Nz campervan blog opito panorama3
Nz campervan blog opito panorama3

A campervan trip around New Zealand? Yes or no?

Are you thinking about travelling around New Zealand in a campervan?

Here are some things to consider, to help you make a decision

You may have been dreaming about visiting New Zealand for many years. Have you been dreaming of meeting the locals, driving the best scenic routes and witnessing the ever-changing landscape? We are New Zealand travel specialists and would love to help make your dream a reality but without a campervan.

We are unique and do things differently to other travel agencies. With in-depth local knowledge and experience, we know that travelling through New Zealand in a campervan, is not the best way to see the real New Zealand. We want to get to know you, what your interests and wishes are, and make sure you return from your dream journey completely satisfied and more.

Akaroa lake | New Zealand holiday
We recommend travelling New Zealand in a rental car
© Dmitri Kotelevski
Our local hosts provide warm Kiwi hospitality
Connect with the locals

Disadvantages of a campervan in New Zealand

Close your eyes, and imagine wide open roads and big motorhomes parked in the most pristine national parks. Yes, that is the image of a campervan trip through America and Canada. But the reality in New Zealand is very different. The campervans are too small to feel comfortable and too big for the scenic roads and curving alpine passes.

It is not possible to drive all corners of New Zealand because a campervan is not insured for the gravel roads. You will miss out on visiting the most spectacular locations.

No freedom

Imagine being parked in a campground, admiring a stunning view. Then you look to the left and the right, and all you see are other campervans. This is the case at many campgrounds and holiday parks in New Zealand. In high season, you will often need to book your camping spot well in advance, especially in the South Island.

Do you want to spend your days exploring? Each day, you will need to pack everything up in your campervan. And, it is also not possible to drive on gravel roads. You will be forced to drive on the main, boring roads and only drive 55 km/h.

You will also need to book early for your ferry crossing and special activities including cruising the Doubtful Sound. Your sense of freedom will disappear, as this heavily impacts your travel schedule.

"I worked at Milford Sound and every day we had to turn away 50 plus campervans, due to not making a reservation and lack of space."

Vanessa, Content creator
Scenic roads New Zealand | New Zealand holiday
Our rental cars provide you with complete freedom
© Dmitri Kotelevski
Driving in Otago region | New Zealand holiday
Campervans are too small to feel comfortable
© TravelEssence

Less contact with locals

Without a campervan, you are much more likely to meet the locals. You won’t stand out as a classic tourist and spend most nights at the campground with other travellers. When staying at our small-scale accommodations, you will be welcomed by friendly Kiwi hospitality. Have a barbecue dinner, share a beer and get to know your local hosts.


Campervans in New Zealand are smaller than you think. There is limited space for you and your luggage, a small bed and kitchen, and an even smaller bathroom. Imagine a cottage on the beachfront with a spacious kitchen, lounge, bathroom and bedroom. Driving in a comfortable rental car. Doesn’t that sound so much more like a dream trip? And for the same, or even a lower price.

Friendly Kiwi hospitality at our accommodations | New Zealand holiday
Be welcomed by friendly Kiwi hospitality at our small-scale accommodations
Barbecue dinner with local hosts | New Zealand holiday
Have a barbecue dinner with your local hosts

A campervan trip around New Zealand is not cheap

Once you add all the costs together, hiring a campervan becomes quite expensive. And, most of the time even more expensive than a trip with a rental car and small-scale accommodations. It's not only the rental price but on top of that, the insurance, one-way drop off fee, cost of a campsite each night and compared to a rental car, extra fuel costs.

From our experience, the dream of a campervan trip around New Zealand often doesn’t live up to reality. But maybe you are thinking, you would like to do both? Renting a camper car could be a good solution. This allows you to camp, drive across gravel roads and enjoy the comfort of staying in small-scale accommodations every so often.

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Discover a world beyond ordinary

At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.