The Best New Zealand South Island Road Trip (with JUCY)

Exploring New Zealand's South Island by campervan is an invitation to freedom and adventure on a grand scale. I'm James, part of the Travel-Lingual team, and I’ve just finished exploring New Zealand’s south island by camper. 

In this post I'll provide a complete South Island itinerary and show you the benefits of traveling in New Zealand by campervan.

I'll also take you through my recent experience with the JUCY Cruiser, the newest addition to the camper fleet owned by a company that I consider to be the best campervan company in both Australia and New Zealand, JUCY.

Whether you're considering a New Zealand campervan rental for the first time or you're a seasoned traveler pondering your next journey, I'll show you what makes the JUCY Cruiser the ideal companion for your travels.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Top Choice Hotel

The Rees Hotel & Luxury Apartments

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife


Best Time to Visit

Spring or Fall

Average Temperature

The average temperature in Queenstown, New Zealand is 9°C.

Transportation Options

Buses, taxis, rental cars, biking, walking, boat tours.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

Wander down the bustling streets of Queenstown, immersing yourself in the lively atmosphere and charming cafes that line the waterfront, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and excitement.

Embark on an unforgettable adventure by taking a scenic gondola ride to Bob's Peak, where you can soak in panoramic views of the stunning landscape and indulge in a thrilling luge ride down the mountainside.

What You'll Need to Bring

Camera, hiking shoes, warm clothing

Sense of adventure, open mind

What Not to Miss

  1. Fergburger
  2. Skyline Queenstown
  3. The Remarkables
  4. Shotover Jet
  5. Milford Sound

What to Avoid

  1. Overpacking for changing weather conditions
  2. Disrespecting Maori customs and culture
  3. Disregarding safety guidelines for outdoor activities

Top Places to Visit in New Zealand with a Camper

Below, I have listed the best places to visit in the South Island with a camper based on our personal recent experience. 

The order of these places is based on our route, which started in Queenstown and headed anti-clockwise around the South Island. 

Start in Queenstown

Queenstown Lake

Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, is a must-visit on your South Island road trip. 

Nestled beside the stunning Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a paradise for thrill-seekers and wine enthusiasts in particular. 

You can use this start point as an opportunity to embark on a wine tour, which allows you to explore some of the region's finest vineyards.

The breathtaking backdrop of The Remarkables mountain range, coupled with the serene waters of Lake Wakatipu, provides an unparalleled scenic experience, perfect for relaxation after a day of adventure and wine tasting.

Best Campsites near Queenstown

1. Moke Lake Campsite

Moke Lake Campsite

Located just a short drive from Queenstown, Moke Lake Campsite offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and peaceful lake waters. 

It's a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and hiking. The campground provides basic facilities such as toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits. 

The serene atmosphere and beautiful scenery make it a favorite among campers.

2. Kinloch Campsite

Kinloch Campsite

Situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, Kinloch Campsite is about a 45-minute drive from Queenstown. 

This scenic campground offers stunning views of the lake and the surrounding mountains. It's an ideal spot for outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, and birdwatching. 

The campground provides basic facilities including toilets, picnic areas, and water access.

3. Glenorchy Campground

Glennorchy Campground

This campsite is in the charming town of Glenorchy, approximately a one-hour drive from Queenstown. 

It offers picturesque views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountains, including the iconic peaks of the Southern Alps. 

The campground provides basic facilities such as toilets, picnic tables, and fire pits. It's a great base for exploring the nearby hiking trails, including the famous Routeburn Track.

Queenstown > Arrowtown (15 minutes)


Arrowtown, nestled just a short drive from Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island, is a charming historic gold mining town that captivates visitors with its well-preserved 19th-century buildings and autumnal beauty. 

A key highlight in any South Island road trip itinerary, Arrowtown offers a unique glimpse into New Zealand's gold rush era, with the Lakes District Museum providing insights into the town's rich history. 

The nearby Arrow River, once a bustling site for gold panning, now offers serene walking and cycling trails. 

Arrowtown's quaint town center is filled with boutique shops, cafes, and restaurants, making it a delightful stop for travelers exploring the South Island's heritage and natural beauty.

