The Final New Zealand Highway Journey Itinerary

Rhea of Rhea’s Travels traveled across the North and South Islands of New Zealand for 9 weeks—hitting the entire greatest spots, whereas touring by way of camper van. She’s right here at present to share the final word New Zealand highway journey itinerary!

New Zealand is a good looking nation positioned within the South Pacific well-known for its various panorama of breathtaking mountains, lakes, glaciers, and seashores.

I’ve been dwelling in New Zealand for some time and not too long ago spent two months touring up and down the nation. Subsequently, I can inform you precisely what makes the final word itinerary for a New Zealand highway journey.

From what to pack to what to funds, together with an itinerary for each the North Island and the South Island—right here’s the final word New Zealand highway journey itinerary!

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The Greatest  Time to Go to

In terms of New Zealand there isn’t a nasty time to go to. When you’re wanting sizzling, dry climate then December to February is the time to go to. This gives you the longest days when it comes to daylight however bear in mind that is additionally the most well-liked time to go to so issues might be costlier.

A much less populous time that also gives good climate is throughout springtime—between September and November.

The perfect months to ski at resorts like Cardrona and Coronet Peak is July by to August. One other nice time to go to is November to December for lupin season the place the lupins embellish areas resembling Lake Tekapo and Mount Prepare dinner.

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What to Pack

New Zealand is thought to expertise 4 seasons in a day so packing might be difficult. I’ve skilled all seasons right here and these are my packing suggestions.

First issues first, you’ll want an NZeTA electronic visitor visa should you’re visiting for lower than Three months.

I’d suggest shopping for your toiletries in New Zealand to save lots of room in your suitcase. The fee is just like the UK/US aside from sunscreen, so purchase that again house.

Highway Journey Necessities:

  • Electronics (digital camera, chargers, adaptors)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Day/night bag
  • Climbing backpack
  • Eye masks + earplugs


Clothes For All Seasons:

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In terms of autumn and winter, you’ll wish to pack some extra add-ons, together with a heat mackintosh, gloves, scarf, woolly hat, and layers for prime/backside. Likewise for spring and summer time—embody items in your baggage to accommodate for hotter climate!


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Road to Mount Cook

What to Price range for a New Zealand Highway Journey

New Zealand shouldn’t be an inexpensive journey vacation spot even on the tightest funds however don’t let this put you off.

The approximate value on a decent funds is $80NZD per day that means you’d prepare dinner nearly your whole meals, journey by low cost transport, keep in hostels and splurge on a number of actions.

Listed here are my suggestions to economize right here:

  • Prepare dinner as a lot as you’ll be able to — A meal out can simply value you $30 so purchase groceries on the most cost-effective retailer (PAK’nSAVE) and prepare dinner at your lodging. When you do eat out, quick meals chains are the most cost effective.
  • Keep in hostels — (use Hostelworld) or non-public rooms in Airbnbs. Prices for a dorm mattress are $20-30NZD an evening. When you’re touring in a pair it may be cheaper to separate a personal hostel dorm/Airbnb room.
  • Make the most of free actions — resembling hikes, museums, and botanic gardens.
  • In terms of transport — Use public transport resembling Intercity to journey round. Journey between the North and South islands utilizing Bluebridge ferries on foot, taking a car throughout is pricey.
  • Go to out of peak season  — it’s less expensive, for instance, to rent a campervan in winter than it’s in summer time. When you’re touring by campervan use the app Rankers Campers NZ which has an offline map and navigator to seek out close by services/campsites.

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Drive to Glenorchy 4

The drive to Glenorchy.

Suggestions for Driving in New Zealand

Driving right here is fairly particular because of the beautiful views however there are plenty of accidents attributable to vacationers. There are positively useful suggestions to bear in mind when driving in New Zealand.

First off, all the time drive on the left!

Go slowly the place acceptable, there are plenty of tight windy roads so don’t take these too quick or vast. If there are vehicles behind you pull over safely to allow them to go. New Zealand has a lot of pull-in factors because of this. Comply with the give-way indicators the place acceptable. The larger arrow provides precedence to that aspect of the highway.

Be sure to take further care within the winter months attributable to ice.

Lastly, park your automotive/camper going through the route you might be touring. You might be fined for parking your automotive going through the alternative approach.

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10-Day North Island Itinerary

Day 1: Auckland

You’ll seemingly fly into New Zealand’s largest airport in Auckland only a 25-minute drive to town middle. I’d suggest getting an Uber for ease or a shuttle to economize. You’ll find all of the airport switch particulars here.

