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Campervan Hire NZ: The Best Way to see Aotearoa

Lake Rotoiti in the Northern Part of New Zealand's South Island

New Zealand is stunningly beautiful, the type of place that seems to exist for the sole purpose of postcard sales. Visitors rave about the towering mountains, farmland, dramatic fjords and beautiful beaches, but there is more to this South Pacific nation than just spectacular scenery. The roads and infrastructure are well-maintained, locals are friendly and the country has some fascinating native flora and fauna.
 
A NZ campervan hire trip is the holiday of a lifetime. Pick up a motorhome or RV rental at any of the main centres (Auckland, Christchurch, Hamilton, Dunedin) and follow the highways and country roads to wherever your heart desires. Much of the nation consists of farmland and forests, but its small size means you are never too far away from a spot of civilisation with visitor facilities and supplies. The small towns are charming, the cities ever more cosmopolitan, and what is in-between will take your breath away. New Zealand has no big multi-lane highways which bypass towns and scenery, so you can see it all from the windscreen of your motorhome, campervan or RV rental.

If you haven't quite decided if New Zealand is the right place for you, maybe this video from Tourism New Zealand will capture your imagination and inspire you to come for a visit.


 

Compare and Book your Motorhome Rental New Zealand

Renting a motorhome, campervan or RV is a breeze with Motorhome Republic. The site can display all your options from many international and local rental suppliers. Everything is in one place for easy picking. Just enter your requirements into the simple search engine, compare and book! Looking for a cheap campervan hire in New Zealand? Filter by price and stick to your budget. Is size important? You can sort the results by number of beds. Are you set on a late model? There is even a vehicle age filter.

 

From the North to the South Island: NZ Camper Pick-up Points



North Island

Auckland, located on an isthmus near the top of the North Island, is the country’s biggest city. With a hugely multicultural population, growing arts and dining scenes, endless beaches and plenty of history, it is a fantastic and exciting place to begin a campervan holiday. It is also the primary international gateway to New Zealand.
 
North of Auckland is the Northland region, a wonderland of beaches and laid-back coastal towns. This is the perfect destination for a summer road trip - along with the Coromandel Peninsula to the south-east of the city. A campervan hire in New Zealand doesn’t get too much better than a relaxed week in either of these holiday hotspots, which are extremely well set up with campsites and holiday parks to rest with your motorhome hire.

The Coromandel is a peninsula directly east of Auckland, known for its blissful sunshine, crystal clear waters and gold-sand beaches. It’s a favourite weekend getaway location for Aucklanders as it’s just a few hours from the city by car or campervan. The Hahei Holiday Resort campground on the northeast coast of the peninsula is the ideal place to base your stay, as it’s right in the midst of the action by the extremely popular Hahei Beach, and only 10 minutes from two of the country’s top natural attractions; Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
 
Rotorua and Taupo are within an easy day’s drive of the city, both lakeside cities and centres for outdoor recreation and full of fun for road trippers in campervans. Hawke’s Bay and its beautiful wine country are not too far away and neither is the Central Plateau, home to Tongariro National Park. With three distinct and incredible peaks, this is a great spot to visit in the summer or winter for hiking or snowsports respectively. Heated motorhomes are good options for the chilly months! Lord of the Rings lovers will recognise Mount Ngauruhoe, better known as Mount Doom.
 
Wellington, the nation’s capital, is tucked away on the shore of a picturesque harbour at the bottom of the North Island. A very pretty and compact city, it houses the national museum and art gallery called Te Papa. This is a must-see for visitors and tells the tale of New Zealand’s natural and cultural history in a creative and interactive way. Mountain biking is popular in the hills surrounding the city, so add a bike rack onto your campervan rental!
 
From Wellington, you can head north to explore the North Island. Hawke’s Bay and the central Plateau are as easily reached from the capital as from Auckland. On the west coast lies the Taranaki Peninsula with awe-inspiring Mount Tarawera at its centre, another popular destination for nomadic tourists in campervans, motorhomes and RVs.
 
A vehicular ferry from Wellington crosses Cook Strait to the South Island where you can continue your New Zealand campervan hire holiday in the stunning south.

 

South Island

Picton is the landing point for the Interislander ferries and a gorgeous small town at the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound. It has a steady influx of foot passengers who come across and pick up a campervan hire to explore the amazing scenery of the South Island.
 
From Picton, the whole island stretches to the south and the highways beckon. The Blenheim wine region is close by, as is the beautiful wilderness of the Abel Tasman National Park where a motorhome makes it easy to explore at your own pace, stopping for the night in the many campsites. Head over the winding Takaka Hill to desolately beautiful Golden Bay, or go inland and explore the Nelson Lakes District.
 
Christchurch is the primary pick-up point for a South Island campervan rental adventure. Central to many highlights, it has the largest airport on the island with regular flights from Auckland and international ones from Australia. The city was devastated by earthquakes in recent years but is recovering, emerging from the destruction with creativity and spirit.

For those wanting to check out a place for animals that is more than just a zoo, Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch is a space where conservation, education, and the wellbeing of all animals is put at the forefront of its agenda. The site is New Zealand’s only open-range zoo, and it’s been a favourite for locals and visitors alike since it opened 40 years ago. Check out the only gorillas in the country, watch one of the many presentations held each day about different species, or try a special encounter to feed a lion, tiger, or cute lemur. There are also guided tours to help you make your way around the 80 hectares of this park to see everything and learn about the animals. Make your way out to Orana Park with your campervan rental, as it’s just 15 minutes away by road located at 743 Mcleans Island Rd, Mcleans Island, Christchurch 8051.

Any road from Christchurch will lead to some of that picture-perfect scenery for which the country is so well known. North lies Blenheim, the Marlborough Sounds and sunny Nelson region. South-west of the city is the famous Queenstown, Adventure Capital of the World and a beautiful place perched between lake and mountain range. Fiordland National Park is beyond that, where you can see the spectacular Milford and Dusky Sounds on foot or by boat. Cross the Southern Alps to get to the wild and windswept west coast. Motorhomes make it easy to visit any or all of these fantastic spots.


 

Rules of the Road: Stay Safe with your Motorhome Rental in New Zealand!

