Before hiring a campervan, read this! [First-timer]



This could be my most "hardblogging day" throughout the year! I published 2 posts within a day XD
If you're looking for chinese version, head to this post.

This english version is written by my boyfriend who is kind enough to spend his time on this. I was asking him if this is an assignment as the post is freaking informative 😱 Here you go, 5 minutes read.

Before your booking

Campervan information that can be found online in many cases are either incomplete or scattered around the net, as such it has created much confusion during our planning and our trip in Nea Zealand. 


Our suggestion for booking a campervan for your trip would be to splurge a little and book a much premium campervan, as the van itself is where you are going to be living and travelling with for the rest of your trip in New Zealand. 

We have booked our campervan through Apollo, they are the same as StarRv and Maui. After having first hand experience with our trip, we would strongly suggest going with Wilderness NZ for renting your campervan. Even though their rate is slightly higher than the competitors but what you are getting for the premium that you paid are, a much better campervan equip with amenities that you would normally found in home, as such it would make your campervanning experience a much better one. 







Price (Campervan, Petrol and Road Usage Tax) 


Search for “Campervan New Zealand” and you would quickly be overwhelmed by the information that pops up, as such one of the website that we used to look for our campervan was Motorhome Republic, in this website you can easily look for the vehicle that suits your need, and you can even specify whether you need onboard toilet for your vehicle , what kind of heating system provided. If you are planning your trip for 2 , then your options may be limited to what kind of heating system that the vehicle may provide. We paid for +- RM 1700+ for car rental (premium insurance included).



Diesel
We have traveled a total of estimated 1500 km, and we have used around $250 NZD (RM 750) worth of diesel, that includes refueling the vehicle to full tank for the return of campervan. 

Campervan company normally require you to refuel the vehicle to a full tank before you return the vehicle, options are available for you to pre-purchase the fuel, as such you can return the vehicle with the fuel tank empty. 

Though so we wouldn’t recommend pre-paying the fuel, as you might return the vehicle with more than half a tank of diesel, this way you would be paying extra from what you might pay if you refuel yourself. 

Road usage tax
Diesel vehicle will need to pay for road usage tax, prices may vary based on the size of your vehicle as such please check with your provider what is the rate that you need to pay. You only pay this when you return the vehicle, they will calculate the total mileage you have traveled and you pay accordingly. 


For our vehicle we paid $0.0622 per km, as such we have traveled 1500km, as such we have to pay around $93 for the road usage tax at the end of our trip. 


Car rental + diesel + road usage tax = estimate RM 2729 for the entire trip


Heating

There are a few systems that you may find for your heating that is fitted in the campervan, most if not all vehicle (self-contained) will be equipped with electric heating. Electric heating, a electric heating system only works when you are plugged in to the main power, which means in order to use the electric heating system you would need to be at a powered campervan site. You cannot use the electric heating without main power. 


(Quick tips: Make sure the check your vehicle is equipped with electric heater , and not those small portable heater, we made a mistake of not properly checking the vehicle and pickup the vehicle to only found out later that our vehicle was not equipped with electric heater.) 

A certain vehicle will have gas heating, but a word for advice gas heating is not very reliable, as they may or may not heat up the vehicle at night. As we were told by the provider that the gas heating doesn’t work well if the temperature drop below 5c. Throughout our trip we found that the gas heating doesn’t work to heat up the vehicle, as by the time the hot air comes out from the vent they quickly become cold again due to the cold temperature outside. 


Diesel heating, a diesel heating system from what we have found out would be the best system amongst the 3 system normally found in campervan, but they may require you to fill up your diesel tank more often in order for it to work, Diesel need to be at least more than half a tank in order for the system to work. Another issues that we face was a diesel heating system are normally found in vehicle that are designed for 4 people and more, as such it would be difficult to find diesel heating in vehicle for 2 people. 



Driving Tips  

New Zealand drive on the same side as Malaysia, as such the normal road & traffic rules applies, though so their national speed limit is at 100 km/h unless stated otherwise. Some back road would have a much slower speed limit. 

Things to look out for when driving your caravan is the length and height of your vehicle, as such do look out when making a turn, as the vehicle is longer than you think. The vehicle is also taller than your normal van as such you cannot enter any roofed parking and you cannot go through drive through to purchase McDonald. 

Do look out for small animal crossing the road, as there are quite many of them especially out of the town. There is minimal street light available out of town, as such driving at night is not recommended, try to plan you trip accordingly so that you don’t have to drive at night. The road is basically pitch black at night. 


Inside the Campervan 

Sleeping area

Depending on the vehicle that you rent , the bed layout may vary a bit. For our trip the bed is located at the rear of the vehicle, during day time you can have the bed folded in to form a sofa / lounge , where you can sit and have lunch. But if you are like us being lazy to reset the bed every night, we just leave it in the bed form. The bed is roughly a queen-size bed so it is just nice for 2. (Tips: Do make sure to have the provider open up the bed and form a bed for you when you pick up your vehicle, don’t be like use being lazy and only to find out later that the roller that form the bed is a bit stuck, which we couldn’t form the bed and had to sleep in a single bed configuration for 2 night. And only to pry it open with a metal bar as we were frustrated.) 

The van itself is not very well insulated, as such it may get cold if you camp out without electric heating on, some wind will get in to the vehicle , so make sure you brought enough warm cloth to layered up. 



Kitchen

The kitchen is well equipped for our vehicle, it comes with a 3 stove cooker, a small fridge, microwave, water heater and a toaster. The electric appliance only works when plugged in to the main power, but the fridge would work even when the vehicle is turn off, so you don’t have to worry about your food going bad. 




Toilet

A self-contained vehicle like ours came equipped with a small toilet, the toilet is small though, so if your boyfriend is taller he might not fit so well in the toilet 😂





The toilet itself doesn’t smell bad as there is chemical bag that you throw in before using , the chemical would last you a good few days or until your toilet is full, so you will have to empty the cartridge. We didn’t use the toilet much aside for peeing , as we try to use public toilet as much as possible, so that we don’t have to clean up the toilet. 



Where to Camp

There are 3 kinds of campervan site that you can camp in, mainly being campervan park and DOC site (Department of Conservation) and Freedom Campground. We highly recommend you to download this app called Campermate (free to download) where it will show you the nearest campground. This app only available in Australia & NZ, so make sure you download it before starting your roadtrip.

A campervan park are a paid site, normally equipped with powered site so you can run all the electric appliance in your vehicle. They will also be equipped with a toilet and shower, a kitchen for your cooking need, some will even have a place for you to hang out in. A campervan park would also have places for you to refilled your fresh water tank and a place to empty out your grey water tank and toilet cartridge. 

All vehicles are recommended to be plugged in every 2 day or so , to ensure the battery are being charged fully and to run at a optimal battery level. Vehicle charges when you are driving and not when you let your vehicle idle.

A campervan park price range from $15~$25 per person per night. 



DOC Site

A Doc Site is a campground maintained by the government of NZ , they normally comes with public toilet, but some may not. They will not have powered site. You will have to pay a small amount of money to camp at a campsite, ranging from $5 ~ $10 per person per night. 



Freedom Campground 

A freedom campground can be camped at FOC, but will not have amenities, some may have public toilet but that’s about it. You can only camp at a freedom campground if your vehicle is certified self-contained. 


Tips: Do not simply park and camp for a night, if you are caught camping at a site that doesn’t allow freedom camping you may be fined up to $250.

Thank you for reading his first ever blog post. If you like this post, do share it with your friends so everyone can get a rough idea before planning their roadtrip 😍

 











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