New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary: Guide for 1st-Time Visitors


A variety of you’d have recognized by now how I adore New Zealand — and that’s not simply because it’s the set for ‘Middle-earth’. (New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary)

Regrettably, my first journey to this nation felt extremely quick; in any case, I barely scratched the floor of the wonders held inside the North Island, and I didn’t even handle to drop by the South Island. So when Wild Kiwi invited me to go on a 21-day tour to each of the islands, you wager that I mentioned ‘sure‘ in a heartbeat.

Looking again, it has certainly turned out to be some of the epic street journeys that I’ve ever carried out in my life. With that, I hope that the remainder of this publish will present you why a tour with Wild Kiwi might be price your whereas, if not provide you with concepts in your personal New Zealand journey!

Find out extra about Wild Kiwi and why I’ve chosen to go together with them (regardless of the variety of different New Zealand tour firms who’ve prolonged their invites to me) by studying the publish beneath…
: My Big Adventure to New Zealand with Wild Kiwi

New Zealand Travel Guide

» Quick Travel Planning

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IMPORTANT: New Zealand has STRICT quarantine legal guidelines for undeclared meals and different biohazards. This signifies that you shouldn’t herald any sort of contemporary meals corresponding to bananas, apples, honey, and so forth. as you just be sure you get rid of them earlier than going by way of the luggage declare space. Processed or packaged meals could be accepted however you’re alleged to declare them in your arrival card. If you’re ever unsure, ask for clarification — in any other case, you can be charged with a hefty tremendous.

If you’ve bought outside gear like diving gear, climbing boots, and so forth. you should clear them earlier than you journey to New Zealand to ensure that the inspection course of to go extra shortly for you. Be suggested that New Zealand is agency about this given how they’ve sniffer canines and bio-sensitive X-ray machines to detect any undesirable objects.

» Best Time to Visit

Technically, there’s NEVER a nasty time to go particularly if it’s for a New Zealand street journey itinerary; but after all, since each the North and South Islands are lengthy and slim, the climate will not be uniform. So as an outline, beneath are New Zealand’s seasons:

  • Summer: This is the most well-liked time; therefore, the busiest — however the seashores are nice throughout this time of the 12 months. Take observe by the way in which that January would be the warmest month. Thinking about this, New Zealand is a superb escape for these months of the 12 months if you wish to get away from harsh winters.
  • Autumn: This time is attractive because the leaves change colours and it’s additionally among the best instances to plan a getaway or a climbing spree for the reason that summer time crowds are principally gone. To add, charges are on an ‘off peak’ stage.
  • Winter: Queenstown as an illustration might be your winter wonderland, however there certainly are quite a few ski areas across the nation. If you are available June you’ll be able to benefit from the Queenstown Winter Festival.
  • Spring: This is likely one of the ‘off peak’ seasons as you get to take pleasure in hotter days and longer daytime.

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» New Zealand Currency

New Zealand Dollar (NZD) whereby about NZD 1.70 is the same as about USD $1~ / €0.85~ (that is as of August 2022). In the occasion that you simply wish to trade your cash for NZD, I extremely advise that you simply do NOT trade your cash on the airport for the reason that charges there usually are not aggressive.

  • How to finest trade your foreign money? Either trade it at a financial institution or at a cash exchanger in your house nation or within the metropolis middle. Better but, simply withdraw from an ATM along with your debit/bank card — nonetheless, you should do one huge withdrawal to reduce charges along with your financial institution. Speaking of playing cards, a whole lot of the institutions settle for bank cards nevertheless it’s all the time advisable to have money available as a result of a whole lot of smaller retailers do not settle for worldwide bank cards.

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» Cost of Travel in New Zealand

To provide you with an concept, you need to count on to journey in New Zealand with a mean each day price of about USD $40~ per individual on a finances, or at the least $70~ if you wish to expertise extra consolation in actions, excursions, inns, and extra. (Values beneath present low-budget to medium-budget ranges).

  • Hotels: $20 to $35 USD / day
  • Food: $10 to $16 USD / day
  • Fun: $10 to $20 USD / day
  • Transport: At least $10 for native transportation

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» Visa for New Zealand

You can examine this checklist of nations to see who does NOT want vacationer visas to enter New Zealand. Naturally, for those who’re NOT a citizen of any of the listed nations, you’ll then want to use for a vacationer visa within the New Zealand embassy that’s close to you.

If you’re a Philippine citizen like me, you’ll be able to learn my information on ‘How to Apply for a New Zealand Visa‘.

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» Where to Stay (New Zealand Accommodations)

There is after all a variety of lodging in New Zealand so that you can select from. To seek for the most effective lodging at the most effective costs, I counsel testing Agoda and But for those who’re relatively inquisitive about renting snug homes, examine AirBnB.