With many rural highways, relatively few urban areas and well-maintained roads, driving a hired campervan in New Zealand is on the whole a pleasant prospect. Keep these few things in mind when you begin your road trip:

  • Drive on the left! NZ is one of the 75 countries which keep left on the roads.

  • Research the road rules, especially those pertaining to alcohol, before driving. It is best to not drink at all if you’re getting behind the wheel as penalties can be harsh. Speed limits are also strongly enforced so keep an eye out for posted limits. Even in a motorhome, seatbelts must be worn by all passengers.

  • All distances are in kilometres, and speeds in kilometres per hour.

  • Some rural roads are unsealed. Drive slowly on these, and check the terms of your rental as some do not allow driving on gravel. Windy, mountainous roads should be approached with caution, especially for RVs, motorhomes and campervans.

  • Give yourself plenty of time to make any given journey - you will want to stop and admire the view along the way!

  • A dairy is a corner store with basic groceries, ice-creams, newspapers and the like. In a small town, the local dairy will have about as much information as a visitors’ centre.



For many people, the biggest thing to remember about New Zealand roads is that you drive on the left. Just remember that as the driver, you should be closer to the middle of the road - just like when you drive on the right. 

 

To legally drive in New Zealand, you must have either an International Driving Permit (IDP) or a current driver’s licence from your home country. Both these options are good for up to 12 months. You must have this permit or licence on you at all times when driving, and they are only valid for the same vehicles as they are used for back home. Note that if your licence is not printed in English, you will need a translation or an IDP. 

 

New Zealand roads can be a big surprise for international visitors. They are often hilly, windy, narrow, and slow, with sheer drops and small safety rails. That’s why, when you plot a drive between two points, it will usually take a lot longer than expected. 

 

Driving in these conditions takes a lot of concentration in a campervan hire, which also means that driver fatigue sets in more quickly than usual. It’s important to take regular breaks and switch drivers whenever necessary. 

 

Speed limits in city areas are usually 50 kilometres per hour, while open road speeds are usually 100 kilometres per hour maximum. However, weather conditions in New Zealand can change quickly, and you should always drive with the conditions in mind. If it’s raining heavily or foggy, you will need to slow down to accommodate for the weather. If you feel uncomfortable, pull over and stop until it passes. 

 

To get an idea of the conditions before you arrive and have a quick practice of driving on New Zealand’s roads, try out the Visiting Driver Training Programme from the AA. 

 

Safety tips

  • Stop and rest whenever you’re feeling drowsy behind the wheel

  • Avoid driving at night outside of the main cities

  • Allow for an extra hour on any drive

  • If you’ve just flown in long haul, take time to get over jet lag before driving


     

Major Brands Available With Motorhome Republic in New Zealand

Motorhome Republic has more than 30 top brands available for campervan hire. Here are a just a few of those available:

 
NZ campervan hire is a great way to holiday. Find a cheap New Zealand motorhome rental, stay safe on the roads and return home with a lifetime of memories!


Road Trips - Hero Island


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.

 

Freedom camping is where you park your motorhome or pitch a tent in an undesignated area. Many travellers opt for this method as it saves on campground fees, but it does mean that they don’t have access to waste disposal or toilet facilities. Freedom campers have been a contentious issue in the country lately as some visitors end up leaving waste and rubbish out in the gorgeous countryside that New Zealand is known for. If you do end up freedom camping, make sure it’s in a safe place away from traffic, and don’t leave anything at all behind. Note that some councils have banned freedom camping, which means you can face fines for ignoring ‘No Camping’ signs, and it’s also important to avoid camping on private property. 
 

 
Feeling well and truly inclined to experience NZ in a Campervan Hire? Book your adventure with Motorhome Republic in advance to ensure you secure a package that ticks all the boxes.
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Familiarise yourself with the rules of the road and then enjoy the ride!

Famous around the world for its stunning scenery, friendly people and fine wines, New Zealand is the ideal setting for a memorable motorhome rental holiday. From the tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South, this beautiful country is best explored behind the wheel of a comfortable campervan. When your mode of transportation doubles as your accommodation, you can enjoy the freedom to go wherever the mood takes you - whether that’s to gorgeous white sandy beaches, pristine snow-capped mountains or lush green forests. Thanks to New Zealand’s well-maintained roads, the drive will be as pleasant as it is photo-worthy. To help you find your way around this spectacular country, we’ve come up with a comprehensive guide to driving around New Zealand by motorhome hire. Read on to find out everything you need to know to stay safe and comfortable on the road.
 

When you arrive


If you have flown a long way to get to New Zealand be aware that you could be jet lagged and will be tired, which increases the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Try to limit your driving for the first couple of days, swap drivers frequently and schedule rest stops where you can get out, admire the scenery and recharge your batteries.

 

Once you get out of the cities there are no motorways. The majority of the roads are single carriageways. On main routes you will come across passing lanes and passing bays. If you are holding drivers up, make sure to keep left in your campervan hire and give them an opportunity to pass.

 

There are still plenty of roads that are unsealed gravel, especially if you are in the South Island or the north of the North Island. Take care if it’s dry as dust can obscure your view of the road. Some roads are not permitted to be driven on by rental vehicles, so check your policy wording carefully.


 

New Zealand road rules

 

NZ has a set of rules called the Road Code. They’re like the Highway Code in the UK. There’s a free road code quiz here which you can try to test your knowledge after you’ve read this page – it contains additional signs and rules that are important to know.

 

Licence requirements

 

In order to drive on New Zealand roads in a motorhome rental you’re required to hold a valid driver’s licence. If you’re an overseas visitor, you can use your licence from your home country for up to 12 months before you need to change to a New Zealand one. Please note if your home licence is not in English then you will also need to carry an international driving permit or an approved translation. It’s important to remember to carry your licence with you whenever you drive.

 

Speed limits

 

Speed limits are clearly signposted next to the road at regular intervals. The number is displayed in black on a white background inside a bright red circle. The maximum speed limit in New Zealand is 100 kilometres per hour, which applies to most motorways and open roads, although it may be lower if there are roadworks or if the road is particularly challenging. In suburban areas, the limit while driving your campervan hire is 50 kilometres per hour, unless you’re in a school zone, in which case it’s 40 kilometres per hour.

