General information about self-contained campervans
If you are looking to do freedom camping definitely you will need a self-contained campervan, since January 2018 the law and rules with travelers in New Zealand changed and got more hrd with up to 200$ fines for those tourists camping in specific areas (without a certificated campervan)
However, you can still travel all around New Zealand without a self-contained campervan, that choice will depend on your budget, period of time you are going to travel and your camping plans.
Self-contained campervans are more environmentally friendly than any average campervan by storing fresh water and waste water. Therefore, New Zealand rewards you with more campsite options that only allow self-contained vehicles, as well as the option to camp on public land where permitted.
Additionally you can check the official website about self-contained vehicles in New Zealand : NZMCA – New Zealand Motor Caravan Association
Minimum requeriments for self-contained certification
Either you planning to certificate your campervan your self or just get one from a company, all of them should meet the following requiriments:
1. Fresh water tanks: 4 L per person per day (12 L per person minimum); eg. 24 litres is 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. Black waste water tank: Same capacity than clean water tank
4. Evacuation hose: (3m for fitted tanks) or long enough to connect to a sealed portable tank.
5. Rubbish bin (any size)
6.Toilet (portable or fixed): Minimum capacity 1 L per person per day (3L net holding tank capacity per person minimum)
A portable toilet must be adequately restrained or secured when travelling. 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
Usually self-contained campervans are bigger than cheaper campers with just a bed at the back, that means they use to have a better set up like couches + table, kitchen space at the back/front.
That’s important specially if you are going to travel and live all the time inside your car for few months or for one year.
Apart from that, many areas and campsites accept only self-contained vehicles, most of them are free as well, non self contained campervan owners will need to spend a night in a hostel or campsite as the cheapest option.
Avoid fake certificates by local unlicensed dealers
Before purchasing a self-contained campervan you can use the NZMA search console to find if the vehicle has a genuine certification, for that you only have to introduce the plate number of the vehicle on the Search Console, you can find it in the following link: Self-Contained Vehicle Checker
If you buy from a registered car dealer or campervan busines most of the times you will receive a form with the full information of the certification and the correspondent sticker on the windscreen.
Where to dispose your water waste
By having a self-contained campervan it is your responsibility to empty the waste water when needed in a safe and an environmentally-friendly way. The answer to this is do use “dump stations” to dump waste water.
There are heaps of dump stations in New Zealand to safely dispose of your campervan water waste. You can ask to the i-SITE for their locations. They are often also featured on most local maps, as well as camping apps.
Should you rent or buy a self-contained campervan?
If you are planning to travel more than 6 weeks buying use to be best option, eg: people travelling 3 months or more doesnt matter the price they sell the campervan after their trip as at the end of the day will be cheaper than renting, some people can get up to 100% of money back selling it by their own.
Rent a self-contained campervan will be more likely if you are planning to travel for a short period of time.
Finally, add that we are sales campervan business but we do renting as well, for more information about campervans you can contact us by online form or on +64 21 197 00 07 (whatsapp as well)
Hope you find useful all those tips, if you have any question, any idea or a new resource to include just leave us a comment.