Traveling in New Zealand in A Self-contained Campervan

Exploring New Zealand can be fun. The best way of doing it is obviously by renting or buying a self-contained campervan. You will have the opportunity to travel wherever you want, often camping under the starry skies.

There are very few experiences that come close to how united you will feel with Mother Nature while exploring in a self-contained campervan. Nevertheless, before you decide to ride off into the beautiful New Zealand sunset, you need to understand what having a self-contained campervan means.

For more information about self-contained campervans, you can check the following link: Self-contained Guide.

self-contained campervan

Reasons to Explore New Zealand in A Self-contained Campervan

  • The Ease Of Using a Self-contained Campervan?

A self-contained vehicle is what you will need since they come with amenities that allow you to store your items and dispose of waste in an environmentally friendly way. Once you’re done exploring for the day, you will need somewhere to rest and pack your campervan.

Luckily, there are many freedom camping sites dotted around the country where you’ll have access to some amenities without paying a single cent! Nevertheless, freedom camping sites come with some conditions. For instance, New Zealand has stringent rules when it comes to preserving the environment and ecology.

  • What a Campervan Needs to Be Classified as Self Contained

Self-contained campervans usually have a government-approved blue sticker. This means that they have all the required amenities to get parking at freedom camping sites. If you park your campervan in a freedom camping site without the self-contained sticker, you are liable to pay hefty fines.

It’s not a risk you want to take since government officials patrol freedom camps frequently. Additionally, for a van to qualify as self-contained, it needs to have the following items:

  • Either a fixed or portable toilet
  • A freshwater tank
  • A covered rubbish bin
  • A grey water tank
  • A sink that has a water trap with connections to a water waste tank

Your van may have all these items, but it isn’t classified as self-contained if it doesn’t have the government sticker.

  • Where to Camp for Free

Just because New Zealand is the adventure capital of the world with plenty of nature trails and landscapes, it doesn’t mean you can park your campervan anywhere you wish. There are numerous designated spots for this in the North and South Island. Here are a few of them:

North Island

– Long Beach Domain

– Rankers Koha Camping

South Island

– Robin Hood Bay

– Lake Pukaki Rest Area

Do prior research and make a list of these locations based on the places you plan to visit.

  • Where to Dispose Of Water Waste

When you have a self-contained campervan, it is your responsibility to ensure it’s clean. You will also have to dispose of the waste responsibly. To empty the wastewater, you have to use the multiple dump stations all over NZ.

These stations will help you to dispose of the wastewater in your campervan correctly. Most local maps and camping apps will show you where they are located.

The Benefits of Using a Self Contained Campervan

As we mentioned earlier, New Zealand has stringent rules regarding taking care of the environment and being ecologically friendly. That’s why acts like dropping wastewater on the floor aren’t considered environmentally friendly: It is not only harmful to the public but the vibrant ecosystem of NZ.

Therefore, the first benefit of using a self-contained campervan is that it is eco-friendly. Apart from taking care of the environment, a self-contained campervan will allow you to park in all of the campsites in New Zealand. Most camps don’t allow vehicles without the self-containment certificate to park in their areas.

Besides, there are almost 340 campsites all over NZ for you to enjoy. Thus, you will have the freedom you need to get adventurous while being confident that you can access toilets, water, and showers. Make sure to ask your NZ rental for referrals to campsites along your route before leaving to explore.

Moreover, with a self-contained caravan, you can freedom camp on any public land with the necessary permissions. You will also find signs to show you if there isn’t camping allowed on a specific piece of land. If there aren’t any signs, it means most campers can park on the land as long as they have self-contained campervan certification.

However, it is not unusual for local councils to change their regulations on freedom camping. Districts all over New Zealand have differing freedom camping laws. Therefore, if you want to explore New Zealand on a self-contained campervan, you should make sure that you’ve done sufficient research about the locations you wish to visit.


Any person who thinks about New Zealand should consider exploring the nation with a campervan. Driving a campervan through NZ comes with both freedom and comfort and experiences that you’ll never forget.

Before you set off to start your adventure, there are things you have to consider. For instance, New Zealanders (who are fantastic people) have to bear the brunt of tourists who don’t do their part to conserve the environment. Be careful not to litter or let your toilet overflow. Treat the country as you would your home for future generations of Kiwis.

Last Updated on May 14, 2023

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