INFO & FAQs

New Zealand is the perfect destination for a self drive holiday. New Zealand has been referred to as  ‘the world in miniature’… You can start your day surfing on the East Coast and finish it off snowboarding some of the best slopes in the southern hemisphere. Drive for a couple of hours and you’ll go from golden sandy beaches to lush rainforests onto rugged mountain ranges. But don’t rush! There’s so much to see and do, we’ve put together a few tips and a bit of info to prepare you for your journey.

YOUR INTRODUCTION TO DRIVING IN NZ…7 TOP TIPS

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What driver’s license do I need?

To hire and drive an Hugo Campervan…

  • You need to be at least 18 years of age.
  • We DO NOT accept provisional or learner licenses (or licenses which have been suspended anywhere, for any reason).
  • We DO ACCEPT valid English language driver’s licenses. An English language licence basically means a licence issued in the following countries: UK/Ireland, USA, Australia, NZ and some parts of Canada.
  • If your drivers licence is not from one of these countries, you will need TWO items in order to drive in New Zealand :

(1)  Your local license AND… 

(2)  Either an International Licence OR a certified English translation of your home licence. We recommend Transnational for NZ certified translations. They have an online portal at www.driverlicencetranslation.co.nz where you can arrange your own translation online. Just drag and drop image scans of your licence/passport. Best to do this in advance, save time when you are here.

  • Remember, unless your license is fully in English language, you will need to provide BOTH your local drivers license AND an International licence/or a certified English translation.

This is not ‘over the top’ admin. on our part. It is the law and is required by the NZTA, NZ Police and by our own insurance company.
We do also expect a level of driving competency with our hirers. You should be an experienced driver, able to drive both automatic and manual transmission (unless you have specifically requested and paid for our transmission guarantee). You should know how to change a tyre, how and when to top up water and oil and most importantly….how to Drive Safe. Click here for more about Drive Safe.

Remember, Hugo Campers doesn’t charge any extra for additional drivers.

How do I pay?

  • When you make a reservation with Hugo Rentals, a deposit of NZ$300 is required to secure the booking. This is a secure payment made online via credit card. You then simply pay the balance and any other costs when you collect your vehicle (extra insurance, optional accessories etc.). Hugo Rentals accepts Mastercard and Visa credit cards and debit cards. There is a 2% surcharge when you pay by credit card, but we’ll waive this if you take additional vehicle insurance with us.
  • Speaking of insurance, check out the three options available here. If you choose option A (‘Roll the dice’) you will need to ensure you have sufficient funds available on your credit card to enable us to freeze your bond ($3,000 -$4,000). This is transacted when you collect your vehicle and unfrozen again at the end of your journey when the van is returned as per our agreement.

Can my children travel in a Hugo campervan?

Hugo will NOT accept bookings for children aged less than five years (due to safety). If your child is aged 5- 8 years, you will be required to bring your own booster seat. Hugo MAY have one available to rent, but this is not guaranteed, so better to bring your own. Remember, your child will be travelling in the front of the van (where the seatbelt is) which is quite exposed,  so if you have concerns around your childs safety, a hugo van is probably not for you.

Pre-arrival tips

  • Check all of the details on your booking confirmation (dates, depot) and also check your flight arrival time. If it’s likely you’ll arrive late afternoon, think about staying in a hostel for your first night and then collecting your van the following morning (you may avoid late pick up fees!).
  • Don’t leave yourself short when estimating how long it will take to get from the airport to our depot. NZ Customs can take a while and traffic from the airport can be very heavy. click here for our depot hours.

    • Make sure you enter your correct email details when you book with Hugo because we’ll send you a confirmation upon booking and a pre-arrival email two weeks before you arrive (featuring travel tips and other important information).
    • Check your drivers license and credit card. Both valid? Great. Are there sufficient funds on your credit card to pay the balance of your hire or provide a bond? (bond not required if you take out full ‘No worries mate’ insurance).
    • ‘Like us’ on Facebook before you arrive. We use Facebook to keep our hirers updated on any special offers, road conditions, weather and other useful ‘stuff’.

