New Zealand – Our Guide to the Best Treks in New Zealand

New Zealand is famous for its spectacular natural scenery and what’s more, it’s carefully protected. It’s not surprising that numerous movies have been filmed here. So if you’d like to go hiking in a movie set … please read on for our five favourite walks in New Zealand.

emerald lakes, tongariro crossing hike

Lake Tongariro

ABEL TASMAN COAST TRACK

Get going on a three- to five-day tour (51 km/32 m) on the coastal track of the Abel Tasman National Park. Walk like Robinson Crusoe along unspoilt beaches bordered by lush vegetation, passing by lagoons of turquoise water, all part of what you will experience on this coastal hike. If you’re tempted by a taste of heaven, go right ahead, the Abel Tasman Coast Track is suitable in any season.

The accommodation available along the path works on a reservation system: huts and camping sites must be booked beforehand throughout the year. However, day walks are free and to get an idea you can go for the 2-3 hour stroll from Tonga Bay to Bark Bay, which is stunning.

 2. Abel Tasman Coast Track

Abel Tasman Coast Track

TONGARIRRO ALPINE CROSSING

This hike is composed of 18 km throughout volcanic landscapes, alpine vegetation and the forests of  Tongariro National Park. Rated as “the best one-day hike in New-Zealand”, the Alpine crossing passes through a breathtaking volcanic landscape – active caldera, smoking chimneys and beautiful coloured lakes.

Although theoretically doable in one day, this exhausting trek should not be taken lightly. The weather can change in suddenly so equip yourself carefully. If you aren’t at your best physical condition, take two days to do the trek and overnight at Ketathi refuge. The path is easy to reach from Mangatepopo Road close to the SH47 and Ketetahi Rd close to the SH46. Shuttles stop at both ends of the route. However you will need to book first and be ready to catch the bus to go back, because they don’t wait if you’re late.

MILFORD TRACK

This is a five-day trek (5 km/33m) through the rainforest and the hills of Milford Sound. This famous walk is generally considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world. During the high season for hikes (end of October to end of April) the number of walkers is limited and you are required to book. You also must follow a specific 4-day itinerary. The accommodation is in huts and camping is not permitted. You can go alone or with a guide. Contact the Department Of Conservation of Te Anau or book online at www.doc.govt.nz.

Cruise ship in Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zeala

Milford Sound

QUEEN CHARLOTTE TRACK

You will need three to five days (71km/44m) to explore the amazing  Marlborough Sounds. This famous path from the historical Ship Cove at Anakiwa passes through private land and Conservation Areas, revealing a stunning coastal landscape. It is easily doable for those of average physical fitness. It’s possible to split the trek up by taking water taxis, or you can also walk the whole track (3 to 5 days), or combine walking, kayaking or cycling. The trek is serviced by numerous travel agencies and boat services, allowing you to start or finish your journey wherever you want on foot, cycling or kayaking.

Accommodation is a few hours’  walk away, but boats can carry your luggage along the path.

4. Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds

RAKIURA TRACK

Three days are needed to walk the Rakiura Track (37km/23m). It’s not a challenging walk, it’s doable all year round and the start of the walk is well indicated from Oban. It’s a unique opportunity to see several native birds, as well as beautiful beaches and native fauna. You will need to be of reasonable physical fitness but that’s all.

The landscape is spectacular and it’s one of the famous Great Walks, so it’s necessary to book the huts or camping sites in any season. Do this online at www.doc.govt.nz, or at the DOC office of the Rakiura National Park at Stewart Island.

Demystifying Insurance Options for Campervan and RV Hire in Australia and New Zealand

When customers are planning their motorhome or campervan holiday and are at the stage of checking prices and vehicle types, one of the most common questions we are asked at Salamanda Travel is “what are my insurance options?”

4-berth Uluru road

So we’d like to explain how it works with some of our most popular suppliers for campervan and motorhome hire in Australia and New Zealand. We’ll deal with the USA in another blog post.

First of all, at Salamanda we refer to “liability” ? each vehicle hire has a built-in limited liability amount included. In other words, our major supplier has limited the amount you are liable for in the case of an accident or incident. Please also note that the liability is irrespective of who is at fault, as per the Terms and Conditions, and that the liability is applicable per incident or accident.

However, if another driver is at fault and the supplier can retrieve costs from the at-fault driver’s insurance provider, once this money has been successfully claimed you will receive the relevant refund. This could take some time though, depending on the insurance provider concerned.

So, I hear you ask, what is the standard liability on the vehicle you have selected? The standard liability varies from brand to brand and from vehicle to vehicle – and there are also options to reduce this amount even further, or even to zero, which I’ll go into shortly.

Some of the most popular vehicles and their standard liability amounts are set out here: (dollar amounts are AU$ in Australia and NZ$ in New Zealand):

Vehicle size Supplier Country of Travel Standard liability
2/3 Berth and 4 Berth Hitop Hippie Australia & New Zealand $2500 ($3500 <21)
Cheapa Campa Australia & New Zealand $2700
Apollo Australia & New Zealand $5000
2 Berth S/T Hippie Australia & New Zealand $2500 ($3500 <21)
Cheapa Campa Australia & New Zealand $2700
Apollo Australia & New Zealand $5000
Star RV Australia $7500
New Zealand $5000
4 and 6 Berths Cheapa Campa Australia & New Zealand $5000
Apollo Australia & New Zealand $7500
Star RV Australia $7500
New Zealand $5000
4WD Campers* Cheapa Campa Australia $5000
Apollo Australia $7500

*4WD campers are not offered in New Zealand

When you request a quote for a campervan or motorhome either online or by phone from Salamanda Travel you can just leave the quote at “standard liability”. Or, you can reduce the liability further with a choice of two options.

Liability Reduction Option 1 reduces the liability by approximately half in most cases and in some cases even more, and Liability Reduction Option 2 reduces the liability to zero. With this last option, on vehicle pickup an imprint only will be taken from your credit card for pre-authorisation of a bond amount of $250. This is not charged to your credit card, and assuming all is well it is released on drop-off of your campervan or motorhome.

An exception to this is the Hippie vehicles ? a bond is always charged for Hippie campers. The lowest the liability for Hippie campervans can be reduced to is $100 (or $250 for drivers under 21).Hippie Camper Budget

Many customers enjoy the peace of mind of Liability Reduction Option 2. And especially for those who are travelling one way, have extra drivers and require chairs and tables, the All Inclusive Option is often the best choice price-wise because it includes zero liability, as well as all those extras and more, and the one-way fee is then not charged either (except in the case of Cheapa Campa). This last option can really give great value for money in such cases – as one customer put it recently, “A no-brainer.”Cheapa 6 Berth

If you have chosen standard liability or Option 1, the liability that remains will be deducted as a bond at pickup. Please note that this is irrespective of what other insurance you may have taken out. If you have travel insurance, or as in the case of some other agents, you believe you don’t have anything extra to pay, please do take into account that the supplier will always deduct the liability level you have selected as a bond, and it is payable on pickup. Please always check your confirmation which will include this information.

If you have separate travel insurance you may be able to claim money back from your insurance provider in the case of an accident, however any payments to the vehicle supplier will come from you first. It’s then up to you to contact your travel insurance provider and submit a claim with them. We also recommend checking whether your insurer does provide cover for the specific campervan or motorhome you are hiring.

Still have questions? Don’t worry, we’re available by phone to assist.