 

Depending on the size of your motorhome rental, you may be legally required to travel at slower speeds on the open road. If the vehicle is over 3,500 kilograms, your maximum speed limit will be 90 kilometres per hour. Any vehicle-specific restrictions should be explained to you when you pick up your motorhome rental, but if in doubt it’s always best to ask. In any case, remember to treat the limit as just that - a limit, not a goal. Driving a motorhome will feel different to driving a car, van or four-wheel drive, so it’s important to adjust your speed accordingly.


 

Kilometres

Miles      

30

40

50

60

70

80

90

100

18

24

31

37

43

49

55

62

 

Speed limits are in kilometres per hour and distances are posted in kilometres. Because NZ’s roads are often narrow, winding and hilly, allow for an average speed of 70-80kph - it can take you longer to get places than you would expect.

 

If you are passing a stationary school bus that’s dropping off or picking up children, or the site of an accident that is signposted with a blue accident sign, the limit in both directions is 20kph so take your time in your New Zealand motorhome rental.

 

Note that you will see yellow signs with black numbers on some corners. These are advisory speed limits for cars in dry weather. Your motorhome might not be able to take those corners at the advisory maximum speed.

 

Phones

 

You’re not allowed to use a hand-held mobile phone to make calls or send/receive text messages while you are in control of the vehicle (this includes waiting at traffic lights).


Safety


All vehicle occupants must wear seat belts. Children aged 7 and under must be in an approved child seat.

 

The blood alcohol limit is 0.05% for drivers 20 and over, or 250mcg/litre of breath. It’s much safer to not drink at all. Check your motorhome rental vehicle policy for any restrictions around alcohol use.

 

We hope your journey is a safe and enjoyable one. New Zealand is a beautiful country and, with a motorhome from Motorhome Republic, we’re sure you’ll have a spectacular trip.

 

Alcohol limits

 

The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers aged 20 or over is 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood, or 250 micrograms per litre of breath. For those under the age of 20, there is zero tolerance - absolutely no alcohol may be consumed before driving. As there are many factors at play in determining an individual’s tolerance and reaction to alcohol, such as a person’s size, it’s advised to avoid consuming any alcohol before getting behind the wheel. It is also illegal to drive under the influence of any drugs which may impair your driving ability. Please check with your doctor to make sure none of your prescriptions include side effects that could affect your driving in your campervan hire.

 

Distractions and fatigue

 

Before you get into the driver’s seat, take some time to eliminate any possible distractions that could take your attention away from the road. This includes your cellphone; it is prohibited to operate a cellphone while driving. If you do need to take calls, you are permitted to use a handsfree system.

 

Another thing to prepare for is the possibility of fatigue. This can be a very real issue on long road trips, especially if you’re driving in a new country. Where possible, it’s a good idea to plan regular rest stops to stretch your legs - this shouldn’t be too challenging with so many beautiful photo opportunities around every corner. Another way to minimise the risk of driver fatigue in your NZ campervan hire is to assign more than one driver to your rental, so you can share the responsibility.

 

Seat belts

 

Whether you’re sitting in the front or back of your motorhome hire, you must wear a seatbelt while the vehicle is in motion. Some motorhomes may have moveable seats, in which case the seatbelt may need to be adjusted depending on which way you are facing. This is something your rental supplier should go through with you when you pick up the keys. If you’re travelling with children under seven, they will be required to sit in a booster seat. In most cases, you will be able to rent an approved seat from your motorhome provider.

 

Drive on the left

 

In New Zealand all vehicles drive on the left - something that can feel a little strange at first if you come from a country where you drive on the right! With some practice you’ll soon get used to it. The centre line will be painted in either white or yellow. If there is a solid yellow line on your side, this means you are not allowed to overtake other vehicles in your campervan rental.

 

Road position and lanes

 

We drive on the left in New Zealand. If you haven’t driven on the left before, it can take some getting used to having the steering wheel on the right and the passenger side of the vehicle on your left. A good guideline is to remember that you (the driver) should always be next to the centre line.

 

Our road lanes are separated by yellow or white lines. A solid yellow line on your side of the centre line means you are not permitted to overtake.

 

On the left edge of the road there will be either a white line or yellow line. A dashed yellow line means you must not park there.
 

If you’re embarking on a self-drive motorhome rental holiday in New Zealand, it’s important to take some time to learn the road rules.


 

Traffic lights

 

New Zealand has a standard traffic light system, with red meaning ‘stop’, amber meaning ‘prepare to stop’ and green meaning ‘go’.

 

Intersections and giving way

 

The majority of intersections (junctions) will have either a give way sign or a stop sign. It’s compulsory to stop at a stop sign before proceeding into the intersection. If there are no signs then the give way rules apply:

 

  • T-intersections: If you are turning right from the top of the T, give way to all traffic coming towards you that is passing through or turning left.

  • If you are turning from the bottom of the T, give way to traffic on the top of the T. Remember to always look twice in both directions to ensure it’s clear, and be conscious of which side of the road you are pulling onto from the intersection.

  • Uncontrolled crossroads: If you find a rural crossroads with no controlling signs or lights, give way to vehicles from the right, from straight ahead passing through, or from straight ahead turning left.

  • Traffic lights: If you have a red traffic light you must stop and wait until it’s green – there’s no free turn like there is in America. Our sequence is red, green, amber (yellow) and then red again. You must stop for the amber light if it’s possible to do so.

 

Uncontrolled intersections

 

Give way rules apply at uncontrolled intersections. If you are turning, you must give way to all oncoming traffic that is following the centre line (including buses and cyclists). If both vehicles are turning, those turning right need to give way to those turning left.

 

Indicator signals

 

In New Zealand, you are required to indicate for at least three seconds when preparing to turn or change lanes. Indicators are a signal of intent only - it is important to carefully check all mirrors and ensure the space is clear before making a decision to act while driving your motorhome rental.

