Before our trip to New Zealand we had many concerns what’s the best way to travel around the islands. We planned to move almost every day from one point to another, starting in Auckland, North Island and finishing 2 weeks and 4k kilometers later in Christchurch, South Island.
Since both railway and bus transportation were quite limited and expensive, we decided to rent a car. At first we booked the simplest 4 seated economical wagon (Nissan Wingroad afair) with Apex Car rentals. But the closer the trip was, the more doubts about this decision we had. We still would have to find most of our accommodation in advance (to avoid wasting time on it during the trip). We would have to eat in bars or elsewhere, worry about the laundry to be dried before heading to a next stop, we would have to pack and unpack our luggage almost every day. And last but not least – we watched all those amazing videos on youtube about how great camping in NZ is and how much freedom in traveling you get with it. Despite many worries, but with very much excitement, we canceled our previous booking and focused on finding the cheapest and driver-friendly campervan.
From a wide range of cars we selected Jucy Condo, which was 2 litre, 5 seated, automatic Toyota Hiace, adapted to self-contained, fully equipped campervan with 2 double beds, a cooker, a fridge and a cassette toilet 🙂
Why this car? Because it’s best value for not too much money. You get a car which is small compared to other campervans, but therefore it makes it easy to drive and park. Since it’s quite tall and light you may get this weird feeling you’re gonna fall out on every turn you take. Not without reason even the most expensive car insurance excludes single roll-over and roof damage. Fortunately roads in New Zealand are very well prepared and even, there are many useful traffic signs that alert on bends ahead and advisory speed limits, pinch points, one lane bridges etc. After few hours we got used to the car and driving it (even on the opposite side) was pure joy.
During the trip we had no accidents nor police controls but one, very surprising admonishment. One day, when we were on the Forgotten World Highway, which is very beautiful, but quite narrow and curvy. one of the other drivers must have got impatient, because he called Jucy to complain about us driving too slow 🙂 Since then we payed better attention to faster cars and let them pass, because obviously with a campervan we would slow down traffic on every steep road.
So let’s talk about the indoor impression…
Well, our campervan was not the newest and you could easily say there were many people using it before you. Despite many scratches and slivers it was clean and, what’s most important, the bedding was fresh and warm at night. Both beds were very comfortable, but if you’re ‘big boned’ don’t expect much space especially on upper level. A cooking area was supplied with kitchen accessories, a cooker, a fridge and a sink. We could easily store food for few days and prepare breakfasts there, but for lunches we moved to campground’s public kitchens since there was more space. The campervan had many useful pockets and boxes where we could keep our belongings. We even pimped it and set up some cloth drying strings.
We drove over 4 thousand kilometers with our Jucy and I can’t imagine any better car for our trip. Let’s be honest, it’s not a big car and you really must like and be comfortable with people you travel with. But in return you get all in one for any time: basic accommodation, transport, alimentation, and most amazing views behind the windshield…