Happy Campers Review

Rated 1.9 / 5 from 13 reviews

Editors Review

Last Updated: 9/18/19

With rates that will not burn a hole in your pocket and a large selection of vehicles to choose from, Happy Campers focuses on making their customers happy. Of course with their name, they are in for a world of pain if their customers are in fact, NOT, happy campers.

About Happy Campers 

Having a company name like that of Happy Campers can be a struggle. Well, you need to live up to that name, and with Happy Campers, it can be proven that not all companies fully define their names. With depots in Auckland and Christchurch, this large rental entity offers value cost campervan hire with standard equipment, complimentary airport transfers, cleaning fees, camping park directors, route planners, and more. They have a massive range of units so that you can choose the style of travel with rentals that won't cost a pretty penny. And when travelling to NZ, don't forget to equip yourself with information about freedom camping to ensure you are travelling at ease. 

Fleet

Happy Campers offers a lot of campervans types. And over time, they have added more campervans for rent. You will be impressed with how easy their units can be parked despite its size and spacious sleeping rooms. And if you've got to travel with your kids, be still because almost all campervans can be fitted with child seats and are well-stocked with kitchen and sleeping essentials. Most units have a 5-speed manual transmission so you need to check with them first if you want an automatic one. 

Some of the units have a separate house battery, which means this battery charges if it's plugged into the main power or whilst driving without running the engine battery flat. And for vehicle consumption, it really depends on how far you travel though most of the Happy campervan series has an average fuel consumption of 10-12 liters per 100kms. Here's a closer look at each vehicle on fleet: 

Vehicles

Happy Sleeper

The Happy Sleeper, a 2000 to 2002 Toyota Estima, is one of the three automatic campervans on selection. This unit comes with a portable gas grill, kitchen sink, CD player, large double bed, and storage space. The CD player has an MP3 output, and the vehicle is equipped with dual batteries so that outgoing couple who want a smooth and fun ride will appreciate their NZ holiday even better. 

Happy Jackpot

Happy Jackpot is one of the newest additions to the fleet. This 3 berth camper is built on a 2005-2009 Toyota Hiace with dinette/ double bed and a single hammock bed. Great for small families, the unit features all basics, including a shelf space, fridge, two-burner gas-stove, and cold running water.

Happy 2

The Happy 2 is a deluxe camper that features walk-through access from the driver’s cab to the rear cabin. This 2002/2003 Toyota Hiace SBV Hi-Top is equipped with a fold-away dining table that can be stored at night so that you can have a large double bed. The nicely designed kitchen includes a refrigerator, microwave, two-burner gas cooker, cookware, and storage cabinets. 

Happy 2 S&T

The 2003/2004 Ford Transit is a 2 berth camper that comes with a toilet. This well-furnished unit is a treat for those looking for extreme space with luxury features. With a spacious living area and foldaway table, the campervan is also very economical because of its power diesel engine. Travel in style and sleep in comfort with this self-contained unit. 

Happy 3

Happy 3 from Happy Campers Campervan Hire New Zealand

For couples or small families, the Happy 3 berth camper is a convenient choice. This 2003/2004 Toyota Hiace Hi-Top is the standard option for those looking for a budget 3 berth campervan with one double bed at the rear and one large single bed in the roof. Expect for a pleasant cooking session with the help of the shelf space kitchen speckled with a two-burner cooker, fridge, utensils, cupboard and more. Take control of your own adventure and travel comfortably with this economical campervan.

Happier 3 Kuga

This 2005/2006 Toyota Hiace Hi-Top is relatively newer compared to the other Kuga 3 berth; hence, the name— Happier 3 Kuga. With its newer campervan model and added features, the unit is a great alternative in case the other one books out or you simply just want a more favorable campervan hire. Your happiness does not end there as the campervan also has a bigger engine and fuel capacity with the same fuel consumption as the other model. So, this means that this Happier unit actually makes you happier!

Happy 4

Another from the Happy campervan series is the 4 berth, which is also the biggest and the most popular choice for touring families. This 2003- 2005 Ford Transit is a top of the range vehicle with full bathroom, elegant kitchen space, large living quarters and internal access from the front cabin. Even with its luxury features, the campervan is still a charm for frugal travellers because of its powerful and economical diesel engine. 

