2 18 year old lads in June 08.
As part of our RTW trip, me and my mate will be in NZ for 5 weeks in around June next year.
I (and hopefully he will by when we leave) hold a full Uk driving license.
So what is the best option for us to see the country?
Hiring a campervan - there seems loads of websites, but it would be pretty cool - is it cost efficient for an 18 year old though?
Organised bus - eg Kiwi experience/ Magic quite pricey but less hassle?
Public transport - Most cost effective (obviously accom still needs to be paid for) and we will be quite used to using it having travelled S.E asia using public transport. But would it leave us out the backpacker 'loop'? Or is it still possible to meet people?
Any thoughts/advice much appreciated.
I'd suggest starting with the places you really want to go to (if you know yet), then look at the transport. Any ideas of an itinerary?
I think a lot of rental places have minimum ages for hire (I think between 21 and 25 is quite standard) - although I am sure there are some which will cater for ages younger than that (I think Spaceships hire to any age and they look really cool) but just thought worth mentioning so you know to look out for it in the terms and conditions. As you'll be in NZ in winter you should be able to pick up some cheap deals but also could be quite cold for sleeping in the great outdoors in some parts...
You can also pick up very cheap deals on campers which need relocating (eg if someone has done a one way hire from Auckland to Christchurch the company will let you hire the van at a discounted rate to get it back to Auckland) - sometimes as low as $1 a day! The only thing to watch out for with this is that they tend to have strict timescales for how long you've got to get it back and it's usually only between major cities.
You'll also find that a lot of people who have bought cars put up notices in hostels looking for people who want to join them to share petrol costs etc. Maybe a combination of hiring, buses and hitching lifts will allow you to be flexible and sample a bit of everything!
I've also heard that the Tranz Alpine train in the South Island is a journey worth doing...
Hope this helps, happy travels
Have you thought of going on a Contiki trip? They are a travel company exclusively for 18-35 year olds. If you want to see some awesome sights as well as party all over the place, check it out. You'll also get to meet people from all around the world on your trip. I went to Europe with them over summer and had a complete blast. They also offer some great discounts with booking. Just shoot me a message if you have any questions or want to know the easiest and cheapest way to book with them.
Thanks for the reply, the only thing is, NZ is just part of my 6 month RTW trip, so I think we are doing things ourselves.
you guys should look onto www.couchsurfing.com and see if you want to join for possible cheap accomidations. That way you can public transport or rent a car and then get free lodging in a lot of places. I am headed to NZ in Jan and plan to do a lot of couch surfing. Have a nice trip.
Yeah...check into minimum ages for hiring a campervan, you might have troubles being 18yo. But if you can find one that'll take you, take a 4 berth van...that way, when you pick up the chickies (as you do)...you have separate double beds 😉
Take some good tunes to play...not many, just 3 or 4 CD's and play them over and over again...everytime I hear Warrant, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure or Kiss...it trawls back many excellent memories!
June is off-season for campers...they're about 1/3rd normal summer prices and very very cheap. They are quite satisfactory in the cold, they have good heating inside (electric). Do NOT stop and save a couple of bucks by camping on the side of the road...I've heard some horror stories that are not very pleasant!!! Just remember...don't do it. Stay at the caravan parks...they're dirt cheap and they're the best parks in the world for cleanliness and quality (at least all the one's I stopped in!).
I can't advise specifics on the south island...but the North Island is awesome.
Also...try leave valuables with a hotel in their safe while you're touring around...campervans are not very secure...especially the dodgy locks on the rear side door...we used rope to hold the door shut from the inside - we could open it just be jiggling the door handle.
I was NZ for 10 months this year, just left (jealous of you guys!).
As far as transport goes, we used the public transport (Intercity Buses) to get from Auckland all the way to Queenstown and it was really good. Most of the ppl on the buses are backpackers anyways so its easy to meet people and the bus drivers do a bit of tourist commentary (pointing out lord of the rings locations n stuff). And they try to stop off at touristy places for lunch break n stuff so you don't miss out on much. My two mates paid for the full kiwi experience from North to South, lasted a week then hired a car because they got sick of it really quickly. Its nickname in nz is the big green f*ck bus so it depends what you're looking for I suppose!! Stray is for people who are more into their nature and walks etc and magic is meant to be somewhere in between. Have a look at nakedbus.com if you are thinking of public transport - they do tickets for $1 although the buses aren't as nice as intercity. You meet plenty of people in hostels etc so I wouldnt worry about hiring a car/getting the bus.
You're going to be there over winter so spend as long as you can in Queenstown, theres a couple of ski resorts but even if your not keen on skiing/snowboarding the town is amazing over the season... railjams on the street, wicked nightlife, amazing scenery and loads of adventure activities. I miss it loads, considering going back for next season! My other highlights were Abel Tasman national park, zorbing in Rotorua and swimming with dolphins in kaikoura.
Have an amazing time! I might see you in Queenstown!
We are both very good skiers so would love to try out a resort outside of Europe. Is this possible as a backpacker? Can't see myself packing my salopettes!
Yeh definitely. I worked at Coronet Peak (one of the ski slopes) and we had backpackers up there all the time. The 5 main ones are
Mount Hutt (in Methven, top of South island)
Coronet Peak and Remarkables (Queenstown, south island)
Cardrona and Treble Cone (Wanaka, south island)
There are some others but they're a bit smaller. Check out nzski.com for info about the first three. Coronet Peak and Remarks are the same company (and Mt Hutt too but its further away) so you can go to both on the same ski pass. Natives.co.uk has some info on them too. And you can ski in Victoria and NSW in Australia around that time too if you're heading that way. I wouldn't worry about bringing gear, loads of places rent all the equipment and clothing too.
Hello, thought Id help out!!
I am an Australian Travel Agent that specialises in Backpacker travel everywhere in Australia, Fiji and New Zealand. I am part of an exciting travel company called Peterpans Adventure Travel, that offers the best rates for fantastic backpacker holiday packages. I have lived in Australia my whole life, done loads of travel and am a great source of knowledge on whats great in Australia! Please don't hesitate with ANY questions you may have about Beautiful Australia or NZ!
Best options for travel around New Zealand as deffinatley the jump on jump off bus options. To explain in short, they are a guided buses full of backpackers and like minded travellers who take you around to the highlights on both islands on NZ. Instead of being on a fully guided tour where you don't have the flexibility to do what you want, you can jump on and off as many times as you like, anywhere you like.
The pass is valid for 6 months and you can choose from a variety of itineries depending on how long you have and what you want to see. You can jump off in one place and stay a few weeks if you like it or you can follow the pass around on the minimum trip time, just staying one night at each overnight stop.
Much better than catching public transport with a bus driver who doesn't speak a word to anyone and where it is full of children and non travellers, and much cheaper than a campervan or car hire to cruise around the islands. By the time you pay park fees, fuel and accommodation, these passes work out to be much better. It doesn't include food or accommodation, these are additional costs, but it is a great value option for those who like to learn, see and explore all the highlights and places of interest.
If you have any questions about this let me know, I have heaps of backpacker enquiries for these passes so and well informed of how they work!!
Hmmmm...I can spot a shameless plug a mile off! 😉
Which bus company are you referring to?
Stray. Magic or Kiwi Experience, depending on what pass best suits your itinery. They all have different schedules and stops and start and finish in different areas.
There's also Bottom Bus
who concentrate on the southern half of the South Island. I did the full loop departing from Dundedin, had a great trip - and half the time was the only passenger!
I was 21 when I was in NZ and I couldn't rent a car. I think they told me the required age was 25.
this wasn't so bad because hitchhiking saved me a LOT of money and I would really recommend it, the people in NZ were really friendly and always welcoming(at least compared to my home NY)
so yea Im sure you'll hear many things about it not being safe, but its only an option and its part of the fun, I met so many great people hitchhiking and spent a lot of time traveling with some of them. on top of that I always got picked up quickly, and people were glad to give me a ride, it might not be that way for everyone but I got the impression that its just part of the way people are in NZ.
another easy way to do it is to meet people in the hostel your staying in, see who is planing on going where you want to and become their friend, I did this for three months on both Islands and only had to pay for the boat to get from one Island to another, and threw some nice people a few bucks here or there.
over all I would tell anyone to travel NZ in this way. it will give you more adventure, save you money, help you meet people, and if your going to hitchhike anywhere New Zealand is a great opportunity to get to do something that I wouldn't recommend doing in most other countries I've been too. there's nothing like a car stopping to pick you up and seeing that its a bunch of cute girls on holiday(this magically happened a lot in NZ). good luck with whatever mode of transportation you choose man!
Welcome to TravelBlog. How long ago was your trip? I just checked a few sites and 21 seems to be the standard minimum. Maybe it was a company policy.
Tom : Are you still considering car hire? The length of time you've held your licence could be an issue (some require you have had a full licence for 2 years). It would be easy enough to contact companies you may be considering and get definite answers from them.
Im not quite sure then. I was pretty sure that was why I couldn't rent one but I might be getting it mixed up.
im a local kiwi dude, and to be honest if you want to have the most fun meet loads of people and have a good laugh just hitch hike.
its pretty common in nz, i hitch hiked down to wanaka (near queenstown) from hamilton (near auckland) in only a few days... of course stopping off each night for a few to many beers.
you will save alot of money and its always a good story to be able to say. Im in columbia at the moment but will be back in nz when you travel it... if you need a place to crash and a few good nights out with the locals your more than welcome to hit me up and ill see what i can do. (Around the Waikato district)
It surprised me how common (and relatively safe) hitchhiking was in New Zealand. We meet many people at the hostels who had traveled all over doing this. So definitely on option.
I did Stray - and it was very, very cool. Though I was traveling alone and enjoyed the company.
I also got to check out the spaceships campers they hire out as well and would probably do that if I were ever in NZ again. As far as I know they hire out to 18 year olds