See NZ for free: Transfer a rental campervan and tour the country


A cheap – or free – tour around NZ in a luxury campervan sounds too good to be true, but it’s not!


More and more, as tourism increases, campervan rental companies are in search of people to transfer their vehicles. That’s because when tourists hire campervans, they often drive them from one end of the country to the other – and drop them off before getting on a flight. And, when more tourists want to book than there are campervans available at a depot, those extra vehicles need to be transferred from another depot.

As a transfer driver, that could mean a very cheap trip in a luxury motorhome for you, something you might have dreamed about but could never afford. Here’s how it works:

You save the rental company money

For the bigger companies running depots all around New Zealand, the cost of bringing fleets of campervans back to their home bases by train or truck gets very high. Offering a free or dirt-cheap trip to drivers who will get their campers transferred is far cheaper. So whether you’re a backpacker or a resident, you can spend little or nothing even while soaking up beautiful scenery, a comfy campervan and nice campgrounds.

Some downsides

There are some strings attached, of course! The company wants the vehicle back in time to clean it up and rent it to another client. That means you may only have a limited time to do any sightseeing or camping. You won’t be able to zig-zag-tour, but you will have time to cover the distance comfortably, without speeding or driving exhausted, and for a nominal price, you might be able to extend your trip by a few days.

Another downside is that not all depots need to bring in transfers, and the ones that do may not be where you’d like to go. That means you won’t have much choice about your route.

Some costs

You will usually be allocated only one tank of fuel for your transfer trip – use that up and any more you need comes out of your own pocket. You also need to pay for your insurance, and if you must cross from the South Island to the North (or vice versa), the ferry cost may not be included.

Where can you find a transfer campervan?

Most tourists who rent campervans will travel from north to south, and the biggest depots are found at international airports. You’re most likely to pick up a transfer in Christchurch or Queenstown and drive it north, and less often you can pick one up in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Picton, Nelson and even Invercargill.

To find out what opportunities there are, check on the websites of the rental companies, or visit Transfercar where all kinds of rentals – cars, vans and campervans – are listed for transfer. You’ll find out what you need to know about each available transfer, including how long you can have it before dropping it off, the cost of adding extra days to your trip and other important details.

What you need

All you need to sign up for a super cheap or free holiday in a transfer campervan is a driver’s license and flexibility! If you’re retired or semi-retired that puts you in prime position to snap up the transfers when they come up – you’re not tied down by pesky work weeks!

Do those rentals companies – and yourself – a favour

Plan well, do your research and take advantage of this windfall. Make sure you have a current driving license, and jump into a luxury motorhome that needs to get back to its home depot. Be ready to pay for extra fuel, insurance and any additional days if they’re on offer.

Have fun on your trip, and remember that you’re doing the rental companies a huge favour by saving them heaps of dosh. One final warning: if you try motor homing and you love it, you might get hooked!