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Aotearoa, also known as New Zealand and the land of the long white cloud, bewitches its guests with a tapestry of spellbinding landscapes and boundless opportunities for adventure. There's something about the open road that just begs to be explored, and New Zealand is no exception. Full of scenic drives and winding roads - there is no better way to discover this country than by motorhome. Home to 13 National Parks that cover over 85% of the island—there is an endless amount to explore.

With all the comforts of home and the freedom to go where you want, when you want, an NZ campervan holiday is a perfect way to see the North Island or South Island of New Zealand. Better yet, if you have the time, do both! You can opt for making a round trip in a luxury motorhome or seeing all the main highlights with a quicker trip by booking a one-way rental.

There are a few things to consider, such as the type of vehicle you need and your budget. However, with some planning, this can be a great way to see the country and have a fabulous holiday.

Camper Champ quickly and easily compares several popular NZ campervan rental brands. You can choose from cheap campervan rentals to luxury motorhomes to suit your budget and your travel plans. Whatever your choice, Camper Champ has you covered!

Popular Campervans in New Zealand

Find the perfect camper for your travel needs

Discover New Zealand your way by choosing a camper that suits your travel needs.

Jucy Cabana



4 Berth Double Up

4 Berth Double Up


4 Berth Euro

4 Berth Euro


Backpacker Sleepervans Sleepervan


Backpacker Sleepervans

Budget Campers Budget Finder

Budget Finder

Budget Campers

Cheapa Campa Cheapa 2-Berth
6 Berth SAM

6 Berth SAM

Pacific Horizon

Pacific Horizon 4-Berth GEM Premium

4-Berth GEM Premium

Pacific Horizon

Budget Campers Budget Seeker

Budget Seeker

Budget Campers

Discover NZ 2-Berth with ST

2-Berth with ST

Discover NZ

Jucy Cabana



Lucky Rentals Lucky Rover

Lucky Rover

Lucky Rentals

Spaceships Rocket 2-Berth

Rocket 2-Berth


Backpacker Sleepervans Sleepervan


Backpacker Sleepervans

Budget Campers Budget Finder

Budget Finder

Budget Campers

Maui Platinum River



Pacific Horizon 6-Berth SAM Premium

6-Berth SAM Premium

Pacific Horizon

Discover NZ 4-6 Berth Imala Deluxe

6 Berth Imala Deluxe

Discover NZ

Discover NZ 4-Berth Imala 730

4-Berth Imala 730

Discover NZ

Not all vehicles may be available. Use the search tool to check availability for your travel dates.

NZ Airport Campervan Hire

Can I hire a campervan at the airport in New Zealand?

Yes, you can. All the major cities in New Zealand, such as Auckland and Wellington on the North Island and Christchurch on the South Island, have depots located at or close to the airport.

Several more companies offer their airport rentals as “serviced non-depot locations”, meaning that although they do not have a physical depot at the airport, they will arrange to bring the vehicle to you.

The Self-drive Holiday in New Zealand

Motorhome rental holidays in New Zealand are a great way to experience the country's natural beauty and diverse landscape. You have your vehicle to go wherever you want, and you don't need to worry about finding accommodation every night. Motorhomes are also fantastic for groups, as there is plenty of space for everyone to sleep and relax.

To get the most out of your campervan holiday in New Zealand, here are a few recommendations:

  • Plan your route—Make the most of scenic drives to avoid spending too much time driving on long journeys.

  • Make sure you have everything you need before hitting the road—Including things like bedding, cooking supplies and first-aid kits.

  • Be prepared for any weather conditions—Pack warm clothes for winter trips and plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent for summer excursions.

  • Get out and explore—New Zealand is full of beautiful landscapes and exciting attractions best seen by road. Check out local tourist attractions and activities at a fraction of the cost of those in big cities.

And most importantly, don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure – there’s nothing quite like exploring a new place by campervan!