Happy Hi 4

A recent campervan, Happy Hi 4 is an economical way for a family of 4 to tour around NZ. Even without frill, the entire fam will love this unit. It has all the essentials like the rear kitchen area, table, and a spacious living space/ sleeping quarters that provides two double beds. Plus, this 2011 Toyota Hiace is an automatic model. 

Happy 4 Kea

Featuring a walk-through from the front cabin, this 5-speed manual motorhome is converted from a 2003-05 Ford Transit model. The rear space is designed for the spacious lounge that also modifies into a double bed. Another double bed is located in the cabover area. So, all in all, this unit can accommodate up to 4 persons. 

Happy Hi 5

Equipped with 5 seatbelts, this 2007/2008 Toyota Widebody Hiace is a traditional campervan with modern interior. It comes with two sleeping areas―one at the rear lounge and the other on the roof area. This Hi5 camper also features a small kitchen space with gas stove, fridge, cupboards, and extra shelf space. 

Happy Black Sheep

Another sleek and compact rental with all the comforts you expect from a teeny camper in a car-size van is this 2000-2007 2 berth camper in automatic transmission. This is the only campervan in dark tone exterior that's why it's called Happy Black Sheep, but technically not a black sheep. Actually, this unique little camper is a fave pick among budget backpackers who'd love to explore the outskirts in a small van with just enough but essential facilities like a comfortable bed with bedding, petite kitchen with fridge and single burner gas cooker, and entertainment set with CD player and MP3 output.

Original Sleeper

The Original Sleeper is the last of the three automatic campervans being offered by the company. The campervan is a 1993 to 1999 Toyota Estima model, which means that this unit offers the oldest vehicles. The vehicle age, however, does not compromise the quality of your trip, though minor wear and tear features could be visible. This budget sleepervan provides you with the basics, starting with the cooking/ storing amenities down to the good-sized double bed. Few extras like iPod/MP3 connection and auxiliary battery have been chucked to give you a more pleasant trip.

The Original 3

The Original 3 berth camper is also an older model—a 1999 Model Toyota Hiace in particular. Because of the late-model used, this is suitable for those on a really tight budget but looking for a campervan with modern interiors. These 5-speed transmission vans are a pleasure to maneuver with petrol engine and power steering. And to give you maximum comfort while on the road, you are stocked with a gas stove, fridge, sink with running water, dinette, and two large beds. 

Insurance

All Happy Campers rentals come with standard insurance or tagged as their Bronze insurance cover. The amount of excess depends on the rented vehicle: Happy 4 Berth with an excess/ bond of NZ$6,000, Happy 2, 3, HI4, HI5, and 2ST with an excess/ bond of NZ$4,000 and Happy & Black Sheep Sleepervans with an excess/ bond of NZ$4,000. The excess can be reduced by availing one of their insurance options:

Silver: Happy 4 at NZ$30 per day for an excess/ bond of NZ$3,000, Happy 2, 3, HI4, HI5, and 2ST at NZ$15.00 per day for an excess/ bond of NZ$1250 and Happy & Black Sheep Sleepervans at NZ$15 per day for an excess/ bond of NZ$1, 250.

Gold: Happy 4 at NZ$45 per day for an excess/ bond of NZ$1, 250, Happy 2, 3, HI4, HI5, and 2ST at NZ$22.50 per day for an excess/ bond of NZ$750 and Happy & Black Sheep Sleepervans at NZ$22.50 per day for an excess/ bond of NZ$750. Plus, inclusions of picnic table & chairs, baby seat and/or child booster seat.

Platinum: Happy 4 at NZ$70 per day for an excess of NZ$0 and bond of NZ$500, Happy 2, 3, HI4, HI5, 2ST, Happy, and Black Sheep Sleepervans at NZ$35 per day for an excess of NZ$0 and bond of NZ$500. Plus, inclusions of GPS, outside BBQ, solar shower, picnic table & chairs, baby seat and/or child booster seat, as well one window, multiple windscreen chips, and two tyres coverage.

