Interislander - Cook Strait Ferries

Plan your Campervan Trip around New Zealand

Embarking on a campervan holiday in New Zealand offers a unique sense of freedom and adventure, whether you are a Kiwi or visiting Aotearoa.

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Picture yourself cruising along the open road with the people you love, surrounded by the breathtaking landscapes that define our country. With its stunning rural areas and diverse natural beauty, New Zealand is a dream destination for campervan enthusiasts and first timer travellers from around the globe. 

Contrary to popular belief, navigating New Zealand in a campervan is straightforward, especially when it comes to getting between the North and South Islands. At Interislander, we've welcomed countless campervans aboard the Cook Strait ferry, making island-hopping a seamless part of your getaway.  

There are plenty of places to park up for a night or two and choosing a network of holiday parks like  TOP 10 Holiday Parks means you’ll have access to full amenities, a range of fun activities and helpful services during your adventure.  

Become a TOP 10 member and you’ll save on your Interislander ferry travel and TOP 10 accommodation, as well as have access to discounts for experiences, bike hire and eateries around the country. 

Why explore New Zealand by campervan?

A campervan holiday works for families, couples and individuals looking to escape for a few days or a longer trip, promising an experience like no other. Here are some reasons why a campervan adventure should be at the top of your travel list:

  • Home comforts on wheels: Travelling in a campervan doesn't mean sacrificing comfort, in fact, with your own mobile home, you can enjoy creature comforts, from cooking your favourite meals to snuggling up with your own pillow for a cozy and personalised travel experience. And you don’t have to unpack at each stop!

  • Unparalleled freedom: Say goodbye to rigid itineraries and hello to spontaneity. With a campervan, you have the freedom to chart your own course, linger in captivating communities, and tailor your journey to suit your preferences. Whether you're captivated by a scenic vista or enchanted by a charming town, you can savour every moment at your own pace.

  • Proximity to nature's wonders: Some of New Zealand's most breathtaking sights are tucked away in remote corners and national parks. With a campervan, you can immerse yourself in these natural wonders, waking up to awe-inspiring views right at your doorstep.

  • Meeting other travellers along the way: New Zealand has a strong “nomad” culture with many retirees hitting the open road and camping or caravanning holidays popular with families. Make new friends as you run into familiar faces parking up each night. Share travel tips and maybe a meal and glass of wine!
TOP10 supplied campervan retirees LR

Planning your New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary

With the practicalities sorted, it is time to map out your New Zealand adventure. Here's a roadmap to help you plan your dream itinerary: 

Choosing your route

Whether you opt for scenic highways or off-the-beaten-path trails, tailor your route to encompass must-see destinations and hidden gems. Factor in the Interislander ferry crossing between Picton and Wellington (or vice versa) to seamlessly traverse between islands. 

Booking campsites

New Zealand offers a range of camping locations from freedom camping to secure, comfortable stops like TOP 10 Holiday Parks. Selecting a group of holiday parks that offer powered motorhome sites like TOP 10 is a convenient way to travel, with the welcoming team happy to help you find the best things to do while in the area. There are options to suit a variety of budgets, but popular locations may require advance booking, so plan accordingly. 

  • Soak up the mountain vistas at Kaikōura TOP 10, just over 2 hours from the Interislander Picton ferry terminal. Kaikōura is the gateway to the marine wonders of the Pacific Ocean including whale watching and dolphin spotting. Enjoy some of the many walking tracks in the area during your stay. 

Packing essentials

From bug spray to warm layers, pack a versatile array of clothing to prepare for New Zealand's ever-changing weather. Prioritise essentials while maximizing limited space in your campervan, ensuring a comfortable and well-equipped journey. A few things we like to take with us include:

  • Bug spray
  • Warm clothes, pack a down jacket if you have one!
  • Power bank
  • Head torch
  • First aid kit
  • Togs (swimwear) - even when travelling in winter it’s a good idea to have some swimwear with you. Several TOP 10’s have swimming pools and a good portion of these are heated during the winter months! You could even have a soak in the thermal hot pools while staying at Ōmokoroa TOP 10 in the Bay of Plenty. 

Choosing the right time to travel 

Whether you prefer the buzz of peak season or the tranquillity of the shoulder months, time your trip to align with your preferences. Be mindful of seasonal variations in weather, crowds, and availability when planning your adventure. Winter doesn’t have to stop you travelling, take advantage of your motorhome heating and park up at a TOP 10 powered site. 

Remember to book well ahead with both TOP 10 Holiday Parks and Interislander ferry as they fill up quickly during the summer months. 

  • Roxburgh Clutha Gold TOP 10 in Central Otago is a great stop for cyclists, close to the Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Clutha Gold Trail, great rides for all seasons. Travelling with a bike on Interislander is easy, with no extra charges when it’s attached to your motorhome. 

Familiarising yourself with regulations

Respect local rules and regulations governing road safety, self-containment and freedom camping. Here are some helpful links to find out more. 

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Enjoy one of the most breath-taking scenic ferry journeys in the world

No campervan journey in New Zealand is complete without a scenic voyage across the Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds. Simplify your island-hopping adventure with a picturesque Interislander ferry crossing, relishing the journey as much as the destination.

Helpful Interislander staff will direct you and your campervan onboard. Treat yourself and upgrade to the Premium Lounge on the ferries with great views, food and a great selection of local beer and wines.

Embarking on a campervan journey through New Zealand is an unparalleled adventure, offering boundless opportunities for exploration and discovery. With some planning, a sense of adventure, and the convenience of TOP 10 Holiday Parks and Interislander ferry, your New Zealand trip promises memories that will last a lifetime. So, pack your sense of adventure, we look forward to welcoming you aboard!

Check out our timetable and book your trip today!