Our motorhome experience in New Zealand


Well yes, we decided rent a motorhome in New Zealand to live that experience of being able to sleep where you want, without ties or reservations, feeling nature and loneliness up close. New Zealand lends itself to it, and not only because of the scale of its nature, many times oblivious to the passage of man, but also through the unique spaces to spend the night under the stars. Traveling this way allows you to feel free since you decide when and how. Do you feel like knowing our experience and already passing our advice if you plan to travel to New Zealand ?. Here we go.

Motorhome in New Zealand

Motorhome in New Zealand

For many traveling in this way is to make kilometers and kilometers and not rest. At first sight do more than 3,000km as we did may come to look like a real beating, but the reality is that when the company and the views are unbeatable, the journey can become one of the trips of your life. Our experience says that if the country deserves it, do not hesitate, rent one. New Zealand is the ideal scenario for many reasons, both for accommodation and restaurant prices as for the distances and the places that exist so incredible to spend the night. Sleeping by a lake with Keas hovering over your car behind the back of a forest that seems to have no end is an example. A motorhome or Campervan as they call them there they represent the means to do many more things without the absence of comfort.

New Zealand

But like everything else, it can have its advantages and disadvantages. For a 2 or 3 week trip it is perfect. For more it can be a big expense and you have to measure very well. A clear advantage is to be able to cook and save the restaurants, very expensive by the way, but if you go for fast food for life the prices will be the same as those in Spain. Another advantage is to sleep in it. It is not easy to locate hotels for less than $ 40-50NZ in New Zealand, I would say they are in extinction, but if your option is the tent logically it will be much cheaper, but watch out for frequent rains and weather changes in this part of the world. With this I want to say that to be really profitable to rent a motorhome in New Zealand you have to take advantage in all its aspects.

We wanted to divide this article into the following sections in order to help you decide if you are going to travel by car or motorhome on a possible New Zealand trip:

  • Tips on life on board
  • Indirect costs of a motorhome
  • Choose the right motorhome
  • Frequent questions

Tips on life on board, that great challenge

In the face of life in a motorhome, it must be borne in mind that being more than a car, it has a certain maintenance you should keep up to date. Also, by living in it space plays a very important role, since you will use a room to sleep, watch TV or cook. For some it may sound like a drama, but in the end it is such comfort that it will only depend on you if you feel comfortable sleeping inside in a vehicle like this.

Space and size of a motorhome

The times that we have rented a caravan we always say that we have tochoose the company very well. This is because you will share a very small space with people, more or less orderly and with possible tastes that sometimes are not so similar. The space is important, so if the company is not so close, bet on a large space or go to a hotel.

New Zealand

In order to drive it, a motorhome is big and you have to adapt to driving it. In New Zealand you have to add an additional challenge, since drive on the left, so the complexity goes up even if you adapt easily. But the main challenge of this type of transport is to live in it. The bathroom is ridiculous, since in a space of less than a square meter you have the toilet and shower. The bed that depending on the motorhome you have to mount every day, although the truth, in our case it was never a drama and also, he slept but that very well.

Being a small space, order and storage is essential. It is very grateful to have closets to store clothes, kitchen utensils such as cutlery, glasses, plates or pans. They even come equipped with a TV, a microwave or a toaster. All this makes in the end a motorhome is a very comfortable solution to travel, in the end all this is always close to you.

Interior of a motorhome

The kitchen, what a great invention!

All motorhomes carry their kitchen and in models similar to the one we rent a outdoor barbecue, the queen of the house. Everything works by gas, as in the old kitchens, but working like a clock. In the interior next to the fires is the small, but sufficient battery. It should be noted that in the face of water, the pump must always be activated, as in the shower, since it requires electricity to be able to extract it. Here begins one of the things to consider, since it consumes both electricity and water logically.

Like a house. Electricity, gas and water

Caravans usually work at 12v, so the plugs do not work at 220v unless you connect it to a camping generator. The battery recharges itself, but be careful, normally the energy it gives is only for one hour.

