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Campervan Restrictions in NZ

Travel Forums Australia / New Zealand & The Pacific Campervan Restrictions in NZ

1. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!


I'm heading to NZ for a month in January with my girlfriend.

We are due to hire a campervan and drive from Queenstown to Auckland. My girlfriend is worried that there maybe parking restrictions in some tourist areas.

The reason is that I am not as mobile as I should be. I suffered a broken and dislocated ankle in August (rugby injury) which is currently plated and screwed. It swells up a bit meaning I can't walk too far.
She is terrified that there will be height restrictions governing car parks in national parks/tourist sites and we would be better off hiring a car.

Personally I think she is talking crap but I thought I would check anyhow.

Is she justified in her worries?


2. Posted by sofe1978 (Respected Member 126 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Don't worry at all. We are in a camper at the moment and have been for 6 weeks now and have not had one problem anywhere. Most car parks even in the city/town centres don't have height restrictions and if they do then there will be another one geared up for campers probably next door.

Some supermarkets do have restrictions but the one we went in yesterday we just used another entrance and parked outside (still just outside the door).

ALL national parks have free parking (as far as I am aware) next to entrances etc and all do not have height restrictions on them.

I would definatly say get a camper as it's the best way to see everything you want to.

The only thing I would say.. and I'm sure you've checked this out already... I'm not sure how many companies have depots in Queentown so might be worth doing that as I know when I looked most only have them in Auckland and Christchurch...

good luck.. let me know if you need anything else.

For info we hired with Explore MOre and the van is excellent although I know there are 100's of companies out there to choose from.

HOpe this helps

Have fun.. you will LOVE NZ.. we do!
Sophie :)

3. Posted by wilderness (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Great to hear you are coming to New Zealand - you will have such a blast. You should have no worries about freedom camping here in NZ. This web page has more information about the regulations you may encounter in certain places: -snip- What I would recommend you do is - hire a vehicle that is really comfortable so it is easy to get into and one where you can relax and put your feet up. I don't think you will have any trouble whatsoever about getting around as long as you search wisely and choose a vehicle that works for you.
If you wanted to get some information from traveller's who have already been to New Zealand, I suggest you have a look on This is an independent feedback site where people can rank a company base don their experience with them. It is great if you plan to so some kayaking and activities while you are here.

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

4. Posted by DRMorris (Budding Member 3 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

The only place you would have a height problem is in carpark buildings, many of which have a limit of 2.5m. They have a hanging board at the entry that will tell you whether you can slide under or not. Otherwise the only thing you have to watch out for are low branches on trees in campgrounds etc. Ceertainly the height of a camper won't limit you in terms of mobility. There are, however, restrictions on where you can park overnight. Many parking lots and rest areas have "No Camping" signs for reasons of health. (If too many campers park in one place it can get very stinky . . . not the image we want). There are, on the other hand, plenty of unrestricted parking spots and our holiday park network is superb.

David Morris

[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]

5. Posted by wanderer82 (Full Member 111 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the great responses, you have put my mind at ease.

I will be attending a wedding in Nelson and staying for a week and then we depart on our trip which is (if anyone is interested):

Mt Cook Village
Wellington (via Picton Ferry)

We've got to pack that into 2 weeks which is a lot of driving.
I know people will say I haven't left enough time to see NZ properly and they are probably right but I'm a poorly paid junior journalist just starting out on my career not a 19-year-old gap-year student or a highly-paid executive meaning six month 'career breaks' are not an option.

We will be staying in a mixture of Holiday Parks and Department of Conservation (DOC) campsites.

My girlfriend is freaking out a little because it's a bit of a step into the unknown for us both, neither of us have attempted anything like this before but to be honest that bit quite excites me!!

6. Posted by waitawa (Budding Member 18 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi, be aware that some campers have very high step ups, so make a point of asking about that before you ook one- the last thing you want witha pinned ankle is a van that you have difficulty getting in and out of- have a great trip