Motorhome Hire

Old Mar 29th 2016, 7:36 am
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Default Motorhome Hire

We are planning a trip next year flying into Auckland and hire a motorhome at the airport, can anyone recommend any companies as we want a good size 4 berth newish vehicle and when the best time of year would be for the best weather. We are hoping to use the opportunity to carry out a lot of research for our move over in 3 years.
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 7:50 am
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Personally wouldn't recommend that you rock up at the airport after 24hrs (plus) of flying and pick up a camper - I would recommend at the very least an overnight kip at Novotel or somewhere near the airport before you head out onto the roads here.

There are lots to choose from to suit varying budgets - if you're heading to the south Island you should look at the small print regarding ability to take it on the inter-island ferries . Some you have to drop off and pick up a new one at t'other side. Best times I would chose are early Autumm (March) or later in spring (November) weather will be a bit mixed but not too hot for driving and not too cold for camping.
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 7:58 am
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Avoid wicked campers


Most likely they wont be around much longer


If you google motorhomes you will see quite a few are just off the immediate airport. But best budget for a good nights sleep before driving as poster suggests above.


Its best to attempt the drive as fresh as possible
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 8:16 am
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Originally Posted by tinalouie View Post
We are planning a trip next year flying into Auckland and hire a motorhome at the airport, can anyone recommend any companies as we want a good size 4 berth newish vehicle and when the best time of year would be for the best weather. We are hoping to use the opportunity to carry out a lot of research for our move over in 3 years.
We only ever rented cars preferring to stay with family/friends/motels whilst visiting NZ, but I think you can get a good deal if you search for 'relocation deals' i.e. you bring the car/motorhome back to base. This might not suit your timeframe/itinerary though.
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 11:47 am
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Thanks for the valuable replies, I never thought about the tired issue or the ferry.
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 12:06 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Campers are more flexible, but in our limited experience they are not cheaper than renting a car and staying in motel style accommodation.

We originally did the sums back in the '80s, and the cost of a hire car + cabin was about the same as a a camper plus site fees. This doesn't seem to have changed.

If you plan to mainly "wild camp" - that is, not stay on recognised camp sites - you can save the site fees, but that depends if you want to rely on the shower and toilet in the camper or if you would be happier with a site with full facilities.

Have you previous experience with camping and motor homes? This can make a big difference (both ways). If you already know the pros and cons it makes the decision easier. If you have never done it then it makes it more of an adventure.

One thing - a "good size 4 berth newish vehicle" may be quite large, and may restrict your access to towns and some car parking (almost anywhere) if you are at all nervous of the vehicle size.

We haven't rented a camper recently. For car rental I can recommend Rent-a-Dent who have given us great service and cheap rentals.

For either a camper or car rental it could save you money to take out insurance to cover the hire insurance excess before you go. Rental charges often look reasonable until you look at the Ts&Cs around insurance. You can normally get cover at a fraction of the price from a third party insurer.

A lot may depend on how far reaching your intended research is. If you are mainly visiting major cities such as Wellington and Christchurch a car is more sensible. If you want to get the full NZ experience including all the "out of the way" places a camper could be a good choice.

Whichever you go for, watch out for exclusions about unsurfaced roads - a lot of the roads in NZ are classed as "gravel" although they seem to be mainly made from road stone (quarry chippings) but some hire firms don't want you to use these because of the greater risk of damage (especially to windscreens and tyres).

If you go for excess insurance bought before you travel, best to check this. UK "unmade roads" tend to be cart tracks full of potholes. In NZ (if I understand it correctly) "unmade" is equivalent to a "private road" which is not maintained by the highway authority. You usually see a sign saying that the road is not maintained beyond this point. "Made" roads can be either tarmac or gravel. A lot of rural housing is on gravel roads.

P.S. the weather is good from November to March for camping. If you value a bit of peace and quiet then avoid Christmas and the New Year because everywhere seems to be rammed with drunken Hoons. [You may detect signs of a bad experience.] The weather tends to be nicer after the New Year - much as in the UK the later summer and early autumn benefit from everywhere gradually warming up over time. An added bonus is that the weather is starting to look up a bit when you return :-)

Last edited by LittleGreyCat; Mar 29th 2016 at 12:11 pm. Reason: P.S.
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 12:08 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Originally Posted by KOH2 View Post
We only ever rented cars preferring to stay with family/friends/motels whilst visiting NZ, but I think you can get a good deal if you search for 'relocation deals' i.e. you bring the car/motorhome back to base. This might not suit your timeframe/itinerary though.
Most people doing N & S Islands seem to fly into Auckland and fly out of Christchurch.

The "relocation" deals used to be more favourable going in the opposite direction.
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 12:14 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Originally Posted by LittleGreyCat View Post
Most people doing N & S Islands seem to fly into Auckland and fly out of Christchurch.

The "relocation" deals used to be more favourable going in the opposite direction.
That's why I included the bit about itinerary

On our last trip we flew in to Christchurch & left from Auckland which is why we were able to take advantage of such a deal (hubby planned accordingly).
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 12:29 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Thanks for your replies, great idea to insure against the excess ! never thought of that ... I think we will just go full circle of the North Island as the weather is warmer there I believe with particular interest spent in the Bay of Plenty as Im drawn to this area at the moment, but may change when I tour round. Obviously work is the main issue, Im a qualified management accountant and only travel 10 mins to work in the UK so would love to find the same over there, perhaps Tauranga area would be good for work? So much to see and discover, I cant wait! Think I will book for end of January 2017 as this is a grim month in the UK :-( ... once again thanks for your advise .. much appreciated!
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 12:52 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Is it possible to drive round the north island in two week with a mix of wild camping and site camping ?
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 2:01 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Originally Posted by tinalouie View Post
Is it possible to drive round the north island in two week with a mix of wild camping and site camping ?
Anything is possible

It depends on how hardcore you want to be.

