There are some international locations 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 one in every of these international locations.
I have been to New Zealand half a dozen occasions (and have even lived there!) and am right here to share my model of a good 2-week New Zealand street journey taking within the highlights on each the North and South Islands.
In an excellent world, you’d have the money and time to spend no less than a month in New Zealand with a view to actually respect it. However we do not reside in an excellent 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, this is my suggestion for a 2-week New Zealand street journey that features all the foremost must-sees from cities to mountains to hobbit holes to fjords, in addition to some brief hikes and funky actions you may add to make your journey further memorable.
Highlights of this 2-week New Zealand itinerary embrace:
- Exploring Auckland
- Wine tasting on Waiheke Island
- A go to to Hobbiton
- Geothermal wonders in Rotorua
- The capital metropolis of Wellington
- The cool and quirky Nelson
- Driving down the West Coast of the South Island
- Glacier climbing in Franz Josef
- Lovely surroundings in Wanaka
- Journey sports activities in Queenstown
- Day journey to Milford Sound
- Seeing Aoraki/Mount Cook dinner
- Visiting Christchurch
- Plus far more!
First issues first: Automotive vs. campervan
We have already established that street tripping is the easiest way to see New Zealand. However when planning a NZ street journey, you may have two primary modes of transport to contemplate: a automotive, or a campervan.
The advantages of renting a automotive are that it is often less expensive, automobiles 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 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 decisions, and all of it boils all the way down to your finances and your most well-liked lodging kind. If you happen to choose B&Bs and accommodations, hire a automotive. If you happen to’re up for sleeping in a van at campsites and vacation parks, then a campervan may be best for you.
For automotive leases, you may examine costs right here. For campervans, I like to recommend trying out 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 chances are you’ll need to learn:
One of the best time of yr for a New Zealand street journey
You possibly can street journey New Zealand year-round; I personally have visited the nation in nearly each season! The climate can after all fluctuate from area to area relying on the season, however you may often entry all the primary stops always of yr.
Having stated that, although, you will doubtless discover probably the most favorable climate and largest quantity of excursions/sights open in the course of the summer season months (that are typically December-February in New Zealand). The shoulder seasons on both facet (esp. November and March) are fairly good choices, too.
My favourite month to go to has most likely been November (late spring), for respectable climate, blooming lupins, and fewer crowds than throughout full summer season.
The proper 2-week New Zealand street journey itinerary
This itinerary relies 100% by myself private expertise – I have been to New Zealand 5 separate occasions, have carried out a number of street journeys there, and even lived in Wellington for some time in 2008!
Spending 2 weeks in New Zealand won’t ever really feel like lengthy sufficient, however I’ve carried out my finest to distill all of the highlights down into one itinerary.
Day 1 – Arrive in Auckland
Regardless that it is a street journey itinerary, I truly do not advocate choosing up your rental automotive (or campervan, or no matter it’s you are going to hire) till Day 3 of this itinerary. You do not really want a automobile to get round in Auckland, so save your self a pair days of rental charges!
You will doubtless arrive in Auckland this morning. You most likely will not be capable to examine into your resort but, however you may positively 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 the moment embrace:
- Going up the Sky Tower for glorious views of Auckland (purchase tickets prematurely right here)
- 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
By the point you’ve got carried out this (and thrown in some lunch and perhaps a little bit of purchasing), you can head again to your resort to examine in and simply crash.
As a way to fight the jet lag, I like to recommend attempting to remain up as late as doable with none naps. However ordering room service and going to mattress by 8 p.m. tonight is completely acceptable. 😉
Complete driving time at the moment: 0 hours
Pattern prices: Sky Tower admission – $41 NZD
The place to remain in Auckland: I like the Grand Millennium Auckland. This upmarket CBD resort is clear and cozy, and has a beautiful employees. There’s an indoor pool, a bar, and two eating places on-site, plus a fairly nice room service menu. You possibly can stroll to the Sky Tower and harbor in about quarter-hour. (Learn opinions on TripAdvisor | E-book a room right here!)
Day 2 – Waiheke Island
Jet lag will doubtless have you ever up early this morning, so chances are you’ll as nicely make the most of it! There are lots extra issues to do in Auckland, however my prime choose is to take a day journey out to Waiheke Island. This island is positioned only a 40-minute ferry trip from Auckland, and ferries begin working pretty early within the morning.
