If you’re thinking about an epic South Island road trip, Christchurch is the place to go! It’s the gateway to the South Island with so many possible destinations like the drive to Queenstown or road trip to Lake Tekapo.
Christchurch is a fantastic starting point if you’re an international traveler because it’s home to New Zealand’s second-largest airport. But once you touch down, you’re going to need a ride to explore all the amazing things to do in Christchurch and beyond.
I recommend renting a campervan – not only will you have your own wheels to explore, but a little built-in hotel room to stay in wherever you happen to be. It leaves your schedule open for adventure and it’s budget-friendly too.
You might be wondering what the right campervan is for you, or where to rent one. That’s why, I’m here to help!
I’ll share with you the best Christchurch campervan rental companies and all the important details you need to know so you can easily figure out which one best suits your taste and needs.
So, let’s get right to it!
Why Rent a Campervan in Christchurch?
Christchurch is one of the top 3 places in New Zealand where you can find plenty of options for campervans. They range in price, size, and style with lots to choose from.
Aside from housing numerous caravan rental companies, another reason you should rent your campervan in Christchurch is because the city is the perfect location to begin and end your road trip. Once you’re done checking out all the free and cheap things to do in Christchurch, hit the highway!
You’re in the heart of the beautiful South Island, which is the country’s most popular island for road trips. Christchurch is close to the Banks Peninsula (one of the best day trips from Christchurch), as well as the well-known Canterbury Plains and the awe-inspiring Southern Alps.
Its nearby attractions make the place a base camp for South Island exploration. Moreover, the surrounding Canterbury region gives visitors access to stunning towns, unforgettable trips, quiet retreats, and adrenaline-pumping activities.
Now, let’s talk about all you need to think about before hiring your campervan in Christchurch.
Important Factors to Consider Before Renting a Campervan in Christchurch
Is your campervan self-contained certified?
In New Zealand, freedom camping (camping on public land with minimal facilities) has been around for decades. It allows travelers to see what the country offers without breaking the bank.
But it’s essential to take note that most of the more than 500 freedom camping sites across New Zealand only allow certified self-contained campervans or recreational vehicles to stay overnight.
The great thing about having a self-contained campervan is that you can camp in particular areas without paying a single penny. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind when picking what campervan to hire in Christchurch, NZ, especially if you opt for camping for free.
First, your self-contained campervan should have an enclosed plumbing system. Second, your campervan should have a warrant card and a self-contained certification sticker displayed outside the van. Make sure to put them somewhere they are easy to spot, as most freedom camping grounds require the said card and sticker. Also, you need to have a self-containment certificate, which you should bring with you so that you can present it to an enforcement officer upon request.
While most Christchurch campervan rental companies offer self-contained vans with the said features, some don’t. So you should ensure your campervan has the required aspects if you want to freedom camp at all.
How many people are you traveling with?
Road trips are more fun with a buddy or two! You’ll have a built-in DJ to control the tunes, someone to take selfies with and share memories together when it’s all over. But how many friends are tagging along changes which campervan you should go with, as campervans differ in capacity.
The cheapest campervan can accommodate two people (who will share only one bed), while a larger and more expensive van has a space suitable for up to four people. So, make sure you have the final number of people traveling with you when you’re in the selection process.
If you plan to travel in a group of five people or more, you should rent a motorhome instead. Check out my guide to motorhome rental in New Zealand for more information on that option!
What is your drop-off location?
While you don’t need to have all your stops along the way figured out, the end point of your trip is something you should decide on before you hit the road.
Not all campervan rental companies in Christchurch have designated drop-off points in the country, so it may cause some inconvenience if you don’t plan in advance and aren’t planning on returning to Christchurch when your road trip is over.
Once you have a drop-off location in mind, try to find an agency that has an office there. This will save you from paying costly relocation fees.
Related Read: You can also check out the best campervan rental companies in Auckland if you want to check out the North Island.
6 BEST Christchurch Campervan Rental Companies
1. Mad Campers
- Price: Starting from $50 NZD per night (during low season when renting for over a week)
- Pick-up/Drop-off locations: Auckland, Christchurch
- Types of campervans on offer: Solo, 2-person campervans. All are self-contained certified.
With locations in both Auckland and Christchurch, Mad Campers is the most innovative campervan rental company in New Zealand. In Christchurch, you can find their office located about 20 minutes from the center of the city.
