Skip to Content

Guide to Renting a Motorhome in New Zealand +My Top Tips

Guide to Renting a Motorhome in New Zealand +My Top Tips

This blog may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

Are you thinking of exploring New Zealand from your very own motorhome? You’re in for such an incredible time!

For me, road tripping around the country in my van was what made me fall in love with the country – the freedom was unlike anything else, and it’s something I think everyone should do at least once. The results speak for themselves… I now call New Zealand my home!

I still remember scratching my head wondering where to get started, though, as there’s lots of info you need to know before hitting the road.

From picking the right motorhome to making sure you have the right insurance, I cover everything you need to know in this guide – let’s dig in!

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve organized a special discount code that will get you 5% off if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Why Rent a Motorhome in New Zealand

The road through the Eglinton Valley between Queenstown an Milford Sound
The road to Milford is one of the most beautiful in NZ

If you still haven’t decided that renting a motorhome in NZ is the way to go, let me help you understand why I personally think it is the BEST way to travel…

It’s more adventurous

In a motorhome, you have the complete freedom to explore as you choose! You aren’t limited by time restraints (like on a guided tour), or by bus and train routes. Go wherever you want whenever you want. It makes exploring New Zealand easy. I’ve learned that the best places to discover are a small detour off the main tourist trail, and with a motorhome, you don’t have to miss them!

It’s safe

New Zealand is one of the safest countries in the world! No, seriously it was ranked the second safest in the world on the Global Peace Index. If you ever planned on renting a motorhome to go on a road trip, New Zealand is a safe place to do so!

It can actually save you money

Renting a motorhome has a huge upfront cost, however, once in New Zealand that motorhome can save you a ton of money. Instead of staying at hotels that cost upwards of $150 to $250 NZD per night you can stay in holiday parks, DOC campgrounds, or even freedom camp. Even the most expensive holiday parks cost less than $50 NZD per night and DOC campgrounds start at $15 NZD per adult. Over a 2 or 3 weeks trip, this will save you enough to make traveling in a motorhome the best option.

Hot Tip: The best time to visit New Zealand if you’re looking to save on motorhome rental is during the winter. In the winter months, rental companies have lots of deals!

You’ll experience so much more

One of the best things about New Zealand is how stunningly beautiful it is. With a motorhome, you’ll spend more time in nature (versus staying in hotels in the city all of the time.) Some of the best days I’ve experienced in New Zealand were camping in the middle of nowhere watching the sunset with a glass of wine in hand. Ahh, the day’s road tripping around the South Island… simply magic!

These are just a few of the reasons road tripping around New Zealand in a motorhome is the way to travel. After so many amazing adventures, I’m an advocate for motorhome travel in New Zealand!

Related Read: Renting a campervan or motorhome in Queenstown? Check out my blog about the best campervan rental companies in Queenstown.

How To Pick The Best Motorhome

Not all motorhome rentals in NZ are created equal. Sure, from the outside a lot of them look the same. But they aren’t.

There are some things you really need to look into and think about before you rent a motorhome in NZ. For me, it was about asking some simple questions beforehand and picking a motorhome suitable for my needs. Below are the most important deciding factors when renting a motorhome in New Zealand.

1. Your budget

A very basic motorhome in New Zealand
What you can expect from a budget motorhome

Your budget will be one of the biggest deciding factors when renting a motorhome in New Zealand. For me, it’s almost always “ok what’s the best motorhome I can get for this price”. I bet I’m not alone on this either?!

But what does a motorhome rental in New Zealand cost? Well, this varies a lot! For a budget motorhome (more like a campervan) you can pick them up for around $150 NZD per day. For a mid-range motorhome expect to pay between $200 – $300 NZD per day and for a luxury motorhome you’re looking at around $400 NZD per day. These prices are for the summer season which is the most expensive time to rent a motorhome in NZ.

When it comes to searching for a motorhome with price in mind, the best thing you can do is head to Motorhome Republic and just start searching. To do so, simply select the country, pick up and drop off dates as well as locations, and most importantly, the number of people you’re traveling with. When you find a motorhome you love you can add any extras you need such as tables, bikes, baby seats, etc, and get a quote.

