Motorhome or car rental better for a family trip around South Island?
So you’re thinking about renting a motorhome but not sure if it’s for you or if you should just be renting a car and booking hotel rooms?
We have done the hard work for you, and created a general overview of the costs and benefits of both options to help you plan your ultimate self-drive adventure!
The Taylors are a family of 4, with two children aged 8 & 10. They are travelling to South Island in the school holidays in search for fun & adventure for 8 days! They are flying into Christchurch, and driving to Queenstown via Dunedin and Invercargill. See below for a breakdown of costs comparing a motorhome and hotel holiday.
Car & Hotel
Maui Cascade 4 berth + all inclusive pack with nil excess
Avis Full Size SUV Toyota Highlander with nil excess
|Cost for 8 Day Hire
|One Way Fee
||NZD $75 (paid locally)
|Queenstown Location Fee
||NZD $95 (paid locally)
||NZD $143 (based on approx. price of diesel, fuel consumption of vehicle and distance travelled)
||NZD $166 (based on approx. price of petrol, fuel consumption of vehicle and distance travelled)
|Powered Sites / Accomodation
- Christchurch (1 night) = NZD $85 per night
- Dunedin (1 night) = NZD $76 per night
- Invercargill (1 night) = NZD $55 per night
- Queenstown (4 nights) = NZD $58 per night
- Quest Christchurch Serviced Apartments (1 night) = NZD $250 per night
- The Victoria Hotel Dunedin (1 night) = NZD $210 per night
- Colonial on Tay Invercargill (1 night) = NZD $190 per night
- Rydges Lakeland Resort Queenstown (4 nights) = NZD $285 per night
Please note: We have used 1 AUD = 1.05 NZD exchange rate for all above costs, including local fees which must be paid locally in NZD. The costs and pricing above are correct as of 15 November 2017 based on the dates 01 October 2018 - 08 October 2018 and should be used as a guide only. Subject to availability & change at all times.
What else should I consider?
Food & cooking
- In a motorhome you have the option of cooking yourself with the facilities on board to save money – but obviously you can go to restaurants if you want a break!
- A rental car gives you the freedom to eat out more and enjoy local cuisine without having to worry about any of the cleaning up afterwards.
Comforts and unpacking
- You only have to unpack once on your motorhome holiday. Everything you need is within reach at all times!
- A hotel stay means you get your own private hotel shower and daily housekeeping – come back to fresh sheets, clean towels and restocked toiletries.
Meeting other people
- It’s so easy to meet like-minded travellers and make new friends for yourself & the kids at a camping ground. It has a great communal feel - almost like a big travelling family!
- In a hotel you can meet people whilst enjoying the facilities, but then retreat to your room when you want quiet / down time.
Space for the kids
- In a motorhome the outdoors is your very own playground, and the possibilities are endless! Simply pull over at any stage of your journey to enjoy what each destination has to offer, and wake up to new breathtaking views every day.
- Hotels often have playgrounds, pools and spaces dedicated to kids and created purely for their enjoyment.
- Come across a camping site you like? Want to extend your time in a particular destination? With a motorhome you can just drive and pull over or pick a camping ground along the way.
- Don’t want to follow a strict itinerary? With a rental car & hotels you get to personalise your own holiday suited to your preferences.