Resources for Caravanning & Motorhoming in New Zealand

This is a list of resources for you to either start researching on buying your mobile home or to help you with the first few months to settle in.

I knew nothing when I first started and want to give you an easier starting place.

This Resource Covers

  • Where to buy a mobile home
  • Where to buy mobile home accessories
  • How to get your Self Containment
  • Why join NZMCA
  • Ferry Between Islands
  • Helpful Apps
  • Internet for Mobile Dwellers
  • Insurance for Mobile Homes
  • Facebook Groups
  • More Helpful Websites

Where to buy vehicles

There are four ways to buy a vehicle in New Zealand. Buy second hand through a dealer, with a previous private owner, buy new or import yourself.

Some resources for finding your dream home:

Trademe

Use Trademe as a starting point to learn where all the second hand dealers are based in New Zealand. You'll find dealers for second hand and new vehicles plus direct with previous private owners.

www.trademe.co.nz/motors/caravans-motorhomes

New Zealand Magazines

There are 2 main caravan and motorhome magazines in New Zealand and also a NZMCA members magazine. The vehicles advertised are usually new and expensive brands.

Motorhomes Caravans and Destinations (NZ) www.magshop.co.nz/Motorhomes-Caravans-and-Destinations-NZ

RV Travel Lifestyle www.magshop.co.nz/rv-travel-lifestyle

The Motor Caravanner www.nzmca.org.nz/motor-caravanner

NZ Motorhome Caravans & Destination

As well as being a magazine (above) they also have a good website with mobile homes for sale. A good alternative to Trademe.

www.nzmcd.co.nz

NZ Motorhome & Caravan Buy Sell

Facebook Group with people selling vehicles in New Zealand.

www.facebook.com/groups/579858285484906

Where to buy mobile home accessories

Here are the companies I've used for all the accessories I've ended up needing for this lifestyle. From toilet chemicals to exterior caravan lights.

Burnsco

They have retail stores dotted around New Zealand and focus on marine and motorhome accessories.

www.burnsco.co.nz

RV Super Centre

A large company with retail stores in Auckland and Christchurch. As well as motorhome and caravan accessories, they also sell new and used motorhomes and caravans and have maintenance services.

www.rvsupercentre.co.nz/rv-accessories-and-supplies

Saeco Wilson

A new find - they are mainly parts for engineers and builders, but they were confident they could order any caravan part and it would be cheaper than the specialised companies. Retail stores are throughout New Zealand.

www.saecowilson.co.nz

Affordable Caravans

I recently struggled to find a replacement light for the caravan and eventually tracked it down to this Christchurch company. They specialise in parts for UK and European caravans.

www.affordablecaravans.co.nz

Trademe

Always a good option to see if there is a cheaper option for sale here.

www.trademe.co.nz

How to get your Self Containment

Self Containment means you can stay at freedom camping sites throughout New Zealand. You'll start to notice this icon everywhere.

The rules are starting to change - they just introduced a new rule where you need to be able to use your toilet while the bed is made up.

A general and simplified overview... you need:

  • Fresh water tanks. 4 L per person per day
  • A sink connected to a waste water tank
  • Waste water tank: 4 L per person per day
  • Evacuation hose connected to waste water tank
  • Rubbish bin with a lid
  • Toilet (portable or fixed) - usable when bed made up

For more information about joining through NZMCA:

www.nzmca.org.nz/certified-self-containment

www.rvsupercentre.co.nz/page/self-containment

Or an alternative company is:

www.allpointscampingnz.org

FreedomCamping05

Why join NZMCA?

New Zealand Motor Caravan Association are an organisation in New Zealand for people who own a caravan, motorhome, bus or campervan. You pay a yearly fee for the membership and are given a card and sticker for your vehicle. You'll start to notice their symbol everywhere. The latest change is that you now need to be a New Zealand resident.

