New Zealand is an amazing destination for a self-drive campervan holiday. We may be small (about the same size as the United Kingdom) but we can make your road trip in New Zealand the experience of a lifetime!
To help, we’ve put together a few tips and a bit of info to prepare you for your journey.
Escape Rentals is Open for Business!
On Thursday 14th May, New Zealand moved down to ‘Lockdown Level 2’ which affords us all far more freedom to get about and do the things we want – Provided we do so responsibly of course. For Escape Rentals, it means we’re once more open for business. Great News!
But whilst we are open for business, it is not business as usual.
Instead, we are introducing new measures to our campervan ‘check out’ and ‘return’ procedures to ensure we meet the government’s safety guidelines, whilst also protecting our hirers and staff. So if you’re thinking of hiring a campervan with Escape Rentals or you’ve already booked with us (thank you) please note the following:
- Campervan collections will be by appointment only. This is simple to do and can be arranged when you make your reservation using our online booking portal or you can liaise with us via phone or email. We’ll do our best to meet your requirements, but we are introducing this measure to…
- Ensure we are appropriately resourced and prepared for your arrival e.g. We will be disinfecting our customer service area after each check out.
- Make sure we adhere to social distancing requirements by scheduling ‘pick-ups’ and ‘drop offs’ at staggered intervals.
- ‘Contact tracing’ is really important and whilst we’ll have most of your details on file, we will also need a New Zealand contact number. We can provide you with a NZ SIM card if required (free).
We’ll also be requesting information about your current health status and your travel history prior to arriving at our depot.
- We’re taking extra time to groom and disinfect our campervans. All of our linen is hot washed by a professional laundry company also, but feel free to bring your own too (provided it is clean also and has not been used at a backpacker hostel prior).
- When you’re traveling throughout New Zealand, we want you to have a fantastic time, but we also want you to be safe. Please adhere to the rules and/or restrictions in place with any attractions or activity operators. You’ll probably need to book many of these in advance, so plan your travel and allow plenty of time. Also make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance which will cover you in case there are any delays.
These are challenging times for all of us, so your support, patience and understanding when booking with or travelling with Escape is genuinely appreciated. Thanks again and let’s stay safe out there
Booking and paying for your camper
When you make a reservation with Escape Rentals, a deposit of NZ$300 is required. This is a secure payment made online via credit card. You then simply pay the balance and any other costs when you collect your vehicle (extra insurance, optional accessories etc.). Escape Rentals accepts Mastercard and Visa credit or debit cards and cash. There is a 2% surcharge when you pay by credit card, but we’ll waive this if you take additional vehicle insurance with us. You’ll receive a booking confirmation via email once you’ve secured your booking with us.
There is a 2% surcharge when you pay by credit card. You’ll receive a booking confirmation via email once you’ve secured your booking with us.
Both are good options. If you want more camping flexibility and one of our newer campervans, go for the self-contained option. These are the most popular.
If you’re traveling on more of a budget, our standard category is the way to go -but make sure you camp responsibly.
Most hirers (about 90%) take Option ‘C’ insurance. It provides good cover for peace of mind whilst you’re travelling and it also covers any windscreen damage and punctured tyres. But your choice of insurance is entirely up to you.
All vans run on unleaded petrol, which is approximately $1.95 per litre (May 2020).
That means a full tank of gas will cost you about NZ$120, and we work on an average of 10-12 litres consumption per 100kms.
Once Escape Rentals has confirmed a booking and you have paid a deposit, that booking is subject to the following cancellation policy:
- If you cancel your confirmed Escape reservation more than 22 days before your scheduled pick up date, we will refund your deposit in full.
- If you cancel your confirmed Escape reservation within 7 to 21 days before your scheduled pick up date, you will be charged a cancellation fee of NZ$300 (deposit) or 20% of your total hire cost, whichever is higher.
- If you cancel your confirmed Escape Rentals reservation within 1 to 6 days before your scheduled pick up date, you will be charged a cancellation fee of 50% of your total gross rental cost.
- If you cancel your confirmed Escape Rentals reservation on day of pick up, or you ‘no-show’, then you will be charged 100% of your gross rental cost.
No refund is available for unused days if you are late collecting your Escape Rentals campervan or return it early for any reason whatsoever after travel has commenced (please ensure you have travel insurance that covers rental vehicle usage).
