A road trip around New Zealand in a campervan or motorhome is the best way to see the country. You travel at your own pace, stop where you like, take detours if you choose, and have a safe, comfortable space to live in as well.
If this is what a road trip means to you, then your next step is to choose which rental vehicle works best for you. There are plenty out there and making the right decision can mean the difference between an average and a great holiday.
There are several kinds of rental vehicles. You can choose from but we believe the two best options are campervan or motorhome. There are also caravans but we will not be discussing those.
Understanding the difference between each of these will help you make the right choice for your road trip across New Zealand. Which one will work best for your trip? Campervan or Motorhome? Let’s find out.
Campervan or Motorhome Difference: Which is the best choice for you?
A campervan is a vehicle that has been retrofitted to make sleeping arrangements inside the vehicle. They are compact compared to motorhomes, usually sleeping two to three people maximum.
This is usually with a double bed, or the option of a single bunk above the double bed, where there is a higher roof. They come with the basic facilities of a kitchenette (with or without necessary utensils).
Campervans do not come with showering or toilet facilities (though there are a rare few that offer them). A motorhome, on the other hand, is a large vehicle that is constructed over a long wheelbase.
Up to six people can be accommodated in motorhomes based on size. Motorhomes offer comfortable space to maneuver around.
They are complete living spaces – with a fully equipped kitchenette, a living area as well as bathing and toilet facilities built-in. High-end or luxury motorhomes come with additional facilities of air-conditioning, and TVs.
Flexibility is also a feature with motorhomes as they usually have slide-outs to expand either living or sleeping areas. Some vehicles will also have additional storage space available on the outside of the vehicle.
Now that you understand the difference between a campervan and a motorhome, here are some parameters that can help you decide which works best for you.
What is Your Budget?
Besides the rental costs that you pay for your vehicle, you will have to spend on fuel, groceries, and campgrounds that you are parking at, and entry fees if any, at the sights. Planning your budget around this is important.
Campervans are the cheaper of the two options. They are smaller, require less fuel and give you the flexibility of freedom camping that motorhomes cannot provide you with.
Motorhomes are large vehicles that largely need to be parked at motorhome parks.
Your choice of rental vehicle depends a lot on the number of people that are on the trip. A motorhome is a great choice when you have a family, however, you also have to keep in mind how comfortable you are going to be driving something equivalent to a small bus.
A campervan then becomes a good choice, though it will mean sacrificing some space. Your choice will also depend largely on your itinerary.
If it involves getting into cities and winding your way around crowded places, the motorhome may not be the ideal choice. The same applies to places that are windy or have narrow roads, which you will encounter at national parks.
The campervan then becomes an ideal choice.
What features do you need?
When you are planning your trip, make a list of all the features and amenities you require of your vehicles – those that you absolutely cannot do without. If luxury style comfort is what you need, then a motorhome is possibly what works best for you.
If you are alright with roughing it out a bit, then the campervan may be a better idea. There are a few things you have to remember when using either the campervan or motorhome option.
You have to be aware of the resources you use. A leisurely shower is not possible in a motorhome, though you may have in-built facilities.
In a camping ground where you park your campervan, facilities are usually shared and you have to be mindful of others around you. In both options, no matter the space available, it will be small compared to your home.
Remember that privacy is something you will have to forgo to a large extent. In both options of vehicles packing smart and right is key.
You may have the extra space with a motorhome, but over-packing can cramp things up. Last but not least, ensure that the vehicle you choose is in keeping with all the local laws and requirements.
In NZ, you need to be fully self contained, including wastewater and sewage, in order to be able to freedom camp.