What's more economical
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Nov 5, 2012 6:34 AM Last Post By: greatbigfatfish
Oct 21, 2012 9:25 PM
What's more economicalHi,
Hoping to visit NZ next year for a 2 week road trip. Was wondering what would be more economical for a family of 2 adults and 2 kids...to hire a motorhome and stay in holiday parks or hire a car and stay in motels?
My initial thought was that a motorhome would be cheaper but then taking into consideration fuel consumption and that a 4 berther would be about $2200 odd and I'm sure i could get away with paying around $1200 or less for a car now I'm not so sure. Could the cheaper accomodation offset this?
Edited by: Deserama
Oct 22, 2012 6:10 AM
1you can mix it up - holiday parks often have cabins to rent (you might have to hire bedding etc), so you don't need a campervan. Hostels are not generally suitable for kids but some places are, so have a look on the various sites.
remember NZ weather is not guaranteed and cold wet days in a campervan with kids are no fun. That's when buildings come into their own. :-)
Oct 22, 2012 1:02 PM
2Me and my family did just this in New Zealand (although it was 3 years ago now), I then lived there for a year afterwards.
I would say that the fuel prices aren't too bad in New Zealand, but for the amount of miles you'll be doing you do need to take this into account.
There are quite a few places to stay that have facilities an just work on an honesty box basis (although these are mainly in South Island). So you can park up in really nice, secluded places and use their showers etc. One thing that we found challenging with a camper however was when we wanted to visit somewhere like Cathedral Cove where the carpark is relatively small, we found it a bit of a challenge to park!
Also, remember that if you are in a camper van most of them are good enough to be able to cook your own food in, and will have a fridge and toilet etc, so it's great for those long miles (especially if you're going around South Island). So we worked out that all things considered, we would spend less having a camper van, but it is definitely worth checking out campsites before you rock up at 9pm needing somewhere to stay and you end up paying quite a lot for some of them.
Also like neverwinter said, the weather can be a little unreliable, but then you have to look at what time of year you're going. We had a couple of nights of really bad storms, but it was nice to all be able to sit around the table and play games etc and feel all sheltered from the rain! Really depends on how you think your kids would deal with that (worst months for storms in my experience are May - September).
I would recommend a camper van because it is generally easier, and cheaper (and more fun for the kiddies!).
Enjoy your trip, NZ is absolutely lovely x
Oct 22, 2012 1:51 PM
3It's generally just as cheap to hire a car and stay in backpcker hostels. I did a few trips staying in YHAs with my kids from age 10 or so and found them very welcoming. These days I tend to stay in BBHs and reckon that most would be equally welcoming. The main thing of course is to find accommodation with cooking facilities, and many motels in NZ seem to have these also (or cabins in motor camps).
Oct 22, 2012 3:40 PM
4I think campervans are worth it as long as you don't stay in the more expensive campgrounds. There are some very low cost options. I also don't think campervans are necessarily a bad option in bad weather... as long as you have one big enough for all of you... that's been my experience with kids anyway.
However if you're going to stay in campgrounds, and with two kids with you you'll probably be wanting to do that (so that they have the company of other kids, and playgrounds, pools, etc), then it would probably be cheaper to have a car and use a mixture of campground units (you can get some quite good sized ones) and motel units.
Oct 23, 2012 3:03 AM
5One major benefit to having the camper van is the food and cooking - it is way cheaper to buy food in the supermarket and prepare yourself. You have a small fridge and will not be so tempted to always eat out.
Food is expensive in NZ (when i travel to europe/UK i find prices are often more expensive once you calculate the exchange rate) , and for a family of 4 you would easily pay $100/meal without alcohol etc. If you buy at the supermarket you could spend as little as $3-400 for the week.
Oct 23, 2012 4:34 AM
7Oh this is great! Thanks!
Yes I did actually forget to factor in food, someone reminded me of that today how it's a lot cheaper to cook your own as much as you can and buy from supermarkets.
Does anyone know how to find out where all the freecamp or honesty box places are?
We're thinking of going end of September early October is the weather relatively dry at this time?
Oct 23, 2012 6:56 AM
8Do a search for Department of Conservation camp grounds. They will be quiet in Sept/Oct as it is still fairly early spring. There are/were some towns promoting free camping areas for self contained campers maybe do a search but i know in Nelson the place is/was Neale Park.
The weather can be unpredictable, you could get some cold southerly storms coming through with snow in the south (the ski fields close around the first week of October) and equally it could be lovely warm and sunny especially in the north. In two weeks you will probably experience both.
Oct 23, 2012 2:30 PM
9bg fatfish - you can cook for yourself at the majority of campgrounds as well, and motel units are designed so that you can cook for yourself.
You can't at the DoC campgrounds unless you are at one of the ones with an open fire and you're keen on bbq for dinner ;-)
so I don't see that as so much of a factor; with the exception of lunches and snack stops. it's much easier to just pull up a van somewhere with a nice view and make a lunch on board than it is out of a car. You'd usually end up eating in a cafe probably.
The Department of Conservation publish brochures with all their campsites - one for the north island and one for the south. However bear in mind that regional councils in some places also run very cheap campgrounds - there are some good ones outside Wellington, for example, and there are several around Auckland. They are just as cheap as DoC campgrounds. You need to look on the individual websites - google for a list of regional councils or something. They'll be (for eg) www.gw.govt.nz (for greater wellington). There are also various free guides for camp grounds that you will probably be given by whoever you hire your car or camper from - just be aware that they're not totally comprehensive and are advertising based.
As well... like in #8, there are numerous places around the country where you can park a campervan for free or very low cost (as long as it's fully self-contained). Unfortunately the only way to find out about these is to look on every single city or district council website.
There is an organisation called the NZMCA that publish a directory of all campervan places in the country - but you must be a member to get a copy, as it takes them a heck of a lot of work to put that together and many of the sites are for NZMCA members only. We still have our copy from a couple of years back :-) although are no longer members.
Oct 23, 2012 9:16 PM
10Well I have plenty of time yet so can spend it researching the towns/city councils and getting as much info as I can. It does look like the motorhome is the way to go at this stage.
Thank you so much everyone. I'll probably be back a million times over the year with millions more questions :)
If anyone can think of anything else to add, please feel free. My husband and I will be going through this with a fine tooth comb...and have fun doing it too :)
Oct 25, 2012 1:07 PM
Nov 5, 2012 6:34 AM
12#9 I agree you can cook in the camp grounds but the difference i find when we are car camping vs campervan is that it tht i find it so easy to transport/keep food. No esky/chillibin needing ice replacements and no melting and slimy stuff in the bottom of the bin... it is easy to plan ahead for a day or two as food keeps much better in the fridge. In short - I am pretty lazy and a campervan seems easier.. :)
#11 thanks for the info. Shame people cant just do the decent thing and keep stuff going like that. I remember there were some issues with it but didn't know it had stopped.
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