Our History

2004

Wilderness Motorhomes was founded in 2004 by John Managh, a young and passionate adventurer. Drawing inspiration from his world travels, he returned home to Thames to start his own motorhome rental business and help others create adventures of their own. He started with six Toyota vans, converted them into campervans, and then ran his new business out of his parents' basement. From the outset, he put himself in the shoes of his guests, treating them not just as customers, but as new friends. It was John’s authenticity and tireless dedication to making guests happy that really got people talking.

john in a motorhome

 

2005

John’s sister Mary joined in 2005, adding her business experience and passion for making a difference to the growing company. Wilderness opened a base in Auckland (and soon after, Christchurch) allowing them to service the South Island, add bigger motorhomes to the fleet, and bring more skilled and energetic people to the team.

wilderness office from 2005

 

2007

In 2007, a new manufacturing company was established to feed the expanding rental fleet. RoadCraft revolutionised how Wilderness was able to provide unique motorhome and campervan options to guests.. The Wilderness team was now able to help custom design motorhomes, source parts, fit, test, and tune their fleet to their exact specifications, which added an entirely new level of complexity to the business.

2010

John and Mary sold RoadCraft in 2010 to focus purely on the rental sector. They partnered up with motorhome rental guru Michael Becker, who brought more than a decade of experience as well as the vision and drive to take the company to new heights. Later that year, Wilderness took the top prize for all transport providers in the Rankers Traveller Voted Awards.

john, merry, and michael having a toast

 

2011

In 2011, Wilderness imported several German-manufactured motorhomes to test in the New Zealand market. These came with more features and a new level of design and construction expertise never seen before in New Zealand rental motorhomes. The German motorhomes were an outstanding success, and as a result, the Wilderness rental fleet is now solely Bürstner and Carado motorhomes imported from Germany.

2012

Over the next few years, the premium products and services offered by Wilderness continued to evolve. They focused on developing their motorhome drop off and pick up processes by introducing helpful planning tools (such as their NZ Frenzy Guides and maps), and video tutorials for on-road support to Wilderness guests.

map and sunglasses on a table

 

2018

Wilderness became New Zealand’s premium rental motorhome experience provider, with an average of 4.9 out of 5 rating from over 2,000+ reviews including on Facebook and Google.

The Wilderness vision persisted in its evolution with the goal of enabling even more people to live their New Zealand dream.

2019

The Wilderness brand was elevated even more with a fresh new look, a modernised website, and new digital tools to further enhance the guest experience. On top of being one of the highest-rated premium motorhome rental companies in New Zealand, Wilderness was empowered to expand their digital reach and become enablers of remarkable experiences for visitors from around the world.