Why join?
  • It's cheaper to get your self containment if you are an NZMCA member.
  • There are NZMCA campsites all around New Zealand and the organisation keeps adding to them. These are basic paddocks or carparks just for members and only cost $3 per night - well worth it.
  • You are given a camping grounds map and access to an App that is much more in-depth than CamperMate. I think it's an extension on top of the CamperMate App? Beyond NZMCA campgrounds, there are also POP (park over property) sites where locals let vehicles stay the night on their land for free or a small fee.
  • You get great discounts on the ferry between the north and south island. Mobile homes are larger than the average car and the price of the ferry suddenly goes up. But it's worth it with these discounts.
  • You can get decent fuel discounts. This is something I really need to look into. Towing a caravan does use more fuel. Apparently you pay for these fuel cards and it does save you a lot of money.
  • Discounted cost joining Wireless Nation for good internet on the road. I use them and it's a must have for me. I need good access to the internet to be able to do this blog!

Join by going to:

www.nzmca.org.nz

How to ferry between islands

The Interislander and Blue Bridge are the two main ferry companies that go between Wellington and Picton. They take passengers, vehicles and mobile homes.

Kaitaki ferry with Interislander are designed so you son't need to reverse to get out again - very handy with caravans.

The ferry can be expensive with a tow vehicle, but drops in price when you are an NZMCA member. For example, Blue Bridge went from $363 to $285 when travelling with 1 person and a caravan in February.

Interislander

www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/interislander

Blue Bridge

www.bluebridge.co.nz

Helpful apps

CamperMate

This is the app I used the most on my trip around the South Island. It shows you all the paid and free camping options, plus petrol stations, supermarkets, dumping stations and bathrooms – everything you could need.

campermate.co.nz

NZMCA App

The same as CamperMate, but with more spots included, like Park over Properties, NZMCA Campgrounds and for some odd reason, more freedom camping spots. You need to be a NZMCA member to access.

www.nzmca.org.nz/the-nzmca-travel-app-is-here

Gaspy

This App shows the fuel stations around you and show the cheapest prices.

gaspy.nz

Internet for people on the road

I struggled to get good internet at the start of my adventure. Campground wifi was painfully slow and I raced through my phones data. The two main companies for mobile dwellers are Wireless Nation and NetSpeed.

Wireless Nation

I use Wireless Nation and couldn't do without a modem on the road. Read more about my experience here.

wirelessnation.co.nz

NetSpeed

The alternative company that comes up on social media when people ask about their options.

www.netspeed.net.nz

Insurance for mobile homes

Most big vehicle insurance companies can insure your mobile home. I was with State Insurance who linked to AMI to originally insure my caravan. I have insured my car, caravan and have contents insurance. The main caravan and motorhome specialist companies are:

Covi

They are recommended by NZMCA. I've just changed to them and will let you know what I think soon.

www.covi.co.nz

CamperCare

The competition specialised for mobile home dwellers and a favourite in the social media groups.

starinsure.co.nz


Facebook groups

These groups are great places for learning how it all works and I've asked plenty of questions. People share their experiences with their favourite camping spots and you learn who the best companies are.

Motorhome Friends New Zealand

A large group where I've learnt some great tips from. Although sometimes I get multiple conflicting answers.

www.facebook.com/groups/96109090485

Living On The Road in N.Z.

An alternative group to 'Motorhome Friends New Zealand' and generally a little nicer.

www.facebook.com/groups/254331354959318

NZ Motorhome & Caravan Buy Sell

Facebook Group with people selling vehicles in New Zealand.

www.facebook.com/groups/579858285484906

Other helpful websites

Met Service

New Zealand weather can change suddenly from sunshine to torrential rain. Met Service with their rain forecast seems to be the best option for deciding if you drive north or south for the best weather!

www.metservice.com


Hopefully you have found this page helpful. I plan to continuously update this page and keep it current for caravanners and motorhomers in New Zealand.

Do you know of another company that should be in this list? I'd enjoy reading your suggestions.