How To Hire A Campervan In NZ: A First-Timer’s Guide

Thanks to its vast natural landscapes, New Zealand (NZ) is one of the world’s most beautiful places. So, it’s no surprise that the country receives around 250,000 visitors annually. Some tourists, including locals, choose to immerse themselves in nature and experience its beauty by camping. And what better and safe way to do that than using a campervan? 

Campervans are customized vehicles—typically minivans or cargo vans—that include living accommodations like beds and stoves. They’re much smaller than recreational vehicles and often have fewer amenities. However, they make up for that lack by being more terrain-friendly. It’s easier to bring a campervan on rocky grounds or by the seashore. 

If you’re visiting NZ for the first time and plan to camp under the stars, hiring a campervan is best. If you’ve never hired one before, check out this guide to avoid mistakes and regrets on your trip.

campervan NZ

Pick An Option

Campervans come in different sizes, although most tend to be small. So, they’re ideal for singles, pairs, or trios instead of large groups. Several companies offer them to camping tourists. You need to research for ones that have the amenities you prefer and the prices you can afford.  

When you hire a campervan in New Zealand with Wilderness, you’ll have options depending on your needs and the number of people. Most campervans can house two people, while the biggest can accommodate as many as four. Each vehicle also has beds ranging from double to king-sized ones. 

Talk with your camping partner before deciding on which type of campervan to hire. The last thing you want is a disagreement on bed sizes, of all things.

2. List Your Needed Amenities And Features

Campervans come with features that make them one of the most comfortable motorhomes to camp with. Most have beds, air conditioning, cooking ranges, sinks, and refrigerators. However, keep in mind that amenities may differ from van to van and company to company.  

Make a list of essential features you want in your campervan to make choosing one easier. For example, if you need navigational tools or a proper toilet, write it down. Some companies can provide extras like kitchen supplies, chairs, and pillows. So, coordinate well with the company you’re renting from to settle everything you need for a comfortable camping trip.

Campervan New Zealand

3. Consider Your Budget

When you hire a campervan in NZ, its price depends on the size, amenities included, and how long you’ll use it. It also changes with the season you rent it. Expect rates to rise during peak seasons when you’re not the only campers looking for a van. This breakdown will help you understand the basic features per range: 

  • Smaller vans for solo travelers and pairs are in a lower price range, from USD$20 to USD$30. The space inside is typically enough for sleeping only. 
  • Middle-range campervans (USD$30–USD$60) are roomier. Cooking and dining equipment are also found inside the van instead of outside.  
  • Last is the higher price range of USD$60 to USD$150 per day. Campervans in this range are more spacious and comfortable for groups of three to four. 

You must also keep in mind that other factors will eat through your budget. These include the following: 

  • Vehicle insurance 
  • Fuel and ferry costs 
  • Toll and service fees 

Thus, before settling on a campervan, ensure the vehicle, the features, and all the miscellaneous costs are within your budget. Don’t force yourself to choose the higher-range vans if you can’t afford them. For extra advice, seek a niche travel community specializing in campervans. People with more experience in camping via motorhomes are usually willing to guide newbies. ou can also choose to have a campervan you already own shipped to your destination if you do not feel like driving there. 

4. Decide On A Time

Technically, you can hire a campervan in NZ any time of the year. But you’ll need to adjust depending on the season you’ll go camping.  

If you don’t mind other travelers, summer is the busiest time for campervan travelers. Be sure to book a slot early since campgrounds and popular scenic attractions tend to be crowded. You’ll also need thick curtains to block the sunshine and reduce heat inside the van. 

Despite the slippery roads, winter is also a viable time to travel with a campervan. Companies may provide campers with snow chains by request for safety. Since it’s too cold, you may need extra blankets to stay warm inside. On the plus side, hiring a campervan during winter is much cheaper than in other seasons.

Campervan New Zealand

5. Understand The Restrictions

Much like renting a car, you may face limitations when hiring campervans. One example is the age restriction. Even if you have a driver’s license at sixteen, unfortunately, you’re under the minimum age to hire a campervan in NZ. Eighteen-year-olds can, but rates may be more expensive than renting as a 21-year-old. Companies may also offer you smaller campervans if you’re younger. 

Another limitation is how long you’ll rent the vehicle. The standard in NZ is five days. During peak seasons, it may be ten days minimum. You could pay extra for additional days depending on the company you hire your campervan from. 

A restriction you should also keep in mind is the distance. You are limited to a set number of kilometers per day or trip, and going over that can incur extra costs. But not all campervan rental companies have these limitations. You may be lucky to find one that offers unlimited kilometers, so you can enjoy your trip and make sudden changes as necessary.

6. Choose A Pickup Spot

When you’ve chosen a company and a campervan, the next thing is to decide where to pick the van up. For efficiency, pick a location nearest to the airport to drive it straight after disembarking.  

Choosing the same spot for pick up and drop off is cheaper and ideal for loop itineraries. But a rental campervan company may also allow you to drop off the vehicle in another location when needed. Expect to pay a relocation fee if you take the latter option. It’s still worth the money if you travel solo in a campervan and are pressed for time.

Campervan New Zealand

Camp Like A Rockstar

Driving a campervan is a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors. It’s one of the best ways to travel with a partner or two to three close friends. But before you hire a campervan in NZ, review this article so you know what to expect and get the comforts you need for the right price.