Now the enjoyable begins! I’d suggest spending not more than a day in Auckland, it’s a pleasant metropolis however there are glaciers, volcanoes and exquisite seashores to discover. Auckland highlights embody a go to to the Sky Tower, Albert Park, Domain Wintergardens, and Mount Eden Summit.

Day 2: Paihia & the Bay of Islands

Leave Auckland early and head north to Paihia. Spend a number of hours on Paihia Seashore and take a ship journey to discover the Bay of Islands. Great Sights supply an incredible boat tour the place you’ll be able to see dolphins and head by the well-known gap within the rock.

Cape Reinga
Cape Reinga 2

Day 3: Cape Reinga

Head north once more to essentially the most northern level of New Zealand, Cape Reinga. Right here you’ll be able to see the well-known lighthouse and watch the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean meet.

Take a 20-minute drive south-west to the Giant Sand Dunes and rent toboggans to surf down the dunes.

Day 4: Drive in direction of Cathedral Cove

It’s an 8-hour drive to Cathedral Cove so cease for relaxation breaks or keep in a single day on the midway level. Fashionable spots to cease embody 90-Mile Seashore, Kai Iwi Lakes, Muriwai Seashore, Te Henga Walkway, Bethells Seashore, and Piha.

Cathedral Cove 2

Cathedral Cove

Day 5: Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove is one among my favourite seashores in New Zealand, with its smooth white sand and clear blue water, the thrill of some hours right here is unbeatable. It’s a well-liked spot so should you’re hoping to beat the crowds get right here for dawn.

I like to recommend taking a kayaking tour for a singular approach to attain the seaside.

Different sights close by embody Shakespeare Cliff Lookout and Scorching Water Seashore the place you’ll be able to lease a spade and soak within the thermal water.


Day 6: Hobbiton

Start the two.5-hour drive to Hobbiton and cease by the breathtaking Owharoa Falls for a relaxation cease.

Spend the afternoon in Center-earth having fun with a guided strolling tour of Hobbiton. This can be a must-do whether or not you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or not. It’s spectacular to see the element that went into this set.

Be sure you ebook forward as this is likely one of the hottest vacationer actions in New Zealand.


Day 7: Waitomo

Subsequent head to Waitomo, simply an hour away, and head to the underground caves the place you’ll be able to see glow worms. I spent 5 hours doing the Black Abyss Tour the place you abseil, zipline, climb, and tube by the caves. If confined areas aren’t your factor, you’ll be able to take a 45-minute boat ride by the caves to see the glowworms this fashion.

When you’re searching for a spot to remain and chill out in a single day I extremely suggest Waitomo Hilltop Glamping.

Day 8: Rotorua

Two hours east is the favored city of Rotorua. There’s quite a bit to see right here however my prime picks are Redwoods Treewalk, Polynesian Spa, Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, and a night on the Tamaki Maori Village (voted top-of-the-line issues to do in New Zealand).

If you wish to hike the well-known Tongariro Alpine Crossing, I like to recommend staying close by the evening earlier than at both the National Park Village or Taupo. When you drive by Taupo make a fast cease at Huka Falls.

Tongariro Alpine Crossing 5

Day 9: Tongariro Alpine Crossing

Tongariro Alpine Crossing is known as New Zealand’s best day hike and for featuring serving as the location of Modor in The Lord of the Rings—making it a must-do for any hiker.

This 19.4km hike features a volcanic landscape with emerald lakes and takes between 6-8 hours to complete so I recommended you start early to avoid hiking in the dark. You’ll be tired after this hike so take the evening to relax your feet.

Day 10: Wellington

It’s a 4-hour drive to Wellington but I’d recommend stopping to see the capital which is also my favorite city in New Zealand. Wellington has a bit of everything; the beach, harbor, parks and great places to eat. Take the cable car or hike to Mount Victoria Lookout to see views over town.

Go to Cuba Road to discover retailers, eating places, and cafes (strive Midnight Espresso for espresso, 1154 Pastaria for lunch, and Olive for dinner) and take a tour of Weta Workshop to see how the props and costumes out of your favourite motion pictures are made.

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Christchurch Punting on the River

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

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Day 2: Tekapo

Hire a automotive/camper and drive to Tekapo stopping at viewpoints across the lake. Get pleasure from a soak at Tekapo Springs or hike 90 minutes to the Astro Cafe for a scrumptious meal with beautiful views of Lake Tekapo.

Round 10 PM head to the Church of the Good Shepherd to see the unimaginable evening sky.

Road to Mount Cook 2

If there’s one factor you’ll be able to’t miss—it’s Mount Prepare dinner. And the drive there’s beautiful, too!

Day 3: Lake Pukaki

Benefit from the quick drive to Lake Pukaki stopping at viewpoints across the lake. Right here’s the time to select up groceries and prime up your gasoline for the subsequent two days.