Do’s & Don’ts

DO…

  • Do book early. Hugo Campervans are really popular over summer months (November to March).
  • Bring a valid driver’s license for each person driving the vehicle.
  • Bring a credit card or debit card and if you’re NOT upgrading your insurance, make sure it has sufficient funds to freeze for the bond ($3,000)
  • Watch our 7 tips introduction video and complete our online driving test.
  • Consider which insurance option is best for you and check out our optional accessories
  • Book your ferry. Even if you’re not certain of the dates, it’s good to book it well in advance – You can change it later if you have to.
  • Check your flight arrival times and if it’s likely you’ll arrive late afternoon, think about staying in a hostel for your first night and then collecting your van the following morning (avoid late pick up fees!).
  • Like us on Facebook for regular updates, driving conditions, promotions etc.
  • Be a considerate driver to others (if you’re in sight-seeing mode, pull over and let others pass)
  • Read our Hugo campervan guidebook for van maintenance tips, suggested itineraries and discounts at various activities.
  • Bring your smart phone or MP3 player to create your own road trip soundtrack.
  • Respect the environment, be safe and enjoy your journey.

DON’T…

  • Don’t Rush. Take your time around this amazing country. Check out our distance calculator
  • Don’t leave yourself short when estimating how long it will take to get from the airport to our depot. NZ Customs can take a while and traffic from the airport can be very heavy.
  • Don’t smoke in our vans. We can tell and we apply a $200 cleaning charge.
  • Don’t think about travelling with more than 3 in our vans. This will void your contract and insurance. And don’t drink or do drugs and drive. Again, all insurance will be voided, but more importantly, it’s dangerous and stupid. Don’t do it.
  • Don’t camp irresponsibly. Click here if you want to find out where you should camp.
  • Don’t be over-confident. You’re driving in a foreign country on the left side of the road (which may be unsealed) in an unfamiliar vehicle. If you are inexperienced at driving, you need to ask yourself if a self-drive holiday is right for you? Click here for more information on Safer Journeys.
  • Don’t speed or break the law. It’s unsafe…and expensive. Speed cameras are everywhere and you’ll be liable for the fine plus the $75 administration fee.
  • Don’t incur parking infringement or toll road fines. Again, this is expensive, particularly when our $75 admin. fee is applied.
  • Don’t assume it’s Ok to change the conditions of your contract (extending your hire) without contacting Hugo first.

Depot locations and opening hours

Auckland Depot

61 The Strand, Parnell,
Auckland 1010


Depot Hours:

Summer (01 October to 31 May) – Pickups are available between the following times :
• Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm,
• Saturdays and Sundays 9am – 3pm,
• Public Holidays 9.30am – 2pm.

We are closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Winter (01 June to 30 September) – Pickups are available between the following times :
• Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm,
• Public Holidays 9.30am – 2pm.
• Closed Saturdays and Sundays

Christchurch Depot

15 Kingsley Street
Sydenham
Christchurch

christchurch-campervans

Depot Hours:

Summer (01 October to 31 May) – Pickups are available between the following times :

• Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm,
• Saturdays and Sundays 9am – 3pm,
• Public Holidays 9.30am – 2pm.

We are closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Winter (01 June to 30 September) – Pickups are available between the following times :

• Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm,
• Public Holidays 9.30am –
• Closed Saturdays and Sundays

How to get to our Depots

Auckland Depot: 61 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland 1010.
• If you are at the Auckland Airport, call ‘Discount Cab’s from a landline once you have collected your bags and cleared customs. Their phone number is +64 (9) 529 1000. We have a special deal and the cost is only $45 total (cash) for Hugo clients.

• There is also the airport bus for $16 per person. Skybus departs the airport terminal every 15mins during the day (30mins overnight) and will drop you off down Queen Street or at the downtown ferry terminal at the bottom of town (we are about a five minute walk from there).

Christchurch Depot: 15 Kingsley St, Sydenham.
• There are a few options to get to the Christchurch Hugo depot.

