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Motorhome Rental & Campervan Hire Christchurch
Motorhome Hire in ChristchurchAs the largest city on New Zealand's South Island, Christchurch is a quintessential stop for road trippers in this region. Since this is where the bulk of flights onto the island arrive, many people decide to pick up their campervan hire in Christchurch and make this the starting point of their trip. However, logistics aren't the only reason why people decide to spend time in “The Garden City”. With a youthful and vibrant vibe along, with a wealth of cultural things to do, many people end up spending much more time here than they originally had planned!
After picking up your motorhome hire in Christchurch, take some time to familiarise yourself with the city. It's worthwhile to know that although it's illegal to camp your RV in the city at night, there are some fantastic campsites on the outskirts of the city where you can enjoy hot showers, free WiFi and travel tips from other campers!
Christchurch Campervan Rental
Mode Estima Camper
Jim's Camper Van
Christchurch Motorhome Hire
WEILDS EURO 6 BERTH
WEILDS ITALIAN ROLLER TEAM
Christchurch Caravan Hire
NZ4u2u 2018 Bailey Ancona 5 berth
NZ4u2u 2018 Bailey 4 berth with 2 single beds
Why Christchurch is the Perfect Place to Hire a Campervan Interesting Facts about the City
Christchurch is a great place to pick up supplies for your trip with a huge range of shops, small and large, across the city. If you're lucky enough to be around on a Sunday, you can't miss a visit to the famous Christchurch Farmer's Market. This is the place to be if you want to treat yourself to some artisanal products to enjoy on the road. For all your basics and camping essentials, there are plenty of supermarkets and hardware stores around the city where you can find what you need. New World and Countdown are two of the biggest chains and are conveniently open late in the evening with a number of chains in different areas. No matter where you stay, you won’t be far from one of these handy shops.
Once you’ve sorted out everything for your trip, it’s time to explore! Christchurch has plenty of things to entertain travellers. During the day, spend some time enjoying the city’s stunning parks and gardens, reminiscent of Victorian Britain. The Botanic Gardens, in particular, are lovely to visit and are frequented by both locals and tourists alike. On a warm day, this is the perfect place to come to enjoy peaceful walks, a wide selection of plant life and ample picnicking opportunities. To feel like you're really experiencing life from a time gone past, lock up your camper for the day and traverse the city by tram.
If you’re on the market for some shopping or even just some colourful photo opportunities, New Regent Street is a popular place to visit. This unique pedestrian shopping mall in the heart of Christchurch boasts buildings with pastel-hued facades, a variety of places to eat and interesting shops to browse. There are plenty of open spaces all over the downtown area to park your motorhome and the tram system also passes through here making it a convenient place to spend some time.
One of the most notable things about visiting Christchurch is that since the Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, many of the city’s iconic sights like the Christchurch Cathedral have suffered considerable damage. The city, however, is slowly rebuilding itself and, in some ways has reinvented itself in the face of adversity.
To pay homage to the victims of the natural disaster, visit the touching memorial 185 Empty Chairs; a stark reminder of the lives that were lost.
Afterwards, see for yourself how the collective spirit and positivity of the locals has allowed them to pull through by visiting the Cardboard Cathedral. Located behind the 185 Empty Chairs, this temporary cathedral was built to serve as a transitional space during the repair of the original Christchurch Cathedral. The building is made using materials salvaged from the aftermath of the disaster and has even won awards for its innovative design.
It’s difficult to come to Christchurch in this day in age and not notice the mass of container buildings which are also a hallmark of the tragic disaster. As a solution to the loss of premises following the earthquake, many business owners set up these temporary shops for themselves. To explore the best of Christchurch’s shipping container businesses, visit Re:Start: a temporary shopping mall which has independent shops and some of the city's best restaurants operating out of containers. Visiting is a great way to show your support to the community while enjoying a unique shopping and dining experience.
Similar establishments are opening in a variety of cities around the world and are a sign of a strong young culture. And Christchurch has exactly that. The city is also home to over 100 street murals and is a prominent city for street on the global stage. Lonely Planet even recently listed it as one of the top cities to see street art in the world, along with Berlin, Barcelona and London!
