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RV Classes – Find the Right RV rental for your travel

An RV (recreational vehicle) is a vehicle that can be used as a home away from home when you go on vacation. It’s more than just camping. It’s for anyone who wants to travel and stay in their own space without worrying about renting a hotel room every night or finding somewhere safe to park when they’re tired of driving. So how do you know which one to choose?

Self-contained vs a non self-contained RV?

A self-contained RV, also known as a “fully equipped” or “fully loaded” RV, is a recreational vehicle equipped with water, sewage, and waste storage systems. This allows it to be self-sufficient and independent of external sources for these services, making it suitable for extended travel or use in areas without access to campground facilities.

Self-contained RVs typically have a more complete set of amenities and features. These may include a living area, kitchen, bathroom, and storage compartments, as well as entertainment features such as a TV and DVD player. They may also have additional features such as a generator, air conditioning, and heating.

A non self-contained RV, also known as a “dry” RV, is a type of recreational vehicle with no water, sewage, or waste storage systems. This means it relies on external sources for these services, such as campground facilities or public utilities.

Non self-contained RVs are typically smaller and more lightweight than self-contained RVs, and are often more suitable for shorter trips or use in campgrounds that provide the necessary services. They may include features such as a living area, kitchen, and bathroom, but these may be more basic or limited than those found in a self-contained RV. These types of RVs are typically less expensive than self-contained RVs, but they may be less convenient to use in areas without access to the necessary services.

What is a motorhome?

A motorhome is a type of recreational vehicle (RV) that is self-contained and equipped for camping and travel. It typically includes a kitchen, sleeping area, and a bathroom and is designed to be driven and lived-in while travelling. 

A motorhome is an RV that has a drivetrain. That means it can be driven like any other car or truck instead of being towed behind another vehicle. It also has more amenities than other RVs, so it’s better suited for long-term use, travelling with multiple people or for those wanting to travel in style and comfort.

A 4-6 berth motorhome is perfect for families and larger groups of people. It has two double beds, two single beds and a sofa bed that can be converted into an additional single bed. The kitchen includes a fridge, oven and microwave. The bathroom has a toilet, shower, vanity mirror, and storage space underneath.

A 2-4 berth motorhome is a good option for couples or small families. It has one double bed and one single bed, plus a sofa that can be converted into an additional single bed. The kitchen includes a fridge, oven and microwave. The bathroom has a toilet, shower, vanity mirror, and storage space underneath.

A motorhome is a good choice for anyone who wants to travel long distances. It’s also a good option for people who want more amenities than a campervan provides and don’t mind paying extra for them. This allows you to explore more remote areas as it gives the freedom of being self-sustained for several days on end.

2-4-berth Motorhome
4-6-berth Motorhome

Note: Images are for illustration purposes only, and features vary among suppliers.

What is a campervan?

A campervan is a smaller type of RV. They offer a more compact and maneuverable option than larger motorhomes and can be a more economical choice for those who do not need as much space or as many amenities. Campervans can be either self-contained (with their own water, sewage, and waste storage systems) or non self-contained (relying on external sources for these services)

A campervan generally has sleeping space for up to three people and has less storage space than a motorhome. They can come equipped with bathroom facilities such as a shower, toilet and basin, depending on the size and model. They often include small kitchens and living areas as well. Campervans also come with the added benefits of being more affordable and easier to drive and park than a motorhome.

Generally, campervans come in two sizes: Small and large. The small size is often referred to as a “single-berth” campervan, while the larger ones are called “twin-berths.” Both generally include a bed for 1-2 people, although the larger models usually feature an additional sofa bed.

Single-berth Campervan
Twin-berth Campervan

Note: Images are for illustration purposes only, and features vary among suppliers.

A hi-top campervan includes an elevated roof, making it easy to stand up inside and move around more freely. In addition, hi-top campers are often longer than regular campervans, providing extra room for storage, making them ideal if you bring recreational items such as bikes. Most hi-top campervans have a small kitchen area with a sink, refrigerator, and stove. Depending on the size, some models also come equipped with a small bathroom with a toilet, sink and possibly a shower.

Hi-top Campervan

Note: Images are for illustration purposes only, and features vary among suppliers.

Pop-top campers are smaller campervans with a roof that can be raised or lowered. When the top is raised, it provides extra headroom and sleeping space, and when it is lowered, it makes the campervan more compact and easier to drive. 

