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Preparing for Your Wilderness Motorhome Adventure

So, you’ve booked your adventure — and an incredible journey of discovery awaits!

It’s now time to plan your motorhome road trip. But there’s no need for it to feel daunting. We’re with you every step of the way — starting with this useful guide to help you prepare for your Wilderness motorhome adventure.

Your guide features a pre-arrival checklist covering things you’ll need to look into, like insurance, ferry tickets and airport transfers. There’s also a planning section to help you find campsites, and a packing chapter to let you know what to bring.


Details on picking up and dropping off your motorhome hire are important to know. As is driving around New Zealand — with tips on road safety, toll roads and parking.

Get ready to disconnect from routine and reconnect with your love of adventure and travel.


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What to do before picking up your motorhome

Add your transfer details — for both pick up and drop off 

Advise us of your scheduled arrival time and pick up location — at least 24 hours beforehand. Please call us on +64 9 802 2855 when you’re ready to be picked up.

If you’re arriving by plane to either Auckland or Christchurch, add your flight number and arrival time on the My Booking page.

If you’re planning to stay in a hotel the night before your motorhome holiday, see the list of hotels located in our free hotel transfer zones in Auckland and Christchurch. Then, select your hotel name and preferred pick up time on the My Booking page.

Our complimentary shuttle service will collect you from Auckland International Airport, Christchurch International Airport, or your airport hotel between 8:30am and 3:45pm.

If you’re staying at accommodation outside of our hotel transfer zone, consider using a local rideshare service like Uber or Ola.


Provide your driver licence details

Fill in the licence details of each driver of your motorhome hire on the My Booking page.

Find out about the type of licence you need to drive a motorhome in New Zealand.


Let us know the details of your passengers

By emailing us the names and birth dates of your passengers, we’ll know if you require child restraints for your motorhome holiday — however, you’ll still need to add child restraints to the My Booking page.


Tell us your preferred bed set up

If you’ve hired our King/Twin for 4 or Compact Plus, we can set up your bed to be a king or two singles. Just let us know which you’d prefer.

Twin Bed Setup


Complete your payment before it’s due

Navigate to the Add Payment section on the My Booking page to make payment using:

  • Credit or debit card — we accept VISA, Mastercard and Amex (surcharges apply)
  • Bank transfer — see our payment instructions on the My Booking page (we recommend using Wise for international transfers with competitive conversion rates).

If your motorhome hire is between 21 December and 8 February, the balance is due 21 days before the start of your rental period.

If your motorhome is outside of these peak season dates, the balance is due seven days before the start of your rental period.


Look into upgrading your insurance

Read our campervan rental insurance blog to help you decide whether or not to go for our VIP liability reduction option.

If you want to upgrade your insurance, you can on the My Booking page.


Choose your extras and accessories

If you’re travelling with children under the age of seven in a vehicle in New Zealand, by law they must be secured with child restraints. Extras and accessories like child restraints are in limited supply — so visit the My Booking page and add them to your motorhome rental sooner rather than later.

Child Restraint Seat

Also, see our useful blog about securing your child in a Wilderness motorhome.

Consider adding onboard WiFi to your booking before you start your trip — to secure a cheaper rate and to enable you to use our SmartTV.


Buy your ferry tickets

Planning to cross Cook Strait with your motorhome hire? You’ll need to book early to get your preferred sailing day and time.

Ferry Tickets

We can assist you with booking fully flexible ferry tickets in case your plans change. Simply add ferry tickets on the My Booking page and email us all passenger names plus your ideal sailing date and time.


Watch your motorhome instructional video

Three days before you’re due to pick up your motorhome, you’ll receive an email with a link to an onboarding video of your specific motorhome model.

To gain an understanding of how everything works in your particular motorhome, and to feel more confident enjoying your home-away-from-home, be sure to watch it.


A couple posing in front of their motorhome after pickup

Don’t worry if you have any questions or concerns. We’ll also give you a complete orientation of your motorhome hire when you pick it up — and you’ll have our comprehensive Wilderness User Manual available while you’re on the road.

