Here are our favourites for a interisland New Zealand road trip!
Day 1 Christchurch – Kaikoura
Hopefully you’ll get to know Christchurch for a couple of days before you pick up your $1-$5/day vehicle. From Christchurch, head through the peaceful Waipara Valley, taking your time and tasting a Riesling or two (or three). You’ll arrive in Kaikoura with plenty of time to spare before sunset. It’s famous for its animal encounters, so you might want to head out on a whale watching tour or check out the seals. This may also be the best place in New Zealand to eat crayfish (kaikoura means ‘eat crayfish’), so set aside some time to savour the fresh seafood.
Day 2 Kaikoura – Wellington
Get an early start and head to Queen Charlotte Sound- one of the most beautiful in the Malborough Sounds. You can spend the day here and take a tour before you head to Picton to get the Interislander ferry. Many of our camper relocations include free ferry for the vehicle and some include ferry for 1 driver as well. You can get the evening or late ferry to Wellington – but remember to check in 1 hour before. The trip is about 3.5 hours so you might get to Wellington late. Familiarise yourself with New Zealand’s camping rules if you are planning to free camp somewhere.
Day 3 Wellington – Taupo
Spend the day in New Zealand’s artsy capital- the nature, museums and cafes will not disappoint. Then head to Lake Taupo, where you can go on a geothermal walk, mountain biking, trout fishing or lake cruising.
Day 4 Taupo – Rotorua
On your way to Rotorua, you should definitely stop at the Huka Falls. A one hour walk follows the falls up to an overlooking bridge (or you can skip the walking part).There you will witness the ferocity of water falling at 220,000 litres a minute. The rest of the volcanic drive to Rotorua is a snippet of interesting scenery and shouldn’t take you long. You could stop at the Prawn Park for a quick bite on your way. Once you’re in Rotorua, you can get the authentic New Zealand experience: learn about the Maori culture at Te Puia or at the evening show at Mitai Maori Village, explore Wai-o-taupu, or even relax at the Polynesian Spa.
Day 5 Rotorua – Auckland
Bid farewell to Rotorua and start the last leg to Auckland. It would be fun to stop at the Hobbiton Movie Set and get those iconic pics to show off to your family and friends, even if you are not a LOTR fan. Tours are about $80 and leave every half hour. Don’t lose yourself in the quirky village and remember to drop off your vehicle on time in Auckland.