Doing a campervan trip around New Zealand has been on mine and Tom’s bucket list for a long time. And one we were very excited to tick off. However when researching into which company to book with, we soon realised that campervan hire in NZ wasn’t exactly the cheapest, with Apollo being one of the few that had options within our budget. However, after reading some less than favourable Apollo Campervan hire reviews online I was slightly concerned about opting for them.

In the end, we decided to bite the bullet and book the Apollo Endeavor Camper…come what may. I’m so glad we did as, unlike a lot of the reviews I read, our experience with Apollo went without a hitch. Read on to discover the key things you need to know if you’re thinking of booking with Apollo and my experience with them to help you decide if they are the right rental company for you.

Is Apollo good value for money?

Apollo’s initial daily hire prices are some of the cheapest you’ll find in New Zealand. Each hire also comes with all of the following standard inclusions for free: Unlimited kilometres, 2nd driver for free, standard vehicle insurance (reduced liability options are available), Kitchen kit, personal linen kit, other general equipment (inc. power cable, clothesline, dustpan & brush, fire extinguisher, bucket, hose) and 24 Hour roadside assistance

However, the costs do start to creep up a little more when you add on liability reduction options and other extras. Therefore I would advise going almost fully through the booking process to get an accurate quote for your trip. Although, I found this was the same on all hire companies websites and Apollo’s final quotes were still very reasonable in comparison.

Like most vehicle hires, you also need to read the fine print to make yourself aware of any hidden or liability costs involved. You can read Apollo’s full terms & conditions here.

Apollo campervan hire review - Lake Tekapo

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Apollo campervan hire review – insurance options

Apollo Rentals have 4 different insurance options for you to choose from. The Standard Liability called ‘The Low Road which is included for free with each rental and has a high bond/liability excess of up to $7500 depending on your vehicle. For an additional daily fee, you can choose ‘The Middle Road which takes your bond/liability excess down to $2500, ‘The High Road’ which takes your liability excess to $0 and your bond to just $250 or the Value Pack.

Bond/liability cost for the different vehicles for 2020/21 trips:

Apollo’s terms & conditions

The Value Pack option

There’s also a Value Pack option which also has a $250 bond but also includes equipment such as camping chairs and gas bottles for free as well as additional damage cover for some vehicles.

The full details of what’s included for 2020/21 trips:

Apollo’s terms & conditions

As our travel insurance didn’t cover comprehensive vehicle hire, we opted for the Value Pack option. With a $0 liability excess, just a $250 bond and extra damage cover, our minds were at ease if anything happened. As the Value Pack for our specific campervan didn’t cover tyre and windscreen damage, we also had the option to add this on for an additional $7 per day.

Top tips for choosing insurance

1. You have to pay the bond amount for the insurance option you’ve chosen on a credit card which is then held by Apollo during your rental period. Particularly if you’ve opted for ‘The Low Road or ‘Middle Road’ option this can be quite a high amount. Apollo used to charge you a percentage for this transaction, but have stopped this practice last year. 

2. If you are thinking about going for the Value Pack option, make sure to add up the extras you want individually and see if the total is less than the difference between ‘The High Road’ option and the Value Pack option.

3. Like most vehicle hire insurances, Apollo’s insurance only covers damage to the front back and sides of the campervan. If you want any additional damage cover you will have to pay for this separately. Or check if it’s included in the Value Pack option for your vehicle.

Driving the campervan

Apollo campervan hire review -Picking up our campervan

Our pickup experience was very speedy and smooth. On arrival, we were given a check-in form to fill in and watched an informational video on our particular campervan and driving in NZ. We then signed our rental agreement and paid our bond.

After this, we went outside with one of the Apollo team and did a walk around of our campervan. Here they pointed out existing defects and added any new ones we spotted to their report. I felt like they were also upfront about what we needed to do regarding cleaning before returning the campervan so we didn’t incur any additional costs. The whole pick up process took around 30 – 40 minutes in total.

Top tip for pick up

Make sure to take photos of your vehicle when you are doing the pickup inspection. Just in case you need to fall back on them later.

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Apollo campervan hire review – The Endeavour

We rented an Endeavour Camper which turned out to be a great little campervan. It was very clean inside and everything worked perfectly, except for one of the gas hobs. I also thought it was very well equipped too. There was a good range of kitchen utensils including a kettle and toaster and relatively new bedding and towels provided. We also had camping chairs, a table, and gas bottle all included in the price as part of the Value Pack. The hi-top roof was also a godsend, especially for my boyfriend who’s 6ft tall! Our campervan was also mechanically sound. It ran very smoothly and we experienced no problems at all during our 2-week trip.

The only potential downside to this campervan would be that although it can sleep up to 4 people, I think it definitely would have been a bit of a squeeze for 4 adults. However as there were only 2 of us, we could use part of the boards for the second bed in the roof to create a shelf to store our belongings on. This was super helpful in keeping our campervan tidy, organised, and more spacious.

Apollo campervan hire review - The Endeavor Camper

Apollo campervan hire review -Dropping off our campervan

Our drop off experience was very similar. We parked up the campervan. Waited for around 15 minutes for them to do a check of the vehicle in which there were no problems! They even had a free airport shuttle service that we used to get to the airport for our flight to Wellington.

Top tip for drop off

If you pick your campervan up in the morning of your first day, it doesn’t mean you have to drop it off on the morning of your last day. You still have the whole of your last day to drop it back at the depot. Just make sure to check closing hours and leave plenty of time for traffic.

Apollo campervan hire review - Queenstown

Overall our experience with Apollo campers was a great one and I would definitely recommend them! It was our first campervan trip and one we will remember for all the right reasons! If you’ve had an experience with Apollo before let me know in the comments!

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