They have been helping travelers experience the country’s beauty in the most comfortable way since 2017. They are even willing to go the extra mile to ensure travelers enjoy their trip. And that’s why, this is our number one choice and who we use for every adventure in NZ.
What I love the most about Mad Campers is that their campervans are all self-contained certified. Also, all their campers are high-roofed Nissan Vanette (or similar), which is ideal for long-distance travel. More space means more comfort!
Whether you’re a solo traveler or you have your adventure buddy with you on the trip, Mad Campers has the right campervan for you. Notably, they are the first company to launch a single-berth self-contained campervan in New Zealand.
The models vary in features, with the two-berth campervans having a toilet, while the single-berth option has none. The former option also features a canopy. But all of them come with extras for additional comfort, such as a Bluetooth radio with USB, LED lighting, car alarms, and security lock boxes, to name a few.
On top of that, all vans at Mad Campers come with 24-hour AA roadside assistance, so in case there’s anything that needs to be fixed, the company will go to you whatever your location is.
Mad Campers is open daily from 9 am to 4:30 pm. The latest possible pick-up time from the depot is 4 pm, so be sure to be at their office before then. If you arrive on a late flight, it’s best to spend your first night in a hotel and pick up in the morning. Pick-up and drop-off points can either be in Auckland or Christchurch.
Rates vary based on the type of campervan you pick and the duration of your trip.
Standard insurance is included in your daily rate but is for the vehicle only. It’s best to have your own travel insurance for your personal belongings. You also have the option to upgrade your insurance to a “You’re Good” policy so that you can have peace of mind during the trip.
We love Mad Campers so much that we have organized a discount code with them directly. When you book, use the promo code Queen5 to get 5% off your rental rate! Book on their website here!
2. Campa South Rentals
- Price: Starting from $75 NZD per night (during low season when renting for over a week) + one-way fee from Christchurch to Auckland
- Pick-up/Drop-off locations: Christchurch, Auckland (Picton and Queenstown for negotiation)
- Types of campervans on offer: A range of campervans and 2 berth sleepervans
Campa South Rentals offers affordable campervan hires in Christchurch. All of their vans are self-contained certified and fully outfitted with living and sleeping equipment.
If you’re visiting the city as a couple, you can rent the premium deluxe motorhome, which is complete with air-conditioning and a separate toilet. The deluxe campervan 2+2, standard hi-top campervan, and two-berth sleeper van are also ideal for couples.
What makes Campa South Rentals a great option for a camper hire in Christchurch is that it offers other services such as free 24-hour nationwide AA roadside assistance and complimentary transfers to and from the airport or nearby accommodations.
Regarding pick-ups and drop-offs, they usually take place in the company’s bases in Christchurch and Auckland. Their Christchurch office is conveniently located less than 10 minutes from the airport. If you opt for Picton or Queenstown as your pick-up or drop-off point, you can negotiate it with the agency.
Pick-ups start from 8 am and drop-offs are only until 4 pm unless you made a prior arrangement with the company.
Daily rates vary depending on the type of campervan and how long/what month you’ll use it. The lowest daily price offered is $75 NZD and the highest is $265 NZD. Comprehensive insurance coverage is already included in the daily hire charges.
- Price: Starting from around $30 NZD per night (during low season when renting for over a week)
- Pick-up/Drop-off locations: Christchurch Airport, Auckland Airport, Queenstown Airport
- Types of campervans on offer: 2-person, 3-person, and 4-person campervans. Most are self-contained certified.
JUCY is one of the most reliable companies offering the best campervan hire deals in Christchurch, NZ. They are well recognized for their green and purple vans, which range from two-person to four-person campervans.
If you’re arriving by plane to Christchurch, you’re in luck! The JUCY location in Christchurch is located right at the airport. They offer airport shuttles that can take you right to their office to pick up your campervan. But if you want to get some rest first, the shuttle can bring you to the nearby JUCY Snooze (basically a hostel with cool ‘pods’ to sleep in). Then in the morning, they will also transport you to the office.
Their two-berth vehicles don’t have self-containment certificates, but they come with a 25-liter fresh water tank that usually lasts for two days. If you want to experience freedom camping in the country, you might want to reserve a three-berth Toyota Hiace or a four-berth Toyota Hiace campervan as either of the two are self-contained certified.
When it comes to dropping off the vehicle, make sure that it has a full fuel tank and that you have removed all of your belongings. Also, keep in mind that you must return your campervan during office hours as after-hour drop-offs are not allowed at JUCY’s Christchurch airport location.
