Wendekreisen Travel Ltd. are a family-owned and operated New Zealand campervan and motorhome hire company, in operation since 1991. Based in Auckland, they also have a depot in Christchurch, and offer free transfer to and from the airports of both cities.
What Wendekreisen Tell Us
Wendekreisen pride themselves on servicing international customers, with the team speaking both French and German as well as English. They place an emphasis on the efficiency and experience of their staff, and provide 24/7 roadside assistance.
Wendekreisen’s vehicles are mostly Volkswagen and Mazda makes, though some of the smaller campervans are built on LDVs, and there is, of course, the standard hi-top model based on the Toyota Hiace — offered by many campervan hire companies all across Australia and New Zealand.
The size of the fleet is worth taking notice of: it means that Wendekreisen’s vehicles vary quite widely in age (their Koru 2 Berth ST XLs, for example, date from 2005 or later, while the Budget range has a 4-berth that dates from 2003!). The trade-off here is price: older vehicles allow for competitive rates of hire, and the Budget models are quite a lot cheaper owing to their age.
All vehicles come fully equipped with linen, cutlery, crockery and appliances (an electric kettle and a toaster), and a camping table and chairs are thrown in free of charge — this is a particularly good deal, as most other hire companies charge for picnic furniture. Unlimited kilometres and airport transfers are included as standard.
Comparing Fleet Vehicles
Budget 2 BerthLet’s start with the ‘Budget’ range. The Budget 2-Berth, as you may guess by the name, is probably the most basic of the vehicles in the Wendekreisen fleet, and shows it with the double bed (at 1.85 x 1.50 metres, or 72 by 59 inches, if you’re much over six foot you won’t be having an easy time!). What this Mazda model does have going for it are its easy handling and compactness, as well as its good storage capacity for a campervan of its size. Unlike some super-low-budget models from other companies, the Budget 2-Berth also has a small fridge and 2-hob gas stove, along with a sink that runs hot and cold pressurised water — so if you can put up with the rather petite bed, it’s worth it for the kitchen facilities in a vehicle of this size. A 240V electric heater is also a plus. It features a handheld outdoor shower and a portable toilet, making it self-contained.
Budget 2+1 Berth
The Budget 2+1 Berth, a Toyota Hiace, offers additional sleeping with a single over the main cab, and three seatbelts in the driver’s cab without a passenger airbag, allowing for a child seat to be fitted. The double comes in at 1.88 x 1.53 metres or 74 x 60 inches, which is just a bit bigger than that in the Budget 2-Berth, while the single is pretty tiny at 1.88 x 1.17 metres or 74 x 44 inches. While it has all the same kitchen facilities as the Budget 2-Berth (with the addition of a grill), it has cold water only, and no handheld outdoor shower — so in this case, plumping for more room and more storage will mean a slight reduction in comfort!
Budget 2+1 Berth Premium
The Budget 2+1 Berth Premium is much the same as the Budget 2+1 Berth — all the same kitchen facilities and sleeping space — but includes hot water, as well as a handheld outdoor shower, which some would say is pretty essential for a small family in such close quarters. The addition of a CD- and MP3-player-compatible stereo with AUX cord is also a nice touch. This would really be the most comfortable option for a three-person family.
Budget 4 Berth
Moving on to the Budget 4-Berth, which allows for living and sleeping space for up to 4 adults, we have a fully self-contained motorhome (shower and cassette flush toilet included!) with walkthrough between the cabin and the rear. The beds (at rear and above the cabin), are a lot more spacious than in the other Budget models, and a flyscreen is a welcome addition, along with a microwave and a total of four gas hobs on the stove — plus the cab has air conditioning and a CD/radio. The Budget range ends here.
Koru 2 BerthSo taking a look at the other vehicles in the Wendekreisen fleet, the Koru 2-Berth is a basic vehicle, but nevertheless well-provisioned. Tthere’s a double bed in the rear and a single above the cabin, with three seats in the front; because it doesn’t have a passenger-side airbag, an infant seat can be fitted. The portable cassette toilet also means it’s certified self-contained.
