Back from New Zealand and it is time to think about our Spaceship, if it was really good idea to rent this car. Would you get the idea it was and you'll rent this car for your travelling as well, just mention our code R0041D and you'll get (hopefully) some discount.
We had this wonderful car for 65 days and covered about 12 000km. Which is quite a lot, but we never had any serious problem. We got flat tyre once and had some problems with closing doors, which they fixed in Christchurch really quickly.
The car is pretty spacious inside, has fridge (should be bigger), DVD player, cooker and a lot of space to put your stuff in. The secondary battery is perfect as you don't need to care about flat battery, but should lasts more - it gets flat after 4-5 hours, which isn't bad. And we really missed invertor to be able to charge our notebooks and all the other stuff we had. Luckily, they are quite cheap and you can buy one on your own, as we did. The gas alarm is interesting idea and it works. Especially when you filling up your tank - it rings quite often and Tomas didn't like it as he had it just next to him.
About 5 or 6 different models of Spaceships exist, two or four wheel drive and they even have some hybrid as well. Each of them has different name and it is really nice to see them on road, as you can exchange DVDs with other travellers - really good idea.
You are able to swivel the rear seat to face the side or back doors and it is really nice, but we didn't use it. It is possible to extend the bed out (as we did all the time) or inside - we did it once and while it was really easy it was hard to move all our stuff (just laying inside the car) to other seats. You don't need to worry about extenting the bed outside - the awning is really water and wind proof. Two people can sleep really comfortably in this bed, it is probably possible to fit 3 people there as well, but Tomas prefered to sleep on front seats, when it was really necessary.
Cooker on side is good idea, just blocking the side doors a bit when you cook and it is bad in rain. But otherwise - awesome and it is really great you get all equipment with your Spaceships car - cutlery, dishes, pan, water barrel and even dishcloth (surprise). Compared to other travellers we met and they had to get this stuff on their own - fantastic service.
After 12 000km we could just wish to have this car in diesel or some different, which wouldn't eat that much - our average consumption was about 13l/100km. On the other hand, it isn't that much imagine you have 3 boats on roof and trying to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, without caring about anything else. The petrol prices are between 1,5 - 1,8$/l (while diesel is about 1 - 1,2$/l) with a few exceptions such as the emergency station in Milford Sound. But there it was worth every cent. Interesting is, that petrol price is the same for the whole city you are at - doesn't matter if you choose Shell, BP or any other pump, they all have the same price. Found just one or two exceptions on the way, nothing you would care about. And don't forget about those discount tickets from your food store - it saves you about 1,5$/tank, but where you find this money?
There is a lot of gravel roads, but their quality is better compared to Australia. Probably all of they roads are highways, which doesn't mean anything nor are they similar to highways we know from Europe. Then they have Expressway, which is usually two lanes both way separated with some fence. The roads are quite often really windy, I remember the road from Picton to Nelson, which took several hours and is just about 200km. One of the most windy road on the way, so plan your time, don't expect you'll get somewhere quickly.
One lane bridge are everywhere, almost. But they are really quite often, you can even see bridges, which have rail on them as well.
In New Zealand they have one unique rule, I didn't see before. When you turning left you have to give way to all coming from your right, which means all cars going the opposite way and turning to the same street as you. It makes perfect sense, but even after two months driving I had problems doing it. But I didn't have problems when I wanted to have this right.
I was surprised with classic cars everywhere. These cars we save in Europe for really unique events, they run probably everyday just for fun. It was really nice to see them, all of them nicely redone and shiny.
You can also measure the place popularity by Spaceships and it looks like the most popular place are (without order): Wellington, Mt Cook, Milford Sound and Kaikoura. We saw there a lot of them and we even spoke with some travellers going on those hope-on hope-off buses they play a competition who'll see Spaceships as first every day.
There is also some interesting signs on roads, I tried to get as many of them as possible, but didn't get all of them. Some are really funny.
We also made a lot of photos with Spaceship, see them at Picasa.
It was nice, driving Spaceship all around and I would do it again. It is "just" normal car, where you can fit with everything you need on your travel. Just perfect.