New Zealand Street Journey: The Excellent Itinerary if You Solely Have 2 Weeks

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There are some nations and areas of the world that simply beg to be explored on a street journey. And I am a agency believer that New Zealand is certainly one of these nations.

Positive, you *can* get round New Zealand with no automobile; you need to use buses and trains and low cost flights and nonetheless see quite a lot of the nation’s highlights. However for a real New Zealand journey? You simply cannot beat a street journey right here.

However how on this planet do you have to go about planning a New Zealand street journey, understanding all of the wonderful issues there are to see? And the way do you do it when you’ll be able to solely dedicate two weeks to the journey?

Driving in New Zealand

In a super world, you’d have the money and time to spend not less than a month in New Zealand so as to actually respect it. However we do not dwell in a super world, and I do know that lots of my fellow People solely get about two weeks of trip time to make use of yearly.

With that in thoughts, here is my suggestion for a 2-week New Zealand street journey that features the highlights of each the North and South islands. It covers the key must-sees from cities to mountains to hobbit holes to fjords, in addition to some quick hikes and funky actions you’ll be able to add to make your journey additional memorable.

First issues first: Automobile vs. campervan

When planning a New Zealand street journey, you will have two major modes of transport to think about: a automotive, or a campervan.

The advantages of renting a automotive are that it is normally less expensive, vehicles are simpler to deal with on New Zealand’s slim and winding roads, and there is extra stock on each islands.

The advantages of renting a campervan are that you could avoid wasting cash by tenting and cooking your personal meals. Plus, campervanning round New Zealand is an iconic option to discover the nation!

Each are glorious selections, and all of it boils all the way down to your funds and your most popular lodging sort. In case you favor B&Bs and lodges, hire a automotive. In case you’re up for sleeping in a van at campsites and vacation parks, then a campervan is likely to be best for you.

For automotive leases, you’ll be able to examine costs right here. For campervans, I like to recommend testing manufacturers like Spaceships for smaller vans (that is who I personally used), and Euro Campers, Britz, or Maui for bigger campers.

Different New Zealand street journey posts it’s possible you’ll wish to learn:

The right 2-week New Zealand street journey itinerary

Day 1 – Arrive in Auckland

Regardless that it is a street journey itinerary, I really do not suggest selecting up your rental automotive (or campervan, or no matter it’s you are going to hire) till Day Three of this itinerary. You do not actually need a automobile to get round in Auckland, so save your self a pair days of rental charges!

You will seemingly arrive in Auckland this morning. You might have a pair choices relating to getting downtown: taxi, Uber, and the SkyBus. The SkyBus to downtown runs a flat charge of $18 NZD per grownup for a one-way ticket, and is what I normally suggest. *Generally* you could find an Uber fare that can be $40 NZD or much less, however the worth can usually be rather a lot greater.

Auckland, New Zealand
Auckland skyline

You most likely will not be capable to test into your lodge but, however you’ll be able to undoubtedly drop off your baggage and perhaps change your garments in preparation for a day of exploring Auckland.

Some issues I like to recommend doing at this time embrace:

  • Going up the Sky Tower for glorious views of Auckland
  • Strolling alongside the waterfront from Queens Wharf, previous Viaduct Harbor, and into the Wynyard Quarter
  • Getting a elaborate ice cream at Giapo

RELATED: The Greatest Issues to Do on Your First Journey to Auckland

View from the Auckland Sky Tower
View from the Auckland Sky Tower

By the point you’ve got finished this (and thrown in some lunch and perhaps a little bit of buying), you can head again to your lodge to test in and simply crash.

With the intention to fight the jet lag, I like to recommend making an attempt to remain up as late as attainable with none naps. However ordering room service and going to mattress by eight p.m. tonight is completely acceptable.  😉

Complete driving time at this time: zero hours

Prices: SkyBus from Auckland airport – $18 NZD per particular person; Sky Tower admission – $29 NZD

The place to remain in Auckland: I really like the Grand Millennium Auckland. This upmarket CBD lodge is clear and cozy, and has a beautiful workers. There’s an indoor pool, a bar, and two eating places on-site, plus a fairly nice room service menu. You’ll be able to stroll to the Sky Tower and harbor in about 15 minutes. (Learn critiques on TripAdvisor | E book a room right here!)

Day 2 – Waiheke Island

Jet lag will seemingly have you ever up early this morning, so it’s possible you’ll as effectively reap the benefits of it! There are lots extra issues to do in Auckland, however my high choose is to take a day journey out to Waiheke Island. This island is situated only a 40-minute ferry journey from Auckland, and ferries begin operating pretty early within the morning.

Waiheke Island is thought for its wineries and seashores, and makes for an ideal day journey from Auckland.

