12 New Zealand Campervan Tips For The Ultimate Road Trip
Travelling in a campervan is without a doubt the best way to see New Zealand. It made me feel a sense of freedom like no other and is something I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone. So if you fancy exploring NZ’s beautiful remote landscapes in your own little home on wheels, here are 12 New Zealand Campervan tips to help you make the most of your campervan adventure.
1. Go bigger
If you have the budget to spare, consider renting a campervan that has a higher people capacity than you intend to use. For example, if there are just two of you, look at campervans that sleep 2 adults and 2 children, or 4 adults. The extra sleeping areas give you a lot more space for storing your clothes and other belongings. With your stuff out the way, it makes moving about the campervan 1000 times easier.
2. Go higher
This is particularly important New Zealand Campervan tip if someone in your party is tall! Consider choosing a camper with a hi-top roof as it gives you the extra headspace you need when moving around the camper.
3. Take backpacks and packing cubes
Backpacks are a lot easier to pack down and store away in a campervan. So consider packing light and leaving the bulky suitcase at home for this trip. Packing cubes are also a really handy way to keep your things tidy and organised within the camper. Plus they will allow you to fit even more in a backpack to start with! They were a real game-changer for me when I lived out of a backpack for months!
4. Get App’y
There are loads of great camping apps where you can search for the best campsites all across New Zealand. I found WikiCamps and RankersNZ to be the most useful as they hold a lot more information than just campsites and were the easiest to use.
5. Travel in NZ’s shoulder seasons
Hiring a campervan in New Zealand can be rather expensive. If you’re looking to cut costs consider doing your trip in NZ’s shoulder seasons (March – May and September – November). Camper hire rates are much cheaper then, plus the tourist spots are quieter and the weather is still reasonably good!
6. Fill up when you can
New Zealand can be a very remote place, with petrol stations few and far between on many roads. Therefore it’s best to keep topping up your tank whenever you can rather than face an embarrassing call to your hire company. As a general rule of thumb, the more remote the area the more expensive the petrol is, so definitely fill up before you leave larger towns where fuel is cheaper.
7. Consider extra costs
When planning your New Zealand campervan trip it’s important to bear in mind. Campervanning may seem like a cheap option but it can become quite expensive. Make sure to take into account any extra insurance costs for your vehicle. Paying for campsites each night, which is usually between $30 – $50. And the price of petrol which is a lot more expensive than in many other parts of the world.
8. Don’t count on Google Maps journey time
If Google Maps tells you your journey will take 2 hours, add at least another hour onto your journey time. It always took us a lot longer to travel between destinations than Google Maps predicted. This is probably because the roads in NZ are very windy and unpredictable and Google doesn’t take into account you are in a campervan and have to drive slower.
9. Sort out your road trip playlist
It’s not a road trip without some great tunes, right? So making sure all your music set up is sorted is another top Zealand Campervan tip. Check if your campervan stereo has Bluetooth connection and bring an aux cable to have on standby! Make sure that you have plenty of playlists downloaded onto your phone so you can still access them when driving through areas with no mobile data.
10. Check what’s included with your campervan
A lot of rentals will include additional camping equipment, so make sure to check what is and isn’t included with yours. If they aren’t already included, I would recommend hiring a camping table and chairs so you can stop off and enjoy the great outdoors anytime on the journey.
11. Plan a vague route before you go
Although the campervanning gives you a lot of freedom to change your plans, it’s still a good idea to have a vague route in mind especially for shorter trips. This makes sure that you don’t waste time backtracking on yourself and if the driving times between different destinations is safe and achievable.
12. Buy a local sim card
Don’t bank on the wifi in New Zealand to keep you connected whilst travelling. Pick up a local sim card so that you can easily use google maps, share your travel pics with friends, more importantly, get in touch with local authorities if you need any assistance. Remember to ensure that your phone is unlocked for international sim cards before you leave your home country.