Arrowtown > Glenorchy (20 minutes)


Glenorchy, located at the northern tip of Lake Wakatipu, is an unspoiled paradise that serves as the gateway to some of New Zealand's most stunning landscapes, including Mount Aspiring National Park and Fiordland National Park. 

This small town is a must-visit for those embarking on a South Island road trip, offering access to world-renowned hiking trails, kayak tours, and horseback riding adventures. 

Glenorchy's dramatic scenery has also made it a favored location for filmmakers, contributing to its nickname as "The Gateway to Paradise." 

For nature lovers and adventure seekers, Glenorchy encapsulates the rugged beauty of New Zealand's South Island, making it an unforgettable addition to any road trip itinerary.

Arrowtown > Arthurs Point (20 minutes) 

Arthurs Point

Nestled near Queenstown, Arthur's Point is another place to see breathtaking landscapes in this part of the South Island. 

Situated along the banks of the Shotover River, Arthurs Point is a quaint village that offers a perfect blend of adventure and tranquility. 

We visited to check out the iconic Shotover Jet rides, where adrenaline seekers race through narrow canyons. 

But it’s not all adventure-seeking here. Nature enthusiasts can hike to take in the surrounding alpine beauty, and there are hiking trails revealing panoramic vistas of snow-capped peaks and lush forests all around. 

This is a great place to visit Onsen Hot Pools too, or savor local cuisine at one of the many charming cafes.

Milford Sound (approx. 3 hours from Queenstown)

Milford Sound

Milford Sound, situated within Fiordland National Park, is often described as the 'eighth wonder of the world.' 

The drive to Milford Sound is as spectacular as the destination itself, with numerous stops along the way, such as the Key Summit on the Routeburn Track, which offers glimpses of the region's pristine wilderness.

A cruise at Milford Sound provides up-close views of waterfalls cascading down sheer cliffs and the chance to spot wildlife. 

For those planning their New Zealand road trip by camper, including Milford Sound in your itinerary is a must, as it encapsulates the dramatic beauty of the South Island's landscape.

A visit to Milford Sound from Queenstown is also possible as part of a Fiordland National Park Day trip. 

However, I would advise against this, given that the drive time between Queenstown and the Fiordland National park is approximately 4 hours each way.

Top Tip: While it’s easy to book your campsite near Milford Sound, but be sure to do so in advance as they do fill up quickly.

Best Campsites near Milford Sound 

1. Milford Sound Lodge Campground 

Milford Sound Lodge Campground

Located just 2 kilometers from the Sound, this campground offers both powered and non-powered sites, as well as cabins and lodge accommodation.

2. Cascade Creek Campground 

Cascade Creek Campground

Situated along Milford Road, this DOC (Department of Conservation) campground offers basic facilities including toilets and water, but no showers. 

It's a great option for those looking for a more rustic camping experience surrounded by nature.

3. Gunn's Camp 

Gunn's Camp

This is about 15 kilometers from Milford Sound along the Hollyford Road. Established in the 1930s, this camp provides both powered and non-powered sites along with cabins. It's surrounded by lush forest and is close to several scenic walking tracks.

If you don’t want to find out the hard way just how busy New Zealand’s South Island can get during peak season, remember to book your campsite in advance.

Fiordland National Park > Lake Wanaka (approx. 4 hours)

Lake Wanaka

After returning from Milford Sound and passing through Queenstown, you cannot miss Lake Wanaka. 

This is only an hour’s drive away from Queenstown and an ideal place to travel by camper thanks to the many areas to stop by the lake in between both places.

Lake Wanaka offers a tranquil retreat amidst the Southern Alps' stunning landscapes. And it’s perfect for hiking; it’s a gateway to the Rob Roy Glacier Track, a popular hiking trail that leads to spectacular views of the Rob Roy Glacier, cascading waterfalls, and alpine scenery.

The lake itself, with its crystal-clear waters, is also perfect for kayaking, swimming, and photography.

Furthermore, the town of Wanaka, with its charming cafes and galleries, adds to the area's allure, making it an essential stop on your road trip.

Lake Wanaka > Roys Peak (15 minutes)

Roy's Peak

Roy's Peak, located near Wanaka on the South Island, is renowned for its iconic hiking trail that offers one of the most photographed views in New Zealand. 

The challenging trek rewards hikers with sweeping vistas of Lake Wanaka, surrounding peaks, and the vast landscapes of the Southern Alps. 