New Zealand

It is advisable to go to a campsite from time to time to to be able to charge 220v devices, although many of the ones we had worked via USB with an adapter for car cigarette lighter. In the case of a laptop or simply if you do not have a 220v adapt to a car, a solution would be to go to a McDonalds, which are kicked, ask you something and in the meantime charge what you have in any outlet of the establishment. In any case we went to a campsite several times for two reasons. For this need to charge devices and the use of showers and laundry. For 5NZ $ you can wash and dry all your clothes, a luxury. We advise you to read our article useful articles for your trips.

Facing the Water approximately every two days you have to fill the Water Pump, which is used for the battery, shower and toilet. The latter has a separate deposit to store your “little things” and that you must expel depending on the use and filling. Both in supermarkets and in campsites they sell some blue pills for these deposits and thus eliminate odors and dissolve anything. They work very well.

Working in the motorhome

He Water you can get it for free in any Dumpstation. They are indicated with a symbol of the Campervan and a little box under it at the entrances of the villages. There is also the possibility of filling the tank inside a campsite.

If it's cold the caravans come with heating, but some work at gas and others to electricity. If it is the second you will need to be in a campsite to be able to use it, since they need 220v. If you go in the New Zealand summer you will not use it, but the rest of the year you will use it more than once. To give you an idea, from September to November there will be days where there are zero degrees at night on the street, after all you are in the middle of the field.

By last several tips:

  • Turn off anything you don't use, don't waste your battery
  • Empty the tap from the battery once you have used it. Sometimes you unwittingly give it when you're cooking and fill everything with water 🙂
  • Do not forget to remove the motorhome plug if you connect it to the camping generator. You can easily forget and have a dislike
  • Take one external battery for the mobile and a power strip, you can always have the mobile working and more than one device charged
  • Close the gas bottle if you don't use it

Motorhome in New Zealand

Indirect costs of a motorhome

A motorhome has certain additional costs. Here you have to be very realistic so that later you do not put your hands to your head, so you should take into account the following:

  • It consumes more than a car
  • The rent is more expensive, but you save the hotels
  • The ferry is more expensive because it is a bigger vehicle
  • Sometimes you will go to the campsites to have electricity among other things
  • More people, cheaper. It is not the same to go four in a motorhome than four every night paying for two hotel rooms

In the end, the points that most affect the cost of a motorhome in New Zealand are gasoline, ferry, gas, campsites and insurance.

Gasoline that is not missing

The gasoline is cheaper than in Spain and around 1.30NZ $ a liter. Calculate that a motorhome like the one we rented has a deposit to travel about 600 or 650km. If you make a trip like ours, you will get about 3,500km to drive. Therefore, if a full deposit leaves for a little more than $ 85NZ, the trip will cost you between 450 and 550NZ $ of gasoline only.

One tip, in places like Milford Sound it is convenient to carry a full tank as you can drive for 200km and not find any gas station.

Our tour of New Zealand

Ferry from the south island to the north

To move from one island to another you have to climb alferry. If you go from the south island to the north calculate 260NZ $ for two people and motorhome.

Gas cylinder

Although it lasts a long time, it is possible that the gas cylinder may be spent. This comes out at $ 35NZ if it's just refilling it or $ 85NZ if you want to buy a full bottle.

Use of campsites occasionally

You are right. Even if you don't go to hotels, you may go to more than one campsite because of the services they offer or simply because you feel like sleeping inside a city.

Motorhome insurance

Unless you have a card with $ 7,500NZ available, which is what houses like Britz require as a deposit, or you will have to pay insurance to download it. The cheapest and covering more basic things comes to $ 350NZ with a deposit of $ 2,500NZ.

Taxes for using a diesel vehicle

How do you hear it? When using a diesel vehicle to the delivery of the vehicle you have to pay the concept of Road User Charges (RUC), imposed by the New Zealand government. Calculate 200NZ $ for 3,500km.