Planning your trip
We think a campervan holiday is the best way to see NZ…but it is not for everybody. First and foremost, we expect a level of driving competency with our hirers. You should be an experienced driver, know how to change a tyre, how and when to top up water and oil and most importantly….how to Drive Safe.
You should also know how to respect the environment and Camp Responsibly.
If you have a positive approach to your trip, if you can respect NZ, the van, the environment and the people, it’ll be one of the best travel experiences you can have.
To hire and drive an Escape Rentals campervan:
- You need to be at least 18 years of age.
- We DO NOT accept provisional or learner licenses (or licenses which have been suspended anywhere, for any reason).
- We DO ACCEPT valid English language driver’s licenses. An English language licence basically means a licence issued in the following countries: UK/Ireland, USA, Australia, NZ and some parts of Canada.
- If your drivers licence is not from one of these countries, you will need TWO items in order to drive in New Zealand :
(1) Your local license AND…
(2) Either an International Licence OR a certified English translation of your home licence. We recommend Transnational for NZ certified translations. They have an online portal at www.driverlicencetranslation.co.nz where you can arrange your own translation online. Best to do this in advance to save time once you are here.
AUCKLAND DEPOT: 61 THE STRAND, PARNELL, AUCKLAND 1010.
- If you are at the Auckland Airport, call ‘Discount Taxis’ from a landline once you have collected your bags and cleared customs. Their phone number is +64 (9) 529 1000. We have a special deal and the cost is only NZ$45 total (cash) for Escape Rentals clients.
- There is also the airport bus for NZ$16 per person. Skybus departs the airport terminal every 15-mins during the day (30-mins overnight) and will drop you off down Queen Street or at the downtown ferry terminal at the bottom of town (we are about a five minute walk from there).
And of course you can Uber – Prices will vary.
Here’s a map to our Auckland Depot
CHRISTCHURCH DEPOT: 15 KINGSLEY STREET, SYDENHAM.
- There are a few options to get to the Christchurch Escape Rentals depot.
- From Christchurch airport, call Steve’s Shuttles on 03 356 1010 once you have collected your bags and cleared customs. He’ll meet you inside the airport and drop you at our door – his prices are great too. Check Steve out on www.steveshuttle.co.nz
- Call First Direct Taxis – They have phones in the terminal labelled “First Direct Taxis” that you can pick up to order a cab, or simply call NZ freephone 0800 50 55 55. There is a fixed rate for Escape clients so please make sure that you confirm this over the phone.
- Catch the Christchurch Metro bus into town. The schedules vary so ask at the airport i-Site (info desk) if you need help. It’s likely you’ll need the No10 or No29 to get to us. It will drop you at the city centre bus depot. It’s then a 15-20min walk to us.
And you can Uber in Christchurch also – Prices will vary.
Here’s a map to our Christchurch Depot
We recommend our hirers spend the first night in a hostel or hotel before collecting your vehicle, particularly after a long flight. It’s safer, probably cheaper and this also addresses any issues that may arise from late flights or missed connections. Flight delays and city traffic can sometimes impact on your ability to collect your vehicle at the agreed time, so plan well in advance and communicate with us if you foresee any potential delays or issues.
Our average length of hire is about 23-days, but we have many travellers who take our campers for extended periods of 3 months or more because we’re great value (and because we provide on-the-road support).
We also take shorter bookings of seven days or so (our minimum period for one-way hires is 10 days during winter or 7 days during summer but contact us and we may be able to reduce this) but the key to any road trip is to travel safe and take your time.
The beauty of an Escape Rentals campervan is the absolute freedom it gives you to create your own itinerary and do your own thing.
And finding the right spot to camp will be an important part of your journey. So please ensure your plan includes suitable campgrounds and you are camping responsibly.
We’ve come up with a few itineraries (courtesy of our mates at 100% Pure New Zealand) which may be of interest to you.
- Billy Connolly
- Auckland – Gisborne – Auckland
- Christchurch – Milford – Christchurch
- Hobbiton Mordor River Anduin
Some of our crew were also asked about our favourite places in New Zealand. So check these out. Something to consider when planning your own New Zealand escape.
If you want to change your dates or the direction of your hire, this will be ‘on request’, subject to our approval and additional charges may apply. We’ll do our best to accommodate you but if you’re requesting a change close to your travel-commencement date, that may be difficult. Better to plan and book your trip well in advance (especially if you are travelling from Nov to March).