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Planning your motorhome holiday

Your motorhome journey of boundless exploration and adventure begins with planning your itinerary. From captivating destinations to scenic stopovers — planning is the key to a successful and fun holiday on the road.


Drive less — see more

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of driving too far each day, aiming to see more places.

New Zealand is a country full of winding roads with a lot to offer so we encourage you to Drive less — see more. A comfortable time and distance to aim for is around two hours and less than 200km.

Spend quality time planning and researching so you can see more while being behind the wheel less. With the help of our inspiring itineraries and useful guides, you can make the most of your motorhome adventure — and enjoy more time amongst the breathtaking scenery and nature.





Travelling off-the-beaten-track by motorhome opens up a world of new experiences — from remote sunsets over the ocean, to more stars than you’ve ever seen under the shadow of the mountains.


A family camping infront of a lake

In New Zealand, you have an array of options when it comes to parking up for the night in a recreational vehicle. You can choose freedom camping (in certain locations), regional campsites, Department of Conservation (DOC) camps, holiday parks or other commercial camping grounds.

Take a look at our guide to motorhome camping in New Zealand. It’s a valuable resource with detailed information on:

  • Where you can stay in a motorhome
  • Freedom camping
  • DOC campsites
  • Regional and holiday parks.


Freedom camping

Our Wilderness motorhome hires are all certified self-contained — meaning they can legally be used as accommodation at designated freedom camping locations in New Zealand.

Essentially, you’ll be self-reliant in these camping locations as they usually don’t have any facilities such as toilets and kitchens.


Camping in a motorhome

Your motorhome will only need to be plugged into mains power every few days (depending on your personal energy usage). While you’re off-the-grid, you’ll be able to power up the fridge, cooking hobs and oven, hot water and your devices using the:

  • 12V house batteries
  • LPG gas bottles.


You’ll also be able to utilise your motorhome’s inverter to charge up smaller items like your laptop, mobile phone and electric toothbrush.

Find out more about motorhome power.


Where can you freedom camp?

Freedom camping in New Zealand is permitted in certain specific locations. These spots have been determined by local (council) authorities and are frequently checked with the rules (bylaws) enforced.

A motorhome parked up in front of a lake


You may be issued with an infringement notice and be required to pay a fee (usually hundreds of dollars) if you:

  • Freedom camp in a prohibited location
  • Damage the area where you’re camping
  • Deposit waste inappropriately while freedom camping
  • Refuse to leave an area when requested
  • Don’t give information to an enforcement officer when asked.

To help you minimise your impact on New Zealand’s environment we created our Environmental Care Code. Have a read of it and do your best to respect the land given to freedom campers — so that it may continue to be available for future motorhome travellers.


Camping apps

One app is absolutely essential on your motorhome adventure — CamperMate. You’ll be able to download it from the App Store or Google Play.

CamperMate App on Mobile


This app gives you the ability to search for the country’s best freedom camping and commercial camping sites via a map interface. You can also select:

  • Activities to do — like hikes and museums
  • Restaurants and cafes
  • Dump stations, public toilets, supermarkets and gas stations.

You may be able to find working farms, relaxing vineyards and idyllic beach sites to park up for the night.

View our top ten free travel apps blog to see what else will be useful on your holiday.

Cooking in the wilderness

Our motorhomes have been set up to thrive in remote camping environments. A few appliances like the microwave, toaster and electric jug aren’t onboard because they only work when you’re connected to 240V mains power at a commercial campground.


Cooking in a motorhome

However, you’ll still be able to create delicious homemade meals and make refreshing cups of tea — as your RV comes with a gas cooker, oven and a stovetop kettle.


A toast to camping

Motorhome and campervan hires often don’t come with toasters — but that doesn’t mean you can’t toast.

While freedom camping, try doing things a little differently. Put a frying pan on your motorhome’s gas hob at the lowest temperature. Then, briefly place your bread in the pan before turning it over.


Travelling between the North and South Islands

If you’re planning to see both the North and South Islands, you’ll need to purchase an inter island ferry ticket.

These ferries cross Cook Strait all year round but there are fewer sailings during winter. The two ferry operators are Interislander and Bluebridge. You’ll need to purchase tickets for your motorhome, driver and passengers.

