Home New Zealand How to hire a cheap Campervan in New Zealand

How to hire a cheap Campervan in New Zealand

How to hire a cheap Campervan in New Zealand

Are you dreaming of travelling and exploring the spectacular sights of New Zealand in a campervan? But fear the expensive rental rates? If so, in this article we share our hot tips and hints on how to find a cheaper campervan hire option in New Zealand.

Why should you hire a Campervan in New Zealand?

Travelling by campervan in New Zealand is truly the best option for exploring the country. About 2000 km long from north to south, the island is still very wild. And tourists come above all here to discover nature and go hiking. If you hire a campervan, it will allow you to travel as you please while being as close as possible to nature in New Zealand. So if you plan to visit New Zealand in one to several weeks, hiring a campervan is really a very good option.

Another alternative is to rent a car and stay in a hotel. This requires you to carefully plan your trip from the start to ensure you find accommodation at each stage (beware of isolated regions and summer periods where accommodation can be fully booked several weeks in advance).

Generally, a campervan hire is also cheaper in New Zealand. If you plan to spend several months on the island, you could consider buying a vehicle and reselling it at the end of your stay. In this case, allow 1 to 3 weeks to find a buyer. You can visit both islands (North and South) in 2 to 3 weeks via Auckland to Christchurch. If you only have 7 to 10 days, in this case, we recommend that you focus on one of the two islands.

This comparator will allow you to compare the prices of the different models of campervans/motorhomes with all agencies present in New Zealand. To get the best rates for your vehicle hire in New Zealand, use Motorhome Republic:

What type of Campervan should you choose?

Choose the model of your campervan

In order to choose the right vehicle it is essential to list your main criteria and get an idea of ​​the rental rates. But overall the choice will be between the following models:

  • Minivan
  • Classic campervan (low top)
  • Van with a raised roof (hitop)
  • Motorhome (with shower toilet)

But via the Motorhome Republic comparison tool, you will have many filters, such as the number of travellers, the type of equipment desired etc. This will already save you time in comparing prices.

An important point to keep in mind is that in New Zealand the legislation is quite strict on camping pitches. Indeed, only vehicles that are “self contained” are authorised on free camping areas. These vehicles must, therefore, be “self-sufficient”. This means that the van does not use external resources and must be able to contain its waste for a minimum of 3 days. These vehicles meet standards imposed by the New Zealand government. They are recognisable by the blue sticker stuck on the windshield. Self-contained vans are very rare, this option applies especially to motorhomes.

If you take a small, non-self contained vehicle, you will have to spend the nights at paid campsites.

The equipment

The level of comfort varies depending on the model of van. The larger the van, the more it is fitted out. Like all vehicle types, heating and air conditioning are available in the driver’s cabin. This equipment is essential in New Zealand because the temperatures are very variable. All vans are equipped with a minimum of one bed and kitchenware. The additional equipment that can be found in some low-top and high-top models is a sink, fridge, microwave and dry toilets in some cases. Self-contained type vans may contain a shower and may provide hot water.

For a van to be considered “self-contained” it must have the following equipment:

  • A tank of clean water for consumption
  • A sink
  • A waste water tank
  • A drain for wastewater
  • A trash can
  • Toilet portable or fixed

Campervan equipment comparison:

EquipementsMinivanLow topHitop
ToiletDepends on the modelDepends on the model
Shower
Hot water
Sink
Air conditionerDriver's cabDriver's cabDriver's cab
HeaterDriver's cabDriver's cabDriver's cab
Type of kitchenRear of vehicleRear of vehicleInside
Cooking plate
Oven
Microwave
Fridge
Range

The rental companies

There are many companies for campervan hire in New Zealand. Most are located in Auckland and Christchurch. Here are the main rental companies :

  • Group Apollo (Hippie, Cheapa campa, Apollo)
  • Group Britz (Mighty Campers, Britz)
  • Wendekreisen travel
  • Freedom Campers
  • Jucy Rentals
  • Travellers Autobarn
  • Spaceships
  • Budget Campers
  • Lucky rentals
  • Happy Campers

Also, be aware that it is quite rare that the agencies have more than 2 or 3 points of deposits. Generally, the rental companies are located in Auckland and Christchurch. You should, therefore, avoid choosing routes for the departure or arrival of small towns such as Dunedin, Queenstown or Wellington.

The most important thing in your choice is expected to remain the type of vehicle rather than the company (except for the aspect of reception/customer service and insurance if you take the insurance of the renter).

How to pay less for your Campervan rental in New Zealand?

One of the best ways to reduce the price of a campervan or motorhome rental is to use a comparator.
Online comparison tools offer advantageous rates and allow you to benefit from all the best deals. MotorHome Republic is the leader in Australia & New Zealand and works with more than 50 suppliers, offering you a wide range of vehicles.