Waiheke Island is understood for its wineries and seashores, and makes for an ideal day journey from Auckland.
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 possibly can go to white-sand seashores at Oneroa, Palm Seashore, and Onetangi, or go to wineries like Cable Bay, Mudbrick, and Stonyridge.
If you happen to’d somewhat not discover the island by yourself, join a meals and wine tour of Waiheke (it is a fairly whole lot!), or a day journey to Waiheke that features transport from Auckland.
Again in Auckland, have a leisurely night in preparation to hit the street on Day 3!
Complete driving time at the moment: 0 hours
Prices: Ferry to Waiheke – beginning at $38 NZD roundtrip
The place to remain in Auckland: I nonetheless advocate the Grand Millennium Auckland tonight!
Day 3 – Matamata and Rotorua
First up in your New Zealand itinerary at the moment: choose up your rental automotive or van!*
Selecting up your automotive or campervan at the moment means you may choose up from an Auckland metropolis location versus the airport, which ought to prevent a bit of cash. Permit as much as an hour for pick-up, as a number of the extra in style rental corporations will be very busy, particularly throughout excessive season.
*Word for 2023: I might usually advocate reserving a single one-way rental from Auckland to Christchurch, taking the ferry between the North and South islands with the automobile. HOWEVER, there have been ferry disruptions this yr particularly for these wanting to move automobiles, so it may be price it to ebook two separate automotive rental reservations: one from Auckland to Wellington, and a second from Picton to Christchurch, and simply trip the ferry as a walk-on passenger.
When you’re all set along 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 identify, however you most likely ARE accustomed to its prime attraction: Hobbiton!
Practically 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 after they determined to re-build the identical Hobbiton set for the Hobbit trilogy, they constructed it to final.
Immediately, you may tour the set of Hobbiton – and it is magical even if you happen to aren’t a Lord of the Rings fan.
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 need to ebook prematurely since excursions typically promote out. (E-book a guided tour right here.)
You will spend the following 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.
From right here, it is an hour to go to the town of Rotorua, the place you will be spending the following couple of nights.
You will doubtless arrive earlier than time for supper, so if you wish to do one thing enjoyable 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 crammed with geothermal mineral water sourced from two close by pure springs. Undoubtedly go for the Deluxe Lake Spa for final rest.
Complete driving time at the moment: 3 hours
Prices: Hobbiton tour – $89 NZD; Polynesian Spa – $50 NZD for the Deluxe Lake Spa (ebook right here)
The place to remain in Rotorua:
- If you happen to’re touring in a campervan, I like to recommend staying at Rotorua Thermal Vacation Park. This vacation park has good widespread areas, thermal swimming pools you should utilize, and even a resident cat to make mates with. It is not inside strolling distance to downtown, nonetheless.
- If you happen to’re renting a automotive, I like to recommend Aura Lodging (one of many highest-rated choices on TripAdvisor), or Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Lodge if you happen to’re searching for somewhat luxurious.
Day 4 – Rotorua
Immediately, spend the day exploring Rotorua. This is without doubt one of the most geothermally-active areas in New Zealand – and you’ll inform by the whiffs of sulphur you will get all all through the town.
Begin your morning off with a go to to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland simply outdoors of the town, the place you may see the whole lot from geysers to boiling mud to neon-green lakes. There are different thermal parks in Rotorua, however this one is my favourite! (E-book a ticket right here)
The Champagne Pool and Satan’s Bathtub are positively must-sees. Permit no less than 2 hours to stroll all of the park’s trails.
Word: If for no matter purpose Wai-O-Tapu is closed or tickets are offered out, the Hells Gate Geothermal Reserve is an effective different.
After getting your fill of geothermal oddities, head to the Redwoods Treewalk, the place you may spend an hour traversing a collection 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 – positively price a cease!
This afternoon, you may 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, and it is a extra reasonably priced choice that the one in Queenstown in case you need to check out the luging!
Tonight, I like to recommend splurging on a go to to one in every of Rotorua’s Maori villages. When you can expertise New Zealand’s native Maori tradition all around the nation, Rotorua has a number of the finest cultural exhibits.