 

Roundabouts (turning circles)

 

A circular intersection first put into practice in the United Kingdom, roundabouts are very common throughout New Zealand. If roundabouts are unfamiliar to you, it’s important to have a good understanding of the give way rules (see above). If you want to turn left, approach the roundabout in the left lane signalling left. If you want to turn right, approach the roundabout in the right-hand lane signalling right. Once you have passed the exit before the one you want to take, signal left and then leave the roundabout maintaining your lane position. If you want to go straight through a roundabout, approach the roundabout in any lane that has an arrow pointing straight ahead. Signal left just after you’ve passed the exit before the one you want to take. To summarise, when you wish to enter the roundabout you’ll give way to the right, which entails all traffic already on the intersection (traffic always flows in a clockwise direction). Please note some roundabouts have multiple lanes - painted arrows on the road will guide you to the right lane for your exit.

 

Following distances

 

It’s important to maintain a safe following distance between your vehicle the car in front of you while driving your New Zealand motorhome rental. According to New Zealand road rules, ‘safe’ is classified as two seconds between cars. This goes up to four seconds in poor weather. As motorhomes are larger vehicles and may therefore take longer to stop in the event of an incident, it’s advisable to at least double these distances to be safe.

 

Passing

 

All vehicles must overtake on the right - passing on the left is never allowed. Most of the major highways throughout New Zealand have a lot of dedicated passing lanes. Where possible, it’s advised to wait for these if you need to overtake. Vehicles are permitted to overtake in other situations, but only if there is a clear, straight stretch of at least 100 metres in front of the vehicle you wish to pass. If there is a solid yellow line on both sides of the centre line, or only on your side, then this means passing is prohibited.

 

In a motorhome hire you may be travelling at a slower speed than others on the road. If this is the case, it’s important to stay to the left when there is a passing lane to permit other vehicles to overtake safely. You may also want to make use of slow traffic bays which allow you to pull over and let cars pass.
 


New Zealand road signs

 

As in most other countries, the road signs in New Zealand are designed to be easily understood by all drivers, no matter what language they speak. Bright and clear, they are highly visible and relay important messages about the local driving conditions, so it’s essential to pay close attention as you traverse the country. Below is a summary of some of the most common signs you can expect to come across on your motorhome rental roadtrip.

 

Red and white signs

 

Most red and white signs convey a compulsory message telling you what you absolutely must or must not do. For example, speed limit signs, STOP signs and GIVE WAY signs are all red and white (although please note they are different shapes; speed limit signs are circular, STOP signs are hexagonal and GIVE WAY signs are triangular).

 

Other red and white signs to be aware of include NO ENTRY (red circle with red lettering in a white rectangle) and NO TURN/U-TURN (red circle with a black arrow on white background and a red dash through the arrow).

 

Blue and white signs

 

Like their red and white counterparts, blue and white signs also indicate a compulsory action. Most are blue circles with white arrows and a thin white border. The arrows indicate a direction that you need to take, such as an obligatory turn, continuing straight or keeping left. This colour pattern is also used to identify one way roads, pedestrian only zones and restricted parking areas. Most parking signs feature a white P in a blue square, as well as a clear parking time limit.

 

Yellow and black signs

 

These bright signs are used to denote permanent warnings, such as upcoming hazards, information about road conditions (for example you might see signs saying “slippery when wet”), difficult corners, advisable speed limits and so on. A yellow and black sign of particular importance to motorhome hire drivers is the diamond-shaped ‘clearance height advance warning’ sign. With one arrow pointing up, one arrow pointing down and a metric measurement in the middle, this sign indicates the maximum vehicle height that can pass through the area. They are common near bridges and tunnels.

 

Orange and black signs

 

When you see an orange and black sign it means there’s a temporary warning in place. These are most often used in areas where roadworks are being carried out, or if things like land slips pose a threat to drivers.

 

Green and white signs

 

If you’re new to driving in New Zealand in an RV rental and unfamiliar with local roads and landmarks, green and white signs will help you find your way. These information signs feature the names of nearby destinations and how many kilometres it will take you to reach them, as well as directional arrows and state highway shields.
 

What to expect on New Zealand roads: possums, Kiwi slang and more

 

Let’s take a more in-depth look at some of the quirks of driving in the Land of the Long White Cloud.

 

Animals and wildlife

 

The chances of encountering any wild animals on New Zealand roads are very small. Unlike other parts of the world, you don’t have to worry about coming across a stray Kangaroo (Australia) or a moose that’s lost it’s way (Canada). Occasionally you might be asked to wait while a farmer herds his cows across a road to different paddock, but other than that you can expect your drive to be relatively animal-free.

 

That said, there is one small creature that may cause some distraction: possums. These furry marsupials often end up as roadkill, but before you worry about hitting one unexpectedly, it might come as a relief to know they are considered a pest. Infamous for eating native trees and killing native birds, possums are problematic. As they come out late at night, chances are you might not notice them until it's too late - or perhaps not even at all. Please don’t try to swerve or take evasive action to avoid hitting them in your motorhome rental, as this could cause you to lose control of your motorhome. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a New Zealander who feels sorry for any possum who meets its fate on the open road, so there’ll be no need to feel bad about it if you do hit one.

 

Kiwi lingo

 

New Zealand may be an English-speaking country, but the local lingo can often sound like a different language! Most car-related terms are reasonably clear as they derive from UK terms, such as bonnet for hood, boot for trunk and petrol station instead of gas station. When it comes to New Zealand slang however, you might want to start your own travelling dictionary… below are just some of the words and phrases you can expect to hear as you explore the country in a campervan hire.

 

  • Dairy: New Zealand is famous for its dairy industry, but when you hear people talking about ‘popping into the dairy up the road’ they’re actually referring to their local convenience store. Dairies sell essentials such as newspapers, eggs, bread and of course dairy treats like ice cream and milk.

  • Wop-wops: This a Kiwi way of saving the middle of nowhere, out in the sticks - in simplest terms: an isolated town or region.

  • Tiki Tour: Here’s something you might do often on your road trip without necessarily realising it: take a ‘tiki tour’. This means taking a long sightseeing detour. New Zealanders also use this term to refer to getting lost along their travels.

  • Kai: is the Maori word for food (kai moana means seafood).

  • Sweet as: Perhaps one of the most confusing phrases for newcomers to the country, means that something is good.

  • Togs, Tramping and Bush: In New Zealand you don’t go hiking in the forest, you go tramping in the bush. You also go swimming in togs (swimsuit).

