Best Campervan Rental in New Zealand: Everything You Need to Know

Without a doubt, the renting a campervan in New Zealand is the best way to travel around this country (or “hire a campervan” as the Kiwis would say).

Ever since we built our own campervan in the U.S., we’ve been itching to get back behind the wheel. So we set our sights on NZ, and it did not disappoint.

There are few countries in the world as well set up to accommodate campervans than New Zealand. With holiday parks and campgrounds everywhere (as well as countless places to freedom camp!) you’ll have no problem finding a place to sleep. And with landscapes that look like they’re straight out of a movie — oh wait, they are! (Lord of the Rings, duh!) — endless adventures await you.

If you’ve been wanting to test out #vanlife, New Zealand is a perfect place to try it!

But hold up! Choosing the best campervan can be tricky. The best campervan company for us may not be the best for you.

Every traveler has their own expectations, level of comfort and budget they’re able to spend. So let’s start by going over the factors you should consider before you start looking at companies.

Know exactly what you’re looking for already?

[“Katie and Ben, I already know what I’m looking for and just want to see the best campervan rental companies…” Great! Jump down to that section here]

Still trying to figure out what type of campervan you’re looking for?

You’re not alone! We’re about to help you out and point you in the right direction.

Write down your answers to the following criteria: 

1. What is your campervan budget?

We’re going to come right out and say it: Renting a campervan in New Zealand ain’t cheap. Even if you go with the absolute cheapest company out there, you’ll still be paying a considerable chunk of money.

However, traveling in a campervan is a great way to save money during your trip because you can cook your own meals (much cheaper than eating out!) and you can even find campsites for free (cheaper than staying in hotels!).

Related: Money-saving tips for traveling in New Zealand on a budget

So just how much do campervans cost in New Zealand?

Well, it depends on a few things.  

First of all, the time of year can affect the price significantly. If you are traveling in the peak summer season (aka December – March), expect to pay peak rates. And on the opposite hand, if you travel during off-peak season, you might be able to score a great deal. Shoulder seasons (before and after peak season) will grant you a rate that is neither crazy expensive nor super cheap.

Here is an idea to get you started:

  • Peak Season (Dec to Feb): $120 - $420 NZD per day ($82 - $288 USD)

  • Low Season (June to Aug): $30 - $120 NZD per day ($20 - $82 USD)

  • Shoulder Seasons (any other time of year): Expect to pay somewhere in the middle

Additional Costs: One important thing to remember is you’ll also likely be paying for campsites. Yes, there are free sites out there, but they do not have any facilities *erm showers!*. So unless you plan on going au naturel during your entire trip (more power to you!), your daily rate will go up a bit when you factor in campsite costs (more on that later!).

How much do you expect to spend per day? Now multiply that by how many days you plan to travel in New Zealand.

2. What are your expectations when it comes to comfort?

Another very important thing to consider is what level of comfort you are expecting.  

“I can make do with just about any campervan.”

If you are an avid camper and are used to tents and all the discomforts that come with sleeping on the ground, any campervan you choose will feel damn near luxurious. And if you’re used to sleeping in hostels, you’ll love the privacy that comes with your own space. Even if you choose the smallest, cheapest, oldest campervan, you will still have a good time.  

“I will be more comfortable with a nicer campervan.”

However, if you are used to roomy hotel rooms and are a bit nervous about this whole “campervan thing”, you might want to choose one of the more plush options to make this new experience a bit more comfortable. 

You know yourself and you’re the only one that can really decide what comfort level you are going to be comfortable with.

Here are some helpful things to consider:

Do you want to be able to stand up in your campervan?  

Many of the budget campervans are not designed to be able to stand up inside. So think about what this means and whether or not it is a deal-breaker for you.

Both the campervan we built ourselves and the one we rented in New Zealand were not possible to stand up inside. We did just fine in both cases, but both agree it would be much more comfortable to be able to stand.

