As New Zealand's most populous city, Auckland is a bustling metropolis brimming with culture, food, music, and art. Waitematā Harbour brings spectacular sparkling vistas, while rainforest-shrouded ranges and beautiful black sand beaches straddle the urban sprawl.
Although this buzzing cosmopolitan hub has a slew of worthwhile attractions, it's the North Island's next-level nature that lures campervan enthusiasts in droves. From cone-shaped volcanoes to thundering waterfalls and steamy geothermal pools, these Lord of the Rings-inspired landscapes invite extended outdoor adventures.
RV travel is big in New Zealand, and [the North Island]((new-zealand/north-island) is no exception. To meet ever-increasing demand, the country has developed world-class RV infrastructure - ample scenic campsites and convenient dump stations/water refills wherever you roam.
One-way rentals are also an option with many travelers choosing to drive down to Wellington, Christchurch on the South Island, or alternatively to Queenstown.
Not all vehicles may be available. Use the search tool to check availability for your travel dates.
Renting a tricked-out camper is the most cost-effective and convenient way to explore Auckland and the North Island. Here are the top reasons why you should rent a campervan for your upcoming adventure:
Cost-effective: The traditional hotel and hire car combo will cost you a pretty penny in New Zealand. A motorhome, however, lets you combine your accommodation and transport expenses into one.
Convenient: Instead of doubling back to your hotel each day, you can pull up at the closest campsite to retire for the night. Plus, you’ll have all your essentials within easy reach.
Flexibility: No need to draw up a complex itinerary of transport connections and hotel reservations. With a mobile home, you can meander around the North Island on a whim.
Get close to nature: Mother Nature is New Zealand’s biggest drawcard. And the best way to bask in her glory is by exploring in a campervan. Wouldn’t you rather sleep under the stars than stare at a stuffy hotel ceiling?
Easy access to amenities: A campervan puts everything you need within arms reach. Feeling all sweaty after a tough day on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing? Freshen up with a quick shower and change of clothes.
When driving around Auckland in a campervan rental, remember these important tips:
On the northern tip of Cape Reinga, this splendid campsite straddles a tranquil river. Adorable farmyard animals meander across the outlying hills, and there’s a secluded beach just a few minutes’ walk away. For campers seeking to get away from it all, this place is well worth the drive.
Price: from $16 per site per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, non-potable water
If the east coast beckons, the well-regarded Tauranga Bay Holiday Park is a brilliant place to stay. Top-notch facilities, beachfront campsites, and old-fashioned hospitality make it a favourite among seasoned campers. The friendly, family-run business goes to great lengths to make everyone feel at home.
Price: from $20 per site per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, camp kitchen, bbq, laundry, dump point, shop
Over on the west coast, Te Kopua Whanau Camp peers over an estuary and a moody black sand beach. Once you’re done relishing in the beautiful views, take a day trip to the otherworldly Waitomo Caves to gawk at glimmering glow worms.
Price: from $10 per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, potable water, bins, camp kitchen
The tiny town of Kawhia has three holiday parks to choose from, the best of which is the laidback Kawhia Camping Ground. Excellent amenities, friendly owners, and easy access to the beach make it a top spot to stay overnight.
Price: from $20 per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, potable water, camp kitchen, laundry, powered sites
Wrapped around a tranquil stream, this relaxing campsite is among the best places to stay on the Coromandel Peninsula. Guests get easy access to a picture-perfect beach, plus free kayak hire for leisurely afternoon paddles. Don’t bother arriving in winter, as the place closes from May to October.
Price: from $40 per site per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, potable water, bbq, camp kitchen, laundry, powered sites
Travellers who’ve taken their camper to Waiheke Island can overnight at Poukaraka Flats. Lush grassy meadows and direct beach access make this seldom-visited council-run site a standout choice. Book online ahead of time and punch your code into the keypad by the gate.
Price: from $16 per adult per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, potable water, bbq
On the northern tip of the Coromandel Peninsula lies Port Jackson Camping Ground, where ocean-loving RVers can park right up by the beach. Aside from the sweeping sea views, you’ll get respectable amenities and next-level serenity for a reasonable nightly price.
Price: from $15 per site per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, potable water
Taupo TOP 10 Holiday Park is a modern, well-equipped campground within easy reach of the town’s most sought-after sites. As you’d expect from a Top 10, the park has spotless facilities and attentive reception staff. If you’re on a budget, try the free Hipapatua Reserve instead (it’s just outside town).
Price: from $44 per site per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, potable water, bins, bbq, camp kitchen, laundry, WiFi, ensuite sites, dump point, powered sites
Nestled under the shadow of Mount Maunganui, this beautiful beachside park is the top place to stay in town. Energetic travellers can summit the steep adjacent peak and then wash the sweat off with a swim at Maunganui Beach. Superb facilities and excellent amenities give cause to linger a few extra days.
