There’s no doubt that the best way to explore New Zealand is by going on a campervan road trip. One of the greatest selling points of campervanning is that you get to visit places that are located off the beaten paths, from rugged coastlines to geothermal sites and remote villages. Campervans also come with unrivaled privacy, the kind you don’t get when you tour the country on a bus or cab.
But is a campervan the ideal way to explore the Island state for you? The following question will help you answer this question.
- How long do you intend to stay in New Zealand? – If you’re visiting for a couple of months, you’ll want to explore as many exquisite travel destinations in the country as you can. A campervan enables you to travel to numerous destinations in a self-contained environment. In essence, the van doubles up as your hotel room.
- How flexible is your travel itinerary? – Are your road trips limited to major highways and busy cities? They shouldn’t be. Most of New Zealand’s hidden gems are located in the far-flung outposts of the country, making them almost exclusively accessible by campervans.
- How much money have you allocated for transport? – Traveling around New Zealand by taxis is cost-inhibitive. Public buses may be a bit affordable. But unfortunately, they don’t follow the less-traveled paths and instead, stick to major highways.
- How big is your budget? – No matter how big your budget is, you’d still wish to save a few extra bucks. If you can find a great self-contained campervan, you’d already have taken care of accommodation expenses.
Now, while there’s a consensus on how to road-trip New Zealand, travelers are usually torn between buying and renting a campervan. And perhaps you’re planning a trip to New Zealand and you are presently grappling with this dilemma. In the following section, we will outline the benefits of hiring a campervan for your trips around New Zealand over buying one.
- Recommended for Limited Time Travelers
This is perhaps the most outstanding benefit of renting a campervan as opposed to buying one. If you’re visiting New Zealand for a short period (usually less than a year), buying a campervan may be an unsound decision,economically-speaking.
It’s generally easy to locate companies that offer campervan rental in New Zealand, thanks to the country’s cultural acceptance of van dwelling. And being one of the most competitive campervan industries in the world, campervan rental prices in New Zealand tend to be remarkably low. You can hire a campervan for as little as $200 per week, while the cost of buying a new van may be up to 100 times higher.
Also, it’s far easier to make arrangements with a rental company before arriving in the country. On the contrary, you would need to follow long and bureaucratic channels to buy your own campervan, by which time you might be nearing the end of your stay in the country.
- Renting Can Be Very Affordable Depending On the Season
The cost of renting a campervan in New Zealand varies significantly depending on the season. Logically, the peak season of December to February are characterized by relatively high rental prices compared to the shoulder and off-seasons.
But does that mean you must visit during the winter months to enjoy discounted rates? Not necessarily.
Around October, when the weather starts to warm up, you’ll find lots of campervan rental companies that still charge half as much as they do during the peak seasons. You can take advantage of these incredible deals to road-trip New Zealand even if you are on a budget.
Another thing worth noting is that campervans are particularly popular among travelers. So, when the campervan rental costs rise during the high seasons, their purchase prices also rise, usually exponentially.
- Higher Reliability
Now, this may sound counterintuitive. How can a campervan that has possibly been on the road for years be more reliable than a brand new van?
As we already mentioned, campervan rental companies in New Zealand are always trying to outdo each other. One of the strategies most of these companies implement is giving their vans regular mechanical check-ups.
Indeed, having a campervan break down in the middle of nowhere might get the renter to post negative feedback about the rental company. And in such a competitive marketplace, no one wants to deal with publicity nightmares.
Therefore, no matter how many years a campervan has been in use, you’ll likely find it to be roadworthy and well-maintained. And in the unlikely event that the van breaks down during your road trips, most companies will offer to pay for the repair cost.
So, you can see why a campervan rental company will be willing to pull all the stops to ensure all the vans in their fleet are mechanically sound.
- No Associated Inspection Costs
We already highlighted how long and arduous the process of buying a new campervan can be. But that’s not everything that makes this option less attractive.
The chances are that when looking for a campervan, you may also consider used vans in your quest to save money. While buying a used campervan is still costlier than renting one, it’s more affordable compared to purchasing a brand new van. But that’s just how it looks at a fast glance.
If the campervan wasn’t in great condition, as is often the case, you’ll incur additional expenses getting the van inspected for faults and roadworthiness. And that’s only half the problem. Buying a self-contained campervan, used or brand new, also requires a rigorous inspection of its electrical and self-containment status. Not only should the systems be functional, but they should also be NZS-5465-2001 standard certified.
Some of the things the van must have before getting certified include:
- A sink
- A freshwater tank
- A grey/black wastewater tank
- Sealable refuse container
- Evacuation hose
- A toilet
If you’re buying second-hand campervans, you want to make sure all these units are present. And if purchasing a brand-new van, you would need to ensure the installed units meet the minimum quality standards. But with hiring a campervan, all you need is the proof of license to operate from the renting company. That way, you can rest assured that all the installations within the van have been duly checked for quality and safety.
Evidently, renting a campervan in New Zealand comes with more perks than buying one. You may be tempted to purchase a second-hand van with the hope of saving a few extra bucks. But considering the costs of inspection, test drives, and repairs, it may all be a false economy in the long run.