Car rentals south island

Jan 23rd, 2015, 01:12 PM
  #1  
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Car rentals south island

We have just arrived in Aukland for a year-long stay. Trying to plan a trip to the South Island and looking for advice on car rentals.

What companies are good? Are rentals starting in Christchurch and ending in Queenstown much more expensive than starting and ending from Christchurch?

Any advice would be great.

We were told Feb through March would be a good time to go there. Any other times? (We don't ski.)

Thanks for any tips.

Martha
martharap is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 02:30 PM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 15,662
Lucky you getting to live in NZ for a year!

We always book with APEX in NZ.

Never had a problem.

They rent both new and older cars - we prefer booking older ones as they're cheaper, and they've already gotten their initial bumps and bruises. They're well maintained.

APEX has some good deals on long term rentals. They also have relocation specials.

http://www.apexrentals.co.nz/RentalC...rs-branch.aspx
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 05:41 PM
  #3  
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Thanks Melnq8. I was hoping you would be the one to respond, as you helped me a lot several years ago with a trip to Australia.

We have already leased a car and had planned to drive the whole way, until seeing the ferry prices! Then I did a very quick search of rental cars on the South Island and they were very high too. I'll keep searching and will check APEX, which I know you have recommended in the past.

Have fun on your next trip.

Any advice on the best time to go down there, weather wise and price wise? I had thought that at the end of our stay, in November to December, would be good. But someone told us the weather would be very unsettled then. Perhaps March, when kids are back in school and before the Easter vacation?

Martha
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Jan 23rd, 2015, 06:13 PM
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Hi Martha -

February and March is a good time to go weather-wise. I'd definitely try to avoid the long Easter weekend.

Prices for accommodation will be at their peak, as Feb-March are still high season.

NZ school holidays are from April 2 - 20 this year, so I'd suggest avoiding that time frame.

I personally prefer traveling in the off season, so given the choice I'd go for late April or May, but I tend to like cooler weather. It's awfully pretty around QT, Wanaka and Cromwell in the autumn when the leaves change and the weather should still be quite nice. Accommodation prices will be lower at this time, and you can often find deals for longer stays - four nights for the price of three, that kind of thing.

Having said that, we'll be on the SI for three weeks in February this year ourselves - only the second time we've visited in high season. Our trip will be considerably more expensive than usual, but the whole idea is to get out of Perth during the hottest month of the year.

APEX offers free ferry crossing (for the car only I think). You might find it more cost effective to fly from Auckland to Christchurch - in all my trips to the SI, I've yet to take the ferry, but that's just me.

As far as I know there's no significant price difference between picking up/dropping off CHC-QT with APEX, but I'd have to plug in some dates to confirm this.

Generally speaking, long term rental charges are less than short term rental charges. By long, I mean two weeks or more. Even better for a 30 day rental.
Melnq8 is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 06:39 PM
  #5  
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We have already leased a car for the year we are here, so I was weighing the cost of the ferry versus cost of flights and car rental on the South Island. Since we are already paying for our car it will probably be more cost effective to take the ferry, even though it is expensive. In this scenario we would do the Abel Tasman and Nelson area then head down the west coast.

Where are you going for your February trip? We would also plan a three week trip.

If we were to go in late April-May do you think we would need to book ahead?

I have taken numerous notes from the New Zealand forum for your trips and advice you have generously given to others. Where do you stay in Te Anau and Queenstown (or do you not stay there?)

Thanks again for being so helpful.

Martha
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Jan 23rd, 2015, 07:01 PM
  #6  
 
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Hi again Martha -

Spouse desperately wants to visit Martinborough, home to his all time favorite Pinot Noir, so we'll fly from Perth to Auckland, then on to Wellington, where we'll collect a rental car and drive to Martinborough for three nights.

Then it's back to Wellington for four nights, then we'll fly to Queenstown, pick up a second rental car and drive to Wanaka for six nights, then back to Queenstown for seven nights.

Booking ahead shouldn't be necessary in April/May outside of school holidays.

In Te Anau we've most recently stayed at The Croft B&B, Birchwood Cottages and Amber Court Motel - I highly recommend all of them, but make sure you know what you're booking at Birchwood Cottages, as they have a wide assortment of accommodation from what I understand.

In Queenstown, we've stayed at several places as well, including Bella Vista Motel and Villa del Lago. I wasn't impressed with Bella Vista on my latest stay there, but I'd definitely stay at Villa del Lago again.

These days we prefer staying in nearby Arrowtown or Glenorchy instead of Queenstown.
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Jan 23rd, 2015, 07:50 PM
  #7  
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My husband also loves Pinot noir and wants to know exactly what your spouse's favorite is!!

Thanks for the advice.

Have a great trip.
martharap is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2015, 08:21 PM
  #8  
 
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I'm not sure of the exact vintage that stole his heart, but here it is:

http://www.martinborough-vineyard.co...ard-pinot-noir

As you like pinots, don't miss Central Otago on the SI, located near Cromwell/Bannockburn. Pinot Noir nirvana. They make some lovely dry Riesling in the region too.
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Mar 2nd, 2016, 06:38 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
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Frankly, I would look up rates with the comparison portal, then book my car directly with the car hire company. If you use a middle-man and something goes wrong, it often becomes very difficult to sort it out.
deSchenke is offline  
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