Top Tips for Motorhome and Camper Van Rental in New Zealand
The open road, ultimate freedom, parking up wherever you want for the night… Well, campervanning in New Zealand isn’t exactly like that. That’s right, there are a few things you need to know about motorhome and campervan rental in New Zealand.
Renting a camper van is a super popular travel method in New Zealand and for good reason as New Zealand is such a road trip-friendly country. However, getting a good value camper van rental, knowing where you can actually camp and being aware of the restrictions has become a bit of a challenge. Although we still believe that renting a camper van is pretty awesome, as we mention in 10 Things We Love About Renting a Car or Campervan in New Zealand, there are still a few things you should know about camper van rental in New Zealand so that you don’t get any nasty surprises.
Alright, let’s get started with some tips for your trip by motorhome or camper van in New Zealand.
Video: 10 Tips for New Zealand Camper Van Rental
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1. Season Affects Price
A lot of tourists and locals are looking to travel by camper van during the New Zealand summer. Lounging on camping chairs outside your van in the heat of summer sounds magical, right? Well, not when hiring a camper van in summer costs twice the price!
In most cases, you can reduce the basic cost of your camper van rental in New Zealand by half if you travel during the shoulder and off-seasons in New Zealand. You don’t even have to travel in the dead of winter to get cheaper rental prices (although, you totally can by following our tips in Renting a Campervan in Winter: New Zealand Road Trip Tips). For instance, even hiring in October when the weather vastly improves is still usually half the price of travelling from December to February.
For more reasons to travel in the off-season, check out 11 Reasons to Travel in the Shoulder and Off-Season in New Zealand.
2. You Might Find Some Age Restrictions
Many New Zealand camper van rental companies have a young driver’s surcharge, usually, if you are under 25 years old. Plus, if you are under 21, it is not likely that you will be able to be the driver of a hired motorhome. Nevertheless, there are plenty of camper van rental companies that specialise in vehicle rental for younger drivers, meaning you can hire campercars and camper vans from the age of 18 (as long as you have a full valid driver’s license in English or a license accompanied by your approved translation or International Driving Permit).
For more information, check out Age Restrictions When Renting a Vehicle in New Zealand. Plus, find camper van rentals for young drivers in The Best New Zealand Car & Campervan Rentals for Ages 18 to 25.
3. Be Aware of the One-Way Fee
Travelling from the North Island to the South Island or vice versa? Well, you will most definitely be charged extra for that. Dropping your rental camper van in a different location to where you picked it up usually incurs a one-way fee which can be up to NZ$300 extra.
For more extra costs, take a look at How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in New Zealand?
4. Remember the Ferry Costs
By now, you have probably realised that New Zealand is made up of two main islands. If you want to explore both of them, then be aware that you will need to take your rental vehicle on one of the Cook Strait ferries. The larger your campervan, the more expensive this trip will be. Get an idea of prices and how to save money on the Cook Strait ferry in Ferry Between the North Island and South Island.
Although we recommend travelling both islands, if you can only pick one, be sure to compare in Should You Travel the North Island or South Island?
5. Campervan Relocation Will Save You Heaps!
On the other hand, if you are travelling from the South Island and ending your trip on the North Island, then you may find yourself a sweet camper van relocation deal. This means your camper van base price is free and you only have a few inclusions to pay for. However, camper van relocation deals have limited availability and other restrictions, such as a short amount of time to get the vehicle back up north.
Find out more in New Zealand Campervan Relocations: How to Get a Free Campervan Hire.
6. There are Actually a Lot of Inclusions
You don’t have to worry about packing too much when renting a camper van in New Zealand because most rental camper vans have all the essentials. Towels, bedding, tea towels, cutlery, pots, pans, plates: everything you need to make your camper van a home will be there. Be sure to check out the inclusions of your camper van rental before you start packing. Then all you need to worry about is packing light and bringing your own essentials, which we can help you with New Zealand Packing List: What to Pack for New Zealand.
For a few extras for your campervan road trip, in particular, check out our 12 Essentials to Pack for a New Zealand Campervan Trip. Plus, you might find this video handy:
7. Know the Price of Fuel in New Zealand
Depending on where you are from, the price of fuel in New Zealand is either going to delight you or horrify you. Either way, you need to consider the price of fuel when budgeting your trip. New Zealand camper vans use either petrol and diesel. Unleaded petrol is usually around NZ$2 per litre (approximately NZ$7.60 per gallon) meaning a full tank of gas for a camper van is likely to be around NZ$90. While diesel is cheaper, you are likely to have to pay a Road Usage Charge of between NZ$62 to NZ$68 per 1,000km (621 miles) travelled.
Alternatively, consider renting an electric camper van where there are frequent charging stations around New Zealand so you don’t need to worry about the cost of fuel. Find out more in NZ EV Guide: How to Travel Around New Zealand in an Electric Car or Camper.
8. You Have So Much Choice
Because New Zealand is such a road trip-friendly country, so many people want to rent a camper van! For that reason, you will find heaps of camper van rental choices, and vehicle choices too! You can have luxurious motorhomes to compact and cleverly designed minivans which you can fit your whole life into. Choosing a camper van is fundamental to your enjoyment of driving and comfort during your road trip in New Zealand, so we can help you choose the right model for you in Campercar, Campervan or Motorhome Rental: Which is Better for New Zealand?
To make the selection process less overwhelming, use campervan rental comparison websites like Compare and Choose. You’ll be able to compare vehicles’ age, price, amenities, availability and more!
Did you know you can hire privately-owned campervans too? Find out more in Private Campervan & Motorhome Rentals in New Zealand: FULL Guide.
9. You Can’t Just Park Up and Sleep Anywhere
Contrary to popular belief, there are some strict freedom camping rules in New Zealand. If you really want to live in your camper van without paying for holiday parks or campsites, then you need to make sure your rental vehicle is fully self-contained. Find out more about what that is in our guide to Self-Contained Campervans in New Zealand. This will allow you to sleep in public spaces where there are no freedom camping restrictions, usually for up to three nights. If your vehicle is not self-contained then you need to use holiday parks, paid campgrounds and free campgrounds that allow non-self-contained vehicles, as explained in Where Can You Camp in New Zealand if Your Campervan is Not Self-Contained?
10. You Need to Know How to Drive in New Zealand
Not only can driving a camper van be daunting, but driving on the left side of the road in a country with different road signs and other rules just adds to the stress. Make sure you read up on How to Drive in New Zealand before hitting the road.
More About Camper Van Rental in New Zealand
Oh, and you thought that was all our tips for camper van rental in New Zealand? We’ve only just begun! Check out these other guides to help you plan the perfect NZ road trip:
- Should You Rent or Buy a Vehicle to Travel New Zealand?
- 20 Ways to Save Money on Car & Campervan Rental in New Zealand
- The Best Motorhome & Campervan Rentals in New Zealand
Finally, if there’s anything we’ve missed, you’re likely to find it in Renting a Campervan in New Zealand: The Essential Guide and How to Plan a Campervan Trip in New Zealand.