Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

All campervan questions are answered by the friendly Spaceships crew. Have a look below and see if your question is there. Otherwise, get in touch with us and we're happy to answer any question about campervan hire in New Zealand you have. We'd love to hear from you.

Hiring a Campervan in NZ

Are your vehicles self-contained?

Our vehicles are not self-contained. We recommend staying in campsites with appropriate facilities. There are a range of campsites in NZ starting from $0 per night with toilets. If you would like more information on these please contact us

If I have a portable toilet is my vehicle self-contained?

You need more than just a portable toilet to be certified as 'self-contained' the vehicle needs to be able to hold and store a certain amount of fresh and grey water. More info about self-contained and the rules.

Why is hiring a campervan so popular in New Zealand?

What better way to explore such an amazing country than at your own pace? A Spaceship offers you freedom, flexibility and convenience all in a vehicle which is like a good car to drive. Then there are the world class attractions, the golden sand beaches, amazing landscapes, first class campground facilities, and friendly locals. Travel New Zealand in a Spaceship and do what you want when you want!

Is my international driving licence accepted in NZ?

New Zealand law states if your driver's licence or permit is not in English you must carry an accurate English translation or International Drivers licence that has been translated into English. This is your responsibility as the hirer. A probationary or restricted licence is acceptable. See for more info 'Can I Use My Driving Licence in New Zealand'?

Can my friend or partner pick up on my behalf?

Your friend/partner can pick up the Spaceship on behalf of the main hirer. In order to do so the main hirer needs to check in on line and email a photocopy of their drivers licence to us. We require credit card details from the main hirer in advance or the person picking up on behalf of the main hirer. Please email [email protected]

Can we drop off in any other location apart from Auckland or Christchurch?

No. Our depots are in Auckland and Christchurch.

I am travelling alone, will it be safe in a Spaceship?

‘You’re not alone’. We have over 300 Spaceships exploring New Zealand during the busy months so there is always a friendly fellow Space Traveller to catch up with. The locals are also friendly. 

Spaceship Features

How many people can you seat?

Spaceships have a ‘customised’ seating system in the back, which enable them to uniquely seat up to four people in a Rocket and three to four people in a Beta, (great for small families, couples or extra friends). The BETA 2S has 2 seats only. 

Does a Spaceship come with bedding and living gear?

Yes, a double duvet, two pillows and a sheet are provided free of charge. A internal table, pot and pan, chopping board, plates, knives, forks, cups, bowls, can opener + much more is also included for free with your Spaceship. Please also refer to Free with your hire page on our website http://www.spaceshipsrentals.co.nz/vehicles/free-with-your-hire/

 

Is the driving and sleeping comfortable for tall people (over 2m tall) as well?

The driver’s seat and steering-wheel are adjustable, so you will feel comfortable while driving through New Zealand. The bed length dimensions are 1.4m wide by 1.92m long with additional space to 2.1 metres for taller people to stretch out. We can also supply an extra bit of bed providing another 30cm. This provides 2.4m with the awning up.

Should we bring suitcases or soft bags?

We recommend that you bring soft bags (like a backpack). There is room for two of these in the rear storage area. The measurements are: - Rear Storage 1.30m wide by 65 cm across and 32cm deep - Central main storage 60cm by 60cm and 32cm - Storage behind fridge 35cm wide, 43cm long, 32 cm deep

Can I plug in my MP3 player, iPod or phone?

All Spaceships come with a free AUX cable (jack plug) so you can connect almost any device that contains your favourite road trip tunes to the stereo system of your Spaceships campervan. Just make sure to download your Spotify tunes to your device to save on mobile data while travelling... Plus, there are places in New Zealand where you'll be out of reach of the cell phone towers.

The Dream Sleeper Mini comes with a super-duper modern stereo system, so you won't need an AUX cable. That stereo system is equipped with Bluetooth to make listening to your favourite tunes even easier. Plus, it comes with a free built-in GPS (SatNav) system.

