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.
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.
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 $2.15 per litre (June 2018).
That means a full tank of gas will cost you about NZ$130, 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.
If you return your Escape Rentals campervan early for any reason whatsoever after travel has commenced, then no refund is available (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 freephone 0800 10 10 21 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 14-days 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.
Escape Campervans recommends Bluebridge Cook Strait Ferries who operate between Wellington and Picton.
Escape Campervans are smaller and cheaper on the ferry and our friends at Bluebridge have provided our hirers with a special promo code you can use when booking your ferry online. This will get you a discount on your ferry crossing. It definitely pays to book this service well in advance, during the summer period of November to March.
Learn more about booking a ferry below.
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.
- Campermate App for IOS or Campermate App for Android
- Respect NZ app for IOS or Respect NZ app for Android
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.
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 5 years travelling in an Escape Campervan. This is due to safety concerns around young passengers in the front of the vehicle.
If your child is aged 5 – 7 years, we will accept the booking, but you will be required to bring your own booster seat (Escape may have a booster at our depot, but this is subject to availability, so better to bring your own).
Children over the age of 7 do not require a booster seat by NZ law, but if your child is small and you use a booster seat at home, we recommend they use one in NZ also. Always safety first.
No. Escape does not accept pets/animals traveling in our campervans.