Whether you are looking to invest in a Self-Contained Campervan or you just want some extra info, you will find everything you need to know right here.

Freedom camping in New Zealand is a major attraction for locals and international tourists alike and with this beautiful country’s huge array of scenic destinations and unique terrains. One of the most popular ways to explore the various landscapes is by buying or hiring a Self-Contained Campervan, and with so many paid and free camping sites spread across the country, Freedom Campers will be spoiled for choice.

General Information About Self-Contained Campervans

Exploring New Zealand is an awe-inspiring experience, but doing it in a campervan brings along a whole new element of excitement and adventure. Unfortunately, the laws regarding camping and traveling in a campervan have tightened up, and it is essential that travelers know the do’s and don’ts for camping in NZ.

Many camping areas specify the type of campervan permitted, and failing to follow these rules can lead to a hefty fine of up to $200. While you are still able to travel around New Zealand in non-self-contained campervans there are obvious benefits to choosing a self-contained vehicle.

self-contained campervan

We have compiled a general guide to help make the final decision when selecting the type of vehicle you would like to decide and other necessary information to consider.

Minimum Requirements for Self-Contained Certification

If you are purchasing a licensed campervan, or you plan on getting the vehicle certified independently, these are the minimum requirements that every self-contained campervan needs to meet before being certified:

1. Fresh water tanks: 4 liters per person per day (12 liters per person minimum); e.g., 24 liters are required for 2 people in a 3-day period.

2. Sink: Via a smell trap/water trap connected to a water-tight sealed waste water tank.

3. Grey waste water tank: The waste water tank should hold at least 4 liters of water per person per day, if the tank holds less than it should be vented and monitored.

4. Evacuation hose: At least 3 meters for fitted tanks or long enough to connect to a sealed portable tank.

5. Rubbish bin: Sealable rubbish container with a lid.

6. Toilet (portable or fixed): Minimum capacity 1 liter per person per day (3-liter net holding tank capacity per person minimum)

A portable toilet must be adequately restrained or secured when traveling. The portable toilet shall be usable within the motor caravan or caravan, including sufficient head and elbow room whenever required, even with the bed made up.

Benefits of Using a Self-Contained Campervan

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Self-Contained Campervans are generally bigger and more spacious than traditional campervans. Older-style campervans typically just have a bed towards the back of the van.

Self-contained vehicles were forced to have a more space-efficient set-up including couches, tables, and an equipped kitchen space, ensuring that travelers only need to leave their campervan to enjoy the sights and scenery of their destination.

Most camping sites around New Zealand are free or charge a minimal rate as opposed to accommodation costs in hostels, motels, or hotels. So, even though the initial investment might be a bit higher than opting for a non-self-contained; the benefits and opportunity to save along your journey make it a worthwhile spend.


Avoid Fake Certificates by Local Unlicensed Dealers

When purchasing a self-contained campervan, it is essential to check that the vehicle is licensed, roadworthy, and meets all the necessary requirements set out by NZ laws.

Registered car dealerships should give you all the relevant information before you purchase the vehicle and should give you a certification that corresponds with the license on the windshield of the vehicle. This should have all the information you require and should be valid upon the date of purchase.

Waste Water Disposal

While the joys of free camping are innumerable, there are a few responsibilities that you need to remember. The first, and most important, task to remember is that it is your responsibility to dispose of all wastewater in a safe and environmentally friendly manner.

New Zealand has a number of “dump stations” available for campers to get rid of their wastewater, these stations can be located on most maps and camping apps as well as all i-SITE visitor information centers.

Should You Rent or Buy a Self-Contained Campervan?

Before you make any big investments; it might be a good idea to weigh up the pros and cons of renting versus buying a campervan. If you only intend to travel for 6-8 weeks; then renting is definitely the way to go. However, if you have planned a trip that will exceed the 2 months mark, then buying a campervan and selling it might be the right choice for you.

Selling your newly-purchased campervan in peak season would probably see you making 100% of your money back, but even in the winter months, you might be surprised at the return you could receive.

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campervan set up

Top 3 Most Popular Campervans (Brand & Model)

Forget about German, French, or USA manufacturers, when it comes to Campervans – Japan is leading the market.

Toyota HI ACE – This campervan can be compared to a pair of good jeans, comfortable, reliable, and ready to conquer the world! As one of the leading models in the campervan market, the Hi-Ace is the first choice for many rental companies and can often be found in good nick with over 300,000 km on the clock.

Mitsubishi Delica or L300 – The Mitsubishi boasts a number of options including the Delica or L300, while the specs may differ slightly depending on the year, shape, and/or model, one thing is for sure – if you are looking for a campervan that is tough, sturdy, and ready to take you on an unforgettable adventure then look no further. These campervans are made with endurance, reliability, and strength as the founding factor.

Nissan Caravan – The Nissan caravan is another popular choice, and they will attract your eye to the road by the sheer number of them. These vehicles are reliable, resilient, and ready to get their wheels rolling on New Zealand roads.

While Japanese campervans are the current modus operandi in today’s market, there are still a few tried and tested European models that have given many travelers many happy kilometers on the road, just beware of repair costs, these can get steep very quickly and no freedom camper wants to use their travel budget on costly car repairs.

Seasonal Prices

The travel and tourism industry is strongly influenced by the seasons, and the campervan market is no different. Prices can sometimes fluctuate by 50% but Travel Cars NZ is still one of the most competitive dealerships in the market. Our prices are influenced by the market, but we also offer 12 months of mechanical warranties, on-road assistance, and a Buy-Back option, making us the first choice for domestic and international freedom campers.

What Can You Expect to Pay?

Travel Cars NZ has a variety of options to suit every traveler, whether you are a solo traveler, an adventurous couple, a group of friends, or a small family, we have the ideal option for you. Most self-contained campervans go for between NZ$6,000 to NZ$10,000 while non-self-contained campers can be purchased for less than NZ$5,000.

If you are still on the fence about whether to rent or buy, it might be a good idea to consider reading our 12 Tips for Buying a Campervan in New Zealand.


Bookings & Reservations for Your Arrival

We offer online reservations for travelers who prefer to have everything ready for their arrival, early reservations can save you money, especially, if you are coming to New Zealand in the high season (September-January).

okings & Reservations by WhatsApp at +64 22 177 40 90 or by email at info@travelcarsnz.com

car purchase

customers from germany
customers with a campervan

Extra info: Who we are, What we do & What we offer? Check the following page: Second Hand Campervans (TCNZ)

If you have any questions, please feel free to leave us a comment.

Thank you & Safe travels!