2 January 2020 by Emily Newton-Smith
Travelling by motorhome – or campervan – means taking your accommodation with you and exploring at your own pace. There's nowhere better for a self-drive than New Zealand, so here's what to consider when planning a motorhome holiday in one of the world's most scenic countries. From choosing your motorhome to planning your route, we've covered the essentials. And remember, our travel specialists are always on hand to help you plan the perfect trip.
Choosing your motorhome
Maui Motorhomes, New Zealand
Whether your fly-drive experience in New Zealand lasts two weeks or two months, your choice of vehicle will play a big part in how much you enjoy the trip. If you're not a fan of confined spaces, a tiny camper might not be for you. Equally, a six-berth motorhome might offer more space, but at eight metres long, is more difficult to manoeuvre. Before you book anything, work out your priorities, and select a motorhome that best suits your personal requirements. Maui Motorhomes offer everything from a compact two-berth Action Pod to the luxurious six-berth River, complete with spacious living area, kitchen, and three double sleeping areas. And, all their vans come complete with kitchen supplies such as glassware and cookware, as well as linens, towels, and other useful amenities. Before paying a deposit, do your research – after all, this is where you'll be sleeping every night.
Extras to look out for
Kayaking tour at Milford Sound
Make sure you're aware of all the costs and extras that might come up during your trip. Aside from vehicle insurance and travel insurance, you might need to pre-book certain campsites in order to secure a specific day or night. You will also need a current, full driving license before you can take the campervan out on the road. Many rentals come with GPS navigation and pre-purchased Wi-Fi, which you can top up as needed for an additional cost. Alternatively, speak with your mobile phone company prior to your trip to organise roaming and work out the most affordable option for the duration of your holiday in New Zealand. Finally, you'll want to pre-arrange the tours and experiences you want to do well in advance, to make sure you don't miss out. Of course, our travel specialists are able to make sure you have everything you need – taking the stress out of the process and ensuring you're aware of any fees and charges at the time of booking.
North vs South Island
Aerial view: New Zealand
New Zealand's North and South islands might be geographically close, but they offer very different experiences. The North Island features sweeping coastal beaches, a warmer climate and a generally more laid-back feel, from the sparkling shores of its largest city Auckland to the sub-tropical islets of the Bay of Islands. And, the region between Rotorua and Taupo is a hive of geothermal activity, showcasing active geysers, bubbling mud pools and colourful lakes across the famous Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. In the south, icy glaciers and fjords are the backdrop to dramatic hiking trails, white-water rafting trips, and some of the best whale-watching spots in the world. For a more in-depth look at both islands, we've broken it down with our article New Zealand: North vs South. Of course, there's really no need to choose between the two – if you have the time, take your motorhome across both islands, connecting them with an Interislander ferry crossing from Picton to Wellington.
Planning your route
Volcanic hills in Rotorua
The beauty of a fly-drive in this part of the world is the freedom to go where you want to go, when. Our travel specialists can tailor any itinerary to include your must-do activities, whether that's heli-hiking on the Franz Josef glacier or sipping wine in Hawkes Bay. Our classic New Zealand by Motorhome itinerary is about as flexible as it gets, bookended by city stays in Queenstown and Auckland. Start with two nights overlooking Lake Wakatipu and finish on the waterfront in the City of Sails – in between, you have 11 days to explore paradise islands, fjords, rainforests and mountains at your leisure. There's included ferry transfer between the islands as well as entrance into the glow-worm-lit Waitomo Caves and one Winery Havens overnight stay in your choice of locations. It's up to you to decide your route, but we always recommend consulting one of our specialists with intimate knowledge of the destination – if you're feeling inspired, give us a call or enquire here for more information.