"Why i will never book Hippie-Campers-Australia again"
I am a dedicated traveller and hire campervans on a regular basis for the l...
I am a dedicated traveller and hire campervans on a regular basis for the last 20+ years. Canada, USA, Namibia, New Zealand and Australia are only a few destinations I travelled with hired campervans. I live in Australia now since many years and I do get visitors from Europe on a regular basis. The last campervan I have booked (just returned it a few days ago) was with Hippie campers.
To cut a long story short, it was disappointing from start to finish and I have NEVER seen such a run down, dirty and technically unfit vehicle.
Let me list only a few "highlights":
- Vehicle was about 20 years old - the ad said "3 years +". While this is mathematically correct, I expect a vehicle at least less than 10 years old...not a historic vehicle
- Vehicle unfit:
The speedometer showed 319,000 km (!!) when I picked up the car. The "service lamp" went on the same day I picked up the car. The vehicle was not at all in a technical state which would allow a long trip across Australia. Going up and down the coast a few kilometres might be possible, but exploring Australia with a 20 year+ old rust bucket? No thanks. So I had to adjust my travel plan as I wasn't able to get another vehicle from Hippie/Apollo for this holiday.
- Vehicle falling apart after 6 days on the road:
The window of the passenger door simply fell into the door - it was not possible to close the window afterwards. So we drove the last few hundred kilometres through the rain with an open window. A rather refreshing experience.
- Vehicle too noisy to drive over 90km/h and maintain a conversation:
Everything rattles and shakes. The interior was so purely done that pots (which were loose under the bed...), the sink (which wasn't fixed on the bench properly), "stove" (a cheap few dollar Bunnings camping stove) and bed frame (which slides around when you take a left or right turn) moves around the moment the vehicle starts moving.
- Vehicle simply filthy:
The seats were dirty, and I had to put towels on the seats to avoid getting stucked there. The "kitchen" was simply dirty, and I had to clean the car for more than an hour to actually use it
I will strongly advise everyone not to book Hippie Campers and I am currently thinking of taking the Hippie campers case to NSW Fair Trade as I feel simply cheated.
Given the bad experience I feel that Hippie camper owes me a significant refund as I did not at all get what I expected with my booking.
Fridge didn’t work. Fuel gauge didn’t work either so we ran out of fuel without knowing we were that empty. We were told the battery would charge as we drove. It didn’t. It only charged on a power connection. Normal power wouldn’t work because it needs a 15amp connection.
Nice staff and people on the help line, but a typically convoluted phone system when we rang to report issues. Lots of waiting on hold and not being able to reach the person who can help you.
All in all an ok experience but not without issues.
The hippie camper is good overall, but it's really old and has mechanical issues sometimes. It's not super maintained and I think Apollo and do way more for the price you need to pay for this van.
Old run down campervan, many different problems along they way with the van and apollo, not worth the money we paid! Wouldn't recommend other hire companies much better.
The vehicle was older then expected and the interieur was damaged at certain points . While driving, dust could enter the campervan. (Crack in the backdoor)
Some issues I have 1. The issue with credit card fee's on a $3000 bond. Its $60 (2% fee).... non-refundable. BUT if you take extra cover out, you don't actually take the bond so no fee's... it makes you take the extra cover so its pressure sales and its an issue that the industry is tarnished with. 2. The fridge wasn't clean and stunk of gone milk. 3. The overall van condition was poor - its old, which is understandable but clearly the vans don't get repaired after damage. Broken lights, chipped screen, many panels damaged and the doors did not close properly on the rear. 3. The lady said we could have chairs complementary and they were not present. 4. The overall cleanliness of the van was poor- its had not been cleaned properly compared to the new Apollo vans. 5. Cost, it was close to $360 for 2 days... this is not a budget hire price. When I highlighted the issues I was aplogised to and she said "i made the bed which is your responsibility" as a means of resolution. Again, poor response, overall not good at all.
Overall quite disappointed, the van is nothing like advertised and when I contacted on the second day of our trip regarding faulty gearbox and brakes (which is quite dangerous) I was told that as not as an emergency they could not send out engineer, however they would send out someone the following day as a matter of top priority." Despite my follow-up call this was never followed through leaving us with a a difficult to drive and unsafe vehicle for the the entirety of the journey. Very poor customer service and a complete disregard for safety - I also asked to be informed on when the vehicle was last serviced, and was never told.
Other than the danger imposed by brakes and gearbox which would pop out of 4th gear, under-rev in 5th and stall/bunny-hop in 2nd, the exterior condition was completely unacceptable, clearly had been in many collisions from all of the bumps (two major), dints and scratches, while the interior was scratched, table/furniture chipped, mosquito nets missing and just over all damaged completely unrecognisable to what was advertised online.