Booking an inter island ferry

The easiest way for you to book your passage across Cook Strait when hiring a Wilderness motorhome is to let us book your ferry tickets.

It’s important to book well in advance — something we strongly recommend. Availability can be an issue, especially during peak times like summer and school holiday periods.


Motorhome boarding a ferry to cross in between islands

If you decide to purchase your ferry tickets through us at Wilderness, they will be fully flexible. This means you’ll be able to change them at no extra cost — up to the day you’re booked to sail, depending on availability. Simply:

  1. Log into the My Booking page
  2. Select ferry tickets
  3. Email us your preferred sailing times.

We’ll take care of the rest for you.

The Premium Lounge

The Interislander ferries feature a Premium Lounge where you can relax for a few hours and enjoy:

  • A selection of food and beverages
  • Excellent service
  • Premium views of the crossing.

To go for this upgraded option, simply select the lounge pass on the My Booking page.

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


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Motorhome hire insurance cover

One of the most important items to understand and arrange prior to your motorhome adventure is your rental vehicle insurance cover.

Standard insurance rates

At Wilderness, our standard insurance rate includes comprehensive cover but we strongly recommend that you opt for one of our liability reduction options.

You’re automatically covered for:

  • Accidental damage to your motorhome rental, and
  • Any liability, if your motorhome injures someone else or their property while you’re driving it — as long as you’re not negligent or irresponsible.

For more details regarding insurance exclusions, see our terms and conditions and our blog about understanding motorhome hire terms and conditions.

Insurance excess

Unless you opt for a liability reduction option, a deductible excess of NZ$7500 will apply for each incident or accident involving your motorhome hire. 

Insurance excess is the amount that you’ll be liable for. This amount contributes towards your motorhome’s replacement or repair costs. What this means is that if an insurance claim is made, you have to pay the first portion of the replacement or repair cost.

Driving a motrhome at a ski slope


You may be a very safe driver but the rate of accidental damage in motorhomes is much higher than in cars because of the difference in dimensions. It can be easy to forget that a motorhome is bigger than a car — making it prone to accidentally hitting low tree branches or building structures.

Third party motor vehicle insurance

Another important factor to take into account is that there’s no compulsory third party motor vehicle insurance in New Zealand. This means that even if you’re not at fault, and the other driver is uninsured, you’re liable for the damage to your motorhome rental.

Zero excess

To have your insurance excess reduced to $0, choose our VIP option for $69 a day. With VIP you won’t have to pay for any excess (deductible) if you or a third party damages your motorhome hire.

You’ll also receive some useful inclusions, such as:

  • An LPG gas refill
  • Road User Charges (RUC) — and toll road fees
  • A barbecue — plus an outdoor table and chairs
  • A child seat — if you require one.

Find out more about liability reduction options.

Taking a liability reduction option means you can get on the road knowing that you won’t be hit with a big repair bill if your vehicle is damaged. If you haven’t already selected an insurance option, it’s not too late. Just log on to the My Booking page and select one that suits you.

If you’re unsure, simply email or call us. We’ll be happy to go through the options with you.

A couple enjoying their holiday with their motorhome


Personal travel insurance

We highly recommend having personal travel insurance for your trip. Wilderness Motorhomes’ liability reduction options only cover you for:

  • Damage to your motorhome rental
  • Any third party incidents.

Having your own personal travel insurance will insure that you’re covered for other possible travel mishaps, including flight delays, lost luggage and cancellations that are out of your control. We do not recommend specific providers.

Read some more detail on liability reduction for your peace of mind and about whether you actually need campervan hire insurance.

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What to pack and what not to pack

It’s part of the anticipation and fun of building up to a holiday — getting ready. We cover what to pack, what not to pack and what to be aware of.

What to pack

Although New Zealand has a temperate climate, it’s an island nation with highly changeable weather — even across the course of a day. 

Packing before going for a trip


From changes of clothing to sunsmart items and electronics to entertainment, we outline what you’re likely to need in our packing for your campervan road trip blog. We also touch on some Kiwi packing tips and offer a little advice if you’re travelling from overseas.

