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Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Portland, Oregon
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Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Greetings! And help, please? My sister and I, both healthy and in our 60's, find ourselves with the once in a lifetime chance to spend about a month in New Zealand between Jan. 1 and March 25, 2018. We are very excited and immediately thought of renting a small camper and just touring. Our goal, to see and enjoy as much of the beautiful scenery as we could! On checking into this, the initial costs were higher than I expected and I understand that between other rental fees, cost of gas, cost to ferry the camper, cost to camp at least some of the nights, etc, it seems it may be beyond our budget.

I would appreciate help with the following questions:

~If we quickly rough out an itinerary, should we still be able to find low to mid priced lodgings in Feb/March? I would hope to stay in any given area at least 2-3 nights to give us plenty of time to see the sights and savor the relaxation!

~Suggestions for reliable auto rental dealers

~Given our goal of relaxed touring, any thoughts on auto travel versus a small camper unit? Looks as if the base price is running about $400 NZ a day for the unit I found online thru Maui.

~Might we be able to find lodgings more economically than the camper would be? Any suggestions would again be greatly appreciated. We are less fussy about what type of place we sleep then we are about being in wonderful places when we awaken.

~Last, for now, we have not purchased our airfare yet. Any suggestions as to where to fly into, and whether to leave from a different airport, or make it a round trip?

I am an avid birder, my sister is not, so suggestions on places to stay that might also give me some fun birds to watch would also be appreciated!

Thanks in advance for your time and thoughts, suggestions and/or warnings. Peace ~Linda

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12 replies to this topic
Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Bearing in mind that Feb is peak season & includes the month-long Chinese New Year holiday, late Feb through to late March might work out better for you. You should be able to get motels for around $150 average & a small car for $50, so overall around half the camper van. And the car will use less fuel & there will be no extra camping fees ;-) Look at local companies like Apex, Go Rentals, Omega, Jucy etc.

AirBnB can work out even cheaper if you go for the "private room" option - and a great way to meet Kiwis.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Try to hire a car and stay in motels they are all self contained so you can just buy some breakfast supplies and cart them around with you.

If you can leave you trip say till the end of February / early March so accommodation should be slightly cheaper and possibility of getting the accommodation you want.

Not sure whether you are looking at both Islands or a relaxing trip on the South Island with multiple day stops.

On the south Island most people look at doing a loop ie Fly into CHC (possibly via AKL) and out of Christchurch the same way. Of course if you are looking at doing both islands you could make your way down to Wellington and then take the ferry across to the South island or fly into Christchurch.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

In all probability you will arrive in NZ at Auckland and return home from Auckland.

New Zealand has wonderful motels. Use the Qualmark rating system to assess the properties you might use. https://www.qualmark.co.nz/

A camper van will cost you significantly more money than car / motel, and impact your flexibility.

To minimize jet lag and to get into the time zone, consider arriving in Auckland and spending at least 2 nights there. Auckland has plenty of things to do, you won't be bored. On the second day you can easily take a wine tour of Waiheke Island and be back in the city for dinner, or an easy walk on Rangitoto Island, take a regularly scheduled ferry to these islands.

On your return home you'll probably fly back to Auckland from wherever you drop off the car. My preference is to fly to Auckland the afternoon before my flight home, much less stressful and allows for unexpected delays. We typically have a farewell dinner at a nice restaurant that evening.

The suggestions in #1 and #2 are excellent. We've used BnB's, hotels and motels in NZ. I prefer the motel option. Bella Vista is reasonable and good quality chain. Most all motels are small, family operated, businesses. We've never been disappointed.

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

This was exactly the type of info I was hoping for. THANK YOU!!!

Portland, Oregon
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5. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Thank you! This is so helpful!

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Not sure I said THANK YOU when I read this earlier. THANK YOU! Very helpful!

Nelson, New Zealand
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7. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Hi there, I agree it will be cheaper to hire a car and stay in motels etc .But you should do the South Island! The scenery is magnificent.If you flew into Wellington you could stay a night then catch the ferry over to Picton, a beautiful trip on a good day.Pick up your car and come to Mapua,, base yourselves here for a few days exploring before heading south down the west coast......Franz Josef, Tekapo, beautiful areas, stunning scenery.Then go further south to Arrowtown and Queenstown(they will be expensive at this time of the year bit Airbnb is probably worth a try) Come up the other side of the island and fly out from Christchurch, or fly from Chch to Auckland for a few days looking around

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Agree flying into Wellington is an option but if thinking of doing the ATNP I would look at staying a little closer like Kaiteriteri or Motueka.

Linda have you planned some sort of itinerary or looked at the accommodation available at the time you require it as you may need to adjust your planned itinerary to suit.

Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Sounds wonderful. Thank you! We do plan to spend most of our time on the South Island.

Portland, Oregon
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10. Re: Too late for 4 wk trip starting mid-Feb 2018?

Not yet, as this just came up, and that is my biggest concern. I don't have a map or guidebook yet and will be out of circulation next week so the feeling of urgency to start locking things in is strong. (Said with a smile but true.) We have made the decision to skip the camper van and go with a car, so that's the first step, at least! Again, thank you, Graytraveller!

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