Ideal for experienced hikers (we found this out the hard way), the trail to Roy's Peak is a testament to the raw beauty of New Zealand's alpine environment. 

For those dedicating more than two weeks to explore the South Island, adding Roy's Peak to your road trip itinerary ensures an unforgettable experience of New Zealand's natural grandeur.

The trek takes approximately six hours, with four hours up and two back down. 

Isthmus Peak

Isthmus Peak

Isthmus Peak is a challenging yet equally rewarding hike located near Lake Hāwea on the South Island. It offers one of the most spectacular vantage points in the region. 

The trail to the summit provides panoramic views of both Lake Hāwea and Lake Wanaka, encapsulating the pristine beauty of New Zealand's alpine landscapes. 

You’ll love the tranquility of the Southern Alps, with opportunities to spot native birdlife along the way. 

Isthmus Peak is an essential experience for those seeking adventure on their South Island road trip, and it showcases the breathtaking natural splendor of New Zealand's high country.

Lake Wanaka Region > Akaroa (approx. 4 hours)


Akaroa, a quaint French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano on the Banks Peninsula, is a unique blend of colonial history and natural beauty on New Zealand's South Island. 

This picturesque town, with its historic buildings, craft shops, and cafes, offers a distinct European charm against the backdrop of stunning New Zealand landscapes. 

We were pleasantly surprised by the beauty of Akaroa, as well as its surrounding harbor and waters. 

Indeed, visitors to Akaroa can enjoy a variety of activities, from exploring the scenic harbor on a kayak tour to encountering rare Hector's dolphins on a wildlife cruise. 

The town's rich history and vibrant marine life make it an essential stop on any South Island road trip, providing a peaceful yet adventurous escape. 

Surrounded by dramatic hills and the sparkling waters of the Pacific, Akaroa is a gem that encapsulates the diverse beauty and cultural heritage of New Zealand's South Island, making it a must-visit destination for those exploring the region.

Akaroa > Christchurch (approx. 2 hours)


Christchurch is described by its tourism board as the urban heart of the South Island, which blends historic elegance with contemporary innovation. 

In honesty, we were a little underwhelmed after seeing the spectacular beauty of the South Island. 

Nonetheless, there is plenty of historic significance in Christchurch. 

Following its rebuild after significant earthquakes, the city has reemerged as a vibrant cultural hub, with attractions like the transitional Cardboard Cathedral and the lively Riverside Market. 

In addition, Christchurch's parks and gardens, including Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens, offer serene escapes within the city limits. 

For visitors embarking on a South Island road trip, Christchurch offers a glimpse into the resilience and creativity of New Zealand's people.

Best Campsites near Akaroa

1. Akaroa TOP 10 Holiday Park

Akaroa TOP 10 Holiday Park

This holiday park offers a range of camping options including powered and non-powered sites, cabins, and self-contained units. 

It's located close to Akaroa town center and offers facilities such as a playground, communal kitchen, and laundry facilities.

2. Onuku Farm Hostel and Campsite

Onuku Farm Hostel and Campsite

Situated in a picturesque farm setting with views over Akaroa Harbour, this campsite offers both powered and non-powered sites for tents and campervans. 

It's about a 15-minute drive from Akaroa and provides basic facilities like hot showers and a communal kitchen.

3. Okains Bay Campground

Okains Bay Campground

Located around a 30-minute drive from Akaroa, Okains Bay Campground is nestled in a tranquil bay with a beautiful sandy beach. 

The campground offers non-powered sites, basic facilities including toilets and showers, and the opportunity for activities such as swimming, fishing, and kayaking.

Christchurch > Kaikoura (approx. 2 hours)


Heading north from Christchurch, we visited the coastal gem of Kaikoura, which is celebrated for its marine life. 

We absolutely loved Kaikoura and would describe it as an absolutely pivotal stop on any South Island road trip. 

This coastal town, which would likely be your first stop if you pick up your camper in Christchurch, offers unrivaled whale watching and dolphin encounters, thanks to the nutrient-rich waters off its coast. 

There are many kayak tours available which provide intimate wildlife experiences, while scenic flights over the area offer a unique perspective on migrating whales. 

Kaikoura's commitment to preserving its diverse ecosystems is a testament to the environmental consciousness found throughout New Zealand, especially on the South Island. 