Pop-top campers are often used by long-distance travellers keeping to a budget who just want a comfortable place to sleep without all the bells and whistles of a motorhome or larger campervan. Most pop-top campervans have a small kitchen area with a sink and stove. Some may also have a microwave oven.

Pop-top Campervan

Note: Images are for illustration purposes only, and features vary among suppliers.

What is a 4WD Camper?

A 4WD campervan, also known as an all-terrain campervan or off-road campervan, is a type of recreational vehicle designed for rugged terrain and off-road conditions. These campervans typically have four-wheel drive and may also have features such as high clearance, sturdy tires, and additional suspension to help them navigate rough terrain.

4WD campervans are often equipped with some of the typical amenities and features of a traditional campervan, such as a mini kitchen, sleeping area, compact storage space and outdoor solar shower capabilities.

4WD Camper

Note: Images are for illustration purposes only, and features vary among suppliers.

Motorhome Rental in Christchurch

Motorhome Choice takes the hassle out of finding the right campervan. We compare the prices and features of hundreds of motorhomes in New Zealand from the most trusted rental providers.

Christchurch is the largest city on the South Island of New Zealand and is a popular destination for travellers who want to explore the region in a campervan. Situated just north of the scenic Canterbury Plains, it’s known for its charming old-world architecture and rich culture. The surrounding region is home to many natural wonders, including the Southern Alps, Lake Tekapo, and the Canterbury Plains, which offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and water sports.

One of the main reasons that Christchurch is such a popular destination for campervan rental is its central location. From Christchurch, travellers can easily access a number of popular destinations on the South Island, including Queenstown, Wanaka, and the West Coast. The city is also well-connected by a network of roads and highways, making it easy to get around and explore the surrounding region.

There are many reasons why exploring Christchurch in a campervan is a great idea. Campervans offer a great way to have your transportation and accommodation all in one, which is perfect for travelling around a new city. Campervanning is a great way to save money while travelling – you can cook your meals and camp for free at designated areas around the town – termed Freedom Camping. The Christchurch City Council has a list of all the parking restrictions in the city and includes a map of all the designated campervan parking areas.

A tram passing through Christchurch, New Zealand
A tram passing through Christchurch, New Zealand

See charming Christchurch from your motorhome rental

Whether you’re a seasoned campervan traveller or a newcomer to the scene, Christchurch is a great destination for a campervan adventure. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready for an experience of a lifetime in Christchurch. 

Want to see as much of the South Island as possible? We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 things to see and do on your motorhome rental holiday!

1. Christchurch Cathedral & Cardboard Cathedral – Visit the iconic Christchurch Cathedral and see the beautiful stone architecture up close. The cathedral was severely damaged in the 2011 earthquake and is currently being rebuilt, making it a unique and interesting attraction.

The Cardboard Cathedral is an unusual attraction in Christchurch that was constructed after the 2011 earthquakes destroyed many of the city’s churches. This cathedral is made entirely of cardboard, offering travellers an interesting look at ecclesiastical architecture.

2. Canterbury Museum – Check out the Canterbury Museum and learn about the history and culture of the region. The museum features exhibits on Maori and European history, as well as a collection of art and artifacts from around the world.

3. Christchurch Gondola – Take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola and see the city from above. The gondola takes you to the Port Hills for panoramic views of Christchurch, the Pacific Ocean, and the Southern Alps.

The Christchurch Gondola Station is located on the top of Port Hills
The Christchurch Gondola Station is located on the top of Port Hills

4. Hagley Park – Hagley Park is the largest urban open space located just north of the city centre and is perfect for a morning or afternoon stroll. With plenty of gardens, walking paths, and sports facilities, it’s a great place to spend some time outdoors.

5. International Antarctic Centre – Take a trip to the International Antarctic Centre and learn about the science and history of Antarctica. You’ll be able to go on simulated rides through an Antarctic storm and meet and interact with penguins.

6. Lake Tekapo – A large, shallow lake located in the South Island of New Zealand. It is one of the three lakes that make up the Mackenzie Basin, and is known for its stunning turquoise blue waters and picturesque surroundings. There are also several small islands located on the lake, which are home to a variety of birds, including black swans and herons. The lake is also popular with photographers, who come to the area to capture the stunning landscapes and wildlife.

Lupins at Lake Tekapo
Early morning sun falls on the lupins near the Church of the Good Shepherd near Lake Tekapo, on New Zealand’s South Island

7. Mona Vale Homestead – Mona Vale Homestead is a historic house located just outside Christchurch, built in the 1800s. This house is open for tours and offers visitors a look at life during the Victorian era.

