Britz Campervans Review

Customer rated 2.8 / 5 from 2 reviews

Editors Review

Britz Campervans have a presence throughout the US, Australia and New Zealand, though it’s in Oceania that they dominate. Their parent company, Tourism Holdings Limited, traces its roots back to the merger of three separate companies to form The Helicopter Line in 1986 — originally a scenic helicopter sightseeing business.

Britz was acquired in 1999 by THL, who also operate Maui and Mighty Campers in New Zealand — in fact, THL claim to be the largest RV rental operator in the world, with brands in NZ, the UK, the US and Australia, as well as a franchise operation in South Africa. THL also manage several tourism businesses within New Zealand. While some will be concerned about the fact that their money’s going to a company conglomerate, THL are known to reinvest locally — recently helping the Christchurch community in earthquake recovery efforts, for example.

Hiring a vehicle through a company as well-established and supported as Britz is generally a slick process, and the standard of vehicle is undoubtedly high. This makes for a contrast to some of the smaller family-owned businesses, where one tends to encounter a highly personalised service, but can sometimes run into unexpected problems. Of course, there’s also a tradeoff here on price — Britz are a good deal more expensive than smaller brands.

What Brit Tells Us

The Britz slogan in New Zealand is “no boundaries”. With a full range of motorhomes (from 2-berth to 6-berth) on offer, as well as good rates on 2- and 4-wheel-drive cars, they clearly pride themselves on the wide variety of vehicles they have available.

Britz are upfront about not being the cheapest option out there (by far), so they’re always keen to advertise their latest deals on their website — travelling in the off-season between July and September gets you 30% off, while October to November journeys can expect 25% knocked off their total.

Vehicles

Britz’s fleet is relatively new, with the vast majority of vehicles coming in at under four years old. Older vehicles are maintained to a ‘like new’ standard, but none date from earlier than 2012. They design and build their own campervans and 4WD fit-outs, and the company is known for frequently introducing new models; VW or Mercedes makes comprise the majority of the fleet, although there are a couple of Toyotas, like the Hitop.

All vehicles come with linen and bedding, and kitchen and general equipment, as standard. There are plenty of optional extras for hire; some are bundled, as with the $10 a Day Bundle, which includes extra driver fees, a gigabyte of WiFi for the duration of your journey, a baby booster or child seat, and a fan heater, plus a picnic table and chairs; the Express Return Pack, meanwhile, includes return emptying of your fuel tank and gas bottle, dropping your keys with Express Key Return, road user charges and a toilet and waste water emptying service. This option (the Express Return Pack) is pricy, but possibly worth considering it if you’ve never been on a campervan holiday before.

All campers are also fitted with an in-vehicle tablet which works as a GPS and offers instructional and troubleshooting videos for your camper, at no extra charge.

Brit Campervans

Action Pod — the most basic 2-berth model, ideal for shoestring budgets

Odyssey — a basic 2-berther with toilet and shower

Hi-Top — your standard 2-berth hi-top model, mid-range

Venturer — a self-contained 2-berth model with toilet and shower

Venturer Plus — like the Venturer, but this luxury model has room for a child as well as 2 adults

Voyager — a small 4-berth

Action Pod
The clue is in the name here: this camper isn’t for those who want a luxurious holiday, but for go-getters who want to spend most of their time on the road and seeing the sights, rather than relaxing in a fully kitted-out vehicle with all the latest conveniences. Still, a Britz model is usually going to hold up pretty well against its competitors. There’s an interesting slide-out kitchen fitted at the back, whose cupboards fold out in a U-shaped position to make cooking easier than in, say, a smaller vehicle where you have to stand in the main body of the camper. And unlike some super-budget makes where you may not even get any food storage and preparation facilities save for the odd coolbox, the Action Pod actually does come with facilities like a fridge, sink and two-hob gas cooktop.

Because this vehicle is designed as one where you’ll be doing a lot of sitting up at the front, it’ll be  a relief to know that it comes with air conditioning and heating in the cab as standard. There are two seatbelts, and child or booster seats strictly cannot be fitted — this is your absolute basic 2-person make. It’s available to pick up and drop off from Auckland, Christchurch and Queenstown.

Basics:

2-person camper

Double bed that sets up over the bench seats at night

Pressurised water

Small fridge, sink and cooktop in slideout kitchen

Porta-potty included

Aircon and heating in the cab

Pros:

Cheap!

Available during the high season

Guaranteed to be under 6 months of age

Auto transmission

Cons:

Simple to the point of austerity

Limited storage

Outside kitchen 

Britz Odyssey

This ‘summer camper’ would probably be best described as “small but perfectly formed” — that is to say, it’s roughly the same size as the tiny Action Pod, but it manages to squeeze in a toilet and shower! The double-bed setup is much the same as that of the Action Pod, but what you gain on bathroom facilities, you lose on kitchen space — the tiny toilet and shower are crammed into one corner of the main cabin, with the combined fridge/hob unit and sink in another. Essentially, what you’re plumping for when you pick the Odyssey over the Action Pod are the shower and toilet, as well as indoor cooking facilities, but quite a bit less elbow room!