The town center, a short walk from the beach, features cafes and galleries that showcase the local culture and cuisine, making it a must-visit on your South Island itinerary.

Kaikoura > Blenheim (Marlborough Wine Country) (2 hours)

Marlborough Wine Country

When you head north from Kaikoura, you’ll soon come across Marlborough Wine Country, located at the top of the South Island. 

This area is synonymous with New Zealand's acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc, making it a dream destination for wine enthusiasts. 

Given my position as designated driver of our JUCY campervan, I was limited to one glass. But for the passengers, this was a great way to break up the day en route to the Marlborough Sounds.

In fact, the region's vineyards and wineries, set against the backdrop of the Marlborough Sounds' stunning sea-drowned valleys, offer panoramic views that look even better from the back of the camper. 

If you’re into wine, then be sure to pass through Blenheim, and check out the world famous pies.  

Marlborough's culinary offerings, paired with its world-class wines, highlight the gastronomic excellence of New Zealand's South Island, providing an essential experience for any South Island road trip.

Marlborough Wine Country > Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park

Abel Tasman National Park, renowned for its golden beaches and clear azure waters, is a pinnacle of the South Island's natural beauty. 

Embarking on a kayak tour around the park's secluded bays offers an intimate encounter with its marine life.

With Abel Tasman's status as a key highlight in any New Zealand South Island itinerary, spending a few days here is essential. 

The park's coastal track, one of the great walks of New Zealand, provides stunning vistas and accessible day trips for those eager to explore its natural splendor. 

Nestled within the park, the nearby town of Kaiteriteri serves as a perfect base, offering accommodations and dining options within walking distance of the beach.

Best Campsites near Abel Tasman National Park

1. Totaranui Campground

Totaranui Campground

Located within Abel Tasman National Park itself, Totaranui Campground is situated right beside a stunning golden sand beach. 

It offers a picturesque setting with facilities including toilets, cold showers, cooking shelters, and drinking water. 

The campground is accessible by road, but visitors can also opt for a scenic boat ride to reach it. Advanced bookings are required, especially during peak seasons.

2. Marae Takapu Campsite

Marae Takapu Campsite

This Department of Conservation (DOC) campsite is located along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, offering a beautiful spot for campers looking to immerse themselves in nature. 

Marae Takapu is nestled amongst native bush and overlooks a tranquil bay. Basic facilities such as toilets and water taps are available, but campers should be prepared to carry in all necessary supplies, as there are no shops nearby. 

Bookings are essential, and campers should check with the DOC for availability and track conditions.

3. Anapai Bay Campsite

Anapai Bay Campsite

Another DOC campsite along the Abel Tasman Coast Track, Anapai Bay Campsite offers a remote and secluded camping experience. 

It's positioned above a stunning sandy beach, providing breathtaking views of the coastline. 

Facilities are basic, with pit toilets and water collection points, but the natural beauty of the surroundings makes it a popular choice for those seeking a peaceful retreat. 

Like other campsites along the track, advance bookings are required.

Abel Tasman National Park > Marlborough Sounds  

Marlborough Sounds

Marlborough Sounds, located in the northern part of New Zealand's South Island, is a stunning network of sea-drowned valleys, fjords, and islands renowned for its natural beauty and marine biodiversity.

The camper drive from Abel Tasman National Park to Marlborough Sounds offers breathtaking coastal scenery along the way. 

If you follow this route like us, you’ll wind through lush forests, past golden beaches, and alongside turquoise waters as you make your way towards the sounds.

We chose to park our camper just outside a town called Picton, which serves as a gateway to the sounds. 

Picton is known for its picturesque harbor, bustling marina, and as the main ferry terminal connecting the North and South Islands.

Marlborough Sounds > Nelson Lakes 

Nelson Lakes National Park

Nelson Lakes in New Zealand's South Island is another popular spot for campers wanting to see the most scenic parts of the country. 

We spent time here hiking scenic trails, but you’ll also love Nelson Lakes if you’re into fishing. 

The area is also home to native wildlife and it’s ideal for stargazing, both in winter and in the summer. 

Best Campsites near Nelson Lakes

1. Kerr Bay Campground

Kerr Bay Campground

Situated on the shores of Lake Rotoiti, Kerr Bay Campground is one of the most popular campsites in the area. It offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding mountains. 

