Quirky Campers New Zealand, a unique campervan hire service offering handmade campers from around the country has seen an enormous increase in people wanting to buy or convert their own ‘bach on wheels’.
“Our Self Build Campervans New Zealand group on Facebook has exploded over recent months,” says co-owner of Quirky Campers NZ Leanne Edwards.
“We asked members about their motivation.
"A third said that they had always wanted a campervan and that the recent lockdowns and border closures due to COVID-19 have provided the perfect opportunity to make the campervan dream a reality. An additional 28 per cent said they were spending the money they would’ve spent on overseas travel on creating their own campervan to explore New Zealand instead. And nearly a quarter of respondents said the fact that New Zealand won’t be full of tourists is the reason they want to hit the road in a campervan. Fifteen percent even said they were preparing to live in a van full-time!”
Building or buying your own customised camper can be a really cost-effective way to create a holiday (or permanent!) home for yourself. Having converted and upgraded many vans themselves, Leanne and husband, Dan, are happy to share their knowledge and help others achieve their vanlife goals.
“Hundreds of people signed up for our first virtual workshop in September, How To Own a Campervan, where we explained the three main ways to go: buy a pre-converted van, commission a professional conversion or build your own. There are pros and cons for each option… and we want to help people avoid the common mistakes,” says Leanne.
"We’re continuing to provide support and advice to people on their conversions. People come over to check out our vans when they are not out on hire and we’re continuing to run virtual workshops on specific conversion topics like the upcoming Campervan Electrics and Campervan Solar Power events.
"We also have a converter directory on our website so if you’re not keen to do all – or any – of the build yourself, you can work with a professional to get your campervan road-ready.”
A benefit appealing to potential van owners is that they can be hired out when they’re not being used, meaning they will pay for themselves over time.
“It’s a compelling investment. It usually takes around three years and then it’s all profit,” explains Leanne. “You can use your beautiful bespoke van to explore your own backyard whenever you want and know that it’s earning money the rest of the time, rather than sitting on the driveway. It’s a win-win.
“But if you are thinking of renting out your hand-crafted campervan, make sure you understand the standards you need to meet, preferably before you build! For example, once your van is being used for commercial purposes it’s needs a Certificate of Fitness not a Warrant of Fitness. Given we’re renting out self-build vans we’re hot on making sure they are safe and reliable for customers.”
Leanne thinks that in a post-lockdown New Zealand, customised campers are climbing in popularity as they provide Kiwis with the freedom to explore more of the country’s iconic spots without being tied down to one location.
“You can be more spontaneous, choosing to stay a little longer in a place you love, or you can simply move on when you're done, you don't have to stick around. There’s also a lot to be said for only having to unpack and pack once, unlike when you’re moving from hotel to hotel.”
Quirky Campers was launched by husband and wife team, Leanne and Dan Edwards a year ago but is already causing quite a stir. The family owned business acts as an agent for a collection of friendly and likeminded campervan owners, each with a vehicle that they have lovingly created and want to share with the world.
The campers even have their own names, such as Mahara, which is like a Scandi style log cabin on wheels, complete with wood burner. Or Ivan – with a modern urban twist on a classic wooden camper van interior, he feels very much like you are travelling in your very own boutique hotel room.
Quirky Campers can be picked up from various locations across New Zealand. Prices include fully comprehensive insurance and booking fees and most are pet-friendly. They are currently offering 15 per cent off all rentals for trips before March 31, 2021. Simply use the code LETSGONZ when booking.