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Picton Motorhome Rental

Welcome to sunny Picton, the gateway to the South Island and an NZ Campervan Hire adventure.


Hiring a campervan in Picton

Picton is a small New Zealand town with a population of less than 5,000 people. It’s a prime location as it is where you disembark from the Interislander Ferry that comes from the North Island’s Wellington, and it’s the perfect place to pick up a motorhome and start your campervan tour of the South Island. Motorhome Republic has 9 fleets to choose from in Picton, each with plenty of options such as sleepervans, large luxury motorhomes, and compact family RVs. 


Things to do with your Picton motorhome rental

One of your first stops from Picton has to be Nelson, a gorgeous small town that is a picturesque two-hour drive from Picton. Check out the beaches, the kayaking, the hiking tracks, the biking trails and the shops full of hand-made local crafts. 


Not far on from Nelson is the Abel Tasman National Park. This natural playground is where you will find one of the most stunning hiking tracks in the country - the Coastal Track. You can do a day walk or opt for the full trek and spend 3-5 days walking it. This is also where you will find the Harwoods Hole Track, which finishes at the deepest vertical shaft in New Zealand. 


Kaiteriteri, less than three hours from Picton, is a small beach area and is considered by many to be New Zealand’s best beach. 


Being such a sunny location, the top of the South Island is also internationally renowned for its wines. Try them yourself on the Marlborough Wine Trail, which starts only 30 minutes from Picton. There are countless cellar doors open for tasting some of the world’s finest wines.


Drive two hours down the wild east coastline of the South Island until you get to Kaikoura. Literally meaning ‘food crayfish’, this small seaside town is known for divine seafood and whale watching. If you are there in spring, do not miss a stop at Ohau Point, which you will pass on your way to Kaikoura. Follow the short walking track to a waterfall that is teeming with baby seals in late winter and early spring.


Hanmer Springs is less than four hours south of Picton and is the ideal spot for relaxation. The natural hot pools are open throughout the year, and this small town is full of great walking tracks and restaurants.

Further south in the heart of Canterbury is the Garden City of Christchurch, a great place for a campervan hire drop off or pick up.


Best times of year to visit Picton

No matter the time of year, Picton is a fantastic place to visit. The summer season begins in December and offers warm, dry days through to February, with many more in autumn after that. During this time, the lows rarely drop below 15 degrees Celsius, while the highs sit comfortably in the mid-20s. 


June signals the arrival of winter when the mercury falls to around 7 degrees Celsius at its lowest, with highs of around 10 degrees. Once spring arrives in September, the temperature warms up again with minimums in the low teens.


Picton Pathways: Campervan Hire from the Gateway to the South

Picton opens up a world of possibilities for an amazing campervan rental holiday. Arrive by ferry and pick up your hire vehicle, then stay a few days to take in Marlborough, or head out on State Highway One which stretches south from Picton. Be warned - the sheer number of places to go and things to do may be overwhelming.


Picton Pointers: Drive New Zealand with No Worries

Here are a few things to think of before booking and embarking upon your campervan rental holiday from Picton:

  • Book well in advance to secure the vehicle you want, and think about any extras you might require - child seats, GPS, chains for driving in the snow.

  • Brush up on New Zealand’s road rules before travelling. Kiwis drive on the left and must wear seat belts and follow speed limits at all times.

  • Ensure your holiday is a safe one with full insurance cover. This means you can relax and enjoy without worrying about life’s little accidents.

  • Give yourself time to take the back roads and explore! Avoid a tight schedule to make the most of your holiday. 

The Marlborough Sounds is a veritable playground for nature lovers and one of the best places to visit in New Zealand.

Start your Adventure in Picton

Picton is a charming town tucked away, near the head of the Queen Charlotte Sound. Although small, it is an important gateway to the stunning South Island and a tourist hotspot in the warmer months, with plenty of things to do.

The town offers access to the fabulous Marlborough region and the famous Queen Charlotte Track, with plenty of character of its own. The town is the departure and arrival point for the Interislander ferries, which carry passengers and vehicles between the North and South Islands. Many people pass through, rent a motorhome or car and carry on, but not everyone takes the time to stop and enjoy lovely Picton.