Whether you’re at the start of your trip or nearing the end, it’s undeniable that Christchurch has one of the largest foodie scenes on the South Island. This is the place to be if you’re looking for some artisanal coffee shops, craft breweries or trendy brunch spots. The city now has Uber, so if you’ve decided to use your motorhome hire in Christchurch and stay on the outskirts of the city, you can take a night off cooking and get home easily without breaking the bank.
For some, however, a trip to the South Island is a trip to escape busy city life and Christchurch has as much to offer nature enthusiasts as it does city dwellers. To enjoy the unspoilt beauty of the South Island without too far a journey, take a ride up the Christchurch Gondola. This scenic ride is the perfect place to enjoy the stunning lakes and mountains typical of the South Island without even leaving the city.
There is also a range of easy day trips that can be taken out of Christchurch for those not looking to go too far. If you’re looking to enjoy some of New Zealand’s famous wines; straight from grape to bottle, visit Waipara Wine Region, one of the South Island’s premier wineries. For a day relaxing in hot pools surrounded by picturesque scenery, Hammer Springs is under two hours away from Christchurch and a wonderful place to do some adventure sports. To enjoy a more laidback pace of life in a quaint French inspired town, visit Akaroa and meet the penguins and alpacas who call this area home.
If you’re planning a South Island roadtrip, we thoroughly recommend that you hire your motorhome at the beginning of your trip. Not only does this make the most sense logistically, but it’s the perfect way to familiarise yourself with the Island and prepare yourself for your trip. Plus, with a huge range of both natural and cultural things to do and see, there really is something for everyone in Christchurch!
Picking up and Dropping off your Campervan
Drop OffTowards the end of your trip, re-confirm the drop off time with the vehicle owner to make sure that it’s still convenient for both of you. With so much to see on the South Island, it’s very likely that you’ll be rushing back on your final day but make sure you give yourself enough time to go through the post hire vehicle inspection. The South Island’s roads can be windy with sharp bends so don’t compromise your, or anyone else’s, safety by speeding back. The inspection takes around 20 minutes. If there has been any damage to the vehicle, it should be reported on the Vehicle Handover Report.
Pick UpMake sure that you give yourself at least 45 minutes to go through the process of picking up your RV. The owner will go over everything you need to know about your camper so you can drive away confidently. If you have any questions, this is the time to ask them as connections aren’t always great on the road!
You’ll also need to fill in a Vehicle Handover Form. Take your time and answer the questions as thoroughly as possible. As you do this, check the campervan for any pre-existing damages and take note of these on the form. This form acts as protection for both you and the owner so it’s important that you fill it in carefully.
When planning how to pick up your campervan, be sure to contact the owner far in advance to arrange a time and place to meet. If you’re unsure of how to reach the owner’s home, ask them for advice on transport links around the city and they’ll be happy to help. If you’re a local looking for RV hire in Christchurch and need to drive your own car to pick it up, the owners will be able to give you advice on the best places to park if you don’t have anyone to drive your car back for you.
Campervans in Christchurch: A City Guide for Motorhome Owners
Best Time of Year for Motorhome Holidays in ChristchurchChristchurch enjoys four very distinct seasons through the year with cold winters and warm summers. Whether you want to enjoy the Autumn foliage, see the Spring blooms, do winter sports or simply laze on the beach, the surrounding areas of Christchurch have something to offer you all year round.
With warm, pleasant temperatures, Summer is one of the most popular times for campervan rental in Christchurch. However, the region’s moderate temperatures year-round make it a wonderful place to explore in any season. Here’s an overview of the best times of the year to visit Christchurch for a motorhome holiday.
- Summer runs from December to February with average temperatures peaking at 22 degrees. If you want to make the most of the South Island’s beautiful coastline, then this is the time to do it. It’s worthwhile to find a campervan with air-conditioning, a fan or an awning to escape under when the sun’s strong rays are beating down on you!
- Autumn (March to May) is one of the most beautiful times to visit the South Island as the trees begin to turn crimson. The pleasant temperatures reach an average high of 18 degrees and the weather is generally settled and stable.