Anyhow, for those who’re coming with Wild Kiwi, your lodging might be taken care of throughout the tour (a mixture of inns and hostels); however it’s extremely advisable that you simply guide your personal lodging for at the least 1 evening earlier than and after your Wild Kiwi street journey journey to allot a while of leisure earlier than and after your flights. For an inventory of the highest lodging, see my posts beneath…

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» Wild Kiwi Routes

To date, Wild Kiwi has over 7 sorts of routes and mixtures you could select from:

  • North Island: 7-day Northern Voyager
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland
    • Price: NZD $1,199 (topic to vary)
  • South Island: 7-day Southern Voyager
    • Stops: Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook > Christchurch
    • Price: NZD $1,199 (topic to vary)
  • South Island: 7-day Southern Loop
    • Stops: Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
    • Price: NZD $1,099 (topic to vary)
  • North & South Island: 14-day NZ Explorer
    • Combination of 7-day Northern Voyager + 7-day Southern Voyager
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook > Christchurch
    • Price: NZD $2,499 (topic to vary)
  • South Island: 14-day Big South
    • Combination of 7-day Southern Voyager + 7-day Southern Loop
    • Stops: Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
    • Price: NZD $2,499 (topic to vary)
  • North & South Island: 14-day NZ Adventurer
    • Combination of 7-day Northern Voyager + 7-day Southern Loop
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch
    • Price: NZD $2,499 (topic to vary)
  • ★ North & South Island: 21-day NZ Discovery
    • Combination of 7-day Northern Voyager + 7-day Southern Loop + 7-day Southern Voyager
    • Stops: Auckland > Raglan > Taupo > Napier > Rotorua > Coromandel > Auckland > (Fly to Christchurch) > Christchurch > Kaikoura > Picton > Abel Tasman > Punakaiki > Hokitika > Christchurch > Franz Josef > Queenstown > Mt. Cook > Christchurch
    • Price: NZD $3,599 (topic to vary)

The following are the fundamental inclusions for all of the excursions of the New Zealand street journey itinerary…

  • Expert native information/driver
  • Daily street transportation and stops
  • Unlimited WiFi
  • Accommodations
  • Daily breakfast
  • Local flight (as relevant to the route)

If you’re on the 21-day NZ Discovery tour like I did, you get some extra extras corresponding to the next…

  • Surf lesson in Raglan
  • Wai O Tapu geothermal park admittance
  • 3 free dinners

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» Packing Guide

Of course, it will rely on what month and what places you can be visiting as per the street journey circuit you select — however for a begin:

  • Bring snug strolling footwear (for these metropolis strolls + climbing sprees) and a rain jacket (simply in case).
  • In summer time, convey a towel, swimming wear, gentle summer time garments, flip-flops, and a lightweight jacket.
  • In winter, make sure that to pack a heat jacket and plenty of layers for the reason that South Island can get actually chilly.
  • Don’t fear about bringing fancy attire as a result of New Zealand has a really informal gown code.
  • It’s finest to convey a day bag that may maintain a few of your necessities since it is going to be vital for the stops you’ll be making.
  • Get a refillable bottle too. After all, New Zealand faucet water tastes higher than bottled stuff (to not point out, it’s free, which saves you the price of shopping for costly bottled water).
  • Remember to pack sunscreen or a hat as a result of the solar could be fairly sturdy in some locations.
  • Feel free to convey your personal snacks or alcoholic drinks throughout the street journey.
  • Bringing insect repellant is a good suggestion as effectively as a result of there are little pests known as ‘sand flies’.
  • Lastly, you should purchase journey insurance coverage, particularly because you’ll be doing a whole lot of adrenaline-pumping actions. For this, I extremely advocate shopping for from World Nomads. I’ve been shopping for my journey insurance coverage with them for years and so they’re wonderful. They have broad protection, they service worldwide and so they have a quick and simple buy course of on-line. Most importantly, they cowl journey actions (which another journey insurance coverage don’t).

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» Helpful Māori Phrases

English is the dominant language spoken by most Kiwis (New Zealanders) however the nation’s de jure official languages are Māori and New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Rest assured, Māori persons are bilingual and may communicate English too, however they’ll be joyful to listen to you try to communicate the Māori language.

If you wish to study just a few useful phrases, just be sure you pronounce the next correctly!

Hello (to 1 individual, formal): Tēnā koe (Te-na koy)
Hello (to 1 individual, casual): Kia ora (Key-oar-rah)
Thank you: Kia ora (Key-oar-rah) ~ pronounced with a rising intonation
Yes: Āe (I)
No: Kāore (Kao-re)
Goodbye (mentioned by the individual leaving): E noho rā (E-noho ra)
Goodbye (mentioned by the individual staying): Haere rā (Hayre ra)
I’m sorry: Aroha mai (Ar-ro-ha-mai)
Help!: Āwhina! (Af-fin-nuh!)
Cheers!: Kia ora! (Key-oar-rah!)