Waiheke Island, New Zealand

Catch the ferry over, after which both use the bus or hire a motorcycle to get across the island (although observe that elements of it are fairly hilly!). You’ll be able to go to white-sand seashores at Oneroa, Palm Seashore, and Onetangi, or go to wineries like Cable Bay, Mudbrick, and Stonyridge.

In case you’d relatively not discover the island by yourself, join a meals and wine tour of Waiheke from Auckland (it is a fairly whole lot!).

Cable Bay winery on Waiheke Island
Cable Bay vineyards

Again in Auckland, have a leisurely night in preparation to hit the street on Day Three!

Complete driving time at this time: zero hours

Prices: Ferry to Waiheke – beginning at $38 NZD roundtrip

The place to remain in Auckland: I nonetheless suggest the Grand Millennium Auckland tonight!

Day Three – Matamata and Rotorua

Choosing up your automotive or campervan at this time means you’ll be able to choose up from an Auckland metropolis location versus the airport, which ought to prevent a bit of cash. Enable as much as an hour for pick-up, as a few of the extra standard rental corporations might be very busy, particularly throughout excessive season.

When you’re all set together with your automobile, it is time to begin you New Zealand street journey and head south to the farming neighborhood of Matamata. You is probably not accustomed to this city’s title, however you most likely ARE accustomed to its high attraction: Hobbiton!

Bag End in Hobbiton at dusk
Bag Finish in Hobbiton

Almost 20 years in the past, a household sheep farm in Matamata was used because the movie set for Hobbiton within the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Lord of the Rings tourism took off in New Zealand after the success of the films, and so once they determined to re-build the identical Hobbiton set for the Hobbit trilogy, they constructed it to final.

Immediately, you’ll be able to tour the set of Hobbiton – and it is magical even in the event you aren’t a Lord of the Rings fan.

Amanda and Elliot in Hobbiton

It takes about 2 hours to get to Hobbiton from Auckland, so plan for a day tour of the Hobbiton film set. Excursions depart from the Shire’s Relaxation roughly each half hour, however you DO wish to ebook upfront since excursions usually promote out. (E book your tour right here.)

You will spend the subsequent 2 hours being guided across the 12-acre film set, taking in all of the hobbit-y particulars and listening to tales about filming. The tour will finish with a drink within the Inexperienced Dragon Inn.

Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand

From right here, it is an hour to go to town of Rotorua, the place you will be spending the subsequent couple of nights.

You will seemingly arrive earlier than meal time, so if you wish to do one thing stress-free this night, I like to recommend reserving a time slot on the Polynesian Spa. The swimming pools at this spa overlook Lake Rotorua, and are full of geothermal mineral water sourced from two close by pure springs. Positively go for the Deluxe Lake Spa for final leisure.

Polynesian Spa Deluxe Lake Spa in Rotorua
Polynesian Spa Deluxe Lake Spa

Complete driving time at this time: Three hours

Prices: Hobbiton tour – $84 NZD; Polynesian Spa – $50 NZD for the Deluxe Lake Spa

The place to remain in Rotorua:

  • In case you’re touring in a campervan, I like to recommend staying at Rotorua Thermal Vacation Park. This vacation park has good frequent areas, thermal swimming pools you need to use, and even a resident cat to make mates with. It is not inside strolling distance to downtown, nonetheless.
  • In case you’re renting a automotive, I like to recommend Aura Lodging (one of many highest-rated choices on TripAdvisor), or Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Resort in the event you’re on the lookout for somewhat luxurious.

Day Four – Rotorua

Immediately, spend the day exploring Rotorua. This is among the most geothermally-active areas in New Zealand – and you may inform by the whiffs of sulphur you will get all all through town.

Begin your morning off with a go to to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland simply exterior of town, the place you’ll be able to see all the things from geysers to boiling mud to neon-green lakes. There are different thermal parks in Rotorua, however this one is my favourite!

Devil's Bath at Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland
Satan’s Bathtub at Wai-O-Tapu

The Champagne Pool and Satan’s Bathtub are undoubtedly must-sees. Enable not less than 2 hours to stroll all of the park’s trails.

Champagne Pool at Wai-O-Tapu
Champagne Pool

After getting your fill of geothermal oddities, head to the Redwoods Treewalk, the place you’ll be able to spend an hour traversing a sequence of suspension bridges excessive up in a grove of redwood bushes (as a result of sure, redwoods completely develop in Rotorua!). It is a very distinctive spot – undoubtedly price a cease!

Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua

This afternoon, you’ll be able to discover a little bit of downtown Rotorua. Seize lunch on Eat Streat (a cool assortment of eating places), go to the Authorities Gardens, and stroll alongside Lake Rotorua. You will see a Skyline Gondola right here above the lake, however I really would save your gondola expertise for later within the journey!

