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Hiring a Campervan in NZ? What You Need to Know Before You Go

Four wheels, wide open country and a landscape bristling with beauty – New Zealand by campervan is arguably one of the premier vacation options for anyone looking to blend a great adventure with a budget friendly alternative to international travel.

Campervan hire in New Zealand is a relatively straightforward and hassle free process, but there are a number of important factors to take into consideration. It’s always a smart move to get the technicalities out of the way first so that the remainder your trip is fun-filled and headache free.

Also, being greeted with a litany of unexpected costs when you hand in your keys is no way to round off the trip of a lifetime. So, without further ado let’s delve into all the need to knows when renting a campervan in New Zealand.

Everything you need to know about renting a Campervan in New Zealand. Photo CC thedailyenglishshow

Everything you need to know about renting a Campervan in New Zealand. Photo CC via Flickr

Book Ahead of the Season

Peak season in NZ is from December through to February, and if you are planning a trip during this time bracket you would be well advised to book ahead of time. Campervans are in huge demand throughout the year, however the peak summer season is especially busy for the rental agencies – most of whom have their entire fleets booked up for the season.

Whilst you can get away with a minimum booking period of 5 days during the off season -May to September – most rental agencies will require you to rent your van for at least a 10 day period during peak times.

Booking ahead of the season also allows you to shop around online and find the best deals and rates.

Don’t Skimp on the Insurance

Apart from creating more logistical legwork for yourself, skimping on your insurance could come back to bite you if something goes awry and you need to claim on it. Most full coverage insurance packages will set you back between $15NZD and $40NZD per day and are well worth the peace of mind knowing that if something happens – an accident or break in – you will be covered.

It’s also a good idea to go through your credit card or travel insurance contract with a fine toothed comb to ensure that your card or insurance package does in fact cover motorhomes. Many travellers who take out travel insurance assume that their premium will cover motorhomes when in fact it only covers a standard rental car.

Familiarize Yourself with Your Wonder Wagon

Whilst you will be given a detailed demonstration on how to operate your campervan when you go to pick it up, it always help to study up a bit beforehand to get a grasp on the equipment and controls you will be using.

Also, keep in mind that you will be driving on the left hand side of the road in New Zealand. Your chances of causing a serious or fatal accident is double as likely if you are from a country that drives on the right hand side of the road – so never be complacent and always drive within the speed limit.

New Zealand drives on the left. Photo CC by KelvynSkee.

Free Camping as an Option?

New Zealand is an extremely environmentally conscientious country. Free camping, which used to be fairly wide spread is now being clamped down on due to the negative environmental impact it causes as well as siphoning business away from local accommodation providers in the area.

In order to free camp you will need to rent a campervan that has its own toilet and waste retention capability. Most motor camps will have dump sites where your waste can be emptied, sometimes for free and other times at a small charge. Do not dump your waste, including grey water waste (shower and sink water) into rivers, streams or simply onto the ground. The fines are steep for this.

Most campsites and motor camps are well equipped and provide clean, well-maintained ablution, laundry and cooking facilities. So, unless you are looking to spend some time in the more remote reaches of NZ then you will be fine in a regular campervan that does not include its own toilet and shower.

Familiarize yourself with your vehicle. Photo CC by via Flickr

 Pick up and Drop Off

The most common pick up and drop off locations are in Auckland and Christchurch – close to the airports for ease of commute. Many of the rental agencies also operate a shuttle service so you can fly straight in, pick up your campervan and be on your way.

Just remember that when you campervan New Zealand you are expected to return the campervan in the same condition you received it; toilet empty and fuel tank topped up.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

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