campervan at beach

One of the best ways to explore New Zealand is by renting a campervan. Not only does it let you travel at your own pace, experiencing everything this beautiful country has to offer, but it could also save you a lot of money if you know where to look.

Lucky for you, we’ve put together everything you need to know when looking for a reliable and cheap campervan for hire in New Zealand.

A general look at campervans

When you rent a campervan, you’re taking your accommodation with you and enjoying the luxury of waking up to a new view every day. No hotel beds? No problem. Once you arrive at a campsite or a designated campervan area, simply park up, pull out the bed and snooze.

Campervan rentals in New Zealand can come in different shapes and sizes. The main thing to look for when considering a campervan is whether it’s self-contained or not. A self-contained campervan is a vehicle that’s capable of containing its own wastewater and sewage. Aside from that, a van should also have the following features to be certified as ‘self-contained’:

  • Freshwater tanks capable of holding 12L per person for three days.
  • A wastewater tank for wastewater and sewage.
  • A sink.
  • A refuse container which is sealable.
  • A portable or fixed toilet.
  • An evacuation hose.

The biggest advantage of renting a self-contained campervan is that you are able to go freedom camping. Since they’re capable of holding their own wastewater and are therefore more environmentally friendly, self-contained campervans are the only types of vehicles allowed to stay overnight on freedom camping sites. If you love taking the road less traveled, this is your vehicle of choice. These vans are also more spacious compared to standard campervans. Having a toilet onboard is also convenient, especially if you’re planning to be out on the road for days.

Standard campervans, on the other hand, do not have their own contained waste and sewage facilities. Freedom camping is a big no-no unless you want a hefty fee. They’re also smaller in size and are less spacious. That being said, they are cheaper to run due to their smaller size and you’ll pay less for ferry crossings.

Campervan features

Just because you’re looking for a cheap campervan hire in New Zealand’s North Island or South Island doesn’t mean you should sacrifice your comfort and convenience. Many motorhome rentals offer solutions to travelers who want to enjoy a comfortable few days outdoors.

Here are some of the features offered in our campervan rentals in New Zealand:

  • 24 Hour Roadside Assistance for peace of mind.
  • Air Conditioning.
  • Standard insurance which can be upgraded. Take a look at your insurance options.
  • Additional drivers at no extra cost.
  • Stereo with MP3 front aux port.
  • Full queen size bed & free bedding (professionally dry cleaned before each hire).
  • 3 beach chairs.
  • Gas cooker, gas cartridge, sink with running water.
  • Chilly bin (esky/cooler/ice box whatever you want to call it!).
  • 240V Mains power connection cabling (for use at powered sites).
  • Mains powered heater and lamp.
  • Heaps of storage room (300 litres plus).
  • Cooking and living equipment (cutlery, crockery, pots, pans, etc.).
  • Our self-contained vans also feature a portable toilet.
  • Free Escape Guidebook (featuring discount offers).
  • Department of Conservation campground guides and access to the wonderful Campermate AppFree SIM Card for mobile phones.
  • Free snow chains during winter (May to September – Available on request and subject to availability).
  • Free Solar Shower – Subject to availability.

Running costs

A camping trip in NZ is always fun but your budget can also be a significant factor to consider. The total running cost depends on the length of time you plan to stay out and the activities you’ve lined up. Typically, these are some of the things you need to take care of during your camping trip:

  • Fuel – The farther you plan to take motorhome rentals, the bigger your fuel allocation would be. Consider NZ$300 or more for petrol.
  • Campground charges – On the average, campgrounds charge NZ$25 to NZ$30 per day.
  • Ferry – If you plan to go from north or south islands, take note that campervan charges depend on sizes. Smaller campervans are charged NZ$173 to NZ$248. Medium-sized campervans are charged NZ$243 – NZ$328. Finally, larger vans are charged NZ$313 – NZ$408.
  • Toll fees – There are several rules that apply to paying toll fees in NZ but charges are around NZ$2.00 for light vehicles and up to NZ$5.00 for vehicles above 3.5 tonnes.
  • Waste disposal – New Zealand enforces rules on proper waste disposal for campers. Depend where you dump your waste, there may be a charge.
  • Food – While there may be restaurant options along the way, your campervan usually comes with a kitchen so you can freely cook. Take food costs into consideration.
  • Insurance – The cost of campervan insurance differs depending on the rental company. Escape Rentals insurance options can be found here.

Camping cost

Camping around New Zealand is all about finding hidden treasures, and being able to stay the night where you please. If you have a self-contained campervan, you can stay almost wherever you please. Read our tips on wild camping in New Zealand.

If you don’t have a self-contained campervan or simply prefer to stay at a campground, then there will be extra costs. Non-powered campsites charge campervans around NZ$14 to NZ$34, while powered sites charge between NZ$16 and NZ$40.

Money saving tips

Cooking your own food will keep you from spending a lot on restaurant meals. Plan your meals, and take a trip to the grocery store before you set out. PAK’nSAVE is usually the cheapest option as far as New Zealand grocery stores go.

Plan your driving route to maximize fuel consumption and make sure you don’t get lost. There’s a ton of resources online you can explore from previous visitors and, of course, you can talk to Escape Rentals for advice on some of the best road trips and destinations New Zealand has to offer that fits in with your budget. Book from Escape Rentals now and enjoy camping!