might be a bit cheaper than buying one outright.

Basically, I don't think it will be too cold to go by camper van. A lot of the camper vans there are from a company called Maui or something...sorry can't quite remember...but have a look on the internet for their prices and see what you think.

Hope this helps you! Good luck!


4. Posted by corinne244 (Budding Member 54 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the reply. Its good to hear that others do campervan around in the cold, as prob what we are gonna do.
But than again what you said about buying tickets from other people sounds very cheap but unreliable- will have to check it out. Thanks again corinne :)

5. Posted by TimOrum (Budding Member 26 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Tim here,
Just reading what you guys had to say about my homeland auckland NZ. Being an keen travler would be happy to answer you questions. Especially if your in Europe and can help me out in Europe!!

My overview of New Zealand:

-If you only like living in big citys you probally wont like living New Zealand
-Its far away from everywhere, except Aus. so dont travel there for a week or two from Europe(24hours+in the air) - it will kill you trying to see everything in a short time not to mention the jet lag.tho tacking a month onto aus. wont be to bad

-for a basic overview of New Zealand id spend 3 weeks in South Island (more views,nature) and perhaps 2 in the north (bit more to do).of course more time is allways better!
-Our public transport is bad-really bad. i.e Auckland -Wellington by car is about 8 hours,by bus is 10 hours,by train is 12 hours. not all that cheap aswell. the best way to get around is by car (not a campervan-expensive) and stay at camping grounds,B&Bs we rented a near new car in south island for 3.5 weeks for $700nz (about £250) petrol inst to bad at $1.6 litre (.60p)There is a super cheap place to rent a car near the airport if you dont mind an older car(from £6 a day!!)

-Accomadation is very reasonable from £5-£8 backpackers , £10-£15 for your own room. hotels £25+ .you shouldnt have any problems finding a place on arrival to stay unless you are traveling in the two weeks eather side of New Year,cause its summer and thats when we have our Holidays!!

-People will always be happy to help you - just ask!!

-Internal flights are OK but best booked well in advance.

-Hitching is considered safe ,unfortunatly a German girl was killed a year ago (the guy was caught and is in jail now) but dont let thet put you off, alot of long haul truck drivers love having someone to chat to!!

Its best If you can travel in Febuary - March ,most of us will be back at work and you can enjoy the sun (be warned its brutal!!) Unless of course you enjoy the snow then you should come in july to October -youll probally need to book accomadation in advance around ski fields.

Let me know if i can be of any help


6. Posted by TimOrum (Budding Member 26 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

P.S its not to cold in May , Just hope the rain stays away for ya!!

7. Posted by corinne244 (Budding Member 54 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for all that info- it has really helped

8. Posted by koalabear (Full Member 121 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hi ya, I think if you really want to do the campervan thing then you should, get get some nice snug sleeping bags and if you don't mind the cold too much then you will be fine. I know that the Magic bus do discounts at winter time, they drop there prices and i think kiwi go in competition with them, so what ever you decided have a great time. i love NZ

9. Posted by TimOrum (Budding Member 26 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Im not saying campervans are bad ,in fact they are quite fun. im just saying they are expensive. you will pay a least $80 per day for a two berth (two or three times that in summer or ski season)you generally cant just park them anywhere ,so you also pay camp site fee for site/power/sewage etc probally around $20 per night. a car can cost from $20 per day and a cheap room can cost from $25-30 per couple.

You will also be driving a car not a large van, although you are always guarented a bed with the camper.(Not that this will be a problem in May)

As with everything though booking early will be cheaper what ever you chose to do!

10. Posted by pollyali (Budding Member 26 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I dont know where the figures for campervans came from. We rented a EZY campervan in Oct (which was counted as off season) and we paid around $45 a day (for seven weeks) this included insurance and ferry crossings from south to north. Our Swedish chums hired a spaceship around the same time and paid even less than us. Granted, the weather in NZ gets very cold and some nights we shivered ourselves to sleep but it was worth it. We will say one thing.. it was pretty lonely, we didnt meet many people and by the end of it, we were desperate for company of any kind. So i guess the buses would have been a better idea, but then you dont get the freedom to do what you want. To sum up (sounds like an essay!) rent a van... cheap and an easy way to see the country.