After reading through the blog, download our packing checklist so you can easily work your way through each item.

Travel bags

If you’ve booked our Compact for 2 or The Suite, travelling with rigid suitcases will be unsuitable as they can be difficult to store. Instead, pack your luggage into soft bags that are easier to store out of sight.

Using soft bags to travel with a motorhome


Our other models, namely the Compact Plus, Double for 2, King/Twin for 4 and Double for 4 are able to fit rigid suitcases.

Outdoor toys

If you’re into outdoor hobbies, you may want to bring along your favourite outdoor toys. Whether it’s a mountain bike, a fishing rod, a surfboard or binoculars, weigh up if it’s best to bring your own (and carry the extra weight) or to hire on the road.

Storing surfboards in the motorhome garage


USB cables

All our motorhomes now have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Only bring USB cables that are compatible with the USB-A female ports in Wilderness motorhomes, such as:

  • USB-A to USB-C cables
  • USB-A to lightning cables.



It’s a smart move to bring options when it comes to foreign currency. Plan to carry a mix of:

  • Credit and debit cards
  • A travel card — with New Zealand currency loaded on it
  • Cash — from a travel bureau or ATM when you arrive at the airport.


Debit card swiping on card-reader device


Driver licence

See our guide to driving a motorhome in New Zealand for details on what licences are required.



Travelling with a drone is more common these days, especially for people interested in videography. If you intend to travel to New Zealand with a drone, ensure you’re aware of the civil aviation rules and regulations.


What not to pack

Our premium motorhome rentals are geared up with kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and outdoor items — ready for you to hit the road.

Items in your motorhome

Kitchen ToolsKitchen tools

- Crockery

- Cutlery

- Cups and glasses

- Bowls

- Pots and pans

- Cooking utensils

- Coffee plunger

- Gas kettle

- Cutting board

- Scourer and dishcloth

- Dishbrush and gloves

- Dustpan and brush

- Heater

- Fire extinguisher

Bedding and linenBedding & linen

- Duvets or doonas

- Mattress protectors

- Sheets

- Pillows

- Pillow cases

- Towels

- Tea towels

Bathroom ItemsBathroom items

- First aid kit (fee applies for use)

- Fresh water hose

- Grey water hose

- Toilet chemicals

- Toilet paper (one roll)

- Clothes hangers

Outdoor GearOutdoor gear*

- Outdoor table

- Outdoor chairs

- Portable barbecue

- Snow chains


*The outdoor gear items are free if you choose our VIP liability reduction option, or extra add-ons if not.

A few points to note about the above items in your motorhome are that:

  • Each motorhome is set up with double bed linen — unless singles are requested or the motorhome has permanent single beds
  • You can either opt to hire the outdoor gear from Wilderness or select the VIP liability reduction option and get it free of charge
  • A small fee applies for using the first aid kit


Biosecurity New Zealand
hand out large fines for failing to declare food items when going through customs. As New Zealand supermarkets stock most of the food you’ll need, your safest option is to travel into the country without any food.

Stocking food up for the trip


Day 1 Shopping List:

Salt and pepper

Cooking oil

Paper towels

Kitchen cleaning spray

Rubbish bags

Toilet rolls

Dishwashing liquid


Portable appliances

Portable appliances like a hair dryer, curling tongs and a hair straightener will likely use more than 600W of power. They’ll only work if your motorhome is connected to mains electricity — in holiday parks or at commercial campgrounds.

If you intend to freedom camp most nights, it’s probably not worth bringing these extra items.



All our motorhomes come with optional onboard WiFi which you can add to your order on the My Booking page. By securing WiFi in advance, you’ll get our best rate — and also have access to our SmartTV.

Watching a SmartTV in a motorhome


SIM card

If you’d like a local SIM card for staying connected and contacting Wilderness while you’re on the road, simply request one through the My Booking page. Although the actual SIM card is free, you’ll still need to load money onto your card to use it.



New Zealand doesn’t have snakes or crocodiles but it does have the sandfly. In fact, the country has 13 native species of sandfly, though only two bite — the New Zealand blackfly and the West Coast blackfly.