- Winter is a great time for enjoying the South Island’s many ski-fields. However, temperatures can reach lows of 2 degrees. If you’re travelling during this time, try to find a motorhome with hot water, heating and bring some extra blankets and layers along, too. It’s also worth noting that the days are shorter in the Winter months so you’ll need to plan your sightseeing itinerary extra carefully.
- Christchurch is known as the garden city and, as you can imagine, is beautiful to visit in Spring. Temperatures are between 7 and 17 degrees so be sure to pack a few extra layers for the chilly nights.
- Rain is common all year round in Christchurch with May being the rainiest month. If you want to travel off-road, a 4WD is recommended.
Food and Drink
Christchurch has huge foodie scene with restaurants serving up inspired dishes from around the world using local, high-quality ingredients. One of the most unique things about Christchurch’s dining culture is the presence of shipping container restaurants defining the city’s resilience and personal reinvention following the 2011 Earthquakes. If you’d rather eat your dinner in a bricks and mortar restaurant though, fear not. You’ll find plenty of restaurants to suit every taste and budget in Christchurch.
From their humble days as a street food stand serving hungry tummies throughout Christchurch, Bacon Burgers have now set up permanent shop in the city’s CBD. Not only are they known for their delicious and succulent burgers, but their friendly staff leave patrons rushing back for their next burger. Don’t let the name full you though, it’s not all bacon- vegetarians and vegans are also well catered to here.
Mumbaiwala Street Food
This fun restaurant serves up authentic Indian food with a twist. Not content with just giving you the flavours that India is known for, they’ll bring you a slice of the atmosphere, too. You can try a variety of dishes, all served to you as though you were eating from a vibrant food stall in the bustling city of Mumbai.
With a huge selection of beers and wines in a chilled speakeasy environment, OGB is a great place to enjoy a drink. It’s situated on Cathedral Square, right in the heart of the CBD making it a convenient stop after a day of sightseeing. Peckish people will be glad to hear that they have a varied menu serving both bar snacks and full meals, too.
The Last Word
If you’re looking for something sophisticated and suave, head to The Last Word and have the mixologist shake you up a treat. Located in the quaint pedestrian shopping mall, New Regent Street, you can bring your drink outside and watch the trams ride past with a blanket. However, be warned, after you step foot inside, you’ll find it difficult to pull yourself away from the cosy ambience.
Just North of Christchurch, you’ll find Waipara Valley; one of New Zealand’s premium wine regions. Here you’ll find 74 vineyards and 31 wineries, known across the country for their Pinot Noirs and Rieslings. After you’ve done your tastings, you can enjoy the gorgeous landscapes that this region is known for.
Sports and RecreationWhen people think of sport in Christchurch, it’s fair to say that rugby is the first thing to come to mind. The city is home to The Crusaders, the most successful Super Rugby team in New Zealand, as well as Canterbury Rugby Union. Both teams play from Rugby League Stadium so you should be able to catch a match while you’re in the city. Parking is limited on match days and traffic can be congested. It’s best to leave your Christchurch campervan hire at home and use public transport.
Canterbury are Christchurch’s biggest cricket team and one of the 6 teams that make up New Zealand Cricket. They play the majority of their matches at Hagley Oval in the heart of Christchurch’s CBD. Parking is available at Deans Avenue Car Park but, again, it may be better to leave the camper at home and use public transport.
Events and Festivals
World Buskers Festival- January
For an arts festival with a difference, Christchurch’s World Buskers Festival brings together almost 500 talented performers from around the world. From comedians to magicians and musicians, this unique festival has something to offer everyone and attracts over 300,000 people each year. Don’t forget to bring along some loose change for a tip!
New Zealand International Jazz and Blues Festival- May
When the temperatures start to drop, Christchurch makes way for their International Jazz and Blues Festival. A must for music lovers, this is one of the country’s longest running festivals featuring some of the world’s best jazz and blues artists. You can catch performances at 10 venues across the city with tickets to suit all budgets.
North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival- May
To try some of the region’s most celebrated homegrown delicacies, a trip to North Canterbury Wine and Food Festival is a must. Situated in the idyllic wine town of Waipara just an hour outside of Christchurch, this festival makes a great day out for all the families. With pony rides for the little ones and plenty of pinot noir and chardonnay to keep the big kids happy, people of all ages will love this festival. The food tents are apparently of a very high standard, too, which never hurts!