There is one recognised hotel in town, the Park Regis. This three-star establishment is located close to the waterfront. There’s an assortment of bed and breakfasts, lodges, motels and budget-friendly backpackers - all popular options for those passing through or staying a few days. There are also several holiday parks with spaces for campervans and tents as well as cabins. Picton can cater for any type of tourist!

Annual Fun

The annual Picton Maritime Festival is one of the top ten things to do - a free, family-oriented event celebrating the town’s unique and interesting maritime history. It includes performances, competitions, displays and fundraisers by various local organisations, such as the fire brigade and Rarangi Lifesavers.

Taste of Marlborough

Laid-back, alfresco dining is the name of the game in Picton, where seafood straight from the Marlborough Sounds and fresh South Island produce are the delightful basis for so many dishes. Where to visit spots include Le Café, located quayside and a reliable source of good food and coffee. Gusto is another highlight, especially for breakfast, and Picton has several café and bar establishments – ideal for a casual dinner and drink if the campervan’s basic offerings are not appealing to you.
The wines of the Marlborough region are within easy reach, so for daytime drinking head to a winery and make sure you have a sober driver. The bars in Picton also stock an array of the famous Marlborough Sav Blancs, along with plenty of craft brews from the Nelson region. Try Seamus’s Irish Bar or Café Cortado, or just pop into any of the bars in town for a good night out.

Land and Locals

Getting around Picton is easy – and you will love its setting in the heart of the notoriously scenic Marlborough Sounds region. Those who arrive via Interislander ferry will appreciate the view on the way in through the Queen Charlotte Sound. Mountains are visible in all directions, and to the south these eventually give way to the farmland of the Blenheim region.
The majority of Picton residents are born and bred in the area, but the tourist industry does bring a variety of faces to town, some being seasonal workers who enjoy the lifestyle and opportunities the town offers. Notable residents have included champion cricketer Lance Cairns and his son Chris, and famous Kiwi author Katherine Mansfield who spent time there with her father and grandparents. The culture of the town revolves largely around a love of the great outdoors, and you will find this reflected everywhere you go.

Picton Highlights

Picton has a significant maritime history, so get a taste of it on the Edwin Fox - a restored ship dating back to 1853 when she sailed as a trader for the East India Company. It’s on permanent display and combines with a maritime museum to tell spellbinding stories of the sea.
The foreshore is a perfect place to stroll, enjoy the sunshine and watch the world go by. The Society of Model Engineers makes it even better with a miniature railway and model boat pond - bargain entertainment for the little ones at 20 cents a pop. This amazing community service is an iconic aspect of Picton life. Park up your campervan and spend a few hours of quality people-watching.
The Marlborough Sounds is a veritable playground for nature lovers and of the best places to visit in New Zealand. Bush-walking tracks range from very short to the 70km Queen Charlotte Track. Boat cruises are a nice way to see the Sounds, with companies such as Cougar Line and Beachcomber offering day trips on the water. A favourite is the mailboat cruise, which invites you to come onboard during the delivery of the Royal New Zealand Post to the remote houses and resorts found in the many bays and coves.

Make Your Way

Picton has no local bus service, as the town centre is easily explored on foot. Taxis, both on land and water, are the easiest way to get around if you are don’t have a vehicle. Gateway Taxis, Arrow Water Taxis and Picton Water Taxis are the names to look for. Driving yourself is the best way to see the town and surrounds- get a campervan rental and get on the road.
Wellington is easily reached via Interislander Ferry from Picton, and buses to other cities are available from downtown. Bus and coach companies include Intercity, Naked Buses and Ritchies. There are also several companies which offer wine tours from Picton. 

Mild and Sunny

The top of the South Island is known for sunny weather, and Picton is no exception. Great for growing grapes and also for tourism, the summertime forecast is generally spectacular. Ideal for cruising around in your rental campervan. Winter temperatures do not generally drop below zero. On average, Picton’s coolest month is August and its warmest is January.

