Why a Motorhome Road Trip is the Perfect Family Vacation

Why a Motorhome Road Trip is the Perfect Family Vacation


A family excited to explore with a motorhome


Holidaying in a motorhome is a fun time for adventure, discovery and family. It’s an opportunity to get the whole family excited about visiting new places and exploring roads rarely driven.


In this blog, we chat about why a motorhome holiday is a great choice and what your ideal family motorhome might look like. We discuss the bonding experience, immediate access to the outdoors and freedom to explore you get when travelling by motorhome.


We also get some tips from Wilderness Motorhomes’ Lead Content Creator, Craig McClelland — who’s taken his young family on multiple motorhome trips around New Zealand’s South Island.




Why choose a motorhome vacation?

How to choose your ideal family motorhome




Why choose a motorhome vacation?


Let curiosity be your family’s compass by embracing the spirit of adventure that only a motorhome holiday can offer.


Family spending time together outside of a motorhome


Having the freedom to stop where and when you want is a unique way of travelling. In a recreational vehicle, you’ll enjoy the security, familiarity and comfort of a home on the road — something both you and your kids will appreciate.



Comfortable convenience while on the road


You may have planned family vacations in the past that became logistical challenges, such as booking train and bus tickets, arranging accommodation and reserving restaurant tables.


A motorhome or campervan hire vacation can minimise much of that extra organising. For starters, your transportation is also your accommodation — so two key pieces of your holiday puzzle are in place with one booking.


Your motorhome will also have an onboard kitchen where you can prepare most of your family’s evening meals. Deciding where to dine will be one less thing to organise.


A child enjoying her food in the motorhome dining area


As the temperature gets colder, you’ll be happy you chose a winterised motorhome with insulation and heating that easily warms your habitation space. Knowing the kids will be cosy throughout the night will give you peace of mind.


Summer travel means it’ll be hot with sandflies and mosquitoes around — but a motorhome with excellent ventilation and dependable fly screens will keep your environment cool and bug-free.


If your motorhome hire has an entertainment system, it can be a convenient tool when the weather suggests you and your family stay inside.


Most motorhomes also have an onboard bathroom. This may be the very definition of comfortable convenience because your younger family members can use the toilet when you pull over to the roadside.


Dad and baby playing around in a motorhome bedroom


Your motorhome rental may also include a made-up bed. If it does, any of your family members can lie down and relax — as soon as you park up.


Check out our top ten North and South Island campsites to park up.



Unforgettable experiences in nature


Family sitting beside a campfire at their motorhome campsite


When your family’s stuck in a hotel room, it’s more difficult to make the effort to venture outside after dark to see the stars, hear the weka or find the glowworms. Just imagine:


  • Waking up to the morning tunes of native birds
  • Pulling back the blinds to breathtaking landscapes
  • Stepping outside onto crunchy frosted grass with the promise of a new day of adventures.

The magic of a family motorhome experience is all about freedom, flexibility and creating remarkable, long-lasting memories together.


If you have a very young family, read our top ten tips for campervan travel with a baby.



The whole country is set up for freedom camping. These sites make motorhoming with kids all the more enjoyable as you can avoid crowded holiday parks and just play in nature — like skimming stones in a river.


Just be aware of the regulations around freedom camping and look after the natural environment.


Craig McClelland — Wilderness’ Lead Content Creator



Freedom to explore as a family


One of the huge benefits of travelling as a family in a motorhome or campervan rental is not being tied to a single destination. You can explore roads less travelled and freedom camp overnight in places where few visitors stay.


Family looking over a scenic landscape


Adventuring with your family on the open road presents a world of opportunity around every corner. You’ll be able to:


  • Veer off the beaten path — down a side road that may lead to an isolated West Coast beach
  • Detour to a picturesque out-of-the-way town like Arrowtown or Raglan — and have a spontaneous lunch picnic
  • Follow local advice — to a hidden waterfall or watering hole like Paines Ford
  • Pull over at the best rest stops — with views of majestic lakes or lively rivers.

Get your whole family involved in planning your route and activities, to make the most of New Zealand as an outdoor adventure playground.


See our campervan itinerary for exploring the South Island with a toddler.



Family bonding time in your motorhome


In the 21st century, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to slow down, savour each moment and spend quality uninterrupted time with loved ones. But a motorhome holiday allows you to take your time to enjoy the journey — all the while bonding together as a family.


Family playing board games in motorhome lounge


More than just a mode of transport, a motorhome vacation is a chance to reconnect and strengthen your family bonds through:


  • Sharing stories as the sun is setting
  • Playing board or card games when it’s raining outside
  • Spotting native wildlife together on short hikes
  • Preparing meals in a relatively small space.



Spending a few days driving long distances to get somewhere is tempting. But kids don’t want to be restricted to their seats. When you’re in a motorhome, you can quickly change your destination — especially if you’re open to freedom camping.


Craig McClelland



The great outdoors is only a footstep away


Holidaying for a week at a campground lodge or ten days in a lakeside hotel room has benefits. But to fully immerse yourself in New Zealand’s natural wonders, you’ll need wheels — and what better way to get close to adventure than in an RV.


Family exploring the nature outdoors


Wherever you park up, the outdoors is only one step away, and the comfort of your motorhome is just one step back. Stay with your family right next to mountain peaks, golden beaches, lush native bush and glistening lakes.


Together you can mountain bike a family-friendly trail, hike a peaceful track, surf the morning breaks or catch your evening meal — all a short distance from your accommodation.


Read about New Zealand’s best hikes and walks for a campervan holiday.



If you have kids, it's important to have a general plan for each driving day. Let them know when they’ll get breaks and what’s in store. It could be a short bush walk, a treat from the local eatery, time on an adventure playground or a hunt for colourful stones on the lakeshore.


Craig McClelland




How to choose your ideal family motorhome


Once you make the decision to travel by motorhome, you’ll need to choose the type of recreational vehicle that best suits you and your family.


Family posing in front of a Wilderness motorhome




One crucial element is the number of berths the motorhome has. In other words, how many people can the RV transport — it will need enough seatbelts (and beds) for each of your family members.


Learn how to secure your child in a Wilderness motorhome.



Flexible layout


A flexible motorhome layout can be a huge asset when you’re on holiday as a group of three or four. Such flexibility might include:


  • Drop down beds — which tuck into the ceiling when you’re not using them during the day
  • A rear king bed that can transform into twins
  • Partition walls — that help block out the light and noise when your kids go to bed early 
  • Fold back dining tables — or tuck away coffee tables.

Dropdown bed in a Wilderness motorhome


Booking a motorhome with a degree of flexibility will help create the feeling of more room and space while travelling as a family together.



Bathroom setup


Separate toilet and shower spaces can often work well for families. If one member needs the shower, another can still access the toilet or wash basin simultaneously.





You won’t want to live on top of your other family members, so consider how the space can be used optimally.


The King/Twin for 4 motorhome may work best if your family is young with a baby. Likewise, the Compact Plus is spacious enough for co-sleeping when set up in its king bed configuration.


Mom reading bedtime stories to her children in a motorhome


If you’re a family of four with two older kids, the King/Twin for 4 set up as twin beds in the rear may be ideal.


Take a look at our guide to choosing a Wilderness motorhome.



A motorhome vacation is a great way to reconnect and bond with your family, go where the open road takes you and experience the outdoors up close.


Check out this fun family motorhome adventure around the South Island.



motorhoming with kids choosing the right motorhome