Tonight, I like to recommend splurging on a go to to certainly one of Rotorua’s Maori villages. Whilst you can expertise New Zealand’s native Maori tradition all around the nation, Rotorua has a few of the finest cultural reveals.

Locations like Tamaki Village and Mitai Village provide nightly dinner-concert packages, which embrace a standard hangi dinner (meals cooked in an earthen oven) together with a live performance/present that features conventional Maori songs and dances. These aren’t significantly low cost, however it’s a must have expertise if it is your first journey to New Zealand.

Maori marae at Te Puia
Maori tradition in Rotorua

Complete driving time at this time: Lower than 2 hours (it takes about 30 minutes to drive to Wai-O-Tapu from Rotorua)

Prices: Wai-O-Tapu – $32.50 NZD per grownup; Redwoods Treewalk – $25 NZD; Maori dinner present – beginning round $115 NZD per grownup (which incorporates dinner, live performance, and transport out of your lodging)

The place to remain in Rotorua: Once more, I like to recommend staying at Rotorua Thermal Vacation Park in the event you’re in a campervan, and Aura Lodging or Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Resort you probably have a daily automotive.

Day 5 – To Wellington

Day 5 can have you heading to my favourite metropolis in New Zealand: Wellington! It’s kind of of a protracted driving day, however there are some cool issues you’ll be able to see alongside the best way.

You’ll be able to cease to see Lake Taupo (the most important lake by floor space in New Zealand), and undoubtedly drive south down Freeway 1, which has a bit known as the “Desert Street,” the place you will get some nice views of the volcanoes in Tongariro Nationwide Park if the climate is obvious.

Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo

It’s best to make it to Wellington by dinnertime even with some stops, so I like to recommend checking in to your lodge after which heading into town for dinner. Cuba Road particularly has some nice meals and leisure choices.

Complete driving time at this time: 6 hours

Prices: No attraction prices at this time

The place to remain in Wellington:

  • In case you have a campervan, the perfect campsite closest to Wellington might be the Wellington High 10 Vacation Park, although it is nonetheless 15 km from central Wellington. You may wish to contemplate staying at a downtown lodge for the subsequent 2 nights even you probably have a campervan, just because it is simpler to park and discover Wellington on foot than to drive into town each day.
  • In case you have a automotive (or simply resolve to remain downtown), my high lodge picks are Rydges Wellington and the Copthorne Resort Wellington Oriental Bay (I’ve personally stayed at each!).

Day 6 – Wellington

You really want a number of days to completely discover Wellington, however you’ll be able to nonetheless cowl a lot of the metropolis’s highlights in simply at some point.

In case you’re staying on the Copthorne, I like to recommend beginning out with a stroll alongside Wellington’s waterfront since you will be staying proper at Oriental Bay, Wellington’s solely metropolis seaside. You’ll be able to stroll all the best way from the seaside previous the harbor, after which cross the quirky Metropolis to Sea Bridge to succeed in town heart.

Oriental Bay in Wellington, New Zealand
Oriental Bay
Wellington Civic Square
Wellington Civic Sq. at one finish of the Metropolis to Sea Bridge

Alongside the best way, it’s possible you’ll wish to pop into Te Papa Tongarewa, the nationwide museum of New Zealand. It is situated on the waterfront and is free to go to. It is an particularly excellent spot to spend time in the event you hit dangerous climate in Wellington. (Although even in the event you do not, I nonetheless suggest visiting because it’s a superb museum!)

Subsequent, it is up the hill with the Wellington Cable Automobile, which takes you from Lambton Quay (town’s major buying avenue) to Kelburn Station on the Wellington Botanic Backyard. From the higher station, you get the perfect views out over Wellington.

Wellington Cable Car

Within the afternoon, you will have a few choices. Both you’ll be able to proceed wandering across the downtown space (Cuba Road can also be nice for folks watching, and Courtenay Place can also be full of life), or you may make a visit out to the Weta Collapse Miramar.

The Weta Cave is the tourist-facing arm of Weta Workshop and Studios, the place the place film artwork, results, and props have been created ever because the Lord of the Rings trilogy put New Zealand on the movie-making map. The behind-the-scenes Weta tour is tremendous attention-grabbing even when your aren’t a giant fan of hobbits and orcs. (E book your ticket right here.)

Troll at Weta Cave in Wellington
Caught by a troll on the Weta Cave

In case you’re up for yet another epic view of town, you may make your method by automotive or bus as much as the point of view atop Mount Victoria round sundown. It is nearly all the time tremendous windy on the high, however the views out over Wellington are gorgeous.

