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What’s the best way to travel in New Zealand?

Self-drive or Motorhome?


Firstly it’s important to define and explain what a self-drive trip and a Motorhome trip is, and then outline the advantages and disadvantages of each. 


The self-drive option is a journey where the traveller has a means of transport, usually a car, and has reserved accommodation throughout the stay. Overnight stays are usually pre-booked ahead of time before the arrival in the country. It is therefore essential to research several weeks in advance to set up the route, the stops on the circuit and book it all.

The advantage is that once the route has been decided and bookings made you don’t have to worry about where to stay or what will be your next step. All the sites you plan along the route can be visited.

The disadvantage is that it is difficult to change the route to lengthen your stay in some areas and shorten others. You are also dependent on what the weather does and any errors in your research. You are limited in your means to be spontaneous. Also you need to unpack and pack every time you change accommodation.

This type of travel is recommended for people who don’t want surprises (bad or good) and like to stick to a given plan. It also allows, depending on the standard of chosen accommodation, to benefit from a more or less comfortable night’s sleep.


Planning a trip in a motorhome is completely different. Firstly, it is essential to find a motorhome that’s right for you (size, rental make, utensils included, ...) and then set up your travel itinerary.

Generally 75% of the research work beforehand is the search for the ideal vehicle, the remaining 25% is deciding on a general route (which when you take over the vehicle is at your disposal).

The advantages of a trip in a motorhome are many. First of all you do not need follow a route to the letter. Thanks to advice from other travellers, locals, weather, your desires and travel whims, you can choose almost overnight what will be your next step.  Indeed, if you're experiencing rain at one stage, no problem! You can leave quick smart and head to your next stop where the sun is probably shining rather than waiting around. Similarly, the infrastructure is in place to accommodate motorhomes of all sizes and many sites are suitable for stopping in. These facilities are clean, cheap, safe and reliable options and often offer big hotels (pool, tennis courts, access to lakes, concierges, restaurants, ...) And finally, motorhomes are now as comfortable and spacious as hotel rooms. Indeed motorhomes are built specifically for the trip and you will find double beds, a  fridge, oven, microwave, large water tank, shower / toilet and all utensils / elements for a successful trip. Similarly they are easy to drive and manoeuvre. Moreover, living in a motorhome gives you a sense of adventure.

Disadvantages: It's still camping and some routine needs to be set up (wash the dishes, fill and empty water tanks, ...). Similarly, if you are not the adventurous type perhaps it’s not an ideal option for you.

But what is the price difference between these two options?

Comparing the two trips on a yearly average, a motorhome is cheaper than a car trip.
During the winter this difference is much greater. Motorhome companies lower prices dramatically and it is not uncommon to find a luxury vehicle 50% less than the price of a mid-sized car with accommodation.

During the summer, the prices are very similar, however you 'll be saving a lot on meals in the motorhome and with the type of site chosen large reductions can be achieved. In any case, it’s not advisable to mix the two modes of travel. This is the best way to go about paying the maximum price for your stay. It’s better to choose one mode and stick to it for the entire holiday.


So what is the best way to travel around New Zealand?

Clearly the motorhome has a lot more benefits than a self-drive trip but don’t forget that it depends a lot on the type of motorhome you stay in and that sometimes comfort has to be sacrificed for budget. 

However, there’s a certain joy in finding a good spot to stay in and having the flexibility to stay an extra day, to go on an adventure without really following a specific route and for families, kids will love it and talk about it for months after the end of the trip.

Don’t hesitate and book your motorhome for unforgettable holiday in New Zealand.
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