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New Zealand Road Trip Itinerary

NOTE: The following sections are in a tabbed format; so, as a way to see the subsequent day’s contents, simply click on the headings.

» Northern Voyager «

From Auckland to Raglan

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Our first day began off gray and wet — however nothing dampened our temper as we set off on our New Zealand street journey itinerary to our first cease within the North Island: Raglan.

This small coastal city is known for its general surf tradition and its black sands in Ngarunui Beach — that being mentioned, we did some browsing right here and it was a great deal of enjoyable (although the water was chilly for a tropical lady like now).

Now, one enjoyable trivia about this seaside is that it’s apparently one of many world’s longest left-hand surf breaks; that being mentioned, it was fairly a singular place in itself!

After our time right here, we huddled again to city to discover the charming cafes and retailers earlier than making a cease over to the breathtaking Bridal Veil “Waireinga” Falls in Waikato which was on the way in which to our lodging for the evening. This first day was fairly one thing and through dinner, we bought to know the remainder of the wonderful people who we have been going to spend the subsequent days with.

TIP: Like I’ve beforehand talked about, it’s advisable to allot some days in Auckland earlier than beginning Day #1 as a result of there are some nice spots that you should see on this largest metropolis of New Zealand! For an inventory of superior FREE issues to do in Auckland, see my detailed publish right here.

Waitomo & Taupō

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The enjoyable continues on this New Zealand street journey itinerary as we bought to find the next cities stuffed with distinctive actions!

  • Waitomo is a village that’s well-known for its in depth underground cave methods, and as a customer, you’ll be able to both do the next…
    • Visit Waitomo Glowworm Cave(NZ$50~) Do you wish to see stars up shut — or higher but, see a galaxy of ‘tiny living lights’? With this tour, you can be gliding silently on a ship by way of Waitomo River as you undergo the “starry” wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto which has hundreds of tiny glowworms (Arachnocampa luminosa) that radiate a luminescent bluish gentle at nighttime. Mind you, these creatures are distinctive to New Zealand solely!
    • Visit Ruakuri Cave(NZ$70~) Much like the primary Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Ruakuri Cave provides the magical expertise of sighting glowworms up shut; however greater than this, you’ll be winding your means by way of spectacular limestone formations and crystal tapestries.
    • Go black water rafting by way of glowworm caves = (NZ$140~) If you need a extra adventurous expertise, that is your best option for you as you abseil, weave, leap, climb and float by way of the gorgeous underworld of Ruakuri Cave and some waterfalls too.
  • Taupo is a city that’s relatively distinguished by its lakefront setting in addition to the next…
    • Do jet boating = (NZ$115~) This is an adrenaline-pumping exercise that was invented by New Zealand. So for those who like velocity, spins, and thrills mixed with marvelous water surroundings, occurring a jet boating exercise might be price your whereas! I’ve gone by way of this expertise myself and it was a great deal of enjoyable!
    • Sail on Lake Taupo = (NZ$50~) A variety of crusing firms not solely take you to the unimaginable waters of Lake Taupo, nevertheless it additionally takes you to the ‘Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings’ which is also known as one of many nation’s most extraordinary artworks that towers 14 meters above deep water. Apparently, this has been sculpted over the course of 4 years and depicts the face of Ngatoroirangi, a ‘visionary Māori navigator who guided the Tūwharetoa and Te Arawa tribes to the Taupō area over a thousand years ago’.
    • Huka Falls = (FREE admittance) This highly effective but astonishing set of bluish waterfalls on the Waikato River drains onwards to Lake Taupo. It is alleged that per second, the amount of water flowing by way of it usually approaches 220,000 liters!

Napier & Hawke’s Bay

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Before leaving Taupo, we had the selection to go skydiving over Lake Taupo (NZ$270) — nonetheless, I used to be hell-bent on doing mine in Queenstown as a substitute (climate allowing, fingers crossed). But both means, doing a skydive right here might be one for the books as a result of the views excessive up overlooking the lake might be memorable!

I’m truly terribly afraid of heights. Combine that with my concern of flying airplanes, then certainly, doing skydiving is a horrible concept for me, proper? Haha. But I’ve since determined to beat my fears!

Once everybody was prepared, we hit the street once more to go to the charismatic metropolis of Napier which is widespread for its beautifully-preserved Thirties structure of art-deco buildings. It certainly made me really feel like I used to be transported to the filming set of Great Gatsby!

