While getting a quick tour of Auckland by a local fren, she was telling me one good thing to do here is to hire a caravan (those with cooking and sleeping facilities) which can fit 6-8 ppl (but if comfy then 6) and take it all the way from Auckland down to Wellington and Christchurch, soaking in the atmospheric landscape of New Zealand.
Or even drive thru the tour of the Lord of the Ringshttp://www.tourism.net.nz/tours/lord-of-the-rings-tours/
Now this is TEMPTING me??
Caravan? Lord of the Rings? I'm so SOLD!
For info, I did a river boat self-driven down Murray River in Australia, one of the best experience of my life. I can imagine it now, Lord of the Rings sights by day, boardgames by night under the lonely stars... OMG!
friends wedding still up in the air due to economic downturn.
bring back lots of brochures first!
suggested iteneries as per the motorhome website
Basket... another depature tax NZ$25. But this one at least can claim back. Hate airports with these taxes  Siem Reap also has USD25 departure taxes... haiz.
there are also certain places to park caravans - cannot just park them anywhere you want - and in those places, they provide water and electricity piped-in to your caravan for cooking, etc
That's one of the reasons I proposed caravaning in NZ as they are caravan-friendly place.
I was in NZ (South Island) in late 2004. I rented a caravan (for 3-4 people) and drove out of Christchurch with it. Went south through the Canterbury Plains, all the way down to Queenstown (it's just one straight road). From there, went further south to Te Anau and after that to Milford Sound. Then, took the road north to Arthur Pass and Nelson. Then, back to Christchurch. Took me 3 weeks to finish touring south island.
Actually, you can park anywhere and sleep in for the night. The only places that you cannot park in are by the side of the highway, in parks, and in big cities. Otherwise, you can stop anywhere for the night. I did that in/near Lake Wakatipu area, and several other whistle stops along the way. It's much cheaper than stopping in those Caravan parks as they charge per night, per person. So unless you want to pay through your nose, I don't really recommend using the Caravan Parks. But, once every 5 days, you have to empty out the waste products (read : crap and piss) from the caravan, so you might have to stop in one of those caravan parks to do it. Otherwise, don't waste your money.
I'm actually planning on going to either Venice or New Orleans again at the end of the year. I figure that I should travel more before the kids come. I'm more partial toward New Orleans as I love the Jazz Festival there (a week after Mardi Gras). I spent a week backpacking in the Big Easy during spring break back in early 2000. Bunked in at a backpackers inn somewhere in the middle of Canal Street. Can't remember the name of the place though. Good times.
I still prefer Nawlin' to Montreal tho. Canada is a bit too cold for my liking even tho I went in the summer. But NZ is worse. It gets really nippy at night, even in the summer. So dress warm before heading down to New Zealand. And have fun.
Hey cool, thanks for the tips!
I was thinking about one week sort of trip, which I gather is the minimum rental period for a caravan. And it could be done on the March-April so-called 'shoulder period' between peak vacation periods.
And I gather from my friend that South Island also is the more scenic one. Hours between stops, just you and nature for miles.
Passed a truckload of brochures to ayheng for him to study/digest them. Won't be needing them anyway for the next couple of weeks.
Airfare-wise, I was told by my NZ fren Stef that Brunei Air offers possibly the lowest rate at NZ$899 return, the only downside is you have to fly via Bandar Seri Begawan (and possibly taking up 3-4 hours).
I did a quick check on their website and their fare for Sep is around RM2,299 returns but the trip takes 4.5 hrs longer. For eg you leave KUL around 2.40pm Sat and arrive in AKL 9am Sun (whereas my MAS direct flight left KUL Sat 9pm and arrived AKL Sun 11am).
My MAS flight costs RM5,000 just in case you are interested  (but this is a last minute booking so price would be the highest fare).
I re-checked MAS website to see how are fares around Sep and they are still around the RM3,700 price point. So Brunei Air still offers the besta rates for now (and I still have my Royal Skies card where the points dun expire hehe) unless we catch another MAS offer somewhere from now till end of this year (like what we did for our Angkor trip).
I suppose the 3-4 hrs gap in between transit from Bdr Seri Begawan won't be a big deal since we are packing boardgames along. 
SIA offers only slightly lower fares compared to MAS (so that's won't offset the extra hours we've to wait). Looks like Brunei Air is the best offer for now.
A quick check on Airasia website confirms the price to be about RM2,600, and that is only to Brisbane/Melbourne. So the Airasia-Jetstar combo recommended by my friend is still more ex than Brunei Air. So we target about RM2,400 for Brunei Air flight for now.
After doing a quick scan through Jeff's material, I concluded that a proper caravan tour of NZ will probably need one week for the North Island (base off Auckland) and then fly to Christchurch and do another week for South Island. I'm not sure if we can ferry the caravan between the two islands as of now. If we decide to do the full monty, 2 weeks is required, else one week and choose either North or South Island.
Campervans/Caravans, there's an award winning company called KEA. Price about NZ200 per day for rental. There's a lot of options. Best if someone can listen around to hear of companies with good recommendations. Else it's pretty close in price.
Travelling dates should be about April, which is end of summer, where all the crowd would have gone home. The other travelling time is Spring in about September I guess, but might be too close for planning this year.
Excursions I see include wineries tour, caving/blackwater rafting, hobbiton visiting, cruise/flight through fjords, hiking, beaches and the various extreme sports like bungie jumping in all major cities. So perhaps we can see what everyone's taste for stops are. Of course anything other than admiring nature comes with a price tag. Usually about NZ150-200 per excursion so it's best if everyone agrees on the overall no and budget. Main event should still be visiting the LOTR sites though.
Driving license I read that a valid license with your home country is enough. Judging by the time I first drove in Australia, a Malaysian license shouldn't be a problem, our license actually has a little English translation that says it's a Malaysian Driving License. Maybe jack208 can verify this with his friend?
The ferry between North and South Island is called the Interislander. I posted the link in the previous post. The caravan rental companies handle the bookings as well, maybe there's a little surcharge over the original price but it sure eliminates the ambiguity on determining the caravan length to calculate the charges. Only thing is that we have to confirm the actual date and time we are going to cross the islands.
They (NZers) mentioned Msia driving lic can drive there. Not sure if we need to pass an international supplement test or watever but we can certainly drive. Just have to remember we are driving on NZ roads and not KL.... lest they started shouting obscenities at your reckless driving LOL
As for crossing North & South, we have two options.
(1) is to use the ferry as described by Heng... our campervan goes into the ferry and it crosses the sea with us.
(2) is to return the campervan at North Island, take the ferry across and collect another campervan (same company) at South Island. Most campervan companies have networks on both islands.
Not sure if (2) is cheaper than (1) or otherwise. These are just options though.
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