Then it’s time to drive to Mount Prepare dinner, my favourite place in New Zealand. Locations to remain should you’re on a funds embody Glentanner Holiday Park and YHA Aoraki Mt Cook Backpacker Accommodation or a extra luxurious choice is Aoraki Court docket/Mt Prepare dinner Village.

Try to get an early evening as I’d suggest getting up early to hike the next morning.


Day 4: Mount Prepare dinner

There are lots of hikes to select from (see here) however my prime suggestion is Hooker Valley, a straightforward 3-hour return hike that gives beautiful views all through. Bear in mind, should you’re afraid of heights and bridges, there are three on this hike.

Onsen Hot Pools 2

Day 5: Queenstown

Queenstown, otherwise known as the adventure capital of New Zealand, is full of activities. I’d recommend skydiving with NZone or bungy leaping with Aj Hackett.

If excessive sports activities aren’t your factor, go to Skyline Queenstown and take a experience on the gondola the place you’ll be able to take pleasure in luging or a drink while you’re taking within the views.

Foodwise, strive Bespoke Kitchen for scrumptious wholesome meals, Fergburger for an excessive burger, and Cookie Time for the perfect milkshake of your life.

Different notable actions embody a visit to Onsen Hot Pools and mountaineering the Ben Lomond observe.

Drive to Glenorchy

Drive to Glenorchy.

Glenorchypolaroid lazyload stack

Day 6: Glenorchy

The highway from Queenstown to Glenorchy is likely one of the most lovely drives in New Zealand. Take your time and luxuriate in stopping off at Bob’s Cove and Bennets Bluff Lookout. Seize a espresso at The Trading Post and take a photograph of the world-famous shed by Glenorchy Wharf.

I’d suggest spending the evening in Queenstown or Te Anau for a visit to Milford Sound the subsequent morning.

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Milford Sound

Day 7: Milford Sound

Milford Sound is a panoramic fiord well-known for its waterfalls and Mitre Peak. Being one of many wettest locations on the planet, be sure you pack waterproofs.

When you’re driving your self there’s a automotive park at $10 an hour (payable by card solely). In any other case, there are a number of tour operators (see here) who supply day journeys to Milford from Queenstown and Te Anau. Excursions typically embody a ship cruise to discover deeper into the fiord.


Day 8: Wanaka

An hour’s drive from Queenstown, Wanaka is a good looking city well-known for the Wanaka Tree, Lavender Fields, and the notorious Roys Peak day hike.

This hike shouldn’t be for the faint-hearted, it’s a 6-hour return climb however the views are price it. Take sufficient water and snacks and put on the suitable clothes. You received’t be dissatisfied!

Day 9: Mount Aspiring Nationwide Park

An hour north of Wanaka is the beautiful Mount Aspiring Nationwide Park. Stroll the 1.5-hour return Blue Pools Track and cease at Fantail Falls and Thunder Creek Falls. Head to Franz Josef to remain in a single day and be sure you cease at Lake Matheson alongside the best way.

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View from the Helicopter!

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Day 10: Franz Josef/Fox Glacier

The final day of your New Zealand road trip should be at Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. These West coast towns are famous for their heli hikes and heli landings. Try a Heli Hike with The Helicopter Line or Franz Josef Glacier, and Glacier Helicopters for a heli touchdown. It received’t be low cost but it surely’ll be price it!

When you’re on a funds, head on a hike resembling Alex Knob Observe (8-hour return) or Roberts Level Observe (the 5-hour). Each supply spectacular views of the glaciers however be sure you wrap up heat.

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Different Suggestions

North Island:

  • Mount Taranaki — I used to be dissatisfied to overlook this stratovolcano; head right here for an unforgettable dawn/sundown

South Island:

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Roys Peak 2

Roys Peak

Useful Suggestions

  • Kia Ora means hi there within the native Maori language
  • Climbing is also known as tramping
  • There’s no expectation to tip
  • There are strict legal guidelines about what you’ll be able to usher in to the nation. You possibly can see the entire prohibited objects here to keep away from a tremendous on the airport
  • When you look below 25 you’ll want your passport for ID when buying alcohol
  • iSite’s are in each city/metropolis and are full of knowledge on issues to do within the space

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New Zealand is an unimaginable place to journey and there’s a lot to see and do. You would possibly spend fairly a little bit of time driving to see the perfect bits but it surely’s price it. No matter you do right here, I’m positive you’ll have the perfect time.

You possibly can see extra in-depth posts on my weblog about the place to skydive in New Zealand, visiting Hobbiton, hiking Tongariro Alpine Crossing, glamping in Waitomo, and visiting Onsen Hot Pools.

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