While we have been nonetheless basked within the afterglow of Napier throughout this New Zealand street journey itinerary, we proceeded to go to some vineyards to do some wine tastings (prices round NZ$10~). And to cap our time without work, we stopped by Te Mata Peak in Hawke’s Bay area to sight the sweeping summits that rise as much as 399m. This place is especially nice for driving, climbing, and mountain biking because you’re positive to be showered with spectacular views in each course!

Rotorua’s Adventure & Natural Sights

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From the second that we stepped into the geothermal city of Rotorua, I grew to become nostalgic for my first go to right here again in 2016 as I smelled the all-too-familiar scent of the sulfur-rich air. This is a hotspot within the North Island of New Zealand and there are heaps to do right here:

  • Geothermal Parks: Naturally, Rotorua is filled with a number of geothermal parks; but when I’ll counsel, select from any of those high 3 locations (after which metal your sense of scent!)
    • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland = (NZ$32~ / FREE with Wild Kiwi Tours) This showcases New Zealand’s most colourful and distinctive lively geothermal components which were sculpted by hundreds of years of volcanic exercise.
    • Te Puia = (NZ$54~) Other than being a Maori cultural village, Te Puia is known for its geothermal exercise, particularly that of its Pōhutu Geyser which is alleged to be the biggest geyser within the southern hemisphere. It additionally erupts a couple of times each hour at heights that would attain 30 meters!
    • Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Spa = (Starts at NZ$20~) Other than witnessing boiling swimming pools and erupting waters, you possibly can additionally take pleasure in their scorching spring companies which can be coupled with a therapeutic mud and sulfur spa.
  • Redwood Forest: (FREE admittance) Spend the day away climbing or biking by way of this towering forest that’s simply on the sting of Rotorua. Rest assured, there’s an array of trails you could select from, regardless of your stage of health or expertise.
  • Luge: (Starts at NZ$45~) Somewhat of a mixture between a go-kart (with out the engine) and a toboggan (with out the snow), Rotorua’s “Luge” is a enjoyable and fast-paced journey exercise that’s nice for individuals of all ages! I loved this a lot and lots of people even say that this place is healthier than the Luge exercise present in South Island’s Queenstown, so go and provides this a strive!
  • Zorb: (Starts at NZ$39) Also known as ‘globe riding’, this entails a ‘ball of fun’ the place you roll down a hill inside an enormous inflatable ball. Invented in 1994 in New Zealand, this has change into one of many ‘must-do’ actions when within the nation and it usually provides you the prospect to decide on the sort of path that you simply’ll undergo — might it’s zigzag or straight!
  • White Water Rafting: This is a superb factor to do with your loved ones or associates in Rotorua! This is likely one of the issues I did along with my companion and it was a unprecedented expertise! We went by way of steep native bush canyons and over 14 rapids and three waterfalls, together with the world-renowned 7-meter Tutea Falls which is the ‘Highest Commercially Rafted Waterfall in the World’! Truth be advised, this was my first white water rafting exercise of all time and it was completely an incredible first.

Rotorua’s Movie & Cultural Sights

For this present day, there are 2 issues that we made positive we did NOT miss:

  • Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set: (NZ$114~) For the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit‘ movie fans like me, this is your once-in-a-lifetime chance to venture off into your own Middle-earth adventure! After all, this is the famous 12-acre movie set of the iconic village of the Shire. As a visitor, you will be guided through a two-hour walking tour to the different hobbit hole houses (e.g. Sam and Frodo’s home) and different quintessential landmarks just like the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn (the place it’s also possible to seize a complimentary drink that’s brewed solely in Hobbiton!).
    • TIP: Another place to think about for LOTR followers is a go to to the well-known Weta Workshop!
  • Visit a Maori Cultural Village: (Around NZ$100~) Rotorua and its surrounding cities arguably have the very best focus of Māori villages. With that in thoughts, it’s a should to go to at the least one as a way to immerse your self within the historical past and customs of the Maori individuals in New Zealand — a tradition that the nation is very happy with. We went to among the best villages, Tamaki Maori Village, and a few of the many wonderful issues that you simply’ll expertise and which I personally beloved have been witnessing the highly effective haka (conventional battle cry), studying in regards to the Maori historical past, partaking in a hangi (conventional Maori feast), and extra.


Photo by: Shutterstock

We bid farewell to the wonders of Rotorua and mentioned hey to the gorgeous Coromandel Peninsula whereas making stops and quick walks to scenic landscapes alongside the way in which.

Once we arrived at Hahei, we donned our swimwear and headed to the favored Hot Water Beach. It may sound peculiar for a seaside’s waters to be associated to something ‘hot‘ but it’s true as a result of this bay has underground scorching springs which everybody can take pleasure in by digging by way of the sand throughout low tide. With this, you’ll be able to simply alternate between cold and warm swimming pools immediately!