Wellington from Mount Victoria
Wellington from Mount Victoria

Complete driving time at this time: zero hours

Prices: Cable automotive – $9 NZD for a roundtrip ticket; Weta Cave tour – $28 NZD for a 45-minute tour

The place to remain in Wellington: Once more, I like to recommend Rydges Wellington and the Copthorne Resort Wellington Oriental Bay for staying downtown, or the Wellington High 10 Vacation Park in the event you’re on the lookout for an excellent campsite.

Day 7 – Ferry to South Island / Nelson

After almost per week on the North Island, it is time to wave goodbye to the hills and put together to say hiya to the mountains! Take a late morning automotive ferry from Wellington throughout the Prepare dinner Strait to Picton.

You might have two ferry choices: the Interislander and Bluebridge. Each ferries are related in worth and facilities, so that you may simply resolve who to sail with based mostly on their timetables.

This ferry journey normally takes not less than Three.5 hours, however the ferries that run this route are giant with comfy lounge chairs, giant home windows, and normally not less than one cafe. Ensure to exit on deck when you attain the Queens Charlotte Sound, because the surroundings is fairly spectacular!

Queen Charlotte Sound
Crusing by the Queen Charlotte Sound

When you disembark in Picton, it is a 2-hour drive to town of Nelson.

Nelson is thought for its artsy vibe and placement on Tasman Bay. In case you arrive early sufficient, I like to recommend visiting the WOW Museum (which shows items from the annual World of Wearable Artwork occasion) and the Nelson Traditional Automobile Assortment.

Complete driving time at this time: 2 hours

Value: A one-way ferry journey with a automotive + 2 folks begins round $225 NZD (and also you do wish to ebook forward!)

The place to remain in Nelson:

Day eight – West Coast

I will not sugarcoat it: at this time goes to be a really lengthy day of driving; there’s simply no method round it. However no New Zealand street journey could be full with out driving down the wild West Coast, so hopefully you are up for the journey!

West Coast
Welcome to the wild West Coast!

Get an early begin at this time so you may make a couple of stops alongside the best way. From Nelson, take Freeway 6 south. After which simply keep on 6 mainly the entire day!

Your first main cease can be in Punakaiki on the sting of Paparoa Nationwide Park. This is among the most gorgeous elements of the West Coast, and in Punakaiki you will discover the well-known Pancake Rocks.

These aren’t simply a few flat rocks, although – the world is filled with stacks of the issues, together with pure blowholes and a few very Jurassic Park-esque surroundings.

Pancake Rocks in Punakaiki
The Pancake Rocks
West Coast, New Zealand South Island
Severely, the place are the dinosaurs?

After you spend a while on the loop path right here, Punakaiki is an effective spot to cease for lunch.

From Punakaiki, proceed south to town of Greymouth, the most important metropolis on the West Coast. Greymouth is house to Monteith’s Brewery, one of many high craft breweries in New Zealand. In case you time it proper, you’ll be able to take a brewery tour right here (shoot for the three p.m. tour). If not, you’ll be able to nonetheless cease in for a tasting.

From there, it is a couple extra hours to the small city of Franz Josef Glacier.

Complete driving time at this time: 7 hours

Value: Monteith’s Brewery tour: $25 NZD

The place to remain in Franz Josef:

  • If touring with a campervan, try the Rainforest Retreat, which provides all the things from campervan websites to luxurious treehouses.
  • If touring with a automotive, Aspen Courtroom is the top-rated motel in Franz Josef with giant rooms inside strolling distance to all the things on the town. In case you’re on the lookout for a extra luxurious spot to spend a pair nights, go for the Glenfern Villas, that are little additional exterior the city heart.

Day 9 – Franz Josef

This a part of the West Coast is much more wild and distinctive than what you noticed yesterday, thanks largely to the glaciers that snake down from the mountains into the temperate rainforest of the coast. There are two glaciers within the space: Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.

Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand

Sadly, each glaciers have retreated rather a lot lately, and since their terminal faces are unstable, the one option to hike on both glacier now’s by doing a heli-hike. A glacier heli-hike is an EPIC expertise: you get right into a helicopter and fly excessive up onto the blue-white glacier, and you then get out, don ice crampons, and hike round on the ice for a pair hours earlier than flying again down once more.

In case you can afford a heli-hike, undoubtedly ebook one; that is the perfect glacier expertise to have in New Zealand, and I do not suppose you will remorse it.

Hiking on the Franz Josef Glacier
Climbing on the Franz Josef Glacier

HOWEVER, it is price noting that each Franz Josef and Fox glaciers exist inside a rainforest. And when it is too wet/cloudy, the helicopters will not fly. So, even in the event you do ebook a heli-hike, there’s actually solely a couple of 50/50 likelihood that you will rise up on a glacier. I like to recommend reserving one for Day 9, with the morning of Day 10 as your back-up.