Total costs

In short, add the following concepts to your private business case to the rental price of the motorhome:

  • Gasoline: 550NZ $
  • Ferry: 260NZ $
  • Gas bottle: $ 35NZ
  • Campsites: $ 120NZ
  • RUC: $ 200NZ

Choose the right motorhome

Apart from knowing what type of company you choose, there is the vehicle type decision. I still remember searching the Internetrental agencies of motorhomes. Normally as Mr. Google dictates were the most important. Britz, Maui, United Campervans, Kea or Mighty are really a company with different brands. Then there are Starrv and Jucy, but once you set foot here you see that there are dozens of agencies. We saw brands like Rocketcampervans, Hippycamper, Tuicampers, Apex or Spaceships, with more modest campervans and surely cheaper than the main brands. If we make a comparison, the first ones are of the Avis, Sixt or Europcar type, and the others are more secondary brands although many of them operate in Australia and New Zealand.

If we talk about the final price we recommend that you use comparators, from New Zealand, as they usually bring discounts and better prices. Below we talk about several of them.

On the south island

As a general rule we can say that there arefour sizes of motorhome. The smallest is usually a family car Let the rear seats fold down to make a bed. The most economical in all aspects, but loses interior comfort. Then there are the mini vans, something narrow, but already with kitchen, bathroom and the bed on the roof. Then there are 7m like ours, that one can stand inside it and has a lot of space. Finally they are the biggest, mainly for 4 adults and with a bed at the top of the caravan. Your choice in the end will always depend on two factors, the budget and the number of people.

Types of motorhome

An important thing, prices double in high season, from December to March, so do not put your hands to your head if you go on these dates.

To consider is also the vehicle pick-up and delivery schedule. They are not 24 hours as the car rental agencies of a lifetime, only from 8 to 16h, so be careful when deciding flight schedules.

Which to choose?. Better to compare all and decide based on the stay, the season and the type of vehicle. It will be a time well spent.

Frequent questions

Looking for the best price

Here we leave several brands that they offer good prices, within reason, in New Zealand and even in Australia. Some are comparators, but we believe, after looking at many, these are the ones that offer the best price, especially Discovery Motorhomes.

RentalcarsCar rental up to 15% To go

Drive now
Comparator of the main motorhome brands (the best)To go

Discovery motorhomes
 Comparator of the main motorhome brands To go

Can you sleep where you want in a motorhome in New Zealand?

The answer is no. Normally in towns or cities it is forbidden unless you go to a campsite, this one normally paid. In many villages there are signs at the entrance indicating that you cannot camp and at the exit the end of this prohibition. However, there are thousands of places to park and sleep without problems for free, usually far from cities.

If you decide for the payment option are the famous TOP 10 Holidays Parks, that for 40-55NZ $, 2 people with electricity you can park your Campervan and access the service of having laundry, showers and bathrooms. There is a free membership card to be able to get discount.

In order to sleep for free, we advise you to download the Wiki Camps application, since in addition to having a map of New Zealand OFFLINE without the need for 3G, there are a lot of points where you can park with ratings and even photographs. Anyway, if you search in any app store you can find many applications for motorhomes in New Zealand, even from the rental agencies themselves.

How are the roads in New Zealand?

It is a joy to drive through a country like this. The landscapes are of such caliber that they help the kilometers to pass easily. Apartthere is little traffic and since you can't run much in the end you end up adapting.

In New Zealand you drive to the English, to the left, always leaving the shoulder on your left and the opposite lane on your right. 99% of the roads we saw in New Zealand are one lane in each direction, so the speed limit is 100km / h and in the city 50km / h. As it is easy to pass, we were fined once, for going to 120km / h, and the joke came out at $ 120NZ, yes, we have not yet paid ...

It should be noted that the asphalt is in good condition and except on the way to Rob Roy, we don't step on dirt roads. The only thing strange and that makes driving slow and sometimes dangerous are the numerous level crossings and single-lane bridges. By the way, there are no tolls.

Before leaving for New Zealand

  • New Zealand's Planet Planet Guide
  • Airport Transfers
  • Car rental in New Zealand with 15% discount
  • New Zealand map