For a budget, older campervan (ours is named Thom), the Hippie Drift Campervan was cosy and warm to sleep in (we travelled in Winter), and was mechanically sound, even though a warning light appeared 50 mtrs down the road from Apollo'/Hippies Depot, We phoned the Assistnace Ph No at once, and was advised to return to the Depot to have it checked out, which we did, and apparently it was due to an oversensitive sensor re the type of Octane unleaded fuel previously used (?), and was told not too worry about it unless the temp gauge went up/oil lamp appeared. We had no other problem at all with the vehicle, though we did tie up the awning as it was banging against the van when we turned corners. The layout was reasonable for the L300 van and plenty of storage underneath the bed frame when pulled out, and there was even a table inside as well. The fridge kept everything in it cold for 10 days just charging while in transit, and being winter I'm sure helped as well.
Everything we needed re equipment was provided (except a plug for the sink!)and it all worked fine, and the van was clean, though a lot of scuff marks were visible inside and a few outside on the panels as well, which was noted down (and pics were taken) before we left the depot. The van is reasonably economical, and we enjoyed travelling around in Thom, even if he doesn't have all the comforts of the bigger, newer hightop campervans. :)
We purchased campervan rental insurance (Rentalcover) for under $90 for the 10 days, prior to hiring the campervan, in case anything unforseen happened and $3000 deposit/bond is required from Apollo/Hippie campers, (which I was concerned about) that is deducted from your credit card, but I was absolutely delighted when after returning the van (cleaned by us and tidy) without any incidents, the $3000 was deposited back in my Credit Card Acc within 5 days! The staff were friendly and helpful., and we'd be happy to travel in a hippie camper or similar again in the future if/when the opportunity presents itself.
We had a Hippie Drift for a simple little run up the coast from Sydney. The van was as expected and did everything we wanted. The staff were fine and I can't fault any part of the campervan. Would use again.
It was just great. Especially that we got a free upgrade to the Hitop and paid for the Hippy Camper only :)
As from the start, hippie camper tried to get as much money out of us from all the possible tricks they can think about. It is terrible. In addition, the car is very old and not so well thought about. The only positive think is the bed which is fortunately comfortable enough, but not very practical when you want to cook after having made the bed... Also the locations are the worse and you need at least 1h or 2h public transport to come back to town. Finally, the staff did not explain half of what needed to be explained and we learnt at the end of our trip different options that were available from the start (such as charging your phone in the car after having plugged in the electricity...).
we toke the cheapest RV :
Old ? why not ! but lots of problems could be avoid if hippie campers really maintain the vehicles !
The worst is that if you have troubles : don't trust the assistance when they say "we call you back"... we had to battle 3 days to find a solution after the V breackdown. Finally we was so pissed off that we had to ask to talk to the boss of assistance service besause nobody tried to help.
+ Companie expensive (1600$ for the vehicule...800$ for options you cant refuse /assurance, glass breackage.../)
Best time of my life. Did some amazing activities and the campervan was really ok. No Problems, everything was there and clean as well.
I would like to add my voice to those suggesting it’s not a good idea to book a Hippie Camper. My partner and I recently hired one from their Brisbane office; these were our main concerns.
1) The single biggest issue for us was the Customer Service we received when picking up the car and completing paperwork from Carol, who was rude, impatient, irritable, unapproachable and ultimately really brought us down from feeling quite excited about our short holiday when we arrived at the Apollo office to feeling very discouraged and trepidatious.
2) Apollo can’t seem to sort out a problem with their vehicles using toll roads, maybe because they sell $50 toll passes (when a single toll fare is around $4-5) and instead of clarifying with me whether a toll had been in fact paid for (which it had been), billed my credit card for a toll and an infringement notice. It would have been simple good courtesy to contact me first
3) The mattress had significant stains.
4) The check engine light went on towards the end of the trip, a mechanic we visited suggested it was likely because of the exhaust system not functioning correctly. This was concerning as it indicated to us that the vehicles may not have been well maintained mechanically.
I have nothing good to say about my experience with Hippie Campers and the head ache continues long after you return the sub-standard vehicle back in one piece. Their administration is a nightmare. They expect an exorbitant bond unless you pay more per day of course, then they advise that your bond will not be refunded until 21 days after return....Good luck with that! No one answers the phones in the finance department and the message says they will return your call....yeah right!
They expect you to pay them up front for the use of their vehicle (which chews more fuel than a Boeing 747 per mile...by the way), but when it comes to them repaying you your money they don't even return your call or refund your money in the time frame stated!