You can also choose to return your van to the JUCY Queenstown airport location if you plan to explore Queenstown after traveling around the South Island.
Related Read: JUCY is also one of the best campervan rentals in Queenstown.
4. Euro Campers
- Price: Starting from around $79 NZD per night (during low season when renting over a week)
- Pick-up/Drop-off locations: Christchurch, Auckland
- Types of campervans on offer: 2-person to 4-person campervans, all vehicles are self-contained certified.
Euro Campers is another option when you’re looking for a company that offers cheap campervan hire deals in Christchurch. But while their vans come with affordable prices, the campervans’ quality was never compromised.
They offer a fleet of modern campervans that can accommodate 2-4 people. All vehicles are equipped with beddings, linens, kitchen utensils, and camping equipment, and each has a self-containment certificate that gives you the flexibility to stay at any campsite you come across.
If you’re bringing your kids with you on this trip, I suggest you book either Euro 4 or Euro 2+1 as both of them are kid-friendly. In particular, Euro 4 has a safety net with a top Luton bed, as well as an LCD screen and DVD or audio player for entertainment. Most of the vehicles have a shower and a solar panel that recharges your house battery, while some have a toilet.
Daily prices range from $79 NZD to $139 NZD depending on the type of campervan you chose. Once you make a booking, the company can provide you with a second driver (without an extra fee) and personalized services.
You can pick up your campervan at their Christchurch office, which is located 20 minutes outside of the city in the nearby town of Rolleston. Campervans can be returned to the same location or at the company’s Auckland branch.
Remember that their earliest time for pick-ups and drop-offs is 8:30 am, while their latest time is 3:30 pm. You will be asked to pay a surcharge for pick-ups and drop-offs earlier or later than those hours.
5. EPIC Campers
- Price: Starting from around $142 NZD per night (during low season when renting for over a week)
- Pick-up/Drop-off locations: Christchurch, Auckland
- Types of campervans on offer: 2 berth campervans, only one three-seater campervan. All are self-contained certified.
EPIC Campers is another great choice for modern, high-quality, and affordable campervan hires in Christchurch, NZ. This family-owned business has been around since 2018, providing the best campervan experience to every traveler wanting to see the country’s beauty.
All of their vehicles are high-roofed Mazda Bongos (2011 or newer), which were professionally transformed into two-berth campervans that have all been self-contained certified. In addition to the two-person vehicles, EPIC Campers also have one three-seater campervan that is a bit bigger and excellent for two adults and one child.
Each campervan is packed with various amenities and essentials, so it’s sure to feel like a home away from home. A fully-equipped kitchen, two comfy seats that turn into a bed, 25L fresh and gray water tanks, and USB power points are just a few of the things included in the van. They also offer extras with a surcharge.
Rates are different for the two-berth campervan and the three-seater and vary depending on how long you’ll use the vehicle. So best to check into things once you know how long your trip will be.
When you’re already in Christchurch, you can pick up your campervan from their office in nearby Clarkville, which is located a 15-minute drive from the airport. You can grab a taxi there (they recommend using the local app Zoomy) or drive your own car there. If you do drive there, you’re welcome to leave your vehicle at their Christchurch or Auckland locations until you return.
At the end of your trip, the campervan can be returned to either the Christchurch or Auckland location – whichever is closer to your end point!
6. Mighty Campers
- Price: Starting from $80 NZD per night (during low season when renting over a week)
- Pick-up/Drop-off locations: Christchurch airport, Auckland airport, Queenstown airport
- Types of campervans on offer: Campervans and affordable motorhomes suitable for two to six people. All have self-containment certificates.
Mighty Campers is another favorite when it comes to finding cheap campervans to rent in Christchurch. Although low-cost, each van has almost everything a home does, so you’ll be set for your road-tripping adventure!
A few of the everyday essentials you can expect in each campervan are an apartment-style kitchen, linen and bedding, fire extinguisher, clothes hangers, bucket and hose, and biodegradable toilet chemicals. You can also easily turn your daytime living space into a comfy bedroom with a few little adjustments.
Mighty Campers’ vehicles can cater to groups of two to six people and are perfect for your little ones and pets as well. The vans differ in several sizes and styles, from two-berth Deuce to six-berth Big Six. Starting rates are around $80 NZD per night, and can go up to around $473 NZD per night.