The Great Kiwi Beer Festival- January
In January, beer lovers from near and far come together at Christchurch’s Hagley park to pay homage to their favourite nectar. You’ll find a huge selection of tents offering beers, ciders and wines from around the country as well as an eclectic array of street food. It’s not all drinking though with music and even seminars taking place throughout the day.
National Parks to Visit
Sitting at 900 metres high, the dramatic Arthur’s Pass National Park is a stunning place to visit with your Christchurch campervan hire.You can enjoy hiking, mountain biking or simply admire of the local wildlife. If you visit in Winter, don’t miss the chance to ski or board in the Temple Basin Ski Area. The park is a 2-hour drive from Christchurch so it would make a great day trip or first stop on your road trip. If you do decide to spend some time here, it’s possible to park your motorhome at any of 7 campsites within the park.
Getting further afield, Nelson Lakes National Park offers both challenging alpine hikes and leisurely lakeside walks to visitors. It takes around 4 hours to reach from Christchurch but those who make the trip are rewarded with some of the most stunning views the Southern Alps have to offer. Kerr Bay and West Bay campsites are both conveniently located within the park and offer powered sites for motorhomes.
One of the most unique national parks on the South Island, Paparoa is home to vast limestone canyons, rich vegetation and intriguing caves, all against the backdrop of the snowcapped Paparoa mountain range. With a wealth of activities on offer including kayaking and caving, a stop at this national park will offer a nice contrast to other stops on your trip.
The Ballroom Overhang Campsite is an informal place to pitch a tent. Alternatively, you can visit Panakaiki Beach Camp for all the amenities of a dedicated camping site. Before you go, be aware that dogs aren’t permitted in the park.
Other Accommodation ChoicesMany first-time visitors decide to hold off on picking up their Christchurch campervan hire to make time to explore the city. If you think you’d like a few days exploring the city by foot, you’ll be spoiled by choice with trendy boutique hotels, lavish up-market suites, comfortable mid-range options and budget-friendly dorms waiting to be booked.
Merivale is a charming part of the city to stay in with a wealth of restaurants and interesting shops to see. The coastal suburb of Sumner is well suited to those who want to be close to nature and don’t mind having a commute into the city centre. Although the CBD has a lot of sights for tourist ee, the accommodation options have been lacking since the Earthquake. If you do want to stay in this area, however, there are plenty of chain hostels and hotels to choose from.
This sophisticated accommodation is the place to come to if you’re looking for a touch of affordable luxury before your trip. It boasts elegant, comfortable bedrooms and has an envious location in the heart of the Merivale neighbourhood.
This rare city centre find offers some of the best value lodgings in Christchurch. Budget travellers can save pennies by sleeping in the dorm rooms while couples can relax in the privacy of a double room. If you’re looking to meet other travellers, the onsite lounge bar is the perfect place for a nightcap.
Sumner Re Treat
Perched on the beachfront of Sumner, Sumner Re Treat is a stylish, comfortable choice away from the city centre. Travellers can relax in their fully serviced apartment, enjoy the spa or simply take a stroll along the seaside. If you want to spend a few days getting away from it all, this is the place to come to do it.
Caravan Parks and CampgroundsChristchurch has a wealth of caravan parks and campgrounds where you can begin your camper holidays. Whether you want to stay near the centre of the city or escape to the outskirts, you’ll be sure to find something to suit you. After you pick up your Christchurch motorhome hire, you can park it off at one of these camps and enjoy the fabulous views and comfortable amenities on offer.
Christchurch Kiwi Holiday Park is a fantastic place to stay with clean, well-equipped cabins and dedicated parking for your motorhome. There’s plenty to keep you entertained too, including a swimming pool, barbeque stands and 24/7 WiFi! It’s conveniently located close to some of Christchurch’s top sights such as the Christchurch gondola.
If you're picking up your campervan at the airport after a long flight and want to settle down, consider North South Holiday Park. This holiday park is located just 5 minutes away from the airport and has accommodation choices to suit all budgets. Set in peaceful, tree-lined grounds, this is the perfect place to relax before starting your trip.