Sandflies live near bush and breed in running water such as rivers, lakes, swamps and the sea. They’re most active, and hungry, at dawn and dusk. They can be a nuisance, particularly when you’re relaxing outside — and their bites can be very itchy, often causing redness and swelling.

You can prevent sandfly bites by covering up well, applying an insect repellent with DEET and using citronella candles.

Avoid scratching any bites you do get — instead, soothe them by applying calamine lotion and antihistamine cream. Some guests also report that Bonjela, normally reserved for mouth ulcers, can also relieve itchy bites.

Download a free community-updated Sandfly Map app available from the App Store.


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How to connect with Wilderness

You’re now part of our Wilderness family! You can easily stay up-to-date with the adventures of other Wilderness explorers by following our social media feeds.


Our social feeds are jam-packed with:

  • Incredible photography — from our amazing guests while adventuring on the road
  • Hidden gems — tips from both recent motorhomers and our own well-travelled experts.

Taking a photo of the Wanaka Tree


Once you begin your Wilderness motorhome adventure, we’d love for you to connect with the Wilderness family by capturing and sharing your own special moments.

Feel free to:

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Picking up your motorhome

Picking up your motorhome should be easy — and at Wilderness, we aim to make your arrival as smooth as possible.

You’re able to pick up your motorhome from our Auckland or Christchurch bases every day except Christmas Day, between the hours of:


08:30 — 15:45


If your flight is scheduled to arrive after 14:30 in Auckland, we recommend waiting until the following morning to collect your motorhome. That way, you’ll avoid the congestion and stress of navigating through Auckland’s afternoon traffic — when many people are doing school pick ups or driving home from work.


If your flight is delayed and you’re unable to pick up your motorhome rental before 15:45, please give us a call to make an alternative plan as soon as possible on:


+64 9 2555 300

You’ll need to make alternative accommodation arrangements for your first night. We can suggest local hotels within our free shuttle pick up zone — then, collect you in the morning and help you proceed with your holiday.

Please read our terms and conditions about late pick ups as we’re unable to offer refunds in this situation. However, you may be able to make a claim through your own personal travel insurance.

Be sure to advise us of your scheduled arrival time and pick up location — at least 24 hours before picking up your rental. You can enter these details on the My Booking page or contact us by phone or email.

Arriving from the airport

Complete arrival procedures

Once you disembark your aircraft, collect your luggage and clear customs and immigration.


Declare or dispose of any food


When you arrive at the international airport, you’ll be asked to declare any food you have with you — or to dispose of it in the bins provided. Please take this request seriously.

If customs discover undeclared food in your luggage, you will be fined.


Your complimentary transfer




Our bases are less than 20 minutes drive from Auckland and Christchurch airports. We’ll collect you from the airport on the first day of your motorhome hire if:

  • You advise us of your pick up time on the My Booking page, and
  • Your international flight’s scheduled arrival isn’t any later than 2:45pm — allowing enough time to meet our last airport transfer at 3:45pm.

After you pass through customs and collect your luggage, call us on:


+64 9 2823 606


Let us know you’ve arrived and we’ll quickly dispatch our Wilderness shuttle to collect you.

Auckland pick up points

If you’re arriving to Auckland Airport Domestic Terminal on a domestic flight, exit the terminal building through door 9/10 near the Jetstar baggage claim area. Walk across the pedestrian crossing to reach our pick up point — and wait for our shuttle there.

If you’re arriving to Auckland Airport International, from the arrivals area simply follow the All shuttles signs, walking for a few minutes to lane five in the pick up zone. Wait for our shuttle there.

Wilderness Auckland base


Christchurch pick up point

Whether you’re arriving to Christchurch Airport on a domestic or international flight, exit the terminal building through door 2 in the domestic area. Wait for our shuttle at the taxi and shuttle zone.

Wilderness Christchurch base


Arriving from an airport hotel

Your complimentary transfer

We’ll collect you from your airport accommodation on the first day of your hire — if it’s listed on our Auckland or Christchurch locations pages, or the My Booking page. Please wait outside the reception area at your requested pick up time.

