Now that you’ve seen these five incredible places to visit in New Zealand’s gorgeous South Island, it’s time to plan that road trip of a lifetime! And if you’ve never tried #thevanlife, New Zealand is the perfect place to start. Here are some tips to planning your first campervan road trip in New Zealand!
There are two types of campervans — self-contained and non-self-contained.
The former means there’s a portable toilet on board where wastewater is kept and you’ll have to dispose of it at dump stations. This does not necessarily mean there are toilet stalls with showers. Some of the smaller vans too can be classified as self-contained as long as you have the portable toilet which can be stashed away and does not take up a lot of space.
We’d recommend getting a self-contained campervan, as this gives you the license to park in more places for free (more information below)! If you’re concerned about cleaning the toilet, public toilets are common in New Zealand (all of which are pretty clean) so you don’t actually have to use it most of the time.
Some affordable campervan companies to consider are Happy Campers (from NZ$42/day) and Jucy Rentals (from NZ$44/day).
There are three main types of campsites in New Zealand — Freedom camping sites, Department of Conservation campsites and Holiday Parks.
Freedom camping sites have minimal or no facilities, hence the need for a self-contained vehicle to park here. The draw of freedom camping sites is that visitors can park here for free in gorgeous locations — and there are over 500 freedom camping locations in New Zealand!
Department of Conservation (DoC) campsites are typically in national parks. DoC campsites have basic toilet facilities and charge a small fee for parking.
Holiday parks also charge for parking and are pricier than DoC campsites but offer a ton of other amenities like power stations for charging as well as shared facilities like kitchens, bathrooms and laundry machines.
Freedom camping can be fun, but we’d recommend booking a holiday park every few days to charge your gear and use the facilities! Holiday parks do get booked out pretty quickly so have them reserved in advance!
Campermate and Rankers Camping NZ are useful apps for checking the locations and prices of campsites in New Zealand.
By renting a campervan, you’re already saving money on accommodation!
Eating out in New Zealand can be expensive, with restaurant meals priced around NZ$25/pax. To save more money, we’d recommend cooking most meals.
Most campervans have a basic stove, sink and a small fridge. Stock up on groceries at supermarket chains like New World or Countdown in bigger towns. Some supermarkets even offer bundle meals with the ingredients and recipe all packed together — so you don’t have to stress over what to cook.
Fuel prices also vary among gas stations. Download Gaspy, a fuel sharing app that allows you to find the cheapest fuel prices around!
Saving money on food and fuel means you have more budget for activities. New Zealand has a wide range of bucket list experiences, from swimming with dolphins in Kaikoura to skydiving in Queenstown.
Psst. UOB Cardholders get 10% off on Klook (min. S$50 spend on activities).
After two years of being trapped by travel lockdowns, a campervan road trip might just be the perfect vacation to liberate your wanderlust. It allows for full flexibility of your itinerary, plus being able to wake up surrounded by incredible landscapes is pretty amazing.
UOB Cardmembers get 10% off base fares on Qantas Airways with promo code FLYCC22 till 31 Dec 2022. Click the link to learn more.
Don’t have a UOB Card? Find the right credit card for all your needs here.