Use a price comparison tool

As an agent, MotorHome Republic has discounted rates from various vehicle suppliers. So you will pay less for a rental than if you went directly to the site of a rental company. Note that on average a rental company manages to put only about 30% of its vehicles on the roads.
For the remaining 70%, they need agents to help to rent them, hence reduced rates.

Take advantage of discounts

On Motorhome Republics website, you will find different deals. So if you are a little flexible on your dates and the places of departure and arrival, you should definitely consider it. Go to the page and then click on Deals.

Get 5% off your campervan rental with Travelers Autobarn

Otherwise, you can benefit from 5% discount thanks to our promo code with Travellers Autobarn. This company is very famous with backpackers. They have many models of campervans and are present all around Australia. To benefit from the offer, all you have to do is:

5% discount on your Campervan rental

Hire a campervan and benefit from a 5% discount thanks to our promo code with Travellers Autobarn: GuideEN.

You have to make a reservation of at least 10 days to take advantage of this promotion. The discount applies to the daily rate. Insurance and equipment are excluded. The offer is only valid for bookings made directly on the Travellers Autobarn website.

Seasons

The peak travel season in New Zealand is from November – February as well as school holidays and long weekends. During these periods’ prices increase and instead of paying $30 NZD per day during the low season you will be paying up to $100 NZD for the exact same vehicle. 

The type of vehicle

The newer the vehicle and the better it is equipped, the more you have to pay. If you want a vehicle that is fully self-sufficient with a shower, toilet and kitchen built-in, you will be paying a lot more than a basic campervan setup. Occasionally it is more cost-effective to hire a basic campervan in New Zealand and pay $30 – 45 NZD per night for campsites.  

Rental Duration

The longer you hire a campervan in New Zealand, the cheaper the daily rate becomes. Usually suppliers set different levels; +7days, +14days, +21days, +30days.. For example, if you are planning to do 2 rentals at 2 different locations.

Book in advance

As the plane tickets, the fares vary according to availability. The earlier you book the cheaper it is.

Choose the good cities of departure and arrival

In New Zealand there are two main cities: Auckland and Christchurch. In Auckland and Christchurch, you’ll find lots of campervan hire companies at cheaper prices than anywhere else in New Zealand. We recommend to not rent your camper in towns like Queenstown, Picton and Dunedin as their rates are relatively higher. If you want to do a one-way road trip between Christchurch and Auckland keep in mind that it’s cheaper to hire a van in Christchurch due to most of the tourists arriving in Auckland New Zealand. Also note that companies charge extra fees for one-way rentals.

Price of the Ferry

With some rental companies, the use of ferries is allowed. This can be more convenient and sometimes is even cheaper. Check prices on Interislander: www.interislander.co.nz

Take the right insurance and equipment options

It is very important to plan insurance in your budget. The first price displayed on the sites only includes so-called “standard” insurance. This is free and compulsory. It corresponds to third party insurance, i.e. it will cover bodily injury (only) inflicted on a third party in the event of an accident. If you wish to take out so-called “full” insurance so as not to risk losing your deposit (between 2,500 NZD and 7,500 NZD), you will have to count between 25 and 50 NZD per day in addition to the price of the vehicle.
Also note that the equipment is extra (camping table & chairs, GPS, child seats, etc.). Take this criterion into account when calculating your rental budget.

campervan hire nz

The different types of insurance for a rental

Insurance of your rental vehicle is essential to avoid unpleasant surprises. Admittedly, this is not a very sexy subject, but once you understand how it works you can save a lot of money and avoid big problems! To summarise your options in the simplest way, remember that you have 4 options:

The standard insurance

This type of insurance does not pay. In this case, so-called “standard” insurance is included in the price of the vehicle (compulsory) but you must leave a deposit with the rental company ($ 2,500 for a small van up to $ 7,500 for a motorhome). This is third party insurance, allowing you to be covered if you ever cause damage to other people. But in case of vehicle damage, you will not be covered. So in the event of an accident, the rental company will use part or all of your deposit to cover the repairs.

Credit Card Insurance

Ask your bank, sometimes credit cards offer insurance on car rental. By cons check the type of vehicle supported. Very often they only cover cars (not vans/motorhomes). If ever you are covered, it is not necessarily necessary to take out additional insurance. On the other hand, you will still have to advance the deposit to the renter, and from experience, it is generally complicated and long to get reimbursed.

Rental insurance from the rental agency

All rental companies offer different types of insurance. The advantage of taking out their insurance is that you can reduce your deposit as much as possible (sometimes up to 0). For so-called “full” insurance, count at least 25 NZD per day (in addition to the price of the vehicle), up to 60 NZD for a large motorhome. On the other hand, read the conditions of cover carefully because unfortunately, most rental companies do not cover certain types of accidents. For example, it is rare for a rental company to cover accidents during night driving, when you roll over without any other vehicle involved, or if you damage the rocker panel, the roof, the windshield and the tires.