If you cannot do a glacier hike at this time, another quick walks you are able to do within the space embrace:

  • The loop round Lake Matheson, the Mirror Lake (1.5 hours)
  • Hike into the Franz Josef Valley and up the riverbed to the face of the glacier (however NOT onto it) (1.5 hours)
  • Do a brief stroll by the forest to Peter’s Pool (30 minutes)
  • See glowworms after darkish on the Minnehaha Stroll in Fox Glacier city (20 minutes)
Lake Matheson in New Zealand
Lake Matheson
Walking through the New Zealand Forest
Strolling within the West Coast rainforest

It doesn’t matter what you find yourself doing at this time, I like to recommend going for a night soak within the Glacier Scorching Swimming pools. In case you do a heli-hike, entry can be included together with your ticket and you may welcome the soothing water after hours on the ice. And in the event you do not hike a glacier however do another walks as a substitute, you will nonetheless most likely take pleasure in an excellent soak, particularly if it has been a moist day.

Complete driving time at this time: Possibly an hour or so if you find yourself driving to do a few of these quick hikes

Value: Heli-hikes might be as a lot as $450 NZD; Glacier Scorching Swimming pools – $28 NZD for the primary swimming pools

The place to remain in Franz Josef: Once more, the Rainforest Retreat, is an effective possibility for campervans (or different kinds of rooms), and Aspen Courtroom is the top-rated motel in Franz Josef.

Day 10 – To Queenstown through Wanaka

In case your glacier heli-hike received canceled on Day 9, see in the event you can reschedule it early on Day 10. In that case, go and get on that ice this morning! In case you went mountain climbing yesterday or the glacier hikes get canceled once more at this time (which does occur!), it is time to transfer on from the West Coast.

From Franz Josef, you will proceed south on Freeway 6 alongside the coast till you get to Haast. From there, you will head inland and go over the Haast Go, which is fairly gorgeous!

In case you have time, I like to recommend stopping in Makarora to do the Blue Swimming pools stroll. This quick stroll contains traversing by a mature beech and podocarp forest, after which crossing two suspension bridges to see the attractive clear blue swimming pools.

Blue Pools bridge
Blue Swimming pools stroll

(And I can say from expertise that even when it is raining and even when the swimming pools aren’t blue as a result of there’s been flooding within the space just lately, this hour-long hike continues to be very fairly!)

From the Blue Swimming pools, you will quickly be driving alongside the northern finish of Lake Wanaka, adopted by the west aspect of Lake Hawea. These lakes are completely stunning, and you may undoubtedly wish to pull over at not less than a couple of of the viewpoints for some photographs.

Driving on the South Island
Viewpoint alongside Lake Hawea

Whether or not you are coming straight from Franz Josef or have spent your morning and afternoon stopping for hikes and viewpoints, I like to recommend stopping within the lakeside city of Wanaka for some sightseeing and dinner.

Wanaka has turn out to be Instagram-famous lately for each its Roy’s Peak hike, and for That Wanaka Tree, which grows out of the lake. You will not be capable to hike to Roy’s Peak in simply a few hours, however on the very least you must have time to walk alongside the lakeshore and see the Wanaka Tree, after which head again to town heart for dinner (there are many good eating places to select from).

That Wanaka Tree in New Zealand
That Wanaka Tree

From Wanaka, it is somewhat over an hour to Queenstown.

In case you’re touring within the late spring, summer season, or early autumn, I like to recommend taking the Crown Vary Street to Queenstown. The street takes you over a twisty mountain move, however offers you unimaginable views as you head down into Queenstown. (I do not suggest taking this street within the winter, although, in the event you’re not comfy driving on doubtlessly snowy/icy roads.)

Crown Range Road
View from the Crown Vary Street

Complete driving time at this time: 5 hours

Value: None, until you are doing all of your heli-hike at this time

The place to remain in Queenstown: 

  • In case you’re campervanning it, my choose is the Queenstown TOP 10 Vacation Park, which is situated simply exterior of Queenstown in Arthurs Level. This vacation park has very good services, and better of all has a shuttle to/from downtown Queenstown. It may be very tough to search out parking in Queenstown, so I like to recommend making the most of this service!
  • In case you’re renting a automotive, I like to recommend staying proper in downtown Queenstown – however know you are seemingly going to should pay additional for parking. My high picks are the Ramada Resort & Suites Queenstown Remarkables Park for a extra budget-friendly possibility, or the Sofitel Queenstown Resort & Spa in the event you’re seeking to splurge.

RELATED: Journey Information: High Issues to See and Do in Queenstown

Day 11 – Queenstown

We’re dedicating at this time to Queenstown, New Zealand’s “journey capital.” How a lot journey you are up for completely will depend on your funds and most popular quantity of adrenaline, however I am going to lay out a couple of choices that I contemplate to be must-dos for you.

