Posted: 5/8/2023 | Might eighth, 2023
With its snow-capped mountains, historic glaciers, rolling verdant hills, extremely pleasant locals, and considerable world-class wine, New Zealand is as fantastic as you’ve heard. In actual fact, take what you’ve heard and instances it by ten. New Zealand will merely blow your thoughts while you go to.
Folks suppose as a result of it’s a small nation, you are able to do all of it in two weeks. That’s not true. There’s rather a lot to do right here. From the north island to the south island, you want a variety of time right here to do all of it. You may fill months with actions. New Zealand could also be small but it surely punches above its weight with issues to do.
However what in case you don’t have months? What do you do then? What route do you are taking? What island do you have to begin with? The place do you go?
Or what in case you do? Then what? The place do you start planning that sort of journey?
I get these questions in my inbox on a regular basis. Having traveled everywhere in the nation a number of instances, I do know the complexities of making an attempt to determine the way to get to these distant cities and out-of-the-way parks and glaciers.
Whereas buses and trains can take you most locations, the easiest way to see the nation is by taking a street journey. With your personal set of wheels, you’ll be capable to get deep into the pure landscapes that make this nation so well-known. New Zealand is a street journey nation. It’s the easiest way to discover.
Beneath are my steered itineraries that may show you how to plan your New Zealand street journey for optimum effectivity. Whether or not you’ve gotten two weeks, one month, and even longer, these will be sure that you see the highlights and get off the crushed path.
Be aware: Two weeks is the minimal advisable time for a New Zealand street journey. There’s a lot to see and do right here, but you continue to don’t wish to be rushed or spend all of your time within the automobile. When you solely have two weeks, concentrate on one island.
If you wish to study extra about Maori tradition, see the Waitomo glow worms, spend time in New Zealand’s principal cities, and revel in stress-free actions like mendacity on the seashore and sitting in scorching springs, street journey the North Island.
If you wish to spend your time mountaineering glaciers, doing journey actions, and absorbing the epic landscapes of New Zealand, head to the South Island on your street journey.
With one month, you’ll be able to mix the next two-week itineraries to essentially be capable to get pleasure from all that each islands have to supply. Greater than a month? There’s nothing you’ll be able to’t do!
Step #1: Select the Proper Automobile
Earlier than you even plan your route, you want a technique to get round. Street-tripping New Zealand by campervan may be very common, particularly among the many extra budget-conscious traveler, as they function each lodging and transportation. There are 5 principal rental businesses:
Costs differ rather a lot. Your each day price will change relying on the place you choose up the car in case you are dropping it off at a distinct place, how lengthy you might be renting it for, how far prematurely you ebook, and while you ebook (within the excessive season, costs appear to double!).
If residing out of a van for a couple of weeks doesn’t sound like your concept of a enjoyable time, merely lease a traditional automobile and ebook lodging alongside the best way. To ebook a automobile, take a look at Discover Cars, which searches rental businesses huge and small to search out the perfect offers.
New Zealand Street Journey Itinerary: A Two-Week North Island Route
Days 1–2: Auckland
Auckland is the most important and most populous metropolis in New Zealand and, opposite to common perception, it’s not the capital (that’s Wellington). Since most flights land right here, spend a few days recovering out of your (seemingly) lengthy journey.
Spend a while hanging out on the Auckland Area, go snorkel on Goat Island, and in case you love wine like I do, take a wine tour on Waiheke Island.
For a listing of extra issues to do in Auckland, take a look at my information to the town!
The place to Keep: The Albion – This historic lodging started as a “pub resort” within the nineteenth century. Immediately there’s nonetheless a pleasant previous tavern within the resort. The rooms are snug and the place is quiet.
Days 3-4: Bay of Islands
Head to the Bay of Islands on the northern tip of the North Island for a couple of days. With mile after mile of seashore and rocky shoreline surrounding the bay (which accommodates 144 islands), this space has a number of the greatest alternatives for dolphin and whale watching, kayaking, swimming, and boating. The Bay of Islands can also be dwelling to what I feel are a number of the greatest seashores within the nation.
