Motor home holidays New Zealand or Canada anyone been?

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  • Motor home holidays New Zealand or Canada anyone been?
  • xcgb
    Member

    Hi
    I am looking to do a trip to celebrate a big birthday in 2015 and quite fancy the Idea of a motorhome hire tour for just me and the missus. Just came up with Canada and NZ but never been to either but any suggestions are welcome!

    I have no idea where to start but thought I’d get any opinions/experiences off here first

    Thanks all!

    graemep
    Member

    Did a three week camper van tour of parts of North and South island NZ around Xmas time a couple of years back – it was brilliant.

    One thing I will say is go for as long as you can take off work / afford to – three weeks just wasn’t enough for us, there is too much to see and do, plus we had to do a fair amount of driving most days just to get around our planned route and visit the places we wanted to see most.

    xcgb
    Member

    Yes I had planned it as a 3 week trip in total maybe I need to add a couple of days for jetlag.

    I have never done a flight that long how did you find it?

    graemep
    Member

    We found the long flights ok, didn’t have any stopovers just stops for refuelling, we went with Emirates – only problem I had was really dry/itchy eyes during the flights. Once we got there we were excited to get going so jet lag didn’t really happen, on our return home it did though.

    Oh and if you go to NZ, try to do a jet boat ride in Queenstown and maybe an MTB uplift at skippers canyon. Also hire a bike and ride the Redwoods Forest at Rotorua on the north island ๐Ÿ™‚

    BlindMelon
    Member

    I’ve taken a motorhome in NZ and it was the best holiday ever.

    We used Kea Campers and their website is full of very useful information.

    http://nzrentals.keacampers.com/en/default.aspx

    Camper vans are good in NZ as you can park more or less anywhere without issue. It means that if you are driving by a nice lake and want to stop for the night you can.

    Its generally cheaper to travel South to North as most people got N to S so you get a discount to go the other way. I would say three weeks would be grand to have a good look round most of the main sites.

    The flights aren’t too bad and if you can fly Air NZ as they have decent leg room.

    smashit
    Member

    I’m from NZ and have worked in biking tourism both there and in the UK. My advice was that if you have less than a month then stick to one island or the other. My pick is the South (I’m a born and bred ‘mainlander’, ie from the South Island) for big scenery, wilderness hiking, biking etc. But the North is perhaps better for cultural highlights, beaches, islands and still has heaps of A-plus riding.
    If you want to ride, just buy this book and rent a bike from these guys and you’re away. You’ll be able to do 95% of the best riding using the book and getting around in a camper. Whatever you do you’ll have a great time.
    http://www.kennett.co.nz/product/classic-new-zealand-mountain-bike-rides/
    http://www.naturalhigh.co.nz/biking/mountain-bike-rentals/
    Feel free to message me for any advice!

    Premier Icon Jake25
    Subscriber

    Me and the wife did just over 3 weeks touring NZ North Island. Not a motor home though, rented a car and stayed in B&B’s and Motels.
    Honestly I think we made the right call though. Just grabbed a Tourist guide at the airport and phoned around for the next days stay. It was great. Also about half the time there were motor homes in the carpark ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I got a great deal on a Toyota Landcruiser, I booked it about 9 months before we went, is was half the price per day of even the cheapest small 3 door thing.

    xcgb
    Member

    Thanks guys!

    Missus doesn’t ride but I would do some for sure

    Thanks for the offer smashit i may well do that

    I would probably do a DIY on the organisation unless its cheaper or better to do a packaged trip?

    Royston
    Member

    I live in NZ and I’d suggest driving and staying at motels would give you better vfm or just camping (lots of very well equipped campsites). You’ll pay a premium for the van over here and you’ll pay a premium to park it up overnight at a campsite and fuel economy on a car would be way better and increases your accessibility to the more remote spots (lots of roads out in the sticks still unsealed). The road network is not like in the UK (only motorways are around the major cities) Mainly single lane carriageways with passing zones linking major towns. Drivers over here are also a consideration (not just for cyclists) but people can’t drive over here especially in bad weather and the chip seal on the roads is cheap and dangerous and slicks up terribly with the rain. Having said all that you’ll have a bloody great time over here if you have money to spend.

    xcgb
    Member

    While you’re all here what time of year would you say was best to go?

    ta

    Premier Icon sandwicheater
    Subscriber

    ๐Ÿ˜ฏ Just checked out campervan price hire!

    Spent a month with a bus tour and if we went back reckon we would hire a car and stay in B&B or hostels and just stick to the South Island.

    Premier Icon Jake25
    Subscriber

    Sorry meant to say, we were there over Christmas/New Year 2010. Easiest time for us to get a nice long holiday, plus meant great weather ๐Ÿ™‚

    graemep
    Member

    My advice was that if you have less than a month then stick to one island or the other.

    +1 if you can choose which of islands you’d prefer to visit.