Motorhome Republic doesn’t have an instant book option for motorhomes in New Zealand. Instead, you’ll need to fill out all your details and payment info and the request to book. From there you’ll be approved for the rental or put in contact with a sales rep who will work through other options if that exact one is not available. I’ve done it and it’s actually much easier than contacting several motorhome companies to get quotes.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve organized a special discount code that will get you 5% off if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

2. How many people you’re traveling with

A basic motorhome kitchen
A basic motorhome kitchen

Motorhomes all advertise the number of “berths” they have. This is the number of people who can live and travel in the motorhome with.

You may be thinking, well we can just squish up and put my family of 6 in a 5-berth motorhome. But the catch is, berth also refers to the number of seat belts in the motorhome. Without them, it’s illegal to have another person in the motorhome while it’s moving! So if you’re traveling with 6 people you really need to get a 6 birth motorhome unless you have another form of transport such as a car.

Of course, having a “6-berth” doesn’t mean it comfortably has enough space for 6 adults. Often a 6 birth will include a queen, double, and two single beds. It’s comfortable for a young family, but 6 adults would struggle.

The questions you need to ask yourself are: How many single/double beds are there? Do you have people that need their own beds or can the kids get along sleeping next to each other? How large are the two-person beds? Are they doubles or queens?

Not asking these questions before making a decision could make your trip much less enjoyable in terms of comfort in your living/sleeping space.

3. Level of comfort

The inside of a large luxurious motorhome in New Zealand
A luxury model!

We all have different ideas of the ideal road trip around New Zealand. Some of us (including me) might not mind renting an old motorhome with outdated features. To some, saving that little bit of extra cash is worth the sacrifice and instead, want more money to spend on their trip.

Others might want a more luxurious motorhome that includes the latest features to make life on the road rather luxurious. There’s no right or wrong way, it all depends on your budget and how you like to travel.

One thing people don’t think about is the bed! How comfy is it? Well, that’s very hard to tell before you sleep in it but generally speaking, the more luxurious and new the motorhome the better it will be. So if you’re a picky sleeper, it’s best to go with a premium motorhome. These have premium features on the inside – even though they look the same on the outside!

On Motorhome Republic you can actually search by age so you know exactly how long it’s been on the road. It’s a feature I love.

banner asking people to click to join the Queenstown Diary Facebook Group

4. Self-contained Motorhome/standard

Freedom camping by a lake in New Zealand
If you want to camp in places like this make sure your motorhome is self-contained!

Most motorhomes in New Zealand will be “self-contained certified.” In short, this means the motorhome has been inspected to ensure it has certain features to make it eligible for freedom camping in NZ. Having this certificate gives you a lot more freedom especially if you plan on camping in wild campsites (freedom camping.)

If you want to know what freedom camping is, check out this freedom camping guide.

You don’t need to worry about the certification, however, if you plan on freedom camping be sure to check your motorhome has the certification. On Motorhome Republic it’s noted in the description as one of the important features.

If you do plan on freedom camping use the apps Campermate or WikiCamps. These apps show where you can find freedom camping places as well as low-budget campgrounds. Of course, there are also plenty of holiday parks (campgrounds with nice facilities) located all around the country, and for these, you don’t need to be self-contained certified. Some of them are so nice they even have a pool! They do, however, come at a cost of usually $35-55 NZD per night.

5. Inclusions in Motorhome rentals

A motorhome by a lake in New Zealand with camp chairs and table out
Getting a picnic table and chairs are a must for moments like these!

This is important not only when choosing your motorhome, but also when deciding what to pack! Some motorhomes come with all of the extras you could imagine, while others don’t come with much.

Things like bikes, outdoor tables and chairs, and even a GPS to safely navigate the roads. These all seem like simple items but they aren’t always included in your motorhome rental. On Motorhome Republic, it lists everything that’s included and you can even select add-ons at a cost. For example, an extra driver is usually $2 NZD a day, a picnic table $25 NZD for the trip and a baby seat is around $36 NZD.

Some of the things you’ll want to be included, are a picnic table, GPS, eater (for winter), outdoor chairs, electrical adaptors, books and games, bikes, and helmets. Some companies include these and below we recommend a company that does.

Related Read: Looking for some inspiration on where to travel in your motorhome? Then check out the 25 best places to visit on the South Island!

How Far in Advance to Book your Motorhome

The road from Queenstown to Glenorchy
Queenstown to Glenorchy… this is one road trip you’ll want to do!