 

New Zealand drivers

 

Some local drivers may bring their own eccentricity to the roads. Here are some things to keep an eye out for:

 

  • In every country there are people who drive too fast, and unfortunately New Zealand is no exception. Stay alert for speedsters, especially on open roads while driving your campervan hire.

  • Kiwis are famous for their relaxed, laid back attitude - but this isn’t a great attitude behind the wheel. If you see someone breaking the road rules or driving a vehicle that doesn’t look very road-worthy, increase your following distance and give them a wide berth.

  • Some motorhome rental drivers don’t use their headlights unless it’s pitch black - something to be aware of when travelling at dawn and dusk.

 

Rural hazards

Livestock on the road
Livestock is frequently moved along rural roads. The farmer is obligated to place a sign when this happens, but the sign type can be variable. If you come across a herd of animals in the road, stop your campervan hire and get instructions from the farmer.
 
Uncontrolled railway crossings
Around half of NZ’s railway crossings have no lights or barrier arms and will be controlled by either a give way or stop sign. Take extra care here – a train can’t stop quickly, so look both ways up the track to make sure it’s clear, and don’t try to beat the train as its size belies its speed.
 
Single-lane bridges
In rural areas, you will find single-lane bridges. If the sign on your side of the bridge has a red arrow pointing upwards this means that you must give way to traffic coming towards you. If your sign is blue with a white arrow pointing upwards, you have the right of way as long as there’s no one else on the bridge. Motorhomes, campervans and RVs are sizeable vehicles so ensure you take your time on these tight bridges.
 

About New Zealand roads

From beautiful coastal highways to ambling country roads, driving a motorhome rental on New Zealand’s highways and byways is a pleasant and scenic experience. Here’s some more detailed information about what you can expect along the way.
 
Highways and motorhomes
 
New Zealand cities and towns are linked by more than 100 state highways. The largest, State Highway One, runs from the tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. You’re likely to spend a significant chunk of your time on this well-maintained road, which connects the majority of New Zealand’s cities, including Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. In these cities there are also motorways (these aren’t common outside of major centres in New Zealand).
 

 

Following State Highway One is a great way to see the country as it doesn’t bypass small towns, rather travels through them. This means there are several 50 kilometre zones on the highway, and even the odd pedestrian crossing! While this may seem unusual to visitors who are used to fast, direct highways, it all adds to the New Zealand motorhome rental road trip experience.

Toll roads

One benefit of New Zealand not having a huge high-speed highway and motorway network is the lack of toll roads. As it stands, there is only one active toll located north of Auckland just before the small town of Puhoi. This is the fastest way to travel north from Auckland and incurs a $2.20 tariff each way. If you pass through this road in a campervan hire, your license plate number will be captured by automatic cameras and you will need to pay online at www.tollroad.govt.nz.
 
If you’d prefer to avoid the toll road altogether, you can travel north via Orewa and Waiwera. While this may add some extra time onto your journey, it’s a scenic road that takes you past some great beaches and will save you the fuss of worrying about the toll fare.
 
Driving conditions
 
Most main roads in New Zealand are very well-maintained, with clear signage and smooth surfaces. If you stick to the main highways and motorways in your campervan hire it’s very unlikely you will come across any trouble. However, if you are travelling in rural New Zealand, it’s a good idea to take extra care. The roads are still - for the most part - of high quality, but that doesn’t mean the driving is always easy. Many routes include winding, narrow roads and faded centre lines. You may also encounter some unsealed areas. It’s a good idea to plan your intended road trip itinerary in advance, as that way you’re less likely to run into any unexpected or unwelcome surprises. Some motorhome rental contracts exclude unsealed roads, so if you want to travel on these you may have to seek additional insurance cover.
 
The below roads are often excluded from rental contracts due to their condition:
  • Skippers Road (Otago)
  • Ball Hut Road (Canterbury)
  • 90 Mile Beach (Northland)
  • The road to Macetown (Otago)
  • Tasman Valley Road (Canterbury)

Plan Your Campervan Hire NZ experience

When you’re getting ready for a trip to a new country, there are dozens of different things to take into account - sometimes it can be a little difficult trying to get everything sorted on your own. If the freedom offered by a campervan hire in NZ appeals but you’re a little unsure how to go about planning your trip, this is the perfect place for you. Below you’ll find all the information you need to craft the New Zealand holiday of your dreams. From in-depth itineraries to help you decide where to go and what to see, to a look at the events you can catch and activities you can enjoy along the way, read on to make your trip preparation a breeze. For more technical info on things that deal directly with your motorhome rental in New Zealand, like where to find dump stations and rest areas, click the On the Road tab above. 

 

New Zealand Itineraries

Wondering what to see and do on your New Zealand vacation in your campervan or motorhome hire? Below you’ll find a generous selection of itineraries covering both the North and South Islands. Even if you’re keen to forge your own path, one of the itineraries below could help you discover some attractions along the way that you never knew existed. Head along to the itineraries section of Motorhome Republic here to discover some of the options available for an NZ campervan hire roadtrip.

 

From the Adventure Capital of the World to one of New Zealand’s sunniest cities, this west coast South Island route will take you on a journey that could have you delving into ice caves, walking on a glacier, blasting down a river in a jetboat or simply sitting in the shade sipping world-class wine. 

 

While New Zealand’s South Island gets all the good press, the North Island has a host of amazing destinations to discover too. Starting in New Zealand’s biggest city, you could get your geek on at Hobbiton, witness the alien thermal landscapes of Rotorua and delve into Kiwi culture in Wellington before catching the ferry across to beautiful Nelson in your NZ campervan hire.

 

Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s most popular tourism destinations thanks to its stunning environs and the amazing array of activities on offer, but that’s just the starting location of a journey in your motorhome rental that will show you starry skies like you’ve ever seen before, and give you the chance not only to see dolphins and whales up close but actually swim with fur seals. 

 

Whether you’re punting serenely down Christchurch’s Avon River, exploring a beautiful southern rainforest, skydiving over the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown or driving down New Zealand’s steepest street in your campervan rental in Dunedin, there’s little doubt that your experiences on this glorious round trip journey will stick with you for years to come.