What sort of stereo is in a Spaceship?

All Spaceships come with a 4 speaker surround sound system! Plug in your music device (iPod, smartphone etc) via the free AUX cable and crank up the volume. 

Plus, the Dream Sleeper Mini comes with a super-duper modern stereo system, so you won't need an AUX cable. That stereo system is equipped with Bluetooth to make listening to your favourite tunes even easier. Plus, it comes with a free built-in GPS (SatNav) system.

Are there 4 wheel drive spaceships?

No we do not offer 4 wheel drive Spaceships

Can I choose the name of my Spaceship?

We do have a lot of travellers requesting to travel in R2D2, THE HOFF, CHUCK NORRIS, YODA… Unfortunately we are too busy in summer to be able to allocate vehicle names. In Winter some requests may be possible. Please contact us if you have a specific Spaceship you would like to travel in.

Spaceship engine and vehicle Specifications

What size is the engine?

Your Spaceship is fitted with an environmentally friendly (Euro 3) 2.4 litre mid-mounted engine for safety and stability. Average fuel consumption is Beta 2 berth – 9 litres per 100km Beta 4 berth - 10 litres per 100km Rocket – 10-11 litres per 100km The above are estimates only and will vary based on how you drive, the terrain you are driving, average speed on the open road and urban usage. Your Spaceship is fitted with an environmentally friendly (Euro 3) 2.4 litre mid-mounted engine for safety and stability. Average fuel consumption isBeta 2 berth – 9 litres per 100kmBeta 4 berth - 10 litres per 100kmRocket – 10-11 litres per 100kmThe above are estimates only and will vary based on how you drive, the terrain you are driving, average speed on the open road and urban usage. Your Spaceship is fitted with an environmentally friendly (Euro 3) 2.4 litre mid-mounted engine for safety and stability. Average fuel consumption is Beta 2 berth – 9 litres per 100km Beta 4 berth - 10 litres per 100km Rocket – 10-11 litres per 100km The above are estimates only and will vary based on how you drive, the terrain you are driving, average speed on the open road and urban usage.

What type of car is a Spaceship?

All Spaceships are Toyota Lucidas or Estimas (people movers), basically the same as Previas in Europe and Taragos in Australia. They are structurally and mechanically a very fine vehicle that drives like a good car.

Is the Spaceship a petrol engine?

All Spaceships are petrol engines. They run on unleaded petrol. Fuel consumption is approximately 9 litres per 100 km for a Beta and 10-11 for a Rocket. Average price of petrol is NZD$2.00 It is best to fill up in the built-up areas as petrol prices are normally slightly cheaper than in rural areas. It will normally cost around $120 to fill up depending on the petrol prices at the time.

How does the self-charging battery system work?

Spaceships are set up with a smart battery system. This allows you to operate the fridge and internal while the engine is not running - this will run the auxiliary battery down but the Spaceship will always start on the other battery, and then self-charge as you drive. This means you do not have to pay for powered sites like you would in an ordinary campervan or motorhome to charge your vehicle, saving you money and enabling you to go further off the beaten track. NOTE: The Rocket (budget) campervan only has one battery.

Do you have to have the car running to use the fridge and listen to music?

Spaceships are set up with a smart battery system. This allows you to operate the Fridge and listen to music while the engine is not running - this will run the auxiliary battery down but the Spaceship will always start on the other battery, and then self-charge as you drive. This means you do not have to pay for powered sites like you would in an ordinary campervan or motorhome to charge your vehicle, saving you money and enabling you to go further off the beaten track. Battery life can be up to 24 hours depending which items you are using. The fridge uses the majority of the power.

Are Spaceships transmissions manual or auto?

Spaceships have 4 speed automatic transmissions so they are easy to drive (we can give you a quick lesson if you’ve only driven manual cars before). They have electronic overdrive for better fuel economy.

