Everyone asked me why I decided to rent a motorhome and how I decided which one to rent. So here’s how it happened:
CHOOSING A MOTORHOME
Figuring out what type of vehicle and the accommodations was the most stressful part of planning this trip for me. I researched cars, campervans, motorhomes, buses, ferries, campsites, hostels, b&bs, and hotels. All different combinations. On top of that I looked up diesel prices, insurance, road user charges, fuel capacity, fuel use, dump sites, powered sites, etc. etc.
In the end, I chose a motorhome for the convenience. We were planning to be in a different city everyday so we didn’t want to unpack and repack everyday to stay at a campsite/hostel/hotel. I didn’t want to be limited to where I can camp out with a campervan. I wanted flexibility. I wanted to be able to make meals. I wanted to freedom camp.
So I decided on a fully self contained motorhome. This meant we had all the conveniences of home and we could camp out almost ANYWHERE.
In terms of cost, I thought renting an RV would be cheaper since we save on accommodations and meals. But between the rental cost, insurance, diesel, occasional paid campsites, and groceries, it really added up. It was definitely worth it though. No regrets!
I proceeded to search for rentals with great reviews, were 2 berth, self contained, and had a compact design. I ended up with the Breeze 2 from Wilderness Rentals. The car was amazing. It had everything you could need while on the road. Very comfortable and clean. Plenty of storage.
It was just the right size for a couple. MAYBE a couple and one small child? There’s enough space if you want a little separation and alone time too. It was just really well designed and thought out. We received several compliments throughout our trip.
“That’s a great vehicle! Ours is shit!”
The Wilderness customer service was great too. Our RV wasn’t quite ready for pick up because the previous renter had damaged the windshield and Wilderness wanted to make sure it was safe for use before releasing it. When they heard that we needed to be in Waitomo by a certain time for a tour, they offered us their company car. When it was ready, they would drive the RV down to us and pick up the company car. Waitomo is THREE hours away so whoever got stuck with this task would have had to drive SIX HOURS. Luckily that wasn’t necessary. We got our RV and made it to our tour in time. We also had some minor issues on the road and customer service was very helpful. For example, we couldn’t hook up our ipod to listen to music because there was no auxiliary cable but Wilderness told us to purchase one at a gas station and they would reimburse us for it. And they would make follow up calls to make sure their recommendations worked.
I would DEFINITELY recommend renting with Wilderness.
Driving the RV and on the other side of the road was actually really easy to adjust to. I only drove one day during our whole trip but within 15 minutes of driving, I was already comfortable. I’d also like it to be known that that one day I drove was on the curviest road we traveled on during our whole trip. On the side of a mountain too. Yup.
KT said it was not much different from driving his Corolla. At 6 meters long, we booked the most compact RV I could find so that we would have less issues adjusting to the size when driving and parking. It also costs less to transport it on the ferry between the two islands.
Fortunately most of the RV rentals in New Zealand are European designs. These are sleeker and easier to maneuver than our boxy, bulky American RVs.
TIP: You can’t go quite as fast in the RV because of the size and weight. So keep that in mind when calculating travel times. I estimated 60 km/hour when calculating travel times and that worked out pretty well.
I read that Google Maps usually gives a shorter travel time so I rounded up to account for RV limitations, pictures, and ice cream stops. The speed limit is 100 km/hour but with all the curves and road work you probably won’t be going that fast most of the time.
RECOMMENDATION: If you DO decide to rent with Wilderness, rent their GPS. They provided a TomTom GPS that was really intuitive and had pretty accurate travel times.
So just remember to go slower on curvy mountain roads, make wider turns, and let other cars pass you. It’s also helpful if you have someone get out and direct you into parking spots. Hope that you have an exceptionally skilled navigator such as yours truly to make your driving experience easier 😉
Wilderness – Auckland location
Address: 11 Pavilion Drive, Airport Oaks, Auckland
Coordinates: -36.982583, 174.777705
Hours: 8am to 5pm
Contact: +64 9 282 3606