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Explore the top of the South with a Nelson campervan hire
Pick up a campervan hire in Nelson and enjoy the hospitality of a small city with a big personality. Tucked away at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, Nelson is a popular travel hub for the region, wooing visitors with its sunny weather, beautiful scenery and proximity to endless attractions. An intimate and artsy urban centre, complete with funky cafes and boutique shopping, offers a wonderful home base between adventures in the nearby national parks and nature reserves. Book your Nelson campervan rental well in advance—this place gets busy!
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What you need to know about campervan hire Nelson New Zealand
Campervan Nelson tips for the savvy traveller
Nelson Airport is just six kilometres outside of the main town, and the majority of rental depots are close by. While it is a busy tourist destination with flights regularly arriving from Christchurch Airport, Wellington, Auckland and more, it is still a small town, so it is best to plan your Nelson campervan travel arrangements around normal business hours. Confirm your pick up plan with your rental provider prior to travelling, and keep in contact with the local depot if you experience any delays on the way.
Some planning tips for campervan rental Nelson
- Campervan travel in Nelson is very seasonal, which means motorhomes are in high demand throughout the summer, and the stock drops down in the winter months. Both scenarios mean you should book as far in advance as possible to get the vehicle you want.
- Consider the logistics of where you want to go on your campervan adventure. Some of New Zealand’s most spectacular spots are quite remote, so make sure your rental company allows travel on gravel roads if you want to get off the beaten track. Map out your fuel stops and their hours so that you don’t get caught out.
- Freedom camping is allowed in the Nelson region but it is limited to self-contained vehicles only, and there are regulations in place regarding length of stay and number of vehicles. Check the Nelson City Council page for the latest information about freedom camping.
- There are several great paid motorhome park facilities around Nelson region, including Matai Valley Motor Camp, Nelson City Top 10 Motorhome Park, and Brook Valley Motorhome Camp.
- Roads can be steep and windy around Nelson. Drive your campervan slower than you would a regular car, and give plenty of space between you and the car in front. When possible, give way to cars driving uphill, and pay attention to signs with give-way instructions on one-lane bridges.
You’re going to love Nelson
Facing the Tasman Bay, Central Nelson is neatly laid out on the banks of the Maitai River. With many Victorian-style houses and plentiful green areas, it is a beautiful place to explore. Some nearby must-see attractions for your journey include:
Near the airport, this fantastic beach is excellent for safe swimming and home to the Nelson Fun Park with hydroslides, bumper boats and mini golf.
The local brew
The Nelson region has perfect conditions for growing hops, and craft breweries abound. Sample the goods and find out what makes a good pour.
Heart pumping activities
From whitewater rafting to skydiving, adrenaline junkies have myriad adventures and outdoor activities to choose from in the Nelson Region.
Nelson is known for its creative locals, and you can see why with a visit to one of the many galleries and boutiques in town.
Nelson Classic Car Museum
Featuring 150 cars over 100 years of motoring, this museum is a classic car enthusiast’s dream come true. Marvel at this immaculate collection of motor memorabilia.
Where to go in your Nelson campervan hire
Planning to discover NZ? Motorhome rentals are the best way to go, and Nelson is the perfect starting point for a campervan adventure, favoured with its great location near a number of stunning landscapes and national parks, and great weather. You may wish to hire a one-way campervan rental from the city centre and head east toward Picton or west to Greymouth. Here are just a few highlights to hit on your way:
Abel Tasman National Park
With inland forested mountains giving way to a coastline dotted with golden-sand coves, Abel Tasman is an area of exceptional beauty and offers extensive recreational opportunities, including kayaking and bushwalks. You may also continue your campervan adenture to visit Rabbit Island which is only a stone's throw from here.
The sunken river valleys filled with the waters of the Pacific Ocean offer quite the spectacle. You’ll want to get on the water, and you’ll have plenty of options to do so.
Nelson Lakes National Park
The beginning of the Southern Alps, this national park features alpine lakes, forested valleys and mountain views. Don’t miss the Rotoroa and Rotoiti lakes!
This pristine, quieter section of the South Island offers several highlights which make it worth the trip. Wharariki Beach, Te Waikoropupū Springs, and Farewell Spit top the list.
Kahurangi National Park
The second-largest national park in New Zealand, Kahurangi is also one of the wildest. However, the accessible parts make for amazing hikes and adventures.
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Campervan hire Nelson, NZ: Frequently asked questions
How old do you have to be to rent a campervan at Nelson Airport?
The minimum age to hire a campervan at Nelson Airport is 21. Some motorhome hire Nelson companies require drivers to be 25 years old or charge an additional fee for those under 25.
How do I pick up my campervan from Nelson Airport?
Many campervan Nelson rental companies offer free transfers from the airport to their pick up locations or depots. However, please bear in mind that such service is generally only available during regular business hours in the daytime, so make sure to coordinate with the rental company since they are sometimes closed on weekends and holidays.
Where is the nearest petrol station to refuel the campervan at Nelson Airport?
Mobil Tahunanui is the nearest petrol station from Nelson Airport, which is about five minutes away when driving. The gas stations Z Stoke Service Station and Caltex Bishopdale are also nearby.
Do I need a special driver's licence to drive in New Zealand?
No. You just need a full and valid regular driver's licence to book and drive NZ motorhome rental. If your licence is in a language other than English, you may need to present an International Driver’s Permit or acceptable translation.
Can we bring our own child seat or booster seat when we hire a campervan in New Zealand?
Yes. Just make sure that the child/ booster seat has standard rating or approval as follows:
- AU Standard
- NZ Standard
- European Standard
- American Standard
What is included in my New Zealand campervan rental rate?
For the majority of the campervan rental Nelson deals, the daily vehicle hire rates include unlimited mileage. All NZ motorhomes/campervans are fully equipped with facilities and equipment for kitchen and general living, which form the industry standards. For other inclusions and specifics of the rental vehicles, check the terms of each listing.
How do I return the campervan rented from Nelson Airport?
Ensure you drop off your camper van hire Nelson at the agreed-upon location and time. Make sure that your vehicle is tidy and free of trash, that your fuel tank and LPG tank are full, and that your toilet cassette and wastewater tank have been emptied at a suitable dumping station.
Can you sleep anywhere in a campervan in New Zealand? Is freedom camping allowed?
Freedom camping is allowed in the Nelson region but it is limited to self-contained vehicles only, and there are regulations in place regarding length of stay and number of vehicles. Check the Nelson City Council page for the latest information about freedom camping.
Can I rent a campervan in New Zealand if I’m under 21?
There are a few rental companies that will allow drivers under 21 to hire a campervan in New Zealand. This may require additional documentation and a young driver surcharge. Type your age and desired pick-up location into the search box to see your options.