For those looking to make the most of New Zealand’s fantastic coastline, Spencer Beach Holiday Park is a great choice. It’s just 500 metres away from the beach and 20 minutes away from the city centre and airport so you can really have the best of both worlds. Plus, this 220 hectare holiday park has all the amenities you need to get your trip off to a great start.
Christchurch Top 10 Holiday Park is regarded as one of the highest quality parks in Christchurch with a triple 5-star rating. That shouldn’t put backpackers or budget travellers off, though. This holiday park has accommodation to suit every budget from dorms and tents to chalets and private studios.
Public TransportChristchurch has a cheap and extensive public transport system that can take you to most of the places you’ll want to go. Although driving is often quicker, sometimes using the city’s public transport is just easier and more convenient.
Most travellers start their trip at Christchurch National Airport. If you need to travel into the city to pick up your campervan, there’s a shuttle bus that connects travellers to the city for NZ$8. Alternatively, taxis are always available and Uber operates in the city as well.
Christchurch’s bus system is an easy way to get around with low fares and a huge range of routes. Even if you need to visit the surrounding suburbs, you’ll find a bus to take you there.
Those looking to travel between Lyttelton and Diamond Harbour will need to take a ferry. These ferries run every hour with the crossing taking 8 minutes.
It’s worth noting that you’ll save 25% on your bus and ferry fares if you use a Metrocard. These can be picked up at the bus interchange, as well as various outlets across the city. Check out their website for more details.
As well as this, Christchurch also has its own tram system. Although this is more intended as a tourist attraction, it’s definitely a fun and unique way to explore the city!
Things to Do
International Antarctic Centre
One of the city’s major tourist attractions, The International Antarctic Centre is the closest that you’ll get to Antarctica without spending thousands on a tour! Christchurch serves as one of the world’s 5 gateways to Antarctica and so has strong ties with the continent. At this exhibition, you can experience the continent’s 4 seasons in the Antarctic Show, test your endurance in a virtual Antarctic storm, feel the icy Antarctic water, meet penguins and take a 4D Antarctic cruise.
To enjoy an unrivalled 360 degrees view of the Christchurch cityscape and the surrounding nature, a ride on the Christchurch gondola is a must! From the summit, you can see out as far as the Southern Alps and the spectacular Banks Peninsula. After stepping out your gondola, you can step back in time at the Time Tunnel or enjoy a coffee with a view at the Red Rock Café. With dedicated parking onsite, you don’t need to worry about your Christchurch motorhome hire while you take in the views!
This comprehensive museum is a fantastic place to visit to learn more about the rich culture and stunning nature of New Zealand. Housing special exhibitions, this is a place you could easily spend hours getting lost in. Plus, it’s free so perfect for budget travellers.
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
The South Island is filled to the brim with rich and varied nature. The Christchurch Botanic Gardens are considered to be the heart of the “Garden City” and serve as a great place to enjoy New Zealand’s famous botany in the heart of the city. With a collection of both native and ethnic trees and flowers, these gardens are a beautiful place to relax any time of the year.
Many of Christchurch’s people, landscape and enterprises were devastated by the Earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Quake City tells the stories of the people who suffered through them and the science behind these natural disasters. It also houses the original spire of the Christchurch Cathedral and the railway station clock, still sitting at 12.51pm: the time of the 2011 earthquake.
To see for yourself how the people of Christchurch responded to the natural disaster, visit the Cardboard Cathedral. This uplifting structure is made from the relics and debris of the Earthquake. Although it was intended to be a temporary housing during the original Christchurch Cathedral’s repairs, it acts as a sign of hope for the city and has become a tourist attraction in itself. After visiting, take the time to pay homage to those who lost their lives at the 185 Empty Chairs Memorial.
Much like the Cardboard Cathedral, Re:Start was also supposed to be a temporary solution that has evolved to be an icon in itself. This innovative shopping mall is made up of shipping containers housing businesses who lost their premises in the Earthquake. It’s a vibrant place to visit with street performers and quirky stores around every corner.
