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South Island, also known as Te Waipounamu, is the 12th largest island in the world — as you might expect, this expansive place has plenty to do if you're renting a campervan, RV, or RV. Whether you like glacial sightseeing, treks through unspoiled native bushland, or spending downtime at amenities-included ski resorts, this is an amazing place to experience with a campervan.
Although the South Island is packed with national parks perfect for campervan and RVrental, a few stand out — such as the Westland Tai Poutini National Park, a UNESCO-listed site where you can see glacial ecosystems like the Foxx and Franz Josef in person. Further south, take your campervan on a trip to Otago's Mount Aspiring to go walking or tramping in Matukituki Valley or Makarora — there are plenty of tracks of varying lengths to explore.
Other noteworthy sites to visit in your rental RV include Fiordland. This waterfall-studded area is also a fantastic place to see prehistoric birds like the takahē, massive parrots like the kākā, and plenty of other rare species — so be sure to pack your campervan with all your wildlife photography gear!
New Zealand's extensive conservation land caters to rental RV adventures of all kinds thanks to its well-connected nature and biodiversity. This is especially true on the South Island, where you'll find most of the national parks as well as six of the country's nine Great Walks.
The South Island's coastline is noteworthy for its exciting mix of ecosystems and geology. Book a campervan rental to reach Tasman Bay and discover plenty of golden sand beaches and calm tidal inlets.
Nearby Paparoa National Park, on the other hand, is a great place to observe millions-of-years-old structures like the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes magically rising from the South Island surf — or catch a glimpse of leopard seal colonies and the occasional killer whale from the comfort of your campervan or RV.
Pick up a campervan rental near the center of the South Island to see placid lakes and rivers descending from the snowy Alpine mountains. Otago lakes like Pukaki, Ohau, Tekapo, and Wānaka exist in valleys formed by glacial erosion and other timeless forces, meaning they're at high enough altitudes to make for stunning photos and otherworldly exploration while remaining accessible by campervan or RV.
Near Queenstown and Wanaka, South Island spots like The Camp, Glendhu Bay, and Wanaka Lakeview provide easy access to Lake Hawea and Mount Aspiring, not to mention plenty of campervan facilities. Other well-reviewed Alpine campgrounds include Fiordland Great Views and Champagne Gully.
In the mood for a more coastal South Island experience? No worries — just pack up your rental RV and head down to Kaka Point, Brighton, or Herbert Forest. These are all great picks for leisurely, family-friendly campervan trips along the island's curving southern coast.