Campervan hire in New Zealand for Backpackers

Are you planning to enjoy a backpacking experience in New Zealand. Are you still deciding whether or not it is beneficial to hire a campervan or motorhome for your backpacking experience?

In this post, we will share insights and considerations for your backpacking experience in New Zealand.

New Zealand is an incredible place to visit and explore. The natural landscapes make it a wonder for people to visit. From the glaciers to the magical landscapes. It’s no wonder why it was used for the setting of the Lord of the Ring franchise.

The country is small and divided by two main islands. Commuting across the country to the landmarks is one thing to consider, but also if you want to journey off the beaten track and travel around New Zealand for a price that won’t break the bank.

Backpackers that choose to travel in a campervan will have a great experience. However, the ability to do it really depends on the amount of time that you have and the budget that you have to spend. You will also need to consider the type of experience that you want to enjoy.

Before hiring a campervan, how long do you want to backpack in New Zealand?

If you are only planning to do travel over a short period of time, then hiring a campervan or a motorhome will be your best option. This means any period that is under 6 months.

Even though the cost to hire a campervan or motorhome might appear high for a short-term hire, it will actually be more cost-effective than purchasing a vehicle for short-term use as well.

Work out how long you plan to stay in New Zealand for and what it is you want to see and experience while you are there.

You can then workout how you would like to travel around New Zealand in a campervan and estimate the costs to hire a campervan for your backpacking trip.

If you plan to stay in New Zealand for more than 6 months, you can consider buying a campervan.

If you choose to buy a campervan, you would need to have the visa requirements that will allow you to register the vehicle in New Zealand. You will then need to pay insurance and registration, for which it is likely that you will need to pay for 6-12 months.

Additionally, you will be responsible for repairs and furnishing the campervan for your trip. You will also be responsible for selling the vehicle once your trip is finished.

If money is an issue, don’t hire a campervan or motorhome for your backpacking trip.

Many people immediately think that hiring a campervan will make the trip inexpensive. The truth is, the cost per day can work out to be similar to what you would pay for accommodation in a room. It will depend on who you travel with and where you plan to travel.

If you want to maximise the experience, then travelling with a campervan or motorhome will give you the richest experience in the country.

If the price to rent a campervan or motorhome is too high for your budget, you will need to consider other options such as:

  • Joining tours
  • Hop on and hop off buses
  • Hiring a car and staying in different accommodation

Remember that you will be responsible for insurance costs during your backpacking trip.

There are costs associated with the insurance for the campervan or motorhome vehicle that you need to be aware of. And as a backpacker, you need to find out if the insurance is covered through your travel insurance or if you will need to take out separate cover for the vehicle.

Upfront bond costs for the campervan or motorhome.

Many backpackers also forget to consider the upfront bond or security that is required for the vehicle. Amounts of $5000 that are pre-authorised on credit cards are not uncommon. So if you fail to have these funds available, you won’t be able to hire a vehicle.

Additionally, if your funds are tight, you don’t want the vehicle to get damaged and cause financial strain during your backpacking travels.

Campervans don’t automatically grant you access to freedom camping.

One of the things that attracts backpackers to travelling in a campervan in New Zealand is the appeal of freedom camping. That is, camping anywhere and not having to pay for additional accommodation fees.

It’s more likely that you will need to take your campervan to registered camping parks, where you will need to pay a fee to stay at a site. So you will incur additional costs to your stay.

Campervans or motorhomes that are compliant for freedom camping should have a sticker on them from the hire company. If not, you may find that local councils may fine and even clamp your vehicle, which will incur and additional $200 fine.


Cheap campervan rentals are also a “pay for what you get” service.

Ultimately, if you are going to fork out money to hire a campervan or a motorhome, you want to enjoy the experience. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars just to travel in a van that just has a random mattress thrown in the back with a portable stove and maybe a portable potty.

If you feel ready to start researching campervans or motorhomes for your backpacking trip, you can start browsing by using the form below.