Private insurance

Most of the time private insurance is cheaper than more comprehensive insurance. The only drawback is that you still have to advance the deposit to the rental company. Because in the event of an accident, the rental company will use the deposit to pay for repairs. In parallel, you will have to make a claim to the insurance company to get reimbursed. There are many companies that offer this type of service and they are very effective (online complaints, short repayment periods, etc.). You have in particular RentalCover which is well known in New Zealand and Australia.

Comparison table for Campervan rental insurance

StandardCredit cardAgencyPrivate
Price
Coverage
Deposit
Easy repayment-
campervan hire in new zealand

What budget should you plan for a Road Trip in NZ?

Even if the cost of living is quite similar to the UK, gasoline and the rental of the vehicle (if necessary) will represent a significant part of your budget. Activities and campsites can also be quite expensive.

The average budget for 3 weeks and for 2 people in a campervan

Here is an estimate of the average budget to plan for 3 weeks of a road trip in a campervan, sleeping mainly in free camps:

  • Hire a Campervan (self-contained) in New Zealand with full insurance: $3000
  • Fuel: $1,000 ($2 per liter)
  • Ferry: $300 per crossing
  • Food: $400
  • Accommodation: $100 (Camping: up to $25 the campsite managed by the DOC or hostel: up to $30)
  • Activities: $800
  • Showers: $100 ($5 per shower)

TOTAL: 5,600 NZD, or 2,800 NZD per person

Some tips to save money

  • Activities: Look at discounts on Bookme
  • Food: Go to Pack N Save / buy the fruit on the stands along the roads
  • Petrol: Ask for the AA loyalty card (Caltex and BP stations)
  • Ferry: Find promo codes (up to $80 savings)

FAQ

Traveling to New Zealand

Is it better to visit the North Island or the South Island? The choice between the two islands depends on your travel plans.

The main cities of the country (Auckland and Wellington) are located on the North Island. It is for this reason that the majority of the Maori population live there. On this part of the country you can see its numerous volcanoes and its magnificent coasts. There are also many small islands to visit around.

The South Island is wilder. It is a great place to hike and discover the local flora and fauna. The South Island is interesting to visit for its landscapes (mountains, fjords, beaches …)

How long to plan to visit the North Island? The North Island can be visited between 15 and 25 days.

How long to plan to visit the South Island? To visit the South Island it takes at least 2 weeks with stops of around 2 days. If you want to spend more time visiting the villages you will have to extend the duration of the trip to 3 weeks.

What budget to plan for a road trip in New Zealand? For a 15-day trip as a couple, it costs around 2500NZD or 1500 €.

How much does gasoline cost in New Zealand? In New Zealand the average price for a liter of petrol is 1.6NZD. Depending on the region and the type of fuel, the price per liter can vary between 1.22 and 2.05NZD. Fuel prices are generally higher on the South Island than on the North Island.

Can we sleep anywhere with a New Zealand campervan? Wild camping is prohibited in New Zealand, there are many signs to indicate this. Authorized areas are very rare and are limited to self-contained vehicles, ie self-sufficient. This type of vehicle also gives access to free campsites and DOC (Department of Conservation) campsites. Vans that are not self-contained must park on paid campsites.

Pick-up of the vehicle

What should be planned before the pick-up of the vehicle? Check that your identity documents are in order. Check that you have the right license for the category of vehicle you are renting and that it is valid for the entire duration of the rental. You must also be in possession of the credit card which served you for the reservation.

What to check when removing the vehicle? When checking in you must check its condition inside and out.

Outside the main elements to check are the rocker panel, the roof, the windshield, the tires and the bodywork.

Inside you need to check the condition of the equipment and whether it is functional. The items to check-in priority are the electrical equipment (microwave, refrigerator). Check that the indicators and the headlights work well.

For more details see our article on checks to perform.

What are the opening hours of rental agencies? Rental agencies are open every day of the week. In general the opening hours are from 8h to 16h30.

Conditions to rent a campervan

Is there a minimum age for renting a van in New Zealand? You can rent a van from 18 years old but additional fees apply if you are under 25 years old.

Do you need an international license or is my home license sufficient? If you wish to drive in New Zealand for a period of less than a year, you must have your national license and an international license if your license isn’t in English.

Changes or cancellation of the booking

Can we change our reservation? The conditions for changing a booking are specific for each agency. In general, they impose a period of 24 hours before taking charge of the vehicle. Other agencies allow changes during your rental period. The changes of the reservation may imply an increase or a decrease in the price if it applies to the following elements: – The renting agency- Pick-up time and date – The time and date of return – Vehicle category – Flight number and company – Child safety seats – Some options

For more details check the rental conditions of your agency.

What happens in the event of cancellation? The cancellation conditions are specific to each agency. Some may impose a delay before removing the vehicle to declare the cancellation. If you meet the deadline you will be entitled to a full refund. If the deadline is not met, the agency may charge you a certain amount.

Updated on the 19th of March 2020. First published on the 20th of September 2018

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