Arriving from other hotels

Arranging a ride

If you’re coming to our base from outside our complimentary pick up zone, we suggest downloading a ride-sharing app like Uber, or YourRide and booking a ride with them.


Arriving at our base

Meeting the Wilderness team


Wilderness tem member assisting a guest during pickup

We pride ourselves on a friendly welcome and a speedy yet informative handover of your vehicle. Allow around one hour for our adventure support team to:

  • Help you complete the paperwork
  • Show you through the motorhome
  • Answer any questions or concerns
  • Offer some holiday tips.

Have ready and available to check your:

  • Driver licence — along with a translation or your international driving permit (IDP) if you require one
  • Credit card — we accept VISA, Mastercard and American Express but not debit cards.

Using the Wilderness facilities

While we go through the onboarding process, please take advantage of our free WiFi, tea and coffee. If you need any touring advice from our team, just ask.

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Driving your motorhome in New Zealand

On the road is where the fun really begins — you’ve done all your planning and organising, picked up your motorhome and are now ready for your adventure.


Driver licence

Your current driver licence (issued in your country of residence) can be used for a maximum of 12 months from the date you arrive in New Zealand — provided it’s written in English.

If your current driver licence isn’t written in English, you’ll need an:

  • English translation, or
  • International Driving Permit.

See our guide to driving in New Zealand for more information about driving licences.


Carry your original licence

If you need your licence translated, you must carry both your original driver licence and its English translation or International Driving Permit — in order to legally drive in New Zealand.


Take your time

To fully immerse yourself in New Zealand’s landscapes, a self drive holiday in a recreational vehicle is hard to beat. Many of this country’s roads are incredibly scenic with relatively low traffic volumes.

Driving on New Zealand road


It’s important not to underestimate driving times. Although distances may seem short, New Zealand roads are often hilly and winding — which can increase journey times. Our simple motto is:


Drive less — see more


Read our blog about taking time to travel New Zealand by motorhome for how driving less yet seeing more is a smart plan.

Resting from your long haul flight

You may be flying into New Zealand from a faraway country and need a little time to recover from the jet lag and lack of sleep.


If you’re picking up your motorhome hire not long after arriving, we recommend only driving for one or two hours at the most on your first travel day. A few campgrounds we recommend not too far from Auckland International Airport are:

Ōrewa Beach Holiday Park and Red Beach Top 10 Holiday Park — both north of Auckland

Tasman Holiday Parks Miranda — south of Auckland

If you’re flying into Christchurch International Airport, consider booking into:

Tasman Holiday Parks Christchurch

Rakaia Gorge Camp — southwest of Christchurch

Woodend Beach Holiday Park — north of Christchurch

Also, take a look at our blogs on the best campsites in Auckland and the best campsites in Christchurch.

Road safety

From pristine glacial fiords and geothermal wonders to lush native forests dipping down onto long white sand beaches — the scenery from New Zealand roads can be jaw dropping. However, the incredible panoramic views come with some unique driving conditions.

Before you hit the road on your motorhome adventure, make sure you know what’s different about driving in New Zealand compared to your home country. Visit highly informative Drive Safe for advice on planning your road journey and details on specific routes.

Discover how easy it is to drive a Wilderness motorhome on New Zealand’s challenging roads.

New Zealand road safety tips

Keep these important points in mind while driving your motorhome.

Stay left

Keep Left
New Zealand traffic drives on the left side of the road — like in the United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore and Australia.

Metric distances

Driving distances are measured in kilometres (km), not miles (mi). One kilometre equals 0.62 miles.

Speed limit

Driving Speed
The maximum speed on the open road in New Zealand is 100 km/h (60 mph) for cars and some motorhomes. Heavier motorhomes are restricted to 90 km/h (56 mph). A few expressways allow 110 km/h (68 mph). In urban areas, the usual speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph).

You’ll notice yellow suggested speed limit signs on New Zealand state highways, especially when coming towards corners. It’s wise to keep to these speeds to help you navigate your motorhome through winding sections of open road.

We advise a speed limit of 90 km/h when driving our Wilderness motorhomes.