When driving around NZ in a campervan rental, remember these important tips:

  1. Vehicles in New Zealand are driven on the left side of the road.
  2. Seatbelts and child restraints are compulsory.
  3. Livestock use the roads. Occasionally you may come across a sheep or cow using the main road.
  4. A maximum speed limit of 100 km/h applies to open roads and 50 km/h in urban areas in NZ unless indicated otherwise. Speed limits do change depending on vehicle weight. School zones also have speed limits reduced to 40 km/h during certain hours on school days. Always pay attention to posted speed limit signs and adjust your speed accordingly.
  5. Some railway crossings in rural areas are not indicated by warning lights. Approach these with caution and prepare to stop.
  6. The most popular tourist areas in NZ have dedicated parking bays for motorhomes that are longer and wider.
  7. There are 3 toll roads in NZ: the Takitimu Drive Toll Road (formerly Route K), the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road and the Northern Gateway Toll Road, north of Auckland.
  8. Carry your driver's licence or IDP with you when travelling.
  9. The blood alcohol content limit in NZ is 0.05%.

Travel tips for New Zealand

How can you save money on a campervan holiday in New Zealand?

Hiring a campervan in NZ is the perfect way if you're looking to experience the best of New Zealand on a budget. Not only is it affordable, but it also gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore at your own pace. Plus, you can save money on accommodation costs by camping in some of the country's stunning national parks.

Explore some of our money-saving recommendations:

  1. Book your NZ campervan rental early to get the best deal—As soon as you have your travel dates worked out. This will ensure that you get the best price and availability.

  2. Choose your vehicle carefully—Not all campervans are created equal, and some are more luxurious than others. If you don't need some of the bells and whistles, consider choosing a cheap campervan or an older model. If you change your mind later on, an upgrade will be unlikely as availability fluctuates, especially around peak periods.

  3. Compare prices between different campervan rental companies—Prices can vary significantly between brands, so using the comparison tool Camper Champ provides makes research easy.

  4. Travel with friends or family—This way, you can split costs evenly between everyone travelling with you, which might be a better option than simply opting for a cheaper campervan rental.

  5. Avoid travelling during peak season—The peak season to travel to New Zealand is during the summer months, from December through February. Prices will also be higher during the school holidays throughout the year.

  6. Cook your meals—Rather than eating out every night, save this for special occasions during your trip.

  7. Rent or borrow camping gear—If you are planning to experience sleeping under the stars in some campgrounds or national parks, this is a much cheaper option than buying it outright. Keep an eye out for campervan deals that include camping gear as a bonus.

  8. Take advantage of free camping sites where possible—Be smart about where you park your campervan rental and look for free camping spots whenever possible. There are plenty of these scattered around New Zealand, so there's no need to spend money on campsites every night.

When is the best time to go campervanning in New Zealand?

New Zealand is known for its changeable weather, with temperatures that vary greatly from day to night. The average summer temperature is about 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit), while the average winter temperature is 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). In general, the country's north is warmer than the south. New Zealand also experiences rainfall throughout the year, with higher levels in winter.

The best time to visit New Zealand depends on what you're hoping to do while you're there. The most popular time to visit New Zealand is the summer months (December-February) because the weather is warm and there is plenty to do. Several popular events occur during the summer, such as the Auckland Arts Festival, the Wellington International Jazz Festival, and the Christchurch Arts Festival. New Zealand is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and there are plenty of places to go swimming, surfing, and snorkelling. The hiking trails are also at their best during the summer when the flowers bloom and the weather is milder.

The winter months (June-August) are a great time to visit New Zealand because the weather is cooler, and many activities can only be enjoyed during this season. For example, the ski resorts in the South Island are open during the winter months and offer some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the world. Several popular ski resort areas include Mount Hutt, Queenstown, and Wanaka. There are also plenty of other winter sports, such as ice skating, snowmobiling, and dog sledding. The North Island is home to thermal areas, which are most popular to visit in the winter when the air is coldest. These include Rotorua, Taupo, and Wai-O-Tapu - known for their hot springs, geysers, and mud pools.

How long do you need in New Zealand for a campervan holiday?

If you want to explore the North and South Islands, we recommend at least 2-4 weeks. But if you're happy to focus on one or two regions, you could do it in as little as five to 7 days. Our 7-day and 14-day itineraries are designed to help you get the most out of the area.