Locations like Te Pā Tū (previously Tamaki Village) and Mitai Village provide nightly dinner-concert packages, which embrace a conventional 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, but it surely’s vital expertise if it is your first journey to New Zealand.
(And whereas these experiences are positively touristy, they’re very culturally conventional and introduced/carried out by Indigenous peoples.)
Complete driving time at the moment: Lower than 2 hours (it takes about half-hour to drive to Wai-O-Tapu from Rotorua)
Prices: Wai-O-Tapu – $32.50 NZD per grownup; Redwoods Treewalk – $37 NZD; Maori dinner present – beginning round $125 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 if you happen to’re in a campervan, and Aura Lodging or Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Lodge if in case you have an everyday automotive.
Day 5 – To Wellington
Day 5 could 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 may see alongside the best way.
You possibly can cease to see Lake Taupo (the biggest lake by floor space in New Zealand), and positively drive south down Freeway 1, which has a bit referred to as the “Desert Highway,” the place you may get some nice views of the volcanoes in Tongariro Nationwide Park if the climate is obvious.
You need to make it to Wellington by dinnertime even with some stops, so I like to recommend checking in to your resort after which heading into the town for dinner. Cuba Avenue particularly has some nice meals and leisure choices.
Complete driving time at the moment: 6 hours
Prices: No attraction prices at the moment
The place to remain in Wellington:
- When you have a campervan, the perfect campsite closest to Wellington might be the Wellington Prime 10 Vacation Park, although it is nonetheless 15 km from central Wellington. You may need to take into account staying at a downtown resort for the following 2 nights even if in case you have a campervan, just because it is simpler to park and discover Wellington on foot than to drive into the town each day.
- When you have a automotive (or simply resolve to remain downtown), my prime resort picks are Rydges Wellington and the Copthorne Lodge Wellington Oriental Bay (I’ve personally stayed at each!).
Day 6 – Wellington
You really want a number of days to totally discover Wellington, however you may nonetheless cowl many of the metropolis’s highlights in simply someday.
If you happen to’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 seashore. You possibly can stroll all the best way from the seashore previous the harbor, after which cross the quirky Metropolis to Sea Bridge to succeed in the town middle.
Alongside the best way, chances are you’ll need to pop into Te Papa Tongarewa, the nationwide museum of New Zealand. It is positioned on the waterfront and is free to go to (or you may pay a small quantity for a guided museum tour). It is an particularly great spot to spend time if you happen to hit dangerous climate in Wellington. (Although even if you happen to do not, I nonetheless advocate visiting because it’s a superb museum!)
Subsequent, it is up the hill with the Wellington Cable Automotive, which takes you from Lambton Quay (the town’s primary purchasing road) to Kelburn Station on the Wellington Botanic Backyard. From the higher station, you get the perfect views out over Wellington.
(You possibly can even pre-book your cable automotive tickets if you’d like, although you do not have to.)
Within the afternoon, you may have a few choices. Both you may proceed wandering across the downtown space (Cuba Avenue is nice for folks watching, and Courtenay Place can be vigorous), or you can also make a visit out to Weta Workshop in Miramar.
Weta Workshop is the place the place film artwork, results, and props have been created ever for the reason that 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 an enormous fan of hobbits and orcs. (E-book an entry ticket right here, or a ticket with transfers right here.)
If you happen to’re up for another epic view of the town, you can also make your means by automotive or bus as much as the perspective atop Mount Victoria round sundown. It is virtually all the time tremendous windy on the prime, however the views out over Wellington are gorgeous.
RELATED: 15 Important Issues to Do in Wellington, New Zealand
Complete driving time at the moment: 0 hours
Prices: Cable automotive – $9 NZD for a roundtrip ticket; Weta tour – $90 NZD for a tour with transfers
The place to remain in Wellington: Once more, I like to recommend Rydges Wellington and the Copthorne Lodge Wellington Oriental Bay for staying downtown, or the Wellington Prime 10 Vacation Park if you happen to’re searching for a great campsite.
