Ara Rentals is a budget campervan rental service offering 2-3 berth campervans. They pride themselves in offering a very low-cost alternative to motorhomes and other campervans in New Zealand. They are a small family business, where you can expect friendly, efficient customer service.
Based in Christchurch, Ara Rentals has been a family-owned and operated company since 1995. The fleet is relatively large, and they have always been a budget oriented company.
Ara has a solid reputation for offering reliable transportation on the cheap. They are upfront about all charges, insurance, and what’s covered on the minimum mandatory legal insurance, and how much the driver will be responsible for in the case of repairs being required (the first NZ $1,200).
People have very few complaints about how Ara handles their customers, no matter what the issue. From pickup to drop off, and any problems in between, Ara truly appears to handle their customers with care and simplicity. No mucking about to figure out what’s covered and what isn’t, and no hidden costs or surprises. Just a straightforward, no frills company for a straightforward, no-frills target market.
If you do run into some damage, the reputation for handling such matters is not what you’d expect from a “small” family business. Perhaps it’s because they are so upfront about what they will and will not cover, and are forthright about what you’re expected to pay in the event of a mishap. They have a reputation for basics — simplicity — and that’s exactly what you get.
The fleet consists of 2+3 berth campervans that are economical and simple to drive. The campervans are available in two models — the ARA2 and the ARA3 — and are branded by Toyota, Nissan, and similar manufacturers. Depots are located at Auckland and Christchurch, and rentals can be arranged for a number of locations — including Picton, Queenstown, and Greymouth — for an additional relocation fee.
Because the focus is on economy, the fleet is a bit long in the tooth. The ARA2 models are 1995-1997 models, and the ARA3 are 1999-2000 models. This age, however, does not mean they are beaters. They are well-maintained and frequently serviced to assure a reliable rental (this, plus roadside assistance, is rather reassuring).
The fleet is rented out at rates from NZ $45 – NZ $105 per day, and quotes are all inclusive with any extras you choose.
For all of the no-frills touting and the economical angle at which Ara markets their fleet, they actually do provide quite a bit of extras that are included in the rental price. Some of the inclusive extras are very handy to have, too — such as 24-hour roadside assistance, area maps and brochures, deck chairs, pots and pans, sheets, towels, pillows, sleeping bags and duvet (doona), bowls, and buckets.
There are a few optional add ons that cost NZ $25 per item, but are harder to get with other economy rentals, such as ski chains, DVD players, and chemical toilets. Other optional features include baby seats, cell phones, camping kits, and tents.
This company is a small, family owned and operated business that provides very basic campervans at a good price. They are extremely budget friendly and market to the low-budget, money conscious crowd. Luckily, they do provide quite a bit of extras with their service, which makes up for the bare necessities feel of the rental. Ultimately, you will get just a little bit more than what you pay for with the majority of the fleet, and, should you encounter any problems, you will receive the assistance you need from this family oriented company.