Parking a Campervan in New Zealand

Where are some of the best places to park a campervan in New Zealand?

Planning a campervan holiday on the North Island of New Zealand? Check out the list of 10 popular places to park:

  1. Kaitoke Regional Park, near Wellington
  2. Tongariro National Park, near Taupo
  3. Whangamata Beach Motorcamp, on the Coromandel Peninsula
  4. Cathedral Cove Motorcamp, in Hahei
  5. Waipu Cove Motorhome and Holiday Park, north of Auckland
  6. Raglan Holiday Park, west of Auckland
  7. Mount Maunganui Holiday Park, on the Bay of Plenty coast
  8. Ohakune Top Ten Holiday Park, in the central North Island
  9. Turangi River Motorhome and Holiday Park, near Lake Taupo
  10. Camping by the beach in Kawhia

Heading to the South Island on a self-drive holiday. Scroll through some popular spots:

  1. Mount Hutt Motorhome Park, in the Canterbury Region
  2. Tekapo Springs Motorhome and Holiday Park, near Christchurch
  3. Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Holiday Park, north of Christchurch
  4. Kaikoura Motorcamp and Holiday Park, on the east coast of the South Island
  5. Karoa Motorhome and Holiday Park, in the Banks Peninsula Region
  6. Camping on the beach in Oamaru
  7. Camping by the river in Wanaka
  8. The Hermitage Motorhome park, near Mount Cook National Park
  9. Rundle Mall Carpark (free), in central Dunedin
  10. Any supermarket car park (free), anywhere in the south island
Where can you park a campervan overnight in New Zealand?

New Zealand is among the best and easiest places to explore with a motorhome, campervan or 4WD camper rental. There are many different places to park your campervan overnight in New Zealand. The best options include national parks, campgrounds, holiday parks, and rest areas.

Most national parks have designated camping areas where you can stay overnight, and usually have facilities such as toilets and showers. However, you must purchase a camping permit to stay in the park overnight.

Campgrounds are a great option because they offer basic facilities such as toilets and showers, and they generally have a kitchen area where you can cook your meals. Holiday parks are similar to campgrounds but usually offer more amenities, such as WiFi, laundry facilities, and play areas for children.

Rest areas are free to use and can be found throughout the country. They're a good option if you need to stop for a break or if you want to spend the night in your campervan. However, they can be pretty noisy, and there is no guarantee that you will find one close to where you want to go.

Freedom Camping in New Zealand

What is Freedom camping with a campervan in New Zealand?

Freedom camping in New Zealand is camping for free overnight on public land that is not a managed campsite. This can be done in your campervan, motorhome, or tent. However, not all public land is suitable for freedom camping, and it is prohibited in urban areas, including city parks and beaches, unless specific facilities are provided for this purpose. It is important to check local bylaws and regulations, as freedom camping is restricted in many regions due to environmental and public health and safety concerns.

Freedom camping doesn’t mean you are free from responsibility or to camp anywhere.

To freedom camp responsibly, follow the Tiaki care code and these essential rules:

Take notice of camping restriction signs

Check for signage, and do not park in these prohibited (no camping) areas. In addition, do not park on private land, driveways, footpaths and nature strips.

Do not park overnight at DOC scenic reserves or recreation reserves

The only exception is if you are in a managed campsite or there is a sign saying that freedom camping is permitted in self-contained vehicles. Here is a complete list of prohibited and restricted camping areas in NZ.

Ensure to leave the area as you found it

That means disposing of rubbish responsibly and using recycling facilities wherever possible.

Use the public toilets provided or the toilet in your camper

You cannot simply go in the bush. To freedom camp in areas without a nearby toilet, your vehicle must be certified as self-contained—otherwise, camp only in designated areas that provide amenities.

Freedom camping is restricted to certified self-contained vehicles in some areas

Self-contained vehicles such as caravans, campervans or motorhomes must meet the Self-containment of motor caravans and caravans Standard.These vehicles must be able to meet the occupants' needs for a minimum of 3 days without needing external services or discharging any waste. At a minimum, they are required to have the following:

  • A water supply tank holding not less than 4L per day for each authorised person for a minimum of 3 days
  • A sink
  • A toilet
  • Wastewater tank & evacuation hose
  • Sealable solid waste container for rubbish

A certified self-contained vehicle will display a blue and white sticker.