There are better options to rent a camper van than going through Apollo/Hippie Campers!
We rented the Hippie camper through a german company which was defintely worth it and very helpful. (bestcamper)
We had the car for 28 days from sydney to cairns.
The first thing which we realized was that the pick up station was not very central rather outside of sydney.
The staff was very nice and helpful on the pick up station.
We gave hippie camper (apollo) only one star because it was our worsest car renting experience ever. Hippie camper doesnt freeze the money (deposit) like anywhere else in the world they charge your credit card which means lots of fees to pay. (not if you take the most expensive insurance) Its not possible to pay the deposit cash. Than we got our deposit 4 weeks later back. The deposit is 2500 dollar which is really high. We had to write them.
On the first 5 days we had many issues with the car. Ok, it always can happen but the reaction was not very helpful. Sometimes after lots of passion you may get a good person who can help you. They seemed to be overhelmed. They could not really help us and we were calling the company every day (5 days). That was very stressfull and costs money for us too.
- very comfortable bed
- kitchen area was very good
- fridge was very good
- light in the car (second battery)
- lots of stuff (sleeping bags, cooking gear, towels for free
- bed was to high you couldnt sit inside)
- many technical problems
- gas bottle price too high
- insurance doesnt cover everything
- 14 Liter - 100 km (need much petrol)
Ver rented a deluxe Hippie camper in March. And the experience was quite poor.
I had read many negative reviews but thought they must just have had bad luck... But after having had a car with a faulty battery for 5 days, a return guy that couldn't care less about our problems during the rental in Melbourne, and a refund that took over 1 month!!! I have the confirmation that Hippie Camper not the best choice if I ever have to book or recommend a camper in AU or NZ.
Just a quick review on Hippie Camper (through Apollo) because it fits to the topic. I hope this helps people to rethink their decision to hire a Hippie campervan:
My boyfriend and I are on a trip along the East Coast in Australia. We strongly recommend avoiding Hippie Camper / Apollo and better going with Jucy as we've had a much better experience with them for exactly the same price.
Here are the reasons:
1. Aircon broken: I constantly had wet feet and even the mechanic from Apollo (on the second day of our travels) said just put a towel under the leak.
2. Engine lamp constantly on: Mechanic told us to ignore that, too.
3. One break light not working: Mechanic told us to pretend not to know it if the police want to fine us.
4. Rail for bed broken: We had to put our suitcase under the bed so that we could lay on it at all.
5. Poor equipment: No sheets at all, dirty linen (white stains), one camping chair not useable due to damaged frame.
6. Radio and light in driver's cabin not working.
7. Windows in driver's cabin didn't close properly (especially uncomfortable when raining).
All of these things wouldn't have bothered us at all - we know we've hired a budget vehicle and you usually get what you pay for. BUT:
8. Clutch broken down: No chance to gear the vehicle anymore (we had a manual) - and this happened in the middle of the road after two weeks of travelling. This is not only annoying, but really dangerous as well. We're glad that there was no accident due to this and that we could make it to the next rest area (in the first gear).
9. Really bad customer service: Apollo didn't send a mechanic to help us on that day, so we had to wait for the next morning.
Instead of bringing us to the next city where we could enjoy the time at least a bit, we're waiting in the middle of nowhere at a random RACQ garage now. The vehicle will not be fixed in the next days and the mechanic told us that this severe breakdown is normal for an old campervan like ours. So far no information about if and when we'll get a replacement vehicle. We're basically stuck.
Edit: After two days (!) of waiting at a BP station next to the garage in the middle of nowhere and several calls from our side they will deliver the replacement vehicle today (hopefully). They are not ready to bring the campervan to the next bigger city to which we would have a lift this morning.
Please think twice if you really want to book a Hippie campervan.
Expecting to have found a cheap camper, ending up paying double the amount as expected…. They are ripping you of and you there’s nothing you can do about it. Bad start of the holiday.
My name is Melanie and I am the Marketing Coordinator for Hippie Camper which is part of the Apollo Group of Companies. I would like to look into your feedback further if you can email us directly on [email protected] In regards to your claim- i can’t comment on this as it will be going through out fleet department however in regards to the fees that you mention are not advetised – we have no hidden fees, all fees are written in our terms and conditions which are available online and which you must agree to before confirming a rental. Hippie Deluxe models are vehicles are 0-3years old and Hippie Budget models are 3-5 years so I am surprised to hear your feedback on having an “old” vehicle. If you would like contact me please do so and I can inform our customer services department of your feedback.