When you’re right here you’ll be able to visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds (one of the vital necessary historic websites within the nation), discover Cape Reinga (the northernmost level of New Zealand), and see wild dolphins on a boat tour.
For a listing of extra issues to do in Bay of Islands, take a look at my full information!
The place to Keep: Haka Lodge – Situated in Paihia, Haka Lodge has a variety of widespread areas, a big kitchen, and nice views over the harbor. The whole lot is tremendous clear and the beds are snug. It’s place to satisfy individuals.
Day 5: Hobbiton
Visiting the Hobbiton film set featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films is well one in all New Zealand’s most well-known actions and a should for followers of the movies and books. Even in case you’re not a superfan, it’s fascinating to see the film magic and go behind the scenes on this distinctive setting.
To see Hobbiton, you’ll have to take a tour that begins with a drive by the proprietor’s 505-hectare (1,250-acre) sheep farm, providing epic views over the Kaimai Vary. From right here, you’ll be able to discover Bag Finish, wander across the hobbit holes, and go to the Inexperienced Dragon Inn. Excursions begin at 89 NZD.
The place to Keep: Cosy Country Stay B&B – It is a cute bed-and-breakfast positioned in Matamata just some miles from Hobbiton. The hosts are implausible, there’s complimentary breakfast, and the property is quiet and tranquil, with roaming cats and goats for added environment.
Days 6–7: Rotorua
It’s only one hour from Hobbiton to Rotorua, one of the vital common vacationer locations on the North Island. The title comes from the unique Maori “Te Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe,” that means “second lake,” because it was the second lake that Maori chief Ihenga found within the space.
The Maori had been the unique inhabitants of New Zealand, having arrived from Polynesia between 1320 and 1350. That is the perfect space to learn about Maori history and culture. Don’t miss seeing a Maori cultural present whilst you’re right here (the Te Pa Tu Maori Cultural Experience is the one I attended).
The area can also be recognized for its geothermal exercise, and the dynamic panorama makes for thrilling nature walks, journeys to smelly sulfuric geysers, and soaks in luxurious spas with water from the new springs.
The place to Keep: Rock Solid Backpackers – It is a centrally positioned hostel with an expansive array of services, together with a cinema, a bar, a communal kitchen, and even a rock-climbing wall.
Day 8: Waitomo
Waitomo is understood for its worms — glowworms, that’s (spoiler alert: they’re really fly larvae that emit a bioluminescent glow). Positively one of many coolest locations I visited in New Zealand, the Waitomo glowworm cave could also be very touristy but it surely’s merely breathtaking and in contrast to something you’ve ever seen.
For an entire record of issues to do in Waitomo, take a look at my information in town.
The place to Keep: Juno Hall – Near the glowworm caves, Juno Corridor has a swimming pool and tennis court docket on-site. There’s a big kitchen in addition to an outside grill for barbecuing.
Days 9-10: Taupo
Taupo sits on the shores of Lake Taupo and is a part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, an space that has had excessive volcanic exercise for the previous two million years. Taupo has tons of unbelievable hikes, a number of boating excursions, charming native markets, and beautiful nature. Consider it like a quieter model of Queenstown (the South Island’s journey capita)l.
It’s additionally one in all the best places to go skydiving in New Zealand due to the views and clear skies (although I didn’t do that whereas I used to be there).
I cherished the small-town really feel of Taupo, sitting by the lake, and having the ability to take action many hikes. I may have stayed right here for weeks.
For a listing of extra issues to do in Taupo, take a look at my information!
The place to Keep: Finlay Jack’s has an enormous kitchen, a giant widespread room, a spacious patio with BBQs, enjoyable and welcoming workers, bike leases, and an excellent pleasant hostel canine. The whole lot within the hostel is up to date, with new, trendy pod-style beds so you may get an excellent evening’s sleep. In brief, all the pieces a backpacker or price range traveler would need from a hostel.
Day 11: Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Trekking through this otherworldly, red-colored environment of volcanoes and sulfur was one of many highlights of my time in New Zealand. One of many Nice Walks of New Zealand and infrequently thought-about top-of-the-line day hikes on the earth, that is an epic 19-kilometer (12-mile) trek that takes a full day to finish (most individuals take 6-9 hours, relying in your health stage).
