The hiring of a car anywhere can be a daunting thing. There is so much research involved, comparing prices and deals, making it such a big job in itself. For us at least that was our initial understanding and experience…
Well in our case we were maybe very fortunate in that regards, because before we put too much time into researching which companies to go with, someone did it all for us and got us an amazing deal.
We were walking around Cairns end of September, we had just purchased our flights too and from New Zealand, had done a quick half hour search on car rental companies, got a little overwhelmed and that was as major as our planning had gone. Whilst in the city we walked past a travel agent and we somehow casually, or intended, got chatting to the girl managing the shop.
If you have ever been to Cairns, you will know there are at least 10 travel agent type shops on every street, with someone always trying to stop and speak with you.
So at first we were skeptical but went along to be polite. Then Alex thought maybe to ask about car rentals in New Zealand etc etc, after all they had New Zealand pamphlets on the wall. Well turns out she had lived in New Zealand for a number of years and had worked for a travel company over there, she had also tried out a lot of those companies. Right away she was offering to do some research for us, find us some options within our price range and specifications (fridge), then go from there.
We thought, ok lovely she will do heaps of research for us, then we can take that information away and book it ourselves. And whilst she was researching, Alex did do some checking of a few companies she’d mentioned, just so he would have a good idea of what she could offer and what would be too crazy.
When we went back an hour or so later, she had compiled a list of three companies and compared them for us, as well as secured us a deal with the best priced and packaged one.
We took that away for a chat. Not long after we decided to allow her to book the car for us. With the deal she had secured us, it meant we would have a discounted rate, free table and chairs, as well as free GPS for the duration of our hire.
Now it may not seem like much, but apparently you normally paid for them. And yes she would be getting some benefit for securing our booking, but we were happy to not have done the extent of research ourselves, for someone to look after us and if she received benefit from it then good on her. After all we were really happy with our deal.
And then from then on we didn’t think too much about the car hire until a week before we left for New Zealand. Then we looked into what we needed to pack as you can imagine.
Now it stated the car came with your linen and essentials so we left towels in our car, packed our clothes and off we went.
After a day in Christchurch we went to pick up our car. The ladies at the office were so friendly and got excited with us when we asked for pictures. After all this was our first car hire and it would be our home for 3 weeks.
We were given Pegasus, a cool name for our ride spaceshiping around the country.
Inside we had the bed which we could make each night. It had sheets, blanket and pillows but no towels…opps. We did not look properly so were stuck a little until we joined Bob and Leonne, Alex’s brother, but we weren’t bothered. After spending 5 months thus far travelling around Australia you make do with what you have.
As mentioned we also received a GPS, table, chairs, even two gas cookers which for us was fantastic and most importantly to us, we had an AUX cord for tunes! We were also given a re-usable shopping bag (I was stocked), a pack of playing cards and a bunch of pamphlets for places to visit. Definitely sorted for a road trip!
The car also cane with a small fridge, which fit just enough food for two days, and we eat a lot of vegetables. You could also fit enough beers in there so we were sorted in Alex’s mind. Next to the fridge was a large compartment where all our kitchen stuff was kept. We had 4 of everything; plates, bowls, cups, mugs, forks, knives etc. We had a pot, frying pan, cutting board, grater and some sharp knives.
For us having been on the road for quite some time, practically living out of our car, this set up was perfect. It was minimal but that’s all we needed!
Lastly the car also had a massive storage section for our bags in the boot. You lifted the mattress and there was a locked space, where we kept everything.
For us renting a car was a first, but living in a car was definitely a norm after our last 5 months. And yes this was a slightly different car and set up, where we would be inside more than on top, but we had what we needed and would much rather have this car than be on a bus.
Yes a bus allows you to not drive or think of where you are going, but with the car we got to take our time, if we liked somewhere a lot we would stay and we weren’t kept to a schedule.
Without a doubt hiring a car and exploring New Zealand with Spaceship, for us made the holiday! That and whom we were with of course! But if you are ever travelling to New Zealand and have a few weeks, definitely hire a car you wont regret it!
There was only one thing we were a little disadvantaged with and that was the weather. In our other posts you would have read that it rained a bit and even snowed (**link), that did limit our use of the table and chairs outside. However we utilised camp kitchens and Bob and Leonne’s table, which was inside their bus. You can get a shelter that attaches to the cars roof and acts as a canopy, but we never used ours. We took each days strange and sometimes very fresh weather as an exciting adventure, especially the snow. We did not expect this weather but it would not have changed our decision to hire the car.
Our experience with car hire and more specifically with Spaceships, who in fact originated in New Zealand and are a family owned and operated business, was awesome. In no way was this a requested or paid post, just our own documentation of our experience, one we hope encourages others to definitely explore New Zealand for one! But to also get out there and hire a car, see the country at your own pace and in your own way, we definitely feel it’s the best way to travel!