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Everything you need to know about driving a campervan in New Zealand

New Zealand in a Campervan

From glaciers and mountain ranges to stunning coastline and winding country roads, New Zealand is a great destination to explore with a campervan. VroomVroomVroom can help you find campervan rentals in locations around the country, including popular depots in Auckland and Christchurch.

If you are new to driving a campervan, it can be a lot to take in. You will need to make adjustments to your driving style and think about different accommodation options. We have put together a quick guide to travelling in a campervan through New Zealand.

Campervan driving tips in New Zealand

  • If you are travelling to New Zealand from another country, keep in mind that you must drive on the left-hand side of the road.
  • Many traffic laws may be similar to the ones you are used to. In New Zealand, you aren't permitted to use a mobile phone while driving. You need to wear a seatbelt, and there will be penalties for driving after consuming certain amounts of alcohol.
  • If you're travelling during the colder seasons and not planning on staying at powered campsites, be sure to choose an RV that is fully insulated and has gas or diesel heating.
  • Unpredictable events can occur while you are travelling, so consider paying for insurance and on-road assistance.
  • Because this is a much larger vehicle compared to a car, you need to be careful when turning. The larger the vehicle the harder it is to turn corners. Keep it in mind when you are driving to ensure you are safe.
  • Before you get into your campervan make sure you know what the height of the vehicle is. When you are going under bridges, make sure that the height of the campervan is less that the height of the bridge. Even if your GPS is telling you go a certain way, still be cautious.
  • Driving up hills will require you to be in a lower gear. Stay in the slow lane so other cars and vehicles can pass you.
  • You will speed up more than you would in a car going down hills so make sure to maintain your speed limit and be aware of your surroundings.
  • New Zealand roads can be narrow and windy at times. The South Island mountain ranges are the main area where this is the case. Slowing down is important if you are not used to these sorts of conditions.

Where can I stay: Recommended RV parks and campgrounds

​Campervanning around New Zealand is an extremely popular thing to do, so lucky for you, there are many camping options. If you have hired a smaller campervan that does not come with a kitchen or bathroom, you will need to be close to amenities. With this in mind, it is best to stay at a campsite or caravan park that has these options for you. There are many dotted around New Zealand especially in popular road trip destinations such as the drive from Christchurch to Queenstown, the New Zealand wine trail and the Christchurch North and South Loop. If you have a fully functioning campervan you will still need to find somewhere where you can connect to power and empty the tanks.

​Winterizing the campervan

When temperatures fall below freezing, it it essential that your campervan is winterized. Winterizing is something that the campervan rental company will do that stops the pipes from freezing when you are on your road trip. This process includes draining the campervan of all liquid and putting through a solution of antifreeze.

How do I empty waste water from the vehicle?

Emptying waste from the vehicle is a simple process. When you pick up your rental vehicle, you will be shown the process. It involves plugging one end of the waste water hose in the campervan and the other in the dump station. If you are staying at a caravan park there may be a designated place for you to empty it.

Road trip ideas

New Zealand is the ideal location for a road trip. Whether you are a Foodie​ or want to travel around the South Island​, there is something for you. Road trips from Auckland​, Wellington​, Christchurch​ and Queenstown​ are some of the most popular places to visit.

Important

When planning your road trip...

It may take longer than you think to get from one location to the other, so make sure you have mapped out where you want to go, how long it will take and where you will be staying every night.




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