How to rent Motorhome in New Zealand

Posted on 14 August 2009

Today I have the luxury of interviewing our Motorhome expert Douglas Brown, who has 6 years of experience within the Motorhome Rental industry. Here's the interview:
  • Why of all places, rent a motorhome in New Zealand?
    New Zealand is known as a campervaning nation, it has nationwide campervan parks as well as National parks that can accomodate motorhomes. Distances are shorter to travel, as New Zealand is smaller country than its neighbour across the ditch. You can confortable tour New Zealand in 3 weeks or less. This aside from the obvious fact that New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries on earth!
  • How many people can I take with me on my New Zealand Campervan Roadtrip?
    New Zealand Campervan Suppliers cater from small 2 berth to 6 berth vehicles. If you are travelling for an extended period, it is best to get a slightly larger vehicle, eg the next berth size up. For example, if two people are travelling in a four berth motorhome, you can have your sleeping quarters and dining area permanently made up and you won't have to break it down when needed. Plus, you get extra storage area. This is especially important the longer you rent the vehicle.
  • Are there any age limits to driving a motorhome in New Zealand?
    Again, check with the terms and conditions. For many companies the mininum driver's age is 25, but some companies cater to younger drivers.
  • What are some of the hazards travelling around in New Zealand?
    If you are from the Americas, make sure you get acclimated to driving on left hand side of the road (Handy Tip: Driver should should always have the center line on their right hand side). Some roads are narrow, winding and only one lane - please exercise caution. Try to avoid driving at night and when exhausted. And of course, watch for sheep!
  • Are there places I shouldn't take my Motorhome?
    You should check with the company's terms. Places they are not commonly allow are Ninety Mile Beach in Northland, parts of Coromandel Peninsula. On the South Island they are typically not allow on Skippers Road near Queenstown and on Ball Hut Road near Mt. Cook.
  • Aside from driving on the left hand side, any other tips?
    Drive with courtesy. Use turnouts (slow vehicle lanes and 'bays') when you see that you have alot traffic behind you. Everyone behind will appreciate it! Don't forget that you are now a part of the motorhome community in New Zealand, so you can wave at passing cars and motorhomes. Also before heading off on your holiday, take a test drive with someone from the rental company to make sure that you are confortable driving the vehicle.
  • Where do I park my Motorhome at night or when I am not travelling?
    I would recommend campgrounds or parks; check to see if they can facilitate the size of your vehicle beforehand. Free camping is available in some areas, but discouraged. When free camping, use common sense. Though New Zealand is a safe place, be mindful of your surroundings, if it feels unsafe, go to a campground. Campgrounds/Parks are a great place to meet fellow camper travellers as well.
  • I've found a great Motorhome online - what should I do before booking it?
    Well first of all, I hoped you book it from! Secondly ensure that you check the terms and conditions and clarify any questions. Each company has unique policies that vary for various circumstances. Questions to ask when reviewing the terms: What happens if I get into an accident? What happens if the vehicle breaks down? What happens if return the vehicle earlier or later? What happens if my vehicle gets broken into?
  • How I can save money on booking a Motorhome?
    Book it on! Booking well in advance often ensures a lower rate. You pay for spontaneity. Check what the off season rates are and book then - these will vary per country. Booking prior to holidays (eg school holidays, public holidays like the 4th of July) can save you money. The longer you rent a campervan, the cheap the daily base rate gets - so check various periods to get discounts. Also choosing a campervan with less features will save a few dollars here and there. If you are looking to go to Australia then New Zealand (or vice versa) some companies offer great multiple hire discounts. A quick word about - they compare multiple suppliers through New Zealand and offer various locations for picking up and dropping off campervans.
  • When is the best time to go to New Zealand?November - March (summer) is a very popular time of the year but don’t be so quick to dismiss travelling new Zealand during winter; you will be greeted with spectacular views, snow capped mountains and ridiculously cheap rates! April would be my pick to tour New Zealand, the weather is sunny and warm and you’re not paying peak season rates.
  • Ok, once I've booked my Campervan - where do I go? Should I start in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch?
    Well this would really be dependent on where your flying in to, most long haul international flights will be arriving in Auckland. Short haul flights from Australia land throughout New Zealand i.e. Queenstown, Christchurch, Wellington etc Depending on how much time you have I would recommend to either fly in to Auckland or Christchurch. A popular campervan route would be to arrive in Auckland pick up your motorhome and snake your way down the country and end your holiday in Christchurch (or visa a versa

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