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Anyone driven round NZ in a motor home? Advice needed please

9 replies

Utka · 10/07/2004 00:37

We're planning a 6 week trip to NZ for next March / April. As we've got 2 children, who'll be 4 and 1 at that point, we thought we'd hire a motorhome - to give us and them a base, and also to cut down on accommodation costs.

Have any MNers done this and do you have any tips? Is this timescale a realistic one, bearing in mind that we don't want to be in the car too much? Ideally, we'd like to do journeys of no more than 2 hours at a time (whilst the girls sleep), and to spend a decent amount of time in each major 'area'.

Thanks!

(Thanks also to Bran / Charlie Cat for the useful info on the other NZ thread!).

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florenceuk · 10/07/2004 01:00

I've never travelled in a motorhome, but have done camping trips, mostly to particular areas of NZ. At that time of year, you will have very few problems with accommodation and finding camping room/sites. IMO six weeks is not enough to see "everything" but you can see an awful lot.

What areas are you interested in? Do you have an idea of what you want to concentrate on? Given desire not to travel too much, I wouldn't try to do everything, but pick out the areas you really want to visit, and have at least a few days in each area. Don't underestimate the distances - they are substantial, esp in the South Island. For example, between Christchurch and Dunedin is 5hrs. Also I think you will need to book the motorhome on the ferry in advance, to get it across the Cook Strait (I always used to feel sick doing this crossing!) Maybe do the Sth Island first to make sure of better weather there, as it gets colder there first. Remember NZ can suffer some appalling weather, but you can often avoid it by choosing which coast you are on, so if it is really crappy on the West Coast, you can go to the East Coast and vice versa. I think the kids would love the area round the top of the South Island (Nelson, Takaka) as it is mostly coastal and beachy, with lovely scenery, and can be very warm at that time of year. The Southern Alps are beautiful and awe-inspiring, but maybe a bit inaccessible with toddlers. I personally would spend as little time as possible in major cities - it's not what you go to NZ for!

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KangaMummy · 10/07/2004 01:40

We took our DS on a round the world trip spring 2002. He was then nearly 7 yrs. We spent 6 weeks Motorhoming around NZ it was fantastic. He loved it. It was really the minimum amount of time, we could have taken much longer. We were upgraded with motor home so we ahd a 6/7 berth one which meant we had a huge double bed at back he had the double bed over drivers cab, we still had 4 seats and dining table this made another double{}

Are you in UK? If so I would highly recommend the company we used.

Would avoid the alps as roads are very steep and windy.

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gingernut · 10/07/2004 01:49

We did a 2-week whirlwind tour of NZ in a motorhome before we had ds. Would definitely recommend the motorhome as a great way of getting around, and most of the campsites are very good. As florenceuk says, though, some fo the distances are large, and the motorhomes don't exactly zip along! For things to do, they might like the pengiuns, east side of S. Island, can't remember the name of the place.

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slug · 10/07/2004 13:03

Dunedin, where you can also see baby albatross nesting all year round.

You can shear a sheep in Rotorua, and wallow in the hot pools too. If you are in the South Island, Hamner Springs, on the Lewis Pass Road is a nice little mountain village with hot springs and not really on the tourist route.

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gingernut · 10/07/2004 14:40

The penguins were at Oamaru. The Moeraki boulders, just south of Oamaru, are also worth a visit.

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Utka · 10/07/2004 17:35

Thanks for all the ideas so far. Yes we are in the Uk, so a recommendation on the motorhome rental co. would be great!

I'd thought 6 weeks would be a really long time, but am beginning to think we should try to go for longer (we'll be between DH's jobs so it could be possible,and dd1 starts school that Sept, so it's an ideal time to go).

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KangaMummy · 10/07/2004 23:59

ADVENTURE MOTORHOMES www.adventuremotorhomes.com or 0800-614162

The motorhomes are really lovely, we picked up in Christchurch and dropped off in Auckland. We were upgraded to Mercedes geartronic 6/7 berth.

We got a personal service, they booked the interisland ferry for us.

They provide car seats, mobile phone and lots of extras.

We would love to go back again, it is really cheap way to see a country. [If you like steak it is less than ½ price]

We did freedom camping a couple of times by lakes. Campsites were all good just drive in connect up and you are sorted.

As we were on a round the world trip we had loads of luggage but the motorhome had so many cupboards etc. we didn't have any space probs.
Don't take suitcases take holdalls that can squash.

Maui motorhomes, from what other people we met at campsites said the company was too big and not personal enough for customer care.

Also Advenure had much bigger windows!!!!!

If you have any more questions I will try to answer them

Certainly if you have the time take 8 weeks!

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Piffleoffagus · 11/07/2004 00:00

best advice given was to buy one! it's cheaper!

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Utka · 12/07/2004 00:12

thanks KM and P (what great names!). I'm getting excited already. I had wondered about the car seat bit as we didn't really want to lug them all the way. We've never rented a motor home in the UK so have absolutely no idea about what features are important.

Once I've done a bit more research, may be back onto you for more advice. In the meantime, thanks!

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