- GST (tax) and unlimited kilometres.
- Standard insurance (Option A) which can be upgraded.
- 24/7 Roadside Assistance
- Additional/multiple drivers at no extra cost
- Radio stereo with MP3 front aux. port
- Full Queen size bed & free bedding (professionally dry cleaned before each hire)
- 3 beach/picnic chairs (free)
- Gas cooker, gas cartridge, sink with running water
- Chilly bin (esky/cooler/ice box whatever you want to call it!)
- 240V Mains power connection cabling (for use at powered sites)
- Mains powered heater and lamp
- Heaps of storage room (300 litres plus)
- Cooking and living equipment (Cutlery, crockery, pots, pans etc).
- Free Escape Guidebook, free maps, books (help yourself)
- Free Campermate App.
- Free Sim Card
What isn’t included?
Yes. Choose your depot/direction within the booking panel when you get your quote or make your booking. A NZ$300 one-way fee may apply. A round trip (Auckland to Auckland or Christchurch back to Christchurch) is the best way to see most of NZ has to offer though (and no one-way fee to pay).
There’s heaps to see and do in New Zealand, so naturally, bring your credit or debit card. You may want to check your limit if you’re taking standard ‘option A or B’ insurance only, because you’ll have to leave a NZ$3,000 bond frozen with us if you choose that insurance option.
- Bring your beach towel and sun block. New Zealand’s summer sun can be pretty intense.
- New Zealand weather can be quite changeable and can vary city to city. Bring warm clothes, a wind breaker and some sort of light raincoat.
- Bring your comfortable hiking shoes. There are too many amazing walks to list, but you’ll find them on your travels when you get off the beaten track. Hiking through the native New Zealand bush really is good for the heart…and soul.
- Bring your adventurous spirit and an open, friendly attitude.
Escape Rentals does not charge for additional drivers, so provided they have the appropriate driver’s license and all drivers are featured on our rental agreement (which will need to be signed by all drivers) you can share the driving.
- Phone Bluebridge Ferries. Freephone: 0800 761 7622
- Advise you are making a new booking and quote Escape1149 to the Bluebridge Representative to get your instant 10% discount.
- Confirm your travel dates, direction of sailing and number of passengers and your vehicle.
- Advise that the vehicle category is ‘Campervan’ and when asked for the vehicle registration number, please use ‘ESCAPE’
- Reconfirm that the 10% discount available to hirers of Escape campervans has been applied.
- The Bluebridge team will confirm your booking for you and take your payment (via credit card over the phone).
- Retain your booking confirmation number/details. Also give the Bluebridge team your email address and they will send you your e-ticket.
- Go to the unique Escape page on the Bluebridge online booking portal: https://bookings.bluebridge.co.nz/Agents/Login.aspx
- Enter our Account Number: 1149
- Enter Password: 1149escape
- Confirm your travel dates, direction of sailing and number of passengers and your vehicle.
- Under the Vehicle Category – select: Campervan.
- Under vehicle size , please confirm the length of the campervan as ‘5.0’ meters.
- Search availability
- Continue with the online booking process/instructions.
- A 10% discount will be applied to your booking. It will not show up on screen, but your use of the above-mentioned codes will ensure this is applied automatically.
- Transact payment via credit card and reserve your spot!
- Retain your booking confirmation number/details.
And that’s it! These discounts are exclusive to hirers of Escape Campervans. Enjoy.
One of the best things about travelling in a campervan throughout New Zealand is the freedom you have to explore this amazing country of ours. But with that freedom, comes responsibility!
We need all of our Escape campervan hirers to respect and protect the environment, particularly when choosing where to camp.
There are over 6,000 camping sites throughout New Zealand and many are free or cost very little. And because there are so many great campsites available, Escape Rentals does NOT support or recommend freedom camping (where you simply pull up where you want and camp for the night). Why risk a $200+ fine to save a few bucks when there are so many other free or cheap options?
To help you plan where you should camp, download one of these apps which will provide you with information featuring thousands of campsites (live availability), key attractions and popular activities.
We recommend the 300 plus campsites operated by the New Zealand Department of conservation (DOC). These are free or low-cost sites ($8-$10 a night) and you’ll receive a guide to these within your campervan. We also have DOC Campground passes available to purchase.