How far in advance do I need to book my Motorhome? I get asked this question the most! The answer is more complicated than you may think so let me explain.

Obviously, the earlier you begin to look and book the more options you’ll have and it’s likely you’ll get a better price. To do so I would begin to look at least a year in advance. That doesn’t mean hitting the book button but just start to get quotes and keep looking on Motorhome Republic. When it comes to booking your motorhome I wouldn’t wait more than 8 months (10 months is better) before your trip especially if you plan on traveling in December or January.

You may think 6 months is fine, however, when you look at New Zealand’s short summer season you can begin to see why that’s not advised. The most popular months to travel are December, January, and February, or, the summer months. Anyone looking to rent a motorhome during this time is booking at least 6 months in advance, so, options begin to fade around the 8 to the 6-month mark.

Now there’s more to it. Remember people are renting motorhomes and picking up and dropping off in different locations. This makes getting the perfect booking you want even harder and hence why you should book before the summer rush. Seriously, getting the right motorhome, for the right dates, for the right pick-up and drop-off locations isn’t as easy as you think. The more time you allow, the easier it is.

Driving your Motorhome in New Zealand

A motorhome drives on a single lane highway in New Zealand
Driving a motorhome is the worst part for me!

Actually driving your motorhome in New Zealand may not seem like part of the renting process but it is. It’s another factor you need to consider very carefully. The reason? Well, can you drive a large 6 birth motorhome on windy single-lane roads and through cities, while also driving on a different side of the road? If the answer’s no, then rent a smaller motorhome, get an automatic, or practice at home first.

I’m not going to lie, driving a motorhome in New Zealand (like anywhere in the world) takes a little bit of patience. Because motorhomes are larger than normal cars you need to be especially careful and it stresses me out! Be aware of some of the rules before you go too. Below I’ve mentioned a few that caught me off guard when I first visited New Zealand:

  • In New Zealand, you drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side of the vehicle.
  • You cannot turn left at a red light after coming to a complete stop (like you can with right turns in the USA and Canada.)
  • Speed limits are strongly enforced. You can get a speeding ticket for going as little as 4km/h over the posted speed limit and on some holidays from as little as 1km/h.
  • Snow chains are sometimes required during the winter on particular roads.
  • Some bridges are often one lane only. This means you need to watch for oncoming traffic and alternate.
  • There are many one-lane highways (on the South Island particularly). This means you need to overtake slower vehicles using the oncoming traffic lane. Use caution and never pass on blind corners!

Recommended Motorhome Rental Company

A motorhome from Kiwi Motorhomes
Ready to hit the road!

There are so many motorhome rental companies in New Zealand. To be honest, I haven’t rented from them all. However, there are a few that stand out from the rest. I highly recommend hiring a motorhome from the company Star RV! Why? Well, we have a few reasons that really make this company stand out to us above the rest:

  • Incredible customer service
  • Tons of included extra items
  • 24/7 on-road assistance and support
  • Affordable motorhomes
  • Multiple depot locations on both the North and South Islands (for drop-off/pick-up)
  • A range of motorhome layouts and sizes to choose from
  • Amazing reviews and tons of happy previous renters

Besides having some of the best prices in New Zealand, Star RVs fleet of 4-6 person Mercedes Sprinter vans come equipped with everything you need to have an unforgettable holiday. Regardless of the model you decide on each will have cutlery and dinnerware, pillows and bedding, a gas burner, GPS, an extendable awning, and 24/7 roadside assistance in the unlikely event that the motorhome breaks down. 

Are you traveling with your family or pet? Not a problem! Animals are welcome for an additional charge and if you need to rent booster or car seats they have plenty available. Star RV offers lots of additions like camping chairs, tables, and heaters you can add on easily. Something I especially love is that they offer linen changes while you’re on the road so you have clean sheets regardless of where your adventure takes you.

With online check-in and pick-up and drop-off locations at the Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown Airports their drop-and-go service means the rental process is as simple as it gets. There is even a free shuttle service to and from each airport for ultimate convenience. Please note that the last shuttle leaves 30 minutes before they close.

