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Continue your motorhome rental NZ holiday by crossing the Cook Strait to the beautiful South Island on one of the vehicular ferries that leave from Wellington Harbour.
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Many foot passengers from the ferry arrive in this small town to pick up their New Zealand campervan rentals and begin a South Island adventure. The long coastal and inland routes of the stretching South Island beckon from Picton. Close by is vineyard-laden Blenheim , where the wine is plentiful. The breathtaking sights of the Abel Tasman National Park make for an incredible trip in a motorhome hire, and the campsites scattered along the way make it easy to explore the region at your own pace.
The city has picked itself up in true Cantabrian style, and creativity and ingenuity are rising through the cracks. This central South Island city has the largest international airport on the island, with frequent flights back up to Auckland, and across the ditch to Australia. Orana Park is home to the only gorillas in the country, and daily animal encounters can fill your zoo schedule. Being centrally located, any road out of Christchurch will lead somewhere spectacular. Back up north is Blenheim, the famous Marlborough Sounds, and Nelson. Head south, however, and you arrive at the Adventure Capital of the World, Queenstown.
This impressive city sits between mountains and lakes, and is abuzz with tourists all year round. Just beyond lie Milford and Dusky Sounds in Fiordland National Park, both of which you can explore by way of a fantastic tour. Across the magnificent Southern Alps, drive up the wild west coast, through local towns and alongside windswept beaches.
Renting a motorhome in New Zealand makes it incredibly easy to wander through the South Island, and take in these majestic sights. Road tripping around New Zealand is a blast, and we want you to be the safest you can be, while having the best time of your life. Like any country, New Zealand has specific rules and regulations around driving. Please familiarise yourself with the driving laws before you begin your expedition in your motorhome hire.
Here are some of the main points to remember, followed by a comprehensive driving guide for New Zealand. Always look both ways before pulling out onto roads. The speed limit is strictly enforced, and is signposted. Before heading out on your epic road trip, get an idea of the conditions by trying out the Visiting Driver Training Programme from the AA.
Before you drive around your campervan in New Zealand, check out these tips to ensure your visit is as smooth as possible. Drive slowly on unsealed gravel roads, and remember that dust can impair your vision. The weather in New Zealand changes very quickly, so if you find yourself in rain, fog, or high winds, slow down. Approach mountain routes, corners, and narrow roads with caution, especially with campervan rentals. Points of interest or natural attractions are often signposted by brown signs.
Give yourself extra time on your journey to stop and check out some of these sights along the way. A corner store in NZ is called a Dairy, and there you can find basic groceries, snacks for the trip, newspapers, and the like. At Motorhome Republic, we have over 30 top rental brands available for motorhome hire.
Here are just a few of the options for your camper rentals in New Zealand:. Give ample time to compare campervan hire in New Zealand to find the perfect vehicle for your adventure. The more planning you can do, in fact, the more prepared you will be for the best possible road trip. When you pick up a cheap campervan hire in New Zealand with Motorhome Republic, keep in mind that there are a few more details to cover before you hit the road.
Take a look through our planning guide for essential driving knowledge for your NZ motorhome rental. Thanks to both the warm weather throughout the country, the school holidays, Christmas, New Years, and a public holiday in early February, this time is by far the busiest on the roads and in campsites around the country. That said, you will have to book campsites and motorhome rentals in advance due to their popularity throughout the season, and driving times will be slower with more traffic on the roads.
Autumn, through March, April and May, can be a fantastic time for travelling with a motorhome hire in New Zealand. Days throughout this season tend to stay warm between 18 and 25 degrees Celsius, and the nights only start showing their chill around mid-April. This time of year offers fewer crowds, although the Easter holidays will always be a busy time as local families take road trips of their own. For some, winter will be the best time of year to visit New Zealand. The season runs through June, July and August. The South Island is a lot colder, and it can snow down to ground level in the cities a few times per winter.
There are fewer crowds in winter, and while you will almost certainly come across rainy days, cool sunshine is not unheard of by any means. September can still be quite cool, especially in the mornings and especially in the South Island, but the whole country starts feeling like summer by late October. This secondary shoulder season can be an ideal way to avoid the brisk winters and the busy summers in your NZ campervan rental. One of the biggest mistakes travellers make when they come to New Zealand is to give themselves too little time.
While the country may look small on a map, there is a lot of terrain to cover, countless attractions to experience and dozens of hidden gems that will make you not want to leave. You could skim over some and do it in four, and you could easily take your time and take two full months. Of course, you might prefer to see New Zealand in several shorter trips, rather than one big one. Note that most New Zealand regions also have anniversary days, which are public holidays only in those areas. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of campsites around New Zealand.
