Campervan Holidays in New Zealand
Visiting Guide For An NZ Campervan Hire Roadtrip
Planning a motorhome holiday to a country you’ve never even seen is a much more involved process than turning up and getting behind the wheel. The more planning you can do, in fact, the more prepared you will be for the best possible road trip.
When you pick up a campervan hire in NZ at a cheap rate with Motorhome Republic, keep in mind that there are a few more details to cover before you hit the road.
Take a look through our planning guide for essential driving knowledge with your campervan hire in NZ.
Best times of the year to visit New Zealand
The best time of year to visit New Zealand depends a lot on what you’re looking to get out of your trip, as there are pros and cons to every month.
Summer in NZ is December, January and February. Thanks to both the warm weather throughout the country, the school holidays, Christmas, New Years, and a public holiday in early February, this time is by far the busiest on the roads and in campsites around the country. Naturally, the weather at this time of year is incredible, and for those who have never enjoyed a Christmas on the beach with a barbeque, it’s an unforgettable experience. That said, you will have to book campsites in advance due to their popularity throughout the season, and driving times will be slower with more traffic on the roads.
Autumn, through March, April and May, can be a fantastic time for travelling with a motorhome hire in NZ. Days throughout this season tend to stay warm between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius, and the nights only start showing their chill around mid-April. It’s important to note that the South Island cools down more quickly than the North, but both islands are capable of epic scenery as the weather changes. This time of year offers fewer crowds, although the Easter holidays will always be a busy time as local families take road trips of their own.
For some, winter will be the best time of year to visit New Zealand. The season runs through June, July and August. The North Island does see more rain and cold days, but it’s rare to see snow around the cities. The South Island is a lot colder, and it can snow down to ground level in the cities a few times per winter. That said, the cold brings out the best of New Zealand’s ski season, and some of the most stunning vistas with snow-laden mountains. There are fewer crowds in winter, and while you will almost certainly come across rainy days, cool sunshine is not unheard of by any means.
Spring in New Zealand in September, October and November is a special time for road trips. Thanks to the country’s endless livestock farms, road trips at this time of year are notable for the lambs and calves in fields up and down the country. September can still be quite cool, especially in the mornings and especially in the South Island, but the whole country starts feeling like summer by late October. This secondary shoulder season can be an ideal way to avoid the brisk winters and the busy summers in your NZ campervan hire.
How much time do you need to explore New Zealand?
One of the biggest mistakes travellers make when they come to New Zealand is to give themselves too little time. While the country may look small on a map, there is a lot of terrain to cover, countless attractions to experience and dozens of hidden gems that will make you not want to leave.
If you’re looking to cover all of New Zealand, you will need roughly six weeks to tick off all the major cities and attractions. You could skim over some and do it in four, and you could easily take your time and take two full months.
Of course, you might prefer to see New Zealand in several shorter trips, rather than one big one.
Public holidays in New Zealand
- New Year’s Day - January 1
- The day after New Year’s Day - January 2
- Waitangi Day - February 6
- Good Friday - varies
- Easter Monday - varies
- ANZAC Day - April 25
- Queen’s Birthday - First Monday in June
- Labour Day - Fourth Monday in October
- Christmas Day - December 25
- Boxing Day - December 26
Note that most New Zealand regions also have anniversary days, which are public holidays only in those areas.
Camping in New Zealand
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of campsites around New Zealand.
The most common spots are campgrounds and holiday parks. These areas are well equipped for travellers, as they have everything from kitchen and bathroom facilities to plug-in sites for motorhomes, and sometimes even small stores on site for basic goods. You can expect to pay from $10 to $40 per night in one of these areas, and you must respect the rules of the campground.
Another option for accommodation with a motorhome rental New Zealand is a Department of Conservation (DoC) campsite. There are more than 250 of these throughout the country, and they are often quite cheap or completely free. DoC sites tend to be a lot more basic than campgrounds, with minimal amenities and no site manager in most cases. Some sites will have toilets, laundries, kitchen facilities and more, but it changes from site to site.