As you wind your manner by Tongariro Nationwide Park, you’ll stroll by volcanic terrain (together with the place Mordor in Lord of the Rings was filmed), previous excessive peaks and sulfur lakes, and finish the day in a dense forest. It’s simple in components (the start and finish) and steep in others (particularly the portion after “Mount Doom”), so that you’ll get mixture of problem ranges.
Make sure to deliver water, sunscreen, a hat, bathroom paper, and a sweater or jacket (the climate can change quickly). Anticipate to pay round 40 NZD per individual for a round-trip shuttle to and from the path or 280 NZD for a full-day guided hike.
The place to Keep: National Park Alpine Lodge – Situated in Nationwide Park Village (the perfect place to remain if doing the trek), this lodge options budget-friendly personal rooms, a communal kitchen and customary space (with a comfy hearth for chilly nights!), and a useful workers.
In any other case, you’ll be able to keep in Taupo, which is the place individuals often base themselves after they do that trek.
Days 12–14: Wellington
Wellington is my favourite metropolis in your entire nation. It’s an artsy, eclectic place, boasting tons of cultural actions, an unbelievable nightlife, a number of the greatest meals within the nation, tons of murals, world-class artwork displays, insightful museums, and an exquisite harbor (which is greatest seen from Mount Victoria, which overlooks your entire metropolis).
Make sure to go to Te Papa (New Zealand’s nationwide museum), trip the cable automobile to the Cable Automotive Museum, and tour Weta Workshop (an Academy Award–successful props and particular results studio).
For a listing of extra issues to do in Wellington, take a look at my detailed information to the town.
The place to Keep: The Dwellington – Greater than half the Dwellington is widespread area, with a video games room, a cinema room (with comfortable seats!), residing rooms, out of doors patios, and even tennis and squash courts. The workers additionally actually goes out of their technique to be sure you really feel welcome.
When you’ve solely obtained two weeks and are ending your street journey in Wellington, you’ll be able to fly out of the airport right here to wherever it’s worthwhile to go subsequent. When you’ve got extra time, you’ll take the car ferry (round 3.5 hours) to Picton on the South Island to proceed your journey (by which case, comply with the next two-week South Island itinerary, however in reverse).
New Zealand Street Journey Itinerary: A Two-Week South Island Route
When you select the South Island on your two-week street journey, begin in Queenstown. Even when your worldwide flight lands in Auckland on the North Island, you’ll be able to simply get an inexpensive flight to Queenstown. Queenstown additionally has direct flights to many main cities in Australia in case your journey to New Zealand is an element of a bigger journey in Oceania.
Days 1-3: Queenstown
Queenstown is a small, picturesque city overlooking Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the gorgeous peaks of the Remarkables mountain vary. It has a feisty and outdoorsy power to it, with slim streets and pedestrian lanes crammed with retailers and eating places.
Often called “the journey capital of New Zealand” (it’s the launching pad for each kind of journey exercise you’ll be able to consider), Queenstown lives as much as the hype. Although it has develop into vastly common, I can’t categorical my love of Queenstown sufficient. I like sitting by the lake, watching the sundown with a bottle of wine, and mountaineering the close by trails.
Discover close by vineyards, benefit from the waters of Lake Wakatipu, bungy soar, zipline, rafting, or skydiving. There’s rather a lot to do right here.
For a listing of extra issues to do in Queenstown, take a look at my detailed metropolis information.
The place to Keep: Nomads Queenstown – Most rooms have balconies, the showers have prodigious water strain, and the pillows are thick. There are actions each evening and a free dinner and quiz evening on Sunday. Total, this can be a good spot to remain.
Days 4-6: Fiordland
The Fiordland area is without doubt one of the nation’s most scenic and distant (and as such, additionally dwelling to quite a few Lord of the Rings movie places). Given its gigantic mountains, deep lakes, swelling rivers, untamed forests, and resplendent fjords (lengthy, slim inlets banked by steep cliffs, created by glaciers), the federal government has largely made the land off-limits to guard these pure assets.
