You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Practical tips for travelling in a motorhome in New Zealand

The South African logo The South African 2021-01-23 Nikita Cloete
a person sitting on a bed next to a window © Provided by The South African

The best way to see all that New Zealand has to offer, whether you are a native or visiting from abroad, is to traverse the country by road. And what better way to do so than in a motorhome? There are multiple options to choose from when looking to rent a motorhome, as well as a variety of routes. But even an experienced traveller will find the prospect of a motorhome vacation raises a lot of questions. 

These top tips will help you to have a safe and successful adventure in your motorhome

Select the motorhome that suits your specific needs

Motorhomes have a variety of layouts and designs and come with different levels of features and equipment. Your particular road trip plan, the number of people who will be occupying the motorhome, and your space requirements will determine the kind of motorhome you need to rent. For example, if you plan to travel to the less accessible, remoter sections of New Zealand, finding supplies and utilities such as water will be more challenging and you would benefit from hiring a camper-van with solar panels, a large water tank and a tap water filter. If there are two of you travelling, but you would like to have a little extra living space, as well as being spared the hassle of constructing and deconstructing your bed on a daily basis, a four-person motorhome will meet your needs. 

Motorhomes are like a furnished moving home, with a toilet, fully equipped kitchen with cutlery and crockery, cleaning supplies, cooking implements, and bed linen, pillows and towels. You will need to pack only your clothes and toiletries, as well as essentials like adaptor plugs and charging cables, a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit and any medicines you or your travel companions may require. 

Know what is covered under the rental cost – and what will be charged as extras

In order to properly budget for the cost of renting your motorhome, it is important to understand that there are often hidden charges for things that you may not have thought of, such as driver fees, diesel tax and deposits. It is important, therefore, to shop around and compare different companies and their motorhome rental offerings, not just by price, so that you are not caught by surprise later on. One tip – if you opt for the all-inclusive insurance offered by the company, most of these hidden costs are included.

Understand your insurance needs before you hit the road

We strongly recommend that you get insurance before you set out on your travels in a motorhome. If you have a credit card that covers motorhome insurance, that’s a great way to go about it, but do bear in mind that, most of the time, the insurance offered by credit card companies will not cover vehicles above a certain size (8m3). 

Another option is to use coverage provided by your travel insurance – check to see if your insurance company offers this alongside the standard covered factors under travel insurance, such as repatriation and illness. Pro tip – in the event of your needing to avail yourself of this insurance, your rental company will expect you to pay the costs upfront and the insurer will reimburse you afterwards. 

Finally, you can always purchase the motorhome rental insurance available, but do make sure you take the time to read through and understand the various options. Going for the highest premium may not be in your best interests.

How to operate and park your motorhome 

Motorhomes are reasonably easy to manoeuvre and drive, especially for an experienced driver. Make sure you have your driver’s license on hand, that you are up to date on the rules of the road in New Zealand, and that you have a list of all the places where you can camp and park your motorhome. As a rule, it is not permissible to park in the big cities except at a designated site, but you will find plenty of options on the outskirts where you can rest for the night. Avoid driving at night if possible. 

Driving a motorhome is rather different from driving a car. Be responsible and aware of what is happening in front of you and always remember that braking and acceleration take longer, that you physically take up more space on the road, and that you will experience the effects of a passing truck more than when you are in your car.

Be a responsible camper 

New Zealand takes its commitment to the environment very seriously and you need to do your bit as you travel around in your motorhome. Take advantage of the numerous wastewater treatment stations found in major campsites and holiday parks to empty out the wastewater and toilet waste that you generate. There are signs aplenty informing travellers about upcoming treatment stations on the road.

More from The South African

The South African
The South African
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon