Size : large self contained vehicle with self containment certifcate more expensive but with a toilet and water plus grey water storage on board and a right to freedom camping in areas where freedom camping is allowed .See typical signs in photographs to the right of this article .
Size : small no self containment certificate cheaper but still being allowed to use sites that have facilities such as toilets and a water supply like department of conservation sites usually with a small per night fee and where freedom camping is allowed without a certificate .The freedom camping sites where no self containment certifcate is required are not that common but they are available check for sites www.park-sleep.co.nz . At the least the site must have a public toilet that is open 24hours .
Key things to look at :
1 Number of passengers the vehicle can carry ? Seat belts one per traveller , often campervans only have two seat belts . Will all the travellers be sleeping on board or will some be camping particularly if there are more than two travellers on a roadie . What licience is required , most campervans can be driven with a normal drivers liecience but rules can change .
[ Will your hire company allow you to change vehicles between Wellington and Picton allowing you to avoid paying for the inter Island crossing fare on a long tour ].
[ IF YOU ARE ARRIVING IN NEW ZEALAND after a long international flight make sure that you have enough sleep or rest before attempting a long campervan or motorhome journey especially if you are going to be driving on the other side ofthe highway ].
2 Wether the vehicle has or has not got a self containment sticker , the sticker which allows travellers to park and sleep at freedom camping locations [ certicifcate NZS :2001.....] See photographs to right of screen .There are lots of places and districts that allow freedom camping ,but some times you will have to spend time investigating or looking at sites that give locations of sites www.park-sleep.com .
3 it can cost between $14.00 per day to $200.00 per day to hire a campervan depending on facilities . I often preferr the deal where a hire deal covering a number of days without a self containment sticker and only staying in cheap DOC ,that is Dept Conservation parks with toilet facilities , though basic they are ample and leaving the option open to stay in a hostel for a night or BNB .The larger vehicles with all the toilets and showers which have the self containment sticker a great for long trips .But come at a price . Usually the larger vehicles only have two seats with seat belts which limits the abilty to share travel costs to 50:50 as opposed to a four seater the cost can be further divided .But the advantage of the larger vehicle is that you can freedom camp where it is legal to do so .See www.park-sleep.co.nz . Larger vehicles can be difficult to move about particularly when on a undeveloped site set a side for free camping , so designate a wing man or woman to stay within mirror range yet guide the driver when reversing or driving where there are trees . Never move if you cannot see your wing man .
4 Then there is the question of petrol or deisel , on short trips I prefer deisel because the road user charges become a big factor in the total travel cost of the trip [deisil mileage is charged per kilometer travelled and is payable or rembursed to the hire company at the completion of the trip. Usually about $55.00 NZD , on top of the deisel cost between Wellington and Auckland on a direct trip for a larger vehicle .I prefer petrol it is a one off cost for fuel .Also consider this , sometimes it is cheaper to hire a van for a slightly longer period and returning it earlier because the day rate can drop dramtically on longer hires . Hiring campervans is usually cheaper than owning a a campervan or motorhome if you only need one occaisionally ,so pick the right size , right fuel and sticker to suit the number of travellers .
5. I often come across campervan travellers booked into a motel or hostel overnight paying an extra $60.00 or $89.00 plus a night , for a nice bed a shower or just to be normal after a long trip .Often campervan travellers do not consider this option , it is a nice break .
6 Do a check list of what is supplied in the campervan for example a stove , tv ,a set of knives forks and spoons .Always make provision for extra warm blankets or clothing when travelling in winter the bedding supplied is often not warm enough especially if the heating system is not working due to battery outage after extensive use freedom camping . Overseas campervan hire companies do not often supply everything needed .
Some companies supply every thing others do not always check the spare tyre and MAKE SURE YOU INSPECT THE UNDER NEATH CONDITION OF THE VEHICLE AND THE ROOF FOR DAMAGE DONE BY A PREVIOUS HIRER BEFORE YOU COMMENCE YOUR JOURNEY and before accepting the vehicle from the company . Often campervans are damaged underneath more often than cars because they go onto undeveloped park and sleep freedom camping places . For peace of mind insurance should be taken out .When travelling with Travel Insurance damage excess can often be claimed from the travel insurance company , but please check with your insurer first before deciding on that issue .
Three issues that attract high excess cost :
1 van roll over , tipping a van or motorhome over .
2 damaging the high van roof , for example trying to enter a low car park building .
3 a single car accident no other vehicle involved .
So check with the hirer , check the insuance details , often these extra excess charges can be covered by travel insurance , check you policy .