Are you planning a trip to New Zealand? The best way to explore the country is to hire a Campervan or a motorhome. You can travel completely independently and spend most of your time outdoors, experiencing places off the beaten track. If you want to start your trip on the South Island, here are some tips for campervan hire in Christchurch.

Why renting a Campervan in Christchurch?

With about 350,000 inhabitants, Christchurch is the second largest city in New Zealand after Auckland. It is the capital of Canterbury and the Southern Island.

The International airport is within close proximity to most campervan rentals and there are usually free shuttle services available to most depots.

When travelling from Christchurch to Auckland, you will be saving yourself the extra expense, as rentals are generally more expensive in Auckland. This is because many tourists are traveling in the opposite direction, ending their trip in Christchurch. You are practically doing the company a favour by driving the vehicle back!

Rental companies in Christchurch

There are a number of rental agencies in Christchurch. The best known companies are situated in all major cities of New Zealand:

  • Britz
  • Apollo
  • Maui
  • Jucy Rentals
  • Happy campers
  • Euro Camper
  • Heron camper
  • Freedom campers
  • Wendekreisen

They are mainly located in vicinity to the airport and usually offer a free shuttle service to the depots.


Visiting Christchurch and surrounding areas

As in all major cities, it is best to walk through the city centre. Although parking is available in the city centre, it is quite expensive. Try not to drive in the district around the cathedral, as there are always construction sites and the streets are pretty narrow!


After the devastating earthquakes, this city has come back to life with a new energy, creativity and unique farm meets city vibe. You will notice the city walls are stricken with urban artwork and beautiful sculptures decorate the streets. The restaurants and cafés are found to offer fresh food, sourcing local produce. The perfect place to satisfy all foodies!

As in all major cities, it is best to walk through the city centre due the parking expense and traffic. Try not to drive in the district around the cathedral, as there are always construction sites and the streets are pretty narrow!

If you do wish to park within the city however, there are several parking spaces available that provide ample space for motorhomes but it’s best to walk or use public transport. If you use the Cathedral as your centre point of navigation, you will find the main sights are located close by. There is the Canterbury Museum, the Transition Cathedral, the Botanical Gardens and the 7-day Riverside Farmer’s Market.

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Near Christchurch


Christchurch Gondola: A cable car that takes you from the city centre to the mountains and offers a magnificent view of the Banks Peninsula! An absolute must-see!

International Antartic Center: The Antartica Expedition Center, where you can see blue penguins, the world’s smallest penguins. You can also put your hand in water at 0 ° or experience a snowstorm. Cold temperatures are guaranteed here!


Banks Peninsula: There are beautiful lookouts, fine sand beaches, rivers and a small French village called Akaroa. Beware, there is not much petrol available on the peninsula. We strongly recommend refuelling in Christchurch! Even though at the beginning the road is still flat, at some point it rises steeply. Therefore, you need a vehicle with a powerful engine!

Arthur’s Pass: One of New Zealand’s national parks, a real favourite. Like the Banks Peninsula the road goes steeply uphill. Check for overheating. The drive from Arthur’s Pass village to Devils Punchbowl Waterfall takes about 30 minutes and is well worth it. Parking is limited.


Hokitika: This small town on the west coast of the South Island is known for its glassblowers and rivers. The Hokitika River is 30 km from the city. Finding a parking space is difficult due to lack of space and the road is quite long, but the trip is worth it!

Moeraki: The round rocks called Moeraki Boulders create an enormous sense of well-being when being touched. A beautiful place that you should not miss!

Dunedin is 350 km from Christchurch (a 5-hour drive without a break). This city is known for its historic train station, the chocolate factory Cadbury (a must-visit) and the peninsula. Amazing!

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Itineraries from Christchurch

Christchurch – Queenstown (on the west coast)

Duration: 2 weeks

Sights on the way:

  • Arthur’s Pass
  • Pancakes Rocks to Punakaiki
  • Hokitika
  • Fox Glacier and Franz Josef (in good weather)
  • WanakaMilford Sound
  • Queenstown

Christchurch – Queenstown (on the East Coast)

Duration: 2 weeks

Sights on the way:

  • Mount Cook
  • Lake Tekapo
  • Oamaru (capital of the blue miniature penguins!)
  • Dunedin
  • The Caitlin
  • Invercargill (There is the southernmost Starbucks in the world)
  • Pahia
  • Queenstown

Christchurch – Christchurch (north of South Island)

Duration: 10 days

Sights on the way:

  • Arthur’s passport
  • Punakaiki
  • Nelson Lakes (Beware of Sandflies!)
  • Nelson
  • Abel Tasman National Park (kayaking!)
  • Blenheim (wine tasting)
  • Picton

Please note: Before leaving, inquire whether Kaikoura Road is open. It was closed after the earthquake in 2017.

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Updated 06/02/2020. First published 22/02/2019.

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