Christchurch Art Gallery
As the city’s prime art gallery, this is a must for any art lover. The collection boasts pieces, both contemporary and classical by artists from New Zealand and further afield. It’s free to visit with a special late-night entry on a Wednesday. Located in the heart of Christchurch’s CBD, it’s easy to reach by public transport or foot and a great addition to any sightseeing itinerary.
The South Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most stunning and spectacular scenery, making it the perfect place for a campervan holiday. Not only are campervan hires in Christchurch plentiful but the city receives hundreds of flights every day making it the most convenient and logical place to start your trip.
Christchurch: The Ultimate Guide to Motorhome Road Trips
Driving Tips for your Christchurch Road TripBefore you leave your home country, make sure you’ve sorted your international driver’s license. If you come from a non-English speaking country, it will also need to be translated into English.
New Zealand drives on the left side of the road. If you’re unfamiliar with this, be sure to pay attention at all time.
It’s not unusual to come across a sheep crossing in New Zealand. Take your time on roads and watch out for animals.
Fill up your tank before taking long drives such as the journey between Franz Josef Glacier and Wanaka. It goes without saying that you should always double check you’re putting the right fuel, be it petrol or diesel, in the tank, too.
Weather conditions can be harsh in Winter and, if you’re not hiring a 4WD, snow chains could, literally, be a lifesaver.
The roads in the South Island are windy with sharp turns. Take your time driving on these, especially the more remote roads which can be particularly challenging for those used to driving on straight motorways.
The speed limits can change frequently when you’re driving. Avoid getting speeding tickets by always paying attention to the speed limit.
Familiarise yourself with the traffic signs used in New Zealand. You can learn about the driving laws in New Zealand by completing the visiting driver training programme.
If it’s your first time in the South Island, we recommend driving as slow as you deem comfortable. However, do bear in mind that New Zealanders are used to these roads and will be driving faster than you. To avoid having a long queue of cars stuck behind you, pull over at a safe placelike a picnic stop, to let fast cars pass you.
And finally, keep your eyes on the road and don’t let New Zealand’s beauty distract you too much! You’ll probably want to take a lot of photos, too, but just be sure to pull over in a safe area to avoid accidents.
Things to do on your Road TripSki in the Midst of Aoraki in Mackenzie
Aoraki is the ultimate stop on any South Island road trip. Being just under 4 hours away from Christchurch, it’s also easy to get to after picking up your campervan hire in Christchurch. In the Winter months, this area is a snow sports lover’s dream with ample opportunities for skiing and snowboarding. After spending a long day on the slopes, you can soothe your tired muscles in thermal hot springs or spend the night star gazing!
Sip Wine in Marlbourough
Boasting an immense number of vineyards and wineries, there’s a reason why Marlborough is one of the world’s premium wine regions. Situated in the Northern part of the Island, many people miss it out in favour of heading down South for a more adventurous experience. But, if you’re a true wine lover, it’s well worth taking the drive to this part of the country for its world-famous pinot noirs and sauvignon blancs.
Sky Dive in Queenstown
Queenstown offers a plethora of adventure sports from bungee jumping to white-water rafting. However, for the ultimate thrill, lots of adventurous souls opt for skydiving. Want to descend from a height of either 9,000, 12,000 or 15,000 feet as you fly at 200 km/h? Queenstown has long been regarded as the best place in the world to tick this off your bucket list. Will you be brave enough to add it to your itinerary?
Soak your Body in Hokitika Gorge
Situated on the West Coast of the South Island, Hokitika Gorge boasts insanely blue waters against a rugged untouched backdrop. After enjoying the hiking trails, make sure that you take the time to soak off in the hot pools.
Hike Through Fiordland National Park
Firodland National Park has endless hiking and walking trails; many of which can be explored independently. Whether you only have time for a short day hike or want to take do a multi-day hike, there are plenty of options to choose from. Those who take the time to explore this region will be rewarded with stunning forest, lake and alpine views.
Have High Tea at a Castle in Dunedin
Looking to take a break from the outdoors? Dunedin is the South Island’s prime heritage city with a strong Scottish and Maori Influence. As well as having a famous brewery, fantastic architecture and golden sand beaches, you can also visit New Zealand’s only castle; Larnach Castle. At 3pm every day, they serve a traditional British high tea with a selection of cakes and finger foods. Perfect if you want to spend the day treating yourself.
