Tips for hiring a camper van in New Zealand

First up – hiring a camper van is awesome and surprisingly affordable for a family of 5 to have a really amazing holiday!

However, there are some things that I wish I had of read about hiring a camper van before embarking on a journey across the South Island with our 3 children….  Hopefully some of this will give you some useful tips for hiring a camper van in New Zealand.

After the inevitable toilet stop we finally made our way out of Christchurch airport and on the shuttle headed for our Maui camper van pickup.

I had checked in earlier in the week online and printed all the information we needed so I was ready to race in, pick up our camper van and head off to the city to meet my good friend Sarah for a well deserved wine.

This is a good time to point out that organisation is not my strong point.  I’m more a big picture thinker and the finer details not only escape me – they scare the living daylights out of me.  It probably won’t surprise a lot of you given the name of this blog (Getting Lost) that I prefer to cruise along and see what happens.  So clearly for me this level of pre-organisation is only reserved for the very special occasions where I need a speedy departure.

Feeling mighty proud of my organisation skills I sauntered in with kids in tow ready to collect our keys.

An hour later I’m sitting at a table with 3 children in various stages of melt down, hot chocolate spilt over the floor and luggage strewn all over the place.

Finally we get to key time but there is some fine print in the terms and conditions that we didn’t read where it said that in the event of a roll over we wouldn’t be covered by insurance.  These things are high and let’s face it – the chances of rolling one of these is probably higher than anything else we drive.  Grumpily I pull out my credit card and decide it’s just not worth the stress.

Finally we head out to the camper van.  By this time all three kids are in complete meltdown, I am grumpy and James is looking like he might just drive off without us all but I’m excited to see my new Maui camper.  So I’m a little surprised when they lead us up to a Kea camper….  Apparently all the same company but in my head I had made a decision for Maui over Kea so I felt quite disappointed.

The purpose of this blog is not to complain about companies, but I do feel that if I had of done a bit more research and read a few more blogs before our trip then I wouldn’t have felt so disappointed initially – I hope it does the same for you.

Overall Maui/Kea provide fantastic camper vans that drive brilliantly and have great on road assistance.  They answered my complaints quickly and authentically and went out of their way to help fix the situation.

There are however some things that I wish I had of read about hiring a camper van first….

  1. There will be a wait when you check out your camper van – even if you do it online.  Allow for 2 hours from when you arrive at the airport and plan entertainment for the kids.
  2. Maui and Kea – same company.
  3. For peace of mind, expect an extra charge for roll over insurance
  4. There are some roads that are excluded – like the road from Queenstown to Cardrona – if you are planning on going over there you will need to take an alternate route (we did – it’s not bad at all, just longer)
  5. The TV is not able to be viewed from the seats down low – only the cabin up high – this really helps with bedding expectations
  6. For Kea (not Maui) the rear bed is cut on an angle so while it is a double at one end it is a lot narrower at the other and has cushions that separate instead of a mattress – again, helpful to set expectations with where little ones are sleeping.

Grumbles over we are on the road.  The music is blasting and we are singing at the top of our lungs, waving madly at every camper van that goes past and James is asking if we can download that song about the King of the Road.

How we rated it….

Sophia (6 years old) rates it 6/10

Krystal (8 years old) rates it 9/10

Bella (9 years old) rates it 7/10

James rates it 8/10

Cat rates it 7/10

 

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