Air conditioning and seatbelts come in the driver’s cab as standard.

Basics:

2-person camper

Double bed

Shower and toilet

Fridge, gas hob and sink

Porta-potty included

Pros:

Available during the high season

Guaranteed to be under 6 months old

Indoor cooking

Small, yet has toilet facilities

Cons:

Only available for pickup and dropoff from Auckland and Christchurch, not Queenstown

Limited kitchen room

Limited room in general!

Hi-Top

This Toyota Hiace model is much the same as the ‘stock standard’ Hi-Top model offered by a number of other companies; it’s a 3-berth campervan with a double bed, and then there’s space for another adult (but more realistically, considering the headroom, a child) to sleep in the bed over the cabin. There are kitchen facilities, with a sink, fridge and gas cooktop as well as a microwave, but no toilet or shower. No matter for between two and three adults who are happy to use camping ground bathroom facilities — and thankfully, the vehicle does come with a porta-potty supplied.

Really, the difference here between Britz’s Hi-Top and the Hi-Top models that other companies offer is pricing — but on the other hand, the vehicle is likely to be a lot younger than those of competitors because of Britz’s strict age restrictions, and it might well be in better nick too.

Basics:

Seats 2 in driver’s cab, 1 in main cab

Double bed and single bed

Fridge, hob, sink and microwave

Porta-potty included

Pros:

More daytime room, and can stand upright in the main cab

Good storage

Young ages of the vehicle

Child/booster seat-friendly

Cons:

No toilet facilities

Poorer fuel efficiency

Venturer

Getting into a little more luxury in terms of your 2-berth options, there’s the Venturer — for a couple who want to travel in comfort. Because it’s built on the Mercedes Sprinter rather than the Toyota Hiace, it’s a good deal longer and wider than the models profiled above, which means that there’s room to move around in the main cab rather than being crammed together. Because of this, cooking facilities are also good, with a 110-litre fridge-freezer as well as a microwave, gas cooktop and sink with hot and cold water.

The sleeping arrangements are flexible, as the bed in the back can be set up either as two singles or a double — plus it has a toilet and shower on board.

Basics:

1 double or 2 single beds

2 seatbelts in driver’s cab

Shower and toilet

Microwave, 110-litre fridge-freezer, stove and sink

70/100-litre fresh water tank

Auto transmission

Pros:

Very well-equipped

Large size and lots of living space

Large beds

Cons:

No support for child or booster seats

Long, so may be difficult to park in urban areas

Pricy for a couple — not a budget vehicle

Venturer Plus

This isn’t too different from the Venturer, except this vehicle makes room for two adults and one child — great for a small family — without sacrificing the kitchen and toilet facilities (which are excellent for a campervan of this size). The beds are a little different — one double and one single (which fits above the driver’s seat) is standard, although the double in the rear can be converted to two singles, as with the Venturer.

Basics:

1 double and 1 single bed

Seats 2 in the front, 1 in the rear

110-litre fridge/freezer, sink, microwave and gas stove

Pressurised water

DVD player and flatscreen

Auto transmission

Pros:

Spacious

Good kitchen facilities

Good family vehicle — allows a child or booster seat

Cons:

Long and a bit unwieldy

Slightly older than the rest of the fleet, dating from 2012 — 2014 

Voyager

During the daytime, this Toyota Hiace camper seats two in the front and two in the back — that’s right, it’s a 4-berth, and rather well laid-out for its small size. Two people can sleep in the double bed above the cabin, and two on the rear dinette. This means it’s good for small families on a budget, a couple who really want to go all out and get some extra space, or four travellers who are game for a bit of a squeeze.

What’s most impressive is its capacity for internal dining, with a fold-out table, and its well-equipped kitchen. But this means that there’s no toilet or shower onboard — so not for everyone.

Basics:

2 seatbelts at front, 2 in the rear

2 double beds

Microwave, 110-litre fridge/freezer, gas stove and cold running water

Auto transmission

Pros:

Good storage

Good kitchen facilities

Young age of vehicle

Cons:

Not too spacious

Fridge might be a little small for four adults

Britz Motorhomes

Discovery, 4-berth with double bunk beds

Explorer, 4-berth with permanent beds

Discovery

The design of this vehicle is pretty unique; it’s a 4-berth motorhome that manages to fit in a kitchen as well as bathroom facilities and a living area, and it does this by laying out the two double beds in a bunkbed formation at the rear. Obviously, this is perfect for a family with kids — the sheer excitement of the top bed will please them enough on its own! — but also great for two couples. With electric heating and a fairly spacious living area, plus an optional bike rack, the Discovery makes a great base for an RV holiday. If you like the sound of this one, then it’s a good idea to book ASAP — it’s only available in the high season.

Basics:

2 seatbelts at front, 2 in the rear

2 double beds

Fridge, gas hob and sink

Toilet and shower

Automatic

Runs on diesel or petrol

Pros:

Available in all three New Zealand locations

Spacious

Modern design

Cons:

No freezer

Limited availability

Explorer

This vehicle offers a “traditional” motorhome experience for four people, in which respect it isn’t too different from the Discovery, save for when it comes to the beds. These vary in that they’re two permanently set-up doubles (great at the end of a long day of adventuring!), one in the rear and one over the cab. The fridge/freezer is fairly large at 140 litres, and there’s a sink, microwave and gas stove, as well as a shower and toilet.