You can start your trip right after you collect your campervan at the Mighty Campers Christchurch branch located right at the airport.
Once your exploration comes to an end, head to the Christchurch, Queenstown, or Auckland locations for drop-off. If you are changing the drop-off point or time, make sure to reach out to the company’s Booking Hosts for authorization. Changes may come with additional charges.
Where to Go with Your Campervan in Christchurch?
Once you’ve rented a campervan in Christchurch, the possibilities are endless when it comes to where you can go. There are some really special places on the South Island that you should consider checking out including:
- Queenstown – My hometown of Queenstown, New Zealand has to make the list! It’s on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by huge mountain peaks. Some of the best things to do in Queenstown include exploring remote lakes, trying out one of the many amazing hiking trails, jumping on a Lake Wakatipu scenic cruise, or working up the courage to try some adventure activities (like the Luge). Of course, you’ll also need to take a break from all that exploring to try some local cuisine and nearby wineries!
- Wanaka – One of my favorite towns on the South Island, located on the shores of Lake Wanaka – arguably the most beautiful lake in all of NZ. One of the best things to do in Wanaka is simple – park your campervan, grab a coffee, and stroll along the lake. If you’re up for another adventure that doesn’t cost anything, hiking Roy’s Peak is the best free thing to do in Wanaka. You’ll definitely earn a cold drink after and you’re in luck since Wakaka is the craft beer capital of New Zealand! Rhyme and Reason Brewery is my fav spot here.
- Milford Sound – The most famous fiord in the country was carved by glaciers and its steep cliffs and unique marine life make it a place you’ll want to go! Part of the beauty is getting here on a road trip from Te Anau. You’ll pass stunning attractions in Fiordland National Park such as Mirror Lakes, Pop’s View Lookout, and The Chasm. Another awesome route for your campervan is the road from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Once you’re here, the top things to do in Milford Sound include amazing hikes, waterfalls, stargazing, or a cruise.
- Mount Cook – This huge outdoor playground is home to New Zealand’s tallest mountain along with alpine lakes, glaciers, and hiking trails. Topping my list of amazing things to do in Mount Cook National Park is definitely all the incredible hikes you can do here. My favorite is the hike to the Mueller Hut – a stunning viewpoint and neat place to spend a night in an alpine hut.
- The Catlins – This was a stop on my first road trip on the South Island and it should be on your list too! It’s a beautiful region on the southernmost tip of the island. It’s home to one of the rarest penguins in the world and some of the most breathtaking waterfalls I’ve ever seen. You can plan to freedom camp here in your campervan so you’ll have lots of time to explore!
- Franz Josef – This town is a staple on any road trip with a great route being the drive from Queenstown to Franz Josef. One of the most popular things to do in Franz Josef is to explore the Franz Josef Glacier. This short 2.5-kilometer (1.6 miles) trail is one of the best hikes on the South Island as it takes you past waterfalls before you reach the viewpoint looking out onto the glacier. I also love the Franz Josef Hot Pools for a relaxing dip.
Where to Stay in Christchurch
While you’re planning a road trip across the South Island, you’re going to need a place to stay before or after you hit the road.
Once your flight arrives, you may be tempted to head right for a campervan rental company, but it’s so nice to go to a hotel first (hot shower!!) to refresh, catch up on sleep, and then start your adventure the next morning. Once you return your campervan, you can also stay a few days in Christchurch to explore before you start your next adventure or head home.
The most popular areas to stay are either right near the airport or in the heart of the city. Jucy Snooze Christchurch is super close to the airport – basically walking distance! Another cool hotel close by is the Commodore Airport Hotel Christchurch which offers a free shuttle.
In the city center, the Crowne Plaza Christchurch is perfect for those wanting a typical luxury stay. It’s a large hotel with amazing views of the city. For budget travelers, the social but comfortable Urbanz is a good option. Although cheap, it’s located in the heart of the city and only a couple of minutes’ walk from Hagley Park.
Additionally, there are plenty of Airbnbs and holiday homes to rent for a few nights in Christchurch.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you found this guide to renting a campervan in Christchurch helpful as you plan your trip across New Zealand! I love how a campervan makes travel more convenient and fun. It gives you a little home base on the road as you explore this amazing country.
While you’re planning your route, make sure to check out all my other road trip blogs. I have lots of ideas for the best stops along the way from hidden gems to well-known places you won’t want to miss.