A quick measure up with Google Maps shows that the distance down the centre of the North Island is almost exactly the same as the distance down the centre of the UK from northernmost Scotland to the south coast in England.

Granted that the UK is a bit "fatter" than NZ, to get some perspective ask yourself if you think you would enjoy driving round England and Scotland in two weeks taking in East and West coasts and also having a good old shufti down the middle.

IMHO if you try to do the whole island from Wellington to Cap Reinga and all the bits in between both coast and central plain in two weeks then all you will end up with is an abiding hatred of NZ roads.

Three weeks is a more realistic time scale to fully explore NI and even then you are likely to spend more time travelling than experiencing the locations.
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 6:19 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

mmm yes your right ... thats put it in perspective .. thank you ... I want to feel like ive had a holiday as well as done my research. So I think Auckland needs to be explored and then travel along the top northern coast as far as the bay of plenty and then perhaps cut across land from there to see the coast on the other side on the way back to Auckland, so basically making the circle a lot smaller and enjoyable. Hopefully wont come across too many bad roads that way.
Thanks for your help ... I appreciate that you have taken the time to reply very much
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Originally Posted by tinalouie View Post
Is it possible to drive round the north island in two week with a mix of wild camping and site camping ?


Yes to 2 weeks


Terminology is "Freedom Camping" which is isolated to areas where suitable waste facilities are available. You used to be able to camp anywhere but this has been stopped due to waste problems.


Self contained motor homes overcome this and have ability to stay overnight in some locations other campers cannot.


Costing would be more in favor of car + Motel as other poster mentioned


Bay of Plenty has Coromandel to the north (playground of Aucklanders,)


East Cape to the south (remote and very slow roads - leave to travel when your here longer term. Great part of country but you need time to enjoy)


Waikato to the west (heart of the dairy industry, and contains a lot of wealth, but cold and damp in winter)
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 8:17 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

We did a camper van trip recently which was awesome. Toured Northland in a big circular and did over 1000 KM's over a 7 day period. A few more days would have been better so we could have spent some more time in places like the Bay Of Islands etc but hey ho we only had a week.
We drove up to Auckland and picked up a camper from Apollo near the airport around lunch time.
Unsure if you can collect early morning as I seem to remember the hire period being from lunch time on pick up day until closing time on drop off day ?
We rented very early May when the prices dropped significantly. We hired an Apollo Euro Deluxe 6 berth Mercedes motorhome which was virtually brand new. Was a fantastic deal and a great motorhome. Big, roomy, comfy and great to drive plus fairly economical. Hire cost was $250 for the week.....it's the cost of reducing the excess to as near to zero as you can and upgrading the insurance to cover the windscreen and underbody and tyres etc that costs the high $'s so after we'd added all that the total hire cost was approx $550 for the week and we had to leave either a $1000 or $250 security deposit...I've slept since so can't remember the figure we managed to reduce the excess to.

We found that if you do without going for the excess reduction you will have to provide a credit card security of at least $7500 for the motorhome in case of any damage by you or any third party. This would obviously be retained by the hirer should the vehicle be returned damaged or soiled. Our problem was we only had a limit of $5000 on our credit card so it wouldn't have covered the excess security so we had no choice but to pay the extra $xx per day to reduce this excess to I think $1000 or $250 ? You cannot reduce it to $0 with Apollo.
Having the excess covered on an independent insurance policy is a good thing to have but you will still have to provide the credit card security amount. It just means if there is damage and your security amount is retained by the hirer you have a chance of claiming the excess back on your insurance.

Apollo Motorhome Holidays Campervan Hire in New Zealand

Just some tips:
If you pick up a motorhome at say lunchtime it'll take at least an hour / hour and a half to go through all the paperwork before you get the keys. You'll then be showed around the van and the basic controls and how things work explained. It'll then be at least another hour to pack up all your stuff in it and be ready to head off on your travels. The motorhome should come filled up with water and fuel, however you'll wanna stop off at the supermarket nearby to stock up.
Use a suitable windscreen mounted GPS or sat nav to navigate instead of a map. It's good to have the map but the sat nav will keep you on the main routes and hopefully prevent you taking a wrong turn on to an unsealed country lane. Don't make the mistake of assuming the travel time quoted is anything accurate. Driving around in a motorhome takes forever. They aren't called road slugs for nothing. Max allowed speed is 90 KPH due to size/weight and one thing I found is you have to use the gears to slow yourself down when trundling down hills as the brakes aren't as good as they would be in a car due to the weight they are having to slow behind them.
There's a brilliant app called "Campermate" for your smartphone which shows you all the facilities you will need on your travels with addresses/phone numbers and indicative prices for campsites etc. It's also good to know where the dump sites are to get rid of your waste....oh that's another thing, you'll need chemical toilet tabs (one per couple days) that can be purchased at time of hire for only a couple dollars each. You need these to break down the waste and prevent the van from smelling as you only need to empty the toilet every couple or three days. All pretty easy if not a bit eeeuuuwww!!!
Our van also had a bluetooth stereo and phone connection which was useful.
Since you have 2 weeks you should be able to have a pretty good trip but don't underestimate the time it takes to travel in a motorhome. Limit your driving time per day as it's not a holiday if you are driving all the time just to cover the distance. You'll miss out on all the beautiful scenery :-)
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Old Mar 29th 2016, 10:55 pm
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Default Re: Motorhome Hire

Top Post, and agree that the phone app "Campermate" is a great resource.
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