So armed with our shovels, we looked for a great place by the seaside and lounged as we watched the sundown on the horizon. Needless to say, this was actually one in every of a form!

From Coromandel to Auckland

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To mark our final day on the North Island for our New Zealand street journey itinerary, we first went on a hike to Cathedral Cove (Te Whanganui-A-Hei) Marine Reserve which is one more spotlight of our go to to the Coromandel Peninsula.

With its stunning white sand, turquoise waters, and towering rock formations, this place was fairly a sight! Not to say, there’s a pathway right here that’s well-known for being the opening scene from the film Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

Once we had our fill of the magical surroundings, we went to pack our baggage and journeyed again to Auckland in preparation for our flight to Christchurch in order to mark the beginning of our South Island journey.

NOTE: If you wish to keep again within the North Island, it’s advisable to fly over to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

» Southern Loop «

From Christchurch to Kaikoura

After an evening’s relaxation in Christchurch, we began our South Island journey by making a cease first within the seaside city of Kaikoura that’s stuffed with rugged cliffs and spectacular marine life. For an array of issues to do right here throughout your New Zealand street journey itinerary, they’re as follows…

  • Whale watching: (NZ$150~) This is a year-round expertise the place you will get actually near whales of various varieties corresponding to sperm whales that are the biggest toothed predators. The smartest thing about this tour is that there’s a 95% charge of sighting success and that is primarily as a result of all of the locals cooperate in sharing info when sighting these huge creatures within the water. If in case you don’t see any whales (which is very unlikely) they are going to gladly situation an 80% refund.
    • Fly possibility = (NZ$180~) If you’re not good with boat rides or for those who merely need a hen’s eye view to actually see the magnitude of the world’s largest mammals, a flight expertise above Kaikoura’s waters is a superb selection! Now don’t fear as a result of everyone seems to be assured a window seat for unobstructed views.
  • Watch or Swim with Dolphins: (Starts at NZ$95~) Come face-to-face with quite a few dolphins of their pure setting by swimming and enjoying with them — you’ll by no means get a greater probability than this! If you’re not keen on swimming, you possibly can additionally choose to remain dry and go on the dolphin-watching tour.
  • Fishing Trip: (NZ$120~) Go with an area and expertise an immersive fishing journey as you catch lobsters and crayfish within the waters — well-known delicacies in Kaikoura! Whether you’re a first-time fisher or not, you’re positive to have a lot enjoyable on this. At the top of the journey, you’ll be able to select to launch your catch or have it cooked. My companions and I had a whole lot of enjoyable having fun with our catch so this generally is a enjoyable exercise for you too!
  • Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway: (FREE) This is a 3-hour scenic hike stuffed with clifftop views and wild animals (in truth, you’ll be able to sight seabirds and seals up shut!). as you cross the peninsula to South Bay. If you don’t have 3 hours, there are smaller hikes or detours alongside the way in which so that you can do.


Photo by: Shutterstock

After an evening’s relaxation, we proceeded to drive down the Kaikoura coast the place we bought to see the injury from the earthquake that occurred in 2016. These roads have been solely lately opened so we may see how laborious the nation has labored to make things better; however amidst this, we have been enamored by the great thing about the shoreline which frequently had dolphins and seals enjoying within the shallow waters.

During this journey, we explored some great seashores earlier than arriving on the port city of Picton which is lauded because the gateway to the Marlborough Sound (that is additionally the gateway to the South Island for ferries that come from the North).

We had a while left once we arrived on the town and one of many issues we did and which you possibly can additionally do is hike the 3-hour return Snout Track for gorgeous views of the Marlborough Sounds.

From Picton to Abel Tasman National Park

This day was principally spent driving in order that we may attain one in every of New Zealand’s most stunning wilderness reserves, the Abel Tasman National Park!

We truly arrived late within the afternoon, however we crammed our day with stops to some breweries and wineries within the Marlborough area, in addition to to the enchanting inexperienced waters at Pelorus Bridge.

TRIVIA: You’ll discover a little bit of Middle-earth on this spot as a result of that is truly the filming location within the scene of “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” when the dwarves have been floating in barrels down a river.

Once we checked in at The Barn close to Abel Tasman National Park, we marked our first evening with a delicious barbecue dinner as we frolicked by the fireside and exchanged tales as we put together for the subsequent day’s adventures!

Abel Tasman National Park

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It’s time to benefit from this New Zealand nationwide park which is very famend for its golden seashores, sculptured granite cliffs, and world-famous coast observe known as the ‘Abel Tasman Coast Track’.

The finest means to do that? Go on a kayaking journey which can first depart from Kaiteriteri by way of a cruise boat that’s already included within the tour, after which upon arriving at Torrent Bay, you’ll have a fully-guided kayak tour for about 2.5 hours the place you’ll be able to encounter seals alongside the way in which.