Good to know: Campervans that don’t allow you to fully stand up, typically have the kitchen in the rear so you can cook outside without hunching over. But other tasks, like making the bed and getting dressed, can be a bit tricky when you can’t stand upright. A plus to this type of vehicle is they are more streamlined, use less gas, and are easier to drive if you’re not used to big vehicles. 

Do you mind converting your bed every night and morning?

In most smaller campervans, the bed converts into a couch during the day. It can be tedious every night transforming your sitting space into your bed, especially at night in the dark with bugs trying to attack you. We speak from experience!

Some of the large campervans have a designed bed that you won’t have to convert twice a day. But this likely, nay, definitely, means a higher price tag.

3. How many people will you be traveling with?

The number of people you’ll be sharing the vehicle with can make a big difference in determining the vehicle you choose.

  • If you’re traveling solo, there is really only one company (Mad Campers) with single-berth vehicles designed for only one person. Bonus: Use Promo code TWOWANDERINGSOLES and get 5% off your Mad Campers rental. (You could also rent a 2-berth vehicle and enjoy a little extra space all by yourself.)

  • If there will be two passengers, you will have the biggest selection of vehicles to choose from, as this is the most common layout.

  • 3-berths are a bit more uncommon, and are typically laid out as a double bed below with a small “loft-style” bed above.

  • If you have 4 passengers or more, you might have to consider whether you want everyone in one vehicle or should you split up 2 in one and 2 in the other. Of course you will want everyone to have their own seat, but then that means you’ll need a bigger vehicle.

If you are campervanning with kids, you’ll want to make sure they have their own seat and bed, so a 4-berth might be the way to go.

Another important thing to consider is this: How close are you to the person/people you are traveling with?

If it is a new friend or acquaintance, you may want a bit more room, as living in a campervan is... umm, how shall we put this... very close quarters. If it is a close friend or partner, you may do just fine with less space.

Make sure you ask these questions to your campervan travel partner before you book your van rental.

4. What size vehicle are you comfortable driving?

If you have a big budget to work with and you are hoping for a pretty high level of comfort, you might be drawn to the bigger motorhomes. They do look pretty damn luxurious! But before pulling the trigger, consider what it will be like to drive a large vehicle like that.

The roads in New Zealand (particularly on the South Island) can be quite narrow and winding. For the most part we felt pretty comfortable driving our van, but there were a handful of times we were incredibly happy we weren’t driving one of those gigantic motorhomes.

If you’re used to driving on the left-hand side of the road or have experience with large vehicles, you might be just fine operating one of the bigger models. But if you’re a more cautious driver and driving on the opposite side of the road makes you nervous, then maybe a smaller vehicle will make an easier transition.

On that note: Make sure you have good travel insurance for rental cars just in case you do get your lefts and rights mixed up and have an accident. We never travel without travel insurance and we have a whole article on what insurance we use and recommend.

Budget Note: Remember that larger vehicles are going to require a significantly higher gas budget.

5. How far in advance do I need to make reservations?

If you are planning to travel during New Zealand’s high tourist season (December – March), make your reservation as far in advance as possible.

Personal Note: My parents were planning a trip from mid-February through mid-March and by the time they started looking in early January, many of the good companies had already been fully booked, or the prices were insane! They were still able to find something, but just barely. So if that gives you any indication, you’ll want to start looking at least 2 months in advance (if not more).

If you are traveling in shoulder or low season, you’ll have a better chance of finding something more last minute. But you might not have much of a choice when it comes to your options. So if you’re particular about what you’re looking for and have a tight budget, we’d still recommend reserving your vehicle as far ahead as you’re able.

6. What will my campervan come with?

This depends greatly on which company you rent from. However, nearly all campervans should come with the following:

  • Bed & Bedding

  • Sink with running water (and a tank you can fill with fresh water)

  • Stove & Propane

  • Cookware and utensils

  • Cooler and/or refrigerator (Fun fact: Kiwis call coolers “chilly bins”!)

