Cheap Campervan Hire in New Zealand: Budget Options

Renting a campervan is the best way to explore a tiny country like New Zealand. Also, thanks to our excellent roads, your van journey will be smooth and relaxing. In terms of the surface area you can cover, New Zealand is the 75th largest country in the world. It’s a bit larger than the United Kingdom but a bit smaller than the Philippines.

In New Zealand winter, you can hire a basic campervan that can carry 2 people for NZ$60 per night. Generally, the simplest campervan costs NZ$60 – NZ$100 per day, the middle price range is NZ$120 – NZ$160 per day, and the higher price range costs NZ$200 to NZ$260+ per day.

It’s a long, narrow country whose intercity public transport isn’t the best, so what’s the best way to explore the land of the long white cloud? Did someone say campervan hire?

New Zealand has several rules related to where you can sleep in a campervan and what kind of campervan it needs to be. For that reason, paying for a self-contained, spacious van is hard to avoid. In addition, a lot of planning is needed for campervan hire in New Zealand, especially around the holiday season. Don’t stress, though, because we’ve done most of your work for you. 

How much does it cost to rent a campervan in New Zealand?

The average price to hire a campervan for a day ranges from NZ$60 for a small, basic van suitable for 2 people to NZ$260 for a comfortable motorhome that can carry 3 or 4 people.

From a customer’s point of view, there’s more sense in renting a campervan from a larger nationwide provider that allows you to return the vehicle to a different location. However, you need to think not only of the cost of the campervan but also the cost of petrol, any toll roads, whether you plan to take it on the ferry from the North Island to the South Island, and the cost of the campsite.

The ability to park a campervan wherever you like and spend the night is called freedom camping, although there’s not as much freedom as the name suggests. There are limits to this freedom, and it starts with the campervan.

Rules for camping in New Zealand

To take advantage of freedom camping in New Zealand, you need a self-contained campervan with its own toilet and wastewater tank. This is intended to eliminate the human impact of camping as much as possible. This means that the cheapest campervans may not be self-contained, so be sure to carefully check the vehicle’s specifications. 

The legal right to freedom camp is determined by local city councils, and the rules vary a lot across the 78 different local councils in New Zealand. Be sure to check local restrictions. Some councils allow freedom camping only in certain areas of their jurisdiction and only for brief periods. Some may have a one-night limit before you need to move on. 

Campgrounds and campervan parks

Don’t forget that besides campervan rent, you also need to pay for a campsite in New Zealand unless you opt for freedom camping. Unless otherwise signposted, freedom camping is allowed on public land that’s managed by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation (DOC). The DOC is also responsible for campsites across the country.

Campsites in New Zealand are divided into three main categories: basic, standard, and serviced. A basic campsite is usually free, although it differs from freedom camping because it’s an official campsite. There may be toilets and a water supply, although the water is generally unsafe for human consumption unless boiled or treated with a purifying tablet. Alternatively, there may be no facilities.

A standard campsite should feature toilets and a drinkable water supply (confirm this with campsite management). There can be other facilities too, such as an outdoor BBQ area or even outdoor showers. To conserve your vehicle’s battery, you should opt for a powered site, which costs from NZ$13 to NZ$18 per adult per night. Unpowered sites cost from NZ$10 to NZ$15 per night.

A serviced campsite has more creature comforts. There’s likely to be an enclosed toilet and shower facility and even a standalone kitchen. You might even find laundry facilities. A serviced powered campsite costs NZ$23 per adult per night. An unpowered site should cost about NZ$20 per adult per night.

Keep in mind that fuel prices, which are pretty high in New Zealand. At the moment, a litre of 95 costs NZ$2.91, 91 sells for NZ$2.71, and diesel goes for NZ$2.13. So, a typical tank of a campervan is 70L, which will cost you around NZ$190 when using 91 petrol.

But what about the cost of the campervan? Those NZ$29 bargains are the exception rather than the rule. The average price of a short-term rental is NZ$160 per night for a small, basic campervan suitable for 2 people. It may or may not be self-contained, depending on the provider. A motorhome is considerably more expensive, starting at about NZ$209 per night, but can comfortably carry 3 or 4 people.

Seasons and campervan rent price

Longer-term rentals will result in a cheaper rental price, which usually takes effect with rentals that are 21 days or longer. More affordable rates are available in the off-season (April to September). New Zealand’s summer (particularly December and January) is by far the most expensive time to rent a campervan.

Cheap campervan rental in New Zealand: best options

1. Jucy

Jucy is a New Zealand success story. Founded in Auckland in 2001, this Kiwi company targets younger customers who aren’t looking for luxury. It has a fleet size of 3,000 custom-made campervans across New Zealand and Australia, ranging from converted passenger vans (usually a Toyota Tarago) to larger Toyota Hiaces, which feature their own shower. 

You can tell from their advertising that they chase a younger market, but they’re a good budget provider for all ages. The company offers unlimited kilometres and 24/7 emergency roadside assistance.

They’re located at Auckland airport, Christchurch airport, and Queenstown airport, and have a Google rating of 3.9 out of 5. Most customers praise the service, but some had problems with the basicness of their rental.

Pick-up and drop-off are available from any location, and they occasionally have astonishingly good deals. For example, in November 2023 it was possible to rent a campervan at Christchurch airport for return at Auckland airport from NZ$1 per day (because they had a number of vehicles that needed to be moved). A standard off-season rental with Jucy costs around NZ$500 for 14 nights.