Day 7 – Ferry to South Island / Nelson
After practically per week on the North Island, it is time to wave goodbye to the hills and put together to say good day to the mountains! Take a late morning ferry from Wellington throughout the Cook dinner Strait to Picton.
You may have two ferry choices: the Interislander and Bluebridge. Each ferries are related in value and facilities, so that you may simply resolve who to sail with based mostly on their timetables. (Undoubtedly ebook forward, although, since you will be taking a automobile!)
This ferry trip often takes no less than 3.5 hours, however the ferries that run this route are massive with comfy lounge chairs, massive home windows, and often no less than one cafe. Make sure that to exit on deck when you attain the Queens Charlotte Sound, because the surroundings is fairly spectacular!
When you disembark in Picton, it is a 2-hour drive to the town of Nelson.
Nelson is understood for its artsy vibe and site on Tasman Bay. If you happen to 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 Basic Automotive Assortment.
Complete driving time at the moment: 2 hours
Price: A one-way ferry trip with a automotive + 2 folks begins round $225 NZD (and also you do need to ebook forward!)
The place to remain in Nelson:
Day 8 – West Coast
I will not sugarcoat it: at the moment goes to be a really lengthy day of driving; there’s simply no means round it. However no New Zealand street journey can be full with out driving down the wild West Coast, so hopefully you are up for the journey!
Get an early begin at the moment so you can also make just a few stops alongside the best way. From Nelson, take Freeway 6 south. After which simply keep on 6 principally the entire day!
Your first main cease shall be in Punakaiki on the sting of Paparoa Nationwide Park. This is without doubt one of 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 stuffed with stacks of the issues, together with pure blowholes and a few very Jurassic Park-esque surroundings.
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 the town of Greymouth, the biggest metropolis on the West Coast. Greymouth is residence to Monteith’s Brewery, one of many prime craft breweries in New Zealand. If you happen to time it proper, you may take a brewery tour right here (shoot for the three p.m. or 4 p.m. tour). If not, you may 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 the moment: 7 hours
Price: Monteith’s Brewery tour: $25 NZD
The place to remain in Franz Josef:
- If touring with a campervan, take a look at the Rainforest Retreat, which presents the whole lot from campervan websites to luxurious treehouses.
- If touring with a automotive, Aspen Courtroom is the top-rated motel in Franz Josef with massive rooms inside strolling distance to the whole lot on the town. If you happen to’re searching for a extra luxurious spot to spend a pair nights, go for the Glenfern Villas, that are little additional outdoors the city middle.
Day 9 – Franz Josef
This a part of the West Coast is much more wild and distinctive than what you noticed yesterday, thanks principally to the glaciers that snake down from the mountains into the temperate rainforest on the coast. There are two glaciers within the space: Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier.
Sadly, each glaciers have retreated quite a bit in recent times, and since their terminal faces are unstable, the one option to hike on both glacier now could be 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.
If you happen to can afford a heli-hike, positively ebook one; that is the perfect glacier expertise to have in New Zealand, and I do not suppose you will remorse it.
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 if you happen to do ebook a heli-hike, there’s actually solely a few 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 the moment, another brief 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 (half-hour)
- See glowworms after darkish on the Minnehaha Stroll in Fox Glacier city (20 minutes)
It doesn’t matter what you find yourself doing at the moment, I like to recommend going for a night soak within the Glacier Scorching Swimming pools. If you happen to do a heli-hike, entry shall be included along with your ticket and you will welcome the soothing water after hours on the ice. And if you happen to do not hike a glacier however do another walks as a substitute, you will nonetheless most likely get pleasure from a great soak, particularly if it has been a moist day.
Complete driving time at the moment: Possibly an hour or so if you find yourself driving to do a few of these brief hikes
Price: Heli-hikes will 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 choice for campervans (or different forms of rooms), and Aspen Courtroom is the top-rated motel in Franz Josef.
Day 10 – To Queenstown by way of Wanaka
In case your glacier heli-hike received canceled on Day 9, see if you happen to can reschedule it early on Day 10. In that case, go and get on that ice this morning! If you happen to went climbing yesterday or the glacier hikes get canceled once more at the moment (which might 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 Cross, which is fairly gorgeous!