Spaceship Accessories

Can I hire extra items?

You sure can. We offer some great accessories for you trip. The most popular, especially during the summer, are the summer pack (1 table, 2 chairs, solar shower and chiller bag for $80) SAVE $10. There are tents, GPS units, external 240vlt mains plugs and more. It is worth booking them in advance to ensure you will get them. For families with kids we can offer booster/child seats. We also have a great Winter Warmers combo to package up the most popular accessories at a better price for winter.

What is included in Summer Pack or Winter Warmers Pack?

With a Summer Pack you can get a table, 2 x chairs, a chilly bin (cooler/esky) and a solar shower all for $80! Winter Warmers - 1 thermos bottle, 2 hot water bottles, extra duvet, oil heater, 240vlt power cord – means you can still be toasty in winter for only $100.

How does the solar shower work?

Solar showers are great. You simple fill the 25 litre bag with water and leave it in the sun till warm/hot and then hang on a tree. These are great if you are camping in DOC campsites and there is no hot water. You can still have a hot shower.

How does the external 240 volt mains plug work?

The mains plug optional accessory is an external power cord, so it allows you to plug into powered campsites to run a heater, charge a cell phone, laptop, camera or even use a hairdryer. A transformer or adaptor will be needed to fit NZ three-point sockets.

We are travelling with our baby. Do you provide babies/ child seats and what are the requirements in NZ?

Yes we do. 1 child/ booster seat recommended in the BETA 2berth as these have manufactured anchor points. Please email us well in advance of your pick up date with the age and weight of your baby/child. [email protected]

Hiring Terms /Bond Reductions and Pricing

Are there extra one way hire fees?

No! We do not charge for one way hires between our depots in New Zealand. It's all included in our low rates.

Can I hire a Spaceship if I am 18?

Yes, we do hire to drivers of 18 years of age (more info). As long as you have a valid driver's licence.

What does the excess (bond) mean?

Bond is the excess you are liable for if an accident occurs during your hire. This is $3,000. We do not deduct the bond from your credit card, but merely freeze the funds, which makes sure they are available at the time of pick up in an event of an accident. The funds need to be present at the time of vehicle pick up and are then released when the vehicle is returned provided no damage has occurred.

Credit card details must be on all rental agreements and must be the credit card of the main hirer unless prior arrangements have been made. Where a credit card is not available, a cash bond will be held by Spaceships for 21 days following the hire to cover any infringement fees. You can choose the All Inclusive Insurance Option or Partial Excess Reduction to reduce your excess. More info about our insurance & excess reduction options.

What Bond Reduction Options do I have? What would you recommend?

For more information on Bond Reduction Options and what we recommend, please visit our Bond Reduction page. Spaceships now offer an All Inclusive package so you can travel with complete peace of mind.

Is there a minimum hire period?

The minimum hire period for return hires (e.g. Auckland to Auckland) is 5 days from May-October. November to April it is 10 days but contact us if you are looking for a shorter hire and we will see what we can do. Please note there may be greater minimum hire periods at peak times (December-February). This will vary based on availability.

Are there any hidden costs once I pay for my hire?

There are no nasty hidden costs to surprise you when you arrive to collect your Spaceship. Tax (GST), standard insurance, third party insurance and unlimited kilometres are included in your daily rate along with road user charges, roadside support service. A 2.5% credit card fee applies.

Is there a charge for additional drivers?

There is no charge for additional drivers.

Is it possible to multiply the hire in the UK, Australia and New Zealand?

Unfortunately, We CANNOT combine Australia, New Zealand and the UK because of the different currencies. You need to make separate bookings. If you have travelled in another country first you qualify for a 5% discount.

How can I find the lowest rate? What's the cheapest time of year to travel?

To make it easier for you to see New Zealand on a budget, we have created our low rate finder page. You'll find our rates throughout the season there. Plus heaps of info about what it's like to travel in New Zealand in a cheaper season. Trust us, New Zealand is beautiful and the scenery is amazing, 365 days a year. And you'll save heaps of money by changing your travel dates just a little.