The most common spots are campgrounds and holiday parks. These areas are well equipped for travellers, as they have everything from kitchen and bathroom facilities to plug-in sites for camper rentals, and sometimes even small stores on site for basic goods. There are more than of these throughout the country, and they are often quite cheap or completely free. DoC sites tend to be a lot more basic than campgrounds, with minimal amenities and no site manager in most cases. Some sites will have toilets, laundries, kitchen facilities and more, but it changes from site to site. Freedom camping is where you park your camper or pitch a tent in an undesignated area.
Freedom campers have been a contentious issue in the country lately as some visitors end up leaving waste and rubbish out in the gorgeous countryside that New Zealand is known for. Famous around the world for its stunning scenery, friendly people and fine wines, New Zealand is the ideal setting for a memorable motorhome hire holiday.
From the tip of the North Island to the bottom of the South, this beautiful country is best explored behind the wheel of a comfortable campervan.
Read on to find out everything you need to know to stay safe and comfortable on the road. If you have flown a long way to get to New Zealand be aware that you could be jet lagged and will be tired, which increases the risk of falling asleep at the wheel. Try to limit your driving for the first couple of days, swap drivers frequently and schedule rest stops where you can get out, admire the scenery and recharge your batteries.
Once you get out of the cities there are no motorways. The majority of the roads are single carriageways. On main routes you will come across passing lanes and passing bays. If you are holding drivers up, make sure to keep left in your campervan hire and give them an opportunity to pass. There are still plenty of roads that are unsealed gravel, especially if you are in the South Island or the north of the North Island.
Some roads are not permitted to be driven on by rental vehicles, so check your policy wording carefully. NZ has a set of rules called the Road Code. Please note if your home licence is not in English then you will also need to carry an international driving permit or an approved translation. Speed limits are clearly signposted next to the road at regular intervals. The number is displayed in black on a white background inside a bright red circle.
The maximum speed limit in New Zealand is kilometres per hour, which applies to most motorways and open roads, although it may be lower if there are roadworks or if the road is particularly challenging. Depending on the size of your motorhome rental, you may be legally required to travel at slower speeds on the open road. If the vehicle is over 3, kilograms, your maximum speed limit will be 90 kilometres per hour.
In any case, remember to treat the limit as just that - a limit, not a goal. Speed limits are in kilometres per hour and distances are posted in kilometres. Note that you will see yellow signs with black numbers on some corners. These are advisory speed limits for cars in dry weather. Your motorhome might not be able to take those corners at the advisory maximum speed. All vehicle occupants must wear seat belts. Children aged 7 and under must be in an approved child seat. The blood alcohol limit is 0. Check your motorhome rental vehicle policy for any restrictions around alcohol use.
We hope your journey is a safe and enjoyable one. The legal blood alcohol limit for drivers aged 20 or over is 50 milligrams per millilitres of blood, or micrograms per litre of breath. For those under the age of 20, there is zero-tolerance - absolutely no alcohol may be consumed before driving.
It is also illegal to drive under the influence of any drugs which may impair your driving ability. Please check with your doctor to make sure none of your prescriptions includes side effects that could affect your driving in your motorhome hire. This includes your cell phone; it is prohibited to operate a cellphone while driving. If you do need to take calls, you are permitted to use a hands-free system. Another thing to prepare for is the possibility of fatigue. Another way to minimise the risk of driver fatigue in your NZ campervan rental is to assign more than one driver to your rental, so you can share the responsibility.
Some campervans for hire may have moveable seats, in which case the seatbelt may need to be adjusted depending on which way you are facing. This is something your rental supplier should go through with you when you pick up the keys. In most cases, you will be able to rent an approved seat from your motorhome provider.
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In New Zealand all vehicles drive on the left - something that can feel a little strange at first if you come from a country where you drive on the right! The centre line will be painted in either white or yellow. If there is a solid yellow line on your side, this means you are not allowed to overtake other vehicles in your campervan hire.
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We drive on the left in New Zealand. A good guideline is to remember that you the driver should always be next to the centre line. Our road lanes are separated by yellow or white lines.
A solid yellow line on your side of the centre line means you are not permitted to overtake. On the left edge of the road, there will be either a white line or yellow line. A dashed yellow line means you must not park there. The majority of intersections junctions will have either a give way sign or a stop sign. If there are no signs then the give way rules apply:. T-intersections: If you are turning right from the top of the T, give way to all traffic coming towards you that is passing through or turning left. If you are turning from the bottom of the T, give way to traffic on the top of the T.
Uncontrolled crossroads: If you find a rural crossroads with no controlling signs or lights, give way to vehicles from the right, from straight ahead passing through, or from straight ahead turning left. Our sequence is red, green, amber yellow and then red again. Give way rules apply at uncontrolled intersections. If you are turning, you must give way to all oncoming traffic that is following the centre line including buses and cyclists.
If both vehicles are turning, those turning right need to give way to those turning left. In New Zealand, you are required to indicate for at least three seconds when preparing to turn or change lanes. Indicators are a signal of intent only - it is important to carefully check all mirrors and ensure the space is clear before making a decision to act while driving your motorhome rental. A circular intersection first put into practice in the United Kingdom, roundabouts are very common throughout New Zealand.
