How to Get the Best of New Zealand in One Road Trip
If you want to see nature up-close and experience the great outdoors, look no further than New Zealand. Whether you’re taking your family down, or you are an extreme sportsman, a road trip here is an experience for a lifetime.
We created an itinerary of destinations for you, in order, where you can spend 1-2 days each. If you wish to have a shorter trip, you can exclude items from the top or bottom.
First, fly to Auckland, the most populous city in the country. You can hit as many of these as you desire.
- Sky Tower
- For a panoramic view of the city, and bungee jumping
- Auckland Zoo
- For a family-friendly animal encounter within the city
- SkyCity Auckland
- For a short break from the outdoors with nightlife and casino (Note: please game responsibly)
If you want to see nature’s work up North, drive up to the Bay of Islands. You can see penguins, dolphins and whales as you sail, cruise or kayak around these beautiful islands. Then drive back to Auckland to continue.
3 hours drive from Auckland
Hop on a rental car and make your way down to Rotorua. You can visit:
- Te Puia
- For a cultural experience of the Maori and a closer look at an active geothermal geyser.
- Polynesian Spa
- For a relaxing geothermal spa experience by the lakeside.
A must-visit for Lord of the Rings fans: before reaching Rotorua, you can stop by the Hobbiton Movie Set at Matamata.
6 hours drive from Rotorua
- Museum of New Zealand Te Papa
- The country’s national museum, for a full immersion of art and culture.
- Seal Coast 4WD Safari
- An off-road guided tour to see seals and farmlands up close.
- Mount Victoria Lookout
- A panoramic view of the city, harbour and beyond. Watch the planes fly and ships sail while you enjoy a picnic here.
Plus: visit the Weta workshop for a half or full-day tour to appease the Lord of the Rings fan in you.
8 hours ferry + drive from Wellington
2 hours flight from Wellington
The next destination is on the other side of a body of water, so you’ll need to get there by plane. Or if you wish to continue your road trip by car, take the Interislander Cook Strait Ferry to Waimate. Once you get off the ferry, you can rent a new car to proceed.
At Christchurch, take your pick from these attractions:
- International Antarctic Centre
- An award-winning family-friendly ice experience with penguins, huskies, all-terrain vehicles, and their signature Storm Dome.
- Christchurch Botanic Gardens
- For lovers of flora, this is the ideal place for picnics and flower appreciation.
6 hours drive from Christchurch
Welcome to New Zealand’s adventure capital, your last major stop on this road trip. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to outdoor activities.
- Trek and explore the breath-taking fjords at Fiordland National Park
- Dine with a view at the Queenstown Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar
- Zip down the mountain with a panoramic view on the Queenstown Zipline Tour.
- Take a guided tour on a jetboat ride through canyons on the Skippers Canyon Jet Boat Tour.
- Bungy jump, catapult or swing from great heights on programs by AJ Hackett Bungy.
You can even find spots to go rock-climbing, hiking, paragliding, mountain biking and more.
Bonus: on your way here from Christchurch, your route will take you through Lindis Pass, a grassy hillside scene perfect for photos.
If you wish to extend your road trip even further, take a drive up to Glenorchy. The journey will take you past Lake Wakatipu, which makes a beautiful scenic drive, with many places to stop by for pictures along the way.
New Zealand is a must-visit for those who love nature and outdoor adventures. Be sure to pack your sunnies, microfiber towels, and suntan lotions.
Your Gateways to Getaways,