Facilities include toilets, showers, picnic areas, and boat ramps. The campground is also close to hiking trails and water activities such as fishing and kayaking.

2. Lakehead Campsite

Lakehead Campsite

Located near Lake Rotoiti, Lakehead Campsite is a smaller and more secluded option compared to Kerr Bay. 

It offers basic facilities such as toilets and picnic tables but provides a peaceful setting for camping. 

The campsite is an excellent starting point for hiking trails leading into the national park's interior, including the popular Travers-Sabine Circuit.

3. West Bay Campground

West Bay Campground

Nestled on the western shores of Lake Rotoroa, West Bay Campground offers a tranquil setting surrounded by native bush. It provides basic facilities, including toilets and picnic areas, and is an ideal spot for fishing and birdwatching. 

From the campground, visitors can access nearby hiking trails, including the Lakehead Track and the Robert Ridge Track.

Nelson Lakes > Hokitika Gorge (2 hours)

Hokitika Gorge

Hokitika Gorge is a great place to stop during the long drive between Nelson Lakes and Franz Josef. 

Located on the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, it is renowned for its stunning turquoise waters and dramatic rock formations. We loved the vibrant blue hues of the gorge, created by suspended rock flour from nearby glaciers. 

Be sure to walk to the nearby swing bridge, which offers panoramic views of the gorge and surrounding native bush. 

Adventurous travelers can also explore the area further by kayaking or taking guided tours. 

Hokitika Gorge is not only a photographer's paradise but also a serene natural wonder that showcases the beauty of New Zealand's landscapes.

Hokitika Gorge > Lewis Pass

Lewis Pass

In order to break up the long drive down to Franz Josef, we spent one night at Lewis Pass and decided to hike here.

Lewis Pass, one of the three major alpine passes traversing New Zealand's South Island, is a scenic route connecting the regions of Canterbury and the West Coast. 

Named after surveyor Henry Lewis, this mountain pass offers breathtaking views of rugged landscapes, native forests, and pristine rivers, which we were fortunate to see on a bright sunny day. 

Popular attractions along the pass include the Maruia Falls, offering a picturesque stop for travelers, as well as numerous hiking trails and picnic spots. 

Best Campsites near Lewis Pass

1. Lewis Pass Campground

Lewis Pass Campground

This campground is conveniently located near the Lewis Pass summit, making it an ideal base for exploring the surrounding area. 

Facilities include toilets, picnic tables, and water supply. The campground provides easy access to various hiking trails, including the Lewis Pass Nature Walk and the St. James Walkway.

2. Maruia Falls Campsite

Maruia Falls Campsite

Situated near the picturesque Maruia Falls, this campsite offers a tranquil setting surrounded by lush native forest. 

Facilities are basic but adequate, with toilets and picnic areas available. Visitors can enjoy swimming in the natural pools near the waterfall or embark on nearby bush walks.

3. Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre

Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre

While technically not a traditional campground, Boyle River Outdoor Education Centre offers camping facilities alongside outdoor education programs. 

The campsite is nestled in a beautiful alpine valley, providing stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Facilities include bunkhouses, kitchen facilities, hot showers, and a communal dining area. 

Activities such as tramping, mountain biking, and fishing are available in the nearby area, making it an excellent choice for outdoor enthusiasts.

Lewis Pass > Franz Josef Glacier (2 hours)

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef Glacier, as well as Fox Glacier, are some of the most accessible glaciers in the world. 

They offer a unique opportunity to explore a dynamic glacial environment up close. Guided hikes and helicopter tours provide spectacular views of the glacier's crevasses and ice caves.

Nearby, Lake Matheson is famed for its mirror-like reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, offering one of the most iconic photo opportunities on the South Island.

The area's natural hot pools provide a soothing end to a day of exploration, making Franz Josef an unforgettable stop on your road trip.

Embarking on a South Island road trip in New Zealand is a journey through some of the world's most breathtaking landscapes.

From the serene beaches of Abel Tasman National Park to the rugged peaks of the Southern Alps, the diversity of the South Island offers an unforgettable adventure. 

Using our JUCY campervan for this trip not only added comfort and flexibility to the journey but also allowed us to explore the beauty of this region at our own pace. 