 

Sticking to the northern half of the South Island ensures that you’ll have plenty of time to explore the many attractions along the way in your New Zealand Motorhome Rental. Keen hikers won’t want to miss the Abel Tasman Track, wine connoisseurs will find their own personal heaven amongst the vineyards of Marlborough and wildlife lovers will be thrilled with the unparalleled opportunities to see whales, dolphins and seals in Kaikoura.

 

Sometimes you don’t have time to go on a really long road trip in your campervan, so this route fits a giant-sized dose of adventure into a short space. Adventure activities, rare wildlife, glaciers and ice caves all feature on this pint sized road trip that packs a real punch.

 

Starting in one of New Zealand’s most popular tourist destinations and ending in another, this campervan rental road trip encompasses all that is best about the South Island. Alpine scenery, mirror-like lakes, ski-fields, glaciers… why are you still reading this and not how to visit these amazing places?

 

From one tip of South Island to the other, this journey will start you off in sunny Nelson with the chance to sample fine wines and embark on classic coastal walks, before tracing down the scenic west coast toward beautiful Queenstown, heading on to New Zealand’s southernmost city and finishing in the stately old university of Dunedin in your New Zealand campervan rental.

 

For those who want to go all out on their New Zealand road trip and get a great taste of both the North and South Islands, this is the way to go. From the big city lights of Auckland, past the geothermal attractions of Rotorua, the quirky, pun-loving town of Bulls and the cafes of Wellington, across the strait to witness the sea life of Kaikoura and the urban attractions of Christchurch, this journey is the New Zealand road trip you’ve always dreamed of.

 

Covering all the top destinations in the North Island, this itinerary will make sure you see this amazing place at its best. Take some time to discover the clubs and restaurants of Auckland before heading south swing past Hobbiton and Hells Gate. Follow this up with hiking on Mount Doom, driving through a desert and ending up in Wellywood. Sound incredible? It is.

 

The North Island’s east coast is renowned for its beautiful beaches and laid back vibe, so if that’s what you’re seeking, that’s exactly what you’ll find here. Best experienced in the summertime (between December and March) this motorhome rental roadtrip will treat you to a more low-key version of New Zealand that it’s hard not to fall in love with.


Auckland to Auckland via Northland

New Zealands northern tip has so much to offer - discover beautiful beaches, quaint towns and draw dropping vistas with your campervan hire from Motorhome Republic.

 
Auckland to Queenstown: New Zealand in a Nutshell

Fancy seeing New Zealand from top to bottom (well almost)?This trip has a bit of everything. Southern lakes, mountains, rugged beaches and cultured cities.


Other Popular Options

Certain parts of New Zealand’s highway network are designated as ‘touring routes’ because they are particularly scenic and go through some popular destinations. Most routes are approximately a few hundred kilometres long. You could complete them in one day, but if you want to make the most of the stunning scenery and quaint small towns, it’s a good idea to leave more time.

  • Twin Coast Discovery Highway: Taking you through some of the loveliest parts of the Auckland and Northland regions, this route hugs the coast and is ideal for beach goers.
     

  • Pacific Coast Highway: Starting in Auckland and taking you down the East Coast via the Coromandel, this highway is best enjoyed in spring or summer.
     

  • Thermal Explorer Highway: A particularly long route, this one covers most of the upper North Island, encompassing popular landscapes such as Tongariro National Park. It’s best to take this trip at a leisurely pace.
     

  • Surf Highway 45: As the name suggests, this is the perfect road trip for surfers. The route covers much of the Taranaki coastline.
     

  • Forgotten World Highway: A heritage trail, this highway through the lower North Island is a hit with natural history enthusiasts.
     

  • The Classic New Zealand Wine Trail: Follow this route to visit some of the best vineyards in New Zealand. Starting in the lower North Island and ending in the upper South Island, this is hugely popular among wine lovers. Just be sure to pre-arrange a designated driver.
     

  • The Alpine Pacific Triangle: Set in the picturesque North Canterbury region, this route is the perfect introduction to the South Island.
     

  • Great Alpine Highway: Travel across the South Island from Christchurch to the West Coast on this beautiful route, which takes you high up into the alps through Arthur’s Pass.
     

  • Canterbury Pacific Trail: Soak up the sights of the Canterbury coast on this enjoyable road trip which also includes Christchurch City.
     

  • Inland Scenic Route: An alternative to State Highway 1, this route goes through rural South Island, stopping at quaint towns such as Geraldine, which has excellent artisan food shops.

  • Southern Scenic Route: This is postcard perfect New Zealand, encompassing must-see destinations such as Milford Sound and Lake Te Anau. Have your camera ready!

Events in New Zealand

There’s far more to a country than just its scenery and attractions of course. A quick way to boost your trip from mediocre to unforgettable is planning to attend some local events. Whether it’s a celebration of local food and wine, a music festival or a massive sporting event, getting involved in events during your travels not only allows you to experience the culture in a whole new way, but also affords you a chance to connect with the locals in a way you would never otherwise be able to. New Zealand has a whole array of events that could coincide with your trip; take a look below to figure out which events you might want to dive into on your next motorhome rental journey around New Zealand.


 
Holidays
 
Easter

Most New Zealanders get a four day weekend over Easter, with both Good Friday and Easter Monday designated as public holidays. This means that some places will be closed over the long weekend, and restaurants will often add a surcharge, but there’s also likely to be a lot of special events happening over the weekend so make sure to check what’s on in your area. 
 

Christmas

Christmas in New Zealand is quite a bit different to what most Northern Hemisphere denizens are used to. Instead of warm fires, snow on the ground and a big roast dinner you’ll be more likely be heading down to the beach to bask in the summer rays and enjoying a classic Kiwi BBQ for the evening meal. Both Christmas Day and the following day (Boxing Day) are public holidays, and many people choose to take days off work between Boxing Day and New Years to make the most of the two sets of holidays. Try to avoid travelling on Boxing Day as traffic can get pretty heavy, especially if you’re trying to drive your campervan hire out of NZ cities like Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

 
Food & Wine
 
Hokitika Wildfoods Festival (March - Hokitika)

For some truly unique culinary opportunities, there’s no better fest to attend than Hokitika’s Wildfoods event. Thanks to an emphasis on locally sourced food, you’ll find pork and venison hunted in the NZ bush, seafood hauled from the nearby ocean and even huhu grubs pulled from local logs. 
 