8. Hanmer Springs – If you’re looking for a place to relax and get away from the city, be sure to check out Hanmer Springs. This town is located just north of Christchurch and offers visitors a number of terrific amenities, including thermal pools, hiking trails, and restaurants. With its beautiful scenery and relaxing atmosphere, Hanmer Springs is the perfect place to spend a weekend away from the city.

9. Mt. Herbert – Mt. Herbert is a mountain located just north of Christchurch that offers hikers a challenging climb with stunning views of the city and its surroundings.

10. Arthur’s Pass National Park– Explore this beautiful and rugged wilderness area in the Southern Alps of New Zealand, about a two-hour drive from Christchurch. It is a popular day trip for tourists and locals looking to escape the city and explore the stunning natural beauty of the Southern Alps.

Castle Hill Arthur's Pass National Park
Castle Hill Arthur’s Pass National Park

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to hire an RV in Christchurch?

A basic campervan can cost as little as NZD $50 per day (plus fuel), whereas a luxury motorhome can see prices soar upwards past NZD $500 (plus fuel) per day. The following can impact rates:

  • Size
  • Age
  • Features

When travelling to New Zealand, one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make is the type and size of motorhome rental you want. So first, work out what is best for your needs and budget. Then our comparison tool will do the hard work of sifting through New Zealand’s most trusted RV suppliers to find the best choice and rates.

Can I rent a motorhome at Christchurch Airport?

Unfortunately, no RV rental companies are based within the terminal at Christchurch airport. However, most depots are just a short drive away.

Some suppliers offer a complimentary shuttle service with your rental, which requires booking in advance. Otherwise, there are public buses, shuttles, and taxis available.

Are one-way motorhome rentals possible from Christchurch?

Yes, many companies have depots in both the North and South Islands and allow one-way trips. 

One-way motorhome rentals incur a ferry cost between the Islands, and additional one-way fees may also apply, calculated at the time of booking. Our support team can assist with a one-way rental booking.

Can you sleep anywhere in an RV in Christchurch?

Although freedom camping is permitted in New Zealand, it is heavily regulated by individual councils. You can find more information from the Christchurch council on their specific by-laws and suggestions of where you can park your RV.

New Zealand has strict rules on sleeping in an RV overnight that is not in a designated camping area and the Department of Conservation, DOC, provides hundreds of RV friendly campsites throughout the country. Many of these campsites offer the bare basics in terms of amenities, requiring you to be self-sufficient and to camp responsibly.

Motorhome Choice recommends parking overnight in campgrounds which are geared toward RV’s by providing convenient amenities such as electrical and water hook-ups. These hook-ups allow campers to power their vehicles and use the onboard facilities such as the refrigerator, lights, electrical appliances and showers. Some campgrounds may also have dump stations where RV’s can dispose of their wastewater and sewage.

In addition to these practical amenities, many campgrounds also offer a variety of recreational activities and facilities that can make your trip even more enjoyable. These may include swimming pools, playgrounds, hiking trails, and recreation areas. Some campgrounds may also have on-site stores, cafes and rental facilities where campers can purchase supplies or rent equipment such as bikes or kayaks.

What licence do I need to rent a motorhome in Christchurch?

To hire a vehicle, all drivers must have a current and full driver’s licence. Foreign licences are acceptable if they are in English or accompanied by an accredited English translation. Otherwise, an International Driving Permit (IDP) is required.

Does my motorhome rental come with unlimited mileage in Christchurch?

Yes, unlimited kilometres are generally included for standard vehicle rentals in New Zealand. The comparison tool will show whether your preferred vehicle has unlimited or restricted kilometres.

How old do I need to be to rent a motorhome in Christchurch?

Most motorhome rental companies in New Zealand require the driver to be 21 years of age or older to access their full range of vehicles.

Some companies will rent to drivers between 18 and 21, but only specific models may be available. In those cases, additional insurance may be required.

Enter the driver’s age into our search tool, and we will filter available vehicles to match.

Are there pet-friendly motorhome rentals available in Christchurch?

Several pet-friendly motorhome rental companies in New Zealand allow you to travel with your dog or cat. However, advanced prior approval is required and will usually incur a fee to cover the extra cleaning cost. Contact our support team to check if taking a pet on board a specific vehicle is possible.

Note: policies vary from supplier to supplier. Always check the T&Cs for your rental.