When you have time, I like to recommend stopping in Makarora to do the Blue Swimming pools stroll. This brief stroll consists of traversing by a mature beech and podocarp forest, after which crossing two suspension bridges to see the attractive clear blue swimming pools.
(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 lately, this hour-long hike remains 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 facet of Lake Hawea. These lakes are completely lovely, and you will positively need to pull over at no less than just a few of the viewpoints for some pictures.
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 grow to be Instagram-famous in recent times 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 it is best to have time to walk alongside the lakeshore and see the Wanaka Tree, after which head again to the town middle for dinner (there are many good eating places to select from).
From Wanaka, it is somewhat over an hour to Queenstown.
If you happen to’re touring within the late spring, summer season, or early autumn, I like to recommend taking the Crown Vary Highway to Queenstown. The street takes you over a twisty mountain go, however provides you unimaginable views as you head down into Queenstown. (I do not advocate taking this street within the winter, although, if you happen to’re not comfy driving on doubtlessly snowy/icy roads.)
Complete driving time at the moment: 5 hours
Price: None, until you are doing all your heli-hike at the moment
The place to remain in Queenstown:
- If you happen to’re campervanning it, my choose is the Queenstown TOP 10 Vacation Park, which is positioned simply outdoors of Queenstown in Arthurs Level. This vacation park has very good amenities, and better of all has a shuttle to/from downtown Queenstown. It may be very difficult to search out parking in Queenstown, so I like to recommend making the most of this service!
- If you happen to’re renting a automotive, I like to recommend staying proper in downtown Queenstown – however know you are doubtless going to should pay further for parking. My prime picks are the Ramada Lodge & Suites Queenstown Remarkables Park for a extra budget-friendly choice, or the Sofitel Queenstown Lodge & Spa if you happen to’re seeking to splurge.
RELATED: Journey Information: Prime Issues to See and Do in Queenstown
Day 11 – Queenstown
We’re dedicating at the moment to Queenstown, New Zealand’s “journey capital.” How a lot journey you are up for completely is determined by your finances and most well-liked quantity of adrenaline, however I will lay out just a few choices that I take into account to be must-dos for you.
If you are going to courageous a bungee bounce in New Zealand, that is the place you need to do it. Business bungee leaping was “invented” proper right here in Queenstown, and I like to recommend the Kawarau Bridge as the perfect first-bungee spot (that is truly the place the primary industrial bounce happened within the Eighties).
You possibly can both drive out to the bungee website your self, or get a free trip 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 know-how just like jet skis/seadoos to skim excessive of water, that 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 trip. (E-book prematurely right here.)
(And if bungee leaping and jet boating are somewhat *too* adventurous for you? One other nice choice in Queenstown is to sail on the historic TSS Earnslaw ship throughout Lake Wakatipu to the Walter Peak Excessive Nation Station for lunch. E-book that tour right here.)
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 might need to take the Skyline Gondola up the mountain for the perfect views out over the town.
This night, courageous the crowds to strive a big burger from the well-known Fergburger. (Or, order on-line for pickup and keep away from having to attend in line.)
Complete driving time at the moment: Probably 0 if you happen to make the most of free shuttles
Price: Kawarau Bridge bungee – $205 NZD per grownup; Shotover Jet – $149 per individual; Skyline Gondola – $46 NZD for simply the gondola
The place to remain in Queenstown: The Queenstown TOP 10 Vacation Park for campervans, and the Ramada Lodge & Suites Queenstown Remarkables Park or the Sofitel Queenstown Lodge & Spa if you happen to’ve received an everyday automotive.
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 technique you may doubtlessly lower your expenses (different than simply skipping the dear stuff) is to start out scouting bookeme.co.nz earlier than your journey to see if you happen to can rating extremely discounted tickets to a number of the costlier actions.
Day 12 – Milford Sound
Immediately it is best to 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.
You may have a number of choices on the subject of visiting Milford Sound in simply someday.
- You possibly can self-drive to avoid wasting cash.
- You possibly can ebook a round-trip bus tour from Queenstown.
- You possibly can fly to/from Milford Sound from Queenstown.
I truly advocate a mixture of these choices.