Reputation

Before, ratings were generally good for Happy Campers, with an average rating of 76/100.  Some of the customers thought the size of their camper was perfect and comfortable, with all the necessary supplies and accessories. However, the reputation of the company is now flooded with lots of negative reviews that talk about disappointing customer service and constant maintenance issues during the rental, delayed refunds, and more. Though they have an extensive fleet of campervans on budget, renting from them needs careful deliberation. 

Summary

The main thing to notice about this mob is the age of the vehicles with nothing being newer than 2006 and some being as old as 1993. Pay close attention to the age of the vehicle during your booking process and don’t expect all things to be perfect inside the vehicle. And if ever you want to try your luck with them, then might as well bring your own tools, just in case!

From the Agency

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Pros

  • Cheap rates
  • Good range to choose from
  • Multiple insurance options

Cons

  • Limited branches
  • Mostly negative reviews
  • Older vehicles

Facilities

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Tell the world about your experience renting from this company
J. Dy - avatar not loaded
, France
1 Review

"Never rent with Happy Campers!"

  • Reviewed 4 months ago

Don't rent Happy Campers, we absolutely don't recommand it! We had a van for 1 month in january 2020, in very bad shape, with tyres so old that we had a low tyre. We had to pay (tyre and AA intervention) and Happy Campers did not pay back and still don't answer our mails 4 months after. Many other problems including security. We wish we had paid a little more with other companies with vans in better shape.

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
Q.Goutard - avatar not loaded
, France
1 Review

"A fuir!!!"

  • Reviewed 4 months ago

They are thieves!! run away from them !! we rented for three months an autonomous van which had only problems (electricity, leaks, ...) it spoiled our trip! we had to return it after 1 month because of the Covid-19 they did not return anything! they kept several thousand dollars for them for no reason! other travelers were happier with other rental companies!

1Service 1Mechanical 3Interior 1Value
Sara1123 - avatar not loaded
, United Kingdom
1 Review

"****DO NOT BOOK WITH THIS COMPANY!!!!****"

  • Reviewed 5 months ago

****DO NOT BOOK WITH THIS COMPANY!!!!****
To be honest I wouldn't even give this company a 1 star rating!

We had a campervan booked for 8th April 2020 for 1 week from Christchurch, so looking forward to it and then obviously Covid-19 happened and New Zealand went into lockdown on a stage 4, as we are from the UK our government told us we needed to get home ASAP which we tried to do but flights kept getting cancelled. I informed happy campers about the situation and they were no help at all and just said they will not offer us a refund and they are now ignoring all my emails!!!

This is disgusting customer service as this is a world crisis and completely out of our hands and have been informed by New Zealand government to stay indoors for 4 weeks minimum!!!

****DO NOT BOOK WITH THIS COMPANY!!!!****

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
Ben - avatar not loaded
, United Kingdom
1 Review

"A good option when on a budget without sacrificing too much"

  • Reviewed 6 months ago

The Campers are hit and miss, we got quite an old one which was rather banged up on the outside. Saying this the inside was vey spacious and clean! We were very happy with the camper overall.
Main plus points:
Cheap
Spacious
Comfortable

Main downsides:
Old and drank petrol (alot)
No phone chargers
And can't be plugged into power

4Service 3Mechanical 5Interior 4Value
M. Maher - avatar not loaded
, Australia
1 Review

"Unhappy campers"

  • Reviewed 6 months ago

I would not recommend this company to anyone and I will definitely not use it again. I would describe this company as unreliable, unhelpful and unprofessional.

My partner and I hired a camper van for two weeks for our trip on the South Island.
On the second day, we drove to mount cook. It rained heavily and one of our windows did not have a good seal and the rain started to leak through. This leaked onto all of our bedding and mattress.

After 20 minutes of trying different numbers, we got through to head office. We explained the situation and asked if we could get a replacement vehicle and we could meet half way as per the “exchange vehicle” section in the contract. They said no and that we would have to drive back to Christchurch to swap the vehicle (which was the opposite direction of our trip). We weren’t happy with this and asked for other options. The guy on the phone was rude, unhelpful and unapologetic the entire time. He said short comments such as “well why didn’t you check it was raining” “Just put tape on it” “let the bedding dry out”.
We explained that the vehicle should be weather tight, we were 1 hour from any shops that would sell tape and also have nowhere to dry the bedding because it is cold and raining outside. He then hung up on us.

