Pros and Cons of Travelling New Zealand by Campervan

New Zealand, what a beautiful and unique country! Whether young or old, wealthy or skint, you will love New Zealand and make lasting memories!

When planning the New Zealand part of our trip we debated for quite a while on what means of transport to use. There are many bus tour companies offering hop on hop off routes around one or both islands. You could hire a car and stop in motels. Or hire a campervan and carry your temporary home with you – the method we opted for in the end.

Welcome to our home for our 5 week tour!


  • Flexibility to change plans and travel on your own timetable.
  • Flexibility to stop when and where you want – there are so many stunning photo opportunities this is a huge bonus!
  • More chance of arriving at a destination alone, rather than with a coach load of other tourists.
  • Ability to carry your own belongings wherever you go.
  • Can free camp if desired. There are plenty of places to free camp around New Zealand but you do need to be prepared with water & gas tanks full. We found we could only do one night at a time out of an official camp site before we ran out of water. (You must have a certified self-contained campervan to do this!)
  • Easier to save money by buying food in bulk from Supermarket as opposed to finding food in tourist outlets while on the move.


  • Less opportunity to meet other travellers.
  • No tour guide (we personally didn’t find this too much of a problem).
  • If travelling alone a campervan would work out more expensive.


BE WARNED! A close friend travelled NZ at the same time we did but by bus and it took her much longer to do some of the same routes as us due to the bus timetables. Many buses go once a day from one location to another. If you are doing an activity that runs over this time then you have to wait until the following day for the bus. Can you afford to factor this extra time in to your trip?

We opted for the second smallest camper on offer, basically a converted transit. It is advertised as a 2-3 berth but we were glad there was only 2 of us, 3 would have been very cosy!

Top Tips:

  • On our first night in the camper we happened to stumble across a ‘Top 10’ campsite. Here we picked up a discount card for 10% of all further stays at their sites – this amounts to quite a lot in 5 weeks. You also get extra free wifi at each site – also great for researching things in the evening if you don’t have a local phone. The majority of the Top 10 sites we stayed at were fantastic in comparison to others we stayed at and they have one in almost every big town.

Hopefully you are now some way to deciding what mode of transport is best for your trip, now for an itinerary. See my posts on highlights of New Zealand’s North and South Islands for some ideas! (Coming soon)

Comments (3)

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    campervan hire

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