New Zealand Campervan Hire
Generations of New Zealanders, or "kiwis" have grown up holidaying in mobile homes on wheels. In the 1950s, 60s and 70s the family would set off for their summer break in their oversized gas guzzling Ford or Holden, with the caravan in tow. After crawling hill climbs (complete with beeps from impatient motorists behind!), numerous thermos tea breaks, and the odd hair raising moment from overheated brakes, you arrived at your holiday spot by a river, lake or a beach - often within a holiday park. Today the magic of the holiday on wheels is still there for kiwis and thousands of visitors to New Zealand, but the transport and accommodation of choice is more likely to be the all-in-one campervan, motorhome or RV.
Consisting of two main islands and several other small ones, New Zealand (or Aotearoa in Maori – meaning “Land of the Long White Cloud”) is a perfect destination for a campervanning holiday. It’s friendly, uncrowded, compact, and is like nowhere else you’ll go to, in that the landscapes change from one spectacular vista to another every 20 minutes or so.
New Zealand is notable for its stunning scenery (including recognisable locations from the Lord of the Rings trilogy); its unique flora and fauna (even if its national emblem, the kiwi, is a rather odd-looking flightless bird); its geographical remoteness (even Australia is nearly 2000kms away); its innovative people (it was the first country to give women the vote and Kiwi Sir Edmund Hilary was the first man to make it to the top of Mt Everest); delectable food and wine (Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and Bluff oysters anyone...?) and its love of adrenaline-pumping extreme sports (bungy-jumping was invented there!).
As you travel through New Zealand by motorhome you can absorb the fascinating Maori culture, experience sophisticated cosmopolitan society with a laid-back twist, and journey to remote spots it’s possible no other human has ever even set foot on. Campervanning is an ideal way to experience this little slice of heaven – you can travel at your own pace and stop wherever you like, for as long as you like, and keep going past anywhere that disappoints! There’s a vast number of campsites and holiday parks dotted all over the country to accommodate you, and campervan rentals to suit any budget – and best of all, there’s a pretty favourable exchange rate to take your money further.
Read on to get the BEST advice, tips, tricks and secrets on where to go, what to do, how to plan and mistakes to avoid, to truly get the most out of your New Zealand campervan hire holiday.
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city with a population of over 1.3 million people, and is home to one third of New Zealanders. The city’s mix of urban sophistication and coastal setting has inspired a lifestyle that regularly ranks in the world’s top 10. It's definitely a city that's worth visiting on your campervan road trip, and the fact that nearly every major campervan hire company in New Zealand has a depot in Auckland, makes it a great place to start or conclude your campervan journey.
Of all the regions in New Zealand, the central North Island is the most diverse, with the volcanic plateau, ski fields, surf beaches, geothermal activity and wine regions all waiting to be discovered as you travel though by campervan.
The Canterbury region includes a large central portion of the east coast of the South Island, centred around the city of Christchurch. Christchurch, New Zealand’s oldest city, is a centre of art, culture and beautiful gardens. Christchurch is a popular pick up point for rental campervans, with all major New Zealand campervan hire companies having depots there.
Across the Cook Strait is the Marlborough region – one of New Zealand’s largest wine-growing regions. While sauvignon blanc is considered to be its specialty, the methode traditionelle and chardonnays are also well-known. Marlborough’s 100-plus vineyards produce more than half New Zealand’s wine. This beautiful region has numerous camping options that are friendly to the motorhome rental holidaymaker.
Nelson, first known as Whakatu, is a peaceful seaside city renowned for its wealth of talented artisans – painters, potters, sculptors and the like - who make their home here by the sea, forming and becoming part of the creative landscape. The region possesses more working artists per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand, so it’s no surprise to discover that there’s a host of galleries, studios and artist’s workshops to visit. Add to this Nelson’s golden-sand beaches, boutique wineries, world-famous brown trout rivers, hiking in Mount Richmond Forest Park plus all the sailing, beachcombing and fishing that’s also on offer, and you certainly won’t be short of things to do.
The relaxed, sunny lifestyle of Northland comes from its sub-tropical climate and the myriad of islands, bays and beaches around the extensive coastline.
From the lovely Scottish architecture of Dunedin to the wild beauty of the Catlins Coast, Otago and Southland are wonderful regions to discover by road. And as you journey by campervan through this region, you will enjoy the legendary southern hospitality that is famous with the locals. If you love oysters, you'll be taking the quickest route to Bluff, the home of the mighty Bluff Oyster.
Queenstown, otherwise known as the Adventure Capital of the World, a mighty title for this small town hugging the north-eastern shore of Lake Wakatipu, but one that has been well earned! Adventure seekers soon discover that whether you’re into high adrenaline-pumping activities like bungy jumping, skydiving, jet boating, and whitewater rafting, or prefer milder activities in the great outdoors like mountain biking, hiking, gondola rides, panoramic photography, landscape painting or even just soaking up the scenery, Queenstown has something for everyone.
Taranaki – on the North Island’s rugged west coast and dominated by Mt Taranaki – has a contrasting landscape and easily-accessible outdoor activities ranging from viwing nationally and internationally significant gardens, to alpine and surf adventures that offer the chance to surf and snowboard in the same afternoon. It's a 4-5 hour drive from either Auckland or Wellington, and is well worth spending a few days discovering once you arrive.
New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, is a cultural hub. It’s home to the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongawera, the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and national treasures such as the original Treaty of Waitangi and Katherine Mansfield’s birthplace. With steep hills and narrow streets, the central city is not the ideal place to drive around in a campervan - but head north of the city to find all kinds of exciting options for your motorhome roadtrip.
The West Coast is the narrow strip of land between the South Island’s Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. It is memorable for its backdrop of mountain peaks, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers, limestone landscapes, lakes and rivers, lush rainforest and a magnificent, wild coastline. There's so much discovering to do in this popular motorhoming paradise.