• From Christchurch airport, call Steve’s Shuttles on freephone 0800 10 10 21 once you have collected your bags and cleared customs. He’ll meet you inside the airport and drop you at our door – his prices are great too! (Cash only). Check Steve out on www.steveshuttle.co.nz

• Call First Direct Taxis – They have phones in the terminal labelled “First Direct Taxis” that you can pick up to order a cab, or simply call NZ freephone 0800 50 55 55. There is a fixed rate for Escape clients so please make sure that you confirm this over the phone.

• Catch the Christchurch Metro bus into town. The schedules vary so ask at the airport i-Site (info desk) if you need help. It’s likely you’ll need the No10 or No29 to get to us. It will drop you at the city centre bus depot. It’s then a 15-20min walk to us.

Need to organise your ferry crossing? We can help!

New Zealand is made up of two large islands named ‘The North Island’ and ‘The South Island’ – imaginative huh? 🙂 The stretch of water between these islands is called the Cook Strait and whilst it may not look far, it takes about 3 ½ hours to cross from one island to the other.

bluebridge-ferry-campervan

Hugo Campervans recommends Bluebridge Ferries (www.bluebridge.co.nz) who operate between Wellington and Picton.

Hugo Campervans are cheaper on the Bluebridge ferry than other larger motorhomes, so if you’re booking your ferry crossing, make sure they know you’re with Hugo. Our vans travel for the regular car price on Bluebridge Ferries, plus a further 5% discount on top of that also. It should cost you about $120 for the camper and around $55 per person for a one way crossing. It definitely pays to book this service in advance, particularly over Christmas or during the summer period.

To find out more and get instructions on exactly how to book your ferry crossing with Bluebridge using our discounts, Click here.

Drivers license

To hire and drive an Hugo Campervan…

  • You need to be at least 18 years of age.
  • We DO NOT accept provisional or learner licenses (or licenses which have been suspended anywhere, for any reason).
  • We DO ACCEPT valid English language driver’s licenses. An English language licence basically means a licence issued in the following countries: UK/Ireland, USA, Australia, NZ and some parts of Canada.
  • If your drivers licence is not from one of these countries, you will need TWO items in order to drive in New Zealand :

(1)  Your local license AND… 

(2)  Either an International Licence OR a certified English translation of your home licence. We recommend Transnational for NZ certified translations. They have an online portal at www.driverlicencetranslation.co.nz where you can arrange your own translation online. Just drag and drop image scans of your licence/passport. Best to get this done in advance, save time when you are here.

  • Remember, unless your license is fully in English language, you will need to provide BOTH your local drivers license AND an International licence/or a certified English translation.

This is not ‘over the top’ admin. on our part. It is the law and is required by the NZTA, NZ Police and by our own insurance company.
We do also expect a level of driving competency with our hirers. You should be an experienced driver, able to drive both automatic and manual transmission (unless you have specifically requested and paid for our transmission guarantee). You should know how to change a tyre, how and when to top up water and oil and most importantly….how to Drive Safe. Click here for more about Drive Safe.

Remember, Hugo Campers doesn’t charge any extra for additional drivers.

Fuel Info

All vans run on unleaded petrol, which is approximately $2.30 per litre (August 2018).

That means a full tank of gas will cost you about NZ$140, and we work on an average of 10-12 litres per 100kms.

Have a safe journey on our Roads


We want to ensure our hirers have a SAFE and enjoyable journey around New Zealand, so we’re playing our part:

  • Every hirer will receive a copy of the ‘What’s different about driving in NZ’ handbook when you collect your campervan. Please read it and familiarise yourself with our rules and driving conditions.
  • You will also receive a pre-arrival email from Hugo filled with useful travel tips. There’s also a link within that email to a video which our hirers MUST watch before commencing your NZ road-trip. Here it is again for you to check out.
  • We want you to undertake the following online NZ driving test before you arrive to familiarise yourself with our rules and conditions: www.drivingtests.co.nz
  • We have strategically placed some new ‘KEEP LEFT’ stickers within all of our campervans. We realise driving on the left is a bit different for many of you and it’s easy to slip into old habits and drift over to the right. Don’t do it! Keep left at all timesAll times!! (just so we’re clear) 🙂

Now this part is really important. Hugo is also supporting the NZ Tourism Industry Association, the NZ Transport Authority and the NZ Police with their efforts to improve international driver safety.

