New Zealand travel information Tourleader New Zealand

New Zealand campervan rental tips

With checklist to download!

Touring freely around the country, independent from daily accommodation searches, using the facilities of campsites. Campervans come in many different sizes and standards, from backpacker models with cool graffitti designs to luxurious motorhomes.

New Zealand campervan rental tips

  • Be careful about possible additional costs for insurance excess, diesel tax, dropoff day charges, administration fees for speeding tickets, relocation charges, breakdown fees, lost key charges, additional equipment hiring or buying costs, additional windscreen/overhead/underbody damage and tyre insurance, booking fees etc...
  • Take pictures or videos of any damages you find.
  • While freedom camping is still allowed in many places we recommended to overnight on campsites due to safety and convenience reasons (charging batteries, kitchen, laundry, toilets and showers). Many travellers - especially in backpacker campervans - have clouded the reputation of freedom camping by leaving behind more than necessary, which conservationists and local residents did not appreciate much. But in contrast to that there are now many regions describing themselves as 'campervan friendly' to attract additional tourism.
  • In doubt, always check with local i-SITEs (before they close) for your overnight options and regional safety considerations. There are heavy fines for unpermitted freedom camping.
  • If you freedom camp or stay at DOC camping sites you need the ability to boil your drinking water.
  • In high season you may have to book ahead to secure a powered site. Some campgrounds don't allow check-ins after 8pm and some close after Easter.
  • When using a powered site don't forget to unplug the cord in the morning - leave some kind of reminder on your steering wheel.
  • Some rental companies offer relocation deals if you are ready to drive motorhomes back to their original offices, but it will take some organising beforehand. The campervan rental rate itself is either very low or completely eliminated but there is still a lot of small print to read. You'll also need to be flexible with your plans, the rental may take some time to complete and return conditions can be strict, eg Christchurch to Auckland within 3 days. Depending on the season a relocation may last longer. This can also be a good introduction to the world of campervan holidays, it is cheap and does not last forever.
  • Our own Tourleader New Zealand campervan in action!Ask about the recommended tyre pressure and check again halfway through your trip.
  • Ice packs in the freezer keep the fridge cool for longer when turned off.
  • Take emergency meals for when shops and restaurants are closed (late arrivals, Sundays or holidays).
  • Buy a good detailed map rather than rely on free advertisement maps.
  • Take your own pegs to hang up your washing in campgrounds.
  • Most campgrounds have cutlery, pans and dishes but not all of them.
  • Nearly all toilets have paper but not all.
  • Take a big bottle or container for fresh water, fill up with drinking water whenever you can.
  • Get a USB car charger for your mobile, or a power inverter for other devices and charge while you're driving.
  • Plastic containers are useful for food, rests, compost or trash, to keep the ants away.
  • Always park facing outwards so that you can drive away quickly in case of any emergency.
  • When it's cold park up so that the first sunlight warms your campervan in the morning. Take a light hat or beenie that you could wear on really cold nights. Use a cloth to dry the windows in the morning.
  • When it's wet take an umbrella, bags to store wet stuff, a mat to dry your feet and jandals to easily get in and out of the campervan.
  • When it's hot keep the morning sun and light away from where you sleep.
  • Take slippers/jandals so you can quickly get in and out of the van or facilities.
  • Keep your wet salty swimming stuff (wetsuit, togs, boogieboard) away from other things with a big plastic bag or tarpaulin.
  • Save plastic bags for your rubbish, recycle at camping or sports grounds.
  • Don't put your toilet waste into toilets - if they are using septic tanks the chemicals will be harmful. Use dump stations instead.
  • A last note about graffitti campervans: some backpacker vans have such offensive designs that camping grounds may refuse entry or councils may issue fines...

Download the Tourleader New Zealand website! Campervan recommendations for further reading

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