Milford Sound is a tremendous fjord that’s greatest recognized for the towering Mitre Peak and its surrounding rainforest. You may stroll the wooded path alongside the sandy shore for good views of the height, or take the Chasm Stroll on the Cleddau River to get near highly effective waterfalls.
The fjord itself is dwelling to seal and penguin colonies. You may typically see pods of dolphins frolicking within the waters too. Discover by boat and take a look at the Milford Discovery Centre and Underwater Observatory to see uncommon black coral and different underwater life. Southern Discoveries is the one firm doing cruises that embrace the Underwater Observatory. Cruises start from 129 NZD.
Whereas much less well-known than Milford, Uncertain Sound is the deepest and second-largest fjord within the nation. You may solely get to Uncertain by way of boat. A wilderness cruise of Doubtful Sound prices 199 NZD.
The place to Keep: Milford Sound Lodge – That is fairly actually the one place to remain inside about 50 kilometers (31 miles). It’s not low-cost, however the views are unmatched, the complimentary breakfast is scrumptious, and the up to date rooms are cozy but trendy. In any other case, in case you have a automobile, you’ll be able to keep within the closest city, Te Anau the place you’ll discover cheaper lodging.
Days 7-8: Wanaka
Wanaka is a ski and summer season resort city framed by snowcapped mountains. As close by Queenstown has develop into overcrowded in recent times, journey to Wanaka has exploded and this sleepy however actually cool little city has develop into common with backpackers and out of doors lovers, particularly skiers and boaters. There’s not a ton to do right here past having fun with the outside. Most individuals come right here for a couple of nights to hike, chill out, and transfer on.
For a listing of extra issues to do in Wanaka, take a look at my detailed metropolis information.
The place to Keep: Mountain View Backpackers – This hostel has an enormous out of doors area with a grill, area to lie within the solar, and a giant desk to congregate round (there have been many pleasant nights spent ingesting wine outside).
Day 9: Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef is a tiny city that’s primarily used as a jumping-off level for seeing the Franz Josef Glacier and the Fox Glacier.
Mountaineering the glaciers right here is an unforgettable expertise. Sadly, as a result of they’ve receded and are melting rapidly attributable to local weather change, the caves and walks have been shut down. Now, the one technique to trek on the glaciers is by way of heli-hike (an epic half-day or full-day helicopter/hiking experience). These are costly (500 NZD), however the helicopter trip, trekking, and expertise as a complete are definitely worth the worth in my view.
Conversely, you’ll be able to simply hike to the glacier face and take images from a distance. There are tons of viewing factors (and also you’ll see images of simply how far the glaciers have receded in through the years).
The place to Keep: Chateau Backpacker & Motels – Only a ten-minute drive from the glacier, this lodging provides free selfmade soup each evening, free breakfast (selfmade waffles and pancakes!), two communal kitchens, and a scorching tub.
Days 10–11: Abel Tasman Nationwide Park
Drive simply six hours north of glacial Franz Josef and also you’ll be in beachy Abel Tasman Nationwide Park. With its turquoise water, dense jungles, and heat temperatures, this park makes you are feeling such as you’re within the tropics quite than New Zealand. It covers over 23,876 hectares (59,000 acres), that means there are a variety of single and multi-day hikes (together with the 3-5-day Abel Tasman Coast Monitor, one of many Nice Walks of New Zealand).
One of the simplest ways to see the park is by kayak, so you’ll be able to discover the little coves and seashores that actually make the realm particular. Full-day leases begin at round 85 NZD, or you’ll be able to be a part of a guided kayaking tour beginning at 130 NZD. You can even take a scenic cruise around the park for 79 NZD.
The place to Keep: Marahau Beach Camp – Provides each dormitories and small personal cottages, a communal kitchen, and a seasonal restaurant. There are additionally tent and campervan websites if you wish to lower your expenses.
From right here, choose your final cease: both drive onwards to Christchurch and finish there or take the ferry over the Wellington (an journey in and of itself!) and finish there. Both manner, you’ll be capable to catch an inexpensive and fast flight again to Auckland on your worldwide flight dwelling.
