The Ultimate New Zealand Campervan Trip On A Budget | Part I

Do you think that traveling to New Zealand is too darn expensive and you can’t afford it?

Have you ever done the flight search Your Home Town – Auckland only to find out that a return flight costs minimum 1500 bucks?

And then said to yourself that visiting this amazing country isn’t happening any time soon

Well, that was me.

Before I figured out that I could have the campervan trip of my dreams without getting bankrupt.

If you are interested how I did it, and I promise I have some pretty awesome tips, bare with me.

At the end of this post I am also going to share our detailed budget plan.




All of it, please!

Of course, there are countries that are at the top of my list, but the list is quite lo-ong.

So what I’ve been doing over the last few years is being open to travel to…pretty much anywhere.

When the right opportunity kicks in, money and time-wise, Delyan and I just book spontaneously.

This is how we managed to grab some amazing deals on flights; like a €240 return ticket to New York or in this case a €557 (yes!) return flight to Auckland, New Zealand.

How did we exactly do it?




You might or might not be already familiar with travel deal sites like Holiday Pirates (US and UK based) or Urlaubspiraten (its German based version).

They search a ton of routes and fares looking for mistakes in airline pricing that score you cheaper flights.

They also announce the regular airline promotions.

I can’t always tell if it is a promotion or an error fare but the fact is, that you get to find amazing prices to destinations all around the globe.

So what I usually do is when I get my usual fernweh, I start visiting these sites on a regular basis.

And when I find a good deal, that fits our schedule, I don’t hesitate booking it.

That’s how we scored the amazing €557 flight (€1114 for both of us) to New Zealand.

New Zealand Cheap Flight

Such prices, of course, usually come with some inconveniences, such as: a long layover or traveling out of season.

I usually consider the long layover an added bonus to my trip.

Our flight to Auckland, for example, had a 24-hour layover in Beijing both ways; and we got to see this awesome city for free.

In China, you are allowed to exit the airport without a visa if you are staying in the country for less than 6 days.

Traveling out of season is also something that usually sounds more intimidating, than it actually is.

We traveled in late May – beginning of June, which is late autumn time in New Zealand and also low tourist season.

Well, let me tell you something: there is no such thing as bad time to travel to New Zealand.


The country offers a range of activities all year around.

And winters are mild, at least in comparison to central European winters.

We had between 10° C  and 15 ° C for most of our holiday.

Another obvious benefit to traveling out of the main tourist season is that you get better prices on accommodation, campervan rental and activities.


Why a campervan trip?


In my opinion, campervanning is THE way to see New Zealand!

The country is so wild and full of stunning remote places that you will deprive yourself from seeing much of it, should you choose to take the bus.

And they don’t really have a railway network there.

Having a campervan means you have the freedom to visit places that those other modes of transport just don’t go.

The best part – with freedom camping allowed in most places, you can also spend the night wherever you fancy.

With transport, a kitchen, and accommodation in one, you’re also bound to cut costs significantly.

And let me tell you, there aren’t many feelings in the world that measure up to waking up to such a view.

Epic Campervan Trip New Zealand


Every morning we sat by a lake ringed by stunning mountains, sipping a hot cup of coffee made in our little campervan kitchen, while thinking that we may be the luckiest people in the world.


The Ultimate Campervan Trip


Campervan Rental


There are many campervan rental companies to choose from with the biggest ones being Britz and Maui.

After weeks of research, Britz seemed to offed the best value for money.

They had an amazing winter offer -50% off the rental price.

They also didn’t charge us the one way fee for picking up the campervan in Christchurch and returning it in Auckland.

I have to make one thing clear, I am offering my honest review of Britz.

I am not earning any affiliate commission or whatsoever for recommending Britz!

Here is the way we organized the whole campervan pick-up and drop-off :

  • We landed in Auckland in the afternoon and spend the night in a hotel close to the airport. It is very important to rest one night before hitting the road. You would be fighting a jet lag!


  • On the morning after, we took the morning Jet Star flight from Auckland to Christchurch. Domestic flights are relatively cheap and JetStar  fly multiple times a day.


  • We hired our camper van from Christchurch. The campervan rental places are strategically located close to the airport and offer a free shuttle service from the terminal to their office.


  • Since we had only 13 days in total in New Zealand and we decided to spend most of the time in the South Island, with only 2 days in the North Island. We toured the South Island for total of 10 days.


I am soon to publish a separate post with our detailed itinerary and tons of tips on how to make the best of a two-week campervan trip to New Zealand. So stay tuned!


Our Campervan


I was personally quite nervous about sleeping in a camper for two weeks.

I’ve always considered myself a fancy-hotel-kind-a-gal.

My love for the great outdoors has exponentially grown over the past few years though.

And when I travel, I no longer care about luxury.

I crave for places with character, atmosphere, places that stay with you forever.

I can’t tell you how much we loved traveling with a our campervan.

It screamed happiness and freedom, and made me smile, every time I sat on the passenger seat.

Our Britz Venturer 2, was a Mercedes sprinter which had its own toilet/shower, kitchen, microwave, a small TV and a sofa to bed converter.

Ultimate Campervan Trip New Zealand

To legally be allowed to “freedom camp” in New Zealand, you will need a self-contained campervan.

But what does self-contained mean?

A self-contained campervan is a vehicle that can function without outside resources and it is more environmentally friendly than your average campervan.

Certified motorhomes include a toilet and water container that holds waste water (from the sink and shower) and septic waste.

Best of all, it allows you to leave a place with no trace of being there.


Camping Grounds


There is a misconception that you can indulge in ‘free camping’ in New Zealand with no limitation, and even though there are many areas where you can park up for free, there are also many that you can’t.

It’s important to look out for ‘No Camping’ zones.

Of course, the easiest option is to stay at a campsite, which will still be much cheaper than a hotel or a B&B.

In part II of this post, I will give you a detailed list of everything you need to consider if you want to live on four wheels while in New Zealand.

At the end of this one, you will find our detailed budget plan for a two week campervan trip to New Zealand (for 2 people):


Detailed Budget Plan


  • Return flight tickets Munich – Auckland: NZD1930
  • Camper rental cost for 12 days (Christchurch to Auckland): NZD426
  • Total liability reduction option: NZD432 (NZD40/1day)
  • Diesel cost: NZD348
  • LPG Gas Bottle Swap: NZD24
  • Road recover surcharge for 2900km travelled (NZD6,22 per 100 km): NZD 180
  • Powered sites for 4 nights: NZD155
  • Unpowered (DOC sites) for 2 nights: NZD42
  • Freedome camping for 5 nights: NZD0
  • Retreat Bungalows for 2 nights: NZD165
  • Hotel in Auckland for 1 night: NZD149
  • Flight cost Auckland – Christchurch: NZD226
  • Groceries for 12 days: NZD390 (includes some expensive wines and beer)
  • Eating out in restaurants: NZD580 (we usually had our lunch out in restaurant or cafe and cooked our own breakfast and dinner)
  • Coach-boat tour to Milford Sound: NZD204
  • 3GB Internet prepaid sim: NZD39
  • Miscellaneous: about another NZD80

The complete all-inclusive trip for two people adds up to NZD5370 (about €3150).

This makes less than €1600 per person which is roughly the price you pay for a return flight from Europe to New Zealand in high season.

After having read all of this, would you consider a campervan trip to one of the most beautiful countries in the world during low season?

I think I know the answer…

Thanks for sticking around with me till the end :-).

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If you want to drop me a line, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

I happily read and reply to all comments.






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