Depending on the campervan rental company, these amenities can be very basic or quite luxurious. Also, most companies have the option to add extras, which are typically charged separately. This can include:

  • Camp chairs or table

  • Rain tarp (pictured above)

  • Solar Shower

  • GPS system

  • Roof Rack (depending on the company, this might come free with your rental)

Our experience: During our trip, we got several add-ons and felt like some of them were very necessary, while others just added clutter.

  • Rain tarp: Once we figured out how to use it (it’s super simple, but looks intimidating!), the rain tarp was night for being able to cook when it was windy or rainy and we weren’t staying at a holiday park. (It’s bulky, so you’ll need to store it in the roof rack container.)

  • Solar shower: We had the solar shower add-on, but never even brought it out of the box. We’d say this is totally unnecessary.

  • Table and camp chairs: The chairs were great to have, as we liked sitting outside at the campsites when the weather was nice. However, you can also buy these for cheap at The Warehouse (similar to Walmart). So if your rental company doesn’t include them, that is one option. The table was nice for chopping veggies, however it took up a lot of space in the van.

7. Do I need a self-contained campervan?

First, let’s go over what makes a vehicle “self-contained”.

While traveling around New Zealand, you’ll see vehicles with a “self-contained” sticker on their rear window (NZS 5465). This means that the vehicle has equipment onboard to remove any waste created by freedom camping. Simply put, the campervan has some sort of toilet and a grey water tank (a holding container for dirty water that goes down the sink).

There are certain campsites that only allow “self-contained” vehicles. And the only way you can legally do “freedom camping” is with a self-contained campervan.

Now, is it really necessary? Like most other answers, it depends on you. Freedom camping is, like the name implies, FREE! So if you’re on a tight budget and would like to try freedom camping at least a few times on your trip, then YES, you definitely need a self-contained vehicle.

If, however, you don’t think you’ll want to poo in your vehicle, then it might not be necessary. There are plenty of free (and cheap) sites that are perfectly fine for vehicles that are not self-contained.

Our pick: For us, it was important to have a self-contained vehicle not only to keep our camping options open, but to also dispose of any grey water at proper dumpsites and not harming the environment. We had a portable toilet, but to be honest we never used it. There are literally toilets everywhere in NZ.

8. What about campervan insurance?

Just like rental cars, all campervan companies should offer some form of insurance on your vehicle. However, you likely won’t need it if you already have travel insurance, or a credit card which covers rental vehicles. Be sure to check the find print before declining the policy.

Our Personal Experience: We declined the policy because we were covered through both our travel insurance policy as well as on our credit card.


Disclosure: This article was not sponsored, however, there are affiliate links. This means that if you book a campervan through one of our links, we receive a small commission. This allows us to continue producing thorough and helpful content, so we genuinely appreciate your support.

Best Campervan Rentals in New Zealand

Now that you know exactly what you are looking for in a campervan, here are the best rental companies and compare their offerings. 

Budget

These will be your best affordable options with basic yet functional designs.

Mid-Range

These companies offer a bit more room and features than the super budget options, yet they are still affordable.

High-End

If you are looking for more creature comforts during your NZ road trip, these companies will be the best bet. Their vehicles are damn near luxurious, but they come with a price tag that more closely resembles a hotel than a bed on wheels.

Budget Campervans

If you’re traveling New Zealand on a tight budget, you’ll be happy to know you have some great options!

Personal note: Beware that not all budget campervans are created equal. We traveled with a friend who rented the cheapest campervan she could find. You get what you pay for, and she had many problems with it along the way: No orientation of the vehicle when she first arrived, missing items that were supposed to be included (like sheets, cooking utensils, etc.), and pieces of the van repeatedly fell off.

We can’t recommend all budget options, but Mad Campers and Escape Campervans 2 companies we can.

Mad Campers

After lots (and LOTS!) of research, this is the company we personally chose. We liked their fun business model, their function-forward design, and the affordable price tag. We also noticed that they had excellent reviews from past customers, so this was the final push to book with them.

Disclosure: Mad Campers gave us a discount on our campervan rental, but all our opinions and feedback are 100% honest.