So please check out the following website: www.drivesafe.org.nz This is a new site aimed at educating our international visitors about driving in New Zealand.

Guys – This is all about keeping you all safe on our roads. If you’re not comfortable with this, if you’re uncertain about driving in unfamiliar conditions, if you lack driving confidence or competence, you need to ask yourself if a self-drive holiday is really right for you?

But if you are an experienced, safe and considerate driver, if you’ve checked out the websites above and completed the online driving test, that’s great. You won’t regret it.

That’s all for now. Be safe. Enjoy your journey.

Where to Camp?

One of the best things about travelling in a campervan throughout New Zealand is the freedom you have to explore this amazing country of ours. But with that freedom, comes responsibility!

We need all of our Hugo campervan hirers to respect and protect the environment, particularly when choosing where to camp.

There are over 6,000 camping sites throughout New Zealand and many are free or cost very little. And because there are so many great campsites available, Hugo Campervans does NOT recommend freedom camping (where you simply pull up where you want and camp for the night).

A ‘Freedom Camping Bylaw’ was passed in 2011 which provides local councils the authority to issue infringement notices which will incur an instant fine for illegal camping (generally $200…maybe more). This cost will be the responsibility of the driver so we urge you to consider carefully where you’re camping (check for ‘no camping’ signs and respect the directives from the local authorities).

To help you plan where you should camp, we have our ‘Respect NZ’ map/website and we urge you to use it (or download the app). ‘Respect NZ’ is basically a detailed interactive NZ map featuring thousands of campsites, key attractions and popular activities.

It profiles the 300 plus campsites operated by the New Zealand Department of conservation (DOC). These are free or low-cost sites ($8-$10 a night) and you’ll receive a guide to these within your campervan also. Respect NZ features all of the commercial campsites throughout New Zealand also. These are a bit more expensive (about $20 per night) and a bit more ‘swanky’ with hot showers, cooking facilities, Wifi etc.

Click on the banner below to find the best places to park up your campervan…

respect-nz-camping-map-570x48

If you do choose to Freedom Camp, well, that’s your call, but always check with the local I-site (information centre) first.

Still uncertain where to camp? Use these:

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camping_logo
camping_our_way_13 camping_our_way_15

Keeping it Green and being Good.

We love New Zealand. It’s a beautiful country and we want to keep it that way.

At Hugo, we play our part by being good citizens. We actively recycle within our depots and constantly monitor and manage our environmental ‘footprint’.

We expect our hirers to ‘be good’ too and you can achieve this primarily by looking after the environment when you travel.
Choosing where and how to camp is a big part of that, so click here for access to our Respect NZ Map.

lovely-new-zealand

Booking FAQs

When and how should I book my campervan?

Booking an Hugo Campervan is easy. Simply enter your dates and depot requirements in the ‘Quick Quotes and Bookings’ panel at the top of the page.

From there, pay your $300 deposit via credit card (Visa or Mastercard) to secure your booking. Your credit card information is also secure.

And then you’ll simply have to pay the balance when you pick up your camper.

New Zealand as a holiday destination is busiest between November and March, so if you’re thinking of travelling through that period, it will pay to book a good few months prior. And if you’re thinking of travelling between Mid-December and Mid-January, it might pay book even earlier than that!

What’s the minimum age for hire?

To hire an Hugo Campervan, you need to be at least 18 years of age. Please note…We DO NOT accept provisional or learner licenses.

What sort of driver’s license do I need?