In terms of uniqueness, there’s not much to put the Explorer above other similar models offered by smaller companies; again, the deciding factor here will probably be the price, so shopping around is worth it if this seems like the sort of vehicle you’d want to hire.

Basics:

2 permanent double beds

2 seats in the cab, 2 in the rear

Gas stove, sink, microwave and 140-litre fridge/freezer

Shower and toilet

Hot and cold pressurised water

DVD player with flatscreen

Pros:

Spacious for four

Permanent beds are convenient

Cons:

Not the most modern in the fleet

Fairly noisy when driving fast

Poor fuel economy

Long, so difficult to park

Frontier

One of the largest models of motorhome offered by Britz, this vehicle is great for families, but with its spacious sleeping capacity of 6, it’ll suit a group of three couples just fine too. What is particularly attractive about the Frontier is its large windows and not one but two living spaces — and when you’re travelling in New Zealand, there’s nothing more worth seeing than the views when you wake up each morning.

Two of the three beds pack away during the daytime, so there’s plenty of living space. The kitchen is well-supplied with 140-litre fridge/freezer, microwave, stove and hot and cold running water (as you’d expect from an “all the bells and whistles” motorhome like this one), and the bathroom is surprisingly roomy — there’s floor space to stand in the shower!

While this is a great, and very comfortable, vehicle, it’s also inevitably one of the most expensive to hire — and Britz, offering as they do fairly new, mid-range to top-of-the-market motorhomes, certainly won’t be the cheapest option out there.

Basics:

2 permanent double beds, one fold-away

2 seats in the cab, 4 in the rear

Gas stove, sink, microwave and 140-litre fridge/freezer

Shower and toilet

Auto transmission

Pros:

Very spacious

Great cooking facilities

Back cabin airconditioning when running on the mains

Cons:

Noisy at high speeds

Subpar entertainment system

Pricy

Vista

This model is functionally the same as the Frontier, with an identically supplied kitchen and the same amount of room in the bathroom, though only one of the beds packs away during the daytime; the permanent rear bed is also a little smaller. Additionally (and unlike the Frontier), it features a DVD player with a flatscreen, as well as a fixed awning. These two motorhomes are ideal for a group of four who want plenty of space, a large family or several couples — the differences between them are really fairly minor, and the pricing is identical.

Summary

This long-established company has found a firm foothold near the top of the market with their high-quality vehicles. The size of their fleet, though, means that shopping around and doing a little price comparison is absolutely essential. If you’re on a mid-to-high budget or have the sort of funds that can spring for more quality, Britz are well worth checking out.

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2 reviews from our community

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, Australia
1 Review

"Never using Britz (THL) again"

  • Reviewed 7 months ago

We just completed a 3wk trip through Nth and Sth Island of NZ, which was beautiful, however the service from Britz was not. (Britz is part of THL, which includes Maui and Mighty)
We went in to pick up the van from Christchurch and the house battery wasn’t charged. We may have needed to free camp on the first night, so I asked if I could get another vehicle. “No” was the simple response.
When we got to our destination, about 3 hours drive away, and I plugged the power cord in to the van, a very audible alarm started going off. After about 20mins hunting for the source of the problem we discovered that the battery charger was not working. This was clearly obvious by the “error” message showing on the LED display on the charger itself. After several shut downs, and attempts to re-boot the system, we decided to phone Britz.
After 5 phone calls, in which I had to go over everything again each time, we were advised that we had to drive back to Christchurch the following day to have it swapped out. This resulted in us losing at least a day from our trip, additional fuel, and a lot of inconvenience.
Now if this had have happened on day 2, 3, or any other of the following days I would have been OK, as sometimes things break down, however someone at the Christchurch depot would have plugged that van in and then ignored the alarm. It was able to be heard from outside the closed van.
When I asked the supervisor at Christchurch what they would provide by way of compensation I was advised that I would have to take it up with the Auckland office when I dropped the vehicle off at the end of the trip. I said I wasn’t happy with that as it wasn’t their error that caused the problem, however they wouldn’t offer any other option.
Consequently we also had problems with the drainage not working properly on the kitchen sink, and a leaking fridge. We decided to put up with those, rather than lose any more time.
As you can imagine, Auckland weren’t happy that they had to deal with it, and they offered me a $200 refund. This is on a $4800 hire. I managed to get them up to $250, however the attitude from the manager wasn’t acceptable. Nor was the amount offered.
I don’t care which branch was responsible. I am a customer of Britz and they should have dealt with me as such.
We are definitely going back to NZ. We will definitely not be using the THL group of companies.

1Service 3Mechanical 2Interior 2Value
, Australia
1 Review

"Review of my britz-campervans hire"

  • Reviewed 7 months ago

the vehicle itself is large and convenient. te main issue is a very unpleasant service from the THL team in Queenstown and in Christchurch.

1Service 4Mechanical 5Interior 4Value