Pick up/drop off and airport transfers

Where can I pick up and drop off my Spaceship?

You can pick up and drop off your Spaceship in Auckland and Christchurch. As we don't charge one-way fees, you don't have to drop off your campervan at the same location. 

  • Our Auckland depot is located in Penrose, which is between the city and airport (13km from the airport and 10km from the city). See map & directions to our Auckland depot.
  • Our Christchurch depot is located near the airport (2.5km). See map & directions to our Christchurch depot.

Hire your campervan for 21 days or more and you qualify for a free transfer. Check out all items that are included for free with your campervan.

Can we pick up our campervan after-hours?

Yes you can. This is a free service we offer, but it must be pre-arranged and authorized by us. Please have a look at our after-hours service page for all information about how to arrange the after-hours pick-up service.

Can we return our campervan after-hours?

Yes you can. This is a free service we offer. This must be pre arranged with us prior to drop off so we can provide you with details on where to park and leave the keys. Please have a look at our after-hours service page for more information about how to arrange this.

Can we pick up/ drop off at the airport?

No sorry. Spaceships do however arrange transfers to and from the airport, which we will gladly assist for you on your behalf.

How to get a free transfer to our depot

When you hire your campervan for 21 days or more you'll get a free transfer. Check out all items that are included for free with your campervan. And sometimes we have special deals that include a free transfer, even on short hires.

Airport transfers

If you have booked for 21 days or more please contact us to arrange a free airport transfer for you. This is only valid if you wish to pick up your Spaceship on the day you arrive into New Zealand and is one way from the airport to our office.

What do I need to do before arriving at your depot?

To speed up the check-in process at our depot it would be great if you can fill out the pre-arrival check-in before you arrive. During that online process you can also add or remove accessories or update the insurance option. Easy as. 

Can I pay by cash when picking up my vehicle?

Yes, you can pay by cash when picking up your Spaceships campervan during business hours in Auckland or Christchurch. Just keep in mind that if you're on the Standard or Partial insurance option, we'll need to freeze the bond/excess on your credit card so make sure to bring one. Upgrading the insurance to All Inclusive will mean $0 bond/excess and heaps covered, giving you complete peace of mind while travelling in New Zealand.

When you're going for after-hours pickup you'll need to pay the remainder of your balance in advance as there won't be a staff member on site. More info about our free after-hours service.

Booking your Spaceship

When should I book my Spaceship Campervan?

It always pays to be organised and book your travel well in advance. If you are looking to travel from October to May it would pay to book at least a couple of months in advance, through the winter at least 3 weeks in advance. If you are looking at last minute options always email us as there are always a few cancelations and last minute availability is possible.

Can I amend my booking later? How flexible are the dates?

If you were to prebook it is not a problem to adjust your pick up/drop off dates (subject to availability). During peak season you will need to give us as much notice as possible. There is no cost involved to change your dates.

How do I secure a booking via the website?

Simply start by calculating a price for your travel dates or compare our vehicles to see which one is perfect for your travel plans.

When you're ready to book, follow the booking steps. Enter your travel dates and follow the step by step booking form (enter personal & additional details → choose extras and any optional insurance options → check our Terms and Conditions → submit the form). After that you can confirm your booking and pay a 20% deposit via our secure online payment system or you can submit your booking details as a quote and we will contact you to answer any questions you may have or arrange payment via phone, fax or email.

Are the online payments secure?

Yes. Your payment card information (credit card or debit card) is encrypted and processed securely with our payment provider Payment Express. You can see that it's a secure connection by looking at the URL address bar in your browser and seeing the HTTPS (meaning that it's a secure SSL connection) in the web address of our payment page.

Do I have to pay a deposit when booking?