Allow extra time

Although the speed limit on the open road is 100 km/h, it isn’t always safe to drive at this speed. The often winding roads and hilly nature of the terrain mean that driving at the speed limit isn’t realistic — and is, in fact, quite dangerous.



New Zealand weather can change rapidly. Be aware of the weather forecast and adjust your driving (and possibly even your route) should the outlook seem treacherous.

Weather-related hazards can happen at any time of year — but particularly during winter months when snow and ice can be an issue, and in spring when strong winds are common.

Find out about seasonal weather in New Zealand.

Red light rule

Unlike in some other countries where you can turn left on an orange light, it’s not permitted in New Zealand. When the traffic light is red, you must stop and wait for the green signal.

Read Drive Safe’s article on traffic lights in New Zealand for further details.


Railway crossings

Be aware that not all railway crossings in New Zealand have active warnings. Slow down and be prepared to stop.


Seat belts

Safety Belts
Whether you’re the driver or one of the passengers in your motorhome hire, you must wear a seat belt at all times while travelling — in both the front and rear seats.


Child restraints

All children under seven years old must be properly restrained by an approved child restraint. At Wilderness, we can supply you with a child safety seat if you need one. Select our VIP liability reduction insurance and we’ll include a complimentary child restraint.


Rest stops

Rest stop sign while drivingNew Zealand has more than 360 formally designated rest areas — where you can safely pull over to the side of the road and take a break from driving.

Read our top ten rest stops blog for some of the most majestic locations to have a rest.

Drink and drug driving

Laws covering driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are strictly enforced.

Mobile phones

Using phone holder to place mobile phone while driving
Although it’s legal to use your mobile phone with a hands-free kit while driving in New Zealand, we don’t recommend using your phone while driving your motorhome hire. If you need to make a call or send a text, pull over in a rest area or where it’s safe to do so.


Drive courteously

Be aware of vehicles behind you while driving — pulling over to the roadside when it’s safe, to let them pass.

Road conditions and road closures

You’ll want to know what the current road conditions are like and whether there are any road closures. To keep up to date, check the New Zealand Transport Agency’s highway conditions and Google Maps so you can alter your journey if need be. 

Breakdowns and accidents

Our Wilderness on road assistance team is available seven days a week between 8.30am and 9pm — to assist you in case of a breakdown, accident or equipment failure.

On Road team member providing support to a caller


If you get a mechanical breakdown or flat tyre after 9pm but before 8.30am, and you require assistance to get going again, call AA roadservice and breakdown assistance. They operate 24 hours a day and their mobile crew can assist you with a mechanical problem, flat tyre or other non-mechanical issue such as:

  • Getting the motorhome bogged
  • A flat battery
  • Keys locked inside your motorhome
  • Running out of fuel
  • Fuel contamination.

Ensure you mention to the AA crew that you’re in a Wilderness rental motorhome.

What you’re covered for during a Wilderness or AA callout

You won’t be charged for any mechanical issues during a callout but you may have to pay for non-mechanical problems — depending on the liability reduction option you’ve chosen.

If your call out is for a non-technical issue or the result of user error, a fee will apply. Refer to our rental terms and conditions for further clarification.


New Zealand toll roads

Waka Kotahi (the New Zealand Transport Agency) currently has three toll roads which are the:

  • Northern Gateway Toll Road — north of Auckland
  • Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road — in Tauranga
  • Takitimu Drive Toll Road — in Tauranga.

Northern Gateway Toll Road

The Northern Gateway Toll Road is a 7.5km motorway extension just north of Auckland. Driving north, the toll road begins just before Orewa and ends after the Johnston Hills near Puhoi.

If you don’t wish to take the toll road, choose one of the following free alternatives:

The Hibiscus Coast Highway is a more scenic drive with an attractive coastline between the popular holiday spots of Orewa and Waiwera.

Takitimu Drive Toll Road

The Takitimu Drive Toll Road is a 5km road that bypasses Tauranga CBD and takes traffic from SH29 to SH2 in the direction of the Port of Tauranga and Mt Maunganui.

Two alternative routes are via Cameron Road or Cambridge Road.

Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road

The Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road is a 15km tolled section of SH2. It runs between the:

  • Domain Road interchange — near Papamoa, and
  • Paengaroa roundabout — where SH2 and SH33 take you to Whakatāne and Rotorua respectively.

A free route takes you on the Te Puke Highway straight through the town of Te Puke.

Get free access to New Zealand toll roads


By choosing our VIP liability reduction option you’ll enjoy the use of all toll roads in the country without having to pay.


How to pay toll road fees

All Wilderness motorhomes are registered with the toll road service. If you decide to use a toll road, the charge will be added to your motorhome hire — unless you’ve opted for the VIP insurance package.

Toll road charges are detailed on the New Zealand Transport Agency website.


A motorhome parked up at a parking spot in Lake Tekapo

Parking a large vehicle like a motorhome isn’t the same as parking a car. The additional size and length make parking a little more difficult than what you may be used to. Thankfully, New Zealand has plenty of dedicated motorhome and campervan parking zones in tourist areas.

Parking in Milford Sound

If you intend to travel to Milford Sound, you’ll likely need to park your motorhome while taking a boat trip or hiring a kayak. Parking close to the ferry terminal is now paid parking — and it may not be very clear how to pay.

See the Milford Sound Tourism site for more information on parking in Milford Sound.


Visitor information centres

New Zealand has more than 80 visitor information centres around the country — locally known as i-sites. They’re very useful for motorhome travellers needing local information, by:

  • Sharing the locations of freedom camping sites, holiday parks and regional parks
  • Providing free advice on nearby attractions
  • Opening seven days a week.

Not being aligned to any tourism operators, i-sites operate as fully independent entities. See all the i-sites locations across the country.

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What to do before dropping off your motorhome

It’s important that you check off all the tasks below before dropping off your motorhome at our Auckland or Christchurch Wilderness bases.

Refuel the motorhome with diesel

Refill any used LPG gas bottles — unless you chose the VIP liability reduction option

Empty the waste water tank — containing your motorhome’s grey water

Completely empty the toilet cassette — which stores the black water

Remove your food and drink from the fridge and cupboards — though you’re welcome to leave any sealed food with us at our Wilderness base to pass on to future guests

Remove all of your belongings

Leave the motorhome tidy

Complete the motorhome feedback form — which we’ll give you on the day you pick up your vehicle

Dispose of any rubbish — at public rubbish and recycling bins before arriving at our Wilderness base


We recommend staying at a commercial campsite on your last night. Doing so will make it a lot easier to drain your waste water, empty the toilet cassette, remove unsealed food and dispose of rubbish.


Filling up a motorhome with fuel


Late drop offs

Our latest drop off time is 2:30pm — although we recommend dropping off earlier to avoid having to rush.

A late drop off fee of NZ$150 will be charged for returning the motorhome after our latest time but before 5pm. Dropping off the motorhome after 5pm will incur the $150 late fee plus your daily rental rate.


An additional fee of up to NZ$250 applies if the toilet has not been emptied.

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Heading for home

Finding our base

You'll find maps with directions back to our base in the motorhome user manual — which is located inside your motorhome. These maps will help you return to our base when dropping off your motorhome.

Please allow about 30 minutes to drop your vehicle off, go through a final check and complete our quick tablet survey.

Your complimentary transfer

On the last day of your motorhome hire, one of our team members will transport you from our base to either:

  • The airport, or
  • Your airport accommodation.

Arriving home

Once you’re home and well recovered from any jet lag, we would appreciate it if you could post an online review about your Wilderness motorhome experience.

Happy family posing outside of a motorhome

We can’t thank you enough for spreading the word about your travels with us.

A great way to stay in touch with Wilderness is through visiting our facebook and Instagram pages. We’d love to hear about your adventures and see a few photos. Feel free to email us at with any memories you’d like to share.

Your next Wilderness adventure

We save our warmest welcome for returning friends so let us know when you start planning your next adventure. And if you’re kind enough to recommend Wilderness to your family and friends, we promise to look after them as well as we have with you.

Planning your New Zealand motorhome adventure?

Take a look at our range of travel itineraries — from hot spring escapes to foodie road trips, and Lord of the Rings highlights to Northland explorations.


View Our Itineraries