Ashley Nault - Jul 10, 2023
Listen to this article 00:11:16
Your browser doesn’t support HTML5 audio

New Zealand, renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife, has become a top choice for travelers seeking unique adventures. Among the many ways to traverse its diverse terrains, touring by campervan stands out due to its distinct appeal of freedom, flexibility, and proximity to nature. The increasing popularity of this mode of travel, however, has stirred up concerns about costs. This article is designed to address these concerns by providing practical, budget-friendly tips for a campervan tour in New Zealand. Our aim is to ensure that your journey through the enchanting landscapes of New Zealand remains as economical as it is unforgettable.

Choosing the Right Campervan

Setting off on a campervan adventure across New Zealand is a thrilling adventure, with the first step being the careful selection of your campervan. The optimal campervan choice plays a significant role in shaping the overall journey, impacting aspects such as comfort, convenience, and budget management. When deciding on the campervan's size and model, consider your travel party's size and the level of comfort you seek. For a duo or a small group, a compact campervan would be optimal and offer superior fuel economy. On the other hand, if you're venturing with a larger group or family, you might prefer a more spacious model, loaded with additional amenities. However, be mindful that this could escalate your fuel expenditure.

Partnering with a reliable rental company is crucial to guarantee the campervan's quality and dependability. Allocate time to scrutinize reviews and compare the services of various rental companies. An effective strategy to economize on rentals includes advance booking, particularly when anticipating peak tourist seasons. Consider the option of renting older campervan models, which often come with a lower price tag compared to the newest models. While these might not include some cutting-edge facilities, they are usually well-serviced and can offer a comfortable travel experience. Be sure to contrast prices among different providers to secure the best deal. A thorough research exercise can lead to substantial savings. Keep in mind that the objective is to strike the perfect balance between comfort, your requirements, and your financial plan.

Planning Your Route Wisely

Plotting your journey in advance can be instrumental in managing costs during your campervan tour in New Zealand. By determining the distances between your destinations, you can estimate fuel costs and even identify potential fuel-efficient routes. It also helps you to manage time effectively, reducing the chances of rushing from one place to another, which can lead to unnecessary fuel consumption.

Planning your route is a fundamental step in managing your campervan tour costs. There are several benefits to this approach:

Fuel Efficiency: By calculating distances between destinations beforehand, you can estimate fuel costs and choose the most fuel-efficient routes. It also prevents unnecessary rushing, which leads to increased fuel consumption.

Campsites Selection: With your route planned, you can research and book campsites that are not only comfortable but also cost-effective.

Exploring Lesser-Known Destinations: New Zealand boasts numerous beautiful yet under-explored locations that are often cheaper to visit. Examples include:

  • The Catlins: Known for its picturesque landscapes and rich wildlife.
  • Golden Bay: Renowned for its tranquillity and stunning golden beaches.

By planning your route, you can save money and also discover unique, unspoiled corners of New Zealand that stray from the conventional tourist path.

Budgeting for Fuel

Fuel is a significant expense during a campervan trip, and managing this cost is crucial to staying within your budget. Here are some tips to help you optimize your fuel consumption and expenditure:

  • Estimate Consumption: Prior to your trip, estimate the total distance you will travel and use your campervan's average fuel consumption to project your overall fuel costs.
  • Drive Efficiently: Smooth, consistent driving at moderate speeds is more fuel-efficient than erratic or high-speed driving. Avoiding rush hour and heavy traffic can also help save fuel.
  • Maintain Your Vehicle: Regular checks and maintenance, including correct tire pressure, can improve your campervan's fuel efficiency.
  • Fuel Price Comparison: Fuel prices can vary significantly across regions. In general, it's cheaper to refuel in larger cities or towns as prices tend to increase in more remote areas. Websites and apps like Gaspy can be helpful for comparing fuel prices in New Zealand.

By implementing these tips, you can significantly cut down on your fuel expenses and make your campervan tour more cost-effective.

Accommodation and Camping Sites

The choice of accommodation is another crucial element of your campervan tour in New Zealand. The country offers a broad range of camping sites to suit different needs and budgets. At the high end of the spectrum, you have Holiday Parks. They offer numerous facilities like powered sites, kitchens, laundry rooms, and even Wi-Fi access. However, they are also the most expensive option. A more budget-friendly alternative is the Department of Conservation (DOC) campsites. These sites have basic amenities such as toilets and water supply, and are often situated in stunning locations.