Price: from $51 per site per night
Amenities: toilets, showers, potable water, bins, bbq, camp kitchen, car wash, WiFi, dump point, powered sites
One of the best free camps on the North Island, this scenic site lines the calm, lapping waters of Whakaipō Bay (Lake Taupo). Stacks of space and sweeping lake views make it a popular spot for locals and internationals alike. Just be aware your campervan will need to be fully self-contained.
It’d be a crime to visit the North Island without sussing out Auckland’s most iconic attractions.
Take the elevator up to the observation deck at Sky Tower to get a lay of the land. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could bungee jump back down.
To get up to speed on New Zealand’s culture, natural history, and military past, pop into the neo-classicist Auckland War Memorial Museum. Other superb inner-city exhibits include the New Zealand Maritime Museum and the Museum of Transport and Technology. Art aficionados mustn’t miss Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, where a magnificent château-style building showcases international and traditional Maori works.
Auckland is a world-renowned gastronomic hotspot bursting with multicultural flair. Foodies can tantalise their tastebuds with a smorgasbord of international flavours. Top culinary districts include Viaduct Harbour, Ponsonby, Kingsland, and Newton.
For tranquil parklands, try Auckland Domain or the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Families can pencil in SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium or the Auckland Zoo to gawk at adorable animals.
If you’d rather observe marine life in the wild, jump on a Hauraki Gulf whale-watching tour. Operating year-round, the trips often spot breaching Bryde and Sei whales, plus other slippery critters like dolphins and manta rays.
A 40-minute ferry trip from Auckland Harbour lies Waiheke Island, a vineyard-strewn spot dubbed the “Island of Wine” (hit Stonyridge or Mudbrick for heavenly tipples). Even closer resides Rangitoto, a dormant volcanic island chock full of walking trails and spellbinding views. Sign up for a sunset kayak tour to get there in style.
Another tempting offshore escape is Tiritiri Matangi Island, home to curious wildlife and colourful avifauna. Alternatively, take your camper on the SeaLink car ferry to Great Barrier Island for a secluded getaway. Located 100 km offshore, this remote 285 square kilometre island is home to just a thousand inhabitants. Wilderness adventures span hiking to surfing and mountain biking.
Auckland serves as a handy base to explore the dramatic volcanic landscapes of New Zealand’s North Island, A.K.A. Te Ika-a-Māui.
Heading up towards the aptly named Northland, make a pitstop at the picture-perfect Whangarei Falls.
You’ll need to leave the camper on the mainland when exploring the Poor Knights Islands, a marine life-rich reserve some 22km offshore. Local tour operators offer action-packed day trips encompassing snorkelling, kayaking, and cave explorations.
Stop at Waitangi Treaty Grounds to catch up on colonial-era history before hitting Cape Reinga, a scenic spot where the Pacific Ocean and Tasman Sea converge. Be sure to grab a happy snap with the iconic Cape Reinga Lighthouse.
Southeast of the city lies the Coromandel Peninsula, a paradise of pristine beaches and misty forests. The most iconic attraction is Cathedral Cove, where a majestic limestone archway peers out over the South Pacific. Get there via a scenic coastal hike, a kayaking jaunt, or a boat cruise.
J.R.R Tolkien fans would be mad to miss a Movie Set Tour at Hobbiton, which set the scene for the Shire in the classic Peter Jackson films.
The southern route takes you towards Rotorua, a quaint lakeside town surrounded by a gurgling geothermal hotbed of steamy geysers and springs.
Pop into the touristic Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland to admire technicoloured volcano-heated pools. For a similar yet less-crowded experience, try the protected Waimangu Volcanic Valley, home to the largest hot springs on earth. The Hell’s Gate Geothermal Reserve is your best bet for a sloppy mud spa and other wellness indulgences.
While in Rotorua, meander between towering giants at Whakarewarewa Forest—do the Redwoods Treewalk. Next, say hello to fluffy, flightless birds at the National Kiwi Hatchery and visit the Government Gardens for impressive Tudor-style architecture.
Rotorua is also a top spot to immerse yourself in Maori culture. Check out Te Puia to learn about traditional customs while admiring more geothermal wonders.
To the west of Rotorua, Waitomo Caves is a worthy detour. Millions of bio-luminescent glow worms light up a network of limestone caverns in a dazzling display.
Further south, Taupō is a laidback lakeside town and a great place to chase waterfalls. The roaring pièce de résistance is Huka Falls, which pumps out an astonishing 220,000 litres per second. Other less ferocious—but still spectacular—options include Otupoto Falls and Tieke Falls. Whitewater rafting and jetboat riding experiences abound.
Avid hikers (or any fit travellers) mustn’t miss the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This undulating 19km trail trudges between cragged volcanic peaks—some say it’s the best one-day hike in the north. If you’ve rocked up during the cooler months, nearby Mount Ruapehu is the North Island’s premiere ski resort.
