New Zealand is an outdoor person’s dream. You can go trekking for days in pristine, stunning mountains. Renting a campervan for your visit to New Zealand means your days will be spent outside, enjoying the beautiful country. The best thing about New Zealand is it is filled with gorgeous campsites at reasonable prices.
Before we left for New Zealand, we had confirmation for our four week campervan rental from Rental Car Village, but I was concerned once we picked up the campervan where we were going to park the van to sleep that night. I was unsure how difficult or easy it would be to find campsites to stay with our non-self contained vehicle while also being on a strict budget. (If you want more information on what non-self or self contained vehicle means, click here).
We visited New Zealand in March of 2019, which is during one of their shoulder seasons, fall; so we were hoping that the campsites would be less busy. For our roadtrip, we picked up the campervan in Christchurch and spent three weeks exploring the South Island then one week exploring the North Island before returning the campervan in Auckland.
If you are on a budget, purchase the Department of Conservation (DOC) Conservation Campsite Pass for rental campervans. You can purchase this pass for $30 NZD per person per week. This allows you to stay in different Department of Conservation campsites for free, or a reduced amount (for the nicer campsites) that entire week.
We planned our travels and stays around these budget-friendly campsites. You can pick up one of these pamphlets at any Department of Conservation visitor center. It will tell you all of the campsites you are allowed to stay at in every region and provide you with directions and information about what the facilities are like at the campsite. You can find a digital copy here, although it contains less information than the pamphlets. The only nights we did not use the DOC Campsite pass was when there was not good availability in the area we were planning to visit, and/or needed facilities to shower and do laundry.
Here is a map and list version of the campsites (and a few hostels) we stayed at during our four week road trip of the country. The bolded ones were campsites we used our DOC Campsite pass for.
- Kiwi House Hostel, Christchurch
- Orari Gorge Campsite
- Lake McGregor Campervan Site
- Whitehorse Hill Campsite
- Trotters Gorge Scenic Reserve
- Chalet Backpackers
- Purakaunui Bay Campsite
- Curio Bay Camping Ground
- Henry Creek Campsite
- Moke Lake Campsite
- Aspen Lodge
- Boundary Creek Campsite
- Lake Mahinapua Campsite
- Mistletoe Flat Campground
- Kaikoura TOP 10 Holiday Park
- Totaranui Campground
- Farewell Gardens Holiday Park
- Onamalutu Camping Area
- Rarangi Campsite
- Otaki Forks
- Mangahuia Campsite
- Rotorua TOP 10 Holiday Park
- Arohena Campground
- Dickey Flat Campsite
- Shag Stream Campground
- Queen Street Backpackers
Travel Tip: Make sure you have the CamperMate app (on the right in black and yellow). You can use it to save your favorite campsites and learn more information about the area. The app can tell you if there are free public toilets in the next town or even free showers! Creating a favorites list of our campsites was very helpful when we were driving and needed additional details of the campsite before we arrived there (example- if the campsite has water for drinking or a rubbish bin).
That is it for all the campsites we visited during our month long road trip through New Zealand! Let me know if you have any questions or if you have any favorite campsites in New Zealand!
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