    Its generally cheaper to travel South to North as most people got N to S so you get a discount to go the other way.

    Not sure if we got a discount when we did this, but found it worked well, take an internal flight down to the south island when you arrive, pick up your van and then drive your way back up north to Auckland.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Eyewateringly expensive every time I’ve looked. Similar in cost to a proper posh hotel.

    In the US I just take a tent and a car. Good weather makes it easier, and good campsites mean you spend your time hanging out in the woods around a fire outside which is rather pleasing.

    Royston
    Member

    Weather is a bit of a lottery but generally January and February are the best months i.e most sunshine, warmest temperatures, least rainfall.

    back2basics
    Member

    what @Royston said.
    In fact hire a car, and BUY cheap tent & sleeping bags if not taking them off trademe.co.nz and even a cheap stove, but most sites have cooking/kitchen area. then sell the tent on again…

    bike hire in Redwoods Rotorua, dont hire at the car park, hire in town, car park one was SHOCKING

    personally stick with south island.

    Premier Icon scandal42
    Subscriber

    I have been twice now, done a campervan tour both times, once with a mate once with the Mrs.

    Utterly spectacular way to enjoy an utterly spectacular country.

    It is expensive but well worth it if it’s a special trip. We stayed in DOC (very cheap, very basic) sites that are often in the most beautiful and remote places (Milford Sound road etc)

    I have travelled all over the world and whenever anyone asks where I would return to I always mention New Zealand.

    Enjoy it.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    It’s just as spectacular when you are driving a car, just sayin…

    brakes
    Member

    I did the South Island in three weeks and we looked into a motor home but it was a bit pricey so we hired a car that came with a load of camping gear including tent, stove, pots, pans cutlery, etc.
    In the end we just stayed in a mix of motels, hotels and hostels but we always had the option of camping and we used the stove plenty whilst out on the road to cook eggs or make a brew.
    We saw lots of campervans and they were bloody slow!
    mostly saw them in the rear view mirror as I steamed past. several times I tried to make the wife sick on the winding roads – the roads are awesome fun in car and I imagine pretty frustrating in a campervan.

    mrmo
    Member

    done it twice, first time trying to do most of nz in three weeks, fun BUT!!!!!

    second time spent a week on north island just driving around.

    Depends on what you want as to which is the better island, both have there own charms, north is far more populated than south. North is warmer. Coromandel is nice, as is the area south of Taupo, Rotorua, is interesting, if only for shopping in pak n save. If you want to see the thermal mud pools, you can pay and go to one of the “theme parks” or go to a park in town for free. the views in Kaikoura is IMO incredible, but I preferred the dolphins in the Bay of Islands to the whales? If you want to see Kauri trees then you have to go north, which means you loose time going south.

    Basically you won’t have enough time, to do half of what you would like. So think of what you want or just see what happens.

    Word of warning do NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE SUN!!!!!!!!!!
    first time I went out there I walked from where I was staying to mission bay, about 30mins each way. For the following three weeks my legs were weeping, skin peeling off! It was mid teens, late afternoon, cloudy and early January.

    Premier Icon scandal42
    Subscriber

    Each to their own molgrips but my preference if costs allowed would always be for a van.

    There is something special about being able to pull into a remote beach / mountain side road and enjoy a brew / cook lunch with the amazing veiw all around.

    I have done both ways but the freedom of a van (not the **** off huge things) can’t be beaten Imo.

    Premier Icon thetallpaul
    Subscriber

    We were glad that we hired a car and stopped in motels/hostels. We got to meet so many more interesting people than we would have in a camper van.
    We used Omega cars for car hire and they were great.

    The tourist info offices (iSites they were called) were excellent for booking accommodation a couple of days in advance. Their local knowledge paid off again and again as we stopped in some spectacular places and did some amazing things.

    We took 6 weeks to travel both islands, and could have filled double that easily. NewZealand.com is a great resource for preplanning the trip.

    From the comments above, can you tell that people like NZ? ๐Ÿ˜›

    wrecker
    Member

    Mrs W and I did a month trip around some of BC, Canada.
    Started in Vancouver, then went to Van Island (Tofino, Victoria) then onto squamish, up to Whistler then onto Kelowna and Nelson before making the drive back. We stopped in a few smaller places during the drive.
    Best holiday I’ve ever had (took the bike). I’d probably give Kelowna a miss next time, but the rest of the places were great. The campsites are amazing; each lot has so much space and normally full hook ups.

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    Each to their own molgrips but my preference if costs allowed would always be for a van.

    Mm yeah but the difference in cost for the 3 weeks I was looking at was the equivalent of a whole new bike!

    xcgb
    Member

    Mouth is watering! i wanna do it all!

    Premier Icon scandal42
    Subscriber

    Oh and before anyone says it, I’m not saying hiring a car won’t give you the trip of a lifetime, as others have said, a car has it’s advantages.

    Whatever you do I’m sure it will be brilliant.

    Premier Icon scandal42
    Subscriber

    Fair point Mol ๐Ÿ˜€

    smashit
    Member

    Yep, can be pricey! If you look outside the box there are a few other options such as these…
    http://www.spaceshipsrentals.co.nz/
    http://www.wickedcampers.co.nz
    http://www.jucy.co.nz/vehicles/jucy-condo.aspx

    A proper big camper will limit your access to some spots and aren’t very fun to drive, but a small van or a car-style camper gives you tons of flexibility!

    mrmonkfinger
    Member

    I’d love to go back to NZ. Seems unlikely now though.

    Been twice, did it slightly differently each time.

    My advice:

    Vans are overrated – hire a car, stay at motels – they’re cheap, you meet other travellers in the communal bits, you’ll have pots of cash in change compared to hiring a van, and that cash can go towards making the holiday longer.

    3 weeks, I could have spent three or four times as long there and still not got to everything. Pick an island, in fact just pick an area or two from each island, the country is big and what you don’t want to do is spend all your time driving.

    Loads of good places to visit, too many to mention here. But someone already mentioned Kaikoura. Kaikoura was bloody ace, some of my best holiday memories are from there. If you visit it, go climb Mt Fyffe. Its a mile high and right next to the sea – awesome. Plus you can go swimming with dolphins in the bay, which is (1) freezing and (2) brilliant.

    Mrsmonkfinger stayed there for five months, the lucky so-and-so.

    wrecker
    Member

    We stayed here in Vancouver;
    http://www.willows.ca/

    They also have a privately owned RV which we hired. Lovely people.

    xcgb
    Member

    Smashit

    Yes that’s exactly the kind of thing, not a large Winnebago!

    We are used to camping so small is fine.

    Thanks again

    xcgb
    Member

    mrmonkfinger
    Thanks will look into that too!

    wrecker
    Cheers ditto!

    Premier Icon NZCol
    Subscriber

    Campervans are quite expensive high season and there are now limitations on freedom camping in a lot of places due to dirty camper users sh1tting all over the place. Saying that if you get a self contained one then you have no issues with that. DOC campsites are very useful esp. the off the beaten track ones, examples are Onamalutu near Blenheim – cracking big site with a great river, bogs and sinks etc. I stay there often and barely see anyone.
    3 weeks i would stick to one island – just pick one. South would be my preference. Depending on what you like i would say Nelson is lovely, golden bay is spectacular, Mt Arthur etc, West Coast if you get the weather is awesome, ChCh is great in a recovering way, Kaikoura for whales, dolphins and all that jazz, Tekepo, Mt Cook and staying there is stunning when it is clear, Wanaka obviously, Queenstown for action but its massively spolied now, go round to Mavora Lakes and camp there, fly in and out of Te Anau for Milford Sound – quicker, epic and avoids monster bus ride, blah blah blah.
    As someone said watch the sun – the UV is mental – 10 minutes and you will be cooked without good sunscreen even when overcast. Enjoy it and have fun, lovely place to be and look out for our blue VW California in the S Island in January as we will be tripping around. There is only one blue cali in NZ ๐Ÿ˜‰

    xcgb
    Member

    Cheers Col good info!

    Premier Icon woody74
    Subscriber

    About 5 years back we did 3 weeks in NZ North island around April time. Camper van hire was cheap as chips with Maui so we went for a massive 6 birth van. We both absolutely loved it and camper sites were super cheap as well. We miked it up with staying in a couple of nice hotels at the start and finish of the holiday as I think it was only about ยฃ45 a day for Camper van hire. If you do go to NZ then you must hire one of the GPS tour guides devices. They totally make the holiday as they tell you all about the history and culture as you drive as well as pointing out what is around you.

    Driving in NZ is really easy as the roads are just so quiet

    Premier Icon ransos
    Subscriber

    We spent a month going round NZ in this:

    South Island:
    Christchurch – Oamaru – Dunedin – Te Anau – Queenstown – Wanaka – Fox/ Franz Josef glaciers – Kaikora – Blenheim

    North Island:
    Wellington – Tongariro – Taupo – Rotorua – Auckland – Whangarei – Bay of Islands.

    Marin
    Member

    Did 12 weeks in NZ couple of years ago my third trip out. Bought a car on first day there for about 600, sold it on last day for about 400. If I had 3 weeks I’d stick to the South Island. Golden Bay is lovely and quiet and NZ campsites are generally pretty good and lots have little cabins to rent if you get fed up of tenting. However I’d stick to a camper van for 3 weeks.

    neilco
    Member

    Did four weeks on west coast US, with Vancouver and Victoria Island at the midpoint. Can tell you more but sounds like NZ is more appropriate for you.

    xcgb
    Member

    Cheers guys need to do some research now!

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