Bluff Oyster and Food Festival (May - Bluff)

Boasting a philosophy of “Unsophisticated and proud of it” this fest drops pretensions in favour of delicious natural food. There’s more than just oysters to enjoy here, with crayfish, scallops, paua (abalone) and whitebait just a few of the other seafood options available, as well as local wild foods like muttonbird, venison and pork. Pick up a campervan rental and for your New Zealand adventure and head south.
 
Beervana (August - Wellington)

For anyone who enjoys great beer, Wellington’s Beervana festival is a must-attend event. Hundreds of craft beers from dozens of breweries are available for those in search of a tasty tipple, and the sheer variety of the brews on offer beggars belief.
 
Wellington on a Plate (August - Wellington)

Not a huge beer fan? You still need to be in Wellington during August. With more than two weeks of cutting edge food available from a wide selection of the city’s eateries, Wellington on a Plate is unmissable for those with an adventurous palate and a hankering for fresh local produce. Wellington's geographical position makes it the perfect location to head north or south on a campervan hire roadtrip around New Zealand.
 
Whitianga Scallop Festival (September - Whitianga)

Even people who aren’t normally a fan of seafood go head over heels for scallops, making this event the perfect way for foodies to celebrate the arrival of spring. Whitianga is about two thirds of the way up the gorgeously rustic Coromandel peninsula, less than half a day’s drive from Auckland Airport. 
 
 
Music & Culture Festivals
 
Kiwiburn (January - Hunterville)

New Zealand’s version of the famous Burning Man event, Kiwiburn encourages participants to bring and create the things they want to have at Kiwiburn. With no set schedule and no headline acts, this radically egalitarian event allows each person to contribute to the overall flavour of the fest. Campervan, Motorhome and RV rental's are welcome at the event every year.
 
Splore (February - Auckland)

This boutique music and art festival glories in its summer setting, and celebrates alternative lifestyles with a carefree and creative spirit. Splore has a strong emphasis on community and boasts line ups that introduce music lovers to new favourites every year. There is plenty of space in the Splore campground to park up your NZ campervan rental for the weekend.
 
Rhythm and Vines (December - Gisborne)

What a way to see in the New Year! Held annually on the three days leading up to New Year’s Day, Rhythm and Vines is known for lineups featuring New Zealand reggae, dub and roots music and has grown over the years to include multiple stages and international acts. Experiencing this festival in a campervan hire is a perfect solution.
 
 
Sports
 
The Lions Tour (June/July - Various): If you’re lucky enough to be visiting New Zealand in 2017, make sure you catch at least one rugby match between the British and Irish Lions and the legendary All Blacks. Whenever the Lions come to New Zealand it’s always a huge event, with many Brits planning tours years in advance to be part of the action, so make sure you book your campervan hire in NZ quickly if you want to be part of this iconic sporting event. Even if you’re not visiting while the Lions are in the country, New Zealand boasts some of the best rugby in the world, and catching an All Blacks match is an event all of its own no matter who they’re playing.

Activities in New Zealand

One of the best things about visiting another country is diving into experiences and activities that you never would have had the chance to enjoy at home. New Zealand may not be a large country, but it is rich with opportunities for adventure, excitement, indulgence and relaxation. It all comes down what kind of vacation you’re hunting for - whether you’re a thrillseeker or epicure, this magnificent country has myriad activities for you to enjoy. A New Zealand Motorhome Rental is an ideal way to experience it.

 

As the Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown will undoubtedly appeal to adrenaline junkies seeking new ways to push the limits, but there’s more to this town than just adventure activities. Aside from some of the best views in the country and top-notch cuisine, Queenstown is also renowned as a prime nightlife destination. People from all over the world use Queenstown as a base for their South Island explorations, making for a wonderfully diverse crowd. Skiing and snowboarding is also very popular thanks to several ski fields nearby so remember to pack your skis or board if you’re inclined to hit the slopes. It may be cooler in the winter months, but a NZ campervan hire is a great way to experience Queenstown and what it has to offer. Nearby Wanaka also offers prime access to the same ski fields, and while its nightlife isn’t as well known as Queenstown’s, there are quite a number of very cool venues to enjoy when the sun goes down.

Queenstown adrenaline activities

Top 5 bars in Queenstown

Wanaka nightlife


 

It’s no surprise that New Zealand’s biggest city has a huge range of activities on offer for visitors. From the upscale restaurants and nightclubs of the CBD waterfront district to the wineries and Waitakere ranges of the city’s western regions, Auckland is brimming with things to do. Ascending the Sky Tower which dominates the city’s skyline provides a stunning view in every direction - the Orbit 360° restaurant near the top even revolves slowly so it’s easy to see it all. If you’d prefer to ascend some heights under your own steam, climbing One Tree Hill is a wonderful way to visit one of Auckland’s most iconic locations and get a great view of the surrounding suburbs at the same time. Pick up a campervan hire nz and head out west where there are some beautiful beaches like Piha and Bethells Beach, great for surfing and swimming, respectively, while hikers will want to venture into the nearby Waitakere mountain range. And if all you’re after is a place to relax and browse some quaint shops, Devonport is designed just for you.
 

 
For many people, Christchurch will be the first stop on their epic South Island but this city is more than just a launching point for bigger journeys - it’s a first rate destination in and of itself. The International Antarctic Centre is a one of a kind attraction that especially appealing for those with kids. With an array of international exhibitions, a snowstorm simulator and the chance to get up close and personal with penguins, it will prove irresistible to many. Orana Wildlife Park, on the other hand, allows you to see exotic animals roaming in a huge habitat, where cages are for humans only - whether you’re hand feeding a giraffe or standing face to face with a white rhino, Orana provides a much more natural look at these magnificent creatures. A visit to Christchurch Cathedral was among the go-to attractions in the city for over one hundred years, but after a series of earthquakes between 2011 and 2012 the structure is set for demolition - however, visitors can instead view the radically unique Cardboard Cathedral which was built as a temporary replacement. A monument to the resilience of Christchurch residents, this beautifully distinctive edifice is well worth a visit. Be sure to head out of Christchurch city in your New Zealand campervan rental and explore the Canterbury country side.