Who is this rental for: Easy going, budget-minded travelers with a sense of adventure to get off the typical tourist trail. Recently, Mad Campers gave their whole fleet an upgrade with built-in cookers, better storage, better fridges and a complementary roof storage!

Type of vehicles: 1-Berth (Mad 1) and 2-Berth (Mad 2) campervans

Benefits:

  • 2-berth van that drives very well

  • Self-contained

  • Decent gas mileage

  • Comfy bed

  • Very functional and details have been really thought through. It had everything we needed for our month-long trip.

  • Outdoor kitchen with built-in cookers

  • Small Kiwi-owned company

  • We have a discount for you (below)!

Cons:

  • Limited storage space makes the (free) roof rack an essential place to store extra bulk. But it can be a bit frustrating to keep accessing things inside the roof rack.

  • Can’t stand up inside.

  • One-Way transfer fee of $150 NZD.

Cost per day: Varies depending on campervan style:

  • 2-Berth: Peak Season $160 NZD per day, Low Season $50 NZD per day.

  • 1-Berth: Peak Season $100 NZD per day.

*DISCOUNT CODE: Since we traveled with Mad Campers throughout New Zealand, we built a pretty good relationship with them. They are giving all of our readers a 5% discount when you use Promo Code: TWOWANDERINGSOLES. Simply book your reservation on MadCampers.co.nz with the code TWOWANDERINGSOLES and you’ll get 5% off your campervan total.

Wanna see what’s inside our campervan? Check out our quick Mad Campers video tour:

Don’t See the Video? Turn off your AdBlocker for a quick minute and watch this detailed van tour!

Double Bonus: If you rent with Mad Campers, be sure to take part in their “Mad Challenge”. This is basically a scavenger hunt where you’ll need to take pictures doing some fun Kiwi activities – like swimming at a waterfall and eating fish ‘n chips on the beach – while wearing your free Mad Campers t-shirt that you’ll receive upon arrival.

When you complete the challenge by posting these shots on your Instagram with the hashtags #MadCampersNZ #MadChallengenz , you’ll get a 5% refund on your rental cost! (That can add up to be a good chunk of change!)

Check out Ben’s attempt at the #MadChallengeNZ

Escape Campervans

Who is this rental for: Backpackers and international travelers looking to travel as cheaply as possible, and don’t mind cuddling 3 wide. Best for really close friends.

Type of vehicles: 2-Berth and 3-Berth. The 2-Berth is spacious for 2, but the 3-Berth is the same style campervan but you simply add a third person in the middle front seat and in the bed.

Benefits:

  • Unique and fun design painted on each campervan.

  • Reliable international company.

  • One of the cheapest options available.

  • Self-contained options available.

Cons:

  • Not able to stand up in the van.

  • Limited storage space.

  • If you are planning on traveling with three friends this options would be uncomfortable.

  • Depending on your personality, the loud design on the exterior of the vehicle may be a drawback

Cost per day:

  • 2-Berth & 3-Berth: Peak Season $121 NZD per day, Low Season $29 NZD per day.

Mid-Range Campervans

If your budget is a bit more flexible, you’ll have more campervan options to choose from.

Jucy

Who is this rental for: Travelers wanting the convenience of renting from a powerhouse in the international campervan game, Jucy has campervan rentals down to a science. They have several different models, making this company a great option for most types of travelers.

Type of vehicles: 2-Berth Campervans (JUCY Cabana Minivan & JUCY Coaster Campervan), 3-Berth (JUCY Chaser), 4-Berth (JUCY Compass & JUCY Condo)

Benefits:

  • Well-known company

  • Many different styles and layouts to choose from. Some are pretty spacious!

  • Self-contained

  • Some styles have an indoor kitchen

  • Able to stand up in the 4-berth vans

Cons:

The larger models can be a bit difficult to drive if you’re not used to it (especially on mountain roads and in high winds).

Larger models also have lower gas mileage.

Cost per day: Varies depending on campervan style:

  • 2-Berth: Peak Season $175 NZD per day, Low Season $25 NZD per day.