If you are travelling in one of our ‘Certified Self-Contained Vans’ you’ll be able to stay at campgrounds designated as ‘self -contained vehicles only’. But don’t sweat it if you’re in one of our non-certified vans. As mentioned above, there’s literally thousands of campsites and camping spots throughout NZ available for you to use.
Escape Rentals is proud to partner with ‘Campable’, a really great product/platform which allows our hirers to book and park up at various farmlands, orchards, vineyards and other privately-owned properties.
These unique properties give you the opportunity to stay with ‘the locals’, many offering interesting ‘kiwi’ experiences such as fishing for dinner, milking cows or a little peace and tranquillity if you need it. These properties can be filtered depending on your requirements (power, toilet and shower amenities etc.) Download the Campable app today and unlock your NZ adventure.
If you do choose to Freedom Camp, well, that’s your call, but always check with the local I-site (information centre) first.
Yes, but for many of our customers, driving on the left side of the road is a new experience. Escape wants to ensure our customers have a SAFE and enjoyable journey around New Zealand, so we’re playing our part:
- Every customer will receive a copy of the ‘What’s different about driving in NZ’ handbook when you collect your campervan. Please read it and familiarise yourself with our rules and driving conditions.
- You will also receive a pre-arrival email from Escape Rentals filled with useful travel tips. There’s also a link within that email to a video which our customers MUST watch before commencing your NZ road-trip. Here it is again for you to check out.
- We want you to undertake the following online NZ driving test before you arrive to familiarise yourself with our rules and conditions: www.drivingtests.co.nz
Now this part is really important. Escape Rentals is also supporting the NZ Tourism Industry Association, the NZ Transport Authority and the NZ Police with their efforts to improve international driver safety.
So please check out the following website: www.drivesafe.org.nz This is a site aimed at educating our international visitors about driving in New Zealand.
This is all about keeping you all safe on our roads. If you’re not comfortable with this, if you’re uncertain about driving in unfamiliar conditions, if you lack driving confidence or competence, you need to ask yourself if a self-drive holiday is really right for you?
Have a look at this ‘Driver Assessment Form’ to check how prepared you are to driving in NZ (We’ll be presenting you with this document when you collect your van also.)
But if you are an experienced, safe and considerate driver, if you’ve checked out the websites above and completed the online driving test, that’s great. Travel safely with Escape Rentals. You won’t regret it.
Accidents sometimes happen. If you’re involved in an accident (no matter how minor) you MUST stop and ensure everyone is OK. If not, call 111 immediately. And please ensure you swap details if there is a third party involved.
In the event of an accident, you need to contact us and NZ Roadside Assistance. We’ll discuss your insurance options with you and do what we can to get you back on the road (this is at the discretion of Escape Rentals and subject to the circumstances around your accident, as per the rental agreement) NZ Roadside Assistance will help with any towing or mechanical requirements.
If you breakdown, NZ Roadside Assistance is there to help you 24/7 with over 3,500 service providers nationwide (from mechanics, to auto electricians and locksmiths). We operate mostly Nissan’s, which are extremely reliable, but it’s good to know we’ve got you covered if anything does go wrong.
Simply call the Free Phone number 0508 NZROAD (697623) .We’ll do our best to get you moving again,
No. Don’t do it. You’ll be risking a fine of at least NZ$200 (could be as high as NZ$500). Pull over at a rest area or designated smoking area, and don’t forget to take your rubbish with you or use a bin if one is nearby.
Escape will NOT accept bookings for children aged less than 6 years. This is due to safety concerns around young passengers travelling in the front of an Escape campervan (there is no seating in the rear of our campervans)..
If your child is aged 6 – 10 years, we will accept the booking, but your child may be required to use a booster seat, so this is also subject to your child meeting the height requirements for a booster seat (120cm minimum to 150cm tall). If your child is less than 120cms tall, they will not meet this requirement and we cannot accept your booking.
You will also be required to bring your own booster seat and fit it to the vehicle yourself. A waiver declaration form will need to be signed at that time also.
Please also note that baby seats (pods, capsules) are not permitted. As mentioned above, any child travelling in an Escape campervan needs to be at least 6 years old and 120cms tall (and travelling with your own booster seat).
These rules are based on both NZ law requirements and the recommendations of the NZ Plunket society. It is all about safety for your kids.
No. Escape does not accept pets/animals traveling in our campervans.