New Zealand, for free! The insider tips on transport..
So, how does it work? As a generalisation, people arriving in New Zealand will begin their holiday in Auckland. That means hire cars are needed, in Auckland. Off goes the family, drives south and returns the car to Christchurch whereby they fly back to Auckland, end of trip. This is where you come in. To return the car back to Auckland for the next french flashpackers, the rental companies can either;
A) Put the car onto a truck and get the truck to drive back to Auckland.
B) Hire people who’s job it is to drive the cars all the way back
C) Give the car to you!
The car hire companies offer their cars as available to drivers at no charge, and just offer a window of time to get the car from A to B.
Here is a personal example – my girlfriend and I picked up a Subaru 4WD hatchback and we were given 10 days to drive it from Christchurch, back to Auckland. In that time, we managed to circumnavigate the entire South Island of NZ, sleeping every night in the back of the car and then pulled an all-night driving session to get the car back to Auckland in time. In fact, when we arrived back in Auckland we were actually moving house, and we used the car as a moving van before returning it!
The offers vary as to what is offered, how long is given, where the departure/arrival is, if the price of the ferry is included etc. so a little shopping around in necessary. Luckily there’s a brilliant website available www.transfercar.co.nz and this is the explanation provided on their site:
Transfercar is an online relocation service providing really cheap (usually free) rental cars and campervan hire. With “free” we really mean the cars are free to drive, not even $1 a day! We don’t charge anything for this. How can it be free? Here in New Zealand we call it relocating but overseas the concept is called driveaway or one-way hire. Rental car or camper van companies need to move cars between their branches all the time. They can either use expensive trucks or trains or they can let you drive it for free. The rental operators win, you win. So how do we make money on this? Transfercar is charging a small fee to the rental operators for each successful relocation. We are constantly looking for more relocation drivers. Families, students, backpackers, event-goers, seniors or other travellers are all welcome. You need to be over 18 and have a full driver’s license. The most popular routes are between Queenstown, Christchurch, Picton, Wellington and Auckland but other locations are listed all the time. Most cars come with free ferry and insurance a free tank of fuel and other expenses covered is not unusual either.
So, what are you waiting for? Safe travels!