To hire and drive an Hugo Campervan…

  • You need to be at least 18 years of age.
  • We DO NOT accept provisional or learner licenses (or licenses which have been suspended anywhere, for any reason).
  • We DO ACCEPT valid English language driver’s licenses. An English language licence basically means a licence issued in the following countries: UK/Ireland, USA, Australia, NZ and some parts of Canada.
  • If your drivers licence is not from one of these countries, you will need TWO items in order to drive in New Zealand :

(1)  Your local license AND… 

(2)  Either an International Licence OR a certified English translation of your home licence. We recommend Transnational for NZ certified translations. They have an online portal at www.driverlicencetranslation.co.nz where you can arrange your own translation online. Just drag and drop image scans of your licence/passport. Best to do this in advance, save time when you are here.

  • Remember, unless your license is fully in English language, you will need to provide BOTH your local drivers license AND an International licence/or a certified English translation.

This is not ‘over the top’ admin. on our part. It is the law and is required by the NZTA, NZ Police and by our own insurance company.
We do also expect a level of driving competency with our hirers. You should be an experienced driver, able to drive both automatic and manual transmission (unless you have specifically requested and paid for our transmission guarantee). You should know how to change a tyre, how and when to top up water and oil and most importantly….how to Drive Safe. Click here for more about Drive Safe.

Remember, Hugo Campers doesn’t charge any extra for additional drivers.

Is there a minimum number of days I have to hire the van?

Hugo campervans have minimum hire periods as follows:

• Summer (Travelling 01 October to 30 April):     7 Days
• Winter (Travelling 01 May to 30 September):    7 Days if insurance is purchased. 10 Days if no insurance is purchased
• Minimum one way hire between Auckland and Christchurch (or Christchurch and Auckland) is 14 Days – Be safe. Don’t rush! :)

How many passengers can travel in an Hugo Campervan?

Three people including the driver can travel in an Hugo Camper. Remember, Hugo Campers doesn’t charge extra for additional drivers.

Depot FAQs

How do I get to your depot?

Auckland Depot: 61 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland 1010.
• If you are at the Auckland Airport, call ‘Discount Cab’s from a landline once you have collected your bags and cleared customs. Their phone number is +64 (9) 529 1000. We have a special deal and the cost is only $45 total (cash) for Hugo clients.

• There is also the airport bus for $16 per person. Skybus departs the airport terminal every 15mins during the day (30mins overnight) and will drop you off down Queen Street or at the downtown ferry terminal at the bottom of town (we are about a five minute walk from there).

Christchurch Depot: 15 Kingsley St, Sydenham.
• There are a few options to get to the Christchurch Hugo depot.

• From Christchurch airport, call Steve’s Shuttles on freephone 0800 10 10 21 once you have collected your bags and cleared customs. He’ll meet you inside the airport and drop you at our door – his prices are great too! (Cash only). Check Steve out on www.steveshuttle.co.nz

• Call First Direct Taxis – They have phones in the terminal labelled “First Direct Taxis” that you can pick up to order a cab, or simply call NZ freephone 0800 50 55 55. There is a fixed rate for Escape clients so please make sure that you confirm this over the phone.

• Catch the Christchurch Metro bus into town. The schedules vary so ask at the airport i-Site (info desk) if you need help. It’s likely you’ll need the No10 or No29 to get to us. It will drop you at the city centre bus depot. It’s then a 15-20min walk to us.

Auckland Depot

61 The Strand, Parnell, Auckland


Christchurch Depot

15 Kingsley Street, Sydenham, Christchurch

christchurch-campervans

What are your opening hours? After hours?

Hugo’s depot hours are:

Summer (01 October to 31 May) – Pickups are available between the following times :

• Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm,
• Saturdays and Sundays 9am – 3pm,
• Public Holidays 9.30am – 2pm.

We are closed on Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Winter (01 June to 30 September) – Pickups are available between the following times :

• Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm,
• Public Holidays 9.30am – 2pm.
• Closed Saturdays and Sundays

Pickups outside these times can sometimes be arranged for an extra fee ($125 – $175), but you’ll have to check if this service is available with us first. And you will be charged this fee in addition to your daily hire, so we recommend our campervan hirers spend the first night in a hostel or hotel before collecting your vehicle, particularly after a long flight. It’s safer, probably cheaper and this also addresses any issues that may arise from late flights or missed connections.

