Motorhome Basics - Water


Part of the convenience of life on the road in a Wilderness motorhome is hot and cold running water whenever you need it – whether it’s to drink, to enjoy a hot shower at the end of a day of exploring, or to do the washing up. Here’s how to look after the fresh and grey (waste) water in your Wilderness motorhome.

How it works

Your motorhome has two water tanks – one for fresh and one for grey water. This is essential for freedom camping so that you minimise your impact on the environment by taking waste water with you and emptying it responsibly later on.

  •     You will need to refill the fresh water and empty the grey water every couple of days at a dump station. It’s an easy process and these stations are available all around New Zealand at campsites and holiday parks. They are clearly sign-posted in towns, and found on apps like Campable, or you can ask at a local i-Site (tourist information centre). Your Wilderness motorhome also comes with a detailed touring atlas showing dump station locations all around the country.
  •     Dump stations are free to use.


Fresh water


The fresh water tank in your Wilderness motorhome will be full when you collect it from the Wilderness Motorhome base. All Wilderness motorhomes come with a built-in shower and a hot water heater.

  •     You need to turn the water pump on before you can use the taps or shower. Use the control panel in your motorhome to turn on the 12V house battery and then the water pump. (In a Carado motorhome, the water pump comes on automatically with the house battery.) Turn the pump off when it’s not in use (e.g. at night) to avoid using more of the house battery than necessary. 
  •     Depending on how much water you use, you may need to refill the fresh water tank every day (if everyone showers each day, for example). Make sure you also empty the grey water at the same time (see below). 
  •     You can check your fresh water levels from the control panel – simply press the fresh water monitor button.


For hot water

  •       Hot water is heated by a supplied LPG/propane bottle when you’re freedom camping, or 240V mains power when you’re connected at a campsite.
  •       You need to turn the heater on about 40 minutes before hot water is needed. It will heat 10-15 litres of water, which is usually enough for a quick shower or washing the dishes.


For drinking

  •       The fresh water available from mains water supplies in New Zealand (i.e. at dump stations) is usually safe for drinking. However, water supplies in some remote areas may carry waterborne microbes that can cause illness.
  •       Before refilling with fresh water, always check for any signs instructing you to boil water before drinking it.


Grey water

Waste water drains from the sink, shower and hand basin into the grey water tank.

  •       Don’t put anything other than water down the drains – food scraps, meat fat and even coffee grounds will block the drain.
  •       The grey water tank is smaller than the fresh water tank (as some fresh water empties into the toilet), so you will need to empty the grey water slightly before the fresh water is empty. It is generally easier to do both jobs at a dump station at the same time.
  •       The grey water tank is separate from the toilet system (this is called black water).


Emptying and refilling


You can empty your grey water tank and refill with fresh water at any approved dump station. Look for the blue and white dump station symbol of a campervan with downward arrow.

  •       Park as close as you can to the dump station. There is a bag in the service locker of your campervan with two separate hoses for fresh and grey water.
  •       Attach the supplied grey water hose to the tank outlet on the side of your campervan and put the other end in the dump station drain. Turning a handle on the grey water tank allows the water to drain out.
  •       A fresh water tap is usually located a couple of metres away from the waste disposal drain. Always use the supplied fresh water hose to refill the water tank – do not use the hose supplied at the dump station.
  •       Connect the fresh water hose to the tap and place the other end about 100mm into the fresh water inlet. Turn the tap to medium pressure.
  •       If your fresh water tank inlet is on the side of your motorhome you can keep filling until the water tank starts to overflow. If the inlet is inside a service locker, use the supplied overflow chute when filling and do not let water overflow into the locker. You can keep an eye on the water level thanks to the clear-sided tank.


Video tutorial – Water in your motorhome

Watch an easy explanation of how the water system in your Wilderness motorhome works: 


Our Adventure Support team will take you through your Wilderness motorhome step-by-step when you collect it. They will explain the water system and how to use it, and you will also find easy-to-follow instructions in the campervan for when you’re on the road.

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