After this, you’ll be able to return to Kaiteriteri by way of a return cruise or a 2/3-hour unguided hike by way of the Abel Tasma Coast Track. I’d advocate doing the latter so that you could make stops alongside the attractive bashes to do some sunbathing or whatnot (you’ll be able to even encounter a few of New Zealand’s native wildlife such because the Tui and the Tuatara!).


We bid goodbye to Abel Tasman at this level of our New Zealand street journey itinerary and headed all the way down to the West Coast to the little coastal city of Punakaiki which is located on the sting of the Paparoa National Park. For this present day, we made a number of stops on the street after which ended the day with a go to to Punakaiki’s well-known ‘Pancake Rocks’.

  • Nelson Lake: (FREE) We had lunch with a view of this lake that’s inside Nelson Lakes National Park — a spot stuffed with enchanting alpines, forests, and glacial lakes.
  • Cape Foulwind Walkway: (FREE) This is a spectacular 3.4km one-way coastal stroll that led us by way of a towering lighthouse, a fur seal breeding colony, and finally to Tauranga Bay.
  • Pancake Rocks: (FREE) As the title suggests, these are limestones that appear to be stacked pancakes, the reason for which is hundreds of thousands of years of abrasion by water, wind, and salt. In this space, additionally, you will discover spectacular blowholes that make thundering sounds. I like to recommend coming right here both throughout dawn or sundown as a way to get the most effective lighting and think about.


For as we speak’s New Zealand street journey itinerary, it was solely for locating the hidden gems of Hokitika and its surrounding areas. As such, the spotlight of this present day can be our go to to Hokitika Gorge which had astonishing blue-green waters and a picture-perfect swing bridge.

Walking to this spot concerned not more than a 650-meter hike so it was a simple path to undergo. We all wished to take a swim however sadly, since we have been right here in autumn, the waters have been already too chilly.

Before the day ends, after we checked into our lodging, we constructed an enormous bonfire by the seaside in Hokitika. We had a lot enjoyable roasting marshmallows and exchanging tales (in any case, this was technically the final tour day of this Southern Loop leg).

From Hokitika to Christchurch

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On our means again to Christchurch, we drove throughout the long-lasting Southern Alps which is one in every of New Zealand’s highest passes.

Upon arriving within the metropolis, we checked in to JUCY Snooze (which was a singular capsule hostel), and a few individuals opted to discover Christchurch — whereas others opted to remain in and relaxation, in preparation for the adrenaline-filled journey for the subsequent days below the ‘Southern Voyager’ leg of Wild Kiwi!

» Southern Voyager «

From Christchurch to Franz Josef Glacier

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After assembly new extra individuals on our tour, we departed from Christchurch within the morning and headed for the dizzying heights of Arthurs Pass and the gorgeous snow-capped Southern Alps.

Mid-way, we stopped by a lake (whereby a few of our companions have been loopy sufficient to leap into the icy waters) and Castle Hill (which was named as such due to its imposing array of limestone boulders that have been paying homage to an previous run-down stone citadel).

After we had our enjoyable, we lastly arrived at our vacation spot which was Franz Josef Glacier Village.

Franz Josef Glacier

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Together with Fox Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier is surrounded by the World Heritage Site park of Te Wahipounamu. As a lush space stuffed with improbable sights, there’s a various variety of issues that you are able to do right here in your New Zealand street journey itinerary:

  • Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike: (NZ$459~) Through this once-in-a-lifetime tour, you’ll go on an exhilarating helicopter trip and do a 3-hour hike by way of essentially the most superior glacier ‘ice architecture’. Evidently, it is a expensive tour to make nevertheless it’s an expense that might be price your cash and whereas — assured. Though, for those who solely have the finances for only one tour in your entire Franz Josef go to, that is the expertise you need to put money into. Just take observe that that is climate dependent, so if the day seems bitter then no worries as a result of there are different issues so that you can do round city.
  • Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk: (NZ$78~ or FREE) This is an exercise that you should make you probably have a decrease finances or if the climate turned out dangerous (and you may’t do a heli hike). You can do that with a information or by your self and it’ll take about 3 hours to go previous the Waiho river mattress as a way to see the grand terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier.
  • Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools: (NZ$25~) After a day of climbing, reward your self with a soothing dip within the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools. This is open till 9:00PM and you may select to soak in one of many 3 predominant outside swimming pools that vary from 36 to 41 levels Celsius (if you would like privateness, there are additionally personal swimming pools accessible).
  • Fox Glacier Heli Hike: (NZ$440~) If you relatively wish to witness the glacier to the south, this heli hike tour to Fox Glacier is an possibility. Much just like the Franz Josef Glacier Heli Hike, it will take you on a trip on a helicopter over the Fox Glacier after which land in an space the place you are able to do a 4-hour guided hike.