Best Campsites near Franz Josef Glacier

1. Glacier Country Camping

Glacier Country Camping

Located just a few minutes drive from Franz Josef Glacier village, Glacier Country Camping offers a convenient base for exploring the glacier and surrounding area. 

The campsite provides powered and non-powered sites for tents, campervans, and RVs. 

Facilities include hot showers, kitchen facilities, laundry, and a communal lounge area. The campground is surrounded by native bush, providing a peaceful setting for your stay.

2. Rainforest Retreat

Rainforest Retreat

Situated in the heart of Franz Josef village, Rainforest Retreat offers a range of accommodation options including camping sites, cabins, and luxury treehouses. 

The camping area features powered and non-powered sites set amongst lush native rainforest. Guests have access to modern amenities including a communal kitchen, BBQ area, hot showers, and laundry facilities. 

The campsite is within walking distance of local shops, restaurants, and tour operators.

3. Franz Josef TOP 10 Holiday Park

Franz Josef TOP 10 Holiday Park

Located just a short drive from Franz Josef Glacier, TOP 10 Holiday Park offers a variety of camping options including powered and non-powered sites, as well as cabins and self-contained units. 

The campsite features well-maintained facilities including a communal kitchen, BBQ area, hot tubs, playground, and guest lounge with TV. 

The park also offers a range of activities and tours, making it an ideal base for exploring the Franz Josef Glacier region.

Franz Josef > Mount Cook National Park (4 hours) 

Mount Cook National Park

Mount Cook National Park is a jewel in the crown of the South Island, home to New Zealand's highest peak, Aoraki/Mount Cook. 

The park's rugged landscapes and alpine ecosystems offer a plethora of outdoor activities, from short hikes to challenging climbs. 

The Hooker Valley Track, in particular, is a must-do, providing panoramic views of Mount Cook and access to beautiful alpine lakes.

Lake Pukaki, located just a short drive from Mount Cook Village, enchants visitors with its blue lakes and turquoise waters, with a stunning backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

For those spending more than two weeks in New Zealand, dedicating a significant portion of your road trip to exploring the myriad of trails and peaks in Mount Cook National Park is highly recommended.

Lake Pukaki 

Lake Pukaki

Lake Pukaki, with its mesmerizing turquoise waters, was a highlight of our New Zealand South Island road trip. 

The lake is famed for its stunning views of Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest peak, making it a popular stop for photographers and nature enthusiasts alike. 

The surrounding area, part of the Mackenzie Basin, offers numerous trails and lookout points. 

Visitors can enjoy a picnic lunch on the shores of Lake Pukaki or explore the nearby Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park for a closer view of the majestic Southern Alps. 

The lake's vibrant color, a result of glacial flour from the surrounding mountains, adds to the magical landscape of New Zealand's South Island.

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo

Lake Tekapo, with its vivid turquoise colours, is another highlight of any South Island road trip. 

The lake is well-known for its very little light pollution, making it an ideal spot for stargazing, especially from the Mt John Observatory. 

A day trip to Lake Tekapo offers not only breathtaking views but also the chance to relax in the nearby hot springs. 

Be sure to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd, which stands on the lake's shore near the campsite. 

For those interested in photography, the surrounding mountains and the lupin fields in bloom offer some incredible photo opportunities too.

Introducing our JUCY Campervan 

JUCY Campervan

Throughout our South Island road trip, we were fortunate to stay within the JUCY Cruiser, the latest campervan to be added to the JUCY fleet. 

If you’re new to Australia and New Zealand, then get ready to spot the JUCY brand on the road multiple times daily. 

JUCY is really popular in New Zealand, and there’s a reason for this - they’re much cheaper than the competition! 

The only catch is that their vehicles are not brand spanking new. Unless you opt for a JUCY Cruiser, that is. We were lucky enough to drive, cook in and sleep in the latest 2023 Fiat Ducato model

Here's a breakdown of the Cruiser's features and our personal highlights from the trip.

JUCY Cruiser Features

The JUCY Cruiser had all the amenities you’d expect with a camper rental. We travelled as a pair and had all the space we’d need. 

But it’s worth noting that the JUCY Cruiser actually sleeps four people, with two douvle beds.
A Dining Area

The dining area in the JUCY Cruiser is designed for both functionality and comfort. 

