RVing in New Zealand’s South Island

I wrote a post last year about our plan for 2017 travel. David and I will go to Thailand to visit our family in Bangkok later this year. Our side trips from Thailand will include Taipei, Sydney, and New Zealand’s South Island.

For New Zealand, we’ll be doing a road trip in the South Island for two weeks. Since we enjoy the freedom of traveling in an RV in the States, why not get a taste of what it’s like RVing in NZ? I’ve read that RVing is relatively easy over there. There are many places you can camp in your RV. Private RV parks (called Holiday Parks in NZ) are everywhere. NZ’s Department of Conservation (DOC) manages more than 200 campgrounds (either free or for a small fee) surrounding by beautiful nature. Free dry-camping (called freedom camping by locals) are welcome in many areas of NZ if your RVs are fully self-contained (i.e. have toilet facility onboard).

I’ve been using a free Rankers Camping NZ App for iPhone and iPad (also available for Android) to help me plan for places to camp. It also has information about things like dump stations. Department of Conservation’s website provides great resources for planning where to go and things to do.

One concern about driving in NZ is you drive on the left side of the road (a steering wheel is on the right side of the car). I’m sure David can handle driving an RV on the other side just fine. 😀 Speaking of driving an RV, we’ve already reserved a campervan for the trip. We checked out a few RV rental companies in NZ. They seem to have reasonable prices for RV rentals. Plus, their business model is not all about nickel-and-diming you for everything like RV rental companies in the US. We settled with Jucy. Our campervan, Jucy Chaser, has shower/toilet onboard. The colors of their campervan require some getting used to. It’ll make us extremely visible on the road, an added safety. 🙄 This isn’t an advertisement for Jucy by the way. Their color scheme is so bold that I have to share. See photos of Jucy Chaser from Jucy website below.

The NZ road trip will be in the first half of December. Our plan is to fly in and out of Christchurch. I started listing places I’d like to go and see, hiking trails, including potential driving routes. Click a map below for a zoomable version on Umap or here.

What do you think of this route for a two-week road trip? What have I missed? We’d love to hear suggestions for things to do while we’re there.

10 Comments

  1. We had no idea Jucy rented RVs with bathrooms – this is big for us!! We briefly considered NZ last winter but didn’t plan ahead enough plus I was worried about not having a restroom with us renting one of their minivans…now I wish we’d tried harder! Lol hope it is an amazing time and looking forward to reading about it!!

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  2. Hi, we’re picking up our campervan in 5 days, heading out from Christchurch for two weeks, so will let you know how it goes! We haven’t planned a definitive route, but expecting to head down to Dunedin first, then loop back up to Te Anu, Milford Sound and onto Wanaka. Cheers, Dan

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  3. Haha bright is right, that’s quite the color scheme! At least the fee structure for the campervans is better. I hope to see some inside pictures of the campervan, if we travel down there I’d love to travel that way.

    Can’t wait to hear about your adventures, it seems like an awesome route!

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    1. Thanks Ashley. It took me a while to embrace the colors on these vans. 😄 I think RVing is the best way to explore NZ for the kind of things we enjoy doing.

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  4. I don’t have any route suggestions, but as a huge LOTR nerd, I’m excited to hear you’ll be visiting Middle Earth! 😀 Your Jucy campervan looks sleek and streamlined (and bright, lol). I remember seeing a few Jucy mini RVs in Zion a few years back, and their size looked so fun. We’ve always wanted to try an RV, but you’re so right–those extra fees sure add up. You have an amazing trip planned–can’t wait to see those NZ views in your Dec. posts!

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