If you are going to courageous a bungee bounce in New Zealand, that is the place you wish to do it. Business bungee leaping was “invented” proper right here in Queenstown, and I like to recommend the Kawarau Bridge as the best first-bungee spot (that is really the place the primary industrial bounce passed off within the 1908s).

Tandem bungee jumping at the Kawarau Bridge
The Kawarau Bridge is the one place to do a tandem bounce!

You’ll be able to both drive out to the bungee web site your self, or get a free journey from The Station in downtown Queenstown (I like to recommend reserving forward and taking the free shuttle from city).

After your bounce, why not hold the adrenaline flowing? The opposite must-do in Queenstown is jet boating, which was additionally invented right here. Jet boats use expertise just like jet skis/seadoos to skim excessive of water, which means they’ll function within the shallow rivers discovered within the south of New Zealand.

One of the best introduction to jet boating comes from the Shotover Jet, which operates on the Shotover River and travels by the slim Shotover Canyon. It is a tremendous quick and tremendous enjoyable journey.

Shotover River in Queenstown
Can you see the Shotover Jet on the river?

After this, I like to recommend taking a while to discover downtown Queenstown. This resort city on the shore of Lake Wakatipu is tremendous cute it doesn’t matter what time of yr you are visiting. You could wish to take the Skyline Gondola up the mountain for the perfect views out over town.

Queenstown, New Zealand
The view of Queenstown from the Skyline Gondola

This night, courageous the crowds to strive a big burger from the well-known Fergburger.

Complete driving time at this time: Doubtlessly zero in the event you reap the benefits of free shuttles

Value: Kawarau Bridge bungee – $205 NZD per grownup; Shotover Jet – $149 per particular person; Skyline Gondola – $39 NZD for simply the gondola

The place to remain in Queenstown: The Queenstown TOP 10 Vacation Park for campervans, and the Ramada Resort & Suites Queenstown Remarkables Park or the Sofitel Queenstown Resort & Spa in the event you’ve received a daily automotive.

Queenstown funds tip

As you’ll have realized by now, New Zealand just isn’t a really low cost place to journey, particularly if you wish to take part in all these journey actions. A method you’ll be able to doubtlessly get monetary savings (different than simply skipping the dear stuff) is to begin scouting earlier than your journey to see in the event you can rating extremely discounted tickets to a few of the costlier actions.

Day 12 – Milford Sound

Immediately you must head out to New Zealand’s #1 vacationer attraction: Milford Sound. This mis-named fjord is attractive in any climate, and is an absolute must-do in your first journey to New Zealand.

Mitre Peak at Milford Sound

You might have a number of choices relating to visiting Milford Sound in simply at some point.

  1. You’ll be able to self-drive to avoid wasting cash.
  2. You’ll be able to ebook a round-trip bus tour from Queenstown.
  3. You’ll be able to fly to/from Milford Sound from Queenstown.

I really suggest a mixture of these choices.

Whereas self-driving is the most cost effective, the drive is lengthy (roughly 5 hours every method), and the roads might be tough if the climate is dangerous. Additionally, in the event you’re driving, you will not be capable to correctly benefit from the epic surroundings alongside the Milford Street by Fiordland Nationwide Park!

I like to recommend taking the bus a technique and flying the opposite. This fashion you get to see the Milford Street AND the Southern Alps from the air, and it means you will not spend as much as 12 hours on a bus in at some point. (E book a tour like this right here.)

Milford Sound from the air
You will see views like this in the event you fly.

When you get to Milford Sound, you will cruise on the well-known fjord on a medium-sized boat for as much as 2 hours, taking within the towering cliffs and hovering waterfalls.

You might also be capable to spot wildlife like New Zealand fur seals, dolphins, and perhaps even little blue penguins.

Milford Sound, New Zealand
What number of seals do you see?

In case you handle to hit a transparent day, flying again from Milford Sound over the snowy Southern Alps is nothing wanting magical. (Although observe that Milford Sound sees much more wet days per yr than sunny ones!)

Southern Alps in New Zealand
Flying over the Southern Alps

RELATED: New Zealand Fjord Smackdown: Milford Sound vs Uncertain Sound

In case you do the coach-cruise-fly possibility and get again earlier than dinnertime, it additionally means that you could slot in yet another particular factor in Queenstown. Contemplate reserving a non-public sizzling tub on the Onsen Scorching Swimming pools out at Arthurs Level tonight. This was one of many extra romantic issues my husband and I did on our New Zealand honeymoon!