We called back and came to an agreement that we would drive to a town and get a mechanic to fix the window the next day and that for the night we could stay in a motel as all of our bedding was wet. We asked for a refund of $160 as we could not stay in the van that night ($160 was our hire price per night), which they agreed to.

In the end the tape worked and we received a $160 refund. But the customer service was terrible and very rude. When you are on holiday and you have a problem with your vehicle you would expect to call the company for help and recieve friendly service and at least an apology. I could not believe how rude they were. It gave us unwanted stress and frustration. Luckily, the vehicle was mechanically sound, I would hate to think what would’ve happened if we broke down in the middle of nowhere.

Also on further inspection of the window prior to getting tape on it, we could see they had put silicone on the window edges on the outside suggesting a known problem with the window leaking.

Due to time constraints and having to book things quickly, we did not read the many bad reviews of this company. Please do your research of this company

1Service 4Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
M. Heins - avatar not loaded
, Germany
1 Review

"Serious Safety Issues and bad Customer Service"

  • Reviewed 7 months ago

We booked a 3 person campervan with Happy Campers for 4 weeks in January 2020. I cannot recommend the company because of serious safety issues with the campervan and the bad customer service. So here is my experience:
As we picked up the car they told us that we have a big scratch in the windscreen and they have no other campervan available. They said that the car was dropped off one or two days before and because of new years day they weren't able to fix it. So we had no other option to agree with them that we have to bring the car to a repair shop when they open again after holiday (4 days after pick up). After asking them for any refund for these circumstances they told us to give us a refund of the hire rate for one day.
After 4 days we called happy campers to get to know where the next repair shop is. They told us we don't have to repair the windscreen, because the scratch was not getting bigger. We said that it is unsafe to go on driving with that, but they just said it's OK. Since we wanted to continue enjoying our holiday we finally agreed to not go to a repair shop. But the correct way of dealing with that would have been to ask us if we would like to go to a repair shop instead of telling us to go on driving with that safety issue.
Moreover after a few days I recognized that the profile of one tire was almost gone completely. Sad I didn't checked it at pick up (in trust the company checked everything) I decided to go on driving with that because I didn't want to lose time by going to a repair shop.
On our last morning I recognized that the profile of that tire has gone completely, because I could see some white thread on top of the tire coming through the rubber. I decided to not continue driving with that serious safety issue. Imagine you get a bumper driving in these winding streets can cause a severe accident. Because it was our last morning I changed the wheel by myself instead of calling happy campers and probably be told to go on driving with that old wheel.
When we dropped off the campervan we reported these serious safety issues to happy campers. We still wanted to have a refund although we didn't go to a repair shop but because they let us driving in these unsafe conditions and because we had to change the wheel to avoid having an accident. The manager revised any needs for a refund because we didn't go to a repair shop and tires can look like this after some time. He didn't understand that it is their job to check the car before they hand it over to their clients and to change a tire BEFORE the profile is almost gone. Because tires shouldn't look like this when you are interested in driving safely (obviously Happy Campers isn't interested in the safety of their clients). He didn't understand as well that it was our risk driving with a scratch in the windscreen and getting stopped by the police to pay a fine. And he didn't wanted to know that it is their responsibility to hand over a checked car without any security issues.
When I heard his arguments I was laughing at him because he didn't want to understand that these were serious safety issues. I think he actually got every single stated point but he didn't want to agree to not pay any refund. I think that's one of their business rules or a personal business goal to do anything to avoid paying any refund without carrying about the clients rights nor their satisfaction.
Because it didn't make any sense to continue arguing we just left the company and will never go back again.
I'm going to hand this case over to my international defence insurance so they get what they deserve when they are playing with the safety of their clients without taking any responsibility.

