Camper Vans

Dec 22nd, 2003, 04:51 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5
Camper Vans

We're planning a trip to the South Island in March for 10 days. We are considering renting a camper van. My main concern is the shower how well do they work? Does anyone have any suggestions of companies and holiday parks to stay at.
SSJ is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2004, 02:23 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 29
Do you really need a camper van?
They are pretty slow on the windy NZ roads and could be more of a burden especially with a limited holiday time.
We felt rushed 3wks in the South Island.
Have you considered a car and staying in motels or in cabins on camp sites. Not sure of the price differences but may be cheaper and quicker option.
We found the NZ Top Ten Holiday Campsites (found in most popular places) to be excellent. Kitchen, shower and toilet facilities excellent, clean and well maintained.
If you don't like tents (NZ$24 for a site) - most campsites have cabins (NZ$50) which have double bed and own kitchen facilities. You just need bedding for the cabin and then use the ablution blocks set up for all camping guests.
With a car you could also have the option of staying in motels which again seemed fairly cheap.
Also, you may feel a bit wary on some of the more winding roads with a big campervan though lots do it so it is safe.
Happy to answer any other questions you may have.
Have a fantastic trip
blueskies is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2004, 10:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
We hired a small van-sized campervan, which was much handier on the narrow S Island roads. It was comfortable for sleeping, but it had no shower or toilet. This was not a problem for us, as we stayed most evenings in a holiday park, where we could plug in, use the communal dining facilities, and the ablution block (toilets & showers). I think that this represents a good compromise between camping, a big motor home, driving a car to stay in hotels or tourist flats.

There are many holiday parks, pretty much at least one in every town. We did not find huge differences between them. Another fun thing to do is park your campervan at a B&B - many of them will accomodate you, let you plug in, use their facilities, and give you breakfast.

There are also plenty of campervan hire companies. The biggest are Maui, Britz, and Apollo. We have had good luck with United and Tui. Here's a list:
ALF is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 11:33 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5

We were planning to get a small 2 person campervan with a shower. The reason why we are thinking about a camper van is the convenience of it. We don't have to worry about making reservations at motels or B& B's. Are the roads really that difficut to manuever.

Thanks for your help.
SSJ is offline  
Jan 8th, 2004, 07:47 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,521
The roads tend to be narrow - narrower than the typical US 2-lane country road. Also, many of the bridges are narrower still, which can make it quite dicey to drive a wide vehicle like a motor home. The only really twisty tight road that I can think of is the route from Greymouth to Arthur's Pass. There are some hairpin switchbacks that long or wide vehicles can barely handle.
ALF is offline  
Jan 9th, 2004, 11:17 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 77

We hired a fullsize motorhome and toured the South of the South Island for 14 days in September - and we LOVED it (the motorhome experience). I can't rave about it enough. The shower worked beautifully - although we often chose to use the camp showers for the sake of more room & saving our gas/water supply. We stayed in a few "Top 10" campgrounds, but found them to be expensive compared to others a few 100 metres down the road which were just as nice and not so busy. The Queenstown camp in particular was nothing compared with the one at the base of the gondola ride (Mountain View I think it is called).

We did not find our 6 berth motorhome "slow" given that it was a near new Mercedes with tiptronic transmission. We cruised at the speed limit of 100 kph on most roads and only needed to reduce speeds on the more windy off the beaten track roads and the Milford Road. Compared to a van we hired several years ago this one was fantastic. I think you will find this with most newer versions regardless of size.

We used Maui/Britz and would recommend them. Our friends have used United and Cruise - and they would recommend these also.

Have a great holiday!

nzers is offline  
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