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How much does it cost to rent a motorhome?

Budgeting for a motorhome adventure can become a little tricky when you discover all the peripheral costs involved. To help you out, we’ve compiled a lot of the costs associated with renting a motorhome — so you can enjoy creating your unique itinerary.

In this article, we provide insights into the variables that influence motorhome hire prices. We also assess the base rental cost, hidden fees, add-ons, insurance and on-the-road expenses. Furthermore, we offer cost saving tips to help you make the right choices.

The cost to hire a motorhome or campervan for a road trip is more than just the price of your vehicle. There are related expenses that come with choosing to explore New Zealand in the freedom and relative independence of an RV.


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The motorhome hire cost in New Zealand

Your largest holiday expenditure will likely be the daily rate of your motorhome rental or campervan hire. This cost can vary widely depending on several factors, such as the:

  • Type of recreational vehicle — motorhomes and campervans have varying levels of comfort and amenities

  • Size — more compact RVs will likely have lower daily rates whereas bigger ones tend to cost more per day

  • Rental period — the longer you rent a recreational vehicle, the more you’ll pay though the average daily rate may decrease

  • Time of year — the summer season and school holiday periods tend to have greater demand and therefore a higher daily rate

  • Features — luxury aspects like drop down beds, a double lounge, usable floor space and a fully contained shower space may increase the base rate.

Daily hire rates can range from $100 to over $900 depending on the rental operator and some of the reasons outlined above.

If the budget for your upcoming adventure has some room to move, consider travelling in a luxury motorhome like The Suite.


Comprehensive insurance cover is required under New Zealand law so no matter which company you rent an RV from, you’ll be covered — up to a certain point.

Similar to when you hire a car, if there’s any damage to your campervan rental, there’ll usually be a deductible or an excess to pay.

Different campervan and motorhome operators across the country offer varying levels of insurance coverage — costing between $0 and $89 per day.

Choosing zero excess liability

Peace of mind while travelling can be worth every penny. Seriously consider the liability reduction options or excess waivers available through your chosen rental operator. Knowing that you won’t have to pay thousands of dollars if you’re involved in an accident is often worth the extra outlay.


Onboard WiFi

Being connected to friends and family is something you’ve probably come to expect when travelling both off-the-beaten-track and on it.


Ask your rental operator if WiFi is available to hire while you’re on the road. Onboard WiFi can make a real difference with benefits such as:

  • Making it easy to share your vacation with the people you care about

  • Being accessible almost everywhere you drive

  • Helping you keep mobile costs down — especially if you're on an overseas roaming plan.

Many companies don’t offer onboard WiFi but the few that do will charge around $15 each day.

Check out our blog about choosing between mobile data and onboard WiFi.

Extras and add-ons

Look over the extras that each motorhome rental operator is offering. You can expect to be able to add items like SIM cards, snow chains and child seats. Other outdoor items like tables and chairs, barbecues and bike racks may also be available as add-ons.



Cost range (per trip)

SIM card


Snow chains


Child seat


 Outdoor table and chairs




Bike rack



Find out what add-ons to expect in a premium motorhome hire.


Hidden fees and charges

Fees and charges can either be totally transparent or can creep up as you progress through the rental operator’s booking process. Your most important first step is to understand the terms and conditions of your motorhome hire.

Get complete clarity around motorhome rental operators’ terms and conditions.

Fee or charge


Cleaning and preparation


Additional driver fee


One-way hire charges


 Public holiday surcharges


Credit card fees

1-6% of your total rental cost


Cancelling a booking

If you have to cancel a booking, you may also get charged — usually depending on when you cancel.

Cancelling early, such as a few months before your motorhome trip begins, may not cost you anything. At most, you could end up paying an administrative fee of around $50 to $100.

If you have to cancel within a month or so of your pick up date, you’ll likely be charged a percentage of the total booking cost as a cancellation fee. This figure could be anywhere between ten and 20 percent.

A late cancellation, say within a week of your holiday, may result in a charge of 50 to 100 percent of your total booking cost.

Also take into account the time of year you plan to travel. For example, some rental operators may have stricter cancellation terms in high season (the summer months) compared to low season (over winter).

Find out the differences between hiring a motorhome from a private owner versus a rental operator.

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On-road costs

When planning your budget, account for all the on-road expenses that are part of the total cost of renting a motorhome. Items like gas, ferry tickets and camping fees should be included in your estimates.


Petrol is the primary fuel for most campervan hires while diesel is more common in motorhome rentals in New Zealand. Diesel engines are more widespread in motorhomes due to their:

  • Fuel efficiency
  • Ability to handle long-distance travel with heavy loads.

Purchasing diesel is usually significantly cheaper than petrol. At the time of writing, the price of diesel was between $1.95 and $2.46 a litre across the country. Download the Gaspy app from the App Store or Google Play to check the current price of diesel around the country.

A variety of factors like the make, model, engine size and weight of your motorhome rental will determine fuel consumption. Other variables like road conditions and city driving versus highway driving are also significant. In a New Zealand motorhome hire, you can expect to use between 11 and 20 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres.

Play around with the Automobile Association (AA) time and distance calculator to get a more accurate idea of fuel costs for your intended itinerary.