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
Allen - avatar not loaded
, United Kingdom
1 Review

"Review of my Happy-Campers hire"

  • Reviewed 8 months ago

- very limited shuttle service hours from airport (10-3), drop off time of 4pm also very early
- campervan was not ready when we arrived for pick up, it was brought out then taken away again to be cleaned. Had to wait another 30 minutes, underwhelming when we had arrived early (about 9.45) and expected a full days worth of the car. Note if we had returned the vehicle late we would have been harshly penalised. We paid for 11 days but really only had the vehicle for just over 10.
- definitely an older vehicle, close to 300000kms and rubber door seal in driving compartment weren't great so was very noisy
- terrible petrol consumption (less than 200kms for half a tank / 30 L)
- passenger side window didn't work as plastic casing on door itself was broken
- inside was well appointed and had everything we needed and was all in working order
- definitely needed more dividers / nets for storage purposes. The crockery got a real bashing as we went around corners (and there are many) as there was no way to keep things from moving
- well practised run through from service desk of the cars operation and features

4Service 3Mechanical 4Interior 3Value
O. Neye - avatar not loaded
, Denmark
1 Review

"Review of my Happy-Campers hire"

  • Reviewed 8 months ago

Customer service was very lacking, young and not very professional. The water hose for the sink had clogged up green and black gunk which they tried to go under the radar and even when I protested they tried weasling out of changing it. The car, upon inspection, were absolutely littered with holes, windshield breaks, scratches, rust and smaller bumps and bends. A lot of the interior was put together with zip-ties and generally just poorly held together. The kar locks central locking mechanism didn’t work, so I had to manually lock the door with the lock all doors button and then manually the driver’s seat door. The outside car mirrors were shaking while driving which made it hard to properly orient myself while driving.

We had two engine problems which caused us a lot of headaches because we spent ages trying to find a mechanic and talking to happy campers about what we should do. The second time, we noticed a small flicker of light coming from the dashboard. It turned out to be the check engine light which had been covered with black marker to hide the fact that the light was on. We wiped it off the dashboard and the wet-wipe had a blue-ish/black teint to it as it came off. Happy campers acted totally oblivious to this fact and I cannot know for sure, but I highly suspect it was someone from their office.

The engine problems might have stemmed from oil leakage, but we were never told to pursue a mechanic after the second time, so we never found out.

The only thing the car did great was not breaking down entirely and we got around. If that was pure luck though is hard to tell.

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
C. pollett - avatar not loaded
, Australia
1 Review

"Travelling not camping, unhappy camper"

  • Reviewed 1 year ago

To start, customer service was a 2 hour wait after they took our bond and signed paperwork.
Manager swearing and very agrivated, treated staff badly.
One girl not trained correctly, served other campers before us after we paid.

Booked 6 months in advance, our van was in the lot but got told someone else had it or it wasn’t working, note: it had a cleaned sign stating it’s ready for use. Expected our advanced booking would give us priority.
Gave away camp chairs and table before us and told us to buy the equipment and keep a receipt when we paid platinum insurance and expected it all to be supplied.
Got told we had another van that had cream plastic and olive seats, completely different layout to what we asked for.
Got tranfered to a deisel vehicle, 1 minute later got told we take it or we don’t have a van.

Drove fine, was decent on fuel. Handled good. Traction was horrible on slippery/loose surface.
The drain hose for sink waste leaked, didn’t drain through hose just sat.
Cooking pan was sticky with anything we cooked.
Plastic spatula melted, no tongs.
Plates and cup shelves weren’t designed for New Zealand’s windy roads, had cups and plates fall all over the place.
Sharp screws pointing up in seat cussion and one actually lifts off its screws.
Small fold out table,not what we asked for.

We completed our trip and managed, purchased a lot of extras to leave in the van due to not having everything for proper meals.
Terms say no bond with credit card, only pay bond if credit card isn’t available. We gave them a Visa card, they still took bond.

Just wish the office was more organised, cared about what their customers are paying, felt like they just wanted money coming in.

1Service 2Mechanical 1Interior 1Value
S&T from Oz - avatar not loaded
, Australia
1 Review

"Our experience was great."

  • Reviewed 2 years ago

We hired a van with shower and toilet for 2 weeks and a bit. The company was fantastic. We had an older van (2004) so you have to understand that you get a cheaper rate for that - it's not brand new! It was mechanically no problem, clean and functional. We really recommend them because we found the company really helpful to us and very much appreciated the diligent assistance they gave.

