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Campervan or motorhome – which is the better option?

Campervan or motorhome – which is the better option? Well, perhaps knowing the difference between the two is the best place to start. Many travellers looking to trek across New Zealand on four wheels often do not know the main differences between the two types of vehicles.

Essentially, campervans and motorhomes both fulfil the same function – providing mobility and accommodation in one affordable package. The biggest differentiator between the two lies in their size and the amenities on board.

Motorhome – think of it as a house on wheels

A motorhome, as the name suggests, is very much like a compact house on wheels. It includes all the essential amenities of a regular home, such as a shower, toilet, kitchen, TV, air-conditioning and even a small lounge area. Motorhomes are able to comfortably sleep between 2-7 people, so for family trips or a larger group keen to travel together, motorhomes make for the perfect option.

Campervan Convenience

Campervan Convenience


A campervan is quite simply a transport that doubles as a place to sleep. In general, most campervans do not include showers, kitchens or lounge areas and are noticeably smaller in size than motorhomes. They are the preferred wagon of choice for travellers who don’t want or need the hassle of manoeuvring a luxurious leviathan along remote, narrow and winding roads. Generally most 2-3 berth campervans do not include a shower and toilet, although an increasing number of newer vehicles do offer these facilities.

Utility, simplicity and practicality are the hallmarks of a campervan and for travellers looking for something to get them from point A to point B with as little fuss as possible, and still afford them a comfortable bed for the night then this is what to go for.

Luxury Campervan

Luxury Campervan

The comfort factor

Cruising in comfort and camping in style is what motorhomes are all about. They may be bigger and more cumbersome to drive around and park, but what they lack in manoeuvrability they make up for in quality of life on the move.

The built in toilet and shower are essential for anyone looking to free camp in NZ, and being able to cook and prepare your own meals without having to shuffle around in communal campsite kitchens make for much more enjoyable quality time together with friends and family.

NZ Campervaning

NZ Campervaning

Decide what your needs are

When deciding on whether to rent a campervan or a motorhome it is best to choose the one that best meets your travel plans and needs. If you are off on a solo adventure or planning a trip with one or two other people then it makes the most sense to go for a campervan.

If you are going to be heading to some remote areas and are worried about access to bathroom and shower facilities then book a van that has a shower and toilet included. Otherwise, you will find that it is not necessary as NZ has well-maintained, clean and camper friendly campsites and motor parks all over the place.

If you are travelling with a group of people or a family then a motorhome is your best bet. Nobody wants to be crammed  in like a tin of sardines for the night and a well-equipped motorhome will ensure that all the basics – ablutions, showering and cooking – are taken care of, regardless of where you decide to pull up for the night.

Ask the right questions

Overall, the question is not about which is better – a campervan or a motorhome – but rather about which is best suited to meet your needs on the road. To get a better idea of the types of vehicle open to you on your trip simply run an online search for motorhomes New Zealand and you will be met with a wide range of campervans and motorhomes to meet practically all needs and budgets.

Photos: Yip Choon Wai, redesigndesign, Leisure Hubs.

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