Traveling New Zealand with the family: by campervan or by car?

New Zealand campervan or car? All the advantages and disadvantages at a glance!

Traveling in New Zealand with kids is great. At first, we thought an RV would be the ideal mode of transportation. In the end, we did go for a rental car. After careful consideration, it turned out that a rental car won out over the RV in most respects. Below are the points of our consideration regarding a campervan or rental car in New Zealand with the family.

New Zealand campervan or car

# Cost of transportation

When we looked at renting an RV, we were quite shocked at the cost. After all, we did not want a small van. In hot Australia, we were tired of a small, cramped van after only four days and then there were only two of us. We went to New Zealand in April and the chance of rain is significant then and you don’t want to be in a cramped van with your kids.

A Cheapa 4 Berth seemed like a nice option with enough room for us and our daughter. In April, the cost for this luxury camper was nearly 2,500 euros for three weeks. A car including GPS and high chair cost 600 euros for the same three weeks (sunnycars). So that saved 1,900 euros. New Zealand campervan or car? So in terms of rental costs, the car won handsomely.

Tip; keep in mind that if you cross between North and South Island with a large RV, you pay almost double for the crossing per person than if you cross with a car. Look for current prices here .

hire car or motorhome new zealand with family

# Sleeping on the road

The romance of RVing is that you always have your home with you. In addition, there are plenty of free campsites in New Zealand. Of course, these are very primitive and you will not have amenities such as electricity and the like. With kids, I can imagine you don’t want to go completely back to basics. Also, you then often use the shared facilities of the campsite to shower, for example.

We wanted to stay at several top 10 campgrounds with our daughter following the many positive stories we read. The facilities of these campsites like a playground, swimming pool and kitchen appealed to us greatly. At most of the top 10 campsites, you can also rent a cottage.

In Waitomo, we stayed at the Waitomo Top 10 Holiday Park in the largest cottage with two bedrooms and private bathroom for 115 euros per night. For an RV, you pay 15 euros per night for this campsite,

Also in Coromandel, we stayed at the Hot Water Beach top 10 campsite in a luxury family villa for 111 euros per night, while an RV site here costs 11 euros per night. The difference is 100 euros, but you already save that amount almost per day by choosing a car instead of an RV (1,900 / 21 days = 90.48 euros).

This way we were in very luxurious accommodations with our family in a top 10 campground for almost the same money as if we had rented an RV and slept in it. The fact that our daughter always had her own room in the process weighed heavily for us.

New Zealand campervan or car? On an overnight basis, the car option was preferred.

new zealand motorhome or car
new zealand motorhome or car

# Luggage

Your belongings from your suitcases can be placed in lockers in a motorhome and in a car, you have to unload them each time per spot. We did read online that it is difficult to store your bags in an RV and that the advice is to bring bendable bags. We traveled with two suitcases and two bags. We visited 6 places in New Zealand, so we had to unpack our suitcase 5 times more with the car than with a campervan. New Zealand campervan or car? So based on luggage, the motorhome is our slight preference.

# Speed

The speed limit in New Zealand is 100 kilometers per hour. Both modes of transportation may do so, except that with an RV it is recommended to drive only 80 kilometers per hour. So a car is generally quicker to get to your destination, and with kids that’s kind of nice. New Zealand campervan or car? So the car wins this battle.

Note that an RV also consumes more gasoline than a car, so per mile driven you will spend more on fuel.

new zealand motorhome or car
campsites New Zealand

# Flexibility

New Zealand has all kinds of things for kids to do, so every day we went somewhere along the way. In the case of an RV, you should then unhitch the RV and drive the RV to the sight. By car, this is a lot easier.

Your stuff is in the cottage and you drive away with the car right away. In addition, it is easier to run a quick errand by car. You need a larger parking space for an RV than for a regular car, so that can be tricky in a city center.

New Zealand campervan or car? So the car has an advantage here.

new zealand motorhome or car

# Food

In an RV, you have the option of cooking on a kitchenette. Still, at most large campsites you have the facilities to cook or barbecue. In addition, in most of the cottages we were in, you also had a kitchen, so we didn’t really have a big preference for either mode of transportation based on food.

At first, we really thought we were going to travel around New Zealand by campervan, but once we had everything sorted out, the car just turned out to work out better in most ways. The best airline in our eyes then is Sunnycars , because there are actually never any problems with this company and everything is included in the price. We have rented a car from this company several times and it is always good. With other airlines, we have had problems in the past.

Also read our blog on what to look out for in a rental car . For your family, look mainly at what points are important to you and then make the right choice.

new zealand motorhome or car
new zealand motorhome or car


We ended up choosing to travel around New Zealand by car, but of course we understand that there are plenty of reasons to hit the road in a nice motorhome as well. You have several motorhome comparison websites, such as Camper Champ’s website, where you can compare motorhomes in New Zealand.

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