If you want to turn left, approach the roundabout in the left lane signalling left. If you want to turn right, approach the roundabout in the right-hand lane signalling right. Once you have passed the exit before the one you want to take, signal left and then leave the roundabout maintaining your lane position. If you want to go straight through a roundabout, approach the roundabout in any lane that has an arrow pointing straight ahead.
Please note some roundabouts have multiple lanes - painted arrows on the road will guide you to the right lane for your exit. This goes up to four seconds in poor weather. All vehicles must overtake on the right - passing on the left is never allowed. Most of the major highways throughout New Zealand have a lot of dedicated passing lanes. Vehicles are permitted to overtake in other situations, but only if there is a clear, straight stretch of at least metres in front of the vehicle you wish to pass.
If there is a solid yellow line on both sides of the centre line, or only on your side, then this means passing is prohibited. In a motorhome hire, you may be travelling at a slower speed than others on the road. You may also want to make use of slow traffic bays which allow you to pull over and let cars pass. As in most other countries, the road signs in New Zealand are designed to be easily understood by all drivers, no matter what language they speak.
Below is a summary of some of the most common signs you can expect to come across on your campervan rental NZ roadtrip. Most red and white signs convey a compulsory message telling you what you absolutely must or must not do. Like their red and white counterparts, blue and white signs also indicate a compulsory action.
Most are blue circles with white arrows and a thin white border. The arrows indicate a direction that you need to take, such as an obligatory turn, continuing straight or keeping left. This colour pattern is also used to identify one-way roads, pedestrian-only zones and restricted parking areas.
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Most parking signs feature a white P in a blue square, as well as a clear parking time limit. With one arrow pointing up, one arrow pointing down and a metric measurement in the middle, this sign indicates the maximum vehicle height that can pass through the area. They are common near bridges and tunnels. These are most often used in areas where roadworks are being carried out, or if things like land slips pose a threat to drivers.
These information signs feature the names of nearby destinations and how many kilometres it will take you to reach them, as well as directional arrows and state highway shields. The chances of encountering any wild animals on New Zealand roads are very small.
Occasionally you may be asked to wait while a farmer herds his cows across a road to different paddock, but other than that, you can expect your drive to be relatively animal-free. That said, there is one small creature that may cause some distraction: possums. These furry marsupials often end up as roadkill, but before you worry about hitting one unexpectedly, it might come as a relief to know they are considered a pest. Infamous for eating native trees and killing native birds, possums are problematic.
As they come out late at night, chances are you might not notice them until it's too late - or perhaps not even at all. New Zealand may be an English-speaking country, but the local lingo can often sound like a different language! Most car-related terms are reasonably clear as they derive from UK terms, such as bonnet for hood, boot for trunk and petrol station instead of gas station.
When it comes to New Zealand slang however, you might want to start your own travelling dictionary… below are just some of the words and phrases you can expect to hear as you explore the country in a campervan hire. Dairies sell essentials such as newspapers, eggs, bread and of course dairy treats like ice cream and milk. Wop-wops: This a Kiwi way of saving the middle of nowhere, out in the sticks - in simplest terms: an isolated town or region.
This means taking a long sightseeing detour. New Zealanders also use this term to refer to getting lost along their travels. Sweet as: Perhaps one of the most confusing phrases for newcomers to the country, means that something is good. You also go swimming in togs swimsuit. Some local drivers may bring their own eccentricity to the roads. Here are some things to keep an eye out for:.
In every country there are people who drive too fast, and unfortunately New Zealand is no exception.
Stay alert for speedsters, especially on open roads while driving your campervan hire. Livestock is frequently moved along rural roads. The farmer is obligated to place a sign when this happens, but the sign type can be variable. If you come across a herd of animals in the road, stop your campervan hire and get instructions from the farmer.
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In rural areas, you will find single-lane bridges. If the sign on your side of the bridge has a red arrow pointing upwards this means that you must give way to traffic coming towards you. Motorhomes, campervans and RVs are sizeable vehicles so ensure you take your time on these tight bridges. New Zealand cities and towns are linked by more than state highways. This means there are several kilometre zones on the highway, and even the odd pedestrian crossing! While this may seem unusual to visitors who are used to fast, direct highways, it all adds to the motorhome hire NZ road trip experience.
One benefit of New Zealand not having a huge high-speed highway and motorway network is the lack of toll roads. As it stands, there is only one active toll located north of Auckland just before the small town of Puhoi. If you pass through this road in a campervan hire, your license plate number will be captured by automatic cameras and you will need to pay online at www. Why choose Wilderness? Why a Wilderness Motorhome? Got a question? You may find our FAQs helpful or you can contact us directly too! Guest Stories. More Blog Posts.
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