Mar 27, 2014

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Renting a Car in New Zealand

RENTINGCARYou may be in the process of planning your itineraries for your trip in New Zealand and sees that travel agencies actually offer bus and coaches transport services. This sounds appealing to you because it’s hassle-free, but you still want to have the freedom on where to go and explore.

If that’s the case, you will love self-driving. You’ll be able to explore places that are not on usual tourist trails. Before you drive on New Zealand roads, however, you need a car.

You have the option to either buy or rent a car. If your trip is longer than 10 weeks, you should consider buying a car. But if your trip to NZ is a short one, a few weeks perhaps, renting is a better idea.

Requirements for Renting a Car

To rent a car in New Zealand you have to:

  • be at least 21 years old
  • possess a valid local or international driver’s license fully written in English
  • educate yourself on New Zealand driving rules

There are lots of car rental companies in New Zealand, from the big international companies to local ones. Like in other rentals, the longer you hire, the cheaper it is.

Best Car Rental Services

This is a list of best car rental services according to the rankings and reviews of tourists:

Anzed Rentals

Tourists loved this rental company located at Christchurch because of its well-maintained vehicles and excellent services. In fact, it is the 2013 winner of the “Traveller Voted Award” for the best car rental company in New Zealand.

Services include prompt pick-ups and drop-offs at airport; free-of-charge GPS and updated maps; and other perks like phone rentals, coolers, and baby seats. The tourists also received very useful advice on New Zealand driving routes and rules.

Go Rentals

This rental is also popular among tourists. Offering services in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, it provides safe, clean, and affordable vehicles at competitive prices. The tourists also loved its straightforward and efficient services.

Touchdown Car Rentals

This is a car rental based in Christchurch, so it’s good if you’re visiting the South Island. They offer BMW Minis, 7-seater Toyota Highlanders, and late-model Subaru Foresters, all at a reasonable cost. The tourists experienced fast pick-ups and drop-offs since it’s based at Commodore Hotel, very near to the airport. They also liked the friendly transactions and other perks like unlimited kilometers and free shuttle service.

NZ Discount Car Rentals Limited

This rental company is affiliated with Mike Vinsen Motors, one of Auckland’s biggest car importers. It is also a member of the Rental Vehicle Association of New Zealand. Tourists praised it for its friendly, need-responsive services; safe and well-maintained cars; and affordable rates.

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Mar 25, 2014

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Types of Accommodations in New Zealand

HotelThere are various types of accommodations in New Zealand for tourists, from luxury hotels to cozy, friendly farmstays. Depending on your preference and need, there is surely a perfect accommodation for you.

These accommodations vary in their price, available amenities, general personality, and of course locations. To make sure you book an accommodation of quality services and facilities, look for those with a Qualmark star rate.

Hotels

You can find both budget and luxury hotels throughout New Zealand. Hotels offer you access to cafes, restaurants, bars, and gyms.

There are luxury hotels owned by top international hotel chains like Accor, Westin, Hyatt, and InterContinental usually located in major cities like Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington. There are also homey hotels in country pubs if you want a more “country” feel.

Lodges

If you’re looking for a luxurious, relaxing stay-in place in a remote, scenic area, lodges are perfect for you. These are like professional boutique hotels and a bed and breakfast that has 3 to 10 rooms. You will be served with mouthwatering food and wine prepared by a professional chef. This is an excellent choice if you want to go on fishing, hunting, or skiing.

Home-stays

It is often a good experience to interact with New Zealand residents. If you’re looking for this experience, home-stays are a good choice. In home-stays, you stay in a room in a private home of a family host. You may share their bathrooms, dining area, and lounge. They also provide meals.

One type of homestay is farm stays which, obviously, are located in farms. This type of accommodation will expose you to the ways of New Zealand farms life. You may watch or even help in farm chores like milking the cow, feeding the poultry, or cleaning the barn.

Holiday Homes

Holiday homes or baches (read as “batches”) are convenient and economical for a family or a large group since an entire house is rented. There are no hosts, so you will have to prepare your own food and other necessities. Look for homes that will suit your needs like phone lines, access to Internet, and others.

Holiday Parks

Holiday parks are sites where you can camp out using your own tent, campervan, car or motorhome. This is perfect if you’re interested in camping out rather than sleeping indoors. Holiday parks offer amenities like safe drinking water, functional toilet facilities, fire pits, and cooking areas.

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Mar 22, 2014

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Two Types of Camping in New Zealand

campingThousands of tourists in New Zealand prefer camping than other accommodations because of the thrill and freedom to camp wherever they want. It really feels nice to camp out using your own campervan, tent, car, or motorhome after a long day of sightseeing.

In New Zealand, there are two types of camping: freedom camping and camping at designated campsites and holiday parks.

Freedom Camping

Freedom camping is an overnight camping at sites not officially designated as campsite or holiday park. In other words, this is when you pull up at the side of the road or a remote place to spend the night. Tourists in New Zealand usually free camp at picnic areas, remote areas, and laybys.

Many tourists opt to free camp because it’s basically very cheap. You don’t have to pay any fees and you have the freedom to camp anywhere you want provided it’s legal. The drawback is, however, you don’t have access to amenities like clean drinking water, functional toilets, and waste disposal services. Your area may also be less secure so you have to be extra careful.

Freedom camping, however, usually has a negative image among local residents. This is because through the years, campers irresponsibly managed their litters and wastes.

As a response to the problems caused by freedom camping like environmental damages, the government passed the Freedom Camping Act 2011 which has rules and regulations for freedom camping. Under the Act, Councils and the Department of Conservation have the power to designate restricted areas. They can also charge a maximum fine of $10,000 NZD for those who release dangerous or offensive substances (e.g. human wastes, toxic chemicals) at campsites. Further, many Councils allow freedom camping using certified self-contained vehicles only.

Camping at Campsites and Holiday Parks

This is the alternative to free camping that the NZ government widely promotes. There are hundreds of affordable campsites and holiday parks where tourists can put up their tents, campervans, and motorhomes. If you are visiting a lake, river, beach, mountain, or forest, you’re sure to find an official campsite nearby.

Some of the perks of camping in campsites and holiday parks are:

  • Safer for you, your family, and your belongings
  • Access to clean drinking water
  • Access to toilet facilities
  • Fire pits and barbecue areas

No matter what type of camping you decide to do, the golden rule is respect the environment. If the beautiful spots amazed and delighted you, do your best to contribute to its conservation by simply being responsible with your wastes.

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