5Service 5Mechanical 5Interior 5Value
S. Mueller - avatar not loaded
, Switzerland
1 Review

"Not recommended"

  • Reviewed 2 years ago

We rent a Happy Camper for 8 weeks. got a KIWI Camper, as KIWI and HAPPY is the same company/people. Our experience:
-agreed to pay cash, but got charged the full amount to our CC. Ended up having 5000$ in cash when we picked up the van
-we especially asked (before we booked) if they have a 220V inverter. They confirmed there is an inverter to charge the laptop on the go. There was none. None of their camper has one. So we had to go to campgrounds more often.
-van was old, 400‘000km. Van condition very worn down. The cupboards white peeled off. Multiple water damages on the chipboards. Table had a hole. Faucet old/broken/glued. Mosquito nets partly gone...
-had to renew the car registration ourself the day after the pickup. It was overdue for more than 5 months!
-2nd battery was weak from beginning. Fridge & light went out after 2h when we stopped. Got it measured, Battery was dead (wrong battery type and size anyway). Called the office and they directed us to a car dealer closeby where we got the battery replaced. Invoice went to the rental company.
-Gray water leaking
-Fresh water leaking inside the van
-No hot water. Boiler made hot water, but nothing came through to the faucet
-Rosty propane bottle; security issue! Got refused to refill this rusty bottle many times.
-Engine did stall when hot. Very few torque from idling. Could not start/accelerate uphill. Very scary!
-Lost the first gear when hot
-Engine lost oil
-V-belt broke. Had to be towed. Had to organize the towing ourself, but the costs were covered by the rental company. Very old belts; had to replace all 3 belts because all was old and not maintained
-Steering wheel points to 11 when going straight
-Rain pouring in at the rear window
-Moss growing inside
-Camping gear worn down, torn & bent

Everything else was ok or as expected when you rent on a budget.

Conclusion: the cars are not checked before they send them out. Maintenance has to be done by customers. Bring some tools as you might need them!

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 2Value
J. H - avatar not loaded
, Netherlands
1 Review

"The camper was okays, but really bad service"

  • Reviewed 3 years ago

Happy Campers is a low budget camper rental, but I didn’t expect it to be so low…
The camper itself was quite okay, but I would not recommend it to people without any car/technical knowledge. Throughout the month came across a couple of hiccups. For example, as soon as we started driving the fridge would turn itself off, the water drain was leaking and some regular car maintenance (oil and cooling liquids)
But this is all very minor and these are things that you can expect when you rent low budget, right? The real hassle started when another camper hit our side mirror when we where parked. Since we where in the car at that moment we could contact the other party and that went very well. They where fully insured and our contact was pleasant. So we contacted happy campers to report the accident and they wanted us to buy a new mirror. Since we where almost at the end of our holiday I proposed the resolve the issue as soon as we return the camper. When we returned the car they charged us 125 NZD for the damages and gave us a receipt to claim back the damage. On the airport it appeared that they had given us a receipt for the wrong car with a wrong name. Thereafter it took us almost 2 week to get the right receipt. When we wanted to claim back the damage from Apollo campers they said the claim has to be issued by the owner of the car. Ever since I have been trying to contact Happy Campers, but they did not respond to any of my email. I came back from NZ in the beginning of March and I’m writing this review 2 months later.
I knew I could not expect a lot but this is really below my expectations. This is what they call, bad service. If I would make a recommendation, do not rent with this company. Also it might be good to know that Happy Campers is the same company as Kiwi campers, but under a different name.

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 3Value
D. Ewart - avatar not loaded
, Canada
1 Review

"Not Happy Camper"

  • Reviewed 3 years ago

Rented a small camper and assumed the staff at Happy Canper did a complete check before letting it be rented. Once we were on the road and camping, all of the problems surfaced. Brakes shuddered at highway speed, only 1 burner worked on stove, both roof vents were inoperable and would not open, roof leaked, and cupboards were loose and starting to fall apart. They also charged us $375 fir a chip in the windscreen. Bottom line is they should never have let this van be rented without these safety issues addressed. Great holiday, poor service.

1Service 1Mechanical 1Interior 1Value