 
This is the political capital of New Zealand, but more importantly for visitors it’s also the cultural capital of the country. Music, theatre and art all thrive here, so don’t leave before taking in at least a little of Wellington’s cultural offerings. If you’re not quite sure where to start, Te Papa offers a singular blend of history, art and entertainment, and is a must-visit destination for all ages. If you’re hoping to catch a big sporting event while you’re in town, Westpac Stadium is the place to go, colloquially referred to as ‘The Cake Tin’ - you might even be lucky enough to see an All Blacks match there if you do a little advance planning. The Cable Car Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in the city’s history - cable cars were a prominent feature of Wellington life for more than 70 years - now the winding house that kept them running is home a museum commemorating these iconic cars. Wellington Zoo is always a popular choice for families visiting New Zealand’s windy city, with plenty of opportunities for kids to experience close encounters of the furry kind, while adults may be more intrigued by the Wellington Museum, housed in a 19th century heritage building and offering fascinating stories from the Wellington region. Wellington is a great place to begin your New Zealand RV rental adventure.

 

Known as the Tourism Capital of New Zealand, Rotorua has several distinctly different types of activities and attractions from which you can choose (or you could spend a bit of time here and experience them all!). One of the most obvious attractions in this city is its geothermal features. Steaming streams, smoking ground, bubbling mud and fountaining geysers are all in evidence here, giving the land an otherworldly feel rarely found elsewhere. More traditional attractions include luge rides, gondola glides and walking among giant redwood trees. A motorhome rental in New Zealand makes it easy to experience all that Rotorua has to offer at your own pace. Head to the Waikato town in your Campervan hire NZ and enjoy the thermal delights of Rotovegas.

Why Rotorua is an excellent place for motorhome travellers

Rotorua’s top 10 attractions

Other Helpful New Zealand Links

 

7 of New Zealand’s greatest surf beaches

Keen to catch some waves in New Zealand? Here’s where you need to go.
 
 
The Old Ghost Trail is finally going to get the treatment it deserves.
 
 
Planning to throw your bikes on the back of the motorhome? You’re in luck.
 
 
What exactly is on offer? We break it down for you.
 
 
Who doesn’t want to camp for free? Here’s how.
 
 
Motorhome camping in New Zealand

A guide to the more tradition style of motorhome camping in NZ.
 
 
Why learn from your own mistakes when you can learn from someone else’s?
 
 
Make sure Kiwi lingo doesn’t leave you bewildered!
 
 
Ecotourism is a growing trend, and New Zealand has its share of world class ecotourism destinations.
 
 
New Zealand locals are renowned for their friendly manner. A NZ motorhome rental is a great way to meet some friendly kiwis.
 
 
Camping in or around Auckland? These places go fast, so book quickly!
 
 
In search of the perfect scoop.
 
 
The land of Middle Earth is bucket list material for many - a campervan hire is an ideal way to experience it all.
 
 
Like a bit of history with your scenery? New Zealand has you covered.
 
 
Snap a next level selfie - it’s all about location, a New Zealand Motorhome Rental will get you there.

Travel Advice and Support

To get a more thorough look at New Zealand's road rules, take a look at the easy-to-read manual called the Road Code. You can read this code for free online, or alternatively you may order it from the AA if you’d prefer a hard copy. Once you’ve familiarised yourself with the rules, you can test your knowledge with AA’s quick Road Code Quiz for peace of mind that you’re ready to get behind the wheel.


For maps, directions and general advice about local places to visit, keep an eye out for i-Sites. These free tourist centres are located in most towns throughout New Zealand, with a total of 80 in the country. Operated by Tourism New Zealand - an organisation that is funded by the government - these centres are not here to try to sell you a product or service you don’t need. Instead, helpful staff provide information that will help you get the most out of your time in New Zealand, no strings attached!

 

Another great place to conduct research is, of course, the internet. There are several good websites which include reputable information about driving in New Zealand; a quick Google search should bring up many options. To get you started, we recommend both tourism.org.nz and newzealand.com.

 

Those travelling with smartphones could also make the most of apps. See below for some of our top recommendations:
 

  • itravelnz: This free app allows you to quickly find eateries, attractions, accommodation providers and more within close proximity to your location.
     

  • The Essential New Zealand: A Tourism New Zealand product, this app houses much of the organisation’s brilliant travel tips and advice.
     

  • Google Maps: It goes without saying that this great app is a must-have road trip accessory.
     

  • CamperMate: When you’re travelling in a motorhome, the last thing you want to do is be worrying about where you’re going to park up come nightfall. With the CamperMate app, this is made easy! A quick search will bring up nearby campsites, as well as other useful amenities such as supermarkets and public toilets.
     

  • NZ Transport Agency: information about international licence requirements and links to translators
     

  • DT: free tourist Road Code quiz in Spanish, German, Chinese and English.
     

  • NZ Transport Agency: New Zealand driving overview in most Pacific Island languages, Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Arabic.
     

  • Tourism NZ: advice for driving in New Zealand

 

Your self-drive motorhome holiday in New Zealand will take you to spectacular places and give you the freedom to choose your own schedule. There are some important road rules and tips, though, to make sure that you stay safe on your journey around New Zealand.

 

As long as you have a full driver’s licence in your home country you can drive on New Zealand’s roads for up to 12 months before you need to change to a local licence. If it’s not in English then you must also carry an international driving permit (IDP) or an authorised translation to English. Your licence must entitle you to drive a vehicle of the size that you are hiring, i.e. you can’t drive a motorhome if you only have a motorcycle licence, and you must carry it at all times when driving.


Motorhome Republic has a large range of campervan rental options in NZ available once you are ready to hit the road safely. We recommend starting your adventure from popular destinations like Christchurch, Queenstown or and Auckland.

Win fabulous prizes from Motorhome Republic

It's your chance to win great prizes and see the world at the same time. We regularly host competitions and giveaways in order to spread the joy of travel in New Zealand. We love the feeling of getting close to nature and seeing more of this beautiful country, and with the occasional cash or rental giveaway, we aim to inspire others to get out there and experience the great outdoors in the best possible way - by campervan, of course! 

There are no New Zealand contests running at the moment, but visit our social media pages to stay up to the minute. 

Win

 

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