Spot Whales in Kaikoura
For the chance to spot nature’s grandest mammal, the picturesque coastal city of Kaikoura should be on your itinerary. Whales, seals and dolphins call the waters here home all year long so you should definitely be able to catch a glimpse of some marine life while you’re there. The city is also famous for its crayfish. Get yours from one of the street shacks and enjoy it at a picnic table along the shore.
Driving ItinerariesNo matter which road you decide to take out of Christchurch, you’ll never be far from the South Island’s enviable beauty. With your Christchurch motorhome hire in tow, you’ll never be far from a place to sleep either.
The Full South Island CircuitThe ultimate experience for road trippers in New Zealand, this trip starts and ends in Christchurch taking you to some of the most awe-inspiring parts of the country. After leaving Christchurch, take the state highway 7 North to Kaikoura for an epic whale watching experience before tucking into some crayfish. The next day, spend a night in Marlborough and take advantage full advantage of the wineries without having to worry about alcohol limits. Just 45 minutes along the coast is Abel Tasman National Park, a spectacular area full of stunning beaches and lush forests.
After exploring the Northern part of the South Island, it’s time to head South to Franz Josef Glacier. You’ll start your journey on the State Highway 6 passing through Victoria Forest Park along the way. When you’ve got your glacial fix, it’s time to start the commute to New Zealand’s adventure capital, Queenstown. The 3.5-hour drive to get here is one of the most beautiful in the country, going through the Haast Pass and the Southern Alps. We recommend putting ample time aside to stop for photos of the beautiful glaciers, lakes and waterfalls! No drive to Queenstown is complete without a stop at Lake Wanaka where you can see the iconic Wanaka Tree. While in Queenstown, park your campervan up for the day and take the opportunity to explore Milford Sound by kayak.
Following this, you’re going to make the journey to the most Southern point of New Zealand, Invercargill. From Queenstown, you’ll follow the State Highway 6. This drive will take you through the raw and unspoiled scenery that the South Island is known for.
To enjoy the best of the Northern hemisphere in the Southern hemisphere, Dunedin is well-known for its Scottish heritage and is often nicknamed The Edinburgh of New Zealand. As well as some of the country’s cutest penguins, you’ll also find golden beaches, breweries and Victorian architecture here. Give yourself a couple of days here before setting off for the penultimate stop on your trip; Aoraki. Most people state Aoraki, New Zealand’s highest peak, as a highlight of their trip with its snowcapped peaks. If you’re here in the winter, this is a great place to enjoy snow sports.
And, just like that, it will be time to head back to Christchurch. Luckily the views on your way back to Christchurch will soothe your sadness about finishing this once in a lifetime trip.
Christchurch to DunedinFor ocean lovers with less time on their hands, the 4-day trip from Christchurch to Dunedin is a fantastic option. After leaving Christchurch, drive North via State Highway 1 to Oamaru; the home of the famous blue penguin colony as well as some yellow eyed penguins. After spending a day getting your penguin fix and admiring the heritage buildings around the town, drive along the stunning coastline until you reach Dunedin, the Scotland of New Zealand. Don’t forget to stop and explore forgotten beaches along the way!
After you’ve picked up your RV hire in Christchurch and explored what the Garden City has to offer, it’s time to start the real adventure. A South Island road trip is a quintessential New Zealand experience and there’s no better place to start than the Christchurch. Boasting some of the country’ most breath-taking scenery and a plethora of high-octane activities, adventure junkies and leisurely travellers alike will be awed by what this incredible little corner of the world has to offer.
Whether you decide to spend a week or a month, there are plenty of itineraries to choose from. In Canterbury alone, there are a wealth of stunning sights to see so if you’re pushed for time, this is a great region to explore. Here you can awe at the vastness of Aoraki, explore the scenic Arthur’s Pass and spot marine life at Kaikoura.
If you have more time and want to do a full South Island trip, you can enjoy exciting stops at Wanaka and marvel at the iconic Wanaka Tree, experience the world’s first bungee jump in Queenstown and the ultimate glacial hiking experience in Franz Josef.
What our SHAREaCAMPER community says
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