Onsen Hot Pools in Queenstown
Onsen Scorching Swimming pools

Complete driving time at this time: 10 hours in the event you drive to Milford Sound your self

Value: Milford bus journey with cruise and included lunch – wherever from $165-$245 NZD; Onsen Scorching Swimming pools – $144 NZD for two adults within the night (you MUST ebook this one far upfront, because it’s tremendous standard proper now!)

The place to remain in Queenstown: Once more, the Queenstown TOP 10 Vacation Park is nice for campervans, and the Ramada Resort & Suites Queenstown Remarkables Park or the Sofitel Queenstown Resort & Spa are good in the event you’ve received a daily automotive.

Day 13 – Central Otago and Mount Prepare dinner

Many individuals select to finish their New Zealand street journeys in Queenstown, however I feel you would be lacking out on among the finest elements of the South Island in the event you have been to cease now. Immediately you are going to drive by the small cities of Central Otago, ultimately ending up at New Zealand’s tallest mountain: Mount Prepare dinner.

From Queenstown, you will head again out in the direction of the Kawarau Gorge (the place you will have gone bungee leaping on Day 11) after which proceed on Freeway eight. Some locations you may wish to cease alongside the best way embrace Cromwell to see the city’s big fruit, and on the viewpoints on the Lindis Go.

Giant fruit in Cromwell, New Zealand
Big fruit in Cromwell

Ultimately you will attain Twizel and Lake Pukaki, which is the place you may get an superior glimpse of Mount Prepare dinner. Lake Pukaki is a glacially-fed lake, and the colour of it’s nearly all the time a milky-blue.

Mount Cook in New Zealand
Mount Prepare dinner looming over Lake Pukaki

You will drive alongside Lake Pukaki till you attain Aoraki/Mount Prepare dinner Village.

This drive does not really take that lengthy, so this afternoon I like to recommend happening a brief hike close to Mount Prepare dinner. My choose is the Hooker Valley Observe, which is a comparatively flat and straightforward path that takes you to the iceberg-filled Hooker Lake. On a transparent day, you will have views of Mount Prepare dinner nearly the entire method.

Walking the Hooker Valley Track in New Zealand
Hooker Valley Observe

Hooker Valley Track at Mount Cook

The hike takes Three-Four hours, making it an ideal afternoon stroll.

Complete driving time at this time: Three.5 hours

Value: None

The place to remain in Aoraki/Mount Prepare dinner Village: There aren’t a ton of choices on this tiny village. If you wish to camp, there is a Division of Conservation web site with good views and fundamental services known as the White Horse Hill campsite. In case you’re on the lookout for a lodge right here, essentially the most iconic one is The Hermitage Resort. It is at the moment present process renovations (in mid-2018), however nonetheless has rooms to hire – some with unimaginable mountain views.

Day 14 – To Christchurch

Immediately you will be heading to Christchurch, the most important metropolis on New Zealand’s South Island. Get an early begin this morning so you may make some stops alongside the best way.

The principle must-see cease is Lake Tekapo, one other mountain-fed lake that’s usually a milky-blue shade. From mid-November till the New Yr, you could find 1000’s of lupins blooming on the shores right here.

Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo
Church of the Good Shepherd at Lake Tekapo
Lupins at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
Lake Tekapo throughout lupin season

When you get to Christchurch, there’s lots to discover. Regardless that town heart continues to be displaying the results of the destruction of two main earthquakes again in 2010 and 2011, enterprise goes on as traditional in most elements of town.

If the climate is good, undoubtedly take a stroll by the Christchurch Botanic Gardens (and even go punting down the Avon River!). If it isn’t so good, the Christchurch Artwork Gallery is nice, or you’ll be able to fake you are going a lot additional south by visiting the Worldwide Antarctic Centre.

You can too simply stroll the streets to buy and spot some cool avenue artwork.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Christchurch Botanic Gardens
Street art in Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch has nice avenue artwork!

Complete driving time at this time: Four.5 hours

Value: Worldwide Antarctic Centre – $59 NZD for adults

The place to remain in Christchurch: 

Day 15 – Time to move house

It is the top of your 2-week New Zealand street journey, and time to move house. Since Christchurch is among the bigger cities in New Zealand and has a global airport, it is simple to drop off your rental automotive or campervan right here after which catch a flight. You will most likely fly again to Auckland earlier than connecting in another country.

Be ready, although, that you will already be including issues to your “subsequent time” record earlier than your airplane even takes off!

Driving in New Zealand

In case you have extra time…

Like I discussed already, two weeks is not almost sufficient time to completely discover New Zealand. Placing this itinerary collectively was extraordinarily troublesome, as a result of I needed to reduce out some wonderful locations so as to make room for much more wonderful locations.

BUT, you probably have greater than 2 weeks to street journey round New Zealand, listed below are some extra locations I additionally extremely suggest visiting.

