Different Types of Campervans in New Zealand

Such variety in a small country makes New Zealand the perfect destination for a road trip! Complete freedom is the main reason many backpackers opt for using a campervan (or caravan) for transportation. It is certainly worth considering when you have two or more friends willing to explore New Zealand together.


Why a campervan road trip is awesome

Renting or buying a campervan (or sleeping in your car) is a good way to travel New Zealand for a number of reasons:

  • Stay in campsites – cheaper than hostels if you are in a group.
  • Freedom – you’re not limited by bus routes.
  • Protect yourself from the elements – shelter yourself in a sturdy campervan instead of a tent.
  • Road trip bonding – road trip buddies for life!
  • Share costs – sharing food, for example, saves money.
  • Experience the outdoors – go to campsites in the wilderness.
  • Pack more things in your campervan – no need to lug around backpacks.


Non self-contained campervan

A non self-contained vehicle has no toilet, shower or grey water storage. They tend to have other facilities within them like cooker, fridge, seats that convert into a bed, blinds, etc. Plus, rental companies will include the dinnerware, kitchen utensils and bedding. So this gives campervans an edge over sleeping in a car

Because these campervans are smaller than self-contained vans, they are easier to drive. Plus, the fuel and rental costs are cheaper. However, like sleeping in your car, this restricts the amount of campsites you can use by not having the self containment certificate.


Self-contained campervans / motor homes

To protect the environment and give you more options for campsites, use a self-contained campervan. A certified self-contained vehicle shows campsites and local councils that the vehicle has minimal impact on the environment and public health.

What is self containment? This is where waste water is held in holding tanks within the vehicle. Then you must dispose of the waste in a dump station. You can ask your nearest I-SITE for dump station locations.

The benefit of self-containment is that you have all the facilities you could need. Plus, you can take advantage of all New Zealand’s campsites including the approximately 340 free sites!

However, the option with the most facilities means it is much more expensive both on fuel and rental. Additionally, if you are renting a larger campervan or a motor home, they are more difficult to drive, especially on New Zealand’s winding roads. Because of this, some rental companies have an age restriction of either 21 or 25 years old.

To find out more about self-contained campervans, have a look at our article: Self-Contained Campervan in New Zealand.


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