In these areas, do not park overnight for longer than three nights in a self-contained vehicle. You must use a waste disposal (dump) station every three days to empty your sewerage and wastewater. There are many designated dump stations throughout New Zealand.

Freedom camping responsibly will help protect the environment, respect fellow campers, and make for an enjoyable holiday (failure to do so can incur hefty fines, enough to spoil your holiday).

Where can you freedom camp in New Zealand?

There are several options when it comes to freedom camping in NZ.

Many councils in NZ provide and maintain freedom camping sites. The sites are free to use, but you must comply with local regulations. The locations of the freedom camping sites vary depending on the council, but most are in rural areas or near the beach. They generally offer decent facilities such as flushable toilets, running water and a dump station. You can find a list of the freedom camping sites in your area by visiting the local council's website or contacting them directly.

The Department of Conservation DOC manages over 250 campsites throughout the North and South Islands. Basic campgrounds provided by DOC are free, most of which are accessible by campervan. Although you will need to be completely self-sufficient, you do not need a certified self-contained camper at most sites because they have minimal facilities, such as toilets and an untreated water supply.

DOC-managed campgrounds have fees payable based on the campsite. These fall into three categories:

  • Basic
  • Standard and;
  • Serviced Campsites

Basic Campsites: There are basic toilets and an untreated water supply. You will need to be self-sufficient at these campsites. They are free of charge.

Standard Campsites: These are more limited but still have toilets, a water supply and vehicle/boat access. Other amenities will vary from site to site, such as - wood BBQs and fireplaces, cold showers, picnic tables, a cooking shelter and rubbish bins.

Unpowered/tent sites:

  • Adult (18+ years): $10 to $15 per night
  • Child (5–17 years): $5 to $7.50 per night
  • Infant (0–4 years): free

Powered sites where available:

  • Adult (18+ years): $13 to $18 per night
  • Child (5–17 years): $6.50 to $9 per night
  • Infant (0–4 years): free

Serviced Campsites: A good option if you want convenient amenities close at hand, such as tap water (treated /untreated), flushable toilets, hot showers, rubbish collection and laundry facilities. There may also be access to barbecues, fireplaces, cookers and picnic tables.

Unpowered/tent sites:

  • Adult (18+ years): $20 per night
  • Child (5–17 years): $10 per night
  • Infant (0–4 years): free

Powered sites:

  • Adult (18+ years): $23 per night
  • Child (5–17 years): $11.50 per night
  • Infant (0–4 years): free

Bookable campsites require you to pay online and secure your place in advance. Each campsite webpage will explain how to pay and book. Non-bookable campsites run on a first-come, first-served basis, and you will need to pay in cash at these campsites. They require you to register and pay when you arrive. It’s a good idea to arrive early and have an alternate plan if the site is at capacity.

What is a New Zealand Campsite Pass?

A campsite pass is a way of paying for and gaining access to DOC-managed campsites throughout NZ It can be purchased up to one month prior to the first night of use and can be used at bookable and non-bookable campsites. You can use the campsite pass for a maximum of 7 nights in a 30-day period at a single campsite. Any additional nights can be purchased at the standard rate. However, you need to check the maximum stay period for each campsite.

30-Night Pass:

  • Adult 18 years plus: $95.00
  • Child/Youth 5-17 years: $47.50
  • Infant 0-4 years: Free

1 Year (365-night) Pass:

  • Adult 18 years plus: $195.00
  • Child/Youth 5-17 years: $97.50
  • Infant 0-4 years: Free

You can buy your campsite pass online or purchase one at the Nelson Visitor Centre or Kauaeranga Visitor Centre.

National Parks in New Zealand

Which are the best national parks to visit in New Zealand?

Aotearoa captivates visitors with its extraordinary natural landscapes and abundant opportunities for adventure. Exploring these parks is effortless with New Zealand's superb infrastructure and sweeping network of roads and campsites.