  • 4-Berth: Peak Season $250 NZD per day, Low Season $48 NZD per day.

Travellers Autobarn

Who is this rental for: Travelers with a little higher budget, but don’t want to drive around the big rigs. These campervans are also one of the better options for 3 people traveling together, as there is a loft bed and extra seats in some models.

Type of vehicles: 2-Berth Station Wagon, 3-Berth Hitop & Kuga Campervans, 4-Berth Hi5 Campervan.

Benefits:

  • Smaller vehicle with lots of space and you can stand up in the back.

  • The kitchens are inside and include fridge (sometimes a freezer), microwave, and a 2-burner stove.

  • Can stand up inside the van.

Cons:

  • Only portable toilet (no indoor toilet)

  • Getting to be on the more expensive side

Cost per day: Varies depending on campervan style:

  • 2-Berth Station Wagon: Peak Season $89 NZD per day, Low Season $21 NZD per day.

  • 3-Berth: Peak Season $236 NZD per day, Low Season $41 NZD per day.

  • 4-Berth: Peak Season $274 NZD per day, Low Season $55 NZD per day.

High-End Campervans

And if you’ve got money to spare, you can travel New Zealand in luxurious style! The companies listed below created true homes on wheels, and you might even forget you’re “camping”!

Britz

Who is this rental for: 30+ travelers looking for a no-nonsense campervan because you might be exploring with loved ones and kids. You want the comforts of home in your camper but still seeking new adventures.

Type of vehicles: 2-Berth, 3-Berth, 4-Berth and 6-Berth campervans and motorhomes. Wide variety of amenities and add-ons in each type of vehicle.

Benefits:

  • Quality campervans and motorhomes that can fit the whole family.

  • Newer vehicles, 2016 and 2017 models.

  • Indoor kitchens and bathroom (toilet/shower) in campervan.

  • Lots of storage.

  • One of the best campervans/motorhomes in New Zealand.

Cons:

  • Large vehicles and can be difficult to drive.

  • Low gas mileage (but it is diesel, so a bit cheaper)

  • High cost per day.

Cost per day: Varies depending on campervan style:

  • 2-Berth Action Pod: Peak Season $158 NZD per day. Low Season $95 NZD per day.

  • 2-Berth Venturer: Peak Season $420 NZD per day, Low Season $70 NZD per day.

  • 4-Berth Discovery: Peak Season $410 NZD per day, Low Season $80 NZD per day.

Maui Campervan

Who is this rental for: 40+ couples or families looking to travel New Zealand at their own pace, valuing local experiences and seeking spontaneous adventure.

Type of vehicles: 2-Berth, 2+1 -Berth, 4-Berth, and 6-Berth campervans and motorhomes.

Benefits:

  • Maui has all the comforts of home, but on wheels.

  • All vehicles are less than 2.5 years old with most less than a year old, so no worries about car issues.

  • All have bathrooms (toilet and shower) and kitchens (multiple burners & microwaves) inside the motorhome.

  • Loads of storage space and hot water from taps. Talk about luxury!

Cons:

  • Large vehicles and can be difficult to drive.

  • Low gas mileage (but it is diesel, so a bit cheaper).

  • High cost per day.

Cost per day: Varies depending on campervan style:

  • 2-Berth Ultima: Peak Season $420 NZD per day. Low Season $110 NZD per day.

  • 4-Berth Cascade Motorhome: Peak Season $450 NZD per day, Low Season $110 per day.

  • 6-Berth River Motorhome: Peak Season $450 NZD per day, Low Season $125 NZD per day.


Still not sure on which New Zealand campervan company to choose?

Are you having trouble deciding on a campervan rental for New Zealand? Check out Motorhome Republic to compare different campervan companies in order to find the right vehicle for you and your dates.

We want to hear from you!

Which campervan sounds best to you? Still have questions or trouble deciding? Leave a comment below and we’ll try our best to answer! It’s likely others will have similar questions to yours.

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