Can I pick up from one depot and drop off at another?

Yes you can! However, Hugo reserves the right to apply a $300 one way fee for southbound hires from Auckland to Christchurch (this is due to the costs associated with van relocations to balance fleet between the North and South islands). This fee may be reduced or waived subject to the length of hire or the time of year you’re travelling.

To find out whether your quote or booking has this fee applied or waived, simply enter your dates and pickup/dropoff locations, hit continue into ‘Instant Quotes and Bookings’ form on the right ,  and then hit continue again on the next screen. If a one way fee is being charged, it will appear under ‘booking details’. Alternatively, you can contact us and we’ll have a look at it for you.

Campervan FAQs

What’s provided in the campervan?

There’s no hidden costs with Hugo campervans and as such, you’ll find there’s a lot included in your hire. For a full list of what’s included (and what isn’t), click here.

Can I choose automatic or manual?

We have both manual and automatic transmission campervans on our fleet. If you have a preference, make a note of it when you book online or let us know and we will do our best to allocate your preference.

If you would like to guarantee a particular transmission for your trip (manual or automatic) there is a $10 per day option to do this when you book. We only collect a maximum of $200 for your entire rental in respect to either guarantee.

How does campervan insurance work?

Hugo has comprehensive and easy-to-understand insurance options. All vehicles come with a standard insurance policy that covers you for any damage to the vehicle or 3rd party/public liability. There is an excess that applies though which you will be liable for in the event of an incident or accident. That liability is $3,000 or $4,000 depending on your age. That potential excess is frozen on your credit card as bond.

However, this bond/liability can be reduced or waived altogether when you purchase additional insurance – Click here for more information.

We recommend taking additional insurance for peace of mind whilst you’re travelling.

Can my young child travel in the camper with me?

Hugo has a minimum age of 7 yrs old for children travelling in our vans. Under NZ law children aged 7 yrs and older do not require a child seat. Do remember that all passengers travel in the front of the van, there are no seats or seatbelts in the rear.

Can I take my pet dog with me?

Sorry – No pets allowed.

On the road FAQs

How or where do I camp?

Where you choose to camp is really important. So click on the ‘Where to Camp?’ banner to the right and we’ll point you in the right direction.

How do I book the ferry?

It’s easy and with Hugo, it’s cheaper to book than with other campervan operators. So click here to find out how…

Do you provide additional travel information and maps?

Yes! You will receive our ‘Great Escape Guidebook’ featuring suggested itineraries, great places to visit, discounted activities and more. You can also help yourself to a range of maps and brochures within each of our depots (plus any old books and novels our intrepid travellers have left behind).

And if you’re travelling with your smart phone, you may want to download one of the following apps:

•  ‘Respect NZ’ App. New Zealand’s most comprehensive travel map for campervans, this is like an app. version of our Respect NZ map with thousands of campgrounds listed, petrol stations, scenic highlights and other places of interest. This is a free app available from the Apple and Android stores.

• ‘Campermate’ App. This is a free app, available from the Apple and Android stores. featuring some, but not all of New Zealand’s campgrounds also.

What if I break down or have an accident?

First things first. If you’re involved in an accident (no matter how minor) you MUST stop and ensure everyone is OK. If not, call 111 immediately. And please ensure you swap details if there is a third party involved.

In the event of an accident, you need to contact us and NZ Roadside assistance. We’ll discuss your insurance options with you and do what we can to get you back on the road. NZ Roadside assistance will help with any towing or mechanical requirements.

If you breakdown, NZ Roadside assistance is there to help you with over 3,500 service providers nationwide (from mechanics, to auto electricians and locksmiths). We operate Toyotas and Nissans only, which are extremely reliable, but it’s good to know we’ve got your back if anything does go wrong.