For the true budget traveler, freedom camping in New Zealand is an option, where you can park your campervan on public lands, similar to the freedom of exploring that Wildz NZ offers in the online gaming world. However, freedom camping comes with strict rules. You must have a certified self-contained vehicle, and always respect the environment by not littering and disposing waste properly. To save money on accommodation, consider a strategy akin to diversifying your game-play on Wildz NZ: mix up different types of camping. Spend a few nights at Holiday Parks to enjoy full amenities, balance it with stays at DOC sites, and sprinkle in some nights of freedom camping. Just as you'd strategize your play on Wildz NZ, booking your campsites in advance and outside of peak season can lead to cost savings. Remember, as with Wildz NZ, planning and research are key to finding the best and most affordable experiences on your campervan tour.

Food and Meals

Food is another vital aspect of a campervan tour in New Zealand, and it provides an excellent opportunity for cost savings. One of the advantages of campervan travel is the ability to prepare your own meals. Here are some ideas to keep your food costs low:

  • Cook Your Own Meals: Instead of dining out, make use of the cooking facilities in your campervan. This not only saves money but also allows you to enjoy homemade food even on the road.
  • Shop at Local Markets: New Zealand is abundant in local produce. Shopping at local farmers' markets can provide you with fresh, quality ingredients at a fraction of restaurant prices.
  • Meal Planning: Plan your meals in advance. This prevents waste and helps you maintain a tight food budget. Simple and nutritious meals like pasta, stir-fried veggies, or grilled meats are easy to prepare in a campervan.
  • Pack Snacks: Snacks purchased from convenience stores can add up. Pack your own snacks like fruits, nuts, or granola bars.

By adopting these practices, you can eat well while keeping your food expenses in check during your campervan tour in New Zealand.

Activities and Sightseeing

One of the best aspects of New Zealand is its abundance of cost-effective or even free outdoor activities and sightseeing opportunities. The country's national parks offer a wealth of experiences without the need for an entry fee. From the stunning peaks of Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park to the geothermal wonders of Tongariro, these parks are a haven for hiking enthusiasts, offering trails that range from easy walks to challenging multi-day hikes.

Wildlife watching is another engaging and free activity. Observe colonies of fur seals lounging on Kaikoura’s rocky shores or delight in spotting the kiwi bird in its natural habitat on Stewart Island.  Also, take advantage of the numerous scenic drives throughout the country. The drive along the stunning Milford Road or the coastal views on the Pacific Coast Highway can be highlights of your trip. New Zealand’s natural beauty is its greatest asset. Embrace these budget-friendly activities to make your campervan tour not just economical, but also full of rich and memorable experiences.

Travel Insurance and Emergency Funds

While planning for a budget-friendly tour, it's equally crucial to prepare for unforeseen expenses. This is where travel insurance and an emergency fund come in. Travel insurance can cover costs associated with accidents, illnesses, or even trip cancellations. Meanwhile, an emergency fund provides a safety net for unexpected expenses like vehicle repairs. It's essential to remember that saving money doesn't mean compromising on safety or peace of mind. Thus, while budgeting for your campervan trip in New Zealand, ensure to allocate funds for insurance and emergencies to truly enjoy a hassle-free and memorable adventure.


Planning a campervan tour across New Zealand can be a financially savvy way to soak up the breathtaking beauty of the country. Successful budgeting requires consideration of multiple factors including, but not limited to, the selection of the right campervan, effective route planning, and astute management of expenses related to fuel, accommodation, food, and activities. Equipping yourself with travel insurance and setting aside an emergency fund are non-negotiable elements of smart planning, offering a financial safety net against unexpected events. For more travel-related advice and planning tools, you might find suomitimes.com useful. The end goal goes beyond merely saving money – it's about curating unforgettable experiences. With the practical advice laid out in this article, you're set to embark on a thrilling campervan adventure across New Zealand, ensuring a judicious balance between cost-efficiency and an exhilarating travel experience.

Related articles


Add Comment