Car + tent or Campervan

Camping holiday – Car/tent or Campervan?

New Zealand is the ultimate country of outdoor adventures and an amazing country for young people as well. This is why money is an important topic to think about when planning. This is why it is important to know what to expect when camping in New Zealand in a Camper or in a tent/car.

One issue is definitely the weather. New Zealand is a very sunny country, but it is also unpredictable and heavy rain and drops in temperature can happen all year long – locals always refer to “four seasons on one day”. Consisting of two islands in the middle of oceans there can be wet westerly fronts and also cold fronts from the Antarctic coming straight up to New Zealand. The west coasts usually get most of the rain while it is dryer on the east coasts. It helps to have a usual look here to get an idea of the current conditions. 

Also sudden winds can occur and get really strong – you will need a very good tent. Another important factor is food. Cooking is cheaper, but can be tricky in a small car or tent when the weather does not cooperate. Sand flies are notorious and probably easier to win in a camper where you have a toilet, kitchen and water supply included and do not need to leave your car. Camping is amazing, but if you want to do it properly you have to use campgrounds which cost money. Also, there is a bit of work on every campsite prepare and fold the tent. A rental a car +pay for campsites it sums up more or less to the same costs as renting a Camper.

But you should look for self-contained campervans as they allow you to freedom camp almost everywhere – exceptions are those areas where the city council has a bylaw that forbids freedom camping or areas with “no-camping” signs. Being able to freedom camp makes you have more of the day because you won’t need to look early for availabilities of campsites or to set up your tent in daylight. You can carry your food over great distances because you will have storage room and a cool box or fridge. You can cook to save more money. When the weather goes down many people who travel with a tent need to go to hostels which usually charge a minimum of 25 NZD per person in a 6-bed dormitory, a double room costs around 70 – 80 NZD. There are always pro’s and con’s, but it is important to think about the different options. In our opinion it is a great choice to travel in a self-contained campervan to prevent you from uncomfortable situations while still being able to travel on a budget. With good preparation, New Zealand will be an awesome experience – contact us if you want more info. For questions or information email us at or use Skype: globalcampersltd.