When you’re heading to Christchurch, hold studying. When you’d like to go to Wellington, scroll again up and comply with the information within the North Island itinerary part.
Days 12-14: Christchurch
Although severely broken by earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 (over 185 individuals had been killed and three,000 buildings had been broken), Christchurch has rebounded and developed right into a brand-new metropolis. This revival has instilled a newfound sense of hope and vibrancy, and led to extra funky bars and markets, and new eating places, retailers, and displays. The locals have labored exhausting to rebuild, and there’s a group spirit right here that actually shines. I like the place Christchurch goes.
Whereas there’s not rather a lot “to do” per se, the vibe right here is admittedly relaxed, and it’s price not speeding by in case you aren’t quick on time. Make sure to ride the gondola, go to the Canterbury Museum, and tour Quake Metropolis (a novel and interactive museum that recounts private tales from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes).
For a listing of extra issues to do in Christchurch, take a look at my metropolis information.
The place to Keep: Urbanz – That is an superior hostel positioned in downtown Christchurch with pleasant workers and an enormous kitchen. There’s additionally a hostel bar, a pool desk, quick Wi-Fi, laundry, films, and cozy couches, in addition to a car parking zone.
If it’s worthwhile to get again to Queenstown, it’s a 6 hour drive from right here. Alternatively, you’ll be able to fly to Auckland. The flight is simply over an hour and tickets may be discovered for as little as 65 NZD in case you ebook prematurely.
New Zealand Street Journey Itinerary: 1 Month
You’ve obtained longer to discover New Zealand, nice! You’ll seemingly fly into Auckland, and make your manner south by the North after which South Island following the above itineraries. You may take your time, linger longer, go to extra locations, and shift your plans in case you really feel pulled in a sure path.
Once more, these are simply advisable itineraries — I encourage you to adapt as wanted!
Issues to Keep in mind When Street-Tripping New Zealand
That will help you benefit from your street journey, please bear in mind the next guidelines:
- Visitors flows on the left right here (not the proper, like within the US or Canada).
- You need to all the time park your automobile within the path that visitors goes (or danger a high-quality).
- There are many pull-off factors for taking images — use them as an alternative of stopping at a random spot alongside the aspect of the street, which may be fairly harmful given how tight the roads are right here.
- Roads listed below are winding, so do not forget that it would take longer than you count on to cowl a selected distance.
- So long as your present and legitimate driver’s license is in English, you don’t want an Worldwide Driver’s Allow.
- When you’re touring by campervan, use the CamperMate app to search out close by campsites, fuel stations, and dump stations.
New Zealand is an unforgettable nation, loaded with epic landscapes, pleasant Kiwis, and a wealthy tradition. Because of its distant location, visiting is often a once-in-a-lifetime journey for many vacationers. Taking a street journey is the easiest way to benefit from your time right here, tailoring your itinerary to your personal preferences and New Zealand bucket record.
Want a rental automobile on your epic journey? use the widget beneath to search out the perfect offers!
E book Your Journey to New Zealand: Logistical Suggestions and Methods
E book Your Flight
Use Skyscanner to discover a low-cost flight. They’re my favourite search engine as a result of they search web sites and airways across the globe so that you all the time know no stone is left unturned!
E book Your Lodging
You may ebook your hostel with Hostelworld as they’ve the largest stock and greatest offers. If you wish to keep someplace apart from a hostel, use Booking.com as they persistently return the most cost effective charges for guesthouses and low-cost lodges.
When you’re searching for particular locations to remain, here is a complete list of my favorite hostels in New Zealand.
Don’t Overlook Journey Insurance coverage
Journey insurance coverage will shield you towards sickness, damage, theft, and cancellations. It’s complete safety in case something goes mistaken. I by no means go on a visit with out it as I’ve had to make use of it many instances previously. My favourite corporations that supply the perfect service and worth are:
In search of the Finest Firms to Save Cash With?
Try my resource page for the perfect corporations to make use of while you journey. I record all those I exploit to save cash once I’m on the street. They’ll prevent cash while you journey too.
Need Extra Data on New Zealand?
Make sure to go to our robust destination guide on New Zealand for much more planning ideas!