Campervanning in NZ Nov - Feb

Old May 4th, 2018, 12:56 AM
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Campervanning in NZ Nov - Feb

We will spend 2 months in NZ between Nov and Feb. We canít change this and know it is peak time. We are used to campervanning and like the outdoors and a some culture. We are mid 50s and can manage 10km walks. We donít particularly like sitting round on beaches, but we do dive/snorkel.
I have read different reports about whether to campervan on one island and hotel/car on the other or campervan on both.
We dont want to spend a fortune, but at our age, require a bit of comfort. We would for example wish to have a self contained campervan to have freedom in areas where it is possible to free camp.
I would appreciate input from people who have done a similar thing and a view on whether to campervan on both islands or not.
Thank you for your input
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Old May 4th, 2018, 01:31 AM
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If you like it then do it! It's your holiday after all.
Have a look for some of Crellston's trip reports and posts. He has done some big camper trips here.
Avoid party places like Queenstown, Coromandel and Whangamata at Christmas and New Year's. You'd be better off being in a city over that period rather than in a holiday spot. Auckland empties out quite nicely over the holiday period. Or Wellington would be good.
A few things to think about:
3 months is a long hire period for a camper so that will be expensive so a mix of transport could be better. And then there is the one way fee.
NZ is a long skinny country so driving all the way to the South Island from Auckland and then back will be an awful lot of driving! It would be worth it in the South Island as you can go up one coast and down the other but in the North Island it's a bit boring in the bottom half. I live here and I would never drive both ways because I would get fed up with it on the way back!
It is the peak time so book things soon.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 12:33 AM
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As Tasmangirl says we have done a number of campervan trips in NZ usually for around two months but always in the Southern Hemisphere winter/spring, variously July through to mid October. We choose these times so as to avoid the crowds and there are major bargains to be had as rental companies reduce there rates massively.

In Nov-Feb it campsites will likely be busy and you will probably need to book dates rather than just turn up as we do in winter. Campervan rentals will be expensive and many bigger companies operate dynamic pricing systems similar to airlines so it may pay to book sooner rather than later.

We have always used campervans for our entire trip taking them on the ferry accross the Cook straights. If contemplating this is worth paying to join either Top10 or Kiwi loyalty schemes as they give 10% discount on ferries which covers the $40 cost of membership and give a 10% discount on campsite fees so in two months it would more than pay for itself.

If you want to split the mentor of transport then I I think I would definitely do the South Island by camper and maybe rent a car and stay in B&Bs for the north. If you want a base for awhile then I would consider Taupo. On our trips we usually find ourselves gravitating towards that area as teh town is so convenient for a lot of sites. Tongariro is close by, Rotorua within striking distance. On our trip last year we spent around ten days in the area, circumnavigating the lake and hanging our in Taupo itself for around 5 day.

We have rented from a number of different companies, the last being https://www.wilderness.co.nz which we also found to be by far the best in terms of quality of vehicle and service. Unfortunately, they are not the cheapest. Motorhome Hire NZ - Caravans, Motorhomes & Car Rentals | Maui NZ Are the biggest provider and have a huge fleet and price there vans by age and the difference can be quite big between the new and older vans.

Self contained is definitely the way to go. It will allow you to stay not just in powered commercial campsites but also in the amazing Dept of Conservation Campsite and Approved freedom camping sites. Stay at a campsite

There are numerous apps for iPads etc. that are really useful for listing, mapping and reviewing campsites whether freedom, Doc or commercial. Wilderness have one as do Rankers. Relatively new is the CAMPABLE app which lists kiwi homeowners, farms etc that have paid sites on their properties.

Finally, now we are back in the U.K. I am trying to update our blog with the many entries and photos from our last trip. There are some entries fro a trip a couple of years ago https://accidentalnomads.com/category/new-zealand/
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Old May 5th, 2018, 03:04 AM
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Thanks. Great info. Just looking at the Wilderness website. Putting in broad criteria for two people, self contained, the Freedom 2 comes up as their recommendation. We had a VW campervan for a few years, but only for short trips. Looking at flights, we’ll go late November to end January. Did you use the Freedom 2 or do you recommend another model? Thank you
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Old May 5th, 2018, 05:04 AM
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You are very welcome. We had a Freedom 2 for a week or so and then swapped to the Cruise 2 and absolutely loved it. The layout was great and having the permanent separate bedroom was useful as I get up really early and my wife doesn’t! Nothing wrong with The Freedom 2 is just a little smaller and the bed descends from the ceiling which was a little inconvenient although unlike many two person campers you don’t have to move seats around to make up the bed. As we were there for 2 months in winter we spending more time actually inside the van. It was only towards the end of our last trip that we were using the BBQ and picnic tables.

As with most campervan rentals it is worth checking out the insurance excesses. We paid for a zero excess which adds to the cost but with wilderness comes with a lot of extras so we felt I was worth it - especially as I managed to bump into another camper van when reversing out of a site!
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Old May 5th, 2018, 10:49 AM
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Thank you. Does it make much difference to all the other costs beyond rental if we went up to the Cruise 2. The Freedom 2 fits in a car park spot, but I am not sure if this is important.
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Old May 5th, 2018, 11:20 AM
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I am pretty sure there is no additional cost other than the rental. We had no problems with parking either van, in fact we barely notice the difference driving or parking.
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