New Zealand

Mar 14, 2005
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Big adventure! Off to Kiwi land next year to visit the wifes sister. She lives in the north island but we are planning to get away on our own to the south island for about ten days and are thinking of hiring a motor caravan. We have a tourer in UK and love the lifestyle and New Zealand looks ideally suited (especially the south island) so, has anybody done this and what was your experience, good or bad, and have you any tips? We have heard that "free camping" is allowed, is this true and can you just stop anywhere? Any comments greatly appreciated.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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by all means hire a motor home however a car and motel stops work out cheaper with just as much flexibility classes of motel vary so much that you can pay as much or as little as you wish most units have full cooking facilities so catering is also very easy. one tip if say you are flying into Christchurch alot of motel owners will pick you up free from the airport book your last night and they will take you back to the airport also go to a small local car hire firm alot cheaper than avis etc. enjoy it's a fabulous country
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Mike, thanks for your reply. My wife, who is less keen than me on the motor caravan idea, has also pointed out the price advantage of the car/motel option and I am finding it difficult to win the argument at the moment. I have never been to New Zealand but I am told it is a very "outdoors" country and a motor caravan seems like the ideal choice to me. There are however several problems with this idea. We are using the ferry from the north island into Picton and, while there is plenty of car hire available from the ferry terminal, there is very little motor caravan hire, and those companies that do provide this service charge a premium (of about 200 nz dollars for pickup or return). Motor caravan companies also seem to have a different charging system which works out more expensive, car hire companies define a "day" as 24 hours eg 1200hrs monday to 1200hrs tuesday = 1 day, but motor caravan companies define it as any part of a day so 1200hrs monday to 1200hrs tues = 2 days! This means you will always pay for one axtra day which is very annoying. But money isnt everything and its a long way to go so we want to get it right. I had a very good response from John Lee who lives in the south island and is an enthusiastic motor caravaner. He was very encouraging but my wife is still not convinced. One other important point, do you think we will need to book motels in advance? We arrive on the south island on 15 feb which I think is the end of the high season but we dont want to be tied to a planned itinerary. Thanks, Jim.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Although it's a long time since we went motor caravanning in New Zealand, I seem to recall that the selection of motor caravans was best in the Auckland area, as most people seem to fly in there. Consequently, the prices there were more competitive, too - easily enough to outweigh the cost of taking the motor caravan on the ferry between the North and South Island. I don't know whether that's still true today but perhaps it would be worth looking into.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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have been to nz quite a few times, wonderful place,your sister will no doubt keep you right as to where to visit, but I would definately opt for the car and motel,----there is so much to see and do, I would rather travel about in a car rather than a motorhome---in the North Island you have the Auckland and the Hauraki Gulf, Rotorua, and the Waitomo caves, and the South island, the alps, the sounds, Timaru,and Dunedin,-----you will have a wonderful time

rob
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hi Jim if you are looking at the car/motel option you could consider car/campground cabin option - basic accom usually bed only and you supply the bedding (sleeping bag) plus use communal shower/toilets. Alternatively some of the motorcamps also have motel type units. Now I recommend you use the "Top Ten" franchise camps. They are clean and they are a minimum "4 star" qual mark which I think is an international grading and they have a loyalty card which you buy for NZ$20 when arriving at the first camp you use and immediately get 10% discount at all Top Ten camps to a maximum of $20 per stay. They currently have approx 60% overseas tourist occupancy. Sounds like I work for them Huh? No I don't - just a satisfied customer that's all! And there was a newspaper article in the NZ Sunday Star-Times about them today (Sun 9th Jan) saying how well they are doing and that they are slightly upmarket but still good value.

regards

John Lee

Christchurch NZ
 

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