Koru Star 2ST Premium
The Koru Star 2ST Premium is a new LDV-based vehicle in the Wendekreisen fleet, with three seatbelts in the cabin and one double bed in the rear at night, which means it can sleep up to three (though you may well be cramped). During the day, this serves as the living area. The Premium also features a small kitchen area with sink, fridge and 2-hob gas stove, as well as a shower/toilet cubicle — and a 19-inch TV with stereo sound!
Koru 2 Berth ST
The Koru 2 Berth ST is based on the design of its predecessor, the 2-Berth Budget, but offers a wider double bed (at 1.82 x 1.55 metres, or 71.5 x 61 inches) and a good deal more storage — there’s also a shower cubicle and a portable toilet.
Koru 2 Berth ST XLThe Koru 2 Berth ST XL, as you might guess from the name, offers extra space for those with a little more to spare. On-board heating without the need to connect to mains is a nice touch. With internal walkthrough to the front cabin and the capacity for the living area to convert to one double or two singles (plus a bunk bed) at night, it will certainly feel more roomy for two adults and a possible child than some of the 2-berth models on the market.
Koru 2+1 Berth
For three adult travellers, the Koru 2+1 Berth sleeps up to three comfortably with the cooking facilities to match; unfortunately, the best it does in terms of bathroom facilities is a handheld outdoor shower and portable toilet. Still, unless you’re willing to upgrade to a 4-berth, this is one of the better options for a small family or three adults from Wendekreisen.
Koru 4 Berth
The Koru 4 Berth is very similar to the Budget 4-Berth, but will obviously be a newer vehicle, and features a gas central heating system as well as an electric heater.
Koru 6 Berth
The Koru 6 Berth motorhome offers comfortable living and sleeping space for a family of up to six adults, with LPG-powered central heating and large rear windows with enviable views. It has three seatbelts in the driver’s cab and four in the main cabin, all the kitchen facilities you’d expect (fridge, microwave, sink, hot and cold running water and four-burner gas stove with grill and oven) and three double beds, well-spaced — plus a built-in LCD TV.
Koru Star 6 Berth
Right up at the top of the Wendekreisen range is the Koru Star 6 Berth, the largest on offer with two seatbelts in the driver’s cab and four in the main cab. The living area features a complete kitchen with 140-litre fridge, microwave, four-stove gas cooker and integrated grill, while the bathroom has an integrated shower, sink and toilet cassette system, and the three double beds are all surprisingly spacious. If you really value your comfort and space, then this is the one for you, but remember that fuel costs can quickly pile up at a diesel consumption of 13 litres per 100 kilometres — and the price might be prohibitive anyway!
Wendekreisen offers different insurance options, including a reduction of excess or bond. A credit card imprint is sufficient; they only charge in case of damage or fines. The three insurance options (more than you get with some companies!) are:
Compulsory standard insurance: NZ $16.00 per day, with an excess of $1500 for drivers over 25 years ($2000 for drivers of 21 to 24 years).
Standard insurance with tyre and windscreen cover: NZ $22.00 per day with an excess of $1500 for drivers over 25 years ($2000 for drivers of 21 to 24 years) for any single vehicle accident, with zero excess payable for windscreen and tyre damage.
All-inclusive package (full-cover insurance and extras): NZ $36.00 per day reduces the excess for any one instance of vehicle damage to $250.00 ($500 for drivers of 21 to 24 years). This option includes cover for all damages, compulsory standard insurance and windscreen/tyre cover.
These are all capped at 50 days.
Some renters have described their experiences with Wendekreisen as fraught with hidden fees and service charges, although will admit that the information relating to these unexpected costs is included in the terms and conditions (a must-read for any traveller planning a campervan holiday, especially if there are a lot of clauses!). The staff, however, have been frequently described as friendly and helpful, and the roadside assistance is almost universally praised. Vehicles are thought of as being well-maintained, and the value you get for the price you pay is generally good.
Wendekreisen’s large fleet allows travellers on all budgets to find a vehicle to their liking, and for a smaller company, it’s unusual that their service is almost universally praised.