From Franz Josef to Queenstown

For this present day of our New Zealand street journey itinerary, we’re lastly making our option to the ‘adrenaline capital’ of New Zealand — Queenstown! It’s a little bit of a drive although, so earlier than we arrived within the metropolis, we handed by the next locations first.

  • Lake Matheson: This lake provides awe-inspiring mirror reflections of Mt. Cook (the very best mountain in New Zealand) and Mt. Tasman. It mainly entails a brief circuit stroll, and if I’ll share a tip, it’s finest to hike right here throughout daybreak or nightfall as a way to see the most effective lake reflections of the encompassing snowcapped mountains.
  • Haast Pass: A mountain cross discovered within the Southern Alps that’s brimming with stunning quick walks, rainforests, and waterfalls. Some of the breathtaking waterfalls we now have seen have been Fantail Falls and Thunder Creek Falls.
  • Wanaka: We stopped on this resort city to take a short driving break, and it was such a serene place to lounge or have a picnic in! It was additionally an enchanting expertise to see the ‘recently famous’ Wanaka Tree (a fence publish that has now changed into a web-based sensation — and it’s straightforward to see why as a result of this lone tree was completely backdropped by the alps and the encompassing terrain).
    • NOTE: If you occur to have a full day to spare in Wanaka, I counsel doing the 16km return observe to Roy’s Peak that grants views over Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring/Tititea, and its surrounding peaks.

TIP: When you arrive in Queenstown round evening time, drop by Fergburger for dinner. This is New Zealand’s most well-known burger joint and it helps to notice that it’s NOT a sequence — you’ll solely discover them in Queenstown, so it’s a should to present them a strive. Sure sufficient, they do have great-tasting burgers. (But if you would like a much less crowded place, Devil Burger is a superb various!).

Milford Sound

A visit to the South Island throughout your New Zealand street journey itinerary will not be full with out visiting the UNESCO-listed fiord of Milford Sound!

It takes 5 hours to drive right here from Queenstown, however I guarantee you: this might be price your whereas as a result of, for one factor, the street that results in Milford Sound is scenic. And when you arrive, you’ll be indulging within the towering Mitre Peak, the luxurious rainforests and the excessive waterfalls like Stirling and Bowen falls that each plummet down its sheer sides. Not to say, this fjord is dwelling to fur seal colonies, penguins, and dolphins — so that you’re positive to have a enjoyable time general.

Now, the easiest way to see this all can be by way of a boat cruise (NZ$80~), however if you wish to take it a step additional, it’s also possible to do a helicopter tour over Milford Sound!

NOTE: If you find yourself with some spare time, examine by the tab marked as ‘Day #19’ to see the opposite actions that you are able to do in and round Queenstown.


For our final day in Queenstown on our New Zealand street journey itinerary, we made positive to fill it up with adrenaline-pumping actions! Some of my companions went bungee leaping and others did canyon swings. As for me…? Like I’ve already talked about earlier than, I made it my aim to do sky diving in Queenstown in order that it may assist me overcome two of my high fears: heights and flying in a airplane…

…and so I did: I jumped out of a perfectly-functioning airplane at 15,000 ft and boy, it was essentially the most wonderful factor that I’ve ever carried out in my life!

For a whole checklist of motion actions, you are able to do, see beneath…

  • Sky Diving: (Starts at NZ$330~) Queenstown is alleged to be the birthplace of tandem skydiving; due to this fact, there’s no higher place to do it than right here! And if you would like the finest supplier attainable, do it with NZONE Skydive. With their years of operation and highly-trained dive masters, you’re positive to be in good palms if you leap out of an plane at 12,000 or 15,000 ft (your selection). The thrill of free falling for about 60 seconds as you plummet in direction of the bottom at 200kph is a sensation that you simply’ll perpetually bear in mind and cherish. I’ve carried out this myself and I’m so glad that I did it with NZONE!