Whereas self-driving is the most affordable, the drive is lengthy (roughly 5 hours every means), and the roads will be difficult if the climate is dangerous. Additionally, if you happen to’re driving, you will not be capable to correctly benefit from the epic surroundings alongside the Milford Highway by Fiordland Nationwide Park!
I like to recommend taking the bus a method and flying the opposite. This fashion you get to see the Milford Highway AND the Southern Alps from the air, and it means you will not spend as much as 12 hours on a bus in someday. (E-book a tour like this right here.)
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.
If you happen to 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 way more wet days per yr than sunny ones!)
RELATED: New Zealand Fjord Smackdown: Milford Sound vs Uncertain Sound
If you happen to do the coach-cruise-fly choice and get again earlier than dinnertime, it additionally means you could slot in another particular factor in Queenstown. Take into account reserving a personal scorching 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!
Complete driving time at the moment: 10 hours if you happen to drive to Milford Sound your self
Price: Milford bus journey with cruise and included lunch – anyplace from $165-$245 NZD; Onsen Scorching Swimming pools – $165 NZD for two adults within the night (you MUST ebook this one far prematurely, because it’s tremendous in style!)
The place to remain in Queenstown: Once more, the Queenstown TOP 10 Vacation Park is sweet for campervans, and the Ramada Lodge & Suites Queenstown Remarkables Park or the Sofitel Queenstown Lodge & Spa are good if you happen to’ve received an everyday automotive.
Day 13 – Central Otago and Aoraki / Mount Cook dinner
Many individuals select to finish their New Zealand street journeys in Queenstown, however I believe you would be lacking out on among the best elements of the South Island if you happen to 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: Aoraki / Mount Cook dinner.
From Queenstown, you will head again out in direction of the Kawarau Gorge (the place you could have gone bungee leaping on Day 11) after which proceed on Freeway 8. Some locations you may need to cease alongside the best way embrace Cromwell to see the city’s big fruit, and on the viewpoints on the Lindis Cross.
Ultimately you will attain Twizel and Lake Pukaki, which is the place you may get an superior glimpse of Aoraki. Lake Pukaki is a glacially-fed lake, and the colour of it’s virtually all the time a milky-blue.
You will drive alongside Lake Pukaki till you attain Aoraki / Mount Cook dinner Village.
This drive would not truly take that lengthy, so this afternoon I like to recommend happening a brief hike close by. My choose is the Hooker Valley Monitor, which is a comparatively flat and simple path that takes you to the iceberg-filled Hooker Lake. On a transparent day, you will have views of Aoraki / Mount Cook dinner virtually the entire means.
The hike takes 3-4 hours, making it an ideal afternoon stroll.
Complete driving time at the moment: 3.5 hours
The place to remain in Aoraki/Mount Cook dinner Village: There aren’t a ton of choices on this tiny village. If you wish to camp, there is a Division of Conservation website with good views and fundamental amenities referred to as the White Horse Hill campsite. If you happen to’re searching for a resort right here, probably the most iconic one is The Hermitage Lodge.
Day 14 – To Christchurch
Immediately you will be heading to Christchurch, the biggest metropolis on New Zealand’s South Island. Get an early begin this morning so you can also make some stops alongside the best way.
The principle must-see cease is Lake Tekapo, one other mountain-fed lake that’s typically a milky-blue colour. From mid-November till the New Yr, you will discover 1000’s of lupins blooming on the shores right here.
When you get to Christchurch, there’s lots to discover. Regardless that the town middle remains to be displaying the consequences of the destruction of two main earthquakes again in 2010 and 2011, enterprise goes on as common in most elements of the town.
If the climate is good, positively 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 may fake you are going a lot additional south by visiting the Worldwide Antarctic Centre.
You may also simply stroll the streets to buy and spot some cool road artwork.
Complete driving time at the moment: 4.5 hours
Price: Worldwide Antarctic Centre – $59 NZD for adults
The place to remain in Christchurch:
Day 15 – Time to go residence
It is the tip of your 2-week New Zealand street journey, and time to go residence. Since Christchurch is without doubt one of the bigger cities in New Zealand and has a world airport, it is easy 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 a foreign country.
Be ready, although, that you will already be including issues to your “subsequent time” record earlier than your airplane even takes off! One New Zealand journey isn’t sufficient.