You have to pay a non-refundable 20% deposit in order to secure a booking. If you would rather pay via phone, fax or email you can submit your booking details as a booking request and we will then contact you to discuss and arrange payment, or answer any questions you may have.

When should we pay the balance of the hire?

The remaining balance of your hire is required on the day you collect your Spaceship. This can be paid with Visa, Mastercard or cash. You will be asked also for a credit card imprint as we require this to cover the excess on your insurance. If you would like to pay the balance in advance this is fine. Please contact us regarding this option.

What is a 'booking request'?

If you would rather pay via phone, fax, email or other payment option you can submit your booking details as a quote (no deposit will be paid at this stage). Please write all your comments, questions or further requirements in the comments box of the booking process. We will contact you within 12-24 hours to arrange payment and answer any questions you may have.

Can I pay by debit card?

Yes, you can pay with a debit card that is accepted in New Zealand (Visa or Mastercard).

Can I call the office to make a booking?

You can also contact our New Zealand office to make a booking. Please email [email protected], call 0800 772 237 (freephone in New Zealand) or +6495262130 (from overseas).

Can I update my booking?

Yes. You can log into your booking and add or remove accessories, change the insurance option, update your details and complete the pre-arrival check-in.

Travel and campground Information

Does travel information come with the hire?

Yes, we will provide our Travel Support Package - as we believe that with a little bit of guidance and support you can get so much more of your adventure in our country. We will give you campground guides, basic maps and a Spaceships on road safety sheet. When you are travelling you will also have access to our Space Mates throughout New Zealand for local guidance, support and discounts. Just drop into one of our 29 Space Mates through out New Zealand to find out about places to stay, things to do and local events.

Is there a Spaceships smartphone app?

Yes. We have apps for Android and Apple devices. The brand new Spaceships app launched in 2016 and contains all info about camping, accommodation, deals, petrol stations, WiFi and all info that's important when you're roadtripping in New Zealand.

The info is linked to a central database and is constantly being updated by fellow travellers. With the Spaceships smartphone app, you always have the most up-to-date camping info at your fingertips. Also, you can use our smartphone app in New Zealand an Australia.

How much does the ferry cost and do I need to prebook?

We prefer to book the Bluebridge ferry because they have good rates all year around. As Spaceships can be booked on as a “private car” year round for only $130 (one-way crossing). Adults are $55 per person. In school holidays, around Christmas and New Year and the height of summer it is best to book at least 7 days in advance, otherwise, a few days and you should be okay. We can arrange it for you when you are at our depot to pick up your Spaceship or you can book these low ferry rates online.

More info about the ferry between the North and South Island in general or the Bluebridge ferry company specific.

Can I sleep anywhere or do I have to stay in campgrounds? Is free camping allowed in the NZ?

There are only a few places in New Zealand that free-camping is illegal, though Spaceships ask you to respect all areas of New Zealand and not just camp anywhere - please stay in designated camps, DOC camps, Holiday Parks or Top 10 parks. Please be responsible to the environment and dispose of all your waste correctly. There are lots of public toilet facilities to use free of charge all around New Zealand so please use these. In your Spaceships there is free information on The Department of Conservation “DOC” campsites. There are over 250 of these throughout New Zealand. They are set in some of the most stunning locations in New Zealand and have basic facilities for you to use. There is also information on the various other networks of more comfortable Holiday Parks with toilets and hot showers, powered sites, kitchens, TV rooms, Laundromats and internet. The average cost for DOC campsites are $0-$10 a night; Holiday Park campgrounds have an average cost $15-35 for non-power campsites, $20-40 for powered sites. We provide a selection of full colour brochures with all of the standard campsites and DOC campsites. You can also check these web pages to find more about campgrounds: www.doc.govt.nz; www.holidayparks.co.nz; www.top10.co.nz Also check out camping our way - where can I camp.

Should I book campgrounds in advance?

Travelling from December - February you may have to book the more popular campgrounds in advance so not to be disappointed. Otherwise you will be fine.