If you’re interested in purchasing insurance for a completely stress-free experience Star RV offers two premium insurance coverages. For an additional $49 NZD a day you have tire, windshield, and front, back, side, panel damage coverage. For $65 NZD a day, you have everything previously mentioned plus roll-over damage and some extra add-ons like camping chairs, a booster seat, and an extra cooking gas bottle.

Needless to say, for the premium service you receive as well as some of the lowest prices available Star RV is a fantastic option for those who are ready to experience the magic New Zealand has to offer. Just don’t forget to use my promo code DTRAVEL24 for an additional 5% off!

You can search for all available motorhomes available from Star RV here!

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve organized a special discount code that will get you 5% off if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Other Motorhome Rental Companies

Just because we love Kiwi Motorhomes, doesn’t mean they are your only option. In fact, they mainly rent luxury motorhomes, so budget travelers may want to look elsewhere. You should do a bit of research and choose the best company for YOU!

On Motorhome Republic you can see all the companies available in New Zealand but below are some of the most popular.

maui campervans nz logo

Maui is one of the largest motorhome rental companies in NZ offering a variety of styles for all budgets.

britz logo

Britz is a highly recognizable company in New Zealand for motorhomes. They also offer larger campervans for the budget-conscious traveler.

jucy rentals new zealand

JUCY is an international company who has a variety of rental vehicles available in NZ. They also own hostels, restaurants, and operate tours in which you can score a discount if you book with them.

apollo logo

Apollo is another larger company in NZ. They often have specials and discounts you can get on particular styles of motorhomes. Although basic, their motorhomes are affordable.

travellers autobarm campervans nz logo

These guys are most appealing to budget travelers. There most common style of rental vehicle isn’t actually a motorhome, but rather a high-roof campervan.

wendekreisen motorhomes logo

Wendekreisen offers higher quality motorhomes and campers that have a few of the similar inclusions Kiwi Motorhomes does.

EXCLUSIVE DISCOUNT CODE: I’ve organized a special discount code that will get you 5% off if you book your campervan or motorhome through JUCY or Star RV! Simply click here to select your JUCY campervan, or click here to select your Star RV motorhome, and then use the code DTRAVEL24 at checkout to get 5% off – it’s that easy!

Epic Motorhome Road Trips in New Zealand

A motorhome waits at the Homer Tunnel
Waiting to pass through the Homer Tunnel! Check out those mountain views!

There are some amazing road trip routes you can tackle in New Zealand in your motorhome. Some of my favorite road trips on the South Island include:

On the North Island, you can also enjoy some pretty spectacular road trips while cruising in your motorhome. Some routes to check out include:

Thanks for reading!

Bailey from My Queenstown Diary stands by the Wanaka Tree
At the Wanaka Tree! Thanks for reading!

Renting a motorhome in New Zealand can be a daunting process. It’s one very expensive purchase so getting it right is important. I hope this guide has made the process a little easier and maybe even stress-free?

Thanks so much for reading! If you loved this guide, then be sure to check out more on My Queenstown Diary. I have so many blogs about New Zealand, including road trips, Queenstown, Wanaka, hikes, and more! I’ve included some of my most popular ones down below, happy road tripping!

50 BEST Hikes in New Zealand +My Personal Favorites

16 Things You NEED to Know Before Renting a Car in New Zealand

25 Most BEAUTIFUL Places to Visit in New Zealand

75 EPIC Things to do in Queenstown, NZ


Saturday 22nd of April 2023

Hi.. Planning for trip to NZ and love your blog very much.. Try to book motorhome from kiwi, but I don't find pick up at Queenstown.. Is it not available at Queenstown?


Wednesday 24th of May 2023

Hey Jana,

Unfortunately they don't offer pickup in Queenstown typically. They can do on relocations but you would have to email them to check that.

Thanks Bailey


Saturday 14th of January 2023

Hello Bailey. Thank you a lot for your tips about motorhome suppliers and sight seeing points and much more. We are sitting in Frankfurt and verifying the motorhomes we can book for us, 2adults/3kids. It is the first time being in NZ, North Island. Henry


Sunday 15th of January 2023

Hey Henry,

Now worries at all! Enjoy your trip!



Friday 14th of October 2022

Bailey, thank you for writing this fantastic blog. I'm sitting here in the USA planning a late October trip in an RV and I've used one blog to figure out the whole thing. Yours. I'm counting on you! I know you won't let us down.