Among the top parks to consider visiting are:

Abel Tasman: Cradled at the crown of the South Island, this haven features pristine shores and azure waters, beckoning you to indulge in swimming, kayaking, or hiking. The coastal pathways showcase mesmerizing vistas of the sea and surrounding woodlands, and its hidden coves and bays offer idyllic locations for picnics or a sunset swim.

Fiordland:Etched on the South Island's southwestern fringe, this untamed realm sings of deep, sapphire inlets, towering mountains draped in mist, and waterfalls that dance and shimmer. Its rugged terrain nurtures a diverse range of plant and animal life, including the elusive kiwi. Boating, angling, and birdwatching enthusiasts will find this park unforgettable, leaving an indelible impression.

Tongariro: Nestled within the North Island's embrace, this park houses three active volcanic peaks, including the striking Mount Ngauruhoe, famously portrayed as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films. Otherworldly vistas of snow-crowned summits, alpine pastures, and crystalline lakes delight the senses. Its extensive network of trails caters to various abilities, from volcano summiting to leisurely strolls.

Westland Tai Poutini: Unfolding along the South Island's southwestern coast, this park unveils the awe-inspiring Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, Nature's own sculptures of ice and time. Its lush forests, enigmatic mountains, and turbulent rivers create a diverse landscape ideal for hiking, angling, and birdwatching. It also hosts numerous rare and threatened species, such as the kea, the sole alpine parrot in existence. Its astonishing beauty and thriving wildlife make this park a veritable Eden.

How much is campervan entry to national parks in New Zealand? Are permits required?

Unlike many other parts of the globe - New Zealand’s National Parks are free to enter and explore. New Zealand is home to 13 National Parks that cover over 85% of the island.

There are 3 located on the North Island:

  1. Tongariro
  2. Whanganui 
  3. Egmont 

The remaining 10 are located on the South Island:

  1. Abel Tasman 
  2. Kahurangi 
  3. Nelson Lakes 
  4. Paparoa
  5. Arthur's Pass 
  6. Westland Tai Poutini 
  7. Aoraki/Mount Cook
  8. Mount Aspiring 
  9. Fiordland 
  10. Rakiura

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I pick up my campervan in the South Island and drop it off in the North Island or vice versa?

Yes, many companies have depots in both the North and South Islands and allow one-way trips.

If planning this type of trip, you will need to pay the cost of the ferry. Our support team can help with your booking.

Additional one-way fees may apply. The comparison tool will automatically factor this into your total.

Can bike racks be fitted to the campervan?

Yes, many companies allow a bike rack to be fitted to the vehicle. Please note that these may not be compatible with all makes and models, and usually must be arranged in advance.

What licence do I need to rent a motorhome in New Zealand?

All drivers must have a current and full driver’s licence to hire a vehicle. Foreign licences are acceptable if they are in English or are accompanied by an accredited English translation. Otherwise, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required.

Are one-way campervan rentals possible in New Zealand?

Yes, a large number of companies allow for one-way rentals.

One-way rentals may not be available between all routes, and additional fees apply, depending on the pickup and drop-off locations. Our comparison tool will automatically factor in any additional fees and show you which vehicles are available on your preferred route.

What is the diesel Road User Charge (RUC)?

Because there is no tax on diesel fuel in New Zealand, the government imposes a Road User Charge (RUC) instead. This is a set amount per 1,000 kilometres, depending on the size and weight of the vehicle.

For companies that offer diesel vehicles, you will need to pay an RUC based on kilometres travelled. Our comparison tool will tell you if this applies to your chosen vehicle.

Check the rental terms for specific charges regarding your chosen vehicle.

Can I rent a campervan in New Zealand if I’m under 21?

Most campervan rental companies in New Zealand require the driver to be 21 years of age or older to access their full range of vehicles.

Some companies will rent to drivers between 18 and 21, but only certain models may be available. In those cases, additional insurance may be required.

Enter the driver’s age into our search tool and we will filter available vehicles to match.

Note: policies vary from supplier to supplier. Always check the T&Cs for your rental.

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