Ask Chris: Renting a Campervan, New Zealand

by Chris on February 2, 2012

Ask Chris: More details on planning a campervan trip to New Zealand.

Question: My husband and I are taking your advice—we’re going to campervan through New Zealand!  We’re flying in and out of Auckland, and we’ll have 10 days total.  Your blog post was very helpful, but I have a few additional questions. 

  • Do you recommend your campervan company?
  • How did you know where to go?  Did the campervan company provide a concierge or planning service?  Is it easy to find the national campervan parks?
  • How did you book your excursions?  Which excursions/activities would you recommend doing?
  • Which places/towns/sites do you recommend visiting?
  • We are planning to only tour though the north island, since we don’t have too many days.  Do you think this is a mistake?
  • What supplies do you recommend we bring?  Is there anything you wish you brought with you?  What can/should we buy for the campervan once we are there?
  • What problems did you run into, if any?
  • Did you feel safe?
  • What did you do about music?  Did you hook up your iPod to the car stereo—did they provide an adapter, or did they at least have an input for one?  (this question is from my husband!)  
Campervan, New Zealand

Answer: This reader had lots of questions, but I’m still hooked on the part where she took my advice. I’m glad! Every traveler looking for something different should consider renting a campervan in New Zealand. It’s a great – and affordable – way to see that particular country.
If anyone else is considering the experience, here are my answers to her questions:
I did like my camper van company. We used Maui. We loved our vehicle, the Ultima campervan. We had  plenty of room, and that’s saying something when you have a husband as tall as mine. .

We had a list of holiday parks that we could use (this trip was partially sponsored by the New Zealand Holiday Parks Association). We found that Top 10 Holiday Parks were nicer and had more amenities than other parks (we had wi-fi most nights). Use their website to research and pre-book your stays.

We traveled on the South Island, so I can’t speak to the North Island. We did stay in Rotoroa one night and I’d recommend that if you are staying up there. There are hot springs, mud pots and it’s the center of Maori culture.

The South Island has the ridiculous scenery but the North Island is nice too. Hawkes Bay is a major wine region, you can tour Hobbiton if you’re Lord of the Rings fan, also go to Mt, Doom. Wellington is ok….not sure if I’d go out of my way for it. Auckland looked more exciting.

We didn’t bring or buy anything for the camper van other than groceries and wine. We really had no problems with the vehicle. My husband Don drove because I didn’t feel like learning how to deal with driving on the opposite side of the road. We felt ridiculously safe.

For music, we brough a lighter adaptor that we could plug in. It has USB ports for our devices. We didn’t really listen to music, just spent time marveling at scenery.

Don’t get more camper than you need. We were fine in our two-person van. Our friends who took the bigger vehicle thought it was too big.

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

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