To the west, Egmont National Park hosts Mount Taranaki, an enormous dormant volcano with spectacular hiking trails. The top pick is Pouakai Crossing, where a scenic 18 km route traverses crystalline alpine tarns.
If time permits, wander down to the New Zealand capital of Wellington, a windy city on the island’s southwest tip.
An epic ice-caped volcano enveloped by misty rainforest lures nature lovers here in droves. Marvel at the scenery from easy-to-access lookouts or trample the 18 km Pouakai Crossing to savour the majestic scene.
Stretch your legs and soak up spectacular volcanic views on the North Island’s most celebrated hike. The Tongariro Alpine Crossing showcases the park’s most breathtaking highlights on a demanding (but totally worth it) 19 km stint.
Easy-going Taupō is a top spot to give TLC the cold shoulder and chase some wondrous waterfalls. Wandering the footbridge across the thunderous Huka Falls is guaranteed to get you feeling all giddy.
A highlight of any North Island itinerary, Rotorua brims with gurgling geothermal springs, vibrant Maori culture, and towering Redwood trees. Take the time to savour the jaw-dropping nature of one of New Zealand’s top tourism drawcards.
A bazillion bio-luminescent glow worms light up these moody subterranean caves. Jump on a boat to navigate a labyrinth-like network of underground rivers and admire the twinkling phenomena firsthand.
This photogenic ocean cave is among the most Instagrammable spots in the north. And getting there is half the fun. Hike along a scenic coastal path or rent a kayak to paddle to paradise.
Despite being New Zealand’s sixth largest island, this remote landmass is among the country’s least populated regions. Untouched beaches, thickly forested mountains, and abundant wildlife make it a great place to escape the rat race.
Love your wine? Then you’ll adore the luscious vineyard-clad landscapes of Waiheke Island. Pop over on a day trip to quaff top-notch plonk from the source or BYO campervan on the car ferry to soak in the spectacular surroundings.
Straddling the northern tip of the island, this scenic cape marks the spot where the Pacific and Tasman meet. Snap a selfie at the iconic lighthouse and take a moment to savour the breathtaking views.
Leave your campervan on the mainland and jump on a charter ferry to this stunning marine-life-rich reserve. Gawk in awe at dramatic volcanic archways and caves, then plunge beneath the surface to rub shoulders with curious ocean-dwelling critters.
“The winterless north,” as some call it. In this itinerary, we follow the 800 km Twin Coast Discovery Highway up the east coast and back down the less developed west coast with plenty to see and do.MORE: 7-Day Auckland Itinerary
New Zealand has an unforgettable abundance of breathtaking scenery, welcoming and friendly locals, and a vast variety of fun activities, including some high-octane thrills. Wherever your trip takes you, you’ll enjoy tasty food and drink and experience a vibe unlike anywhere else on earth.MORE: 7-Day Auckland Itinerary
You'll be swept away by the natural beauty of the North Island. And with a campervan as your trusty steed, you'll have the freedom to wander wherever the wind takes you, seeking out adventure and relaxation at your own pace on this 14-day North Island adventure.MORE: 14-Day North Island Itinerary
You need a full, unrestricted car license to hire a camper in Auckland. If your license isn’t in English, you’ll also need an International Driver’s Permit (IDP). Most rental companies won’t offer campervans to drivers under 21. However, some agencies are more lenient. JUCY, for example, will rent vehicles to drivers aged 18 and/or with a restricted New Zealand license or an Australian Green P licence.
Freedom camping is generally permitted in New Zealand, however, while allowed, it is strictly regulated. Rules and guidelines must be followed at all times and these can vary depending on the area and any council bylaws (local laws) that may apply.
Generally to freedom camp anywhere in New Zealand, your vehicle must have a self-containment certification
If you are unsure of the rules that apply in a specific area it is best to visit the nearest I-Site (visitor information center) and ask about any local regulations or bylaws.
Yes, many companies have depots in both the North and South Islands and allow one-way trips.
If planning this you will need to pay the cost of the ferry, our support team can help you book this.
Additional one-way fees may apply, the comparison tool will automatically factor this into your total.
If you wish to go freedom camping in New Zealand, your vehicle must be self-contained and certified.
This means you must be able to live in the vehicle for 3 days without needing additional water or needing to dump the waste.
In addition, the vehicle must have:
The vehicle must have been checked by a qualified officer to ensure it meets these requirements. Self-contained motorhomes have a sticker displayed on the vehicle, proving its certification.
There are no RV rental companies based within the terminal at Auckland Airport, however, most depots are just a short drive away (1.5-19 miles).
Many suppliers offer a complimentary shuttle service with your rental, however, this must be booked in advance. For cases where a shuttle is not provided, there are public buses, shuttles, and taxis available.
Yes, generally unlimited miles are included for standard vehicle rentals in New Zealand. The comparison tool will show you if your preferred vehicle has this included or if the mileage is restricted.