2. Maui

Maui is the parent of Jucy, although not in the corporate sense. The Alpe brothers (who founded Jucy) were already well-acquainted with the campervan scene because their father was the founder of New Zealand’s Maui Campervans in the 1980s. Maui concentrates on premium vehicles, targeting customers who may appreciate a little luxury. 

Luxury doesn’t always lead to a break-the-bank level of pricing, though, and if you book a Maui campervan well in advance (as far ahead as possible), you can find a competitive rate.

All Maui vehicles are less than 2.5 years old, and just like Jucy, the company has branches in Auckland, Christchurch, and Queenstown. They have a Google rating of 4.3.

The standard Maui vehicle is the 2-berth Ultima (which accommodates 2 adults). An off-peak booking enquiry on the Maui website displays the price of NZ$235.80 per day. As you can see, it’s a lot more expensive than Jucy. The 2-berth Ultima Elite will cost NZ$284.80 per day, all the way up to the 6 berth River Elite at NZ$364.93 per day. 

Standard liability insurance is included, although this comes with an excess fee of up to NZ$7,500 per accident. Liability insurance is available from NZ$53 per day, so you won’t have to pay an excess if you have this extra coverage. Most campervan rentals follow the same basic process.

3. McRent

McRent is a German company that rents campervans across Europe. Founded in 2004, they’ve opened rental stations as far afield as Japan and New Zealand. Their vehicles (all 2,500 of them) are made in Germany, configured to their destination’s conditions and driving laws, and then shipped. Their Auckland branch has a Google rating of 4.9. Their only other NZ branch is in Christchurch.

McRent aims to undercut the competition and is more geared towards families, with a range of vehicles that sleep from 2 to 6 adults. They operate flexible pricing (similar to surge pricing), where the price goes up depending on demand. As such, budget travellers will already have worked out – those prices surge downwards in the off-season.

Cheap campervan rental in Christchurch

1. Wilderness Motorhome Rentals

Wilderness Motorhome Rentals is one of Christchurch’s leading providers. Their starting model is a basic 2 berth campervan, approximately 6 metres in length, which can be parked in a standard parking spot (which is convenient for those unfamiliar with driving a campervan). There’s also The Suite, their luxury model, which sleeps up to 6 people. 

This company is a real find in that they don’t charge an additional fee for one-way hire (vehicles can be hired and returned in either Auckland or Christchurch). As a rough guide, an off-season compact 2-berth campervan should cost approximately NZ$1,872 per week. Their Christchurch branch is located at 3 Export Ave, Harewood, Christchurch. 

Wilderness Motorhomes Rental Christchurch has a 4.8 rating on Google.com.

2. Mad Campers

A company called Mad Campers must have some kind of madness to justify the name. You’ll find it in their “Mad Challenge,” where you take a photo of yourself completing each of the 9 challenge items, upload the photo to the company’s social media, and get 5% of your rental fee returned. 

There’s nothing too stressful in this Mad Challenge, and you’ll probably have snapped photos of yourself doing most of the things anyway. It’s difficult to visit New Zealand and not eat fish n chips. Their fleet focuses on smaller vans and can only sleep a maximum of two people. Find them at 17/25 Logistics Drive, Harewood, Christchurch.

Mad Campers has a 4.7 rating on Google.com.

3. Affordable Motor Home Rentals

With a name like Affordable Motor Home Rentals, you can guess what kind of products are on offer. Actually, this company cuts their margins by only offering one type of campervan – a Mercedes Nomad van that can sleep 2 adults comfortably but can fit three people at a stretch.

Reviews for the company have been mixed, with most criticisms about the age of the vehicles. Affordable Motor Home Rentals is located at 218 Roydvale Avenue, Burnside, Christchurch (with returns possible in either Christchurch or Auckland).

Affordable Motor Home Rentals also has a 4.9 rating on Google.com.

Best cheap campervan rental in Queenstown

Image source: couriermail.com.au

1. Wicked Campers New Zealand

There’s the usual disclaimer (it depends on season and availability), but Wicked Campers New Zealand may be the cheapest in the whole country since they give their average (off-season) price as NZ$25 per day, which isn’t too bad at all. 

Wicked Campers have a sense of humour, and many of their vehicles are fun to look at. Fancy exploring New Zealand in Scooby-Doo and Mystery Inc.’s famous Mystery Machine van? Wicked Campers might be the place for you. Rent prices for one of the Wicked Campers campervans start at NZ$50 per day.

There’s also the Wicked van, featuring the artwork of the Pink Panther on one side, and some kind of mural celebrating cannabis on the other side because…well, we don’t quite know why. Their Queenstown branch can be found at 234 Glenda Drive, Queenstown. One thing to mention is that Wicked Campers Queenstown has a 3.3 rating on Google.com.

2. Britz

Britz is one of the larger providers, and their Queenstown outlet allows returns in Auckland or Christchurch if you plan on taking a one-way trip. They also have a price match guarantee, which helps to offset their slightly higher prices.

Their basic models may not be self-contained, which can stop you from freedom camping, so be mindful of this when booking. You’ll find them at 50 Lucas Place, Frankton, Queenstown. Britz branch in Queenstown has 4.4 rating on Google.com. Rent prices for one of the Britz vans start at NZ$95 per day.


Lastly, there is JUCY at Queenstown airport, they have a 4.0 rating on Google.com. Renting one of JUCY’s vans costs at least NZ$100 per day.

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