Remember you may get a printable model of this itinerary (with a packing guidelines) right here!
When you have extra time…
Like I discussed already, two weeks is not practically sufficient time to totally discover New Zealand. Placing this itinerary collectively was extraordinarily tough, as a result of I needed to lower out some wonderful locations with a view to make room for much more wonderful locations.
BUT, if in case you have greater than 2 weeks to street journey round New Zealand, listed here are some extra locations I additionally extremely advocate visiting.
1. Coromandel Peninsula
The Coromandel Peninsula lies to the southeast of Auckland on the North Island, and is understood for its nice seashores and native forests. Right here you may dig your personal scorching 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 far more.
If the climate cooperates, one of many extra in style issues to do is to kayak to Cathedral Cove from Hahei, or take a ship cruise right here.
*Word: As of late 2023, Cathedral Cove stays closed attributable to an ongoing rockfall; examine for updates earlier than you propose to go to.
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 might make this your Day 3/4, and proceed on to Hobbiton and Rotorua afterwards.
The place to remain: For tenting, I preferred the Scorching Water Seashore TOP 10 Vacation Park, which is inside strolling distance to Scorching Water Seashore. If you’d like a resort, take a look at the Beachfront Resort, the top-rated resort within the city of Whitianga that’s certainly proper on the seashore.
2. Tongariro Nationwide Park
Tongariro Nationwide Park is New Zealand’s oldest nationwide park and in addition a twin World Heritage website. Right here you will discover three of the nation’s most well-known volcanoes: Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu, together with the preferred day hike in New Zealand, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.
If you happen to’re a hiker in any respect, then doing the Tongariro Crossing ought to positively be in your to-do record. This 19.4-kilometer trek is pretty difficult, however presents up wonderful surroundings of the Pink Crater, Emerald Lakes, and Mount Ngauruhoe (which was Mount Doom within the Lord of the Rings motion pictures).
I like to recommend permitting two days to do that hike, as dangerous climate typically makes the observe harmful and/or not price doing (for my part) since you may’t see something.
The place so as to add it in: Between Rotorua and Wellington
What number of days: 2 or 3 nights
The place to remain: Elliot and I spent two nights tenting on the Plateau Lodge (which presents a shuttle for the Tongariro Crossing). When our deliberate climbing day received rained out, we went and had afternoon tea at Chateau Tongariro, which is without doubt one of the nicer accommodations within the space.
3. Abel Tasman Nationwide Park
One other nationwide park price visiting if in case you have the additional time is Abel Tasman Nationwide Park on the prime of the South Island. This nationwide park could also be New Zealand’s smallest, but it surely’s positively some of the memorable.
Abel Tasman is understood for its lovely seashores and climbing trails – a well-liked exercise is to mix climbing and kayaking alongside the coast if in case you have no less than one full day to spend right here. (Scenic cruises are additionally accessible.)
The place so as to add it in: The day after you’re taking the ferry from Wellington
What number of days: 1 or 2 nights
The place to remain: We beloved the Motueka TOP 10 Vacation Park not removed from Abel Tasman for our campervan. For these searching for accommodations, take a look at the Cut up Apple Lodge.
Additional up the east coast of the South Island lies Kaikoura, a small seaside city that basically packs a punch on the subject of marine wildlife. As a result of there is a deep sea trench not far off the coast from Kaikoura, you may see marine life like whales, dolphins, and seals just about year-round right here. (Together with whale watching, you may 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 lovely.
RELATED: 4 Causes You Ought to Go to Kaikoura, New Zealand
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 Prime 10 Vacation Park. For different lodging, take a look at the Kaikoura Boutique Lodge or the Bendamere Home Mattress and Breakfast.
Different wonderful spots I have been to 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.
There are just too many wonderful locations to see in New Zealand! I’ve visited the nation many occasions and nonetheless have not seen/carried out the whole lot I’ve needed to!
However hopefully this helps you get a great begin on planning your personal good New Zealand street journey itinerary, even if you happen to solely have 2 weeks in New Zealand.
READ NEXT: The Final Information to Planning a Campervan Highway Journey in New Zealand
Extra important information
Have you ever ever carried out a street journey in New Zealand? If not, are you able to plan one now?
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