What information and deals come with a Spaceship?

Spaceships come with with campground guides, basic maps, Spaceships on road saftey sheet and access to our great deals.

How far can I travel on a full tank of fuel?

Depending on how you drive and the terrain you should average around 450-500 km per tank in a Rocket and 600+ km in a Beta.

What is the cost of fuel in New Zealand?

Petrol prices are constantly going up and down. The average price is between NZ$1.75 - NZ$2.10 per litre. See the comparison chart for the current petrol prices throughout New Zealand. The fuel capacity of all Spaceships campervans is 60 litres.

Travel tip: It is best to fill up in the built-up areas as petrol prices are normally slightly cheaper than in rural areas.

Am I insured to drive the camper on unsealed roads?

You can drive on most unsealed roads like some South Island ski roads and country roads. Be careful if you pull off to the side to stop as there can be gravel and you may get stuck. There are three roads our insurance policy does not cover. ROAD RESTRICTIONS Please note that vehicles are not covered by insurance when travelling on the following roads: - Skippers Road (Queenstown) - Ball Hut Rd (Mt Cook) - Ninety Mile Beach (Northland) All Inclusive covers you for gravel roads but excludes the three restricted roads listed above.

Do we need snow chains in winter?

Generally you do not need chains unless you are looking at doing a lot of skiing. It pays to watch the weather forecasts during the winter and if in doubt stay put as you will be better off than getting stuck in the snow for a day or so. We can advise you on where to hire chains around the country if required – for example chains are required by law to travel on the Milford Rd between July and October. You can pick a set up in Queenstown and drop them off on the way back up if you are looking at exploring Milford Sound during these months. Our depots have snow chains for hire.

Will we be warm enough in our Spaceship during the winter night?

Winter is a great time to see New Zealand. The crowds are gone, the weather is cool but still ok and the snow capped mountains are breathtaking. Unlike a steel van (like a Hiace or other vans) Spaceships are insulated like a good car keeping you naturally far warmer. We also include an extra duvet for free and have a great winter warmers pack for only $100. This includes a 240volt mains plug, heater, hot water bottle and thermos. You can take warm showers in standard campsites (or Holiday Parks) if you are staying overnight, but many camping grounds will allow you to use their facilities for a few dollars without actually staying the night.

What are the public facilities like in New Zealand?

Campsites are of a very high standard in New Zealand with powered sites, hot showers, full kitchens, TV and entertainment rooms. When you hire a Spaceship a large variety of information is included on all the campground options in New Zealand. This includes the 250+ DOC campgrounds (some of which are free camping).The average nightly rate will be between NZD$6-$15PP/Night. Some camping grounds will allow you to use their facilities for only a few dollars without actually paying to stay the night and there are also good public facilities to use free of charge in many locations throughout the country.

How can I charge my electronics?

There is an external power cord (240-volt mains plug) This allows you to plug into powered campsites to run a heater, charge a cell phone, laptop, camera or even use a hairdryer. A transformer or adaptor will be needed to fit NZ three-point sockets.

However, small electronic devices like a smartphone or tablet can be charged by using a special plug + cable (travel tip: bring one) to plug into the cigarette lighter of the campervan. Also, the Dream Sleeper Mini campervan is the only Spaceships campervan that comes with 4 USB ports for charging those small electronic devices. These USB ports are on each side of the bed, so you can charge your phone will Facebooking before you go to sleep.

Is there a way to get a prepaid local SIM card, 3G/4G wireless internet access on the road or rent mobile phone in New Zealand?

For rental of mobile phones or SIM cards in NZ go to VodaRent. They are offering these services directly at both Auckland and Christchurch international airports. Otherwise visit New Zealand's mobile operators for info:

Special deals

Do you offer special deals on long hires over 36 days?

If you are quoting or looking to hire a Spaceship for 36 days please email us at [email protected] for a special price.