Taking a campervan around New Zealand is by far the best way to see the incredible landscape. But how do you know which is the best campervan rental company? Firstly, if you are looking for the cheapest campervan company in New Zealand, this isn’t the review for you! But if you are looking for the best luxury motorhome hire New Zealand… that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg, this is definitely for you!
We spent more than 2 weeks travelling New Zealand’s South Island in a Wilderness Motorhomes NZ campervan and it was the absolute best!
To help you book a campervan for your own New Zealand road trip, we’ve put together a thorough review on our experience with Wilderness Motorhomes and why we think they are the best campervan hire company in NZ!
THE BEST LUXURY MOTORHOME HIRE NEW ZEALAND
When you are planning a New Zealand road trip, it’s easy to assume the cheapest option is the best, since you only need the van to sleep in… right? Well, not entirely!
Sure, you will have a great time even if you are roughing it around New Zealand, but that type of holiday isn’t for everyone. It definitely wasn’t for us, travelling with young kids, in winter!
We are budget-savvy travellers, however, we still like to be comfortable when we are travelling. This means paying a little more and it is almost always worth it. There have been a few times when we have skimped on accommodation and ended up with a dodgy Airbnb or hotel.
But that’s okay when it’s for one or two nights.
When you are spending a week or more in the same accommodation, you need to be comfortable. This same theory goes for campervan hire too! We wanted a luxury motorhome hire New Zealand so we could truly enjoy our road trip experience.
This is why Wilderness Motorhomes NZ checked all the boxes for our New Zealand South Island winter campervan trip.
Wilderness Motorhomes are a luxury motorhome hire New Zealand campervan company with a large fleet of vehicles to suit different budgets and family sizes. They have small motorhomes perfect for solo or couple trips, and they have larger vans that fit 4 or 5 people too.
The best part about them is the fact they are fully self-contained campervans! This means you can sleep, cook, shower, poop (it happens), relax… all the things, inside your campervan. Exactly what you need when doing a New Zealand campervan holiday as a family!
Picking Up Your Wilderness Campervan
The pick-up process with Wilderness is really easy, and they make you feel welcomed from the moment you arrive. Or in our case, the moment their transfer service picks you up.
Wilderness Motorhomes have 2 pick up locations – their head office site in Auckland and a second location in Christchurch. This means you can pick up and drop off from either, including a one-way trip between the two locations.
Since each of the motorhomes in the Wilderness fleet is certified self-contained, you can go completely off the grid and experience freedom camping around New Zealand. This is a fantastic way to keep your overall trip costs down since you don’t need to pay for camping sites each night!
It takes around 1-2 hours to go through everything you need with the Wilderness team before you head off on your campervan adventure. This includes signing the paperwork, reading the documentation and having an induction of your motorhome.
Then it’s keys in hand and away you go!
Outback 4 Motorhome
For our family campervan holiday, we hired a Wilderness Motorhomes Outback 4 campervan. There were a few reasons why we picked this particular model over the rest of the vehicles in the fleet.
Firstly, it’s 4 berth which is necessary when travelling with 4 people. We had our daughters aged 4 and 6 with us. It’s bigger than the Ranger 4, by around half a metre, which meant more room for comfort.
It has an island bed in the rear, which we thought may be useful if the kids needed a rest after an adventure, without having to make adjustments each time. And a separate toilet and shower seemed like a good idea.
Here are some of the main features of the Outback 4 Motorhome:
- Suited for up to 4 people
- 7.4M long
- 2 double beds (including an extra-long front bed)
- Kitchen with 3 burner stove & oven
- Separate toilet & shower
- Gas heating
- 240V mains power & 12V battery
- 122L water storage
- 19” television for DVDs
- MP3 player and Bluetooth radio
- Adjustable dining table
- Reversing camera
- Loads of storage space
Our Experience With The Outback 4 Motorhome
Our experience taking a campervan around New Zealand in an Outback 4 was fantastic! It took us a little while as first-time campers to adjust to some of the features, however, the driveability itself was a pretty easy adjustment for Simon. All the campervans are automatic, which is helpful, plus to reversing camera helps navigate the larger vehicle size.
The size of the beds were more than adequate for the 4 of us and there was plenty of room around the dining table or moving from one end of the van to the other without getting in each other’s way too much.
We didn’t use the oven. All our cooking was on the stovetop instead, and you can find our campervan cooking tips here.
Why a Luxury Campervan is a Must in Winter
In the warmer months, it would be easier to manage with a budget camper, however in winter, it’s just too cold! We felt bad for all the shivering cold people cooking on their outdoor BBQ in cold, wet weather while we were comfortably warm inside our Outback 4 cooking dinner and watching Netflix.
The gas heating was a lifesaver! Taking a campervan trip in winter, I had read quite a few things about people saying even with thermals and sleeping bag liners, they were still freezing at night.
I was worried.
But it wasn’t even an issue with Wilderness Motorhomes because our campervan was so toasty warm whenever we put the heater on and we left it on overnight for a comfortable sleep.
