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Discover New Zealand with a New Zealand campervan trip

by Cristóbal Manjón | June 2, 2020
Campervan at night in New Zealand

New Zealand, or the "land of the long white cloud" in the Maori language, is a country in Oceania located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is a destination of authentic contrasts offering a diversity of landscapes which are unique in the world. Its geographical isolation for millions of years has allowed it to develop a flora and fauna of incredible diversity, which you will not find anywhere else on the planet.

Among its particularities, New Zealand is known as the largest farm in the world. This is due to the fact that the country boasts approximately 70 million sheep and 8 million cows for a population of 5 million people. It is also worth noting that one-third of its territory is a national park and that the country of the kiwis is home to the largest number of penguin species on the planet.

One of New Zealand's most remarkable features is this melting pot of Western and Maori cultures. However, the latter remains at the heart of the country's identity as these people from the eastern Pacific were the first ones to arrive in New Zealand. You can read more about New Zealand's culture and more in our New Zealand Travel Guide

If you're a backpacker, a New Zealand campervan trip is the best way to explore this beautiful country, the cities in New Zealand and blend in with its culture. This article will tell you exactly how to do a campervan trip in New Zealand. If you are planning to visit New Zealand, you will need your NZeTA visa.

Mount Cook in New Zealand

What are the advantages of taking a campervan trip in New Zealand? 

Whether as a couple, with family or friends, a campervan trip New Zealand is the ultimate way to discover the country at your own pace. A campervan trip allows you to explore New Zealand's beautiful beaches and turquoise lakes more slowly and freely, as well as enjoying countless spectacular mountain views and camping exclusive locations

Knowing that the country has a generally good quality road network, a campervan trip in New Zealand offers a unique feeling of freedom and allows you to sleep in untouched places. Wild camping is still allowed in New Zealand, which can be a cheaper solution as you don't have to pay for a hotel or worry about public transport.

Generally speaking, a campervan can carry almost everything you need to travel with you and take all the cosiness of a home with you. This type of vehicle is often equipped with a bed, a kitchen, a refrigerator, a microwave oven and sockets, making your long journeys even more comfortable. 

In the end, you don't have to worry about finding the ideal vehicle for this road trip, many rental agencies offer different campervans models and for all types of budgets: from minivans for two people to large family-size motorhomes.

flower tree in New Zealand

Tips for a campervan trip in New Zealand

A New Zealand campervan trip is all about freedom and evasion, but this adventure should never be improvised. New Zealand's roads are narrow, winding and the driving time is sometimes longer than expected. Planning and preparing your trip to New Zealand will help you avoid surprises. 

Campervans in New Zealand are not free of charge. When considering the cost of renting your campervan, keep in mind that fuel is expensive and you will also need to take out insurance for the vehicle. 

We recommend you book your campervan in advance, and don't forget to choose an offer that includes the GPS option. Also, Keep in mind that for those under 25 years old, many rental companies charge an extra fee.

As in other countries, driving in New Zealand is on the left side of the road. In order for you to move easily between places to visit, we recommend that you download free applications. Don't forget to download a GPS that can work offline if you haven't choosen this option in the rental agreement.

Before planning your trip to New Zealand, you should also consider the season in which you wish to begin your adventure due to the weather in New Zealand. December to February will be summer and, therefore, the high season. For a relatively mild and stable climate, the best time to visit New Zealand is autumn or spring, respectively from March to May and from September to November. 

mountains in New Zealand

What to see during your campervan trip in New Zealand?

You should know that New Zealand is made up of two main islands. It is advisable to plan enough days to visit both islands as they offer two totally different experiences.

For sea and mountain lovers, Egmont National Park and its Mount Taranaki is a must to start your North Island adventure. From there, it is possible to follow one of the most beautiful itineraries in the country that will lead you to Tongariro National Park. Another emblematic place is Rotorua, the cradle of Maori and the capital of geothermal energy where you can discover this fascinating culture up close. 

The spectacular Coromandel Peninsula is full of breathtaking beaches and coves. In the north of the island, Northland is the last destination to explore. This region offers fantastic beaches and gigantic sand dunes.

The South Island features spectacular lakes such as Tekapo and Pukaki, two great places to include in your New Zealand itinerary. On the way to Mount Cook National Park, you will enjoy the beauty of New Zealand's nature. 

Dunedin is another destination not to be missed. This university town with its colonial architecture offers beautiful walks through its historic centre. You can also attempt to climb Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. 

The South Coast Highway from Dunedin to Queenstown takes you to the Otago Peninsula, The Catlins and Fiordland National Park. Hokitika and Abel Tasman National Park are the west coast absolute must-sees.

The crossing between the North and South Island will be a highlight of your trip to New Zealand.