READ: My Skydiving Experience

  • Bungy Jumping: (Starts at NZ$60~) This is New Zealand’s highest bungee leap at 134m above the Nevis River, and it provides 8.5 seconds of pure free fall! Though this seems harmful to your eyes, be assured that your security is wholly assured as a result of AJ Hackett has been working this since 1988 with over 1.5 million jumpers who now maintain the bragging rights. (NOTE: If in case you need some added ‘oomph’ to your journey, it’s also possible to bundle this with a roundtrip helicopter trip).
    • Combo = Combine this bungee leaping exercise with a Nevis canyon swing for the final word adrenaline rush!
  • Ledge Swing: (NZ$160~) Yet one other daredevil affair, the Ledge Swing will set you flying 400m throughout and over Queenstown! Located on the high of the Skyline Gondola, the Ledge Swing will first take you on a soothing panoramic trip up and after you’re strapped in, they are going to pull the ‘trigger’ to ship you swinging over the mountain.
  • Jet Boating: (NZ$150~) This is an adrenaline-pumping exercise that can be invented by New Zealand. If you want velocity, spins, and thrills mixed with marvelous water surroundings on the Shotover River, then occurring this Queenstown jet boating exercise might be price your whereas!
  • Quad Biking: (NZ$240~) This is the most effective enjoyable you’ll be able to have on 4 wheels! For this, you can be supplied with a full set of protecting gear and clothes gear as you go on a 2.5-hour trip by way of the panoramic vistas of Queenstown.
  • Luge: (Starts at NZ$45~) Somewhat of a mixture between a go-kart (with out the engine) and a toboggan (with out the snow), “Luge” is a enjoyable and fast-paced journey exercise that’s nice for individuals of all ages!
    • NOTE: It additionally already features a gondola trip).
  • Lord of the Rings Tour: (Starts at NZ$185~) Journey by way of Middle-earth and go to the ‘cinescapes’ from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies on this wonderful half-day tour. Some of the locations you’ll be visiting are “Isengard”, the 12-mile Delta, Misty Mountains, Pillars of the Kings — and extra! Without a doubt, this might be a deal with for the franchise followers (like me!).
  • Helicopter Tour: (Starts at NZ$800~) Soar excessive above Queenstown as you make your option to the UNESCO-listed space of Te Wahipounamu which encompasses Mt. Cook, all the way in which to Milford Sound which has acres of dense forests, streams, lakes, and towering mountains. From this hen’s eye view, you’ll undoubtedly have a uncommon entry view of the landscapes you’ll be seeing — and that’s not all, as a result of additionally, you will expertise a snow touchdown within the secluded Southern Alps!
  • Skyline Gondola: (Starts at NZ$30~) Slow down and get on the Skyline Gondola which provides you among the best vantage factors within the metropolis. For the most effective views and pictures, go right here when the solar units, and if the sky occurs to be clear, you should seize the prospect to go on their stargazing tour.

Mt. Cook

We mentioned our goodbyes to Queenstown as we speak for our New Zealand street journey itinerary, however we shook away the blues as a result of we knew that we have been heading off to the long-lasting Mt. Cook which is New Zealand’s highest peak (at 3,724 meters!).

As a lot as we’d have beloved to climb the summit, we have been joyful sufficient to do a hike within the valley and one of many widespread trails that results in Mt. Cook was the Hooker Valley observe. This is a 3-hour hike that goes by way of attractive alpine sceneries and you are able to do it by your self or with a educated information.

Now… if I say so myself, this has bought to be some of the wonderful climbing trails that I’ve ever carried out in my travels, so don’t skip out on this!

Once the evening falls, don’t additionally overlook to exit and do some stargazing within the stunning Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

Back to Christchurch

Photo by: Shutterstock

Sadly, this was our final drive with our companions and Wild Kiwi — however after all, we have been all smiles as we predict again to all of the memorable issues that we’ve carried out or seen!

…And as if we have been nonetheless hungry for extra, we made positive to make some stops alongside the way in which earlier than lastly arriving again in Christchurch, and a few of the spots we dropped in have been: Tasman Glacier, Lake Tekapo, and Church of the Good Shepherd.

• • •

Booking Essentials

TIP: It’s a good suggestion to crosscheck the costs with different widespread journey insurance coverage suppliers like World Nomads and HeyMondo (as my reader, you get 5% off)!
However, take observe {that a} journey insurance coverage’s affordability sometimes means lesser protection; so please all the time be sure that you learn the tremendous print as a way to decipher which journey insurance coverage firm is the fitting match for you and your journey!

The Best Things to Do in New Zealand’s islands?

Come and take a look at this checklist of the highest issues to do in New Zealand’s North Island and South Island which options the most effective actions and excursions!

• • •


It’s plain to see that this New Zealand street journey itinerary has been an final journey for me — and it’s all because of Wild Kiwi!

With that mentioned and carried out, going for his or her 21-day NZ Discovery tour is a should if you would like an all-encompassing great-for-value journey of the nation North and South Island; nonetheless, for those who’re pressed on time, any of their 7-day or 14-day excursions will already suit you effectively.

NOTE: Some of you might have been asking me which of the 7-day excursions is finest to take. Well… that is fairly a tough query to reply as a result of every of these excursions has its personal attraction.

But relying in your desire, it may be a simple decide; due to this fact, what I can say is that the ‘North Voyager’ provides the most effective of New Zealand’s tradition, the ‘Southern Loop’ takes you on a laid-back journey of types, and the ‘Southern Voyager’ supplies the most effective journey and adrenaline selections.

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