The convenient facilities were the other big factor. When you start a New Zealand campervan holiday, you usually have every intention of trying to avoid using the toilet as much as possible, but let’s be realistic – young kids are hard to train, so that toilet did get used plenty more than intended
When it’s zero degrees in the middle of the night, we are hardly going to drag a half-asleep child to the nearest public toilet.
What Is Included In The Campervan
It’s a great peace of mind knowing almost everything you need for your trip with Wilderness is included in the van when you pick it up. This is one of the best perks of a luxury motorhome hire New Zealand, compared to choosing a budget van option!
The only things not included are consumable products – food, bin liners, dishwashing liquid.
You get the following in every Wilderness hire:
- Crockery, glassware and cutlery
- Pots & pans
- Tea towels & scrubbing brush
- Comprehensive manual
- 24/7 emergency support
The Optional Extras
To add to your luxury campervan experience, Wilderness Motorhomes have plenty of upgrades you can add to your booking. Without them, they still have more inclusions than most other campervan rental companies!
Some of the items you can add on as extra are BBQ hire, table and chairs, snow chains, bikes and helmets, child car seats, GPS, DVD hire and unlimited wifi.
We loved having wifi during our trip so we could plan where to go, map out our itinerary day to day and also watch Netflix on the iPad at night when the kids were in bed! The unlimited wifi package is $15 a day. Alternatively, you could use a service like Skyroam instead.
RELATED READING – ESSENTIAL NZ CAMPING APPS
The level of insurance you choose is up to you. We recommend going for the VIP zero excess package just because you don’t know what may happen. We backed over a shrub and cracked the back bumper slightly. A cosmetic issue but still one that would have resulted in paying the excess otherwise. We also got a chip in the windscreen towards the end from an oncoming vehicle. It was great knowing we were covered and didn’t have to pay extra!
Especially when we parked back at the Christchurch depot on drop off day next to a vehicle that had definitely seen better days. Those roads can be so slippery in winter with black ice, so go for the VIP package if it’s in your budget!
It comes with a lot of the extras above as well, without you having to pay to add them on!
Freedom Camping With Wilderness Motorhomes
We were impressed at how long we were able to stay off the grid with our Outback 4. It was almost a week into our trip before we powered up our van and it was only due to staying at a particular location where there was not really any freedom camping around that we did so. Not because we were out of power!
They recommend plugging in every 4 or so days, but you easily get much longer! Plus the vehicle charges while you drive so you do top it up slightly each time you are on the move.
Our water and gas lasted several days also. We were careful with our water use, although using the campervan shower used it up quickly. We tried to use holiday park showers as much as possible.
The gas bottle lasted a few days each bottle, mostly because being winter we used it a lot more with overnight heating.
The toilet needed changing every few days because of the fact the kids suddenly seemed to need to pee 3 times each overnight. Or so it felt! More than a few days it would start to smell. Thankfully dump stations are everywhere and you can use the Campermate App to find them.
What Makes Wilderness Motorhomes Luxury Motorhomes?
All Wilderness Motorhome vehicles are less than 3 years old, which means you get all the modern features of a newer campervan. They include all the living and cooking facilities you need for a long term campervan holiday. And you get all the basic inclusions with your luxury RV booking price – the add ons are a nice perk but not essential!
They have plenty of space for travelling as a family or with friends. Each of the Wilderness vans have a living area for meals so you can stay warm during the cold or wet weather. No need to do everything outside of your campervan.
The attention to detail and luxury European design make you feel at ease throughout your campervan holiday. Even if it is your first time, like it was for us!
These are just a few of the main reasons why we feel Wilderness Motorhomes are the best luxury motorhome hire New Zealand. We did a lot of research and their inclusions were by far the best, even when the price was similar to other companies with much less.
Our Wilderness Motorhomes Review
We had an amazing time on our holiday and believe Wilderness Motorhomes to be one of the best campervan rental New Zealand companies by far! You get the comfort of home, fit into the smaller space of the van. Plus the attention to detail in the Wilderness vans is pretty incredible!
The adjustment to driving the 7.4M van came relatively easily. We were able to navigate some pretty crazy mountain roads without issue, even during winter.
Having gas heating and cooking facilities meant we stayed warm throughout our trip. And we didn’t worry about feeling damp all through the trip like many people complain about in budget campervans. That would have been the worst experience with kids!
The whole experience of pick up through to drop off with Wilderness was easy and whenever we did have questions on the road, they were quick to answer or call for assistance.
If you are planning a New Zealand road trip holiday soon, definitely consider Wilderness Motorhomes, as they are by far one of the best luxury motorhome hire New Zealand options. Without costing a fortune!
They are far from being the cheapest. However saving on holiday parks and public facilities help to balance those costs and travelling by campervan is often more cost-effective than hiring a car and staying at hotels throughout your trip!
This is your chance to get right up close with the New Zealand wilderness and feel like you are in the most remote parts of the world for a while.