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Experience with one way car rentals and mid-range hotels in New Zealand

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Hello,

I've really enjoyed reading through the forums as my partner and I plan our NZ itinerary for next October. I did a backpackers trip of NI/SI using InterCity bus transportation almost twenty years ago after university and can't believe it's taking me this long to get back to one of my favorite places on the planet!

Two questions?
1) There appear to be a number of discount car rental agencies that allow for one way rentals between Auckland and Christchurch. Does anyone have any recent experience with any of the following: Apex, Jucy, Ezirent? I generally use Avis or Europcar so wondering if there is any benefit of using the discount providers other than cost?

2) Any good recommendations on mid-range hotels in the major tourist locations? I've been looking at Millennium/Copthorne/Rydges along with using airbnb is some locales.

Cheers!

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