Road user charges 

Road User Charges (RUC) are a tax for heavy diesel vehicles used on public roads. They're intended to recover the costs of wear and tear on roading infrastructure. The New Zealand Government requires RUC to be paid in advance — before the vehicle travels on the road.

Due to this policy, many motorhome rental operators pay this expense before you hire your vehicle. Then, when you return the motorhome, you have to pay RUC to the hire company for the total number of kilometres you actually travelled.

The operator will also pass on a recovery fee — about an additional ten percent which covers their admin costs.

The RUC rate for motorhomes and campervans up to 3500kg (which you’ll most likely be driving) is $7.60 per 100 kilometres. The extra admin cost could be anything from five to 50 cents per 100 kilometres.

Expect this cost to periodically increase over time when future governments increase taxes. 


Toll road charges

New Zealand only has three toll roads (all in the upper-North Island) which are the:

  • Northern Gateway Toll Road — north of Auckland
  • Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road — between Tauranga and Whakatāne
  • Takitimu Drive Toll Road — between Tauranga and Hamilton.

If you drive one of these toll roads, you’ll likely be charged the toll when you drop your motorhome back at the base. Find out more about New Zealand’s toll roads.


Roadside assistance

Some rental operators may include roadside assistance as part of their rental package — while others may charge a fee. Roadside assistance can be offered for issues like:

  • Flat batteries
  • Engine faults
  • Flat tyres.


Human error isn’t usually covered so be sure to read the terms and conditions of your rental agreement thoroughly. Ask about what roadside assistance is included and if there are any associated fees.

Check that you understand your rental company’s terms and conditions.


Camping rates

Whether freedom camping will be a large or small part of your motorhome adventure, you’ll still need to pay for commercial campsites. Holiday parks, Department of Conservation (DoC) sites and regional parks almost always charge nightly rates in New Zealand.

The campsite costs (per person, per night) to stay in an RV at one of these types of campgrounds can be anything from $5 without power to $80 with power.

For more information, see our guide to motorhome camping in New Zealand.


Ferry tickets

Planning a motorhome adventure that tours both the North and South Islands of the country is easy to do. The passage of water between the islands is known as Cook Strait and numerous vehicle-carrying ferries cross it daily.

To sail one-way with your motorhome and your partner, you’ll be looking at inter island ferry costs of between $250 and $770 — depending on the time of year.

Disruptions can occur with the Cook Strait ferries due to poor weather or breakdowns. Be sure to only sail it once if you plan to tour both islands as it can be expensive — both financially and time-wise.

Find out more about travelling with a motorhome on the inter island ferry.


Refilling the gas bottle

Many campervans and motorhomes in New Zealand come with a LPG (propane) bottle. It’s typically used for cooking, heating and powering appliances like stoves and refrigerators when you’re freedom camping without 240 volt (V) mains.

On the return journey to your rental operator’s depot, you may need to stop at a gas station that sells LPG and refill this bottle. This could cost you anything from $0 (if you’ve hardly used any gas) to $35 if it’s empty.

Some motorhome rental operators don't require you to refill the gas bottle before dropping off your vehicle. See Wilderness Motorhomes' VIP liability reduction option as an example.

Learn more about how to camp without mains power.

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Post-trip expenses

When you return your campervan or motorhome to the rental operator’s base, you could encounter a few other costs.


Late drop off

All rental operators will state a latest drop off time for the return of their motorhomes. Ensure you know your final drop off time because arriving late can incur penalties — like up to $50 per hour or a flat fee.


Change of drop off location

If you need to change the drop off location of your campervan hire or motorhome rental, you’ll likely be charged an additional fee. This is due to the rental company likely having to relocate the RV after you drop it off.

How much you get charged can vary depending on the:

  • Motorhome operator’s policy
  • Availability of vehicles — to meet demand in each location
  • Distance between the actual drop off location and the original one.


Repair costs

If you decided to take the standard insurance option or one with a reduced excess, you could find yourself charged repair costs for any damage incurred. This cost will likely be recovered at drop off — regardless of whether you were at fault or not.

Alternatively, if you took out a liability reduction option to reduce your liability for damage to zero, you won’t have to worry about any repair costs.

Read our blog about campervan rental insurance.

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Cost saving tips when hiring a motorhome

The cost of hiring a motorhome will be your most significant outlay. Therefore, the most important step you can take is to plan ahead and book well in advance of your holiday.

In addition to planning and booking early, think about:

  • Travelling outside of peak season — for example, you may find cheaper camping rates and ferry tickets during shoulder seasons
  • Picking up in Christchurch and dropping off in Auckland — most motorhome hirers plan the reverse so consider travelling north and you may get a lower daily rental rate
  • Hiring a fuel efficient RV — one that’s only as large as you need it to be and runs on diesel rather than petrol
  • Minimising long driving distances — so you can enjoy taking your time but also spending less per day on fuel
  • Taking advantage of any deals or special offers — subscribe to rental operator newsletters so you don’t miss out
  • Cooking your own meals — using the onboard kitchen with the help of our recipes for the road
  • Travelling as a group — so you can share resources like food and WiFi.

Find the perfect motorhome.

Your choice of recreational vehicle will be one of the key decisions you make when looking at cost savings. Check out our guide to choosing a Wilderness motorhome.