In fact, you can adjust the driver and passenger seats by turning them around to create a four person dining area. 

There’s also a table that provides the perfect setting for meals and games. 

I wouldn’t call the area spacious, but with two people, there was plenty of room for us.  

Kitchen & Utilities

Above the table you’ll find a cupboard (more on storage space shortly). Next to the dining area is the kitchen, which was one of the highlights of the JUCY Cruiser for me. 

If you hire a JUCY crib, the entry level camper vehicle in the JUCY fleet, you’ll be limited to cooking on a gas stove from outside the vehicle. 

With the Cruiser, however, you have the luxury of cooking inside on two gas stoves. 

The kitchen area also features a compact refrigerator, a fridge, and a sink with clean running water. 

There is ample counter space and storage space to ensure you have everything you need to prepare meals just like at home.

During our time in the campervan, we cooked at least twice daily. 

Storage Space

FIAT Ducato or not, maximizing every inch of space is a prerequisite with campervans. I feel JUCY has done well to maximize the space available inside the Cruiser. 

There are plenty of cupboards to store canned and dried food, as well as water bottles, and toiletries. 

There’s also plenty of space beneath the lower bed to store suitcases, the outside table and chairs, and other large items. 

Bedroom/Sleeping Space

The Cruiser's sleeping arrangements are perfect for two or three people, but the vehicle sleeps up to four. 

There are two comfortable double beds in bunk bed style, with one on top of the other. 

The bedding converts easily, offering flexibility for daytime and nighttime use.


For me, this is what makes the JUCY Cruiser stand out from the two models below it in the fleet. 

It comes with a fully functional bathroom with a shower and toilet that offers convenience and privacy. Well, as much privacy as you can hope for in a campervan! 

Transport in New Zealand


In New Zealand, transport options vary, but many travelers opt for camper vans, particularly in the South Island. 

There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the country's stunning landscapes and sparse remote accommodations make a camper rental preferable. 

Secondly, outside the cities in the South Island, lodging can be extremely limited, especially during high season. This makes the camper living lifestyle a much better option. 

If you are not prepared to drive a campervan in New Zealand, you should know that buses are also pretty scarce, except for organized tours, which can make your trip extremely expensive. 

JUCY car rentals offer a practical alternative for those not keen on camper vans. A car rental provides flexibility without the commitment of a camper. 

Benefits of a Camper Rental with Jucy 

There are multiple benefits for opting for JUCY, like we did, for your New Zealand South Island Road trip.
I’ve listed these below.

JUCY is Affordable 

JUCY offers the most budget-friendly camper rental option in New Zealand, thanks to their fleet of slightly older vehicles, making exploring the country more accessible to budget-conscious travelers.

Pick Up & Drop Off in Multiple Locations

With JUCY branches spread across the country, you can conveniently drop off your camper van at a different location from where you picked it up, providing flexibility for your travel itinerary.

Fair Insurance 

JUCY provides reasonable insurance options and doesn't excessively charge for minor damages, ensuring peace of mind while on the road.

Friendly Staff 

JUCY's team are all pretty young and fun, just like a lot of their customers. They are very aware of the sort of fun customers want to have, and recommended plenty of places to visit on the South Island.

Extensive Fleet

JUCY has an extensive fleet for all budget types. This includes:

  • The JUCY Crib 

  • The JUCY Crib+ 

  • JUCY Cruiser (as referenced in this south island road trip guide)

  • Other larger ad hoc vehicles

Summing Up: New Zealand South Island Road Trip (with JUCY)

Throughout this article, I’ve shared our journey through the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand's South Island, exploring its diverse regions and highlighting the beauty of traveling by campervan. 

From the adventure capital of Queenstown to the serene shores of Lake Wanaka, and the majestic peaks of Mount Cook, each destination offers its own unique charm that you can only really fully experience with a camper rental. 

Exploring the South Island by campervan offers unparalleled freedom and flexibility, allowing you to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the landscape while enjoying the comforts of home on wheels. 

Whether you're seeking adrenaline-pumping activities, serene natural beauty, or cultural experiences, the South Island has it all. 

Start planning your New Zealand adventure with JUCY now! 

Get the best rates for your camper rental below and begin your journey through the stunning landscapes of the South Island.