Wherever I go in the world I’m always on the lookout for companies that specialise in adapted vehicles. Since getting rid of my car in the back end of 2013 I’ve spent the majority of the past year and a half relying heavily on public transport. For the most part, it’s fine, but sometimes you yearn for the flexibility that a car provides. Despite my searches, it became apparent to me that finding such companies is no easy feat! So when I stumbled across Freedom Mobility in New Zealand I was positively over the moon. Not only was I going to have the chance to finally get back behind the wheel but I had the privilege of doing so in one the most amazing driving countries on the planet!
I have to give a huge amount of credit to Freedom Mobility, not only did they allow for me to take that road-trip I’ve always dreamed of but they came to me in my time of need and arranged everything prior to our departure from Wellington, ready for a smooth collection of a rental car in Christchurch.
I had previously contacted Juicy, one of the leading rental companies in NZ, about possibly renting a vehicle through them. I had sourced a company that could temporarily fit hand controls on any vehicle and I had informed Juicy of this and asked if it would be possible to get everything set in motion. Unfortunately however, Juicy were unwilling to budge with their stance of ‘no adapted vehicles’ and weren’t prepared to allow for any temporary modifications, even if they were safe, road legal, insurable and cheap (the latter being almost irrelevant due to the fact I offered to pay for the fitting myself). Much to my disappointment they really weren’t interested in negotiating. Luckily for me though, Freedom Mobility stepped up to the plate and were incredible from the outset.
Here’s an extract from their website:
Our fleet contains over 100 disability modified vehicles including:
- Hand control vehicles
- Wheelchair hoist and wheelchair lift vans
- Wheelchair ramp vehicles
- Left foot accelerator cars, and
- Vehicles with swing out seats
Not only was the vehicle they provided me totally awesome and adequate for the six day road-trip my friend and I were about to embark on, but they also threw in some pretty awesome tips and advice, both via a PDF file sent in an email and also, by throwing in a guidebook full of accessible walks – something which came in very handy on our adventures. For me, customer service goes a long way, and when staff are friendly and helpful then 9 times out of 10 I’ll always opt to go back to that firm. I’m pleased to say that Freedom Mobility had impeccably good customer service!
As I mentioned, we picked up the rental car from beside Christchurch International Airport and set off on our way through to Dunedin. Our trip then took in the likes of Milford Sound, Te Anau and Glenorchy and stretched for well over 1,500 kilometers. We even had time to call into the aptly named spot ‘Paradise’ which we were told is where they filmed a lot of the scenes from Lord of the Rings.
As for the driving itself, we found it to be an incredibly enjoyable experience, covering vast distances of land across some of the most breathtakingly beautiful landscapes either of us had ever bared witness to. Road-tripping really is the ONLY way to see the true majesty of New Zealand (unless you’re rich and can afford a helicopter tour), and for those who need a specially adapted vehicle, I cannot recommend Freedom Mobility highly enough.
For more information on Freedom Mobility and how you too can rent a vehicle, check out their website by clicking here: www.freedommobility.co.nz