Get All the Camper Rental Options

Although Picton is a small town, there are plenty of options for campervan/motorhome hire. These are your best options:

  • Backpacker Sleepervans

  • Budget Campers

  • Discover NZ Motorhomes

  • Freedom Campers

  • Go Wild Campervan Rentals

  • Kahurangi Motorhomes Ltd

  • Sleepavanz

  • Sweet As Campers

  • Tui Campers

  • Wendekreisen Motorhomes

Budget Campers and Freedom Campers

Budget Campers and Freedom Campers are owned by New Zealand campervan giant Tui Rentals. Budget Campers offers Picton visitors affordable, compact vans and motorhomes, and Freedom Campers adds a range of comfortable RV rentals. From Budget, there is the two-berth hitop Finder van, which has piles of room for a campervan and the basics in kitchen supplies. The Budget Seeker van is also two person, and has the added bonus of a toilet and shower. The Budget Escape is the largest with room for four to sleep comfortably, and an on-board bathroom as well. Freedom Campers’ smallest are the Path Finder and Path Seeker, both two-berth vans and both featuring bathrooms. For small groups, Freedom Campers also offers a 4WD Bush Camper, which allows you to see a little more of New Zealand. The Path Escape and Explorer are four- and five-berth motorhomes respectively, both offering spacious interiors and small bathrooms and kitchens on board. As Tui Rentals - and therefore Budget and Freedom - doesn’t have a physical depot in Picton, you will be met at the airport at a time that you agree on when you book. From here, you’ll be given a run down of your rental vehicle, and instructions on what to do when you drop it off as well. Note that all pick ups and drop offs in Picton incur a fee that is listed in your payment breakdown. 


Discover NZ and Sleepava NZ 

Discover NZ and Sleepava NZ don’t have a depot in Picton, so all your pick-up arrangements will be made when you book. This may be at the ferry terminal after you have made the crossing from Wellington, in which case a company representative will meet you in a marked carpark in front of the Interislander ferry terminal for a full debrief of your rental vehicle and instructions for drop off. All pick ups and drop offs will be made during normal business hours of 8am to 4.30pm any day of the week, but after hours services may be available for a fee and at the discretion of the supplier. Sleepava NZ offers a standard van (painted black) with sleeping space for two people and a fridge/cooler. Discover NZ has a fleet of campervans and motorhomes, including a six-berth deluxe auto motorhome, a five-berth standard RV, two-berth campers with bathrooms, and compact standard two-berth campervans. Hiring from either Sleepava NZ or Discover NZ also gets you unlimited kilometres, 24-hour roadside assistance and cleaning fees included. 


Sweet As Campers

Sweet As Campers are some of the most iconic on New Zealand roads, each painted with a custom design, and fitted out with epic interiors with features such as chandeliers, neon lights, mirrored ceilings and disco balls to make your trip that much more memorable. All vehicles are Toyota Hiaces with seating and sleeping space for two people. They are diesel and can come in auto or manual transmission, and you’ve got basic cooking supplies on board for a more comfortable trip. As these vans do not have toilet and shower facilities, you will need to stay at caravan parks during your trip. With each campervan hire in Picton, you get no charges for extra drivers, standard insurance, roadside assistance, unlimited kilometres, and plenty of travel advice and information. There is no Sweet As Campers depot in Picton, so your pick up and drop off will be arranged in advance, as the team will deliver your vehicle to you at the ferry terminal or locations in central Picton for the handover process. Normal hours of operation are from 9am to 4pm daily, and closed on Christmas Day. 


Wendekreisen Campervans

Wendekreisen offers a large fleet of both budget and deluxe campervans and motorhomes in Picton. The Koru Star six-berth is a late model Mercedes Benz with three double beds, and the standard Koru six-berth is a slightly older Mitsubishi Canter with three double beds. There are both comfort and standard options in the four-berth range, and a variety of two- and three-berth campervans such as Volkswagens and Mazda hitops for smaller groups. As Wendekreisen doesn’t have an actual branch in Picton, your pick up will be arranged when you book. You can organise this for either the ferry terminal or any central Picton location between 8.30am and 4.30pm Monday to Saturday, or between 8.30am and 12.30pm on Sundays. You can also ask about an earlier or later pick up or drop off, but you will be required to pay and additional $60 fee for the service. Also note that there is a flat rate of $400 for and pick ups or drop offs in Picton, and you can speed up the pick-up process by checking in online.