Coromandel Peninsula

Cathedral Cove in New Zealand
Cathedral Cove

The Coromandel Peninsula lies to the southeast of Auckland on the North Island, and is thought for its nice seashores and native forests. Right here you’ll be able to dig your personal sizzling tub at low tide at Scorching Water Seashore, do a morning hike to the well-known Cathedral Cove, stroll alongside an outdated mining railway path in Karangaheke Gorge, plus way more.

If the climate cooperates, one of many extra standard issues to do is to kayak to Cathedral Cove from Hahei.

How lengthy to spend: 1 or 2 nights

The place so as to add it in: It is a 2.5-hour drive from Auckland, so I’d make this your Day Three/Four, and proceed on to Hobbiton and Rotorua afterwards.

The place to remain: For tenting, I appreciated the Scorching Water Seashore TOP 10 Vacation Park, which is inside strolling distance to Scorching Water Seashore. If you’d like a lodge, try the Beachfront Resort, the top-rated lodge within the city of Whitianga that’s certainly proper on the seaside.

Tongariro Nationwide Park

Mount Ngauruhoe in Tongariro National Park
Mount Ngauruhoe within the morning

Tongariro Nationwide Park is New Zealand’s oldest nationwide park and likewise a twin World Heritage web site. Right here you will discover three of the nation’s most well-known volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu, together with the most well-liked day hike in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

In case you’re a hiker in any respect, then doing the Tongariro Crossing ought to undoubtedly be in your to-do record. This 19.Four-kilometer trek is pretty difficult, however provides up wonderful surroundings of the Pink Crater, Emerald Lakes, and Mount Ngauruhoe (which was Mount Doom within the Lord of the Rings films).

I like to recommend permitting two days to do that hike, as dangerous climate usually makes the monitor harmful and/or not price doing (for my part) since you’ll be able to’t see something.

The place so as to add it in: Between Rotorua and Wellington

What number of days: 2 or Three nights

The place to remain: Elliot and I spent two nights tenting on the Plateau Lodge (which provides a shuttle for the Tongariro Crossing). When our deliberate mountain climbing day received rained out, we went and had afternoon tea at Chateau Tongariro, which is among the nicer lodges within the space.

Abel Tasman Nationwide Park

Kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park

One other nationwide park price visiting you probably have the additional time is Abel Tasman Nationwide Park on the high of the South Island. This nationwide park could also be New Zealand’s smallest, however it’s undoubtedly some of the memorable.

Abel Tasman is thought for its stunning seashores and mountain climbing trails – a preferred exercise is to mix mountain climbing and kayaking alongside the coast you probably have not less than one full day to spend right here. (E book a tour right here.)

Tandem kayaking in Abel Tasman National Park

The place so as to add it in: The day after you are taking the ferry from Wellington

What number of days: 1 or 2 nights

The place to remain: We liked the Motueka TOP 10 Vacation Park not removed from Abel Tasman for our campervan. For these on the lookout for lodges, try the Break up Apple Lodge.


Kaikoura, New Zealand

Additional up the east coast of the South Island lies Kaikoura, a small seaside city that actually packs a punch relating to marine wildlife. As a result of there is a deep sea trench not far off the coast from Kaikoura, you’ll be able to see marine life like whales, dolphins, and seals just about year-round right here. (Together with whale watching, you’ll be able to additionally swim with wild dolphins and rise up shut with fur seals.)

I additionally love Kaikoura as a result of it is a spot the place the mountains meet the ocean, which I all the time discover actually stunning.

The place so as to add it in: After Christchurch, because it’s about 2 hours up the coast to the north

What number of days: 2 nights

The place to remain: For tenting, go for the Kaikoura High 10 Vacation Park. For different lodging, try the Kaikoura Boutique Resort or the Bendamere Home Mattress and Breakfast.

RELATED: Four Causes You Ought to Go to Kaikoura, New Zealand

Different wonderful spots that did not make it into this itinerary embrace: Northland and the Bay of Islands; Mount Taranaki; the Southern Scenic Route; Mount Aspiring Nationwide Park, Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula; and Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula.

Yellow-eyed penguin at Katiki Point
Yellow-eyed penguin at Katiki Level

There are just too many wonderful locations to see in New Zealand! I’ve visited the nation 5 instances and nonetheless have not seen/finished all the things I’ve needed to! However hopefully this itinerary helps you get an excellent begin on planning your personal excellent New Zealand street journey.

READ NEXT: The Final Information to Planning a Campervan Street Journey in New Zealand

Have you ever ever finished a street journey in New Zealand? If not, are you able to plan one now?


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2-week New Zealand road trip itinerary
2-week New Zealand road trip itinerary


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